Prospère Gagnon & Marie Anne Ouellette

(64.) 1. Prospère GAGNON was born on 16 Sep 1790 in St. Roche, and was baptized the following day at Ste-Anne de la Pocatière, Québec. His godparents were François Pelletier and Marie François Gauvin.

Prospère GAGNON was married to Marie Anne OUELLETTE on 6 Sep 1813 in St.Louis church, Kamouraska, Québec.(2) Present as witnesses were Michel Gagnon (Prospère's father), Dignale Roi, Ignace Lavoie, fils (Jr.), Etienne Tardif, and Antoine Ouellette (Marie Anne's father), Alexandre Tardif, Jean Baptiste Cayouette, François Ouellet, "and several other relatives and friends of the bride and groom."

(65.) Marie Anne OUELLETTE was born on 15 May 1790 in La Pocatière, Kamouraska County, Québec.  Prospère GAGNON and Marie Anne OUELLETTE had the following children:

child       i. Michel GAGNON.
child 32. ii. Antoine GAGNON.
child      iii. Angélique GAGNON.
child      iv.Marceline GAGNON.
child      v. Thomas GAGNON.

In the record of the baptism of his sons Michel and Antoine, in December 1814 and June 1818, Prospère was described as a "forgeron," or blacksmith. Prospère and his family appeared in the 1825 Census of Lower Canada, as Prospère Gagnon, living in Trois Pistoles in a household with 3 children under the age of 6, and two between the age of 6 and 14; one married male 25-40; and one married female 14-45.

Sometime during the spring or early summer of 1831 the family moved from Trois-Pistoles, Québec, to the upper St.John River Valley in what is today Aroostook County, Maine.

In November 1833 the Provincial government of New Brunswick undertook a census of the Madawaska Settlement, which was going through a very difficult time: crops had failed and a large part of the population were very bad off.  New Brunswick decided to find out what kinds of assistance were needed and how much, so they surveyed the population, asking not only the number of people in each household but also how much livestock they had, how much and which crops had been sown and harvested in that year and in previous years.

Prospère and his family appeared in the 1833 New Brunswick census of Madawaska as Prosper Gagione.  He was living in the Settlement of Madawaska, on the right (south) bank of the St.John River, with his wife, three sons and two daughters, as a tenant. He possessed no livestock, had sown and grown no crops that year or in previous years. He is described as a laborer, as "poor" and "requiring assistance," and "in need of immediate relief." They seem to have just moved to the area -- picking a bad time to do so -- since they had not sown crops in earlier years.

Around 1835 or so he purchased a 97 acre lot on the north bank. From the deposition he gave to the Commissioners who were settling land claims after the signing of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, which established the current international border:

I claim land on the River Saint John. Alexander Corneau on the lower side, and Francis Gagnon on the upper side. I have been in possession ten years. I bought it from Alexander Michaud. He had it about two years and bought it from Alexander Fraser. I think he bought it from Charles L’Amour. There were about six acres cleared when I got it. There are thirty acres cleared now and a house and barn on it. I live on it. [from online searchable database of commissioners reports, at]

The Commissioners' own comment on this piece of property:

Commissioners' remark: Prospère Gagnon died 10th Augt 1847 leaving a widow, Marion, and three sons, Michael, Antoine and Thomas and two daughters Marcelline wife of Louis Plouarde & Angelique wife of Benoni Roi.

Given that in 1840 we find Prospère living in the same place as in 1833 (see below), on the South Bank, we can surmise that he bought the property on the north bank for farming purposes. 

He shows up in the 1840 US Census, in the Madawaska Settlements south of the St.John River, Aroostook County, Maine, as Prosper Gonyon, living in a household with one male between the ages of 40 and 49, one male 20-29, one male 15-19, one female 60-70, one female 30-40, one female 20-30, for a total of six people.(153) By this time his son Michel had married and left the household.  This census asked only about who was in the household and their ages, so we know nothing about their circumstances.

Prospère died on 11 Aug 1847 in Frenchville, Maine, and was buried on 12 Aug 1847 in Ste-Luce Cemetery, Frenchville, Maine. (1) Here an image of the burial record in the Ste-Luce parish register (1847, p.93a):

Le douze Août mil huit cent quarante sept nous inhumé dans le cemetière du lieu le corps de Prospère Gagnon décédé hier agé de cinquante cinq ans, époux de Marie Anne Ouellet de cette paroisse. Presents Hilarion Daigle et Joseph Albert qui n'ont su signer. H. Dionne, ptre
 English translation:
August 12th 1847 we buried in the cemetery of this place the body of Prospère Gagnon, deceased yesterday at the age of 55 years, husband of Marie Anne Ouellet of this parish. Present were Hilarion Daigle and Joseph Albert, who did not know how to sign. H Dionne, priest

Marie Anne Ouellette died on 2 Jun 1855, and was buried two days later at St-Patrice church in Rivière-du-Loup, Québec [St Patrice church register, 1855, p.21]. She apparently had moved their sometime after the marriage of her son Thomas in 1848 (in his marriage record, she is described as "of this parish", while in her burial record at St-Patrice, she is likewise described as "of this parish").

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Last revised 06 June 2015
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