8 - Jérome Pelletier (1829 - 1907)

Data and photo courtesy Gail M. Gordon

Parents: Jean-Baptiste Pelletier - Françoise Mandeville

Born: 14 Feb 1829 - Sorel, QC, Canada
Died: 3 Mar 1907 - Gardner, WI

Married: 4 Oct 1859 - St-Robert Church, Richelieu, QC, Canada
Spouse: Esther Giguère (1840 - 1875)

Children:
      John-Baptiste (1861 - 1947)
      Marie Louise (1863 - 1891)
      Agnes (1865 - )
      Joseph (1867 - )
      Josephine (1869 - 1886)
      Louis (1870 - )
      Emma (1873 - )


The following is adapted from Gail M. Gordon's genealogy website with her kind permission:

Jerome's occupation was listed as a Voyageur at the time of his marriage; a woodsman, boatman, or guide employed by a fur company to transport goods and supplies between remote stations in Canada or the U.S. Northwest.

Voyageurs have been described thus: The voyageurs and coureurs de bois of seventeenth century Canada were described as "men of iron," and such they had to be since every aspect of their enterprise was a test of endurance.

Numerous falls and rapids dotted their watery obstacle course, and only one means of passage over them existed. The voyageurs unloaded their baggage, covered their heads with spongy birch leaves for protection, packed their goods on their backs and their canoes on their heads, and crossed the rocks or falls on foot to calmer waters.

No less an observer than governor-general Frontenac was awed by the strength of the voyageurs. "One cannot believe," he wrote, "the exhaustion of these men, dragging the boats (in water) up to their armpits and balancing on rocks so sharp that some of them had legs and feet running with blood, yet their gaiety was undiminished."

"American-Canadian Genealogist," issue #80, page 51, entitled: "The Perraults of Labrador" by Barry Perrault.


There is a further explanation of the difference between the "Coureurs des Bois" and the "Voyageurs" on page 52. - a brief excerpt: "The Coureurs des Bois were generally considered the opposite of the Voyageurs. The Voyageurs were those men licensed to trade with the American Indians on behalf of the companies and the Coureurs were not licensed. In fact, the Coureurs des Bois traded under a threat of severe punishment........"

Jerome and Esther settled in the County of Ontonagon, Michigan. (The 1900 Wisconsin Census states that Jerome immigrated to the US in 1851.)

The first four of their children were born in Michigan:
   John Baptiste, 1861,
   Marie Louise, 1863,
   Agnes, 1865, and
   Joseph, 1867.

The next child, Josephine, was born in 1869 in Matuns County Illinois, perhaps on the trek to Wisconsin. (Some Pelletiers settled in Illinois and it is possible Jerome and his family were visiting with them. However this is only speculation with no fact to support it.)

Sometime in the early months of 1870, the family had established themselves in the township of Gardner, Door County, Wisconsin where two more children, were born; Louis, 1870 and Emma, 1873.

Unfortunately, Esther died only five years later leaving the family of seven children motherless. Jerome did not remarry. It is said that the oldest son, John, assisted greatly in helping to raise the other children.

Apparently Jerome took up farming in Door County as he is listed on the 1880 Wisconsin Census as a farmer. He is also remembered as having carried the mail on foot from Sturgeon Bay to Green Bay.

Jerome died in 1907 at the age of 78. He was living with his son, John, at the time. Although every cemetery has been searched in the area, his resting place has not been found.

To find out more about Door County go here