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The Making and Life of a Blogger: A Truly Never-Ending Story: Chapter Sixteen–My Heritage

While doing the background research for this book, I talked to quite a few individuals for information to fill some of the gaps that existed in my memories of certain events. It was during some of these interactions that I began toying around with the idea of including a genealogical chapter. So, I tried doing some investigating on my own and was immediately overwhelmed. If it had not been the efforts of my sister Tina, her real name will come out in this chapter mainly because it would be silly to make up names for the family tree. Because she is my only remaining sibling and immediate family member, I have been queering her unmercifully about our family history. She finally cried uncle and called in the big guns, our Aunt Barbara, one of our few remaining elder relatives. She was one of my father’s sister-in-laws. She pointed me in the direction of one of my cousins. He was the grandson of one of my father’s brothers. His name is Ricky, and thanks to years of highly involved research he was a able to provide some very valuable information for me. As a matter of fact, he provided too much information. I could probably write another book on just my heritage. However, I think I will be able to parse it down a little to provide an entertaining narrative of the events that led up to “me”. I will also include a family tree to help illustrate how our family spread out. It is a shame that I can’t show all the siblings at each. They are really there just in drop down menus. If they all showed up it would take an entire wall to show them all. I happen to believe that the family tree is the most important and interesting part of this chapter. It also took the most time to develop. After you spend a few minutes reviewing it, I am sure you will agree with me.

Another thing I found interesting doing this research was the amount of time that has gone into the study of names, surnames in particular. So I will include a little information on the subject. Information that I gleamed from the ever valuable Wikipedia.

It was not until the early Middle Ages that surnames became common. They became necessary to differentiate people. The populations had greatly increased in number and therefore it was no longer feasible to use only one name for each person. Especially when many people chose to use the same Christian names. How many Thomas’s and Joseph’s can you really have? As a matter of fact, Joseph is still a very common middle name in my family lineage. “Landry is of patronymic origin, coming from Landericus, belonging to that category of names derived from the first name of the father or ancestor. In this case, the name simply denotes ‘the son of Landry’, a popular personal name during the medieval period, early forms of which included Landri, and the regional variant Landry. Today in France, the name is also found in the forms of Landrin and Landron. The name is in fact, of ultimate Germanic origin, being derived from the old baptismal name ‘Land-rick’, a composite name which signifies, literally, ‘land/country-powerful’.”

Additional information on the origins of the Landry name came from the website House of Names. “The surname Landry was first found in Lorraine at Barrois, part of the duchy of Bar, which in the Middle Ages was part of the duchy of Lorraine. Landry is now a commune in the Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.”

Figure 1. Landry Family Tree that followed the Canadian route to America.

(Note that the family tree continues to branch further. While I have no children, my siblings were all blessed with offspring who are keeping the family name alive and well.)

“Although their first mention was in Lorraine, which was an ancient province of the East of France. When the Romans conquered this area in the 1st century B.C. they found it inhabited by people from Gaul. The region was again invaded by the Franks in the 5th Century. Clovis was the
King of the Franks from 481 to 511. He inherited a small Kingdom between the North Sea, the Escaut and the Cambresis. He drove the frontiers to the Loire and by defeating the Alamans he managed to extend his authority up to the Rhine. The Carlovingian dynasty succeeded the Merovingian in 751 with Pepin le Bref. In 855, Lothaire I, Emperor of the West from 840 to 855, King of Italy from 822 to 855, and son of Louis le Pieux, who erected the Kingdom in favour of his son, Lothaire II. In 959, Lorraine was divided into Upper Lotharingie, the future Lorraine and Lower Lotharingie, the future Brabant.The family name landry was found in Lorraine at Barrois, part of the duchy of Bar, which in the Middle Ages was part of the duchy of Lorraine. Landry is now a commune in the Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. Although their first mention was in Lorraine, they branched north to Artois, south to Lyonnais and Bourgogne. One branch moved west into Brittany (French: Bretagne). The main stem of the family, however, the nobility as Barons de Landres and the Comtes de Briey, Barons de Landres. Another branch of the family went eastward over the border into Luxembourg. The family flourished until the French Revolution in 1789 when most of the estates of this prestigious family were lost. Guillaume Landry, born in 1626, son of Mathurin and Damiane, traveled from Perche, France and settled at île d’Orléans, Quebec on 2nd April 1656. He married Gabrielle Barre in Quebec on 14th October 1659. Gabrielle passed away in 1688 and Guillaume died in Sainte-Famille on 8th January 1689.”

The Landry Clans followed three main migratory paths from the motherland (1) Migration to Canada during the 17th and 18th Centuries, (2) Migration to the United States during the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries and (3) the Migration to New Zealand during the18th and 19th Centuries.

“In the early 16th century French culture and society became the model for all Europe. In an expanding awareness of leadership, New World exploration became a challenge to all European countries. Along the eastern seaboard of North America there were from north to south, New France, New England, New Holland, and New Spain. Jacques Cartier made the first of three voyages to New France in 1534. The Jesuits, Champlain, and the Church missionaries, followed in 1608. Plans for developing Quebec fell far short of the objectives of the Company of New France, a company which later became the Habitants’ Company. Champlain made over twenty voyages to France in order to encourage immigration to New France. In 1617, Champlain brought back the first true migrant, Louis Hebert, a Parisian apothecary, and his family.”

Throughout our history, there were relatives who played key roles in the Landry history. I will include a few of their monologues below.

Rene (Le Jeune) Landry

Rene (Le Jeune) Landry was born in 1634 in Lachoussee, France. He married Marie-Bernard in 1659. They were subsequently to have fifteen children, including Claude Landry the second oldest, who became our direct descendant.

Rene sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and settled in Port Royal, Acadia which is located in Nova Scotia, Canada. It appears that the reason Rene and his wife risked the dangerous journey to Canada was not of religious persecution as was common during that era, but to seek new opportunities. Due to the extreme tides in the Bay of Fundy, the surrounding marshlands provided fertile land for raising agricultural crops. Life was idyllic in this region, for the native residents, the Mi-Kmaq tribe were peaceful and coexisted well with the new French settlers. This was the case mainly because the settlers chose to live in land not utilized by the tribes and therefore they were not competing directly with them. Trade thrived, especially the fur trade. While trade was a key source of income in their lives, agriculture was king. Through an ingenious use of dikes and trenches they were able to drain and irrigate their land. After a few years they were able to not only grow crops, but raise livestock as well.

Figure 2. Illustration of a cross-section of the dykelands at Grand-Pre.

However, life was not so peaceful and profitable with the English. This was mainly due to the fact that they coveted the lands occupied by the Mi-Kmaq tribes, and were held with a great deal of suspicion with them, this also caused a great deal of strife with the Acadian French who valued the friendship of the local tribes.

During this time, life was interrupted on a regular basis related to the frequent conflicts between the French and the British. Port Royal and its associated fort, Fort Anne were strategically located and were subsequently a continuous source of strife. Up to the early 1650s, Port Royal was under French rule, however, after the French defeat in 1654, it was now under British rule. It remained so up to the 1667 Treaty of Breda when it returned to French rule. By 1690, it was back in British hands again, after Sir William Phips raided it with seven warships. The residents were forced to take oaths of allegiance to the King of England. The newly appointed commandant Charles La Tourasse asked six leading men to serve on the local council. Rene Landry a long time Acadian resident and highly respected in the community was selected as one of the councilmen. He was only to serve 2 years before he died at the ripe-old age of 58.

Figure 3. Acadia – Nova Scotia
Figure 4. Bay of Fundy

Claude Landry

Claude Landry was born in 1663 at Port Royal, Acadia. Claude was the first generation of Landry’s born in the New World and would become the father of our family clan. He would marry Catherine Anne Thodeau in 1684. Our lineage would continue through their youngest child, Simon Landry who was born in 1708. When Claude turned 19, he and two of his siblings Antoine and Cecile settled 68 miles further up the Minas Basin in a place that would eventually become known as Grand Pre or the Great Meadow. The area would subsequently be known for two things, it would become the breadbasket of the region and also the site of the Acadian Grand Deportation. While no one knows for sure why they chose to leave the brood, it may have been two-fold. (1) it provided new opportunities and land for farming and (2) it allowed them to gain some distance from the constant bickering and fighting between the French and the British. Due to the unique geography of the Ninas Basin, navigation by ship was difficult and was therefore a less enticing area for the British to explore and invade.

During the later part of Claude Landry’s life, Acadia experienced what was known as the Golden Age. A few of the reasons for this fruitful time were (1) there was no fighting between France and England, (2) family sizes grew, (3) there were no health epidemics and (4) commerce thrived. However, there arose a little bit of a ticklish situation. The Treaty of Utrecht which was signed in 1713. It called for the Acadians of Nova Scotia either to take an unconditional oath of allegiance to England and become British subjects or leave the country within a years time.

Rather than take the oath of allegiance, all of the Acadians decided to leave Nova Scotia where they had lived for 30 or more years. England was not happy with this decision, for one because basically they had called their bluff. It would also cause the following problems for England (1) allowing the Acadians to move to French-controlled areas would strengthen the French forces, (2) by leaving the area, it would revert back to its primitive state, devoid of inhabitants and cattle, (3) the English would lose the Acadian farm goods that supplied the local garrisons, (4) it would also be hard to attract replacement English settlers there for fear of the Mi-Kmaq tribes.

England therefore chose to use delaying tactics to prevent the Acadians from relocating. On March 12, 1715, finally the Acadians including Claude Landry finally acquiesced and signed an allegiance to England. By doing so, they were supposedly allowed to leave the area. However, five years later they still had not been allowed to leave the Grand Pre area. In 1720, they were given another ultimatum with regards to sign yet another document of allegiance. This time they were given just three months to leave. This was a joke considering that they have been doing nothing else but try to leave for over five years. However, they refused to sign this time, and they were not allowed to leave. Basically it was just another bullying tactic by the British. By this time, Claude’s first wife had died after giving him 13 children and he remarried Marie Babin in 1725. He was to remarry his third and final time in 1741 to Jean Bellemare. In December of 1729, the Acadians in Minas eventually signed another oath of allegiance to England. They were simply worn down by the British tactics of delaying and the constant uncertainty of what England would do next to make their lives miserable. Claude finally passed away in 1747 at a ripe old age of 84. He was buried Grand Pre. He never got to leave Acadia.

Figure 5. Minas Basin

Joseph Landry

Joseph Landry was born in 1708 in Grand Pre Acadia. Joseph was the youngest child of Claude Landry and Catherine Anne Thibodeau. Joseph married Marie Josephate Comeau in 1727, he was 19 and she was 22. Over the next 17 years, she bore him 10 children, the fifth child being Simon Joseph Landry our next forefather. Joseph and Marie lived in the Village des Comceau until 1755 when they were deported out of the colony by the British. A little additional background information will help to illuminate this dark period of Canadian history. As part of the spoils gained by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, England gained control of Peninsular Acadia. It was eventually renamed Nova Scotia. For the next 45 years, the Acadians were caught in the middle of a power struggle between France and England. On several occasions they were given ultimatums to either sign documents of allegiance or vacate the area. However, as noted earlier they were unable to leave, mainly because it was in England’s best interest for them to remain there. During this time several minor and not so minor skirmishes were fought over the coveted region. During this time the Acadians did their best to remain neutral.

However, living conditions became untenable for the Acadians when Charles Lawrence was appointed in 1753 by the British Crown as Governor of Nova Scotia. Lawrence did not trust that the Acadians would remain neutral. He also believed, being a little bit on the paranoid side of the French conspiring with the local Mi-Kmaq tribes. Even though they had sworn oaths of allegiance in 1730, they were given the ultimatum that if they did not sign another one reinforcing their previous oaths that they would be really be deported this time. Oh, I am just shaking in my boots. It has been argued by many that the British had started becoming covetous of the fertile Acadian farm land and that this was but a pretext to force them to leave their land.

In the years between 1756 and 1763, the British also were to become embroiled in what has been termed the “French and Indian War”. Unfortunately for the Acadians, their homeland had become ground zero.

The Acadians refused to sign the new oath of allegiance in 1755. Colonel Winslow was given the task by Governor Lawrence to implement the deportation of the Acadians. On September 2, 1755, he declared the following proclamation:

“To the inhabitants of the District of Grand Pre, Minas, River Canardand places adjacent, as well ancients as young men and lads. Whereas His Excellency the Governor has instructed us of his late resolution respecting the matter proposed to the inhabitants, and has ordered us to communicate the same in person, His Excellency being desirous that each of the should be satisfied of His Majesty’s intentions, which he also ordered us to communicate to you, as these presents, all of the inhabitants as well as of the above-named districts as of all the other districts, both old and young men, as well as the lads of sixteen years of age, to attend the church at Grand Pre on Friday, the 5th. Instant, at three in the afternoon, that we may impart to them what we are ordered to communicate to them declaring that no excuse will be admitted on any pretense whatsoever, on pain of forfeiting goods and chattles, in default of real estate.”
(My God, talk about double talk!)

Four Hundred and Eighteen Acadians showed up to listen to Colonel Winslow prattle on. Here is what he said: “that your land and tenements, cattle of all kinds, and livestock of all sorts are forfeited to the crown of England with all your effects saving your money and household goods, and you yourselves to be removed from this province.” The meeting was promptly ended with the doors being locked. They were to remain in confinement until the appropriate ships arrived to deport them. Even though Joseph Landry’s name was mentioned in list of names, he was not our Joseph Landry. Apparently he defied the order of Colonel Wilson. Though it did not seem to matter either way, they would all be captured one way or the other. Simon Landry’s name was also mentioned, but this appears not to have been our Simon Joseph as well. Though he would be caught up in latter dragnet with his brother Honore. Joseph Landry was eventually caught with several of his family on October the 27th, 1755. Those held captive in the Grand Pre church were kept there for 52 days. It turns out to add insult to injury the families of the detained men had to provide for their daily needs and sustenance.

The Acadians were not told where they would be going. Since historians are gifted with hindsight we now know that the 1500 Acadians were slated to be deported to Virginia. Their homes, barns and churches were all burned to the ground by British troops. These events caused the children of Joseph Landry to be spread all over Canada and the Colonies and eventually England.

In the Spring of 1756 after being held in Virginia for a brief stint, Joseph and what remained of his immediate family were loaded on a Virginia Packet ship and sailed to Bristol, England. Of the four ships departing Virginia, only one made it to Bristol, and as luck would have it that was our family ship. Seven months and 22 days later, the ship arrived to Bristol harbor. Upon arriving there in England, the Acadians were labeled as French neutrals and were not considered or treated as ordinary prisoners of war. They could not be confined in existing prisons, so unconventional habitats were found for them. Several warehouse were chosen on the outskirts of the city. Joseph and his family remained there for the next seven years. They were provided a small stipend by the British Crown. Life was very harsh for them and the scourge, small pox ran rampant through the clan.

Finally, a light appeared to shine at the end of the tunnel when the Treaty of Paris was signed on November 3, 1962 bringing hostilities to an end between France and England. The surviving Acadians, including the Joseph Landry family were transported by a sailing vessel named the “La Dorothee” to St. Malo, France. Finally in June 1763, Joseph Landry settled down in St. Servan, France as a free man. He would die one year later at the age of 55. Of the original 1126 Acadians deported to England only 866 survived, many dying from small pox and malnutrition.

Simon Joseph Landry

Simon Joseph Landry was born in 1734 in Grand Pre, Acadia, Canada. Simon, the fifth child of ten of Joseph Landry and Marie-Joseph Comeau was raised in the Village des Comeau in the River-aux-Canards parish prior to 1755. As I mentioned earlier, he and his oldest brother Honore moved over 60 miles away from the primary clan, in an attempt to distance themselves from the French and British bickering. Honore being 6 years Simon’s senior already was married with family when they moved. So Simon, not being established moved in with his brother’s family.
Honore had married a widow in 1750 named Marie-Joseph Cormier who was graced with five children from a previous marriage to Louis-Joseph Cyr. The fourth child from her previous marriage, Rosalie Cyr would eventually become the wife of Simon Joseph. Honore and Marie-Joseph had four additional children together by the time Simon Joseph moved in with them. Talk about a house full. However, this was not the only drama they would experience.

As I have elucidated earlier, the brothers lived in a very contentious place and time. They lived in a small French village named Memramcook located in eastern New Brunswick, which was located on the Isthmus of Chignectou. This isthmus connected peninsular Nova Scotia to the North American Continent, making it a very tempting treat for both France and England.

In the spring of 1750, a British expeditionary force led by Major Charles Lawrence arrived at Beaubassin. Prior to his arrival, a French Priest Abbe Jean-Louis Le Loutre ordered the town burnt AKA “scorched earth policy”. This forced the Acadians to relocate to French-controlled areas. Competing forts were then built by both the French and the British located within a mile of each other. Talking about neighborly love. After a couple years of uneasy peace between the two encampments in 1755, a force of over 2,000 British regulars and militia took over the French Fort Beausejour (note, this was during a time of peace and was done totally without provocation). From a previous monologue, we already know what happened to the main portion of the Landry Clan in Acadia, now we need to learn what happened to Honore and his brother. Thanks to research by Paul Delaney, it was discovered that Honore and Simon-Joseph Landry were deported on the ship “Prince Frederick” on October 13, 1775 to Georgia from Chignectou. The Acadians aboard this ship were considered the most dangerous of the Acadians. (Note Honore’s family did not get deported with him and Simon-Joseph.) Marie-Joseph and their children ended up in Montreal, where Honore reunited with them in 1760, Simon-Joseph also followed Honore back up to Montreal where he was finally able to hook up with Rosalie Cyr.

There was a lot of tension stewing in the area, partially thanks to the actions of a French priest and missionary named Abbe Le Loutre. He did a rather un-Monk like thing by putting a bounty on British scalps and he also threatened Acadian followers with excommunication from the Catholic church if they did not follow his policies. So we can kind of understand why the British attacked the French Fort.

Now back to Georgia, about half of the Acadians deported there were there for a short while barely three months. It just so happened that Honore and Simon-Joseph were part of this group. These Acadians, with Governor Reynold’s help were allowed to acquire rudimentary boats (basically canoes with paddles) to sail back up to Nova Scotia. During their voyage while in Virginia, as luck would have it, it was unknown to the Landry family that Honore and Simon-Joseph were in Virginia at the same time as their parents and the rest of their siblings who were en route to Bristol. Honore finally made it with his brother to Acadia only to find that his wife and family were now in Montreal. While they arrived at Quebec City in 1756, they did not officially make it to Montreal until 1760. The reason for the delay will most likely never be known. It is possible that they may both have found themselves embroiled in the French and Indian War. This is the only reason that explains a four year delay. However, what is really amazing is that they made it up the colonial coastline all they way to Quebec City. It must have been quite an adventure in their small boats. It seems like they could make a movie out of the Landry family adventures.

Well, whatever happened, Honore was finally re-united with his family and Simon-Joseph eventually married Rosalie Cyr in 1764 in Contrecoeur Vercheres, Quebec. Simon was 30 years old while Rosalie Cyr, his bride was only 19 years old. They were to have twelve children. Of the first five children they had, only one lived beyond a year of age. Their eighth child Firmin Landry who was born on 1775 in St-Phillippe, Quebec and became our new link in the Landry chain. Little more is known of Simon-Joseph’s life. He died in 1814 at the age of 80 and was buried in L’Acadie, Quebec.

The next three monologues will be quite short, due to the scarcity of available information.

Firmin Landry

Firmin Landry was born on 1775 at St-Phillippe, Quebec to Simon-Joseph Landry and Rosalie Cyr. He married Marie Nathalie Noreau on 1800. The couple had two sons, Hubert Landry and Francois Xavier Landry who would keep our family lineage alive. Firmin died in 1843, at the age of 68.

Francois Xavier Landry

Francois Xavier Landry was born on 1810 in L’Acadie, Quebec, Canada to Firmin Landry and Marie Nathalie Noreau. He married Angelique Duteau Landry. Theophille Landry was the first born and kept Landry lineage intact. He died on 1886 at the age of 76 in Lacolle, Quebec, Canada.

Theophile Landry

Theophile Landry was born on 1840 in Napierville, Les Jardins-de-Napierville, Quebec, Canada to Francois-Xavier Landry and Angelique Duteau. He married Marie-Lea Fortin. Adei Landry their 12th child of 13 would become the next heir to the Landry lineage. He died on 1921 in Napierville, Quebec.

Adei Joseph Landry

Adei Joseph Landry was born on 1886 in St. Valentin Quebec, Canada. Adei was the 12th of 13 children born to Theophile Landry and Maria Lea Fortin. Theo and Lea were Canadian farmers who spoke French as did Adei. He would eventually learn English when it became necessary. He, like his parents did not attend school, and was self-taught. Though, the records are somewhat foggy, he may have actually attended school till the 3rd grade. Adei married his second cousin Eliza Prouix in 1908. They migrated across the US border in 1916 where they lived in Rouses Point, NY for a time where he worked as a blacksmith. Due to the hard times, they continued to follow the work. They bought a piece of land in Vermont in 1918, where they lived for three years. By 1921, they had moved back into Canada where they remained there for another six years. Adei and his family finally settled in Champlain, NY where they bought a dairy farm in 1940. Adei was buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Champlain, NY at 63 years of age. Eliza moved in with Oliva and his wife Beatrice where she remained till she died in 1968. I remember going to her funeral with my mother and father.

Looking back at the time Adei lived, life was very hard mainly due to the Great Depression which affected all classes of people. Unions had also not come about yet and there was little protection for workers. There was no Social Security until 1935 so you made due with what you had. Even though Adei was never a citizen of the United States he had to register for both of the World Wars, neither of which he was called to duty for. I guess it was just the luck of the draw. My father was born in 1923, If Adei had fought and had been killed in WWI, I would not be writing this final chapter now. My father Roger Joseph Landry was the 12th child out of 15.

Roger Joseph Landry
Roger Joseph Landry was born on 1923 in St. Valentin, Canada, he married Rita Lapier and had four children, Ronald, Regina (alias Tina), Robert and myself Randy. My father died too young at the age of 46 in 1970. He died doing what he loved to do, playing cards with his friends and family. He spent the last 12 years of his life in and out of the hospital due to a bad heart and even worse genes. If he had been born today, he might have lived to a much older age. He was a carpenter by trade and worked at the American Can Company until he had to go out on disability. When he was younger he worked with three of his brothers building wooden bridges and barns and anything else that needed to be worked on, as long as it was made from wood. They did not have power tools back then, everything was made using wooden pegs and joined together with mortise and tenon joints. Nails were square and not round and did not split the wood, like the round nails tend to do. Yes, my father was a master carpenter and he was proud of it. If he had lived longer, I am sure I would have followed in his footsteps. However, it was not to be, and I went down a different path. Life holds many surprises, and the best you can do is to ride the waves out and try not to swallow too much water.

Our clan has surely grown from the early days, we are spread all over this country and throughout the northern continent. We have restaurants with our names on it. We even had a coach for a time in professional football. While I don’t have any children of my own, I have plenty of nieces and nephews and even great ones as well. It is with a great deal of trepidation that I face our future. I am happy that I have no children who will face our uncertain world, because I feel that is no longer a wonderful place to live in. I just hope the rest of the Landry clan is up to the task at hand. I do know one thing, if our children are as tough as our ancestors were they will do just fine.

Figure 6. The Future of the Landry Clan
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