Edward Francis Messier and Celina Touchette,
a Vermont family
Michael Messier and his uncle Jacques Messier came to Nouvelle France in 1651. A year early, came Martine Messier and her husband, Antoine Primot, and a future cousin, Catherine Thierry, who was adopted by the family Primot. My ancestor, Jacques Messier, came to settle down in 1660. He was the brother of Michael Messier. They all came from St-Denis-le-Tiboult, Rouen, Normandie, France. All the Messier settled down in the Richelieu Valley, when they arrived in Montreal. Because of the lack of land, and the number of children, they did not want to go in the Eastern Counties there was rocky land, and because it was a Loyalist part of Quebec given by the Canadian Government when these loyalists, who wanted to be faithful to the king of England, moved from the United States.
Lucie Leblanc / White and François Messier,
Edward Francis Messier's parents
The Edward Messier family can be traced back to a small farm at the base of Jay Peak in Montgomery, VT and on to the Fairfield area. As I compiled this information on my great grandfather, I stopped and asked myself, "who was this man, what was this man really like, what were his beliefs, and was he a family man?" To better get to know him, I found a paper written some years ago by his granddaughter Arlene (Jordan) Martell. The following is Arlene’s view of her grandfather as she had written.
Left to right, first row : Eva ( Messier) Jordan, Edward Messier, Celina ( Touchette) Messier
Second row, left to right : Edward Messier Jr , Alma ( Messier) Pilon, Josephine ( Messier) Labelle,
Nellie ( Messier) Nolan and Frank Messier. Picture taken in the early 1920s
Great grand-parents of Gale Messier
Edward (Ed) and Celina Messier moved from their family farm at the foot of Jay Peak in Montgomery, VT, when their children started entering their teens. They operated the Doane farm at Fairfield Center for three years and lived near the bridge just east of the village.
In the winter, Frank and his sister, Eva, did a lot of skating on the pond near the bridge. They always talked about their racing days when they got together. He had made some custom made racing skates just for her, with long runners. Sleigh rides were also among their favorite memories. They always had a lot of bells on their team so everyone in town knew they were coming.
Ed and Celina then bought the family farm in East Fairfield, one mile above the Lapland school on the Howrigan Road where they spent the rest of their lives. The farm was located at the foot of Fletcher Mountain and ran up to what was called Pine Ridge. It consisted of two hundred acres with a brook running through the total width of the farm and another coming down the hill by the barns emptying into the main brook. This created the old swimming pool. There was a large sugar bush on the farm with a sugarhouse about a thousand feet from the house. There was also a large blacksmith shop that was above the road toward the mountain with the stream running directly behind it. The hen house and hog pen were above that along with extra hay barn with the turkey roost built up the side of it. The hay barn backed up to an apple orchard in the hill with the back left open so that the heifers could feed through out the winter day. They were several deers always wintered there with the heifers. One could always find a family of guinea hens around the shop or haymow. They were probably the family mascots for neighbors could never remember not seeing guinea hens around. The main dairy barn was located across the road. The garage that housed the old Pontiac car that Ed prized so much was between the house and barn on a circle drive way. Along one wall of the garage could be found a long workbench with a lot of interesting tools.
Frank and Edward Jr. ran the blacksmith shop until Edward Jr. left home. They also had a portable sawmill that kept them busy sawing woodpiles.
When Frank married, he lived in East Fairfield Village but still ran the blacksmith shop with his father for a few years until he purchased his own farm. He also made and repaired wagon wheels. One of his specialties was designing scooters or so called jack jumpers. This was a narrow ski with a steel runner with a seat mounted on it. In the winter when conditions were right, he could mount his scooter from half way up Wells hill and ride all the way to East Fairfield, which was three miles. He would ride like the wind down the long hills building up momentum to make the next grade. His own personal design was one of perfection, with just the right balance. The only traffic on the roads at that time was logging teams and they were long gone home by chore time. He rode with such skill that the population along the road watched for him to go flying by with his head bent against the wind. He went faster than any vehicle had ever traveled across Fitzgerald flats. On a bad day the most he had to walk was the last two hundred or three hundred feet over Morey hill.
Edward Sr was a self-educated man having taught himself to read and write. He spent a lot of time reading the Burlington Press and his bible. Every year, he put on a barn dance to raise money for the Lapland school. He felt every child should be educated in order to have a better life. He always said that anyone that couldn’t read or write could be made a fool of.
He was a carpenter and had a great understanding of gasoline motors. Grandsons Ronald and Norbert spent all their extra time in the blacksmith shop designing home made cars. By the time they were teenagers, they both had cars that ran.
Edward Sr. was blessed with a great ear for music. He made all kind of crude musical instruments, carved some out of wood like a piccolo and made some with strings. He always carried a harmonica in his pocket. The organ was the most important piece of furniture in the home and everyone had learned to play it when they were very young. He thought that everyone was born with this talent and had very little patience with anyone who didn’t play music or dance. His sons Frank and Edward always carried a Jew’s harp in their pockets as well as a harmonica when they went into the woods to cut wood with their father. During rest periods they would have a little jam session. The boys weren’t always appreciating of this tradition but went along anyhow. Their father would tell them that playing good music would keep their mind clear and their souls clean. This tradition went back to their family and Canadian culture and to the Messier’s lumber camps in Montgomery, VT. There was always fiddling and dancing the jig in the evening and at mealtime. Edward used to talk about his father Francis and his brother Joseph fiddling together and making those fiddles sing. His sister Rose also played the violin. These great gifts of craftsmanship and musical abilities have been inherited by many of his grandchildren and greatgrandchildren.
Before electricity became a household word in the mountain areas of East Fairfield, the Messier family had electric lamps. Ed had invented a generator that he mounted onto the roof of the house with paddles run by the wind. He wired it to pull down lamp and when the wind blew there were electric light at the dinner table. It worked so well that he built one for his neighbor.
He always kept his rife over the kitchen door and his shotgun in the the corner of the dinning room. The ammunition was always lined up on the top shelf of his writing desk. He had a special cartrage made up just for thieves for you were your own law enforcement agent in that part of the county. It consisted of rock salt and pellets. He always told a story of the man of little ambition that tried to rob him of his small tools on one moonlit night. When the old collie dog growled he got up and put on his pants, then grabbed his shotgun with a special load. He had carved a special groove on one of the veranda pillars to steady his aim. As the thief came out of the garage with his bag of tools, Ed was waiting for him. When the thief turned his back to the road, he took aim and fired, hitting him in the backside. He went screaming up the road. Ed then went to the barn, got on his horse and followed him. By the time he caught up to him he had reached his home and was lying across the kitchen table with his old mother tweezing out buckshots. Ed went right in and confronted him and that was the last of his thieving in those parts.
A brook well stocked with trout ran by the house about a hundred feet from the front door. Every morning about five thirty before chores, Ed would throw in his line off the bridge and catch a couple of trouts for his breakfast. If a grandchild happens to be there that was their job. He said: "God had put them there for him to eat".
There was always a large garden behind the house. Canning days were when all his daughter’s came home to can tomatoes, beets, corn, and other vegetables. Then there was pickle days when they all made pickles for the winter. They used the vinegar that he had made from cider the year before. Cider days came when the apples were ready. The best apples were placed into the apple bins in the cellar and the rest went into the press. This was hand turned and everyone had a turn. The juice went into the three big wooden barrels in the cellar until it turned into cider.
Grandpa always planted popcorn to pop during the winter evenings. This was hung to dry. In the evening this was shucked and put into jars.
When neighbor needed a new water source, they usually came to see grandpa, for he was truly a dowser and could find water if there was any to be found.
As he grew older, his carrot red, curly hair turned snow white but his beard stayed bright red. Every fall he let it grow, as did all lumbermen to protect their faces from the cold winters. The day after sugaring season he shaved it off. His piercing blue eyes always remained the same. When he said: "Now young lady" you stood at attention and knew that you had displeased him. His large structure was overwhelming to a child anyhow.
Life could be interesting at Grandpa’s house. Occasionally he had turn at a neighborhood social. The women all sat in the dining room making quilts as they exchanged conversation, while the men sat in the kitchen playing cards and drinking cider. Grandpa was always asked to play a tune or two and tell a story.
Story telling was another one of his talents. He could either scare the wits out of you with his haunted house stories, or make you laugh till your insides hurt telling of funny things that had happened in his lifetime.
Having been brought up in the French and Indian cultures, he was always teaching survival tactics to his grandchildren. He would walk them through the woods pointing out what was poison and what was not, which flowers that we could pick and the ones that were deadly. He would cut off some Spruce gum for us to chew and be sure that we could identify a spruce tree. We would pick cowslip for greens and other wild greens. We weren’t allowed to pick that very special flower, just look at it and draw a picture of it but on the way home we always picked pussy willows.
He had a poultice for every kind of illness made from bark, roots, and herbs. Every spring he fed us sulfur and molasses every night for a week. This was to clean out your system.
Grandpa was a religious man and always carried a crucifix. He said, "that the devil still walked the earth and that was his protection from him."
He always said that his kids cut their eyeteeth at the end of a crosscut saw and knew what a days work was by the time they were knee high to a grasshopper. As a nine year old facing him at the other end of a crosscut saw, I didn’t dispute that statement one little bit.
In those days one never wasted a minute. There was no time for children to play for there was too much work to be done. Children picked strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. On rainy days, you cracked butternuts for cooking and candies and piled wood in neat rows in the woodshed.
Occasionally, we drove to town to Chase’s wheelwright shop where he taught me to cut puzzles with the jigsaw.
When grandpa married his second wife I had gone to live with them. We called her aunt Louise, a sweet little lady from Littleton, NH. Before that, I had lived about a mile and a half down the road from Grandpa.
My sister and I often walked up to his house bringing him fresh loaves of bread and doughnuts and spending the day with him since he live alone most of the time since Grandma had died in 1930. The last year that I live there, was difficult for Grandpa, had became ill. He mourned his brother Joseph, who had died the year before in New Hampshire. The doctor said that he had to slow down for his heart was very enlarged.
This led to a trip to Hardwick to get a teenage grandson to help carry the load. Lewis (Sam) Messier came in the summer of 1938 and stayed until Grandpa died in 1940. I was sent back to my family in Milton, VT, the summer before he died having had the very good fortune to have gotten to know him, a man of many talents who had developed every facet of his abilities.
Aunt Mary and Aunt Rose came from Massachusetts to the funeral. They were both very lovely ladies. Aunt Rose was shorter and looked just like her brother Edward. Her red hair was a bit faded then but she had that twinkle in her eye and a spontaneous laugh.
After reading Arlene’s view of her Grandpa. I can better picture this man. I wish that I could have known him myself. I would like to thank Arlene for writing this history paper about her Grandpa. She gave us all a close look at the man himself, Edward Messier.
In front : Joseph Messier and Edward Messier
Second row: Estelle Messier (Desautel), Rose Messier, Mary Messier
Photo taken after 1930 in St. Albans, VT
François Messier and Lucie Leblanc/White family
François Messier born on January 4, 1832 in Marieville, QC, son of Pierre Messier and Esther Poyer/Lapintade married Lucie Leblanc/White born June 23, 1838 in St-Pie-de-Bagot, QC, daughter of Michel Leblanc/White and Victoire Henry-PiedBlanc/Whitefoot.
Date and place of marriage are unknown. Lucie Leblanc/White died in Swanton, VT, on August 9, 1904. Francois Messier, died in Linwood, Northbridge, MA, on December 18, 1908. The date of burial is the day after at the St. Patrick's cemetery of Northbridge, MA.
They have 5 children:
Esther, born January 6, 1859 in Enosburg Falls, VT, married Pierre Arel in Enosburg, VT, on September 10, 1871.
Mary, born on September 21, 1861 in Enosburg Falls, VT, married John Ashton in Montgomery, VT, on June 15, 1891.
Joseph, born July 29 1864 in Enosburg Falls, VT, Alice Centerbar, on Marsh 10, 1890 in Enosburg Falls, VT and Clara Allard.
Rosilla, born June 10, 1867 in Enosburg Falls, VT, married Willie O. Casey on January 16, 1883 in Bakersfield, VT and Lewis Dezaotelle/Desautels, in Westfield, VT, on November 4, 1889.
Edward, born May 16, 1869 in Enosburg Falls, VT married Celina Leda Touchette in Montgomery, VT on January 20, 1890 and Louise Allard in Fairfield, VT, on August 17, 1936. Edward died on September 28, 1940 and Celina on December 19, 1930 in Fairfield. They are in the Bakersfield cemetery, VT.
Edward Messier and Celina Touchette family
They have 7 children:
Josephine Lucy, born November 7, 1890 in Montgomery, VT, married Charles Labelle on November 27, 1905 in Montgomery, VT. Charles was born October 9, 1883. He died July 1974. Josephine died March 26, 1964. They are both buried in Milton, VT.
8 children: Charles Edward (1906-1967), Glaydes Moe (1908-1973), Cassie Eleonor (1910), Ethel (1912), Maurice (1914-1991), Oliver John (1916-1960), Rose Celina (1921) and Nancy Mary (1922).
Francis Frank, born January 11, 1893 in Montgomery, VT, married Lillian Valley, on September 18, 1913 in Enosburg Falls, VT. Lillian was born September 13, 1891, died March 5, 1974. Frank died September 10, 1956. They are both buried in East Franklin, VT.
3 children: Ronald (1917-1964), Norbert (1919-1969) and Wilma (1922).
Edward Lewis, born December 4, 1897 in Westfield, VT, married Bertha Blanche Sorrell on November 20, 1920 in Fairfield, VT. Bertha was born October 20, 1903 in Georgia Plains, VT. She died on May 26, 1993 in St. Albans and is buried in Holly Cross Cemetery in St. Albans, VT.
3 children: Lucille Bertha (1921), Louis Edward (1923) and Thamas James (1925-1996).
Married Juliette Chartier in Burke, VT on May 26, 1931. She is born in Granby, QC, on September 27, 1911 and she died on May 26, 1970 in Northfield, VT. Edward died on September 26, 1964 in Northfield and is buried in Northfield, VT, with his wife.
13 children: Rachel Janet (1933), Raymond Roger (1934), Louise Florina (1935-1990), Carmen (1936-1999), Vivian (1937), Yvonne (1940), Marcel (1941), Paul (1942-1956), Edward (1943), Alice Irene (1945), Yvette (1946), Laurette/Kitty (1953), Denise (1948).
Nellie; born March 11, 1901 in Westfield, Vermont Married Arthur Nolan on September 2, 1918 in Fairfield, VT. Arthur was born May 25, 1896 in Swanton, VT and died August 27, 1991. Nellie died March 25, 1980 and they are both buried in Holly Family Cemetery in Essex, VT.
3 children: Ila (1922-2002), Arlon (1927-1999) and Alice (1944).
Eva Hattie; born January 31, 1903 in Montgomery, VT, married Edward William Jordan on May 21, 1921 in Bakersfield, VT. Edward was born on July 7, 1894 and died January 31, 1967. Eva died April 10, 1994. They are both buried together in St. George Cemetery in Bakersfield, VT.
6 children: Eleanor Mary (1923), Arlene Catherine (1926), Ann Frances (1928), Andrew Julius (1932), Tersa Rosa (1936) and Judith Catrol (1944).
Alma Jane, born November 10, 1905 in Westfield, VT, married Joseph Pilon on November 27, 1922 in Fairfield. Joe was born on June 24, 1889 in St-Lazare de Vaudreuil, QC, Canada, son of Jean-Baptiste and Anastasia Castonguay. He died on July 1, 1979. Alma died on February 12, 1986. They are both buried together in St. George Cemetery in Bakersfield, VT.
6 children: Arthur (1919-1921), Edward (1926), Cecile (1927), Yvonne (1930), Arthur (1932), Joseph Paul (1937) and Josephine (1943).
3 stepchildren of Alma Messier: Alma (1913), Emile (1914) and Hank (1916-1977).
Baby Girl, born February 9, 1913 died February 9, 1913.
GENEALOGICAL LINE OF GALE MESSIER
02 Jehan Le Messier
Perrier sur Andelle ?
01 Jehan Le Messier
00 David Le Messier
01 Jacques Messier
François & Esther Dannesé
November 23, 1712
02 Jacques Messier
Jacques & Marguerite Collet
April 22, 1743
03 Joseph Messier
René & Marie-Françoise Tétreau
Antoine & Élisabeth LeBrodeur
September 24, 1770
04 Jacques Messier
Jacques & Charlotte Patenaude
September 23, 1799
05 Joseph Cajetan Messier
Esther Poyer / Lapintade
Clément & Marguerite Favreau
January 15, 1828
06 Pierre Messier
Jean-Michel & Victoire Henri PiedBlanc/Whitefoot (1838-1904)
07 François Messier
Celina Mary Touchette
Louis & Joséphine Dusseau
January 20, 1890
08 Edward Francis Messier
Bertha Blanche Sorrell
Thomas Constant & Mary Robidoux
November 24, 1920
09 Edward Lewis Messier
Eunice Ruth Langlais/Longley
Frank Fay & Ila Mae Brown
February 17, 1943
09 Thomas James Messier
Denise Francine Parent
George Wilfrid & Mary Rita Paul Rainville (1954- )
Enosburg Falls, VT
November 4, 1972
09 Gale Gene Messier *
* Four children : Nicole Jean, Andrew Paul, Anthony Steven and Carole Anne
Last update: August 16, 2014