Abraham Lavoie

Son of Guillaume Lavoie and Louise Millaire (Miller), Abraham Lavoie was born on Friday the 20th December 1829 in St-Martin, Ile-Jesus, Laval, Quebec, and was baptised the following day, that is Saturday the 21st December 1829 also in St-Martin, Ile-Jesus, Laval, Quebec. At the age of 24, he marries Onésime Couvrette, daughter of Jean-Marie Couvrette and Rose Bergeron, on Tuesday the 10th October 1854 in St-Martin, Ile-Jesus, Laval, Quebec. Onésime was born in 1829 and was 25 years old at the time.

We find Abraham in Ottawa for the first time in 1869 (Ottawa Might City Directory). In the ensuing years, we see him living in a number of different locations... Murray (between Dalhousie & Cumberland), Bolton, 177 Water, 168 Cumberland, and finally Cathcart, all within the triangle encompassed by King Edward, Sussex, and St Patrick streets. His occupations were that of carpenter, day laborer, and voyageur or shantyman.

It would seem that Abraham may have brought the rest of his family possibly between 1869 and 1871. We do find him and his family residing in Laval, Montreal in 1861 and his daughter Mathilda was born in St-Martin, Laval county, Quebec in 1864. The 1871 census (National Archives Canada microfilms C-10014,C-10015, RG31) and 1881 census (National Archives Canada Film Number C-13230) for Ottawa have him living in Ottawa, Ottawa Ward, and have his occupation as "shantyman" and "voyageur" respectively. The Ottawa ward was also part of lower town Ottawa, where the majority of French Canadians were living at the time. A voyageur in the 19th century was not the same as a voyageur in the 18th century. Our Abraham was simply a worker who travelled each year to cut down trees at various forest harvesting sites. He was also known as a timber man, logger, driver, log driver, raftsman and even "coureur des bois". He was in charge of cutting and floating the wood.

What is certain is that in the 1860s, Ottawa or Bytown as the city was then called, was growing literally out of the forest, either due to the booming lumber trade which created employment for thousands of lumberjacks in the shanties of the counties of Pontiac, Labelle, or Papineau, and also due to the fact that Ottawa had officially become the nation's capital which also created a lot of work opportunities in the creation of the parliament buildings and the construction of homes for the elected officials who would settle and permanently reside in the city. It's quite possible that Abraham may have been drawn to the Ottawa area for those specifie reasons.

On the Lavoie family stone in Notre-Dame de Lourdes cemetery, Montreal Rd. in Ottawa, we find that his wife Onésime Couvrette was buried there having passed on on the 3rd May 1889 at the age of 60 yrs, but not Abraham. As a matter of fact, two years prior to the demise of Onesime in 1889, we no longer find any mention of Abraham in the Ottawa Might City directories. However, we do find him in the Fort Coulonge, Pontiac county, Quebec region, area that was being exploited for its pine trees, in the lumber mills operated by George Bryson (1813-1900), Scottish farmer and lumber baron. Abraham died on the 11 March 1894 and was buried two days later, the 13th March 1894 in the cemetery of Fort Coulonge.

Don't miss out on visiting a wonderful website owned by Larry S. Kenney, Fort Coulonge with its historical photos of Fort Coulonge including its shanties and lumberjacks.

At least 7 children were born from the union Abraham Lavoie and Onésime Couvrette:

  1. Hélène Lavoie
  2. Antoine-Abraham Lavoie, born on the 8th October 1855 and baptised the following day in St-Martin, Ile Jésus, Québec, married to Phélonize Lafleur on the 9th March 1882 at Ste-Anne church, St Patrick St, Ottawa, Ontario. He died in 1935 and was buried in Notre-Dame de Lourdes cemetery in Ottawa.
  3. Marie-Rose-Délima Lavoie, born on the 14th January 1857 in St-Martin, Ile Jésus, Québec, baptised on the 17th January 1857 in St-Martin, Ile Jésus, Québec. She will marry Alfred Sévignyon the 20th May 1890 at the cathedral of Notre-Dame in Ottawa, Ontario. She will pass away on the 25th December 1928 in Ottawa, Ontario, et buried on the 28th December at the Notre-Dame cemetery in Ottawa. According to the 1881 census, she was a seamstress.
  4. M-Onésime Lavoie, born on the 30th May 1863 at St-Martin, Ile Jésus, Québec, baptised the 31st May 1867 also at St-Martin de Laval, Québec.
  5. Mathilda Lavoie, born about 1864 in St-Martin, Ile Jésus, Québec. She married Jean-Baptiste Jolicoeur on the 24th May 1886 at Notre-Dame cathedral in Ottawa, Ontario.
  6. Narcisse-Jean-Marie, born on the 27th February 1867 at St-Martin, Ile Jésus, Québec, he will die within 5 months on the 8th July 1867 at St-Martin, Ile Jésus, Québec.
  7. Louise, is the 1st member of the family to be born in the Ottawa area, that is on the 10 October 1869, and baptised on the 16th October at Notre-Dame basilica.