Her name was Sophie. I’ve learned what I know of her through the generosity of distant cousins. This picture is a precious gift from one of them. She is the mother of my father’s father’s father – my great-great grandmother.
A French Canadian, Sophie was born in Quebec in 1835. She died in northern Minnesota in 1914. Her children were all born in Quebec, in the same town and province where she and her husband were born, christened, and married. Where their parents and grand-parents had lived before them, all the way back to the early 1600’s when a few adventurous souls crossed the ocean from France.
In those years before automatic washing machines, microwave ovens, or supermarkets, Sophie bore and raised eleven children – five sons, six daughters. Imagine! 😯 My three sons kept me busy. I know little of her social status, save what I can discern from the photo, and from what I know of our overall family. Regardless, her life was far different than ours is today.
Sophie moved to Minnesota when she and Edouard were older, most likely because their oldest son, my great-grandfather, moved there. Families stay together, when they can. She survived her husband by four years, dying in 1914 at the age of 79. She would not see her oldest son, my great-grandfather, die in an automobile accident in 1917, nor her grandsons travel to France to fight with the Expeditionary Forces in the first World War.
She lived a good life, I think. It shows in her sweet face, and in the way she gently rests her hand on her husband’s shoulder. Her DNA runs through my veins, intermingled with the DNA of so many other mothers. Though I never knew her, we share a bond – both of blood, and in our love of family.
I wish we could have sat together at her kitchen table, just once, to chat over a cup of coffee. I would like to have met this French speaking g-g-grandmother of mine, to have known her and about her life. Somehow, I think she might laugh at that. Maybe that’s why I write history….to understand the life Sophie and my other ancestors led.
To you, and to all mothers both here and now departed, Happy Mother’s Day!