Chapter 8

Duaime, Duhaime, Duhême

By the time Marie-Anne Dulignon-Lamirande had her last child, Alexis was 21 years old and of marrying age himself.

There would be no delay.

On 19 January 1767, he wed Marguerite Lesieurs-Desaulniers.

They named their first child Alexis Jr. and held the baptismal on 27 October 1768, Yamachiche, Quebec, just North of Louiseville on the Saint Lawrence River.

The record of baptism spells the father's name as Dueme. It seems that someone later added a stroke on the "e" to simulate an added "h". The same baptism record identifies Joseph "Dueme" as godfather without a similar edit. This was typical of rural Quebec.

Literacy was not universal nor equal. Priests did the best they could with phonetic names which could not be verified by illiterate patrons.

Alexis II would be the only boy born to the couple. He was followed by a sister, Charlotte, baptized on 28 October 1772, and then by Marguerite, baptized on November 23, 1774.

In July 11, 1775, Alexis' father, François died and he was buried on July 11.

Eight months later, Alexis and Marie-Anne gave birth to their last child, Catherine, baptized on February 21, 1776.

Duhaime family tombstoneAlas, the same fate which befell Charlotte Guinard would also befall Marguerite Lesieurs-Desaulniers for she died and was buried on September 24, 1777.

Following in his father's footsteps, Alexis wed again, this time to Marguerite Faucher, on February 16, 1778.

From this second marriage would come five children: François, baptized on November 26, 1778, Joseph, baptized on November 4, 1780, Josephte, baptized on May 4, 1782, another François (which presumes the death of the first), baptized on February 8, 1784 and Brigitte, baptized on February 24, 1786.

Alexis Jr. married Louise Pichette on February 3, 1794.

Over 21 years, they had no fewer than 11 children. Again, the firstborn male was named Alexis, born on March 2, 1795. The record of baptism referred to the child's father as Alexis Lemaitre dit Duaim and names the father's brother, Joseph, as godfather.

War of 1812Alexis III was followed by Godefroy (1796), Marie Angèle (1798). Charles Alexandre (1799), Leandre (approximately 1800), Marguerite Seraphine (1802), François (1803), Joseph Sylvère (1807), Sophie (approx. 1808), David François (1810) and Laurent Marcel (1816).

The peaceful succession of generations was interrupted when, in 1812, war broke out between the United States and England.

It was a war that could have been avoided. A critical concession of the British government was contained in a diplomatic message which was crossing the Atlantic when the impatient American President Madison, backed by a Congress, replete with war-hawk Republicans, declared war.

Some American states saw the war as void of any but one purpose: occupy and bring Canada into the new republic. President Madison had even been duped by less-than credible intelligence that led Congress to believe that many Canadians were begging for an American invasion.

The fate of Canada was actually being played out across an ocean, on the frozen steppes of Russia.

England had little military reserves to spare North America especially for a territory so remote and against an aggressive foe as the young and petulant United States.

Napoleon's navy had been decimated but his land forces pent up in France held the very real threat of invasion of the English isles.

But then, suddenly, Napoleon marched against Moscow and captured the Russian capital. The goal was to cut down England's biggest ally.

In that, Napoleon failed miserably.

Fall and then winter swept over the Russian plains and dug-in and freezing French troops. The southern invaders were no match for the fur-wrapped Cossacks.

Of half a million Napoleonic soldiers which reached and occupied Moscow, only 20,000 retreated successfully.

The impact upon Canada of that one event cannot be overstated.

With the disappearance of the French threat to England, England immediately sent troops to North America.

Canada was then able to fight off the American incursions and was saved from inevitable suction into the new democratic republic.

Fate was not the only enemy of the Americans.

Political miscalculation also brought military ruin. American leaders were wrong about the loyalties of French-Canadians.

Québec militia rallied to the British cause against the American invader.

In one of the great battles of the continental struggle, 1,500 French-Canadian and Mohawk  troops under the command of Charles-Michel de Salaberry, defeated 4,000 American troops in Chateauguay, on October 26, 1813, only 35 miles from Montreal. The event is the subject of a Canadian War Museum painting captioned "Canada Saved" (see above).

Alexis Duaime served for 30 days under Captain Louis Ducheny's Company of the Detachment of Embodied Militia of Trois-Rivieres from September 28 to October 24, 1813. He also served under Major Antoine Poulin de Courval's, Commanding Officer of the Three Rivers Detachment of Embodied Militia from October 16 to December 1, 1813 inclusively, mobilized during the War of 1812.55

De Courval's pay list shows that Alexis joined the Company on October 25 as a private. He was paid for 38 days service.

Just further north, under the command of Captain Basile Cartiers, George Duhaime and Jean-Baptiste Duheme served as privates in the Yamachiche Battalion from November 11, 1813 to December 1, 1813.

They had done their part to ensure that Canada stayed under control of the United Kingdom.