EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Maud Hands, first woman elected to Chapleau council, also served as only president of local branch of Red Cross Society in World War II

Mrs Hands front row centre Names not available
Mrs. Maud Hands was the only president of the Chapleau branch of the Canadian  Red Cross Society during World War II, according to an article in the Chapleau Post.

In November 1946, the executive of the Chapleau branch hosted an afternoon tea in the lodge room of the Town Hall, which was located on the second floor of the municipal building opened in 1914. Service badges and pins were presented at the meeting.

During World War I, she had served as a nurse in England. Her first husband Ambrose Evans, was serving with Lord Strathcona's Horse, (Royal Canadians), Royal Canadian Armoured Corps.  Michael McMullen and I note in 'The Chapleau Boys Go To War' that he was classified as missing and presumed dead, and is commemorated at the Vimy Memorial, Vimy, Pas-de-Calais, France. His name is also inscribed on the memorial plaque at St. John's Anglican Church, Chapleau.

After the war, she returned to Chapleau and in due course, married Fred Hands. She worked as a nurse at Lady Minto Hospital for many years, and had the distinction of being the first woman elected to Chapleau council in 1947. Mrs. Hands was also the long-time superintendent of St. John's Sunday School, and leader of the Junior WA of the church.
Branch members circa 1945

At the tea, certificates of merit were presented to the Catholic Women's League of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, accepted by Mrs. Vezina; Trinity United Church Women's Auxiliary, accepted by Mrs. Hamlin, and St. John's Women's Auxiliary by Mrs. Card.

Freda Matters accepted the certificate on behalf of Chapleau High School while Betty Ann Payette and Pearl Marchesseault accepted on behalf of the separate school and public school respectively.

Thirty-two pins and and nine service badges were presented to members by Mrs. Hands, assisted by Mrs. A. Austin and Miss Foy.

The Chapleau Post reported that at the tea hour, Mrs. H. Sauve and Mrs. Vezina poured tea, "the long table covered with a beautiful lace cloth with a huge bouquet of yellow chrysanthemums in the centre. Four young girls from the high school waited on the aldies. They were Miss Betty Ann Payette, Miss Pearl Marchesseault, Miss Betty Edwards and Miss Gloria Warren."

During World War II, the Chapleau branch was actively involved in the Red Cross National Appeal. In 1944, Reg Thrush wrote "Campaign Notes" for the Chapleau Post.

He noted that the campaign had ended but the Chapleau branch had over $5,600 in cash on hand. Its goal had been $3,750, and donations were still coming in.

Mr. Thrush wrote: " The stories told by returning heroes who have seen Red Cross work in prison camps and on machine-gunned battlefields undoubtedly did much to encourage people to open their hearts and purses to a worthy cause."

Apparently babies played a prominent part in the Chapleau canvas. For example, he noted that the youngest boy of Charles W. Collins appeared on the donor list, "only to be topped by his sister".

"The baby daughters of another soldier father, (J.G. 'Jiggs' Goldstein, who was serving overseas in the Canadian Army) Anne and Dawn Goldstein also appear on the list."

"A mysterious group of young ladies described as the 'Sit and Chats', Bea, Babs, Ina, Irene, Kay, Myrtle and Vera, appear both collectively and individually," Mr. Thrush wrote. I think I know who all these ladies  were, but will not take a chance in making a mistake. If you know, my email is mj.morris@live.ca

Thanks to Anne (Zufelt) McGoldrick for providing names

Red Cross picture
                                                                                         Mrs. Card, Mrs. Shoup    
Back row`: Miss Holding,  Mrs. Boulard,  Mrs Nell Crichton,  Edna Crowhurst , Miss Foy (Separate School Principal),  Mrs. Ernie Holding, Mrs. Jardine, Mrs. Austin
Middle Row:   Mrs. Steed, Mrs. Edith Hunt, (our grandmother),Mrs. Deluce, Mrs. Cochrane, Mrs. Robinson, Mrs. Simpson, Mrs. Banks
Front Row:  Mrs. Delaney, Mrs. Strapp, Mrs. H. Gagnon,  unknown, Mrs. Sauve, Mrs. Hands,  unknown, unknown, Mrs. Jack McAdam

the top photo

  Mrs Austin                        mrs. Wilson,  unknown might be mrs barnes Edith Way-Waywhite , Terry Way-white wife
Mabel Westerman Murphy, Mrs. Laurie Westerman,   Mrs. Connie  I think  Way-White Carroll ,  Bea Chevalier Galy,   Vi  Nolan Selin                      Elsie Zufelt, Mrs. Byce, Vera Westerman Martin
Sonego,  unknown, Mrs. Hands, Mrs. H. Gagnon  unknown

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Ernest Bernier chaired Sacred Heart Roman Catholic School board of trustees for 28 years

Ernest Bernier, who arrived in Chapleau in 1898, worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway as a conductor, receiving his 50 year Gold Pass at a Snowdrift Lodge Number 246 banquet in 1954.

However, Mr. Bernier was also active in community life serving 28 years as chairman of the board of trustees of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic School which is truly a long time in any public position. 

He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus and a Grand Knight in the early 1900s. 

While working for the CPR  Mr. Bernier was a conductor on the Royal Train in 1939 as it headed to Vancouver with King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on board. 

But according to an article written by his daughter Lucille (Bernier) Lefebvre for the Festival of Pioneers, her father had no plans as a young man to come to Chapleau. Born in Levis, Quebec, in 1881, he started studying medicine at Laval University, but as the oldest in the family her had to leave university so that his sister could continue her studies in medicine.

By 1903, with his brother Arthur, he was building a house at what became 98 Birch Street East, which took about two years to complete.

About this time, he met his wife Mary Elizabeth Tremblay, who was living with her sister Mrs. Noel De Tilley in a house adjacent to Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church. 

As an aside, Chapleau got its name from Mrs. Noel De Tilley in honour of Joseph Adolphe Chapleau. He had served as premier of Quebec and in the Sir John A, Macdonald government as secretary of state during construction of the CPR. Apparently she was asked to give the community its name by a CPR civil engineer.

When Mr. Bernier first met his wife she was the organist at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church. They were married on February 25, 1906 by Rev. Father Paul Lefebvre.

Mrs. Bernier was born in Quebec City on November 1, 1877. When she was five years old her father, who was captain of a ship bringing goods from overseas to Canada, died when his ship hit an iceberg near Greenland.

Part of the ship , the Alpha, was recovered, and is in the Marine Museum in Halifax.

Mr. Bernier's ancestors came to Canada from France and ireland while Mrs. Bernier's were from France, and the United Kingdom.

Mrs. Bernier died in 1949 at the age of 72, having lived in Chapleau for 68 years. Mr. Bernier died in 1955 in his 74th year.

My email is mj.morris@live.ca 

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


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