Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Story of Marguerite Virginie Globensky



The Seigneurie of Milles-Îles, part two

With the sudden deaths of both her parents in 1841, Marguerite Virginie Lambert Dumont was a three-year old orphan who stood to inherit a vast tract of land, the seigneury of Milles-Îles. 

Her father, Louis Charles Lambert Dumont, co-seigneur of Milles-Îles, had named Virginie’s adoptive grandfather, Gabriel Roy, as the child’s legal guardian in case something happened to him. Roy was a wealthy landowner in Saint-Laurent, on the island of Montreal and an appointed member of the Legislative Council for Canada East. He and his wife, Sophia Bagg, had brought up Virginie’s mother, Mary Sophia Roy Bush. 

Virginie was sent to live with the Roy family in Saint-Laurent, but Roy, now 71 years old, realized he was unable to raise the child. She returned to Saint-Eustache where notary Frédéric-Eugène Globensky became her new guardian. He and his wife, who had no children of their own, brought her up, and she attended school at the convent in the village. 

Everyone expected that when Virginie became an adult, she would marry her cousin Charles Auguste Maximilien (C.A.M.) Globensky (1830-1906). But in 1854, the government announced that the seigneurial system was to be abolished. Virginie’s marriage to Charles was fast-tracked, with special permission from the church, and on July 21, 1854 she married C.A.M. She was just 15 years old.
Virginie and C.A.M. are portrayed in the painting to the right of the altar.
 C.A.M. was a tall and imposing man, not always liked in the community but respected for his honesty and known for his intellect and his many interests, especially agriculture and railways. He is still remembered for the book he wrote about the causes of the Rebellion of 1837 in Saint-Eustache. His father, Maximilien Globensky, a lieutenant-colonel in the British Army, had led a company of volunteer militia at the Battle of Saint-Eustache. In the book, C.A.M. explained his father’s actions.   

The bitter fallout from the rebellion hung over Saint-Eustache for many years. But the aftermath of the battle was not the only shadow over Virginie’s life. There were disputes over the shared inheritance of the seigneury and its deep debts. Virginie was in court several times, fighting family members over various property disputes. 

Although the seigneurial system had been abolished, it took decades to dismantle. A committee evaluated property values and the habitants had the right to buy their farms from the seigneurs or continue to pay rent. As co-seigneurs of Milles-Îles, a territory so vast that it included the sites of the city of Saint-Jerome and the town of Saint-Sauveur, Virginie and C.A.M. were very wealthy. 

C.A.M. built a new seigneurial manor house in Saint-Eustache and the family moved into it in 1865. And every Sunday, Virginie and her growing family sat in the front pew of the church, a privilege reserved for seigneurs. 

Virginie's plaque is on the right-hand side of the columbarium in Saint-Eustache cemetery.
 Virginie and C.A.M. had eight children, and many of their descendants are still living today. When Virginie’s health declined, she made out her will, leaving C.A.M. as her sole beneficiary. She died August 19, 1874, age 36. 

That same year, C.A.M. visited Rome and brought home a painting of the Adoration of Saint Anne in which Virginie, C.A.M. and the village priest were portrayed sitting at the saint’s feet. This huge painting hangs behind the altar of the parish church in Saint-Eustache to this day.
 
Notes 

Saint-Eustache is primarily a bedroom suburb of Montreal, about 40 minutes from the city, but the old section of the town is well worth a visit. The parish church is still pock-marked by the cannon fired at it during the 1837 Battle of Saint-Eustache. Flour is still made in the old mill, built by Virginie’s grandfather and modernized by her husband, and there are many mementoes of the Rebellion of 1837 in the town museum, located in the mansion that C.A.M. built many years after Virginie’s death.

The two main sources for this article are in French: a book by Yvon Globensky, Histoire de la Famille Globensky, Montreal: Les Éditions du Fleuve, 1991; and an online article by André Giroux, Les héritiers d’Eustache-Nicolas, http://www.patriotes.cc/portal/fr/docs/revuedm/06/revuedm06_6.pdf

In Quebec, birth records used the mother’s maiden name, and death records for women were also under the maiden name. But that does not mean women had any more rights than women elsewhere. A married woman’s property belonged to her husband unless she had signed a marriage contract making her separate as to property. In Virginie’s case, the seigneury was the dowry she gave to C.A.M..


Sophia Mary Roy Bush and Louis Charles Lambert Dumont



The Seigneurie of Milles-Îles, part one

It must have been a happy wedding. For a girl from relatively humble American roots to marry the owner of one of Quebec’s vast seigneuries, this must have seemed like a wonderful match. And the groom had recently lost his parents, so family members were no doubt pleased to see him marry.  

Unfortunately, there was no fairy-tale ending to this story. 

The bride was Sophia Mary Roy Bush. She was born Sophia Mary Bush around 1815, the daughter of William Bush, farmer, of West Haven, Vermont, and Polly Bagg Bush. (Sophia’s grandfather, Phineas Bagg (c. 1750-1823), was our common ancestor.) Her family struggled financially, so Sophia had come to Montreal to live with her aunt and uncle, Sophia Bagg and Gabriel Roy, who had no children of their own. 

The groom was Louis Charles Lambert Dumont, born in 1806, the son of Eustache Nicolas Lambert Dumont. Eustache Nicolas had been co-seigneur of Milles-Îles, a judge, militia officer and politician, but he had accumulated crippling debts running the seigneury, and had fallen out with his sister because their father had left them unequal shares of the seigneury.  

The Dumont family had been seigneurs of Milles-Îles since 1743. They owned a vast area of wilderness and fertile farmland northwest of Montreal. According to traditions that went back to the time of New France, the habitants, or farmers, paid rent annually to the seigneur, cleared the land and grew their crops. The seigneur built grist mills, saw mills and roads. In 1770, the Dumonts donated land for the construction of a Catholic church and the village of Saint-Eustache grew up next to it. They later built their seigneurial manor house near the church. 


                Louis Charles’ and Sophia’s wedding did not take place in Saint-Eustache; it was held at the parish church in Saint-Laurent, where the Roy family lived, on September 22, 1835. Saint-Laurent is now a suburb of Montreal, but at that time it was a rural area on the Island of Montreal. 

On the bride’s side, no less than eight family members signed the parish record book. Her parents’ names did not appear, so they had probably been unable to come to Montreal for the wedding, but Sophia Bagg and Gabriel Roy signed, as did the bride’s uncle Stanley Bagg, his 15-year-old son, Stanley Clark Bagg, and his mother-in-law, Mary Mitcheson Clark. Sophia’s and Polly’s other brother, Abner Bagg, seems to have been absent, but his wife, Mary Ann Mittleberger, did sign the register. 

Many of those who attended the wedding signed the parish record book.
Among Louis Charles’ relatives who signed the book were his sister Elmire, her husband, Pierre Laviolette, and seven other members of the Laviolette family. The groom’s brother, Louis Sévère Dumont, was also present. Their father had died that April, their mother the previous year, and their twelve other siblings were deceased.

The newlyweds went to live in the seigneurial manor house in Saint-Eustache, but their life was not easy. Louis Charles was learning how to administer the debt-ridden seigneury, arguing over money with his brother and fighting off court challenges over the property by his aunt. Then the couple’s first-born child, a daughter, died in 1837, shortly after her first birthday. 

Meanwhile, social and political tensions had been increasing in Lower Canada. When the government refused to approve reforms, an armed rebellion broke out. On December 14, 1837, some 2000 government troops attacked the Patriotes, or rebels, barricaded inside the church at Saint-Eustache, killing some 60 people. The troops burned the church, the convent and much of the village, including the Dumont manor house. 

Fearing trouble, the Louis Charles and Sophia had left Saint-Eustache for Montreal in November. When they returned in the spring, they moved into a smaller house down the road. Their second child, Marguerite Virginie Lambert Dumont, was born there on August 21, 1838. 

The house, as it looks today, where the Dumont family lived after the rebellion.
 On June 27, 1841 Sophia died suddenly, age 26. The body of Louis Charles, 36, was discovered in his house on November 1. His brother, Louis Sévère, died eight weeks later, age 31. None of the accounts of this family’s history explains these deaths, and several historians seem to suggest that these events were suspicious. Three-year-old Virginie was now an orphan and a future heiress.

Notes
  I do not know Mary Sophia’s exact birth date, but the priest who buried her on July 1, 1841 wrote that she was age 26 years, three months at the time of death, so she must have been born around the beginning of April, 1815.



Written accounts refer to Sophia Mary as Gabriel Roy’s adopted daughter. So far I have not found legal adoption records, though there may be some. The parish marriage record simply refers to her as the daughter of William Bush and Polly Bagg. Sophia’s birth parents were Protestant, so in 1827, Sophia was baptized Catholic. That church records says she added the name Roy at that time, and it refers to Gabriel Roy and Sophia Bagg as her sponsors. She was age 12 at the time and signed the parish record book herself. 

Polly, Sophia, Stanley and Abner Bagg were born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in the 1780s to Phineas Bagg and his wife Pamela Stanley. The Bagg and the Stanley families had lived in Massachusetts and Connecticut since the mid-1600s. 

Saint-Laurent parish records show that Sophia Bagg and Gabriel Roy did have one child: Edouard Gabriel Roi, born in 1812, died in 1815. 

On the Bagg side, one important family member was missing from the marriage register: Mary Ann Clark, wife of Stanley Bagg, had died the previous year. The Mary Ann Bagg who was present was Abner Bagg`s daughter. Another name on the marriage record was Mary Maugham, who was related to Mary Mitcheson Clark. 

There are BMD records for these families in the Drouin Collection on Ancestry.ca, but indexing mistakes and legibility issues make them hard to find. Search for Dush instead of Bush, and for Dumont, not Lambert Dumont. Also, Sophia’s name appears in the records as both Mary Sophia and Sophia Mary, though in French-speaking Quebec she would have been called Marie Sophie. 

Eglise Saint-Eustache

Members of the both the Dumont and Globensky families fought on the government side at the Battle of Saint-Eustache. Sophia`s relations were also involved in putting down the rebellion. Her uncle Stanley Bagg was a major in the 1st Battalion Loyal Montreal Volunteers, and according to a family story, his son, Stanley Clark Bagg, age 17, was an ensign bearer at the Battle of Saint-Eustache, but I have not yet confirmed that. 


There are many websites and books concerned with the individuals and events of the Battle of Saint- Eustache. Among those I consulted were the entry on Nicolas-Eustache Lambert Dumont in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography (www.biographi.ca/); Elinor Kyte Senior’s Redcoats and Patriotes, The Rebellions in Lower Canada 1837-38, Stittsville, ON: Canada’s Wings, Inc. 1985; André Giroux, Histoire du territoire de la ville de Saint-Eustache, tome 1, L’époque seigneuriale 1683-1854, Québec: Les Éditions GID, 2009; an article about the Dumont house written by the Société de généalogie de Saint-Eustache, http://www.sgse.org/maisons/chron/a00226.html; and an online article by André Giroux, Les héritiers d’Eustache-Nicolas, http://www.patriotes.cc/portal/fr/docs/revuedm/06/revuedm06_6.pdf.
 

Next: part two, The Story of Marguerite Virginie Globensky