Sepia Saturday 524. Second in a series about Albert Barney Charboneau — my paternal grandfather’s brother who died in the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918.
My dad’s Uncle Albert, who died in the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918, was born on 17 Feb. 1885 in the small hamlet of Hawkinsville — located along the Black River east of Boonville in Oneida Co., New York.
Albert Barney Charboneau — who often went by the nickname Bert — was the first-born son of my paternal great grandparents Will and Eva (Bull) Charboneau.
A North Country childhood
Albert started his life in New York’s North Country — yet his birth year makes it difficult to learn more about his early childhood.
He was born five years after the 1880 U.S. census — and the next 1890 U.S. census was destroyed in a fire. New York State’s 1892 census is not much help, either, because records for Oneida County are missing.
So Albert first appears in the 1900 U.S. census at the age of 15 with the surname variant “Charbano.” He was living in the Town of Forestport with his parents and three younger brothers — including my paternal grandfather W. Ray Charboneau.
|Albert B. Charboneau and family – 1900 U.S. census – Town of Forestport, Oneida County, New York – Source: FamilySearch1|
|Name||DOB||Age||Born in||Father Born in||Mother Born in||Job/School|
|William L. Charbano||May 1857||43||New York||Canada Fr.||Germany||Stay. Engineer|
|Eva M. Charbano||July 1867||32||New York||New York||New York|
|Albert D. Charbano
||Feb. 1885||15||New York||New York||New York||Laborer Sawmill|
|Ray M. Charbano||April 1888||12||New York||New York||New York||At School|
|Orville N. Charbano||April 1892||8||New York||New York||New York||At School|
|George D. Charbano||June 1898||1||New York||New York||New York|
An interesting heritage
This enumeration supports previous research on my Charboneau ancestors. Albert’s father Will Charboneau, a stationery engineer, was the son of immigrants.
Will’s father Laurent Charbonneau immigrated from Quebec in the 1850s. Will’s mother Ursula Angeline Zinsk was a German-Swiss immigrant who arrived in New York State during the same time period. Both lived nearby2in 1900.
Was Albert aware of his interesting family heritage? Hard to know — but I do hope his parents shared some oral history with him.
Albert’s lumber job
The other item that jumped out at me from Albert’s 1900 U.S. census entry was that he was already at work — at just 15 — as a laborer in a sawmill.
Lumber and its related products were big business in the Adirondack foothills — with loggers felling forest trees and sending logs and finished lumber south on the Black River Canal, which fed into the Erie Canal.
At one time Albert’s Hawkinsville hometown had a saw mill, wood products firms and prospects for growth once a railroad line was established.
But those hopes were dashed when the railroad was built further west — and by 1910 the Charboneau family had moved south to up-and-coming Dolgeville in Herkimer County, N.Y.
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