The History of Our Viau Lineage
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Nearly all of the Viau families of North America can trace their ancestry to one of four families immigrating from France to Canada. The first known Viau in North America was Jacques Viau dit Lesperance whose voyage began in the summer of 1665 as a member of the King's Carignan Regiment. It is from this soldier that we descend. We have been able to trace Jacques back to his mother and father in France. The following is what we have found:
First Generation: Julien Viau was born About. 1610 in Trinite de Clisson, Nantes, Bretagne, France. He married Gratienne Forget about. 1635. She was born circa 1615 in Trinite de Clisson, Nantes, Bretagne, France. We do not know when either of them died. Together, they had one son, Jacques Viau dit Lesperance, born on January 1, 1640/1641 in Clisson, Brittany, France.
Second Generation: As earlier noted, Jacques Viau dit Lesperance came to New France (Quebec) as a young man on August 17, 1665. He was a Soldier in the Carignan-Salières Regiment, Company 12. "Compagnie-de-la-Freydière.". All members of the regiment were known by an alias (dit). The dit name (alias) that he used was L'Espérance. The goal of the Regiment was to rid the Montreal area of the threat of the local Iroquois Indians so that it could be safely settled. The effort was successful and a peace treaty was signed in 1667. France recalled the Regiment in 1668, but King Louis XIV wanted to build the population of the colony and offered the soldiers a monetary reward to stay. Jacques was one of over 400 soldiers that accepted the offer. In the mean time, women in France were being offered dowries and transportation to join the mostly male settlers in New France. These women came to be known as "Filles du Roi" or "daughters of the King". Nearly two years later, on January 21, 1670, Jacques married one of these immigrant women, his first wife, Marie-Madeleine Plouard (b. January 1, 1652/1653 Polet de St-Pierre de Neufville, France) in Montreal. Bachelor men of the settlement were being punished by losing their right to hunt, fur-trade, or fish outside of the colony. Conversely, married couples were rewarded for each child that they gave birth. The couple had six children,
Bertrand Viau (May 13, 1671- July 27, 1747),
Marie-Madeleine Viau (June 11, 1673-May 7, 1758),
Michel Viau (Dec 05, 1675 - Feb 18, 1719/20 - Longueuil),
Jacques Viau (b. March 5, 1677/78),
Marguerite Viau (Dec 04, 1680 - November 13. 1754), and,
Jeanne-Françoise Viau (March 23, 1681/1682).
Note: Jacques Viau dit Lesperance married twice. With his second wife, Marie-Therese Robin dit Lapoint, he had 10 additional children. He married her in 1684.
Third Generation: Jacques and Marie-Madeleine's first son, Bertrand Viau married Reine Robin in Boucherville on April, 7 1693. Reine's mother was also a "Filles du Roi" . Ironically, Reine was also the sister of his father's second wife.
Bertrand and Reine (b. 1677) had 14 children.
Marie-Rose Viau, b. November 30, 1693; d. December 03, 1693.
Bertrand Viau, b. November 10, 1695; d. June 27, 1742.
Jean-Baptiste Viau, b. January 03, 1697/98; d. March 15, 1730/31.
Marie-Joseph Viau, b. 1700; d. December 12, 1745, Sault-au Recollet, Quebec; m. LOUIS DIVELEC, December 01, 1718.
Nicolas Viau, b. October 10, 1702; d. June 25, 1703.
Julien Viau, b. July 03, 1704.
Marie-Charlotte Viau, b. February 14, 1706/07; d. February 03, 1723/24.
Reine Viau, b. November 02, 1708; d. May 06, 1734, Montreal, PQ, Canada; m. GUILLAUME TOUGAS, November 04, 1727.
Joseph Viau, b. November 12, 1710; d. October 31, 1715.
Marie Madeleine Viau, b. February 23, 1711/12; d. October 13, 1748; m. LAMBERT MAILLOT, November 07, 1745.
Marie-Angelique Viau, b. May 29, 1714; d. March 31, 1715.
Antoinette Viau, b. July 05, 1716; d. January 07, 1717.
Basile Viau, b. March 16, 1717/18; d. July 02, 1734.
Marie-Veronique Viau, b. August 15, 1721; d. June 09, 1722.
Fourth Generation: On February 16 of 1722, The younger Bertand Viau married Marie-Joseph Cadieux.(b1701).They had one son, Joseph.
As was common practice, Joseph Charles Emile Viau did not use his first name. Charles Emile, as he was called, emigrated from his birthplace in Ste Rosalie to Sprague, Ct, USA. He also may have lived in the city of Ste Hyacinthe, PQ, Canada for a period of time before moving to the US. He was a carpenter by trade and he probably married my grandmother, Celima Grenier, in the late 1800's. Celima was a very attractive dirty-blonde who was born in Greenfield, NH on Feb 2, 1876. Soon after they were married, Charles Emile and Celima began to raise a family and they had at least nine children. There are stories in the family about some of the children dying in a fire or a plague. According to family accounts, a fire uprooted the family in Sprague from where they moved to Central Falls, RI. Other accounts indicate the fire may have been in Ste Hyacinthe. They lived briefly at 78 and 128 Garfield Street before moving less than a mile away to 818 Dexter Street in the same city. Only six of their children survived childhood. They were:
Delia Marie Viau (b. Feb. 1900 Jewett City, CT - d. May 6, 1955)
Joseph Alfred Henri Viau (b. August 18, 1902 Jewett City, CT - January, 1972 )
Delina Marie Viau (b. Sept 22, 1905 - June, 1986)
Dorila Marie Viau (b. August 8, 1912 - Feb. 11, 1965)
Marie Dorothee Celia Viau (b. May 7, 1914 - March 27, 1998 )
Joseph Archie Viau (b. May 24, 1917 Central Falls, RI - d. April 22, 1984)
Charles Emile earned his living as a Rough Carpenter. I don't really know too much about him as he died before I was born. I understand that he suffered from "hardening of the arteries" and his attempt to perform home medicine on this ailment was what killed him. Using his carpenter skills, he made a "hot box" to apply heat to his affected limbs. One night while treating them in this manner, he fell asleep and burned them. The burns became infected and gangrene set in. His legs were amputated, but to no avail. He died on March 31, 1945 and he is buried with his wife in Notre Dame Cemetery in Pawtucket, RI.
Delia Marie Viau married Ernest Walter Murray on February 29, 1924. They lived in the upstairs apartment from my grandparents. They had two sons, five grandchildren, and great-grandchildren that are alive today. Delia, as my aunt liked to be called, died at 55 of cancer. Delia and Ernest ("Uncle Murray") are both interred at Notre Dame Cemetery in Pawtucket, RI.
Joseph Alfred Henri Viau, my "Uncle Joe" married Lilie Blais. They had two daughters and two sons, many grandchildren and great grandchildren that are all alive today.
Delina Viau... my "Aunt Dena" was a fairly large (tall) woman. She was married twice. Her first marriage was to ??? McKenna. They lived very comfortably in Narragansett where they both held elected office. After her husband died, Dena conserved her funds and moved to a small neat house in Point Judith. There she took a job in a little mom and pop grocery. She lived in her quaint little home until she remarried late in life to "Doctor" Potter. She moved to his large home near the water in the same city. Dr. Potter died a couple years later and Dena again was a widow. She lived the rest of her life in that home.
Dorilla Marie Viau, like her siblings, preferred a "nickname". Her's was Doria. She married Georges Adelard Ledoux and they remained in Central Falls for their entire lives. They lived on Hendricks Street in the predominantly French Canadian City. They had three daughters and three sons and a multitude of grandchildren that are all alive today. Doria died of cancer at the relatively young age of 53. Georges died May 24, 1970. Doria and Georges are both interred at Notre Dame Cemetery in Pawtucket RI.
Marie Dorothee Celia Viau, "Aunt Dot", as I knew her, spent most of her life alone. She married ??? Protena as a young woman but her husband died within the week. She never re-married. I have very warm memories of my aunt. She often babysat me as a child and I remember her protectiveness. She didn't trust anyone else to baby-sit me or any of my four sisters. After work, she would walk to another aunt's home to pick me up and together we would walk the two miles or so to her apartment in Central Falls, RI. I remember her picking apples for me along the walk. We would stop for a soda and continue on our way. She had no TV or radio that I remember but somehow she always kept me amused. I remember the ivy wallpaper in her apartment and the smells of fresh baked food. She was the last of my father's siblings to pass away and a piece of me died with her.
Archie Joseph Viau was my father. He grew up in Central Falls and earned his spending money by working at the nearby Bellevue Theatre and as a shoeshine boy. He left school early and took a job as an auto mechanic with a friend of his. He had just turned 20 when Europe became embroiled in a war, and on February 23, 1941, he joined the Army. He was immediately assigned to the 118th Medical Battalion as a truck mechanic and driver. He married my mother, Myrtle Loise Leech on October 18th of that year. Not quite two months later, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the US was catapulted into the war. My father attended radio repair school and on October 6, 1942, left on the USS Coolidge to enter battle in the Pacific Theatre. My eldest sister was born that June. My father never spoke to me of his role in the war . Even now as I look at his war register I am horrified by what he must have gone through. He was in the battle of Luzon, Philippines when Japan first used Kamikaze pilots. He also fought in Rendova & Munda, Aitape (New Guinea), Hebrides, Northern Solomons and Guadalcanal. By the time my father was discharged on August 8, 1945, my older sister was two years old. My father moved with my mother and sister into my grandparents small farm in Attleboro. My mother was working as a weaver and my father took a job as a mechanic at Corning Glass Works in Central Falls, RI. Before long they purchased a little house next door to my grandparents and that is where I was born in March of 1947. They bought two more houses in the next five years. One sister was born in the first and my twin sisters were born in the other. My family lived a modest but comfortable life. We purchased a vacation home on Cape Cod where we spent our summers and in 1956 we purchased a new home in Seekonk, MA. Seekonk was a bedroom community to both Providence, RI and to Boston, MA. My parents were very active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars and both spent time leading their respective affiliations. My father was Commander and District Commander and my mother, the President of the Women's Auxiliary. We were a church-going Catholic family and we all gathered on holidays . On Easter morning, April 22, 1984 as my four sisters with their families were en route to my parents home, I received a call that my father had died during the night. I remember frantically racing to my parents home so I could comfort my mother and sisters as they arrived. My mother never really got over the loss of my father. She would religiously trek to his grave on holidays and his birthday. I think it was the Veteran's group that held her together. She and her friends would visit hospitals and nursing homes. They would participate in area parades and sponsor local activities. All the while, my mother remained committed to her family. In July of 1992, she traveled to California with her sister to bring a terminally ill third sister home to die. During that trip my mother and her sister were killed in a tragic car accident. The third sister was eventually brought home by another family member.
Twelfth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Generations:
My name is Raymond Archie Viau. For reasons of privacy, I won't mention my sisters who are all alive today.
I have a son born December 20, 1974 and a grandson born October 12th 1997 who are also both living.
Between my sisters and I, we have 15 children and close to 20 grandchildren.