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Marie Rosalie Bouchard dit Richard was one of the Metis “First Ladies” of the Red River Settlement as were several of her daughters who were married to powerful Red River merchants.. Marie Rosalie Bouchard dit Richard was born on May 11, 1811, at Lac Lapine near York Factory, the Metis daughter of Francois Bouchard dit Richard and an unknown Cree woman. She married Narcisse Maurice (Xavier) Marion in 1830. Narcisse was a HBC blacksmith (b. 1805). He was the son of Francois Marion (b.c. 1781) and Lisette Martel. A number of their children married into the turtle Mountain Band at Belcourt, North Dakota. Children of Marie Rosalie Richard (Bouchard) and Narcisse Marion: Elise Marion was born on December 18, 1831 at York Factory. Elise married Norman Wolfred William Kittson (b: 1814) in 1847 in St Boniface Parish Church. Elise was 14 and Kittson was 33. He was the son of William Kittson and Helene McDonald. Commodore Norman W. Kittson, was the millionaire head of the Red River Navigation Company’s fleet of stern wheel steamers which served Winnipeg in the early days. Kittson, a fur trader, helped end the Hudson Bay Company’s fur trading monopoly. In1849; he became a member of the Minnesota Territorial Councils 7th District, from 1852to 1855 he was mayor of St. Paul Minnesota. From 1858 to 1859; he operated steamboats on the Red River from Minnesota north into Winnipeg in the 1870. He then worked with James J. Hill to build the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway in 1879-81. Commodore Kittson was 33 when he came seeking a bride at the house of Narcisse Marion. Elise Marion was just fourteen. Bridegrooms of pioneer days were often older; but Kittson, who had made a fortune in the fur trade and another fortune in the steamboat business, had since he was a young man carried a weight of responsibility which, had brought early wrinkles and the aspect of age. Edouard was born of February 24, 1834 in St. Boniface. Edouard married Eliza McDougall (b. 1833) circa 1833 at Red River. She was the daughter of John “George” McDougall and Genevieve “Jennie Jasper (Gaspard). Theuir son, Jules Marion (b. 1867) appeared in the 1889 Exposition Universelle (Paris World’s Fair) with Buffalo Bill Cody. The other Metis from Manitoba in this show were, Maxiome Goulet, Maxime Lepine and Michel Dumas. These men were presented as French-Canadian trappers with teams of Eskimo sled dogs. Josephte (Josette) was born on May 10 1836 in St. Boniface. She first married Joseph Genthon (b. 1830) and then married Francois Gingras, the son of Metis trader Antoine Blanc Gingras and Scholastique Trottier. Maxime was born on April 25, 1838 in St Boniface. He died on May 15, 1910 on the Turtle Mountain Reserve, near Belcourt, North Dakota. Maxime married Elise Elizabeth St. Matte dit Jerome (b: June 15, 1843) 1
on September 1, 1862 in the Assumption Mission, near Pembina, North Dakota. She was the daughter of Martin St. Mathe dit S. Matte Sr. dit Jerome and Elizabeth Isabelle “Bethsy” Wilkie. Maxime Marion was a guide
for the Boundary Commission in 1872-73, for portion of the survey from Lake of the Woods to the Red River. Louis was born on March 17, 1840, at St. Boniface. He married Andronique Ross, the daughter of Roderick Ross and Marie Delorme. This was a plains buffalo hunting family that ranged as far west as Blackfoot Crossing and Buffalo Lake (Boss Hill). On the family’s scrip applications of 1876, Louis is listed as a voyageur, trader and farmer. The Marion family from St. Francois Xavier followed the buffalo and had established hivernant camps in the Souris River basin. Louis brothers Amable, Narcisse, Roger, Norman and Adophe settled around Oak Lake in the late 1870s. Louis spoke French and Cree. He accompanied Gabriel Dumont on buffalo hunts in the 1870s. Louis joined the community around Petit Ville, Batoche and Duck Lake. Louis and his brothers Maxime (and wife Elise Jerome) and Joseph (wife Annie McDermott) joined the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Band sometime after 1885. At the time of the 1885 Resistance Louis and Marie were living at Duck Lake and he was working as the farming instructor on One Arrow’s Reserve. Later, their daughter Elise would marry Francois Moreau the son of Resistance Captain Louis was a member of Captain Baptiste Vandal’s company, one of the 19 dizaines led by Gabriel Dumont during the 1885 Metis Resistance. Louis did not want to join the fighting and was locked up by Louis Riel, who threatened to shoot him if he did not join. Under duress he agreed to participate, then under the pretence of going home for a gun managed to escape before the fighting began. He gives the following statement : On the 17th March I was at Walter’s store at Batoche and a young man came and told me there was going to be trouble. Next morning we were removed to the church and they had a meeting and Riel told me that I had ten minutes to consider if I would join them or else he would have to do something. I promised to join but first chance I escaped… I saw a son of George Fisher and a son of Salomon Venne and young Gareault who had been brought this way. I saw a number of Indians there, some of One Arrow’s band, some of Beardy’s band and some Sioux Indians. I heard that many were forced to join. Amable Marion was born on July 16, 1842. He never married his partner Francoise McGillvray. He did marry Josephte Berard the daughter of Louis Berard and Catherine Hughes in 1875. They had one adopted son and two children of their own. Rosalie Marion was born on September 14, 1845 at St. Boniface, she married Horace Belanger, the son of Edouard Belanger and Sophie Casgrain. She died in St. Boniface in 1837 at age 41. Rosalie married Horace Belanger on August 27, 1861 and had 11 children. Horace Belanger was born at Rivière-Ouelle, Quebec on 11 June 1836, the son of Édouard Bélanger and Marie-Sophie Casgrain. After service at Michipicoten (Michipicoten River) from 1855 to 1857, Bélanger was promoted clerk in 1858 and 2
stationed at Fort Albany. In 1860 he transferred to the Lac La Pluie district, an area of competition with free traders. There he displayed the necessary initiative and endurance to counter any opponents, despite his massive bulk, for he was a “great burly man with jet black curly hair, full beard and must have weighed over 300 pounds.” In 1867 Bélanger moved to Cumberland House (Sask.), where again the company faced the threat of free traders. As clerk in charge at Fort-à-la-Corne in 1868–69, he supervised the summer boat brigades, the vital transportation link between Cumberland House and its northern posts. In 1870, still a clerk, he took charge of the entire Cumberland district. Two years later he was promoted chief trader and in 1873 he was made factor. In 1885 he was appointed Chief Factor of the Cumberland and Saskatchewan Districts and, four years later, Chief Factor at Norway House. He was a corresponding member of the Manitoba Historical Society during this time, donating several items to its collections. In 1889 Bélanger, two years after Rosalie’s death, was transferred to Norway House (Man.). While there, he was appointed justice of the peace for the Keewatin District and served until 1892. A widower since 1887, he planned to resign from the HBC in 1893 to make a home for his children. Before he could do so, however, he drowned at Sea River Falls during his 40th year of service. Children • Auguste born February 5, 1863 • Horace Luc, born January 20, 1869. Horace Luc married Marie Adele Morin and had a child. • Alexander, born in Cumberland House on 1 Dec 1872. • Roger, born in Cumberland House on February 25, 1875. He passed away on 1894 in St Boniface, Manitoba. • William, born in Cumberland House on October 16, 1876 He passed away in the winter 1893. • Rosalie Louise, born in Cumberland House on 20 Oct 1879. • Charles Eugene, born in Cumberland House on September 18, 1880 Children Deceased (at time of Rosalie’s scrip application): • Joseph Edouard, born on the Saskatchewan River August 25, 1864, died April 30, 1885. • Marie Eugenie born on December 31, 1866. She passed away on 1 Apr 1872. • George, born March 10, 1871, died January 28, 1875. • Narcisse born September 10, 1873, died at 7 months in 1874. Roger Marion, M.P. (b. 1846). Roger married Julienne Carriere, on July 31, 1873. She was the daughter of Francois Carriere. They had six daughters, three of whom became nuns, and two sons. A politician, Marion was the Conservative M.P. for Carillon in 1886 and 1888, he was defeated in 1892 and re-elected in 1896. He was the mayor of St. Boniface from 1887 to 1889. In 1891, he was elected president of the Union Métisse
Saint-Joseph. Roger was born at York Factory and educated at Collège de SaintBoniface. He worked for several years at the trading post of Charles Bottineau in Dakota Territory, after the 1862. He worked from 1872 to 1876 with the Customs Service then served as Manitoba License Commissioner from 1879 to1885. Joseph was born on August 16, 1848 at St. Boniface. He married Annie McDermott the daughter of Thomas McDermott and Elisabeth Collin. They had five children. He died in 1890. Narcisse Jr. was born in October 1850 in St Boniface Parish. Narcisse was able to speak fluent English, French and Cree. He also picked up some Blackfoot, Stoney and Ojibwa. Narcisse Jr. moved to Alberta in the late 1870s or early 1880s. He married Marie Gaudin Munro, who had been born at St. Albert, Alberta in 1860. They had two children, Louis and Emilie, both of whom passed away. It is not clear if these two children were buried in Calgary or whether they were interred in the largely - forgotten First Nations and Métis cemetery that is located on the shoulder of the North Hill, below the former site of St. Joseph Convent. In the mid-1880s, the Marions moved to the Poplar Ridge district, west of Red Deer. Narcisse was able to secure a homestead. However, he did not do much farming. He preferred to support himself and his family by hunting, trapping and acting as a land guide to new settlers coming into the district. Norman “Norbert” was born on October 9, 1854 at St. Boniface. He married Rose Ouelette (or Ellette), the daughter of Metuis trader Antoine “Ratte” Ouelette and Angelique Bottineau. They had seven children born at WEood Mountain and Oak Lake. In 1849, Narcisse Marion was designated to serve on the Council of Assiniboia, but Governor Simpson refused to accept his nomination. This Winnipeg Metis blacksmith was an opponent of Louis Riel and, although he worked to support the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia the Compensation Commission awarded him $100 for hardship during the period of riel’s Provisional Government. In the early 1840s, Marion built a windmill south of the St. Boniface Mission Church. Up until the 1850s this was the only windmill on the east side of the Red River (except the one much further north at St. Peters. Historian Lillian Thomas writes of Marie Rosalie Marion: In this paper I would like to honor the women who made the first homes in the West. Their contribution was so important they should not be over-looked, but we find very little about them in the records we have. I am, however, going to mention one woman who was typical of many in her generous hospitality, and her home was frequently mentioned by early historians. I am referring to Madame Narcisse Marion. The Marion home was in St. Boniface. It seemed that most newcomers arriving there soon turned up at the home of Narcisse Marion. Among them was Reverend John Black, 4
the first Presbyterian minister in the Red River settlement. [For] forty years the Selkirk Settlers had prayed for a minister of their own faith, and when he arrived he was not expected. Madame Marion entertained him until he was rested and refreshed. Mr. Marion then took him to his new home. A very good description of the kind of home Madame Marion kept is given by J. W. Radiger, Head Clerk of the Hudson's Bay Company. He wrote: "In a beautiful setting of trees, water and wild flowers I reached a spot where a peaceful and cosy home was standing. I knocked at the front door and was welcomed by a brown-eyed maiden wearing a dainty merino dress and a spotless white pinafore. With a winning smile and an inviting courtesy she introduced me to a tall, strong and healthy gentleman, the real type of a Canadian from old Quebec. After a few inquiries I was invited to have dinner with the family. There was the father, M. Narcisse Marion, the mother, a tall, stately woman, and their three daughters, Josephine, Elise and Rosalie. A young maid by the name of Maggie waited on table. "A strict etiquette was displayed in the preparation and the serving of the food-the latter done to perfection. I was amused by the fact that the head of the family was not quite familiar with the English language, and this made me realize how perfectly the young ladies spoke it. "I did appreciate their respectful and delicate manners when necessary errors in speech had to be corrected, to make the meaning clear. "On leaving I expressed my surprise, my thanks and admiration to those I now number among my best friends in the West. Really I could not have found in my own country more refined or better educated people than those I have met here today." One can imagine the influence of such a home, and honour the women who kept up such a standard.1
Edited and Compiled by Lawrence Barkwell Coordinator of Metis Heritage and History Research Louis Riel Institute
Lillian Beynon Thomas. “Some Manitoba Women Who Did First Things.” Manitoba Historical Society Transactions, Series 3, No. 4, 1947-48
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