March Birthdays

How is March almost past us already? It doesn’t really seem…real. But, it’s true. The snow is melting, the stream is flooding, and chickens are driving me crazy with how often they feel the need to sing the song of their people. Given that the month is almost over, I thought it would be better late than never to celebrate a few March birthdays.

First up, my wonderful Nana, Irene Simard. A Mainer born to two Quebec transplants, Nana was the oldest of 12 children and later went on to have 10 of her own. Never someone to stay still for long, I can recall her taking long walks right up until the last few years of her life. She worked tirelessly, in and out of the house, to raise and maintain her family.

Irene Simard, approximately 1950.

She was a strong woman who suffered an off-again-on-again relationship with my Grandfather, but stayed by his side, even taking care of him far longer than anyone anticipated her being able to due to his complications with Type II diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

The second birthday I want to recognize is someone who I know almost nothing about. Aside from the paper trail that has been left, Hortense Artemis Dube is an inigma. Hortense, my 3rd great-grandmother, was the oldest of 12 children. At the age of 23, she gave birth to her son, Thomas Dube, who was my 2nd great-grandfather. No one currently living knows who Thomas’ father was. As it stands, this is a secret Hortense may have taken to her grave – Thomas himself didn’t find out about Hortense being his mother until after her death and was raised to think she was a much older sister of his. What is known of Hortense is that whe was born in Frenchville, Maine, in 1847, the daughter of Pierre Dube (1822-1907) and Hortense Artemis Roy (1827-1886), married Francois Xavier Boucher sometime prior to 1885. Together they had one, possibly two sons. Hortense would go on to outlive her husband. This 3rd great-grandmother of mine is shrouded in mystery, and hopefully one day I’ll catch a glimpse of who she really was.

The last birthday I want to celebrate this month belongs to yet another person who I am only able to learn of through documents and other people’s memories. Archie St.Claire Vaughn, also sometimes known as Archibald, was my great-grandfather. My grandfather never really spoke of his dad, so I can’t even pester my mom about who Archie was or wasn’t.

Archie Vaughn and eldest son, Laforrest.

Born in Stem Mill Village, Nova Scotia, Archie would later immigrate to Maine, marrying Helen Judkins and – for lack of a better term – settling in the White Mountains region.