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Franco-American History and The Lachine Massacre

Note from the Editor:

On Wednesday of last week, I posted a blog article on the LaChine Massacre of 1689. The post was drawn from my work in progress Here to Stay, a history of my 17th-century Canadian ancestors. The post was intended to be a piece of history – and in no way a derogatory comment on the Iroquois. Both sides had their share of cruelty and savagery.

While the Iroquois attack was brutal and devastating, I have written the same about my ancestors’ attacks on the English in New England: Deerfield, Massachusetts, and Portland, Maine.  These are just two sites that were savagely attacked by the French and their Algonquin allies.

It has recently been brought to my attention that my article was reprinted from our own blog, without my permission, to a race-baiting site.

I did not give them permission to use the post to attack Native Peoples and have requested that it be taken down. I do not endorse nor condone the racist tone of the site. And do not give permission to any race-based site to reprint our articles.

The LaChine Massacre of 1689 was another unfortunate incident in what can easily be labeled as a trade war between the Iroquois and the French. The French had disrupted the Iroquois trade patterns with superior French goods that was attracting the beaver fur trade away from the Iroquois.

Obviously, the French Iroquois conflict was more complicated than this—for instance, it involved the alliances the French made with the Hurons, traditional enemies of the Iroquois—but the trade war was a major factor in the antagonism.

By the time of the War of the Conquest, which American and English-Canadian texts call the French and Indian War, all the Northeastern Indians tribes (Including the Iroquois, save the Mohicans) had allied with the French—hence the name French and Indian War.

Thank you for your support in reading The Memoir Network blog and stay in the memoir conversation with us.

Sincerely, Denis Ledoux, The Memoir Network

DL: The Lachine Massacre happened 330 years ago today—August 5, 2019. This account of the tragedy is excerpted from Here To Stay, a 250-page as-yet- unpublished account of my 17th century Canadian ancestors, is the second most visited post on thememoirnetwork.com site. Who would have guessed? I am re-posting it for those of you who have an historical bent of mind or who might wonder how does a memoir writer write about the distant past. In this post, I refer to my francophone ancestors as Canadiens to distinguish them as a distinct group from anglophone Canadians who arrived with the Conquest in 1760.

In the evening of August 4, 1689, the night of before the Lachine massacre, a violent rainstorm hovered above the Saint Lawrence and the Island of Montréal. Lightning flashed repeatedly across the sky and deafening thunder resounded above the seventy-seven houses of the community of Lachine. As the Canadiens slept in their isolated farms, fifteen hundred Iroquois stepped ashore, undetected by the sentries who had sought shelter against the fierce storm. Hidden by the night, warriors fanned out in small bands and readied themselves to attack isolated farmhouses. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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The Pacific Theater

Crossing the Pacific to Reach the World War 2 Theater

This excerpt is from Business Boy to Business Man the memoir of Robert Verreault as told to Denis Ledoux. The memoir was published in 2013.

The military would never tell servicemen where we were going during World War 2, but it was a fairly easy bet that we were headed for Hawaii as a first leg to the Japanese front. The night before we were to board our ship, I had supper in San Francisco with the girlfriend of one of my friends. It would be the last time in a long while that I would have a home-cooked meal.

In the morning, my buddy and I headed out to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard where the ship we were to head out on had undergone some repairs. Like many other ships used by the Americans, this one was a foreign ship that had been more or less stranded far from its homeland and was now helping in the anti-Axis war effort. We were to board it at the yard and begin our trip from there. We reported in and then, hoisting our duffle bags onto our shoulders, took our place to board. There was a long line of men, thousands of men. The line moved slowly, the duffle bags grew heavy. It seemed that when finally we put them down to rest, the line moved again and we’d lug the bags once more. Eventually, we reached a narrow gangplank and walked up it to the ship’s deck. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Point of View in a Memoir

The Wrong Point of View in a Memoir Can Throw the Story

Point of view in a memoir can cause a major problem

In 1996 and 1997, I composed about 200 pages of a memoir of my high school years and then it wasn’t going anywhere more than where it had been—mired in facts and details with no spirit.

I merely stored it in various computers for years.

In the fall of 2013, I completed my mother’s memoir (We Were Not Spoiled). Because I was looking for a writing project I might devote myself to next, I picked up the high-school memoir.

(Lest you think that I went to a high school like yours, let me assure you that I did not. I attended a Catholic high school seminary. No, I’m not writing about sexual shenanigans—there was none of that whatsoever. I am writing about my life there between 1960 and 1964 and how it shaped me. This theme of identity is usual stuff for a memoir, but the setting is exotic in many ways and not at all usual. Almost none of you who are reading this have “been there”—trust me.)

Suddenly, after more than a decade and a half, the memoir spoke to me again!

“Write me! Write me!” it shouted. The text seemed “alive” again. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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becoming an American

Becoming an American–why not?

DL— Stories about immigration and citizenship form the backbone of our great American story as much today as in past times. Here is an excerpt about becoming an American from We Were Not Spoiled, the memoir of Lucille Verreault Ledoux as told to Denis Ledoux. For more excerpts of my mother’s life, click here.

My father had not come to the US to stay but that’s what happened. Working here to support his family and buying an apartment building that was his family’s home, it must have seemed obvious to him that this is where he would spend the rest of his life. So, why not become an American citizen?

My Father, Joseph Verreault

My father, Joseph Verreault

Becoming a US citizen

Sometime in the mid-1920s, he did just that. Now, he could not be deported and put his family at risk. My mother did not join him in becoming a citizen, but remained here as a resident alien. My father could make himself understood in English, but my mother did not know much beyond what she had learned in her waitressing days in Thetford. She felt this lack of English would stop her from passing the examinations for citizenship. My father was a now citizen, and so they perhaps felt that would save her from deportation, Besides, she did not work outside the home and so was not taking a job away from a citizen. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Marriage in New France: Barthélémi and Marthe Wed

As was the custom in the colony, the wedding was set for a date soon after the contract signing. These were exceptional times. Winter was just three months away, and if Barthélémi and Marthe were to survive the long, cold months at the new farm in Chateau-Richer, there was much to be done. Until she […]

memoir writing information

Our Second Son Is Born

Today is my birthday. Here is the story of my birth on January 18, 1947. It is taken from my mother’s memoir, We Were Not Spoiled.

write your memoir

Another Bucksport Story—An Ice Holiday

One morning, when the sun promised to be bright and the sky clear, as we sat down to breakfast at refectory tables, on a day that seemed to be a day just like every other day in January, Father Guy would announce, “Aujourd’hui, c’est un congé de glace [Today, we are having an ice holiday].”

House where Marie Bilodeau was born Bilodeau

After 50 Years

I was one of those fortunate children to have known well both sets of grandparents. My Ledoux grandparents lived upstairs for most of my growing up while by Verreault grandparents lived 10 miles away. (My children did not know their grandfathers and my grandchildren do not know their grandmothers.) My grandmother Marie Bilodeau Ledoux was […]

Point of View in a Memoir

Feedback on “Collect Memories at My Fiftieth Class Reunion”

Collect memories at my fiftieth class reunion

Last weekend—and a warm sunny three days it turned out to be—I spent, as I had written that I would in the last newsletter, with those of my high school classmates who could attend our fiftieth high-school reunion. Some of us had not seen each other in 30 years—not since our 20th class reunion—while one had not been with us in 50 years. Needless to say…

We had changed. The skinny boys we had been had become older white-haired men—except for on man who was mysteriously still dark-haired. Through the wrinkles and the few extra pounds (we were actually quite a fit group), it was uncanny how it seemed to me we had kept some essence of identity intact. The boys I had spent so many years with were there once again with me. I recognize the boys I had known transformed into thoughtful and kind men that I felt so much affection for. We spoke about our years in the seminary high school, our now-grown-up children, our life’s work which had occupied the middle decades of our lives, our goals and aspirations for the years that remained. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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