Moïse and Sophie L'Heureux
Moise and Sophie L'Heureux
Moise L'Heureux was born in Chateau Richer near Quebec City in 1858. When he was a young man of 19 in the year 1877, he heard about the opportunities in Western Canada; and, with a party of several others hit out for Winnipeg. At Winnipeg they were hired to work for the railroad. From Winnipeg the party traveled west, following the telegraph. It was a grueling trip and were some who died along the way, but Moise reached the Rocky Mountains and went to work on the railroad in the Crows Nest Pass.
After several years of hard work and tough living conditions, Moise decided to return to Quebec and to marry his girl friend, Sophie Pichette. After their marriage the couple returned to Winnipeg in 1881, staying there for several years, where their two eldest children were born. the family were on their way to Battleford when the Rebellion broke out and they decided to go on to the mountains, where they remained for the duration. Their third child, Leonidas, was born there.
On their return to Battleford, the family experienced the dangers of frontier life. While camped for the night their horses were stolen leaving the family stranded. Moise parted with his gold watch in trade for an Indian pony and set out looking for his horses, a pair of good draft animals. Upon meeting a couple of freighters, he inquired about his horses and was told "Never mind looking, your horses will be in the States by now". Managing to get another pony, Moise was able to return to the wagon where his wife and children were waiting.
In Battleford Moise worked as a bartender in the Hotel and later operated a "stopping house", However it was not long before a group of settlers, Moise among them, moved out to the north end of Jackfish Lake where the lush hayfields and good water provided an ideal location for ranching. There were about seventeen families, all French speaking from down east, who homesteaded around that time, in 1889.
Moise built his first house close to Jackfish creek and it was a stopping place for early setters. In 1897, he opened the first post office in Jackfish Lake and operated this office until 1901. As well, he had small log cabin built where the priest could say Mass. A school was built in 1894 but was not always open; considering this lack of education, Moise made the decision to move to Delmas and accept a job as the Indian Agent for the Reserve. He continued as agent at a salary of $40. per month, for the next ten years. In the meantime, the family traveled back and forth with cattle and oxen, fording the North Saskatchewan River and covering a distance of 25 miles from Delmas to the homestead on the SE 1/4 of Section 22, Township 48, Range 17, west of the 3rd Meridian. On returning to Jackfish, Moise bought Section 23 and set up "The Horse Shoe Ranch". A new log house was built and remodeled in later years, with six bedrooms for the family of 15 children (eight boys and seven girls).
During the First World War, horses were sold at a good price for The Light Horse Cavalry and beef raising was profitable. Moise gave up raising horses, in later years, and sent Joe (his son) to Winnipeg to purchase two box-car loads of Heifer Cattle and the range became a Cattle Ranch (in a big way).
Moise died at the age of 73, in February 1931. His wife, Sophie, died at the age of 83 in March 1944. They are both buried in the Jackfish Lake Cemetery.
The above text was extracted from Footsteps in Time, Meota History Book Committee (Saskatchewan), 1980, pp.356-358.
Moise is the fifth great grandson of Simon Lereau and his ascendance can be seen here.
There are now over 2,000 descendants of Moïse and Sophie mostly in Western Canada and the US. Genealogy data will be collected before and also at the Gathering for the re-issue of the history book Onward to the Unknown 1887-1987. Copies of the 1987 book was available for purchase at the Gathering. At the time it was created in 1987, it included 1,860 descendants, of which 97 were deceased.
If you have genealogy information to contribute and/or would like to know more about the reunion, please contact Marnie L'Heureux, the local organizer. More contact information on Marnie can be found on the general information page mentionned above. However, the email address for Marnie is no longer valid. If you happen to know it, send it to me.