Philip Laclair m Delia Breslin 25 Feb 1895

Philip Laclair was born about 1864, probably in Portsmouth NH, the third of four children of Barnabas and Sarah Ann (Hawkins) LaClair.  He is listed in the 1871 census in Compton, Quebec, with his family.  I have not yet located him in the 1880 US or 1881 and 1891 Canada census. 

My original information said his wife was Delia Berslin, but I believe the correct name is Breslin. She was born about 1872, probably in Boston, the daughter of John and Ellen (McCune) Breslin.  I was not able to find a birth record for Delia, but did find one for Bridget Breslin born 13 February 1871 to John and Ellen Breslin, in Boston.  The family lived on Yeoman street.  I have found out that Delia was a very common nickname for Bridget back then, so am pretty sure that this is Philip’s future bride.  I found a marriage record for her parents, and believe the correct spelling of Ellen’s name was McKehone.  Delia is listed in the 1880 census in Boston, with her parents and two younger sisters

Philip and Delia were married 25 February 1895 in Newport VT, at St Mary Star of the Sea parish.  The marriage record says that Philip was born in Portsmouth, and names his parents as Barney La Clare and Sarah Hawkins. Delia’s parents were from Roxbury, MA, according to the license.    

Catholics in that area originally had no church, and they either travelled, or were served by a travelling priest, when it was time for a baptism or marriage.  Many had a “civil” marriage that was later blessed by the priest.  The early Catholics in Newport rented a room over the livery stable to serve as a chapel. Eventually, a church was built on Pleasant Street overlooking Lake Memphremagog, and was completed in 1877 as St Mary Star of the Sea. 

The marriage was short-lived.  The following legal notice was posted in the Vitals from St. Johnsbury Caledonian 1895-1899: Libel for Divorce – Philip LaClare, of St. J., married Delia Berstin, then of Boston, in Suffolk, County, MA; that the said Delia did at Lewiston, ME and at divers other places on Aug. 6, 1896 (sic) and at divers other times during said year 1895 commit the crime of adultery with Gus Woods and other persons unknown to petitioner.  Philip requests divorce and said Delia at this time is living outside the state.  Filed, Jan. 25,1896.

I have not yet found subsequent records for Delia.

I found a possible match for Philip in the 1900 census, living in Derby VT, in the House residence, working as a servant.  His birth date listed as Dec 1871, which is about seven years off what we think we know.   However, he reports that he was born in NH, father in France, mother in England. (This is repeated in later records.)  He was a farm laborer, could not read or write but did speak English. 

Philip married Mabel Sarah Glines on 29 July 1901, in Unity NH. Philip reported that his mother was deceased, and his father was a carpenter, age 70, in Barton.  Mabel’s parents, Charles and Hattie were in the 1900 census, but Mabel was not with them.  I found her boarding with the Paul residence in York ME.  She was born March 1886, she and parents born in NH, she was “at school.” 

Philip and Mabel had three daughters, Dora born about 1903 in NH, Gladys Evelyn born 14 April 1905 in Lebanon, and Daisy born 10 June 1907 also in Lebanon.  They were in the 1910 census living at #12 Barrows street in Lebanon.  They had been married 9 years, and Mabel had 3 children, all living.  Philip claimed he was born in New Hampshire, parents born in France, but he did speak English.  He worked as an extractor man at a woolen mill.  He could not read or write.  Mabel and Philip divorced, and she remarried to Thomas Joseph Lessard on 24 Feb 1914 in Laconia NH.  Thomas and Mabel S are in the 1920 census in Tilton.  The three children are not with them, nor are they with Mabel’s parents, who are also living in Tilton.  Thomas and Mabel are also in the 1930 census in Tilton, still no children with them, although by now the daughters are old enough to have married.  Mabel died 26 Nov 1937 in Tilton.

I have not yet found any more records for Dora or Daisy.  Gladys married James Robinson in 1923 in Tilton.  They had at least two daughters, Evelyn who died at age 20 days, and Alice born about January 1927.  In 1930, they lived in Keene.  Alice married Kenneth Bardwell, but died 7 Nov 1943 in Manchester, age 16. 

Philip’s third wife was Annie Joyce nee Durgin – widowed. They were married 31 Jan 1914 in Tilton NH.   Philip listed his father’s age as 90, occupation mechanic, born in France.  Actually Barney had died in 1902, a dozen years earlier, no indication he had been a mechanic, and he was born in Quebec.  Philip listed his mother as 60 – she had also died 20 years earlier, and was not born in France.  Arvilla Anne LaClair died 2 Jun 1917, in Tilton.  Cause of death was pneumonia. 

Philip’s fourth wife was Ethel Emaline Riley.  They were married 20 Feb 1919, in Georgetown MA, and the marriage was recorded in Tilton as well.  The marriage record lists Philip’s father Barney as age 80 (he died 17 years earlier at age 75) and Sarah recorded as 50 (she was 64 when she died in 1895).  Ephraim was listed as 83, and Sophia as 48 – with a 39 year old daughter as the bridge?  I wonder how the questions were asked.  This is a typewritten record but perhaps the original entry was not very legible.

In the 1920 census, the family lived on Morrison Avenue.  Philip listed his age as 39, but he was 55. He said he was born in NH. Occupation listed as Laborer, outside.  Ethel listed as 39.  Children are Clarence H 13, Lora E 2 3/12, and Laura A, 2 3/12.  Ethel and the children were all born in MA.  The census says they owned their home free (no mortgage.)  Clarence was born 26 June 1906, in Boston.  The address was 81 Stoughton St, father not listed.  This appears to be a home for unwed mothers, as there were several entries from that address where the father was not listed.  The MA birth records are only posted to 1915, just short of the time I need for the twins.  I had originally thought that they might be children of Annie, but she died well before they were born.  The census record does not say “adopted” or “step” children, and they are listed as LaClair, not Riley. 

In a letter from his grand niece Althier, she said that Philip wasn’t mentally right, but she wasn’t sure why.  He used to come to visit wearing a straw hat in the winter.  He was called “Tippy Straw Hat”. 

Philip died 1 Dec 1926.  The death record in Tilton did not list parents.  The record filed with the state said that Philip had lived there 16 years, so moved there about 1910.  He had previously been living in Lebanon, NH.  Cause of death was cerebral Hemorrhage.  The record said he was a laborer, and married but the card did not list his wife’s name

According to staff at Park Cemetery, Philip LaClair was placed in the tomb, then buried later in the spring in the Lang plot.  There are two Lang plots in the cemetery, unknown which was used.  We found no markers or other information at the library. 

I have not yet located any further records for Ethel Riley LaClair, or Clarence, Lora, and Laura.

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