Fifth in a series about the younger sister of my French-Canadian ancestor Laurent Charbonneau, who emigrated from Québec to New York State around 1852.
While my widowed great, great grandaunt Elise (Charbonneau) Bouchard was teaching primary school and raising her daughter Eliza — in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue on the Island of Montréal — the man who would soon become part of their lives resided in the next parish, where he worked on his family farm.
Alderic Payment, 32, was enumerated in the 1871 Canadian census in Ste. Genevieve parish, Québec, as a cultivateur [farmer] and the head of a family of five.
Emumerated with him were his wife Olympe, 41, and three children (presumably their sons) — Louis, 9, and Joseph, 7, (both listed as attending school) and little Alderic, 5.
A domestique [domestic worker] Olympe Aubry, 21, and a child Emilere Guerard , 2, (possibly her daughter) were also enumerated with the family. Ms. Aubry’s presence in the household might indicate a prosperous enough farm for the Payment family to afford domestic help.
However, it could also signify that the health of Olympe Payment — who was nine years older than her husband — had declined to the point where a domestic worker was needed to assist with running the household and to help with the children.
The widow and the widower
Though I have not yet found Olympe Payment’s death/burial record, by 1872 Alderic Payment was a widower with a farm to run and three young sons to raise — a situation that apparently led him to seek a second wife. And that’s how he came to marry my widowed great, great grandaunt Elise (Charbonneau) Bouchard.
Where Elise and Alderic met, how they courted and how they decided to merge their families is not spelled out in the records. However, Elise knew what it was like to rebuild a life after the tragic loss of a spouse and children.
She may have seen Alderic Payment and his children as a new hope for a happier future. He in turn may have viewed her as a symbol of strength after loss and a caregiver and teacher for his sons — who would also gain an older sister through their union.
Whatever their backstory, on 31 Jan. 1872 — according to their marriage record in the Drouin Collection — widower Alderic Payment and widowed schoolteacher Marie Elise Charbonneau were married in Ste.-Anne-de Bellevue, Jacques Cartier (County), Québec, with their loved ones gathered round.
Witnesses to a new beginning
According to the marriage record, present for the happy occasion and signing the marriage register (along with the parish priest) were:
- Elise Charbonneau (widow of Olivier Bouchard),
- A. Payment (farmer and widower of Marie Olympe Anger),
- My ggg grandfather L. Charbonneau (the father of the bride),
- Witnesses Xavier Brunet and Rosalie Trembley, and
- Eliza Bouchard (Elise’s daughter with her first husband).
Undoubtedly there were many other loved ones and well-wishers who did not sign the register, but were nevertheless on hand to help the newlyweds celebrate this second chance at happiness for themselves and their children.
More on my great, great grandaunt Elise (Charbonneau) Payment’s blended family in the next post.
© 2016 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.