Genealogical and Family History
STATE OF MAINE
Compiled under the editorial supervision of George Thomas Little, A. M., Litt. D.
LEWIS HISTORICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY
[Please see Index page for full citation.]
[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]
[Many families included in these genealogical records had their beginnings in Massachusetts.]
The Bonneau family is of French origin, its representatives in America being the posterity of two brothers who in 1764 emigrated from Normandy, in France, to Canada and settled on the Isle of Orleans, in the St. Lawrence river. One of these brothers, the ancestor of the family herein described, removed to Montreal, and establishing his residence in the parish of St. Phillippe followed the occupation of a blacksmith.
(II) Charles Bonneau, eldest son of this immigrant, was born in 1799 in St. Phillippe, county of La Prairie, province of Quebec, Canada, was educated and learned his trade there. In young manhood he learned the trade of carpenter and followed it for several years.
He married Flavius St. Denis. At the age of fifty-five he fell a victim to an epidemic of cholera, and his death was followed an hour later by that of his wife, leaving a family of children:
Jules, Esther, Vital, Alfred, Alphonsine, Charles, Moses, Narcisse, Joseph and Napoleon.
(III) Alfred, son of Charles Bonneau, was born Sept., 1834, in St. Phillippe, province of Quebec, removing to St. Johns when two years old. He died May 30, 1896. He was very young when his father and mother died in 1844; he had no schooling, and what education he acquired was through his own efforts, outside of the school room. He learned the trade of carpenter and followed it in St. Johns until he was fifty-two years old. In Feb., 1895, he came to the U. S. and settled in Southbridge, Mass., and died in that town in May, 1896.
He married Philomene Lussier, a native of St. Marguerite parish, province of Quebec.
Marie Louise, Philomine, Alfred, Agilda, Albina, Henri, Arthur, Marie, Emelie, Hermine, Josephine and Joseph.
(IV) Alfred (2), son of Alfred (1) Bonneau, was born in St. Johns, province of Quebec, Oct. 14, 1862. He received his rudimentary education in the Christian Brothers Academy, at St. Johns, and at the age of eleven entered the seminary at St. Therese, province of Quebec, located twenty-one miles above Montreal. After pursuing a classical course there for four years and a half, he entered the College of St. Hyacinthe, from which he was graduated in the class of 1881, and on July 18 following was admitted by examination at Montreal, to the study of law. He then applied himself to his legal studies for three years, but at the end of that time, deciding to turn his attention to another walk of life, accepted a position as assistant teller in the St. Johns Savings Bank, where he remained for three years. He resigned his position in the bank to accept the appointment as assistant clerk of committees in the parliament at Quebec under the Mercier liberal government, a position that he filled with ability and credit from 1886 to 1889. Mr. Bonneau has for several years been acting as justice of the peace and notary public for the state of Maine, and he holds still a commission from the lieutenant-governor of the province of Quebec to acknowledge all deeds with effect in Canada.
It was at this time that he became attracted toward journalism, for which he was well qualified by natural ability and education, and he was called to take charge of the newspaper, LEtoile, of Lowell, Mass., published in the French language for the large French speaking population in that vicinity, largely French-Canadian. It was a four-page journal with a large circulation throughout Massachusetts, and was considered the learing Republican French paper of Lowell. During his connection with L'Etoile, Mr. Bonneau established newpapers in Lawrence and Haverhill, Mass. In 1892 he became the advertising editor and translagtor of Le National, another French daily of Lowell. In 1893 he became managing editor of L'Observateur, a weekly newspaper published in Biddeford, in the French language, Republican in politics, continuing until 1896, when it ceased publication. He established his present (1908) newspaper, La Justice de Biddeford, May 14, 1896, in Biddeford, and has been the editor and publisher to the present time. This newspaper has been very successful and possesses a great influence and usefulness. He was appointed agent of the Grand Trunk Railroad in Oct., 1901, and still holds that position.
Mr. Bonneau is one of the most influential and prominent French-American citizens in New England. During the past three presidential campaigns, he has been the leading French speaker for the Republican party and has spoken to the French people from one end of the New England States to the other. He was a member of the Biddeford schools board in 1898-99 and 1900; clerk of the overseers of the poor from 1900 to 1902. Mr. Bonneau is an able public speaker and is in great demand. In the various French-Canadian societies throughout New England he is well known and honored. He is a prominent member of L'Union St. Jean Baptiste D'Amerique.
He is a member of the Catholic Church, in St. Joseph's parish, of which Rev. Father Dupont is the pastor. He has earnestly advocated and supported every movement to benefit his people, at the same time uring and assisting them to become naturalized American citizens. Through his editorials and public speeches Mr. Bonneau has done much to educate the French-speaking citizens of this country to high standards of public duty. While in Canada Mr. Bonneau was an active member of the Young Men's Liberal Union, an organization that supported Sir Wilfred Laurier in the premiership, and at the banquet tendered to that statesman in Boston in Nov., 1891, Mr. Bonneau was one of the speakers. Mr. Bonneau is fond of music and is himself a skilful vocalist. He is a member of the choir of St. Joseph's Church; an honorary member of the Lavallee Choral Union of Lowell, and has been prominent in amateur musicales and theatricals in association with Alfred De Seve, the well-known violinist and musician. He is a member of Musical Union of Biddeford, founded in 1899, and was its first president during the first three years of its existence.
He married (first), in St. Johns, province of Quebec, June 1, 1885, Eliza Marien, who died there in 1888. He married (second), Oct. 320, 1895, Anna Tetrault, born in Canada, daughter of Narcisse Tetrault, who belongs to one of the oldest and most prominent French families of Biddeford. He has no children.