Betsey Maloney Oral History

The following is from "Folklore of the Laurens Family", in Aldo Brochet, Laurens Genealogy: 1821-1900 (unpublished manuscript):

"I called the residence of Mr. Edgar Lawrence1 in Barachois and received an open invitation to visit, without any appointment, whenever I would like. My father,2 one evening, suggested that we drive down. It was August 14, 1983.

"We were greeted by the lady of the house, a lovely woman, not tall, rather short, very warm in manner, and we sat and listened to her.

"Ethel Emma Davis was born in Montana in 1895, and was married in 1913 to Mr Edgar.3

"Her great-great grandfather, William Girard4 of Guernsey, a Protestant, had a Catholic wife. At her request he was given the last sacrament 'and he felt a lot better'. (She smiles with a twinkle in her eye, and grins.) He gave land for a churchyard here.5

"She points out [that] her nephew in Scotland has drawn a Lawrence armorial - two black towers - rather well drawn, but probably the arms of a Scots Lawrence.

"I ask her about Jean Laurens6. She says he was a small man, short, a Protestant . . . from England . . .an Englishman (not certain, she emphasizes it), he died at the island (possibly Bonaventure; unable to say if she means Jersey) . . . married Betsey Maloney.7

"Aunt Betsey was a very large woman; 'she was the doctor and the law' . . . a midwife. When families fought she said: 'You, Sir, be good to your wife, and you, Madam, be good to your husband. Should I hear ye fight again, and if you gits more babies, I will not come here, I won't.'8

"Betsey's brother, Bill Maloney, Uncle Bill, was a powerful man, a boxer. He fought with a black man once.9

"She has trouble in placing Harriet Laurens;10 replies that Harriet Maloney married John Lancaster.11

"I ask about how Lawrence came here.

"Patrick Lawrence12 came to Cox's Farm and first settled on the land where the church13 is now built. He exchanged this lot with the Fabrique St-Pierre14 to settle here. We are within Cox's Farm. Governor Cox15 had the Militia Road built right around Cox's Farm. The other lane is behind Coteau.16

"Pat marrried Elisabeth Lemieux.17 (She shows me their portraits, which hang in the next hallway. He has a high mustache, a serious square face). Her family were from L'Islet. Pat wanted her to speak English, to raise the children in English.

"Mr. Edgar was christened in 1891 by Father Belanger of Malbay.18

"Aunt Betsey did not deliver Mr Edgar. It was her trade to deliver babies, but Aunt Caroline Cassidy19 came to deliver Edgar.

"Aunt Betsey began to go blind when she was old. Elisabeth Lemieux used to clear land, while Betsey would feed Edgar bread soaked in milk. One day she said Edgar had ate well and Elisabeth noticed bread in Edgar's ears.

"She delightedly (not holding back the laughter) says: 'The two ears were filled with bread!'

"The family realized Aunt Betsey, now in her nineties, was indeed going blind.

"Mr Edgar appeared from sitting within an adjoining room, standing about six feet tall, spry and thin, having a Norman oval face, austere, cool and collected in form. Dressed in country clothes, he has long arms and huge hands -- hands that indicate a man of great strength at a younger age.

"He speaks largely direct to my father: 'I commenced to fish at thirteen and went on to my eighties. I went on Monday morning and came home on Saturday. My bones still get tired. BB, the LeBouthillier Brothers firm, paid forty cents,' he enjoys telling.

"I ask about John Lawrence Jr. and Adelaide marrying Maloneys.20

"Mr Edgar recites Bill Maloney's family: 'Ned, Philip, Tom, Henry, Charles21. . . Ned's son (grandson?) Eric died last fall.22

"I add Mike Maloney who married Adelaide Laurens.

"The lady wife corrects me: 'Michel Maloney is who you mean.23 Mike is someone else. Mick24 and Mike are not Michel Maloney."

Quoted with permission: © copyright Aldo Brochet, 2003, all rights reserved.


1Frederic "Edgar" Lawrence (1891-1990).
2Louis Ralph Brochet (1918-2012).
3She died in Collingwood, Ontario, 23 Mar 1991.
4John "William" Girard (c. 1765-1845) married Mary Henly (1776-1823).
5On page 144 of Les Registres de la Gaspésie (1752-1850), (Montréal: Société généalogique Canadienne-française (# 3),1961), abbé Patrice Gallant quotes abbé Ferland, Les Côtes de la Gaspésie, (1836), p. 359: "Nous sommes arrivés chez Guillaume Girard, premier marguillier du lieu, quoique encore protestant. Girard est un des plus riches pêcheurs de La Malbaie. Arrivé pauvre de l'Ile Jersey, à force d'activité et d'industrie, il est parvenu à réaliser une petite fortune. Outre ses propriétés foncières, il possède dix-sept barges". ["And now we come to William Girard, who, despite being a protestant, is the foremost member of the parish's business council. Girard is one of the wealthiest fishermen in Malbaie. Though poor when he arrived from the Island of Jersey, by dint of hard work and enterprise, he has gathered a nice sum. Besides owning land, he has a fleet of seventeen barges."] In Malbaie, John Girard owned lots 6 & 7, which made him neighbour to Bill Maloney, who owned lot 8. [Nicholas Cox (see n. 15, below) owned lot 28.] See Quebec Gazette (February 10, 1820), p. 2.
6John Laurens dit Lawrence (c. 1789-c. 1863) is the paternal grandfather of Edgar Lawrence.
7Elizabeth "Betsey" Moloney (1803-1892), wife of John Lawrence, is the paternal grandmother of Edgar Lawrence.
8Aldo Brochet comments: "The dialect with 'ye' as the plural form of 'you' is archaic, but standard to the region. Note Paul Almond's film Isabelle."
9Aldo Brochet comments: "This is one of the archetypic stories of the challenge to the hero in Irish cycles, as told by Patrick Cotton."
10Harriet Laurens dit Lawrence (1827-1891) is a daughter of John Lawrence and Betsey Maloney and an aunt to Edgar Lawrence. In 1843, she married James (Jacques) Brochet (1801-1867), who is Aldo Brochet's great-great grandfather.
11Henriette "Harriet" Maloney (1820-1892) is the oldest child of Bill Moloney and Elizabeth Buckley.
12Patrick Lawrence (1842-1916) is the father of Edgar Lawrence.
13St. Pierre de Malbaie in Barachois.
14The "Fabrique" is the organization (something like a corporation), established to handle the business affairs of the parish.
15Nicholas Cox (c. 1724-1794) was appointed Lieutenant Governor, District of Gaspé, in 1775. In 1777, he took a census and organized militia forces. In 1784, Cox supervised the settlement of over 500 loyalists. In 1787, Cox was Colonel of the Gaspé Militia and a member of the District land board. For a more detailed treatment of Cox, see the entry by David Lee, in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Volume IV: 1771-1800, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979), or on-line, at Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
16In Barachois, on the east side of St. Pierre de Malbaie church, running north from Route 132, is Route d'Église. (The church, built in 1864, facing Route d'Église, burned down on 27 February 1924. The first mass held in the new church, which faces Route 132, was celebrated on 8 December 1939. See "The Story of a Hundred Years, Featuring Saint Peter of Malbay: Barachois: 1860-1960".) Further east, on route 132, the next two roads, which parallel Route d'Église, are Chemin des Coteaux and Route Mélicia [which should be spelled "milice"].
17Élisabeth Lemieux (1847-1933), wife of Patrick Lawrence, is the mother of Edgar Lawrence.
18Father Alphonse Bélanger, who was the parish priest of St. Pierrre de Malbaie from September 1884 to October 1891, baptized Frederic Edgar Lawrence on 26 January 1891. Edgar's godparents were his brother, John Lawrence (1872-1948), and his sister, Elizabeth Lawrence (1871-1956). The complete record can be found in [Le Registre de Saint-Pierre-de-Malbaie] Barachois 1865-1941, (Longueuil, Québec: Diffusion généalogique Pepin (RN-CD160), 2003): Image 30561190.
19Probably Caroline Cassidy (1847-1927), wife of Jean Noël Laflamme (1850-1929).
20John Lawrence, Jr. (1836-1910), son of John Lawrence, Sr. and Betsey Maloney, married his first cousin, Mary "Caroline" Maloney (1833-1913), daughter of Bill Moloney and Elizabeth Buckley. Marie "Adélaïde" Lawrence (1844-1929), younger sister of John Lawrence Jr., married her first cousin, Michael "Michel" Maloney (1839-1906), second youngest brother of Caroline Maloney. John Lawrence Jr. and Adelaide Lawrence are uncle and aunt to Edgar Lawrence.
21These five sons of Bill Maloney remained in Barachois. Not listed are their two brothers, William Maloney (1824-1881) and John Maloney (1831-1904), who had left Barachois and finished their lives on the Côte-Nord.
22Eric Georges Maloney (1917-1981), son of Edward James Maloney (1869-1936) and Rose-de-Lima "Delima" Mercier (1870-1951), was the grandson of Philip Maloney (1826-1913) and Mary White (1834-1895). He was the great-grandson of Bill Moloney and the grand-nephew of Edward "Ned" Maloney (1838-1921).
23See n. 20, above. On his wedding record, Michel signed his name "Mitchal Malony" ([Le Registre de Saint-Pierre-de-Malbaie] Barachois 1865-1941, Longueil, Québec: Diffusion généalogique Pepin (RN-CD160), 2003; Image 30560866).
23"Mick" is Elias Michel Edward "Mick" Maloney (1889-1958), son of Ned Maloney.


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