Saturday, October 28, 2017

George Washington's 1777 Valley Forge Headquarters was Cousin Isaac's House

General George Washington made the Isaac Potts House his headquarters here during the encampment at Valley Forge of the Continental Army between December 1777 and June 1778.

Washington's Valley Forge Headquarters, which stands near the center of Valley Forge National Historical Park, is a two-story stone structure, with three bays wide, and a side gable roof. A single-story ell extends to the left. The main entrance is in the left-most bay, sheltered by a gabled hood. 

There is a secondary entrance on the right end wall. The gable ends have pent roofs below, and circular windows in the gable center.

The interior is decorated with period 18th-century furnishings and artifacts related to George Washington.

The house was originally built between 1768-70 by Isaac Potts, a Quaker who operated a grist mill nearby. Isaac Potts was our 2nd cousin 7x removed.

George Washington, and later his wife Martha as well, occupied this house from Christmas Eve 1777 until June 18, 1778. Washington conducted the army's business in an office on the ground floor during that period. 

The house became part of a state park in 1893, which was given to the people of the United States by Pennsylvania in 1976.

Our lineage from Isaac Potts:

Isaac Potts (1750 - 1803) -- 2nd cousin 7x removed
John Potts (1710 - 1768) -- father of Isaac Potts
Thomas Potts (1680 - 1752) -- father of John Potts
John Potts (1658 - 1698) -- father of Thomas Potts
Mary Potts (1688 - 1762) -- daughter of John Potts
Margaret Tyson (1709 - 1752) -- daughter of Mary Potts
Joshua Hallowell (1751 - 1835) -- son of Margaret Tyson
Joseph Hallowell (1785 - 1872) -- son of Joshua Hallowell
Lt Rifford Randolph Hallowell (1816 - 1864) -- son of Joseph Hallowell
Amanda Merrio Hallowell (1842 - 1873) -- daughter of Lt Rifford Randolph Hallowell
Lillian Amanda Pierce (1867 - 1957) -- daughter of Amanda Merrio Hallowell
Frank Jackson Bailey (1886 - 1968) -- son of Lillian Amanda Pierce -- grandfather

The Potts Family in America were Quakers and follows of William Penn. 

Our line descends from JOHN POTTS (8th great-grandfather), born Abt. 1658 in Llangirrig, Montgomeryshire, Wales; died Abt 1698 in Wales.


Source: Chapter XI - The Orphan Children of John Potts, of Wales. The Potts Family in Great Britain and America, page 250, 1901, by Thomas Maxwell Potts

In the year 1698, several orphans, children of John Potts, deceased, and late of Wales, were sent over to the care of Friends in Pennsylvania. It seems very probable that they were passengers in the good ship " William Galley," (Note: See page 234, ente) which brought so many Friends from the Welsh Counties of Radnor and Montgomery, and in which Thomas Potts, Junior, (Colebrookdatle), came a passenger to Pennsylvania. The JOHN POTTS, is believed to be identical with John Potts, the persecuted Quaker of Llangirrig, Montgomeryshire, in Wales, of whom some account is given on pages 67 and 68, in this work. He was a brother of Thomas Potts, (Miller), of Bristol Township, Philadelphia County.

Neither the names nor the number of all these children are given in any record so far discovered. It is, however, quite certain that John Potts and Mary Potts were two of these orphan children. The Friends of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting had the care of these children, and the Meeting minutes contain several references to them, of which the following are copies:

"5 mo. 26, 1699. Whereas John Austin proposed to this meeting that seveal Children of John Potts of Wales, came here last year, their passage being paid, this meeting desires Edward Shippen and Anthony Morris to Speak with the persons concerned, and see for convenient places in order that the Children be bound out apprentices by the next Orphans Court.

1 mo. 29, 1700. John Kinsey reports that there are two Orphans, Children of One John Potts to be put out, Thomas Potts also desiring (be their uncle) that this meeting would appoint some friends, to put them out to friends. John Kinsey & Anthony zmorris are desired to see it done.

2 mo. 26, 1700. John Kinsey & Anthony Morris are desired to continue their care in putting out Jn Potts's Children.

11 mo. 30, 1701. Isaac Shoemaker laying before this meeting,That a friend's Child named Mary Potts having been with him more than two years, the time agreed is near out, and she wants learning. In order therefore that she may have what learning is suitable, he desires to have her bound with him for some longer time. Whereupon Samuel Carpenter & John Kinsey are desired to take care therein, making report thereof to the next monthly meeting.

12 mo. 27, 1702. John Kinsey & John Parsons are desired to use their endeavour to get Thomas (John) Potts's (NOTE: Mr. William John Potts examined these records very carefully, and was fully convinced that the name "Thomas" was a clerical error, written in mistake by the Clerki or transcriber, Insteaed of "John.") Child from the place where it is, upon as easy Terms as they can, in order tohaveit placed with a friend.

1 mo. 27, 1702. John Kinsey & John Parsons are continued to take care concerning the Child of Thomas (John) Potts, (See Note above) decease, to place it out with some honest friend. It being thought that William Rutledge's may be a fit place for her.

2 mo. 24, 1702. John Parsons reporting that the persons with whom the Child of Thomas (John) Potts, (See Note Above) is not willing to part with it. He and John Kinsey are desired so trya little further what they can do therein.

1 mo. 26, 1703. John Austin lays before this Meeting that John Potts, who was bound aprentice to him to learn the Carpenter's Trade, doth not like it, but had rather have some other emplyment, Therefore Anthony Morris (who was concerned in the binding of him) and William Hudson are desired to do what is needful in the matter, and give an account therof to the next Monthly Meeting.

1 mo. 25, 1708. John Potts, who was an Orphan bound apprentice to John Autin by approbation of this Monthly Meeting, Complains that he hath Served out his apprenticeship, and his mistress, will not discharge him, and desires assistance. In order thereto this meeting appoints Edward Shippen, Nathan Stanbury & David Lloyd to enquire into the matter and if they find he hath severed out his time, that then they Endeavour to see him discharged, and Report their proceedings to the next Monthly Meeting.

2 mo. 29, 1708. Report they cannot understand that he hath served out his time, therefore could not discharge him.

These records make it quite certain that Mary Potts (our 7th great-grandmother who married Mathias Tyson) was one of these orphan children.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Zacharie Cloutier II on the 1666 Beaupré, New France Census

Zacharie Cloutier II (1617–1708) 9th great-grandfather
son of Zacharie Cloutier (1590–1677) and Xainte Dupont (1596–1680)
Born 16 AUGUST 1617 in Mortagne Au Perche, Orne, France
Died 3 FEB 1708 in Chateau Richer, Quebec, Canada
Marriage to Madeleine Aymard (Emard) (1626–1708) 4 Apr 1648 in La Rochelle, Manche, Basse-Normandie, France

Zacharie II was baptisted on August 16, 1617 at L'Eglis de Saint-Jean in Mortagne. He learned the carpenter trade of his father and signed a contract with Robert Giffard at the same time as his father did when he was not quite 17 years old. He arrived 1634 in Quebec, Canada.

Zacharie II traveled back and forth [from Quebec to France] a few times working as a clerk for the "Company of the Hundred Associates" to engage new colonists and for the Sieur de Beaupre. He is considered the traveller of the family.

He signed a marriage contract before Notary Teuleron in La Rochelle on March 29, 1648 during a stay in France. He married Madeleine Emard at Saint-Barthelemi Church in LaRochelle on April 4, 1648.


The 1666 census of New France was the first census conducted in Canada (and indeed in North America). It was organized by Jean Talon, the first Intendant of New France, between 1665 and 1666.

Talon and the French Minister of the Marine Jean-Baptiste Colbert had brought the colony of New France under direct royal control in 1663, and Colbert wished to make it the centre of the French colonial empire. To do this he needed to know the state of the population, so that the economic and industrial basis of the colony could be expanded.

Jean Talon conducted the census largely by himself, traveling door-to-door among the settlements of New France. He did not include Native American inhabitants of the colony, or the religious orders such as the Jesuits or Recollets.

According to Talon's census there were 3,215 people in New France, and 538 separate families.  The census showed a difference in the number of men at 2,034 versus 1,181 women.  Children and those who were unmarried were grouped together; there were 2,154 of these, while only 1,019 people were married (42 were widowed).  A total of 625 people lived in Montreal, the largest settlement; 547 people lived in Quebec; and 455 lived in Trois-Rivières.  The largest single age group, 21- to 30-year-olds, numbered 842.  763 people were professionals of some kind, and 401 of these were servants, while 16 were listed as "gentlemen of means".

Our Lineage:

Zacharie Cloutier (1617 - 1708) -- 9th great-grandfather

Madeleine Cloutier (1657 - 1721) -- daughter of Zacharie Cloutier

Augustin (Lieutenant ) Gravel (1677 - 1736) -- son of Madeleine Cloutier

Joseph Placide Gravel (1721 - 1769) -- son of Augustin (Lieutenant ) Gravel

Marie Judith Gravel Brindeliere (1757 - 1779) -- daughter of Joseph Placide Gravel

Jean-Baptiste Meunier (Mignier, Minier) Lagasse (Lagace) (1776 - 1835) -- son of Marie Judith Gravel Brindeliere

Marie Emélie (Mary) Meunier Lagassé (1808 - 1883) -- daughter of Jean-Baptiste Meunier (Mignier, Minier) Lagasse (Lagace)

Lucy Passino (Pinsonneau) (1836 - 1917) -- daughter of Marie Emélie (Mary) Meunier Lagassé

Abraham Lincoln Brown (1864 - 1948) -- son of Lucy Passino (Pinsonneau)

Lydia Corinna Brown (1891 - 1971) -- daughter of Abraham Lincoln Brown -- grandmother

Monday, September 4, 2017

Anne Couvent (Voyageur Mother) to Louis VIII, King of France

Louis VIII (1187-1226), the Lion, King of France in 1223

THE LONGUEVAL RESEARCH PROJECT (2007), from the Mémoires de la Société généalogique canadienne française (Memoirs of the French-Canadian Genealogical Society) published an article titled "Les origins de Philippe Amiot (Hameau), de son éspouse Anne Couvent et de leur neveu Toussaint Ledran." (“The origins of Philippe Amiot (Hameau), his wife Anne Couvent and their nephew Toussaint Ledran.”).  

In the article the research team of the Longueval Project established the ancestry through Anne Couvent, and her mother Antointette Longueval back to King Louis VIII of France. The project also claims to trace Anne's ancestry back to King Henry III of England, but I have not been able to find those connections.

Some of my distant cousins should be able to make a connect through one of my ancestors listed below.


Louis VIII, King of France (1187 - 1226) - my 26th great-grandfather

Robert I de France, Comte d'Artois (1216 - 1250)- son of Louis VIII roi de France

Robert II d' Artois Count d’Artois (1249 - 1302) - son of Robert I de France, Comte d'Artois

Philippe I d'Artois - son of Robert II d' Artois Count d’Artois

Marie d'Artois (1291 - 1365) - daughter of Philippe I d'Artois

Marie de Namur (van Dampierre) (1322 - 1355) - daughter of Marie d'Artois

Yolande de Bar (1342 - 1410) - daughter of Marie de Namur (van Dampierre)

Jeanne De Grancey ( - 1422) - daughter of Yolande de Bar

Marie de Châteauvillain (1365 - 1423) - daughter of Jeanne De Grancey

Robert de Sarrebruche, de Commercy I (1400 - 1460) - son of Marie de Châteauvillain

Jeanne de Sarrebruche (1436 - 1492) - daughter of Robert de Sarrebruche, de Commercy I

Francois de Barbancon Seigneur de la Frette (1470 - 1510) - son of Jeanne de Sarrebruche

Marguerite de Barbançon (1480 - ) - daughter of Francois de Barbancon Seigneur de la Frette

François de Joyeuse, de Champigneulles (1515 - 1597) - son of Marguerite de Barbançon

Jean de Joyeuse, de Champigneulle (1540 - 1607) - son of François de Joyeuse, de Champigneulles

Louise de Joyeuse (1565 - 1616) - daughter of Jean de Joyeuse, de Champigneulle

Antoinette De Longuevale (1580 - 1640) - daughter of Louise de Joyeuse

Anne Convent (Couvent) (1605 - 1675) - daughter of Antoinette De Longuevale

Mathieu Amiot (Amyot) Sieur de Villeneuve (1628 - 1688) - son of Anne Convent (Couvent)

Catherine-Ursule Amiot (1664 - 1715) - daughter of Mathieu Amiot (Amyot) Sieur de Villeneuve

Etienne Duquet dit Desrochers (1695 - 1762) - son of Catherine-Ursule Amiot

Marie Madeleine Duquet (1734 - 1791) - daughter of Etienne Duquet dit Desrochers

Gabriel Pinsonneau (1770 - 1807) - son of Marie Madeleine Duquet

Gabriel (Gilbert) Passino (Passinault) (Pinsonneau) (1803 - 1877) - son of Gabriel Pinsonneau

Lucy Passino (Pinsonneau) (1836 - 1917) - daughter of Gabriel (Gilbert) Passino (Passinault) (Pinsonneau)

Abraham Lincoln Brown (1864 - 1948) - son of Lucy Passino (Pinsonneau)

Lydia Corinna Brown (1891 - 1971) - daughter of Abraham Lincoln Brown, my grandmother

NOTE:  If you found any of your ancestors listed above then you might also like my other blog...

Ripples from La Prairie Voyageur Canoes -- My Voyageur Ancestry

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Chatsworth Equine Cultural Heritage Organization's Parting Gift

This plaque located on the old Iverson Movie Ranch at the Garden of the Gods filming location pays homage to six-gun heroes and their gallant horses…

"Garden of the Gods was part of the Iverson Movie Location Ranch which flourished from 1912 until the late 1960s,  the golden era of the "B" Western movies, and was known as the "most shot up location in movie history."

Hollywood cowboys Rex Allen, Gene Autry, William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy), Johnny Mack Brown, Sunset Carson, Gary Cooper, Ray "Crash" Corrigan, Eddie Dean, "Wild" Bill Elliott, William S. Hart, Hoot Gibson, Buck Jones, Allan "Rocky" Lane, Lash LaRue, Robert Livingston, Ken Maynard, Tim McCoy, Tom Mix, Clayton Moore (the Lone Ranger), George O'Brien, Roy Rogers, Randolph Scott, Charles Starrett (the Durango Kid), Bob Steele, and John Wayne, are a few of the hundreds who rode here with their trusted horses, and  left indelible hoof prints on these trails.

We pay  homage to those six-gun heroes and their gallant horses.  Thank you for the memories.

Chatsworth Equine Cultural Heritage Organization

In cooperation with Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy & Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority"

When we created the "Chatsworth Equine Cultural Heritage Organization" in 2000, we wrote the following mission statement designed to fight for horse-keeping rights and to preserve the history and culture of horses in Chatsworth:


The Chatsworth Equine Cultural Heritage Organization (Chatsworth ECHO) is a grass roots group of horse owners, horse enthusiasts, and property owners in Chatsworth, that has discovered a need for a public voice to protect horse-keeping zoning, to protect our trails, to keep them safe, and to create a public awareness for equine safety. We believe we may be the last of a rich equine culture that has existed in Chatsworth for more than a hundred years. We are a 501(C)(3) not for profit, educational organization that is dedicated to advocating for Chatsworth's equestrian lifestyle.

Our primary goals are:

To protect and preserve horses as a vital part of the collective experience of Chatsworth. Horses are a living link to the history of Chatsworth; without horses, the economy, history, and character of Chatsworth would be profoundly different.

To protect horse-keeping zoning and property rights.
To protect and preserve Chatworth's equestrian culture.
To protect and preserve existing equestrian trails, easements, and access to equestrian trails.
To establish a voice in public affairs, such as planning commission meetings, city council meetings, and other governmental hearings that may affect equestrian trails, easements, and access to equestrian trails.
To ensure that new equestrian trails are constructed as mandated by subdivision map approval, by community plan, or by proposed state, city, or federal park criteria.
To protect and conserve the local environment around the existing equestrian trails of the Chatsworth community.
To keep equestrian trails safe from dumping of hazardous waste and trash.
To keep riders safe from undesirable individuals who are loitering or camping in and around equestrian trails.
To establish a public awareness of equestrian - vehicle safety.

Then a few years later, in 2003, when I established the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council's first Equestrian Committee I used the exact same language for its mission statement. 

That being done there was no need to continue ECHO, and in 2009, we agreed to disband. The board members voted to use the remaining bank balance to work with the Santa Monica Conservancy to put up a plaque in the Garden of the Gods as a way to remember the legacy of movie horses and cowboy stars that made Chatsworth the Western icon that it will always be.

As a cowboy activist I've worked for many years to protect horse-keeping in Chatsworth. Here are a few links that reflect that history...

Vaqueros at San Fernando Valley Roundup by James Walker 1870s

To learn more about Western movie locations in Chatsworth and their filmography, go to Chatsworth Rock Stars

About the Iverson Movie Ranch...

In the San Fernando Valley's backyard, there remains a fantasyland that was forever made famous by Hollywood…

A place where Superman once captured the evil Luthor in his hidden Stoney Point cave, where Batman wrestled a criminal on top of a speeding locomotive, where Tarzan the Ape Man found an ancient elephant graveyard, and where John Wayne's fighting Seabees pushed a Japanese tank off the same cliff that Nyoka used to escape Vultura’s killer ape.

The place is Boulder Pass. It was the jungles of India and Africa, the sands of the Sahara, the Khyber Pass between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the plains of Montana, and the High Sierras and the Rocky Mountains all rolled into one. It was the scene of stagecoach holdups, posses chasing outlaws on owlhoot (outlaw) trails, Indians attacking white settlers in remote cabins, flying rocket men, and unearthly spaceship landings. It was a land for make-believe. It could be anything a Hollywood director fancied.

Boulder Pass is a fictitious name borrowed from an old B-Western movie. The real place is the Santa Susana Pass in Chatsworth, California. For nearly three-quarters of a century, the Santa Susana Pass was home to the granddaddy of all movie location ranches--the Iverson Movie Ranch.

Here's a chronological link to hundreds of film titles lensed in Chatsworth...

To learn more about Jerry England and his books visit

Saturday, April 8, 2017

2017, 14th Annual Chatsworth Day of the Horse

It's hard to believe it's been 14 years since I started the Chatsworth Day of the Horse back in 2004.

Lots of younger, hard working folks are keeping the event alive and well.

As usual I'll be there with my books for sale...

Rendezvous at Boulder Pass - Hollywood's Fantasyland 
by Jerry England, a primer on Chatsworth Movie Ranches
is OUT-OF-PRINT, but I have a few ebook copies (pdf) for sale at $20.00

Photographs, movie stills, lobby cards, and screenshots capture the Iverson Ranch as it looks today and as it appeared during a half century of movie-making between 1912 and the late 1970s.

In Chatsworth's (California) backyard, there remains a fantasyland that was forever made famous by Hollywood...  

A place where Superman once captured the evil Luthor in his hidden Stoney Point cave, where Batman wrestled a criminal on top of a speeding locomotive, where Tarzan the Ape Man found an ancient elephant graveyard, and where John Wayne's fighting Seabees pushed a Japanese tank off the same cliff that Nyoka used to escape Vultura's killer ape.  

The place is Boulder Pass. It was the jungles of India and Africa, the sands of the Sahara, the Khyber Pass between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the plains of Montana, and the High Sierras and the Rocky Mountains all rolled into one. It was the scene of stagecoach holdups, posses chasing outlaws on owlhoot (outlaw) trails, Indians attacking white settlers in remote cabins, flying rocket men, and unearthly spaceship landings. It was a land for make-believe. It could be anything a Hollywood director fancied.

Boulder Pass is a fictitious name borrowed from an old B-Western movie. The real place is the Santa Susana Pass in Chatsworth, California. For nearly three-quarters of a century, the Santa Susana Pass was home to the granddaddy of all movie location ranches - the Iverson Ranch. It was also the home of several other filming locations, including the Brandeis Ranch, Corriganville, Burro Flats, Bell Location Ranch, Chatsworth Lake, Roy Rogers' Double R Bar Ranch, Spahn Ranch, Southern Pacific Railroad's tunnels, and the Chatsworth train depot.

362 pages, softcover, B&W, © 2010 Echo Press

Also back by popular demand...

Chatsworth Movie Locations DVD documentary video for sale at $15.00

presentation to the Chatsworth Historical Society, Jan. 18, 2011.


Callaway Went Thataway - 1951 film clip from a Western comedy featuring the entire Iverson Ranch - (00:02:57)

Iverson Location Ranch - 3-Part Series examines: 
• Garden of the Gods, • Indian Hills, and • Upper Ranch filming areas - (00:34:44)

Highways & Byways - A nostalgic look at Chatsworth highways as seen in the movies - (00:36:38)

Funny Business on the Ranch - some of the best comedy scenes ever filmed in Chatsworth - (00:41:11)

Explosions & Wrecks - Special effects (FX) lensed on the Iverson Ranch - (00:47:16)

Includes a brief look at other Chatsworth filming locations

Bell Motion Picture Ranch - (00:48:31)

Brandeis Movie Ranch - (00:52:18)

Burro Flats (now known as the Rocketdyne SSFL) - (00:53:10)

Chatsworth Lake (aka Chatswoth Reservoir)  - (00:54:28)

Chatsworth Trains (depot, tunnels, tracks, etc) - (01:03:12)

Double R Bar Ranch - (Roy Rogers & Dale Evans former home) - (01:04:23)

Total running time just over a hour1:04:23  $15.00

Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas
by Jerry England for sale at $23.00

A photographic history of "B" Western movie location ranches in Chatsworth, California with more than 350 photos of scenes lensed in the Santa Susana Mountains.

Witness Tom Mix, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, John Wayne, Allan Lane, Bill Elliott, Charles Starrett, the Lone Ranger, Buster Crabbe, Tim McCoy, Lash LaRue, and many other six-gun heroes as they ride the pony trails of the gone, but not forgotten Iverson Movie Location Ranch, Brandeis Movie Ranch, Bell Moving Picture Ranch, Corriganville Movie Ranch, Spahn Ranch, and Burro Flats. 

View action scenes filmed at Chatsworth's reservoir, train depot, and railroad tunnels. 

Then follow your favorite Hollywood cowboy through the western streets, outlaw shacks, stagecoach stops, and ranch houses you've seen in hundreds of "B" Westerns.

152 pages, softcover, B&W, © 2008 Echo Press

To learn more visit my website

If you are new to horses, please check out my post about horse safety 

Happy Trails

Monday, February 6, 2017

Ripples from La Prairie Voyageur Canoes

1797, engagement for Gabriel Pinsonneau

Ripples from La Prairie Voyageur Canoes

I have been putting together a collection of essays and family histories about the voyageur ancestors of Lucy Pinsonneau (1836 - 1917), my 2nd great grandmother. 

The collection titled, Ripples from La Prairie Voyageur Canoes, covers well over 100 of Lucy's ancestors, from more than 25 families, that were engaged in the fur trade between the 1620s and 1840s in New France and later Canada. 

Ripples from La Prairie Voyageur Canoes, is available here...

Here are the links to individual chapters:

Introduction, Contents and Chapter One - La Prairie de la Magdeleine

Chapter Two - Our Earliest Fur Trade Ancestors

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Barrette Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Bourassa Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Boyer Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Deneau Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Diel Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Dupuis Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Duquet Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Gagne Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Leber Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Lemieux Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Migner dit Lagacé Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Perras Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Pinsonneau Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Poupart Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Vielle Family

Chapter Four, Voyageur Families of Trois-Rivières and Quebec

Chapter Four, Quebec's Amiot Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Beauchamp Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Cloutier Family & Jean Mignault dit Chatillon

Chapter Four, Quebec's Cusson Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Dardenne Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Desroches Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Godefroy Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Godet Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Miville Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Moreau Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Nepveu Family & Denise Sevestre

Chapter Four, Quebec's Picard Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Rivet Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Sedilot Family

Chapter Five, Miscellaneous Fur Trade Ancestors

Chapter Six - Ancestors in 1600s Fur Trade Timeline

Chapter Six - Ancestors 1700s Fur Trade Timeline

Chapter Seven, French Canadian Heritage of Lucy Pinsonneau

Appendix One - French Era Fur Trade Forts, Posts and Depots

About the Author



Index - Ripples from La Prairie Voyageur Canoes

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Are Snowshoes -- A Wiser Choice For Old Folks?

They say you're never too old to learn, but a cowboy hero of mine named Will Rogers also said, "Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment."

Cross Country Skis For Old Folks?

In 2014, I bought a new pair of NNN style cross country skis, and planned a late season trip to Badger Pass in Yosemite National Park to try them out. 

Badger Pass has ski conditions posted online, and the latest report (March 2014) stated the snow surface is "spring conditions."  I soon learned first hand that "spring conditions" is really euphemism for solid ice.

To make a long story short, the lessons learned at the Badger Pass cryosphere were:

1.) an artificial hip makes it difficult to do a snow plough on ice
2.) ski poles do not replace good snow plough technique
3.) you can't pole vault with cross country ski poles.

Don't get me wrong, if you're young, athletic, and a reasonably skilled Nordic skier Badger Pass has plenty to offer, and the scenery is spectacular.

That little adventure resulted in a broken ski pole, and trip to an orthopedic surgeon for an MRI which revealed at torn ligament in my shoulder.  I opted not to have surgery.  The pain is finally gone and I have fair strength, so I guess the ligament has somewhat repaired itself.

What I learned is... if you are nearly 75 years-old, haven't skied much recently, and have an artificial hip maybe using cross country skis isn't the best idea.

For Old Folks Snowshoes Might Be A Wiser Choice

I'm either a slow learner, don't give up easily, or maybe it's the fond memories of winter forest adventures from the past.  Whatever it is, I am once again drawn to the enchanted winter wonderland that wilderness trails offer.

This year (2017) I did some research, watched a bunch of online videos, and have purchased snowshoes, trekking poles, winter boots, and other winter gear from my favorite online retailer -- LL Bean.

LL Bean's breathable, waterproof Snow Sneakers  rated +35° to -5°

Because I am "an old guy" I often end up traveling alone, and as always when traveling in a wilderness area I carry a few essentials that will make my trip more enjoyable, and just might save my life.

As you may know I'm an avid canoeist, so I have lots of survival gear in my canoeing equipment bag.  The important thing is to remember to return borrowed essentials to my canoe bag at the end of winter.


SNOWSHOES: ☐ snowshoes ☐ trekking poles ☐ gaiters

WEAR: ☐ nylon shorts ☐ long sleeve poly undershirt ☐ Swix ski pants ☐ ski jacket ☐ heavy wicking wool socks ☐ snow sneakers ☐ wool cap ☐ ski gloves ☐ Swiss army watch ☐ sunglasses ☐ wallet, car keys & cash ☐ waterproof camera

BACKPACK: ☐ topo map ☐ √ whistle & compass ☐ √ first aid kit ☐ √ Swiss army knife, wire, multi tool, wire & duct tape (snowshoe or canoe repairs) ☐ √ SOL emergency bivy, paracord & survival book  ☐ √ headlamp & extra batteries ☐ √ Lighter, SOL fire starter & sierra cup ☐ toilet paper ☐ waterproof shell jacket ☐ extra cap, socks & gloves ☐ bottle of water ☐ thermos of hot coffee ☐ √ sunblock & lip balm ☐ energy bars ☐ hand warmers

VEHICLE: ☐ tire chains ☐ emergency shovel ☐ blankets ☐ flares & tools ☐ food ☐ hand & foot warmers ☐ battery-powered lantern ☐ extra clothes, boots, gloves & cap

√ return to canoe extras bag

Happy Trails

Monday, January 23, 2017

Great Grandfather Canoes to Lac la Pluie (Rainy Lake)

Jean Baptiste Meunier (Mignier) said Lagassé (Lagacé) (1776–1835), my 4th great-grandfather, was born 24 Apr 1776 in Terrebonne, Quebec, Canada.  He died before 1835 in St-Laurent, Québec, Canada.  He married Marie Angelique Baret (Barette) dit Courville (1779 - 1815) 21 Oct 1799 in Laprairie, Quebec, Canada.

Jean Baptiste's Voyageur Contracts

(1800, Feb 14 - James & Andrew McGill hired Jean-Baptiste Meunier voyageur de Chambly to go to Mississippi, and spend the winter, notary Louis Chaboillez). From the Archives of Quebec, M620/1200.

(1803, Oct 6 - McTavish, Frobisher & Co. (North West Company) hired Jean-Baptiste Meunier voyageur de St-André-d’Argenteuil to go to Lac De La Pluie (Rainy Lake), notary Louis Chaboillez). From the Archives of Quebec.  Notes: Go through Michilimakinac if required, make two trips from Kamanatiguià Fort to Portage de la Montagne, and give six days of drudgery - and help carry the three canoes in the land.


Jean-Baptiste Mignier (Minier) Lagasse (Lagace) (1776 - 1835) -- son of Jean-Baptiste Mignier (Meunier) Lagasse (Lagace)

Marie Emélie (Mary) Meunier Lagassé (1808 - 1883) -- daughter of Jean-Baptiste Mignier (Minier) Lagasse (Lagace)

Lucy Passino (1836 - 1917) -- daughter of Marie Emélie (Mary) Meunier Lagassé -- my 2nd great-grandmother


• His father is: Jean-Baptiste Mignier (Meunier) Lagasse (Lagace) (1749 - 1828) -- my 5th great-grandfather,  was also a voyageur.

• By 1800 Rainy Lake and Rainy River were witnessing heavy travel. Here was the main route of the fur trade, the voyageurs' highway that linked the Great Lakes with outposts in the remote interior. Both the Hudson's Bay Co. and its rival, North West Co., had trading posts in Fort Frances.  Source:

• Fort Lac la Pluie was a fur trade depot established by the North West Company sometime between 1775 and 1787. It was located on a high bank on the west side of modern Fort Frances, Ontario across from International Falls, Minnesota on the Rainy River downstream (west) of some rapids (Chaudière portage) where the river flows out of Rainy Lake. Upstream at the outlet of the lake was the old French post of Fort Saint Pierre (1731-1758).

The place was a depot rather than a trading post and served two purposes. By this time the trade had reached the rich Lake Athabasca country which was too far to reach from Montreal in one season. Each May, when the ice broke up, boats with trade goods would head west from Montreal and winterers with canoe-loads of fur would head east. They would meet at Grand Portage on Lake Superior, exchange goods and head back before the freezup. To further save time goods and furs would be shuttled between Grand Portage and Lac la Pluie. Second, it was a source of food. The voyageurs had no time to hunt and it was difficult to haul food from Montreal. Rainy Lake produced wild rice and fish. The fort also built kegs and canoes.  Source:

1825 census Chateauguay, Quebec, Canada

• On the 1825 census (a few years before his death) Jean-Baptiste Meunier was living in Chateauguay, Huntingdon, Lower Canada.  His daughter Marie Emélie Meunier dit Lagassé and her husband Gabriel Pinsonneau, Lucy's parents, are also living in the same neighborhood.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

President Trump please say “no” to Twin Metals’ sulfide mine

Save the Boundary Waters

Twin Metals Minnesota (TMM) has been pursuing the development and operation of a modern underground copper, nickel and platinum group metals (PGM) mine in northeast Minnesota.  The project would be the first underground mine allowed in Minnesota in more than 50 years.

Twin Metals, a foreign mining company, has pushed plans to develop their sulfide-ore mine where the South Kawishiwi River flows into the BWCAW.

During the summer of 2016, more than 74,000 people and 200 sportsmen’s organizations, businesses, and conservation groups sent letters expressing opposition to renewing the expired Twin Metals leases. 

They said, “If allowed, sulfide-ore copper mining development in the watershed of the BWCAW would inevitably pollute surrounding lakes’ groundwater and downstream waters in the BWCAW. The development of a mine would taint the quality and reputation of the BWCAW as a hunting and fishing paradise.”

On Dec. 16, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture said “no” to Twin Metals’ potential sulfide mine by not renewing expired mineral leases, and taking back mineral leases on the edge of the BWCA wilderness.

Now Twin Metals Minnesota (TMM) is trying to create a movement to ask President-elect Donald Trump and his administration to reverse a recent decision by federal officials that could close more than 200,000 acres of Northeastern Minnesota to mining.

President-elect Trump please say “no” to Twin Metals’ sulfide mine

Dear President Donald Trump,

I am a 74 year-old Republican and canoeing enthusiast who voted for you in the recent election.  America needs to be "Great Again."

It's been over 30 years since I spent a week in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA), but memories of that trip are among my most cherished.

I wish that every American could spend a week canoeing in a true wilderness.  I honestly believe Henry David Thoreau's words, "In wildness is the preservation of the world" are important to remember.

Please do not allow any mining operation that would taint the magnificent wilderness of the BWCA.

Thank you.

Jerry England

The lakes and rivers of Voyageurs National Park are also at risk from proposed sulfide mining projects in its watershed.  SEE:

You can help

• sign the petition and consider making a donation

Only when the last tree has died
and the last river been poisoned 
and the last fish been caught 
will we realize we cannot eat money

-- Cree Indian Proverb