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NOTE:  The following narrative was saved from several messages posted to the defunct Fidonet conference, the National Genealogical Echo.  See also another thread on California Wagon Trains.

National Genealogical Echo
Date: 27 Feb 1995 00:14:00
From: Tom Stevens
To: All


As it was given to Louis Marchesseault by the American-Canadian Genealogy Society of Manchester, New Hampshire on March 31, 1980.


The A.F.G.S. is honored to present the first of a two-part narrative of the Journals of Sophrani Marchesseau which covered his experiences and adventures in the gold fields of the American West from 1850-1880.

The Journal was donated to the society by Robert J. Quintin. According to Mrs. Evelyn Pelletier of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Sophrani Marchesseau was the uncle of Mrs. Pelletier’s mother. It appears as though Sophrani Marchesseau was the son of Francois Marchesseault and Sophie Richard. The Pelletier family received the typed Journal from the Public Administrator of Butte, Montana in the 1920s.

The original grammatical construction has been preserved for the sake of historical authenticity.


Saint Jean, P.Q., April 11, 1850

The departure of 11 Canadians from St. Jean, P.Q., Canada for the gold mines in California. Julien Marchesseau, Sophrani Marchesseau, Isaac Marchesseau, George Marchand, John Wood, Pierre Cartier, Olivier Cheffre, of St. Jean; Belani Charet, J. B. Leboux, Narcisse Prairie, Alex Marchand, from L’Acadie; Accompanied by the Rev. Charles Larocque, pastor of St. Jean, up to La Chine.

The route taken was as follows:  St Jean to La Prairie by train, La Prairie to Montreal by boat, Montreal to La Chine by train, from La Chine to Oswego by boat. Magnificent weather going up the St. Lawrence but bad weather on Lake Ontario. The lake was choppy, and nearly everyone fell sick. The boat was rocking so much that we had difficulty in docking at Oswego. From Oswego to Niagara Falls by horse train. We stopped here for two hours. We descended to the river to examine between the water and the rocks. From the Falls to Buffalo by horse train. At Buffalo on Lake Erie by the boat “mayflower” up to New Buffalo. From New Buffalo by boat up to Chicago on Lake Michigan. Chicago at this time was a little village and very muddy. From Chicago we took a canal boat to Joliet. From Joliet by boat on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers to St. Louis. Here we stayed one month before starting our journey across the prairies to our destination.

Between Forts Kearney and Laramie we crossed the North Fork of the Platte River, we went down the hill of Ash Hollow which was quite steep by blocking the wagon wheels; and we also had to block the wagon wheels to cross the river, because the currant was so swift and the bottom was moving sand. Because our wagons were floating, and to keep them from tipping over, we had to tie the wheels with cables and keep the wagons so they were facing the currant. Our provisions were jammed near the top of the wagons so as not to get them wet. Wood was scare and quite often we had to gather dried buffalo dung to do our cooking. There was a lot of sickness on the prairies; cholera, chicken pox, scurvy, etc... but we were spared of any sickness. There were many fatalities. At the little river we set up camp to dry some buffalo meat, to rest, to do our wash and make our repairs.

At the Great Sandy River we went fishing, and then climbed Independence Rock to inscribe our names. We camped here for the night. After supper we suddenly heard the cry of a woman. She was the wife of a shoemaker who camped near us. He had beat her and his little brother in law. She came to our camp asking for protection for the night. She lifted up the sleeves of her dress to show us bruises that her husband had caused, and the little boy also showed us the injuries that his brother in law had done. What to do to punish this brute of a shoemaker!!

There was camped next to us some Americans who played the violin, and had his instrument with him. He was invited by the old man, Louizon, to play for them so they could dance. Our companion, John Wood, accepted the invitation immediately. All the hunters and trappers began to level a plot of land to make it hard like a floor, and at night after supper, all the Canadians who had squaws as wives began to dance. It was funny to see them enjoying themselves in this manner two thousand miles from civilization. It goes without saying the following morning there was more than one that had a big head, because the whiskey had flowed freely.

We continued our journey—we went to Fort Bridger and from there to Great Salt Lake. Arrived at the Mormons, we camped for a month to rest ourselves and also to rest the mules. We were nicely welcomed by the Mormons. They offered us six dollars a day to work in their gold mines, which were on the south end of the lake; providing we would join their religion and take as many wives as we could support, and to stay with them without having to worry about going any further in our search for gold mines. Even with all these great propositions everyone refused, saying our destination was still California, where we had friends waiting for us. Before breaking camp and leaving Salt Lake, we sold them all that we did not need to finish our trip, also lighting our wagons because our mules were getting quite thin and tired.

This city was well divided with water canals and trees on each side of the streets. There was a hot water spring nearby where we could go and cook our eggs. When we were ready to leave our old companion Pierre Cartier decided to spend the winter with the Mormons, and we would meet him next summer in California.

After crossing the Bear River we camped for the night, and while having supper quite a few Indians and their squaws came near our campfire; and while we were eating, an Indian woman, without the least bit of embarrassment, prepared water while being nearly nude, except for a few grass mats to cover part of her nudity.

At Gooseberry Creek we all took turns and went hunting for ducks, while not losing sight of the wagons that kept moving all the time. All of a sudden we spotted a bunch of Indians coming out of the bushes and running very fast towards our wagons to steal provisions. With one loud whistle everybody ran back to the wagons to stop the Indians and save our provisions. We got there just in time, as they were already beginning to take some out. We didn’t shoot them, but we beat them up pretty good.

After a two day march on the same creek following this escapade, as we were taking our noon day lunch, we saw two men coming from a distance. Some thought they were Indians, some thought they were White. As they came closer we saw that they were White. As there was danger from the Indians, we waited for them to catch up with us. And sure enough they were two Germans that we had previously met on the prairie, who had left their wagon because their provisions had run out. The Indians had not only taken what was left, but they had also taken about half their scalps. They stayed with us for quite a while and we fed them to save their lives. Thank God that we had enough for ourselves and them. Further down the same creek we came to a place where we found three men lying in the grass. Hesitating to get closer, fearing that there might be more about, we prepared our guns, ready to fire. Getting close to them we spoke, but they did not answer because they had not eaten or drank anything for quite a while. They were so weak that they could not drag themselves to the creek for a drink. It was early afternoon, and still too early to make camp for the night; but! to save the lives of the three men who had been robbed of their provisions and hair, we decided to camp. While we were unhitching the mules, others made a fire to boil some rice for our three men whose tongues were swollen.

After the rice was boiled, we gave them water and a little to eat. Toward evening they started to try to talk, and a little later they could make themselves understood. Nest morning they were much better and could tell us some of their adventure. The Indians had stolen everything—provisions and scalp. For a few day they had survived on rosebuds. We brought them to California. When we left them they thanked us very much for what we had done for them, and told us that if they ever made any money then they would repay us for our troubles—but! we never met again, each one going his own way.

Arrived at Humboldt Sink—we camped for the night and cut some grass to feed our mules in order to cross the desert of some 40 miles, and also to get a good supply of water. This trip would have to be made during the night because of the intense heat during the day. At 10 o’clock the next morning we still had 12 miles to travel in this shifting sand. Having no more food or water for us or the mules, and with the intense heat taking its toll on both the men and the mules, we decided to stop for two hours. Three of us walked two miles to a little lake to fetch some water, while others prepared dinner. In the desert we saw many animals dead from starvation, thirst and fatigue. These animals were swollen. We could also see where some immigrants were so starved too exhausted to go on, the people would just abandon everything—animals, wagons, harnesses, etc...; and take their blankets and provisions, bundling them on their backs, so as to try to make it to the Carson River where there was good water.

After our rest of 2 hours, we started walking to arrive early that night at a little village located on the Carson River. The village was built only of canvas tents. There was much good grazing, so the immigrants rested themselves and their animals. After a few days rest at Rag Town we continued our journey and soon arrived at some mines. We stopped only for a short time to watch the miners work, and then we continued on our way. Upon arriving at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains we camped for the night, because the next day we were going to try and cross the Sierras and the route was rocky and plenty of forethought would be needed so as not to break our wagons on the big rocks. Not being able to cross over in one day, we camped on the summit near the near Lake Bigler. In a small valley of the mountain, near the lake, there was lots of perpetual snow where the sun rarely shown. It was more than 20 feet deep. To descend the mountain on the California side the trail was rather good. Arriving at the bottom of the mountain, we were amazed to see such big trees. We measured an oak that was 17 feet at the base, one cedar measured 9 feet, a pine of 10 feet.

Arriving at the Valley of the Strawberries, we stopped for an instant so we could contemplate the beauties of the Sierras which we had just descended. The panorama was magnificent; and here and there on the small ridges, the foliage of all the colors really stood out against the peaks of the mountain. We arrived at Log Town, El Dorado County California on October 1, 1850. After a few days rest we had to get some work. We went to see the Canadians who worked at the mines, and among them there were quite... [on the report the sentence finishes with no more data.]

Conclusion of Sophrani Marchesseault (from volume I, number 1, page 13)


In 1853 I started a store in the American River with Louis Blais of Quebec.

In 1854 I returned to French Town and worked the neighboring mines of Southern California—Moxolumni Hill, San Andreas, Murrayo Creek, Camp Seco, Jackson, Amador, Indian Diggings, Volcano, Murphy’s Camp, Big Cannon; but not having found much, I returned to Central California to Orleans Flat, Forest Hill, Dutch Hill, Greenwood Valley, Georgetown and Auburn.

California is a very pretty country with a good climate. The rainy season starts in December and generally finishes in February. During the rainy season the miners build reservoirs to preserve the water, to wash the mining ground on the slopes; and at the summit of the mountains where the water runs too fast, they make little ditches to steer the water towards the reservoir and also the mining grounds.

Hunting is abundant everywhere in California—bears (black, grey and brown), deer, antelope, hare, quail, pheasant, chicken, ducks, pigeons, cranes, geese, and buzzard. Fish are in great abundance wherever you have running water—except where there are mines. Grain of many kinds grows abundantly. Vegetables grow lavishly everywhere, and fruits grow in abundance wherever there are trees. Also, grapes are drawing the great attention of the people; without a doubt California will become the greatest vineyard of the Pacific Coast. Wild flowers cover the mountains and prairies.

The Mexican gang of Joaquin has been the terror of California for two years. They robbed, killed and burned houses regardless of anyone, as long as there was something to steal. The authorities were incapable of stopping these bandits, so it was necessary for the people to form a vigilante committee to make war on them. The committee with great difficulty finally reduced the gang. The committee showed no mercy to the assassins. They hung them as soon as they caught a few. The decisive coup was at the Feather River where the Mexicans went to rob the Feather Company. The miners heard that Joaquin’s gang was going to rob the company that night. After supper the miners made a big fire and laid their blankets nearby to make the bandits think that the miners were asleep by the fire. Meanwhile the miners hid in the bushes on the side of the hill and kept their rifles ready for the bandits that were on the other side of the river. During the night the bandits fired all around the fire, believing the miners to be sleeping there. To their great surprise the miners fired on them and killed 27 of them which terminated the highway robber Joaquin. The rest of the gang fled in the direction of Mexico. The vengeance of Joaquin against the Americans was for the cruelties and insults the Americans had made against him and his wife. The Americans had insulted him and driven him away from his little ranch. They had tied Joaquin to a tree and flogged him. After Joaquin had been untied from the tree by some passersby he vowed vengeance against the Americans. But for Joaquin it did not matter to rob or kill anyone else besides Americans. He stopped anyone on the roads that passed his way, be they American, French, German, English, Irish or any other nationality; he made no distinction.

One day he met a Frenchman who had a blanket on his back and who was on his way to a new mining camp. Joaquin stopped him and demanded his money. He told Joaquin that he had but five dollars and with that he had to reach in a certain place. Joaquin searched him all over and found but the five dollars, meanwhile the Frenchman shook like a leaf in a big breeze. Joaquin took five dollars from his own pocket, gave it to the Frenchman and told him that if he ever met him again without money, he would kill him. Joaquin told the Frenchman that a man has no business travelling without money in his pocket.

The Indians of California are very dirty and lazy. They live by hunting and fishing. They also eat locust. To catch a quantity of locust a bunch of Indians will get together and find a hole with water in it. Then fishing out in the prairie with branches in hand they drive the locusts toward the water hole. Once the locusts are wet they cannot fly, and the Indians gather them up and put them in pouches, then they crush them with fruit or meat and eat them.


We left for the new discoveries on the Frazer River, British Columbia. We were many together to protect ourselves from the Indians. Distance from San Francisco was 1500 miles. From San Francisco by steamer up to Victoria. From Victoria to Bellingham Bay by steamer. At What Come we camped for many days waiting for low water on the Frazer River. We bought our canoe to cross over the strait of Georgia and go up the Frazer River by rope because the currant was so strong it was nearly impossible to row, and this way we could go faster.

Upon reaching Fort Anglais we had to camp for three weeks waiting for the water to calm down, so as to make our rope pulling easier and to get us to the mines. Our intention was to go as far up the river as possible, because in the first mines there were too many people already. For this reason we took the route by Harrison and Lilonette. One day before arriving at the portage, the river was very narrow and the water rushing against the big rocks, our canoe tipped over and we lost everything we had.

Two of our companions who were in the canoe, one to steer and the other to keep the nose of the canoe facing the river bank. Both nearly drowned. One of them was in an eddy and with the help of good cable we hauled him ashore without harm. The other was thrown into a sandbar by the currant and we saved him, also without injury, save the fright. Since we were quite a few in our group, those that had escaped the dangers offered us provisions at a dollar a pound, and with these we reached the mines. At the 30 Mile Portage we hired some Indians to help us bundle and carry our supplies. We paid them with some thread, some needles and tobacco.

When we arrived at the lake we had to cross, we hired an Indian Chief. Instead of coming himself, he sent his wife to steer the canoe to the other end of the lake and then bring it back to their camp. The squaw was pretty and knew how to handle the canoe to perfection. While going up the Harrison River we heard a noise in the bushes. We went to see since we believed it was a bear; but instead of a bear, it was a squaw having a baby by herself. After having seen what it was, we retired rapidly so as not to disturb this poor savage woman. This was proof to us of the rumors that we had heard that these savages have their babies by Themselves, except in extraordinary cases.

Between the lake and Lilonette there was a portage of two miles; and for this portage we hired some savages to help us with the portage and also to cross the lake that was before us.

Before reaching Frazer River there was still another portage from the lake to the river. Arriving at the river we camped on a large plateau; and a little higher than is was a little river which fell into the Frazer River, called the Kridge River. Here was a camp of savages. They were quite numerous and had been quite insolent toward the miners who had arrived before us. The savages had gone to the miners and obliged them to make meals for them; and after they had eaten their fill, the Indians spit in the miners’ faces.

As we arrived near the miners on the Frazer River, they came to our camp and told us of their troubles with the Indians. They didn’t dare turn against them because they were so few in number, but our arrival had reassured them of their braveness. After telling us all of their troubles, we decided to let the Indians know, through an interpreter, that we wanted to see their Chief so we could come to some agreement between us that neither party would come in contact with one another; that we did not wish to harm them, and also in the same manner we did not want the savages to do us any harm. We wanted to live in peace with them, and them with us. Also the Chief was to give orders to his people to steal nothing from the Whites, and if there was any stealing by his people there would be trouble between us.

The savages could see us in such great numbers, and also heard that there were 400 miners arriving on the other side of the river; many among them we knew from California. That night we sent a messenger that we could count on them for help to avenge the insults made upon our fellow miners, if the Indians refused to live in peace.

Already the Indians were having a council of war, so we sent an interpreter to their camp; telling them to come to our camp so we could talk this thing over. The Indians asked for a day to answer us—and decide whether they would fight or make peace. The next day three Chiefs arrived with an interpreter, and we made peace with them. This done, we gave them little presents to show our friendship and goodwill. We gave them tobacco, thread, needles, etc..., and since that day we all lived in peace. One of the Chiefs told us that he had a few braves in his group that he could not control; and that if any of his braves stole from us, to shoot them, and that if any of the Whites did anything wrong to his people, they would do the same. So the rules were the same for Indian and White, and everybody stayed in their place. During the autumn, meat became rare, and the miners were forced to buy horse meat in order to survive. Provisions were also becoming rare, and the miners pondered what to do in order to last the winter. Everyone deprived themselves to make the provisions last as long as possible. To save the bacon that we had, we sometimes had to eat horse meat, mules, dogs, and even dried meat. On Christmas day we tried to buy provisions from miners who came from Caribou Mines, but with no success. Many among us decided to return to California. Upon arriving at Victoria to take the boat for California, quite a few changed their minds and decided to spend the winter in Victoria and in the spring return to the mines they had left.


We got news that the miners had found gold in Montana. Since I still had the gold fever, along with the excitement of the new discovery; I decided to go. But first I would return to Canada to visit my parents which I had not seen for thirteen years, and then come back to Montana by way of the Missouri River.

On my first return to Canada in 1863, I took the ship “Moses Taylor” bound for Nicaragua. We had a rather rough trip on the Pacific. The ship rocked terribly, and we always had to hang on to something to keep from crashing into something or other. One night about nine o’clock, as we were seated at the table having supper, a sudden storm hit us and rocked the ship more and more. The boat suddenly tilted to one side, and everybody that was trying to eat fell all over the place; also the dishes and food went flying all over the place. What a mess. The scene was awful. We spent the whole night trying to find a comfortable place. At daybreak we entered the harbor in Acapulco, Mexico. We stayed here a few hours, to clean up the mess of the previous and to get some new dishes and provisions that we needed. This done, we continued on our way.

Today the sea was calm and quiet. Sunrise and sunset on the ocean are magnificent sights. During the day, while at sea, we played cards and fished to pass the time. We watched the albatrosses, big birds that follow ships, and sometimes we would hear a shout from some passenger hollering “whale, whale.” Then another cry of “shark.”

All this helped to pass the time. The big fish, such as the spouting fish, whales, porpoise, etc... seem to play a lot during the day. They leap out of the water from 5 to 8 feet, and around 5 am they seem to wake up the flying fish. These fish fly out of the water for quite a few yards, and some of them even fell aboard the ship. When the sea is calm, there are many beautiful sights to keep the passengers occupied, but when the sea is rough, there is no fun. Everybody feels sick and ready to vomit; and with many the worry is that the ship might sink, then nobody thinks about the beautiful sights.

Arriving at the port of Nicaragua, we got some mules to travel the twelve miles to Virgin Bay, through the forest of Nicaragua. Upon reaching the bay, we met Bishop Blanchette who was returning from Canada, with quite a few nuns and young priests on their way to the missions of Oregon. They took the mules to get the boats we had just left to take them as far as San Francisco, and we were to take their boat to go down the San Juan River, and there we would take the boat to New York. At Virgin Bay we took one meal. The natives told us we were eating wild turkeys, but it was really crow—and hard as a rock. Towards evening we went aboard the boat and had a good meal. It took us all night to go down the San Juan River and into the bay. Just before noon, we arrived at the big boat. It was so windy that we had a hard time transferring from one boat to another. The river was full of crocodiles, and the passengers amused themselves by firing at them, but they could not hurt them at all. One of our passengers (a little drunk) fell into the water, and by the time we could pull him out, a crocodile had eaten one of his legs. A little worm—chiggers—as big as a hair, goes through your shoe and locks itself into your foot, and deposits its eggs, and we have to cut the skin to get him out of there.

At the mouth of the San Juan River, where our boat was anchored, the wind was blowing so hard up the river, that the sand was being washed up the channel making it impossible for our boat to get out to the sea. We had to stay there four days before being able to set out. It was necessary for all the passengers to pull the cables that were arranged in such a way as to rock the boat, and help it slide through the sand in the channel. During our four days at this place, we amused ourselves by fishing, picking up crocodile eggs, etc... Others spent the day catching many pretty fish and baby crocodiles. Crocodiles bury their eggs in about two inches of sand to make them hatch.

Many of our passengers had the bright idea to go hunt wild pigs in the forest. As soon as the pigs spotted the hunters, they took off after them, and fright overtook them. The hunters turned and ran as fast as they could to get out of the woods, and few had to climb trees to escape from these mad beasts who would have no trouble chewing them up.

One day we stopped at a place called Gray Town, which was under the British flag. It was extremely hot there. The houses are made of bamboo so the air can pass through, and the people sleep on mats. The fancy attire there is sandals. The fourth day we lifted anchor and sailed for Cuba. The weather was nice, and favorable winds we were making 18 knots.

We entered the port at Havana and stayed one day. Havana is a very pretty city and so it is of the rest of the island. All Spanish. On account of the heat the streets are narrow, so they can get more shade. The women are prettier than the men. Matanza (in the interior of Cuba) is a very pretty place and very wholesome. From Cuba we sailed and went non-stop to New York. After two days of rest, and also to visit the city a little, our group left for the country of our birth—Canada. There we separated and everyone went to rejoin their families.

During my visit I was attracted by new discoveries of gold in St. Francois de la Beauce. In the summer of 1864 I spent time at these mines and while there I met a few miners from California, who like me had returned to Canada to visit their parents before going to Montana to make their fortune.


In the spring of 1865 I left with quite a number of Canadians from St. Jean, St. Athanase and Acadie for St. Louis; where we took the boat to go up the Missouri River up to Fort Benton, and from Fort Benton we took wagons to reach the gold mines. Our first stop would be at Helena, which is on the Last Chance Creek. Here the mines were fairly rich.

During our boat rip on the Missouri we had a lot of fun. We were quite numerous, so when the boat was sailing we played cards, dominoes, checkers and chess. From time to time we could see buffalo, antelopes, bears,wolves and some Indians. At times there were so many buffalo in the water, that the captain had to stop the boat less we hit this mass of buffalos and break the wheels of the boat; and here the fun would begin. The passengers would fire their pistols at them, and others would go ashore to capture buffalo calves. When the boat would stop to take on wood (which lasted two hours) some of the passengers would stand guard; while others would fish, others would have foot races, others would go to shore a little distance to shoot wolves.

At the upper end of the Missouri there are many rapids and sometimes they were difficult to navigate. When the water was too low, we had to tow the boat with ropes; but before doing this we had to unload the cargo, tie a big cable to the bow, and put a big pulley on the mast. With the help of all the passengers, pulling the cable, and with a full head of steam, we finally got the boat up. The unloading of the boat was done by sailors and all the passengers who wanted to work, at an hourly rate of pay. The loading was made in the same manner.

Eventually arrived at the Moria River, 12 miles below Fort Benton, where eleven wood cutters had been killed by the savages, and buried near the river. On account of the low water, we had to leave the boat at the Moria River to reach Fort Benton. Here we hired some wagons to reach Helena, which is most renown for its gold mines, especially Last Chance Creek. On June 26 we arrived at Helena during a big hail storm. Pieces as big as the yellow of an egg were falling, and the streets were full of water.

After a few days rest the 48 Canadians (the biggest part coming from St. Athanase) began to look for work. Many stayed at Helena, and the others left for different places. The discovery of gold at French Gulch drew many of my travelling companions. As for me, I stayed at Helena and worked at the mines for a few months and caught mountain fever. I had myself transported to Deer Lodge, which is a small village in the valley of the name, and built on the river of the same name. My recovery was with very little success, until a friend of mine told me that a lot of attacks were healed by eating onions. I tried this remedy, and after eating a mess of onions I finally got rid of the fever. Once recovered enough to travel, I decided to visit my travelling friends at French Gulch.

After my visit, I returned to Helena and took a contract to bore a tunnel in the Whitelatch Union mine—a mine owned by a New York company. I was earning 10 dollars a day. Then one day an officer of the company arrived from New York. He wanted to make a lot of changes to reduce the wages. Being the mine examiner for the company, Professor Hodges told me “we have to start by you, and we will cut your wages.” I told him I did not want to work for lower wages, that I knew the merchandising trade and that I had already bought a lot of merchandise and shipped it to Butte. This branch of business I knew, and I was sure I could make money than here, without the risk of being killed in the mines. The professor did not want to see me leave. but I told him “everybody works for his own interest, you want workers at a low wage, and I want top wages, since we can’t reach an agreement.” I left and started a store, and stayed in business until I retired.


In 1868 I returned to Canada to see my mother who was very ill. We were delayed coming down the Missouri River because the water was too shallow for the boat. To get over the sand bars, we had to use spars, full steam, and the passengers had to pull the boat with cables. This delay caused me to arrive too late for the cause of my trip. My mother was dead and buried when I arrived. I spent the winter in Canada, and in spring I returned to Montana.

In Butte water was so scarce that nobody could work the mines, either underground or on the surface, so I went to French Gulch to run a store for a few months. Later I went to Bitter Root to lend some money to the farmers, but the guarantees on the loans were not satisfactory, so I stayed there a few months. During my leave from Butte the development of quartz mines took place and in 1876 I returned to Butte. I built a better home of stone and I also took Mr. Pierre Valiton as a partner, and our company was called the Marchesseau & Valiton. All the while that I was in business, I went east every year to buy our merchandise, and to California to buy fruits. In 1883 we sold our business to Foster & Company.


In 1884 I went to the exposition at New Orleans and stayed for the winter. This part of the country I did not like—climate too humid in the winter, land too low, dirty city, and the population too mixed with negroes. Though there were some nice things to see—nice buildings with pretty lawns, and orange trees, magnolias, and many other fruit trees, and flowers in great profusion around some resi­dences. There were many interesting points of interest around the city; such as the cemeteries, West End, Lake Ponchartrain, Spanish Fort, Shell Road, the Jetties, Jackson Battle Ground, Jackson Square, French Market, The Monaie, the sugar refinery, the monuments of Lee, Jackson, Lafayette, Washington, and the churches and the rice and cotton markets. The city is seven feet below the level of the Mississippi River. The population is 240.000 people of every nationality. The negro population is 40%. The New Orleans of today is not the same as before the was with the Union. It isn’t as prosperous as before, it is poorer and less aristocratic.

Since I sold my business, I spend my winters away from Butte, either in California, or Puget Sound or other places; and I return in the spring and spend the summers here which is nice and wholesome. I have many small enterprises that give me the means to live well.

— END —


Pioneer will be interred in Quebec

Funeral services for the late pioneer, Sophranius Marchesseau were conducted yesterday afternoon at 2:00 o’clock at the Sherman & Reed funeral chapel by Father McGrory of the Sacred Heart Church before one the largest gatherings of old-timers and pioneers from throughout the state that ever has met at a similar occasion in Butte.

The services were impressive and following their conclusion the bier, laden with blooms, was escorted to the Great Northern depot by a host of friends of the pioneer merchant and placed aboard the train for Iberville, Quebec where internment will be made. Iberville as Mr. Marchesseau’s birthplace and in accordance with his wish he will be buried in the family lot there.

Francois Xavier Giard accompanied the body. The pallbearers were the following friends of the dead pioneer: A.J. Davis, Rod Leggat, Thomas Fletcher, Frank Boucher, Francois Xavier Giard and Dr. Maillet.

A will dated March 1898, written in the pioneer’s handwriting was found yesterday by Public Administrator T. J. Harrington. In it specific bequests as to his burial place and distribution of his property are made, his heirs being kinsmen residing principally in Canada. The only relatives he leaves in Butte are distant. Mrs. Donat Dorais and Mrs. Francois Xavier Giard are related to Mr. Marchesseau by marriage.

* OLX 2.1 TD * Tom Stevens/Elkhart, IN
QScan v1.14b / 01-0419
Origin: Bill and Hilary’s BBS * Elkhart IN (1:2285/20)

National Genealogical Echo
Date: 07 Mar 1995 14:39:00
From: Tom Stevens
To: Betty Clifton
Subj: Gold Rush Journals

BC> Tom, could you give me the proper Title, Author, pub
BC> etc of the delightful Gold Rush journal I saw part of
BC> today, from or to you? Thanks

Check the heading on the manuscript. This is the only information I have about this document. It is apparently unpublished. I got it from my cousin Louis Marchesseault. Sophrani Marchesseau, who is apparently my second cousin 4 generations back, was the author of the piece.


* OLX 2.1 TD * Tom Stevens/Elkhart, IN
QScan v1.14b / 01-0419
Origin: Bill and Hilary’s BBS * Elkhart IN (1:2285/20)