Week 5 – Branching Out

This week the prompt for 52 ancestors is Branching Out.

One of the units I studied as part of my Diploma in Family History through the University of Tasmania was Convict Ancestry. At first, I thought I would just pick one of my husband’s five convict ancestors to research and write about, but then I made an interesting discovery.

As I started researching, I read about the numerous Rebels from the Lower Canada rebellions who were transported to Australia and I noticed a few family names in the mix. The name Étienne Langlois jumped out at me and I wondered if there was any connection to my 9th great-grandparents Noël Langlois and Franςoise Grenier. Sure enough, Étienne Langlois was indeed descended from this ancestor couple. Noël and Francoise were Etienne’s 3rd great-grandparents, so he was my 4C6R (4th cousin 6 times removed).

So, for this week’s prompt I am branching out and sharing my research on a VERY distant cousin.

Government Gaol GangViews in New South Wales and Van Diemens Land: Australian Scrap Book, 1830, State Library of New South Wales

Étienne Langlois

Étienne Langlois was transported to New South Wales on the ship the Buffalo which departed Montreal on September 28, 1839.[1] According to the ship’s muster. Étienne’s station (occupation) was listed as joiner (carpenter).[2] On the Convict Indent document Étienne was listed as a 26-year-old unmarried French Catholic, (although the discovery of his baptism record confirms his age to be older). On the Convict Indent his occupation is listed as farmer. His crime was treason, his sentence was life.[3]

Étienne was born on September 22, 1810 in La Presentation (Ste Hyacinthe), Lower Canada to parents Charles Langlois and Marie-Angelique Lavoie.[4] Etienne, a fifth generation French Canadian was a descendant of pioneer couple Noël Langlois and Françoise Grenier.[5]

By 1837, unrest in Lower Canada had reached its climax with the Lower Canada Rebellions or Patriots’ War. First colonised in the 1500s by the French, it had been home to generations of French speaking inhabitants until France ceded most of its North American lands to the British in 1763, when it signed the Paris Treaty. The Lower Canada Rebellions were a culmination of social, political, and economic factors that spanned generations of French Canadians living in Lower Canada. By 1837 the hopes of French Canadians for Constitutional reform had been lost and rebellion broke out.

Étienne’s story begins on the night of November 27, 1837 with the murder of Joseph Armand dit Chartrand, a volunteer in Her Majesty’s Service. Étienne and 14 other men were subsequently arrested, and the trial took place in Montreal in September 1838.[6] During the trial Etienne testified that he was on his horse on his way home when a group of men forced him to join them. The men, 14 in total were armed with muskets, Étienne was not.[7] Following the presentation of the evidence, the verdict of not guilty was returned by the jury and the prisoners were released.[8]

Following his release Étienne went to Napierville, presumably to join the rebellion. This second uprising consisted of two main conflicts between Nov 4th and Nov 12th. The rebellion, was quickly quashed by the British, and the rebels were arrested.[9]

A series of court martials began in Montreal on November 28, 1838.[10] By April 17, 1839, a total of 104 rebels had been tried, twelve had been hanged, nine were acquitted, and the remaining including Étienne were sentenced to death.[11] Étienne’s trial took place between March 12 and March 19, 1839.[12]

The government soon realised that public sentiment was in favour of the rebels. Of the 92 men who were sentenced to death, 25 were released on bond for good conduct and the remaining 58 Including Étienne were sentenced to transportation.[13] Newspapers of the time declared the sentence barbaric and an act of tyranny.[14]

On September 27, 1839 the Buffalo set sail from Montreal. In a diary kept by Francois Xavier Prieur, one of the patriots, he tells of extreme seasickness suffered by the prisoners, the suffocating smell and the terrible weather encountered during the first part of the journey.[15]

The rations consisted of gruel (slightly sweet oatmeal) for breakfast, then for dinner, salted beef, duff (pudding made of flour and lard), and ship’s biscuit or pea soup, or salt pork and ship’s biscuit. For supper on alternate days, they would receive cocoa or tea with the remains of the biscuit rations.[16]

During a stop in Rio de Janeiro the French Canadians requested that money that had been confiscated from them be used to purchase sugar and fresh fruit. The purchases were made and this along with other fresh stores greatly improved their diet.[17]

On Feb 12 the Buffalo arrived in Hobart Town.[18] Then on February 13 all the prisoners except the 58 French Canadians were removed from the ship. The Buffalo remained in Hobart until February 19th, eventually arriving in Sydney on February 25th.[19]

Étienne and the French-Canadian “rebels were imprisoned at Longbottom Stockade in Sydney, spending time breaking rocks and collecting oyster shells for making lime.”[20]

On 05 Feb 1842 Étienne received his Ticket of Leave, with the condition being that he remain in the service of Mr AG Dumas of New Town.[21]  Mr Dumas was employed as a clerk in the office of The Principal Superintendent of Convicts.[22] No documents pertaining to Étienne’s time in service have been found. As nothing has been found to the contrary, it is likely that Étienne did not break the conditions of his Ticket of Leave.

According to Pardon documents, Étienne was issued a full pardon on January 28, 1844.[23] The documents were not received by Governor Gipps until June 11, 1844. Although there is no information documenting what happened after Étienne received his pardon, it is likely that he and the others began their preparations to leave the colony.[24]

In documents previously cited, Étienne is listed as both farmer and joiner. By his own evidence in his first trial, he gives his occupation as carpenter.[25] Although no proof can be found, it is likely that he was able to put his skills to use and earn money for his passage home.

According to information found in the book French Canadian Rebels as Australian Convicts, Étienne departed Sydney on a whaling ship in December 1844 and arrived in Canada in May 1845.[26]

Étienne married Emilie Serre dit St Jean on 11 Feb 1850 in Napierville.[27] The couple went on to have six children, of which five survived into adulthood.[28]

Although the exact date of Étienne’s death is unknown it can be determined that he died before August 17, 1878 as he is listed as deceased on the marriage entry for his daughter Maria Georgina.[29]

Footnotes

[1] Convict Records, ‘Buffalo Voyages to Australia’, https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/buffalo, accessed 08 June 2021.

[2] Etienne Langlois, Buffalo, 1840, Muster Roll, New South Wales State Archives, Series CGS 1155, Reels 2417-2428, Australia Convict Ship Muster Rolls and Related Records, 1790-1849, Ancestry.com, accessed 15 June 2021.

[3] Etienne Langlois, Buffalo, 1840, Annotated printed indent, New South Wales State Archives, NRS 12189, pp. 50–51, New South Wales, Australia, Convict Indents, 1788–1842, Ancestry.com, accessed 15 June 2021.

[4] Baptism of Etienne Langlois, baptised 22 September 1810, La Presentation St Hyacinthe, unpaginated, LAFRANCE Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths, Québec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), Num. 2788391, https://www.genealogiequebec.com/, accessed 06 Jun 2021.

[5] Michel Langlois, ‘Étienne Langlois patriote’, Le Langlois: Bulletin de l’association, Le Langlois d’Amérique, No 29, 2012, p. 9, https://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/details/52327/4074137?docref=_NkG9fVMWr_hAU51LiaIcg, accessed 06 Jun 2021.

[6] Robert Christie, A History of the late Province of Lower Canada, Parliamentary and Political from the Commencement to the Close of Its Existence as a Separate Province, vol. 5, Richard Worthington, Publisher, and Bookseller, 1866, p. 206, Google Books.

[7] Great Britain, Parliament, House of Commons ‘Accounts and Papers of the House of Commons, Copies of Extracts of Correspondence Relative to the affairs of British North America’, vol.32, 11 Feb 1839, p. 174, Google Books.

[8] Christie, A History of the late Province of Lower Canada, Parliamentary and Political from the Commencement to the Close of Its Existence as a Separate Province, p. 207, Google Books.

[9] The Canadian Encyclopedia, ‘Timeline Rebellions of 1837’, https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/timeline/rebellions-of-1837, accessed 15 June 2021.

[10] J. Douglas Bothwick, ‘History of the Montreal prison from A.D. 1784 to A.D. 1886’, Periard, Montreal, 1866, https://archive.org/, pp. 47-57, Google Books.

[11] Bothwick, ‘History of the Montreal prison from A.D. 1784 to A.D. 1886’, p. 46.

[12] Bothwick, ‘History of the Montreal prison from A.D. 1784 to A.D. 1886’, pp. 55-56.

[13] Bothwick, ‘History of the Montreal prison from A.D. 1784 to A.D. 1886’, p. 46.

[14]‘Political Prisoners’, North American, 02 October 1839, p. 3, https://img.newspapers.com/clip/39395224/political-prisoners-oct-1839-vermont/.

[15] Free Settler or Felon, ‘Convict Ship Buffalo 1840’, https://www.freesettlerorfelon.com/convict_ship_buffalo_1840.htm#Trials, accessed 10 June 2021.

[16]B.M. Petrie (ed), M.L. Maurel (trans), F.M. Lapailleur, ‘Diary of François-Maurice Lepailleur’, Diary entries 6,7 October,1839, 16 February 1840, 2007, cited in Brian M. Petrie, ‘French Canadian Rebels as Australian Convicts’, Australian Scholarly Publishing Pty.Ltd., Melbourne, 2013, p. 53.

[17]L.Ducharme, G. Mackaness (trans) ‘Journal of a Political Exile in Australia’,1944, pp. 24-26; H Lanctôt, B.M. Petrie (ed), M.L. Maurel (trans), ‘The Journal of Hypolite Lanctôt (Written as Letters to his Children and Grandchildren)’, 2007, p. 33, H Lanctôt, J. Hare and R. Landry (eds), Hypolite Lanctôt. ‘Souvenirs d’un Patriote Exilé en Australie 1838-1845,’ 1999, pp.17-138, cited in Brian M. Petrie, ‘French Canadian Rebels as Australian Convicts’, p. 59.

[18] Captain’s Log, ‘A Log of the Proceedings of Her Majesty’s Ship Buffalo, Mr James Wood Master in Command,’ February 12-19, 1840, cited in Brian M. Petrie, ‘French Canadian Rebels as Australian Convicts’, p. 62.

[19] Captain’s Log, 12-19 February 1840; Lepailleur, ‘Diary of Fancois-Maurice Lepailleur’ cited in Brian M. Petrie, ‘French Canadian Rebels as Australian Convicts’, p.62. 

[20] The Canadian Encyclopedia, ‘Timeline Rebellions of 1837’

[21]Etienne Langlois, Buffalo, 1840, Ticket of Leave Butts, New South Wales State Archives, Series NRS 12202, Item 4/4159, New South Wales, Australia Tickets of Leave 1810-1869, Ancestry.com, accessed 15 June 2021.

[22] Great Britain, Colonial Office, ‘Convict Discipline and Transportation: Correspondence on the Subject of Convict Discipline and Transportation’, Clowes and Sons, London, 1848, p 165, Google Books.

[23] Etienne Langlois, Buffalo, 1840, Pardon, New South Wales State Archives, HO 10/53, New South Wales and Tasmania, Australia, Convict Pardons and Tickets of Leave, 1834-1839, Ancestry.com, accessed 15 June 2021.

[24] Lord Stanley to Governor Sir George Gipps, correspondence, 28 Jan 1844, Secretary of State for the Colonies, Despatches to The Governor of New South Wales, January – April 1844, A1294, pp. 81-82, Reel CY1829 (ML); Lepailleur, 2007, 12, 19-20 June 1844, cited in Brian M. Petrie, ‘French Canadian Rebels as Australian Convicts’

[25] Great Britain, Parliament, House of Commons ‘Accounts and Papers of the House of Commons, Copies of Extracts of Correspondence Relative to the affairs of British North America’, p. 174, Google Books.

[26] G Aubin (ed), ‘Francois-Maurice Lepailleur. Journal d’un Patriote Exilé en Australie 1838-1845’, Sillery, Canada les éditions de Septentrion, 1996, pp. 381, 383; B.D Boissery, The Patriot Convicts: A Study of the 1838 Rebellion in Lower Canada and the Transportation of Some Participants to New South Wales, PhD dissertation, Australian national University, 1977, cited in Brian M. Petrie, ‘French Canadian Rebels as Australian Convicts’

[27] Marriage of Etienne Langlois and Emilie Serre, married 11 February 1850 February, St Édouard-de-Napierville, unpaginated, LAFRANCE Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths, Québec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), Num. 4779835, https://www.genealogiequebec.com/, accessed 06 Jun 2021.

[28] Langlois, ‘Étienne Langlois, patriote’, p. 10.

[29] Marriage of Francois Xavier Dugas and Marie Georgianna Langlois, married 17 August 1878, Ste Cunégonde, Montréal, unpaginated, LAFRANCE Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths, Québec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), Num. 4779818, https://www.genealogiequebec.com/, accessed 06 Jun 2021.

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