A Canadian Family

First Nations, French Canadians & Acadians

Reader Query: Duquettes in Caughnawaga – Disaster Strikes! | Part 3/3

This is the third part of a series examining Duquettes associated with the history of Caughnawaga/Kahnawake.

Chateauguay Duquettes in Caughnawaga/KahnawakeThe 1881 census for Sault-St-Louis shows a Pierre Duquette and wife Celanire living in Caughnawaga with their children Pierre, Delima, Marie and Joseph. Pierre was a “pilote” (captain/navigator) – for a steamboat that was plying the waters between Kahnawake and Lachine.

Pierre Duquette parents were Paul Duquette and Catherine Auger. Pierre’s grandparents were Paul Duquette and his second wife Marie Louise Primeau,and his grandparents were Jean Baptiste Duquette and Francoise Daigeault Deniau (which intersects with Donna Lee Duquette’s line).

Celanire’s parents were Clement Chateauguay Caughawaga DuquetsBouthillier and Marie Louise Gagnon.

Pierre Duquette and Celanire Bouthillier had been married on July 29th, 1865 in Chateauguay’s St-Joachim Parish (Witnesses: Clement Bouthillier, Pierre Primeau).

Unfortunately, just one year after this census a great tragedy ensued. On September 21st, the Richelieu steamer had left Lachine headed for the Chateauguay Basin with Pierre Duquette as Captain. Pierre’s son was also on board as Purser, as well as his nephew Joseph Duquette who was at the helm at the time of the accident. In addition to other crew the Richelieu carried about 60 passengers and horses. At one point the steam ran low and the strong currents of the St-Lawrence began to turn the steamboat around. The Captain and the engineer fought for control of the ship but at a certain point “the engine made half a revolution with great rapidity, a loud sharp report followed by a crash, and flying cinders, smoke and soot were blown among the passengers.

Lachine - Chateauguay - Caughnawaga disaster

boat disaster between Lachine, Caughnawaga and Chateauguay Basin

You can read a fuller account of this incident in a newspaper clipping posted by Walter at the

Maritime History of the Great Lakes.

I cannot even begin to imagine how Celanire Bouthillier could have coped with the loss of her husband and son on the same day.

I have tried to locate Celanire and her  family in the next available census in 1901 but was unsuccessful. However, I did find a marriage for their son Joseph Duquette. Joseph married Exilda Desnoyers in 1903 in St-Hyacinthe Parish in New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA.  Exilda’s parents were Philippe Desnoyers and Celia Coderre. I wonder whether these Duquettes are aware of this tragic piece of family history?



Related Posts

Index: They Passed Through Kahnawà:ke

Index: Early French Canadian Pioneers

Core Index: First Peoples Genealogy & History

External Links

1881 Canada Census

1901 Census of Canada

1911 Census of Canada

1921 Canada Census

October 8, 2012 - Posted by | . | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. My husband is a Duquette. His grandfather was Joseph Duquette jr (died 1946) who married Elizabeth Marshall of Malone,NY. He had a brother named Stephen. Their father was Joseph Sr, who was married to Rose Secord of Quebec. Joseph jr was born in the late 1800’s. Joseph jr was the first generation from this branch of his family to come to the states, we are told. Information is extremely thin and has not been available. Do you know if this is part of the same family or a different branch?


    Comment by David Duquette | September 5, 2016 | Reply

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