My father, Jean-Baptiste Léveillée, was born in the Parish of St-Aimé, now called Massueville, in Richelieu County, Québec, on 23 June 1905, as a I recently discovered during one of my visits to my ancestral land. My discovery surprised me because we always celebrated my father's birthday on 24 June, feast of St-Jean-Baptiste, after whom he was named. All his documents contain the 24 June date as his birth date which in reality was the date of his baptism. We didn't learn of this birth date until 97 years after his birth, in 2002.
I am introducing the reader to the Parish of St-Aimé, founded in 1834, with an anecdote about my father's birth and baptism dates to set the scene for another discovery about one of my ancestors. This person is Joseph Fourquin dit Léveillé who was known as the "Le Crieur de St-Aimé - The Town Crier of St-Aimé". He is my father's great-grandfather, my great-great-grandfather.
When Joseph FOURQUIN LÉVEILLÉ was born in the year 1813, the parish of St-Aimé had not been commissioned by then. This little boy was born to Jacques Fourquin dit Léveillé & Marie St-Germain dit Gaussin, in the parish of St-Michel d'Yamaska, Québec, Canada. He was the second son and the third child of this family of six devout Catholics and patriotic Québecois. He was baptized on the same day 20 March 1813 in the village church of St-Michel, in the county of Yamaska. Ironically, his first wife, Marie Brouillard, was also born and baptized on that same day in March 1813. He died in 1902, three years before my father was born. My grandfather, also named Joseph Léveillée, named after his grandfather Joseph, used to speak about his grandfather to me, when he and I used to play cribbage. He would tell me anecdotes about his "pépère". I can't remember all of them, but after reading about my great-great-grandfather in Ovide Lapalice's book "Histoire de la Seigneurie Massue et de la Paroisse de Saint-Aimé", some of the anecdotes came back to mind.
My "pépère" used to tell me about how his grandfather used to be auctioneer after high mass every Sunday when he was in his 80's and 90's. My grandfather used to sit on the grass of the town square right in front of the Church of Saint-Aimé and listen to his grandfather's rapid and funny chatter about a variety of farm animals and other items to be sold. He told me that his grandfather was never at lost for words. There was a niche on the main road from Saint-Aimé to Saint-Michel that was built by this ancestor. My grandfather said that it was called "Notre-Dame-des-Campagnes"; there was an anecdote about this also. These images have always stuck in my mind.
As a result of these anecdotes, I have written a story about my great-great-grandfather.
"Today is Sunday in the year of our Lord 1901.
At the entrance of the church in the village of St-Aimé, now called Massueville, Québec, my mind's eye follows the crowd heading towards the raised platform, in the middle of the village square, upon which the aged Town Crier just climbed for his weekly bargains. I can still hear this elderly gentleman, haranguing the crowd with his strong voice, with his lungs of steel: "Today, there will be a sale by auction at Monsieur Villiard's farm", with a detailed listing of all the articles, equipment and animals of the farm; "those people on the St-Thomas road are asked to take care of their part of the road and to dig the necessary ditches to avoid floods on our road". "There's a young wine-colored bull with a white heart on his chest, which took refuge at the Rivard farm. You are asked to go and claim it."
However, what was most interesting was to imagine hearing my great-great-grandfather soliciting bids for the auction of objects, religious and other types, given for the benefit of the souls of purgatory by pious country folk - some of them my third cousins.
Joseph Fourquin-Léveillé lived in an era when one still counted by pounds and centimes according to the old French book-keeping system; by a gold louis, shillings and farthings brought by English domination; by dollars and cents which our United States neighbor finally made us adopt. And the old Crier could count easily in all three ways, offering a product for the souls:"An offer, gentlemen, for my pound of butter, my skein of wool, my goose, my little piglet (oh! he's cute, my little piglet), my spring veal ... Fifteen centimes... four pounds... four pounds fifteen... four and half shillings... a dollar, once, twice .. Sold to you, Monsieur!"
My great-great-grandfather Joseph Fourquin Léveillé was that voice at the church entrance of St-Aimé. He was an elder of that parish, dying at the age of 90 years." (in 1902).
My complete story is found on my website at
I would also invite you read the page devoted to his lineage on my site at
There is a poem that expresses my deep feelings for what my ancestors bequeath to me.
You got it from your father, 'twas the best he had to give.
And right gladly he bestowed it. It's yours, the while you live.
You may lose the watch he gave you and another you may claim,
But remember, when you're tempted, to be careful of his name.
It was fair the day you got it, and a worthy name to bear,
When he took it from his father, there was no dishonor there.
Through the years he proudly wore it, to his father he was true,
And that name was clean and spotless when he passed it on to you.
Oh, there's much that he has given that he values not at all.
He has watched you break your playthings in the days when you were small.
You have lost the knife he gave you and you've scattered many a game,
But you'll never hurt your father if you're careful with his name.
It is yours to wear forever, yours to wear the while you live,
Yours, perhaps, some distant morning, another boy to give.
And you'll smile as did your father - with a smile that all can share,
If a clean name and a good name you are giving him to wear.
by Edgar A. Guest
I have one wish that both my grandfather Joseph and my father Jean-Baptiste would have been able to read my tribute to their grandfather and great-grandfather. I am happy, though, that Joseph's great-great-great-grandchildren, my two children, and his great-great-great-great-grandchildren, my two grandchildren, will be able to learn, through my work, all about this remarkable man, the "Town Crier of Saint-Aimé" - Joseph Fourquin dit Léveillé.