A Canadian Family

Genealogy and Vintage Postcards

Four Persons Injured (1941) | Surnames: Diabo, Jocks, Martel, Poirier

Four persons were injured when an automobile in which they were riding struck a horse on the Montreal – Caughnawaga road at 8 o’clock Saturday night.

The injured, all of whom were taken to Caughnawaga Hospital for treatment, were Paul Emile Martel, 40 of St Maurice (Terrebonne), driver of the auto: Mr. and Mrs. A. Poirier, 40 and 32 years old respectively of 1027 Woodland avenue, Verdun and Victoran Poirier, 27 of Valleyfield. Martel suffered a broken arm and the other tree victims excaped with mnor cuts and bruises.

The accident was investigated by Provincial Det. . Pinard and Traffic Officer P.E. Leduc, who reported that there were two horses owned by Angus Diabo, Caughnawaga Indian on the highway when the car Continue reading

January 1, 2014 Posted by | . | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gets Damages For Slip On Tramway (1935) | Surname: Jacobs


Mrs. Paul Jacobs, of Caughnawaga, Given $1,292 for Fractured Ankle


Slippery steps of a Montreal Tramways street car which caused the wife of Paul Cecil Jacobs, of the Indian Reserve of Caughnawaga, to fall and fracture her ankle, will cost the company $1,292 in damages. Judgment to this effect was handed down yesterday by Mr. Justice Alfred Forest of the Superior Court. Continue reading

January 1, 2014 Posted by | . | , | Leave a comment

Chronological Index: Historical Newspaper Clippings Related To Kahnawà:ke

Newspaper articles and various documents  have always been a rich source of data for family historians and genealogists. For those researching their Aboriginal roots they are particularly useful resources because they frequently include surname variations which can then help us when combing through core genealogical sources such as church and census records. This is an index – in chronological order – of extracts from a variety of resources that I’ve run across while researching topics related to Kahnawakke.

Note: These documents are from non-Native sources, thus they frequently reflect the prejudices, patronizing attitudes, misunderstandings or different world-view of those who are not  from Kahnawà:ke .




Expulsion Of The Whites From The Indian Reserve (1878) | Surnames: Dawes, Giroux, Laurier, Meloche, Poirier

The Caughnawaga Troubles (1878) | Surnames: Meloche, Jones, Lecuyer, Deblois, Lafleur, Desparaois, Perras, Therrien, Plante, Cardinal, Giroux, sr., Trudeau, Boulrice, Champagne, Giroux, jr., Duranceau


White Farmers in Caughnawaga (1880) | Surnames: Beauvais, Delisle, DeLormer, Jocks, Murray, Williams

White Settlers In Caughnawaga | Sir John A. Macdonald via Indian Affairs (1880) | Surname: DeLorimier

Marriage of Grand Chief Jocks to Miss Josephine Marlin (1882) |Surnames: Jocks, Marlin  

Caughnawaga Indians Join The Circus (1883) | Surnames: Barnes 

A Canadian Voyageur Drowned In The Nile (1884) | Surnames: Captaine Capitaine), Meglund

Grand Chief Louis Morris, Itiaorakaron (1885) | Surnames: Morris  

Caughnawaga Exhibition (1885)  

Ex-Chief Delisle (1886) | Surnames: De Lisle  


Bribed Three Indians (1896) | Surnames: None  

Caughnawaga Chief To Visit Queen Victoria (1898) | Surname: Tehuhonevake 

Payments For Mail Transportation in Quebec (1890) | Surnames: Desparois, de Lorimier

A Canadian Voyageur Drowned In The Nile (1884) | Surnames: Captaine Capitaine), Meglund

A Convert Baptised In The Indian Church (1894) | Surnames: Deer, Ononkwatkowa, Forbes

Bribed Three Indians (1896) | Surnames: None 



Continue reading

May 18, 2013 Posted by | . | , , | Leave a comment

The Caughnawaga Troubles (1878) | Surnames: Meloche, Jones, Lecuyer, Deblois, Lafleur, Desparaois, Perras, Therrien, Plante, Cardinal, Giroux, sr., Trudeau, Boulrice, Champagne, Giroux, jr., Duranceau

Surnames: Meloche, Jones, Lecuyer,  Deblois, Lafleur, Desparaois, Perras, Therrien, Plante, Cardinal, Giroux, Trudeau, Boulrice, Champagne, Giroux, Duranceau Continue reading

May 15, 2013 Posted by | . | , | Leave a comment

Index: Articles related to Kateri Tekakwitha

Historical articles

Kateri Tekakwitha – Her life recounted by John O’Kane

Blessed Kateri (Catherine) Tekakwitha (1890) Ceremony in Laprairie

Petition To The Pope (ca. 1885) For Recognition of Catherine Tegakwita

News of her canonization

Coming soon

Personal blog

Kateri Tekakwitha, Lily of the Mohawks

October 6, 2012 Posted by | . | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sose Oserase, Mohawk Ironworker Who Perished In The Quebec City Bridge Collapse (1907)

Caughnawaga Mohawk Ironworker, victim of Quebec Bridge Collapse

This headstone memorializes Sose Oserase (aka John Deer) who was one of more than 30 Caughnawaga Ironworkers who perished in the Quebec City bridge collapse of 1907.

Of possible interest

Index: Headstones of Kahnawak:ke Catholic Cemetery

The Iroquois of Kahnawake

December 30, 2011 Posted by | . | , , , , , | Leave a comment

History Of Kahnawake | Links To Biographical Info | Pt 6 (T-Z)

Series Introduction And Index


Blue = Native American or married Native American

Orange = Religious Order (non-Native)

Brown = Military, explorer, government (non-Native)
Green = Writer, scholar (non-Native)
Red = All Others (non-Native)

Taffanel de la Jonquiere, Jacques-Pierre, Marquis

Naval officer, governor general of Canada, 18th century



Tarbell, John

Captive, 17th century


Continue reading

December 20, 2011 Posted by | . | | 1 Comment

Caughnawaga Entertainers – The “Wild West”, Vaudeville And Hollywood Years

Caughnawaga | Kahnawake | Indian Museum | sideshowThere’s a great book  at the Chateauguay Library called “Kahnawake: A Mohawk look at Canada”  by Johnny Beauvais (ISBN 0-1234-567-8, 1985) which gives much insight into how the significance of the Chief Poking Fire Museum in Caughnawaga, and the place of Kahnawake in the entertainment industry (among many other subjects).

In his  “Show Biz” chapter, Beauvais explains that as the Fur Trade declined in the mid-19th century many natives of Caughnawaga began to earn income by sharing some of their Iroquois traditions such as  handicrafts, lacrosse, dance and music. Beginning in the early 1880s with the wildly popular Buffalo Bill Cody Wild West Show, the European and American public were entranced with the American Wild West and – of course – Wild West Indians.

On a personal note I have a family memory about that. My husband is Italian and grew up  in Milan in the 40s/50s.  During his childhood, his Italian nonno would often regale him with stories about having seen the Buffalo Bill Cody Show and “real live indians”. He was very proud of having seen them in the flesh. When Italian children pictured Canada, they picture red-coated mounties, Eskimos and igloos and the type of indians that they had seen in the Cody’s shows.

Returning to the main topic, it’s important to note that although Caughnawaga had a truly rich indigenous culture to share, the entertainers soon realized that what the paying  public wanted was their image of the Indian, which was actually the culture of the Sioux, so Mohawk natives had to set aside their own traditions. This is why many pictures of the time – and the look of the Chief Poking Fire Museum – do not accurately reflect Iroquois culture. It was a commercial decision and not some ignorance of their own culture.

Continue reading

March 6, 2011 Posted by | . | , , , | 1 Comment

William Smith, son of Louis Smith – Caughnawaga Entertainer

Today I’m delighted to introduce you to a new guest author – American family historian Melody Morgan.  As you will read below, Melody has a connection to Kahnawake through her beloved step-father William Smith, son of Mohawk entertainer – Louis Smith. She spins her tale below, and ends with a request for anyone with information about this family to contact her. You can do so by leaving a message in the comment box below, and I will send you her email information. Thanks!

Guest Post by Melody Morgan

William Smith

When I was a young woman, my father died and my mother remarried.  My new step-father was William Smith and he used to tell marvelous stories about his parents – mostly his father, Louis Smith.

Bill would proudly boast that Louis Smith was an Iroquois Indian from Caughnawaga.  He was very proud of this heritage and he wore the genes of this heritage like a badge . There was no mistaking his Native origins. Unfortunately, Bill died about 20 years ago, before I became interested in genealogy.  I never asked him the questions I should have. Now I search for the facts necessary to make a place for him and his ancestors in our family tree.

I know a little about William’s mother. She had been ill with tuberculosis for many years and was in and out of hospitals and tucked away in sun porches for healing air.  She died when he was only 10 years old so I don’t think he had many real memories of her at all. His mother’s name was Terese Kaherotonkwas. She was apparently a performer too and used  the name Weeping Corn Husk.

Louis Smith of Kahnawake

I have managed to uncover a few facts about Louis Smith, which led to a few more facts, but I don’t even know the details of the accident that took his life or where he is buried.  I cannot confirm his possibly German father or his Native mother, don’t know when they died or where they are buried and am not sure where else to turn.

Fortunately, several stories of the Canadian Mohawk and Iroquois who performed in Vaudeville or traveling shows have turned up on the internet so I have learned quite a bit about Louis’ associates and the life they lived. There are stories and photographs on the web about both of the witnesses at his marriage.  It is quite a fascinating time in history.  Below is a summary of what I know about Louis Smith.  I have also attached a piece from the 1897 New York Times which tells a bit about him and shows his picture.

Continue reading

March 6, 2011 Posted by | . | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Village Church Of The Iroquois Indians Of Caughnawaga (Inscription)

Blessed Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, place of burialThis is an early twentieth century view of

Caughnawaga’s historic St-Francois-Xavier Church

where the soon-to be Saint Kateri is entombed.

Related Posts

Kateri Tekakwitha, Lily of the Mohawks Continue reading

March 5, 2011 Posted by | . | , , , | Leave a comment

Kateri Tekakwitha – Her life recounted by John O’Kane Murray (1877)


The Saintly Mohawk Maiden.

The sublime influence of Catholicity on the life of the Indian is nowhere better illustrated than in the saintly subject of this brief sketch. She is the Indian virgin par excellence. While the great chiefs and lordly sachems of her once powerful and warlike race are forgotten, the name of this simple and pure-souled girl is held in honor and veneration. More than one able pen has told the charming story of her heroic and innocent life. I shall chiefly follow Father Cholenek, S.J., (her confessor, under whom she made her first communion, who gave her the last sacraments, and was present at her holy death) in his long and interesting letter to his Superior concerning her. Continue reading

February 16, 2011 Posted by | . | , , , , | 1 Comment

Petition To The Pope (ca. 1885) For Recognition of Catherine Tegakwita, Blackgown Isaac Jogues & Brother Rene Goupil

With the recent announcement that Kateri will be recognized as a saint, it’s interesting to take a look back on this earliest petition to the pope (1885).

A beautiful petition for the Indians has already been written, in the language of the Flatheads, by an old missionary of that tribe, and it has been signed by their chiefs. So also the chiefs of Catherine’s own village have signed their petition to the Holy Father. The writer has before him now the Flathead petition in three languages; he considers that this paper would be incomplete without an English version of this touching address. It is as follows:

“Our Father The Pope:

“Though we Indians are very poor and miserable, yet our Maker had great pity on us and gave us the Catholic religion. Moreover, he had pity on us again and gave us Catherine Tegakwita. This holy virgin, an Indian like ourselves, being favored by Jesus Christ with a great grace, grew up very good, had great love for our Maker, and died good and holy, and is now glorious in heaven, as we believe, and prays for us all. This virgin, we believe, was given to us from God as a great favor, for she is our little sister. But now we hope that thou, our Father, who art the Vicar of Jesus Christ, wilt grant us a favor likewise: we beg thee with the whole of our hearts to speak and say: ‘You Indians, my children, take Catherine as an object of your veneration in the church, because she is holy and is in heaven.’ Continue reading

February 16, 2011 Posted by | . | , , , | Leave a comment