LEBLANC, Theophile and Henriette Belanger
For old French-Canadian families, long settled in the Montreal area, the opening up of new lands to the west was a huge draw. Men were needed up the Ottawa River and its tributaries both in the booming lumbering industry and to settle the newly cleared farmlands. To avoid the turbulence of the Roche Fendu rapids, the river’s channel to the north of Grand Calumet Island was the safer route. Farther upstream, the ties between Gower Point, (later called LaPasse), of Westmeath Township, and the early settlements along the opposite shore of the Ottawa River in Pontiac County, Quebec, were very strong both socially and commercially. In summer, boats or an early ferry transported goods and people back and forth and in winter the ice road held the cutters and sleds.
That starts the story of the LeBlanc family in the township. Theophile LeBlanc (1797–1862) and his wife Marie Drouin (1810- ) lived in Portage-du-Fort, Quebec. In that era the settlement at Portage was a booming and busy place and work was plentiful. Its location east of those renowned and dangerous sets of rapids at Roche Fendu meant that goods of all types, plus people coming into the area to settle or work, were all off-loaded at Portage and then transported overland. See Gould’s Line.
The LeBlanc Family’s “immigrant ancestors” had come to New France and first settled at Sault-au-Recollet, Quebec, near Montreal, from their ancestral homeland in the Lower Normandy-Calvados area of France.
The couple’s grown son, also named Theophile LeBlanc, had worked on the building of the St. Jacques le Majeur, or St. James the Greater, Roman Catholic Church in Portage-du-Fort. That picturesque section of the Ottawa River’s channel was forever changed with the building in 1950 of the Chenaux hydroelectric power plant and dam.
Theophile LeBlanc (1829-1888) married Henriette Belanger (1834-1901), also from Portage-du-Fort, in March of 1893. They decided to buy farmland upstream on the Ontario side of the river in 1860, just to the east of Gower Point. The family then consisted of three young children with baby Joseph Toussaint only 3 months old. The homestead they purchased on LaPasse Road occupied Lots 9 & 10, Concession: East Front B (EFB). These lots run up from the river and in recent years those frontages have been subdivided and sold as prime cottaging properties. The farmstead built on the south side of the road is continuing as a farm; but no longer in the family.
1881 Census Westmeath Township:
The children of Theophile LeBlanc and Henriette Belanger are:
1. Theophile Leblanc (1856 – m. Josephine Godin at Ile-du-Grand-Calumet, Québec, where they settled. Daughter: Marie Lena Leblanc (1887 – 1968).
2. Augustin Leblanc (1857 –1930) lived on Grand Calumet Island, Quebec
3. Joseph Toussaint Leblanc (1860 –1923) m. Albina Gratton (1858 -1913), daughter of Eustache Gratton and Henriette Laverdure, also from LaPasse. This couple took over the homestead on LaPasse Road. In the 1891 Census in Westmeath Township, the household included the young couple and their 4 young children as well as two siblings of Joseph’s; Mary and Napoleon, and his mother Henriette LeBlanc, widowed at that time with Theophile having died three years previous.
Joseph and Albina’s children are:
a. Ellen Leblanc (1884 –
b. Joseph Alexander Leblanc (1886 – 1953) m. Marie Ida Lacroix (1892- )in 1912 in LaPasse Parish, Westmeath Township. She is the daughter of Toussaint Lacroix (1860-1925) m. Marguerite Veronique Lamarche (1858-1956). See LACROIX entry. Their daughter Bernadette Leblanc (1914-1980) would also marry into the Lacroix family, when she married Camille Lacroix (1913-1994). They are also buried at LaPasse Cemetery.
In the 1921 Census records for Westmeath Township, (with some spelling errors), this household consisted of:
|Given Name||Municipality||Relationship||Gender||Marital Status||Age||Birth Year||Racial or Tribal Origin||Occupation|
Daughter Evelyn M. Leblanc (1913-1998) m. Ovila Edouard Lacroix (1906-1991) in LaPasse in 1912. See LACROIX entry.
c. Augustin Leblanc (1887 – 1913) – died at 26 yrs.
d. Evaline Leblanc (1889 – 1900) – died at 11 yrs.
e. Mary Courona Leblanc (1891 – 1918) m. Victor Adam (1884-1949) in 1915. Victor lived and is buried in Fort Coulonge, Quebec. They had one son: Emeril Adam (1916 – 1983), also in Fort Coulonge.
vi. Napoleon Paul Leblanc (1894 – 1967) m. Eleonore Soucie (1901-1975) in January 1919 in Fort Coulonge, Quebec. Paul would take over the LaPasse homestead from his father and raise their eleven children there.
Of this generation, Jean Paul LeBlanc (1942-1996) and his wife Isobel Ladouceur, operated the family homestead farm until his death in 1996. His sister Doreen LeBlanc Adam remembers their childhood on the farm:
“The LeBlanc farm always had honey bees- for over 50 years. We the children all had the chance to learn and work with the bees. Honey was always available to eat freely and when it was a good year the extra honey would be sold. During the depression years- 1930’s and so – Mother would take honey and eggs and sell or trade them at Colton’s Store in Fort Coulonge, Quebec.”
The children of Paul LeBlanc & Eleonore Soucie are
a. Laurence Leblanc (1919- ) married to Leonard Lacroix.
b. Cecile Leblanc (1921- 2006) married to (1) Ronald Labine (1918-1999) See LABINE entry. Second marriage to (2) Ralph Darling, St. Catherines, Ont.
c. Dola Lablanc (1923- 2006) married to Robert Patry (1924- 1996), lived in Ottawa.
d. Leas Leblanc (1924- 1994) married to Anita Giroux (1929- 2009), lived in Pembroke,ont.
e. Raymond Leblanc (1928 –2009), married to Ella Colin (1928- 2007) lived in Pembroke, Ont.
f. Gerald Leblanc (1930- 1991) married to Therese Loranger and lived in Welland, Ont.
g. Sr. Rachelle LeBlanc (1932 – ), a nun in Ottawa, Ont. entered the religious order Filles de la Sagesse, Ottawa, in August of 1954. Rachelle wrote and published a book about her 39 years working in the missions, in Papua, New Guinea. She is now retired.
h. Fernand Leblanc (1933 – 2002) married to Lorraine St. Aubin., Hamilton, Ont.
i. Eleonore Leblanc (1936- ) married to Roland Rochon, North Bay, Ont.
j. Doreen Leblanc (1938 – ) married to Gaitan R. Adam, Pembroke, Ont.
k. Jean Paul Leblanc (1942 – 1996) married to Isabel Ladouceur lived in LaPasse, Ont.
vii. Edward Leblanc (1892 – 1953) m. Julia Gratton (1896-1980), LaPasse, Ont.
Their children are:
a. Andre Leblanc (1921-1999) m. Cecile Adam (1922-1993, LaPasse; they lived in Westmeath Village and are buried in LaPasse.
b. Yvonne LeBlanc m. Frank Cain, lived in Kitchener; both buried there.
c. Roland LeBlanc;
d. Francis LeBlanc ( -2015) m. Madeleine Comptois, lives in Ottawa.
e. Madeleine LeBlanc m. Wilfrid Legault, Ottawa; buried at LaPasse.
f. Lita LeBlanc m. Bill Hume, Ottawa; buried in Ottawa
g. David LeBlanc ( -1998) m. Gisele Adam, Scarborough, Ont. Buried in Toronto.
vii. Rosa Leblanc (1896 – 1978)
viii. Emma Belle Leblanc (1899 – ) married Hildage Adam in 1923, in LaPasse. She lived in Timmins, Ont. & is buried there.
ix. Henriette Leblanc (1900 – ) married to Clifford Denault, Belleterre, Quebec
4. Marguerite Leblanc (1862 – 1894), died at 32 yrs.; the first of her family to be born at LaPasse.
5. Zeffire Leblanc (1864 – 1875), died at 11 yrs.
6. Napoleon Leblanc (1866 – 1932) in 1893 at age 27 he would marry Hermiline Fleury at Portage due Fort, Quebec. According to the 1896 Voter List, Napoleon was farming in Westmeath Township on Lot 9 and 10, Concession North Front D (NFD). This land is located in the Lacroix Bay area, to the north of LaPasse.
In the 1911 Census the family had grown to seven children.
The children of Napoleon and Eveline LeBlanc are:
i. Eveline Leblanc (1894-
ii. Cecilie Leblanc (1896-
iii. Mary Louis Leblanc (1899-
iv. Omere Leblanc (1901-1952) m. Violette Desjardins in 1929 in Vinton, Pontiac County, Quebec. Omer LeBlanc Birth 1901
v. Emmarine Leblanc (1904-
vi. Lena Rose Leblanc (1906-
vii. Adaline Leblanc (1910-
7. Henriette Leblanc (1867 – 1906) m. David Laporte, of Grand Calumet Island, in 1886 in LaPasse and the couple would go on to have eight children. This family lived in Nipissing District. By age 38 she had died in Warren, Ont. of Bright’s Disease, a condition common is diabetics. Henriette LeBlanc Laporte Death
8. Gilbare Leblanc (1869 – 1875), died at 6 yrs.
9. Edouard Leblanc (1870 – 1882), died at 12 yrs.
10. Cilleonore (Lilena) Leblanc (1871 –
11. Hermiline (Ermiline) Leblanc (1873 – ) m. Louis Lacroix in LaPasse in 1889. 1889 Louis&Emerline Marriage Reg. She was only 16 years and he was the son of Louis and Elizabeth Clermont, also a Gower Point family. See LACROIX entry. Their two daughters married two brothers, sons of Victor Poisson and Lucy Bertrand: Elizabeth Lacroix m. Victor Poisson in 1919 and her sister Antoinette Lacroix m. Raoul Poisson in 1920. Louis Junior and Ermiline farmed on Lots 16 & 17 on Concession East Front C (EFC), the north-eastern shore of the township at what is now known as the Lacroix Bay area.
In the 1901 Census for Westmeath Township the household consisted of:
12. Elmira (Mary) Leblanc (1876 – 1901), died at 25 yrs.
13. George Leblanc (1880 – 1883), died at 3 yrs.