Andre Bombardier b 7 March 1780

Andre Bombardier was born 7 March 1780, in Chambly Quebec, the fourth of eight children of Augustin Bombardier and Marie-Pelagie Renne Boileau.  He married Susanne Courtemanche in Chambly on 26 October 1801, and they had nine children.   Andre came to live in New York.    I found the following essay on line – unfortunately did not document its source, and cannot find it again.  It is good reading, and I would like to have been able to give credit to the author. 

By the late 1700s the French and Indian War and the American Revolution were over. The British were firmly in control of the Lower Province of Canada and there was a surplus Canadian population looking for employment. Great Britain’s Navy consisted of wooden-bottomed ships, which also needed first-rate masts. Those who had traversed the “Military Highway” of the St. Lawrence, Richeleau and Champlain & George Lakes had popularized the value of the tremendous stands of pine; 125 feet in height, 6 to 8 feet at the base. Somehow, these pines grew best at the 45° parallel, which also became the northern boundary of New York State. For years, Moses Hazen had been contractor to the British government, hiring Canadians who would come here to live in make-shift logging camps, cutting timber and in the spring rafting it north to sell to the British. On this return trip home, they merely rode atop the 500-600 foot rafts. At this time there was no permanent housing or settlement in Clinton County. The settlements containing the established churches etc. were in the villages in the long-established Province of Canada now controlled by the British. Yet, in this manner they earned their British Pound Sterling which, presumably, they spent on their families who had remained in established Canada.

It is conceivable that in 1796, André Sr., at 16 years of age, has come south to work. (In 1798, in the First Assessment of Clinton County, only 80 head-of-households are listed.) Presumably he continues his home in Canada. In 1801 he marries Susanne Courtmarche and continues to live north of the border where he has an established support group; his family, a grandmother with her feather beds and her skills at mid-wifery etc.

In 1821, André Jr., at 18, is now also ready to work. At this time the Lake Champlain Canal is being built, yet another opportunity to earn money in the US which can be brought home to Canada. Conversely, the French-Canadian still did not really trust the American enough to really move here and establish their homes. It was OK to come down and work, but take the cash home.

Unrest against the British Authority in 1838-39 resulted in the short-lived French Patriot Rebellion led by Papineau. While quickly quelled, it left fear in many Frenchman’s hearts as many of their countrymen were killed in action, executed or exiled. There remains documentation of 58 men from Quebec, and 83 from Ontario being exiled to Australia and Tasmania respectively. The security of the established family groups must now be traded off against the potential long-term opportunities to the south.

Finally, in 1840 we see both André Sr. and André Jr. living in Clinton County. They have completed a 40-year transition. The US seems the better, safer place. Twelve years more confirms this decision and in 1852 we see them apply for, and receive, citizenship. Both sponsors, Ira Rowlson and Darius March, are citizens. They were farmers and public servants or politicians. Their influence in the growing community is directly proportional to their ability to bring in the “vote”. It is quite possible that their “persuasion” to our two LaBombard ancestors included some sort of “election time” gifts.

The 1840 census of Beekmantown NY lists Andrew Jr. and Sr. but only the heads of households are listed, no family members.  In the 1850 census of Beekmantown  Andrew was working as a laborer in a household that included wife Susan age 59, daugher Susan age 25  (both born in Canada) and Esther, age 4, born in NY. 1860 census of Altona NY lists Andrew LaBombard, age 88, “gentleman”, living with Susan, age 35, and Esther, age 14.

I have not found a death record for him, but he died after the 1860 census, probably in Altona, NY.


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