The Adolphe B. Pouliot Journal
Although the words "HENRY POULIOT ARTHABASKAVILLE" appear on the journal cover, the first page informs us that Adolphe B. Pouliot is the author. After the title "Journal de Adolphe B. Pouliot" we find the statement:
"Commencé en l'année 1974, le 12 septembre, en la ville de Lowell, Etat du Massachusetts, contenant ses voyages, infortunes, etc., etc. 1874, Le 12 septembre en la ville de Lowell. . . . . . .. . oo.. . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . .
The 56-page document contains the beginning of the promised narrative (40 pages) followed by 15 pages in different hands. View cover and sample pages. The typed, double-spaced transcription to which I refer below totals 41 pages.
The Journal proper consists of:
A. An introduction entitled "Pourquoi suis-je venu aux Etats-Unis?" pp. 1- 2/2 The sufferings of hard-working French Canadians who come to the US to work. pp. 2- 11 1/2 Adolphe tells the story of one brave French Canadian who came to work in the States so he could pay off his debts. We follow his trials and tribulations until he returns triumphantly to his family. Only at this point do we learn that the Canadian in question is Adolphe's father.
B. A second segment, dated 28 Octobre 1874, returns to the topic "Pourquoi suis-je venu aux Etats-Unis?" After finishing his schooling (1865) he works as a printer for two newspapers: the Union des Cantons de l'Est" and L'Evénement. . In 1869 he comes to the U.S. where he works briefly in a logging camp near Superior City, Wisconsin, then for The Duluth Minnesotan and The Superior Tribune. Following the Tribune's bankruptcy, he works on the wharves until November 12, 1869 when he books passage on the Frost. Once aboard, he agrees to work as a fireman in exchange for passage back to Canada. The narrative ends abruptly ca November 28, 1869 while Pouliot is still in the US (Detroit Michigan).
The pages following the journal contain a series of writings in different hands and styles: a segment beginning August 30, 1870 details the events of a voyage from Trois-Rivières via Montreal to Brest, France. This segment also breaks off abruptly. Subsequent pages contain penmanship exercises, fragmentary remarks, and poems.
The journal presents a tantalizing mystery. Who was Adolphe Pouliot? Did he complete his journal? Some pages are torn from the middle. Are they still in existence? Genealogical records have begun to provide answers to the many intriguing questions these pages inspire. We know that Adolphe came from a long line of Franco-Canadians whose ancestors emigrated to Canada from France in the seventeenth century. Adolphe married Marie Virginie Gagnon in Manchester NH in June, 1872. Their son Henry, who was born in Nashua NH in 1874, eventually settled in Lowell along with many other Pouliot descendants. Further ongoing research will help to fill in the story of Adolphe Pouliot's life and his experiences as a Franco-Canadian immigrant in nineteenth century America.
Margaret S. Langford Ph.D.
229 Main St., Keene, NH 03435-3201 - Circulation: 603-358-2711 - Reference: 603-358-2710
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