This page contains brief biographies of noted Laberges and LaBarges from all eras and walks-of-life. Contributions are welcomed. If you have material suitable for this page, please send an email to: email@example.com.
Robert de la Berge came to New France in 1658, at the age of 21. He was born in Colombières-sur-Thaon, Normandy, France. Married to Francoise Gausse in 1663, he spent the greater part of his life in l'Ange Gardien, near Quebec City, where he maufactured and sold lime. It was in this parish that Robert de la Berge finished his days on April 2, 1712. He left many illustrious descendants to French Canada and throughout North America. [Portrait and biography available in the Library]
Joseph LaBarge of St. Louis, Missouri, was one of the most famous of the Mississippi river boat captains. He made his living transporting people and goods up and down the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. According to an 1898 newspaper article, Captain LaBarge was the man who taught Mark Twain about the Mississippi River. [Biography available in the Library]
The father of famed riverboat captain, Joseph LaBarge, Joseph Marie
LaBarge Sr. was born at l'Assomption, Quebec, on July 4, 1787. In about
1808, he emmigrated to St. Louis in a birch-bark canoe, travelling
through various waterways to reach the Mississippi River. LaBarge
served in the War of 1812 and was wounded in the battle of the River
Raisin. In this battle, LaBarge lost two fingers from a gunshot and was
scarred for life from a tomahawk wound to the head. He became
anaturalized citizen following his service in the Army. For serveral
years he was involved in the manufacture of charcoal and later owned a
hotel and livery in St. Louis. He is probably best known for his
exploits as a fur trapper in the far west. Several geographical
landmarks such as LaBarge (or Battle) Creek and the city of LaBarge,
both in Wyoming, were named in his honor. These took their name from a
battle with indians in which LaBarge took part. Details of this event
have been lost, however. LaBarge was also present in General Ashley's
disastrous fight with the Aricara Indians on the Missouri River in
1823, and was the man who cut the cable of one of the keeboats so that
it might drift out of range of the fire of the Indians. In January of
1860, while on his way to visit an ill relative, LaBarge slipped on an
icy St. Louis sidewalk and struck the curb. He died from his injuries
two days later on January 22, 1860. (Further details of Joseph Marie
LaBarge's life are contained in Hiram Martin Chittenden's book, History of Early Steamboat Navigation on the Missouri River: Life and Adventures of Joseph LaBarge, published by Ross & Haines, 1962.)
Michel Laberge, born in Chateauguay, Quebec, was the first French-Canadian to explore the Yukon in 1866. Laberge worked at one time for the Russians and in 1867 he did some surveying for Western Union who wanted to build an overland telegraph to Europe. He later engaged in the fur trade in the Yukon under the name of the Pioneer American Fur Company. His contribution to geography is commemorated by Lake Laberge in the Yukon Territory, which was named after him in 1870. The lake, also known as Lake Lebarge in some early documentation, was the setting for Robert W. Service's famous poem, The Cremation of Sam McGee, which is available in the Library.
Jean-Baptiste Laberge, a carpenter from Ste-Martine, Quebec, took part in the Rebellion of 1838 in Beauharnois. For his part in the uprising, Jean-Baptiste Laberge was imprisoned in Montreal on November 16th, 1838 and received the death sentence on January 26, 1839. The sentence was changed to deporatation and he was exiled to Australia, arriving in February of 1840. Laberge and his fellow prisoners were later pardonned and Laberge was back with his family by the spring of 1844. Regarded as a hero in his local community, he died of cancer in January of 1883 and was buried in Ste-Martine. In 1981, a monument was erected over his tombstone.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Walter B. LaBerge had a distinquished career in the field of aerospace engineering which encompasses over 20 years in private industry and over 20 years in service to the U.S. Government. During WWII, he was "skipper" of YMS 165 in the Pacific and served as Technical Director of the Naval Ordinance Test Station in China Lake, CA. Dr. LaBerge was appointed to the positions of Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Assistant Secretary General of NATO, and Under Secretary of the Army. In private industry, he was a Corporate Vice-President for Lockheed Corporation and Vice-President of Philco-Ford. During his career, Dr. LaBerge led an industrial team which designed and built the NASA Mission Control Center in Houston and was a principal participant on a government team which designed the Sidewinder missile. Dr. LaBerge was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and was a former chairman and member of the Army Science Board. He served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. LaBerge passed away on July 16, 2004. [Photograph] [Obituary is available in the Library Section] [Memorial website]
Born in Bogart, Ontario on October 13, 1884, Charles Henri Labarge attended rural schools and completed his formal education at the Ontario Business College in Belleville. In 1904 he started work with the William Davies Company in Toronto and later formed a partnership with Joseph Moyneur Ltd. in 1914. By 1922, this was organized into the Moyneur Co-operative Creamery which by 1925 had a butter production of three million pounds. During these years, he developed a creamy type of cheese called Chateau Cheese and the Chateau Cheese Company was incorporated in 1926. In 1927 he introduced homogenized milk through the Laurentian Dairy and in 1928 he added Meadow Milk Products Ltd., a powdered milk unit to take care of surplus fresh milk and buttermilk from Moyneur Co-operative Creamery. In 1929, he sold the milk, cheese, butter, and powdered milk plants to Borden Dairy for $3 million. Charles Henri Labarge died on April 23, 1956.
Patrick LaBarge, son of Francis Xavier LaBarge (1827-1905), was born in Bancroft, Ontario, Canada. A World War II veteran, Patrick was awarded the Centennial Medal in 1967 in recognition of his service to his country. Patrick also worked for the Department of Highways and was one of the engineers involved with the planning and construction of the 401 highway that runs through Canada. He is buried in Bancroft, Ontario. [A photograph is available in the Library. Information contributed by his granddaughter, Kimberly LaBarge, of New Hampshire.]
Bernie LaBarge started playing guitar at age 11 (1964) and began playing professionally in 1967. He was the frontman and/or guitarist for many popular bands in Ontario and nominated for Most Promising Male Vocalist at 1984 Juno Awards for his album entitled "Barging In" (Sony). Bernie has also been a sideman on over 100 albums and has toured or recorded with with The Irish Rovers, Kim Mitchell, Frank Byner of Tower of Power, Long John Baldry, Doug Riley, Cassandra Vasik, Joel Feeney. He has composed and performed on many North American and Worldwide jingles i.e. Coke, Pepsi, GM, Ford, Nissan, (his Coke jingle opens up the original Batman Video). Bernie won the Canadian Songwriting Contest in 1986 (Best R&B Song category) and many top Canadian and International performers have covered his songs. Currently Toronto-based, Bernie is the lead guitarist for The Dexters, David Clayton-Thomas, and Danny B and the R&B All-Stars. [For more information, see www.bernielabarge.com.]
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