Sunday, October 28, 2012

1870s/1880s Autograph Album of Joseph Blanchard of Canada, Vermont and New Hampshire

1870s/1880s autograph album that I believe belonged to Joseph T. Blanchard, who was born in Canada and lived for a good portion of his life at Keene, New Hampshire.

The album is approximately 4" x 2-1/4" and contains over 30 pages signed by the owner and his friends and relatives.

The album was a challenge as several names were repeated, and it was hard to tell if the signers were different people or the same person.  And I suspect the owner may have gone by one of his given names for part of his life and the other for another part.

The reason I believe this album belonged to Joseph T. Blanchard is that his wife Mary signed the next to last page.

Three pages were signed by a Theophil Blanchard.  Perhaps Theophil was Joseph's middle name.  One page was signed in 1878 when Theophil was 27 years old.

Another page details the 4 October 1874 marriage of Theophil and Marcelline Boivin.  Marcelline died 27 May 1875 at Holyoke, Massachusetts. [Marceline Boivin, according to her Massachusetts death record, which states the cause of death as "burned".]  I'm thinking that Marceline was one of the many victims of the disastrous fire at Precious Blood Church in South Holyoke, Massachusetts, in May 1875.

Theophil Blanchard signed a page on 4 July 1875, shortly after his wife's death, indicating that he was a widower. [thanks, M-G for your help in translating and for noting that Theophil's delay in noting his widower status might have resulted from the fact that the official ruling on his wife's death might have taken a while, considering the enormity of the calamity.]

Joseph Blanchard, who, again, might be the same person as Theophil, wrote two pages in the album.  One page details his marriage to Mary Mederise Labonte [Labounty], on 4 November 1884.

The other details the birth of their child on 18 April 1886 at Walpole, New Hampshire.  I believe this child was Malvina Mederise Blanchard.

If you have information on the Blanchard, Boivin and/or Labonte/Labounty families, especially if you can confirm that Theophil and Joseph were the same person or not, please leave a comment or contact me directly.   

Likewise, if you have information on any of the other signers in the album, who are listed below, please leave a comment or contact me directly.

Complete list of signers, in alphabetical order: [Note: given names within a particular surname may not be in alpha order.]
  • Napoleon, possibly Ordway or possibly Blanchard, 1901
  • Miss Mary Bell of Bellows Falls, Vermont.  Can't make out her middle initial; could be R.
  • Joseph T. Blanchard, who is the possible owner of this album
  • Theophil Blanchard, age 27 on 23 July 1878; don't know if that was his birthday or just the age he was on the day he signed the page
  • Theophil Blanchard, could be the same person as above: gives his marriage date of 4 October 1874 and wife's name, Marseline B?.  
  • Theophil Blanchard; if I'm translating correctly, "is still nine on 4 July 1875
  • Joseph Blanchard.  He mentions Bellows Falls, New Hampshire, but perhaps means Vermont.  He gives the date of his marriage to Mederise Labonte as 4 November 1885
  • This page gives the birth date of Malvina Mederise Blanchard, daughter of Joseph and Mederise Blanchard, as 18 April 1886 at Walpole, New Hampshire
  • Miss Mamie Blanchard of Keene, New Hampshire. "your daughter".   Perhaps Malvina Mederise Blanchard?
  • Mrs. Mary Blanchard: "from your wife that you have lived so long with"
  • Joseph Blanchard of Westminster, Vermont, 1884
  • Mattie A. Burgess
  • Henry and Frady [?] Cates [not sure of wife's name and not sure of surname
  • Minnie Egins of Westminister, Vermont; not sure of how her surname should be spelled, but I don't think it's Egins
  • Betsey Faulkner of Chester, Vermont, 1879.  Can't make out her middle initial
  • Silas Faulkner of Chester, Vermont
  • Mrs. Lucinda B. Faulker of Chester, Vermont
  • Martha E. Faulkner of Chester, Vermont, 1879
  • Sarah E. Faulkner of Rutland, Vermont
  • Augusta M. Faulkner of Rutland, Vermont; mentions Eli Faulkner, Jr., age 2
  • Minnie Harris of Westmoreland, New Hampshire
  • Malvina Jaffre, 1884
  • Mrs. Louise M. Jaffrey of Westminster, Vermont, 1884
  • Petter Jaffrey [Peter?]
  • Lewis Jeffrey, 1884; cute poem
  • L. G. Keith of Westmoreland, New Hampshire
  • Rozy Shortsleeves of Winchendon, Massachusetts, 1878
  • John Shortsleeves of Winchendon, Massachusetts, 1878
  • Emeline Shortsleeves of Winchendon, Massachusetts, 1878
  • Louisa Shortsleeves of Winchendon, Massachusetts, 1878
  • W. A. Stone of Westminster, Vermont, 1884
  • Addie Thayer of Westmoreland, New Hampshire, 1878
  • Rufus F. Whitney of Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire, 1875; age 39
Keene, New Hampshire [Zoom out one click to see Westmoreland and Walpole to the northwest and Fitzwilliam to the southeast.  Zoom out two clicks to see Winchendon to the southeast.  Zoom out three clicks to see Rutland, Vermont, to the northwest.]

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Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Have you looked on I have found that is the best place to find lost relatives. My great-great-grandfather died in the Precious Blood fire in Holyoke (1875).

  2. Thanks for your comment. Every so often I should revisit the sources I have already checked, as so much new information has come online. It must have been a horrendous trial for your great great grandmother and her children and fellow parishioners.