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ON THE BAYOU: A Few More Family Stories…

We are going to use this posting as a place to write down our family stories that have not yet been written. MizMo has helped us in a major way by writing down her stories. You can also read some examples of some of my family stories that I wrote up in the first comment below although remember that my stories are not stories of Louisiana Acadian life. Then, take a minute or two here, right now, to begin to write down your stories that you heard from your grandparents, your parents, your aunts and uncles or some of your elder towns people or, if you lived in the first half of the 1900’s, you must have stories of your years growing up during that time period.

Send us your story in an e-mail to us and we will add it here to our Louisiana stories in a Comment below.

In writing your story, give the dates or estimated dates or times of your story if you can, the locations and of course the names of the families and of your Great-Branch, if you know it. And please identify yourself so that we may follow-up with you on any questions we might have.

Have fun!

One comment on “ON THE BAYOU: A Few More Family Stories…

  1. An oral history can be a first-hand experience by the person writing it or it can be an oral history told to the author by an elder relative or elder friend. Mine are stories of first-hand experiences as a young man in the 1940's.

    Farm Chores.
    I was born Joseph Ralph Theriault in 1940 and raised on the St-John River in the parish of Sainte-Luce (town of Upper Frenchville, Maine). My father, Theodule Theriault was born and raised just across the river in Baker-Brook, NB in 1915 and my mother, Elsie Dubé was born in 1913 and raised in the parish of Sainte-Luce as well. My father started out at the age of 16 as a lumber jack and in the early 1940's worked for Romeo Roy in Upper Frenchville who owned a plumbing and heating company. Father learned the trade from Romeo. We did not have much money as most people in the parish so as with many others in that part of the country, my father did some subsistence farming. We always owned at least one or two cows for milk and meat, and a few pigs for meat and dozens of chickens for eggs and meat.

    Boys were taught all of the farm yard jobs that boys could handle at a very early age. Splitting fire wood, cleaning and feeding the livestock and milking the cows.

    At the age of seven, I was slaughtering chickens (by cutting their necks with an axe) and 2-3 years later, I helped my father in the spring time slaughter one of our pigs. It was not an enjoyable task but it needed to be done otherwise, we wouldn't eat. I will leave the gorry details for another story but my job was to set up our large black caldron to boil the water that we would need to clean the pig after slaughtering…. (to be continued)

    Cutting Pulp Wood.
    In another story, I remember working with my father in the woods. In the summertime when his plumbing and heating work was slow, he would work in our 200 acres of wood to cut pulp wood which would be shipped to Frazer Mills in Madawaska, Maine. This was in the mid-1940's before chain saws were popular. We would use two-man saws to fell the trees, then with an axe, Father would cut the branches off the tree and I would peel the bark off the tree because we would make more money if the logs were peeled… (to be continued)

    Going to School.
    Most people in my home village were not wealthy and most had just a few years of education. Prior to the 1930-40's, boys were needed on the farm to help out. Farming was extremely labor-intensive. Everyone was needed to do all of the work that had to be done. For example, my father had an 8th grade education and my mother had a 3rd grade education. So, the town was poor and really could not afford to pay for a public school. In the first half of the 1900's, schools were rarely consolidated. Instead, each neighborhood had a one-room school where all grades were taught at the same time. In our case, in the parish of Sainte-Luce, we were very lucky because the Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary had agreed to come to our village and open a school. So, I was taught by the Sisters from kindergarten on through 8th grade. They did a fantastic job. Out of my class for example, came a physicist, a chemical engineer, an electrical engineer, several successful builders, teachers, nurses and tradesmen.

    We lived about a mile from the village center were the convent was and so I would either ride the bus to school or if there were chores to be done, then I would do my chores and then walk to school which was just one mile away. In the winter especially, my chores would often take longer because aside from cleaning and feeding the livestock and milking the cow, I would often have to go up into the woods and check and clear my traps. I trapped hare in the winter to make a little money (from the pelts) and for the meat…. (to be continued)

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