Cecile Herkel #1
A brief History of the Doré Family. Memoirs of Cecile Herkel
Louis was born in St. Bazil Conte de Portneuf on November 14, 1874. He came from a large family. His father was Michele Doré and was married to Louise Mator. His brothers and sisters were Jean, Honoré, Estelle, Louise and Josephine.
Louise died, so Grandpa Michele remarried Deneige Alain and more little Dore’s were born: Louis, Michele, Pierre, Sophie, Arthur and Delfix, who died at a young age.
Louis’ Godparents were John Alain and his Godmother was Lecardie Carpentier. The priest who baptized dad was Rev. Laurent Chabot.
Philomene was born in St. Bazil Conte de Portneuf on March 14th, 1877. She also came from a large family. Her mother, Delima St. Jacques married Goupil, who already had six children. Then they had Philomene, Lisa and Francois, who died at a young age. Then grandpa died and grandma Delima remarried Petti Clerc and more babies came. Diana, Charles and Alfred.
Louis and Philomene got married on June 12th, 1898 in St. Bazil, Quebec. They first met at a maple cabin in the spring. It was the custom to have a taffy party with the last syrup that they collected from the trees. The romance started and here we are today, August 1991 at Morin Lake, brothers and sisters celebrating with all our families.
Louis and Philomene had fifteen children: Mary, Willie, Alphonse, Ovila, Charles, Alec, Rose, Denise, Jeanne, Emile, Cecile, Marie-Louise, Eva, Arthur and little Marie who died at birth, April 21st, 1923.
Dad had a job working for a farmer and mother lived there too. Mother was a very shy person, she used to take a walk to her mother’s house every evening to go and eat. Dad’s brother Honoré left Quebec as a young man to look for a better future, so he came to Vancouver, B.C. to do logging in 1886. He was there when a fire destroyed all of Vancouver. Some men had to jump in the ocean because their hair and clothes were on fire.
Uncle Honoré heard about the gold mines in the Klondike. He took his pack-sack and off he went with a couple of his friends. They hit the mines and struck it rich. After digging for awhile he had bags of gold nuggets, he sold his claim and was rich ever after. He gave dad a nugget of gold to get made into a wedding ring whenever he got married and he also left one thousand dollars in trust to buy dad a small farm after he got married, which dad never got. The money was spent. When mother found out about this, she got very hostile against the Dore gang. She talked dad into moving away, they had four children by then. They left the four children with her mother (Grandma Petti Clerc) Mary, Willie, Alphonse and Ovila, who was just one year old.
They went to the United States. Dad got a job in a mill, by the time they came back to St. Bazil to get the four children, they had left behind, and they had two or maybe three more children. Dad worked in the lumber mill. Charles, Alec, Rose, Denise and Jeanne were born in Howlsboro, U.S.A. (Hillsboro NH) Dad, who could not read, somehow heard about the Saskatchewan Government selling homesteads for $10.00 and they would move the families, free of charge, on the train with all their belongings. That is how the Dore family moved to Saskatchewan. We arrived in Eldred Saskatchewan that was the closest station to our homestead. Dad and the boys unloaded off the train. The family got in the big buggy called (Dummecrat). The team of horses pulling the big buggy with a cow tied with a rope, boxes of chickens, flour and sugar and nine kids, off they went to Ormeaux, to Johnny Frenette, dad knew them in Quebec as Virginie Frenette’s relations was married to the Doré’s. They settled on a farm in Ormeaux for a short time as there was nothing to do. Work was scarce and money too. Dad found out that if he was close to the railroad he could cut picket fence posts and fire wood and ship to Prince Albert. Then the family moved back to Eldred, that is where I was born in the railroad station house, as the train was stopped for passengers. An old Indian woman who was taking the train delivered me, her name was Mrs. Morin, and she had time to do the job and caught the train. Mother had to give me my first, bath. As I mentioned, the CNR railroad station was the only house big enough for the family. The agent went and lived with some friends. By then Willie and Alphonse got jobs in a lumber mill in Big River. They got room and board with so much a week, which they sent home to help feed the family.
Mary also got a job working for the doctor in Big River. This is where Mary met her Prince Charming, Archie Baker, dressed in his army uniform.
With all that money coming in and selling fire wood plus picket fence posts, dad started to clear his homestead in Shell River, (which is now Pascal) with the help of his neighbours and friends soon they had a log house built.
At this moment, I can’t recall where Emile was born, either Ormeaux or Eldred. In the spring of 1919, mother delivered Marie-Louise by herself. Dad was cutting fire wood about a mile away when mother started labour. She sent Rose and Denise to get dad. In those days children were not told about baby’s birth, so being April 18th, nice spring day, Rose and Denise played in all the little puddles and when they reached dad, he knew what it was for, so he rushed home, found mother with a baby in bed, everything over with, even the laundry was soaking in cold water. WHAT A WOMAN! Dad finished the job.
I do not recall what year we moved on the homestead, but I do remember when baby Eva was born. When a baby was to be born, they took the children to the neighbours and brought that woman to act as the mid-wife. That night I stayed home, maybe they forgot one behind. When I came downstairs, dad told me the old story about the Indian leaving a baby on the door step in a basket and I believed it. I asked how the Indians got the babies; he said they cut trees and find them.
MARY After all these years of hard work, it was time for a celebration. Mary and Archie were in love, so on June 12, 1921, the first wedding in the family took place. I can remember to this day when dad came home with Bertha Delisle and Marie Lemoile, he had set a long table by the east wall and Bertha and Marie were mixing cakes. The day of the wedding we stayed upstairs. Although money was scarce, Mary had a nice white dress which cost $25.00. Four days after the wedding,
Eva was born. Archie and Mary lived in Big River for a few years, and then they moved to Kapuskasing, Ontario. When they came to visit on the farm, Art was five years old and Alice was about two. When we moved on the homestead, Ovila went to live with the priest Father Perron and Rose went to stay at Lemire so they could go to school.
Since there were no schools, the oldest of the family got very little education. The four oldest went to school in the states. Rose, Denise and Jeanne went to the Grey Nuns Convent in Ille La Cross, they were two years without coming home. Mother missed the girls very much, so the second winter, dad hired Mr. Laure Gaudreault to babysit and dad took mother to Ille La Cross to see them. Mrs. Gaudreault had left all her children at their grandma in Debden and took her baby, Art along, so we had two little Arthurs running around the house in diapers.
Finally a school was built in Pascal; Mr. Cyril Gilbert donated the property out of his farm. We were seven who started school on the first day. I was ten years old and I could read and write so I made three grades in the first year. After a year or so, Alec and Rose had to quit school to help mom. No wonder she became such a beautiful seamstress, she had to sew all our clothes, even our coats. She also made patch quilts and lots of wool comforters with carded wool from our own sheep. Mother would spin the wool and we knitted all the socks and mitts for everyone. Jeanne knitted herself a beautiful blanket for her hope chest with the wool mother spun. I remember knitting a wool combination for Willie because he had rheumatic fever. When I worked for the Comtoi, I knitted one for Ovila Comtoi during the last summer before I left for B.C.
Alec helped on the farm. Charles had gone to work for the St. Pierre in Durret. Ovila was hired by the Comtoi. Willie loved tractors and was the mechanic as well. In the winters, Willie and Alphonse would go fishing on the lakes up north. Dad, Ovila and Charles would haul the boxes of fish to Big River for sale. They used to make five hundred dollars a year. It was big money in those days. During two winters of which I can remember, mother moved to Big River with us young ones. Alec and Emile went to school but there was no place for Marie- Louise and I. Marie Boudreault thought us our catechism and Emile, Marie-Louse and I made our first communion in Big River parish at 8 o’clock mass on a Sunday morning. NO FUSS.
The farm was yielding well, so mother planted big gardens. We hated to pick potatoes, about two hundred sacks, then the cabbages to hang on the beams over the potatoes.
We did not have time to get lonely. Think about all the berries we had to pick, wild raspberries, saskatoons, blueberries on the reserve, strawberries were scarce. Dad made us some diggers and the senica root that we picked was our own money. Sundays were the days that we enjoyed. I remember the good times when we had corn on the cob on a Sunday afternoon. Willie would do the inviting and they all came. There was always a barrel of homemade beer that mother and Willie made.
In the winter we had a nice hill running between the well and the garage. Dad used to build us nice bob sleighs and he made us skis, we had a great time on a nice moonlight night with the Voisin family, the Gilbert Poirier and Savards. In the spring we use to skate on the frozen ponds, we enjoyed life on the farm.
Let’s talk about Christmas. There were no gifts but lots of food, oranges at 25 cents a box, hard candy at 5 pounds for $1.00. The meat pies and the blood and pork sausage, meat balls (plarins) Dad always came home from Debden with a big barrel of apples threshing was done, about November. In the evening we were allowed one apple. For entertainment we were happy with any kind of music and singing and playing games. Dancing was against the rules of the church, but we danced anyway. Mother bought the first gramophone for the household. When the radio appeared on the market, dad did not want to hear about it. After threshing they had a little money and dad’s birthday was in November, so Willie talked mom into buying a radio for dad’s birthday, he loved it.
Today we are left with a legacy of beautiful memories. Thanks to our parents. They worked hard, had no money to give except their love and taught us how to work. Today we represent the real harvest of the seeds that they sowed. GOD BLESS THEM.
I remember mother being sick for a while. We did not know that she was pregnant with Art. She had very painful eyes and dad went to the doctor in Debden and came home with something for her eyes. It was supposed to be diluted in water. It was supposed to be diluted in water but mother put it in pure and burnt hers eyes real bad. That doctor used to drink and he had forgotten to tell dad (a few drops in water).
In the middle of the night dad went and got Broco Jack to drive mom to Prince Albert hospital in the snow storm. It was in October. They operated and removed the eye and also pulled all her teeth. When she came home dad used to help around the house. Dad only went hauling fish after Christmas that year. At Christmas mother went to mass and since Ovila and Charles came home from hauling fish with a little money, mother decided to go and pay the church dues before midnight mass. The priest got mad at her because he was resting. On the 28th of December, Art was born. It was the custom to take the baby and have it Baptized the same day. The priest felt sorry for screaming at mother on Christmas Eve, so he took a nice statue of St. Ann and gave it to dad for mother. That statue is still with us today. It belongs to Art. Art’s Godparents were Bernadette Gilbert and Ovila Dore.
Mother was a mid-wife; she delivered many babies around Pascal. It would be interesting to know how many little Orieuz, Desjardins, Gagne, Gilbert Ernest, Eugene Delisle, even her own grandchildren. Rose, Denise, Eva, Flora, Annette and maybe more.
The day that mother had little Marie, the last one, we were sent to Joe Gange’s house and Mrs. Gagne went to deliver little Marie. All of a sudden Mr. Gilbert arrived to get mother, Mrs. Gilbert was having Clemence, so he took Mrs. Gagne and dad rushed over to Delisle to get Mrs. Alchance to come and prepare little Marie who had died two hours after birth. Dad and Willie made the coffin and Bertha Delisle lined it. Willie had to go and dig the grave. Only dad and Willie went to the cemetery with the priest.
Dad was the doctor in the family. Mother could not stand to see blood. She fainted. So dad put on the old Zam-Buk bandage. In all these years a lot of small episodes happened: Willie had rheumatic fever. Charles always seemed to miss the tree when cutting fire wood and cut his foot instead, more than once. Alec got the broken legs, it seems. In the winter Willie never gave up wanting to drive to church. To get the car going, Alec had to pull it with the horse. Poor old Danny horse would slip on the ice and Alec got a broken leg on a
Sunday morning. Myself, I tumbled down the stairs with a knife and cup and got my cheek cut, there was a lot of blood. I was about four years old. Mother, Denise, Jeanne and Emile had all fainted. Rose ran to the barn to get dad and tie the horses. Dad healed my cheek with Zam- Buk. Mother could not come and see me for weeks.
Louis Dore became a successful farmer, had horses, tractors, and a threshing machine. We milked at times up to 15 cows, raised calves, pigs, sheep, turkeys, chickens and had good crops.
Let’s talk about the children for a while:
WILLIE was mom and dad’s boy. He always stayed and worked on the farm.
He was the one that did the shopping with dad when they bought a car or machinery. On Sunday Willie had the car to see the new teacher in the neighborhood. He finally moved to B.C. and got a job at A.P.D. mill. He was 48 years old when he met Adrienne and it was love at first sight. A wedding took place and some of the guests followed
the bride and groom as far as Vancouver. Hopefully they landed at Denise and Floret’s house. Willie and Adrienne bought a house and planted a big garden, sold vegetables and berries and apples. He also raised rabbits and chicken so he could sell eggs. His chickens were slow in laying. He was telling Emile about it, so Emile offered to loan Bill his rooster. Three days later the rooster was found dead. Bill had fed him too much laying mash. Poor rooster – HA HA:
Willie loved to play horse shoes. In his shed he always kept some supplies made from all his grapes and berries. He had a secret little handy machine. Everyone enjoyed his refreshments. They adopted Diane and then had three more children: Camille, Vivian and Celine.
ALPHONSE the story teller bought a farm one mile from Debden. Alphonse was not a farmer. He would sooner play pool or box. He met young and pretty Lea. They got married in Debden and had a dinner at the Laitres house and the big supper was at the Dore’s, also the dance. What a mob of people, everyone brought kids. They had six children. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and the greatest thing in his life was his trap line. Lea was a beautiful knitter. She was always knitting for everyone.
He sold his farm, moved to Pascal, then to Kapuskaing, Ontario, where he worked for the airport and then they came to Port Alberni where he worked as a carpenter at A.P.D. until he retired. In 1948 they bought Joe Tremblay’s house and- Lea took in boarders and after she went to work as a cook in different cafes and hotels until she retired. They celebrated their golden wedding in 1976.
OVILA was in love for many years with Annette. He worked for the Comtoi. She was the baby of the family. He got to know her very well before he popped the question. That was another big wedding and the dance took place at the farm house once more. They farmed for years in Eldred, and then they moved to Debden where they took in boarders and Ovila got a pool room. As a boy Ovila liked to cut hair. So he became a barber. I can still remember when he used my head of hair for practicing. Mother hit the roof. He not only cut my hair but took some of my skin with the end of the scissors. They had five children.
CHARLES was big and a hard worker. He had to work real hard to succeed. When he met the gorgeous Flora, daughter of the rich Lajeunesse family who arrived to settle on a farm, with a big truck full of furniture, also a family car, people were looking their way, so did Charles. Another wedding for the families. His homestead was in Capusin, Sask. Then babies came. Then they moved to Ormeaux. They enjoyed going out dancing, playing cards and visiting. He went through lots of hard times, but they were always happy. They had two girls and three boys. After their children left home and got married, they moved to Debden where Flora took care of her dad and mother till the .end. Charles used to do odd jobs around the Lafond garage and on his son’s Roland’s farm by Morin Lake.
ALEC got a $10.00 homestead in Laventure and he married the girl across the street, Simonne Larrivee. I missed that wedding as I had left for B.C. with Emile, Claire Savard, Robert Michelle and one other Miss Leclerc from Debden. We travelled with Leo Tremblay, and arrived in B.C. in October 1939. Alec had a short life. God Bless him today, he is represented by a beautiful family.
All of a sudden this young bachelor Lucien Lafond came by in his small cutter
ROSE the jewel of the family, all the sewing she did for everyone. She was mother’s right hand. She was courted by Mr. 0. Comtoi for a long time. He had gorgeous team of grey horses.
They got married on January 2nd 1934 in Victoire had dinner at the farm and then we all went to Laventure’s for the supper and dance. The mountain dew was plentiful and strong to drink. That night we slept 21.in Alec’s farm house. The next morning we all went to have breakfast at Mr. Larrivee’s house, then we came home. Those who drank the coffee had a good sleep on the way home. Rose and Lucien had a nice family of one girl and five boys. At the rate they are going we will be back in two and a half years to celebrate their 60th anniversary. May God bless you and keep you in good health.
DENISE was the quiet one, She met Florent Savard while dad, mom, Willie, Rose and Arthur had gone to Quebec for a visit. That was a surprise when Florent asked dad for Denise’s hand. Dad said, “Not just the hand, all or nothing at all”. The wedding was small. Denise never had the chance to learn how to dance because the groom had to play the violin, even on his wedding day. They had a nice family of four girls and three boys. After being a widow for 23 years she is remarried to Mr. Romain FranCoeur on April 5th 1991. Welcome to the Dore family, Romain.
When it comes to JEANNE she liked romance. She fell in love with Albert at the age of sixteen. She had many boyfriends but Albert was the only one that she cared for. Albert moved to B.C. and when he got a job in a garage, which later he owned, dad and mom said go and marry your little Albert, so off to B.C. with Willie who was coming to work. They got married in October 1936. They had nine children, seven boys and two girls. Albert was very successful, after he sold his garage, he drove school buses until he retired, a year later he had to have open heart surgery and he had a stroke.
EMILE was the only one in the family who served in the army. At the age of 18 he was very sick, he just about died of pleurisy. He took a course in cheese making and worked for the Lemire in Shell River. While in the Army he met Florence Landry. He got married in his Army uniform. They had five children; Rosanne died as a baby and is buried in Nanaimo. Charles died at the age of 43; Richard, Robert and Doris are in Parksville and Nanaimo.
CECILE Was she different from the others. She ventured to B. C. to work in 1939. I was tired of working 16 hours a day for $10.00 a month on the farm. I met John Herkel at the C.Y.O. dances and in 1941 we got married in June. John always operated machines in the Somass Mill. John was Slovack, born on Vancouver Island near Nanaimo. We had a family of ten children. Today they are all doing well. I am proud and I can say that I have the League of Nation in my own family, from German, Scotch, English, Jewish, Linda not married, Dutch, Irish, Italian (2) and finally Norwegian. That proves that I maybe the different one.
MARIE-LOUISE was the delicate one in the family. She always had an ache or a pain. She got away from milking the cows many times. She had a hard time in school. She went to work for the Godards in Debden. That is where she met Raymond. They got married and lived on a poor farm outside of Debden and in 1940 they came to B.C. for a better living. Their first baby was born in Debden and all the other five were born in Port Alberni. They celebrated their golden wedding in 1988 and are still enjoying life.
EVA being the youngest of the family, she mostly stayed home and helped on the farm but when the right one came along, she jumped from one farm to another. She married Oscar Beaulieu at the Christmas Eve mass in 1940, had 471/2 years of marriage, and raised nine children, three girls and six boys.
ARTHUR the baby of the family. Mom and dad were lucky to have with them in their old age, even after he got married on dad and mom’s Golden Anniversary; he lived upstairs at dad’s house. When Art arrived in B.C. he got a job as a carpenter’s helper. First he helped dad build a house on the corner of 4th and Burde Street. When dad left
B.C. to go and live at Rose and Lucien, because mother was partly blind, dad gave that house to Art because Art, by working in the mill had bought all the lumber at a discount. Art and Terry had three nice boys, which are their pride and joy. Arthur had a busy life coaching softball for many years. His boys loved hockey and they were very sports minded. One sport we have to mention is hunting, which Arthur still does, though he is retired. Today you will all have a taste of his fish. He is a Class 1 fisherman in Port Alberni. He even appears on T.V.
Today, let’s thank our parents for all they have done for us. May God Bless them for all the hard work and sickness and poverty they overcame.
Let all those who belong to this lovely family stand tall with pride and get to know each other today.