Photo: Great Grandpa Fred Delaurier. Leamington, Ontario. 1890.
Since this blog wouldn’t be happening if Grandma Wallace hadn’t collected reams and reams of information about Essex County families, I figure it is quite fitting that one of my first posts begin with Grandma’s family.
Grandma’s father was Fred Delaurier. The Delauriers are a very old Canadian family, having arrived sometime in the early-mid 1700s from Bourges, France. Grandma always said that they came to escape the French Revolution because they were nobility. But the Revolution wasn’t until 1789, and great great great etc Grandpa (Francis) Delaurier is on record as having married in Montreal in 1748. So, my guess is that they saw the writing on the wall and left before things got too tense.
His son Francis went upriver to Detroit and was married there. His son, also Francis, had a son Jean Baptiste. Jean Baptiste fought in the War of 1812 and was given land in Maidstone, Ontario. (Sounds like there’s an interesting story here .. he was given a pension by the American government for fighting in the War of 1812. And then he got a land grant across the river in Maidstone Ontario. I didn’t think the British gave free land to people who fought for The Other Side … I wonder how that happened …)
Jean Baptiste then moved to Mersea township where he married Julia Hazel of an United Empire Loyalist family who settled in Leamington after the American Revolution. (Julia was descended from the Hicks family of Virginia, who arrived in the New World in the 1600s from Cornwall, England).
Still with me? I know .. it gets complicated, especially since those early grandpas were named Francis.
Jean Baptiste and Julia (Hazel) Delaurier were among the first settlers in what is now Point Pelee National Park. The Delaurier Homestead still stands, now as a national museum. (My grandmother spent some time when she was alive trying to convince Uncle Ed, who was the last person to live there, to will his land to The Crown. However the land transfer happened, it’s now public land.)
Julia and Jean Baptiste had ten children. The youngest, Gilbert, was my great great grandfather.
Gilbert married Huldah Draper of Newmarket first. The Drapers were Irish. Gilbert and Huldah had six children. My great grandfather Fred Delaurier was their third child. After Huldah died, Gilbert married a woman named Mary Michie of Grosse Pointe, Michigan. They had another seven children. (He married well … Mary was very wealthy. (My) Grandma told me stories about going to their fancy house across the Detroit River when she was a child. Step grandma Mary was very nice, Grandma told me. I have a picture of Mary .. she has a gentle, beautiful face. We don’t have a picture of Huldah, my real great grandma Delaurier.)
Fred Delaurier, my great grandfather, Gilbert’s son, married Euphemia Foster, the grandaughter of Ralph Foster, one of the earliest settlers of Leamington. Fred and Pheme (as Grandma De was called) had four children – Maurice, Otis, Madeline, and Edna.
The lists of Delauriers in Grandma’s books goes for pages and pages. I’ve blogged a few time in other places about the Delauriers, and when I do, I get comments and emails from Delauriers all over the United States.
Gilbert and Mary’s chilren lived mostly State-side, but when Gilbert died, they brought him back to Ruthven where he is buried.
Great Grandma Delaurier died a year before I was born, so I never knew her. I do know that she was an avid photographer. I’ll post her picture when I do the next post about her family, the Fosters.