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VICTOR LAZARE FORTIN, of Oakland, is a brickmaker, also a contractor for brick and dealer in common, fire and pressed brick and allied building materials.  He was born in the parish of St. Cyprian, county of St. John, Quebec, October 28, 1845, a son of Vital and Christine (Pare) Fortin, both natives of the city of Quebec.  The father, a farmer by occupation, died in his seventy-third year, and the mother in her seventy-sixth year,  both being of long-lived parentage.  Besides the subject of this sketch they had two other sons--Joseph and Theophile--who are still living in the old homestead in the parish of St. Cyprian, and a daughter who became the wife of Philias Rancourt, and died comparatively young, after the birth of her third child.  Joseph Fortin has three sons, and Theophile five daughters and one son, who, with the children of Mr. V. L. Fortin constitutes this branch of a large Canadian family of Fortin.


Our present subject, Mr. V. L. Fortin, was brought up on his father's farm and educated in the local school, afterward taking the four year's course in a superior institution known as Donoghue's Academy, at what is Napierville, Canada.  At sixteen he became a general clerk in Stottville, Canada, remaining about four years.  He was married there, June 12, 1863, to Miss Julie Remillard, also born in what is now the Province of Quebec, in 1843, a daughter of Hilaire and Marie Reine (Boule) Remillard.  Mr. Fortin then carried on a general store, on his own account, in Stottville, for three years.


In 1868 he came with his wife and two oldest children, to California, by way of New York and Panama, arriving in Oakland May 14, 1868, accompanied by the father and mother, five sisters and a brother of Mrs. Fortin, Hilaire Remillard, Sr., who died in Oakland at the age of sixty-two; his wife is still living, now age seventy-four.  Their children are: Celina, now the wife of Theophile Lamouraux, a stockholder and director of the Remillard brick company of Oakland; Euphemie, now the wife of David Geroux, a hotel-keeper of Winnemucca, Nevada; Hermine, his first wife, deceased seven years after marriage; Judith, the wife of Philip Lamouraux, now secretary of the Remillard brick company; Malvina, the wife of James Hill, a carpenter and builder of Winnemucca; and Joseph Remillard, unmarried, now foreman of the teaming department of the company.  Three sons of Hilaire Remillard, Sr. were already here--Hilaire, Jr., Peter N., and Edward--engaged in brickmaking, under the style of Remillard Bros., the first of whom arrived in San Francisco, February 17, 1854, and after some experience in commercial brick-making came to Oakland in 1860; he had been engaged in Boston in this business from 1852 to 1854.  The maternal grandfather of  this Remillard family, Joseph Boule, died in 1889, age ninety-sixth.


On the arrival of this party of twelve in Oakland, May 14, 1868, Mr. Fortin went to work immediately with his brother-in-law, the Remillard Bros., as office man in charge of the accounts and estimates for contracts, the firm thenceforth engaging extensively in the department of contracts.  He remained with them fourteen years, being secretary for several years after their organization as a company.  In 1882 he started in independent business in the same line, under the style of V. L. Fortin & Co., but is still a stockholder and director in the Remillard brick company, Mr. Fortin started the new enterprise first at Potrero San Pablo, in Contra Costa county, and in 1885 moved to Point San Pedro, near San Rafael, in Marin county, where it is now known as the Fortin Brick Company, the owners being V. L. Fortin, his son Damien E., and Pierre Fortin, a cousin.  Besides his interests in the Fortin and the Remillard brick-making concerns, Mr. V. L. Fortin is also individually engaged in the business of taking contracts for brick-work, including all the materials required in such work, and plastering materials, with offices in Oakland and San Francisco.


Mr. and Mrs. V. L. Fortin have four children, namely: Damien E., Mary B., Agnes and Octave, and two younger being natives of Oakland.  All the children have received a good education, Octave now completing his in a business college, and being so proficient as a violinist.  The daughters have received a superior education, and are accomplished musicians, while each displayed marked talents in special acquirements, Mary B. in embroidery and fancy needle-work, and Agnes in painting.  Damien E., was about finishing his course in the Oakland high school when his father's new enterprise in 1883 called him to his aid as a clerk in his office and general assistance in his business.  He was married, May 22, 1888, to Miss May Hubbard, a native of this State, and the only daughter of Thomas C. and Sarah Jane (Beeny) Hubbard.  Her father, a farmer of Colusa county, died in 1887, at about the age of fifty-eight, the result of an accident; and her mother, born about 1844, is still living.



Source: "The Bay of San Francisco" (and Its Cities And Their Suburbs) Volume 1. Lewis Publishing  Company 1892. Page 446-448.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton.

© 2002 Nancy Pratt Melton

San Francisco County California Biography Project

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