Serge A. Theriault

I descend, on my mother's side of the family, from Prussian born Dr. Augustus J. Benjamin Schiller presented by Robert Schiller in the journal of the "Associa tion des Familles d'Origine Germanique du Québec" (Germaniques: Ahnengalerie), Vol. 2, No. 2 (2002). By this text, I document his descendance from the Louiseville-Maskinonge region, where he established himself, in my natal village of Saint Côme (Berthier), where his granddaughter, Seraphine Schiller (1833-1913), my mother's great grandmother is interred. I begin with a biographical sketch of my ancestor, including the reason for his being in Canada in the 18th century.

Biographical Sketch of the Ancestor

Augustus J. Benjamin Schiller was born in Königsberg, Prussia
(now Kaliningrad, Russia) in 1757 .1 In an essay called The Family Tree (1970), Cecile Schiller Belland wrote that he was the youngest of a family of seven children.


City of Königsberg in 1750

1 Augustus J. Benjamin was born in 1757 according to public notary Antoine Robin who wrote he was 26 years old in the marriage contract that he signed on July 14, 1783.

He studied medicine and enlisted in the army as a military surgeon. He belonged to the troop of Prince of Braunsweig, directed by Baron Adolf von Riedesel. This troop was founded at the request of King George III of England to quell the revolt of the thirteen American colonies.



         Baron Von Riedesel                                       Braunsweig Troup Soldiers

He arrived at New York City in the month of May 1780
, with the regiment of Colonel Johann F. von Specht, a company of Major Ehrenkrook.2 On July 20, 1781, he was at Fort Brooklyn, Long Island, N.Y., as indicated in the muster roll that follows.3 Two days later, he left for Quebec with General Riedesel and 900 troops on board the Lilledale.4


2 According toVirginia E. DeMarce: The Settlement of former German Auxiliary Troops in Canada after the American Revolution, J. Resinger publisher, Sparta, Wisconsin, 1984.
3 Microfilm document at Clements Historical Library, Michigan University at Ann Arbour.
4 Robert Schiller, paper on Augustus Benjamin Schiller in Germaniques: Ahnengalerie, Quebec city, Vol. 2, No.2, 2002, p. 68.

Marriage and Beginning of the Lineage in the Province of Quebec

He arrived at Quebec City on September 12, 1781
.5 From there, he went with his regiment to Yamaska,6 and lived with the family of Pierre and Marguerite Hebert (nee Desrosiers).7 He fell in love with their daughter Marguerite (1764-1843), whom he married in 1783. The marriage was blessed by the chaplain of his regiment8 some time before he left the army on 22 July of that year. Augustus J. Benjamin practiced medicine. "This young man does not have much experience yet, wrote General Riedesel, but who has promise for the future because of his dedication to his work".9 He practiced as an intern with a lessor, first in Quebec city, then in Louiseville (1785). His work consisted of attending and treating the lessor and the members of his family, living at his home free of charge, provided that the diseases were not exceed eight days, in which case he was to pay for half the remedies and medicines".10 He opened his own office once granted a medical license. The following document11, addressed to Lord Dorchester, Governor of Lower Canada, indicates that on July 1, 1796, he had passed the necessary exams.

Medical License

5 Robert Schiller, op. cit., p. 68.
6 Jean-Pierre Wilhelmy, Les Mercenaires allemands au Québec, 1776-1783 , Septentrion publisher, Quebec, 1997, p. 117.
7 "Billetage chez l'habitant" was the expression used to describe the practice of having German soldiers live with French-Canadian families in the villages where their regiments were sent.
8 Lutheran minister Kohle or Johann Carl Bause, also a surgeon.
9 Quoted by Renald Lessard in his Ph.D. dissertation on the Canadian medical body in the 17th and 18th centuries, Laval University, Quebec city, 1999.
10 Idem. The lease or contract was signed in 1787.
11 Obtained from Robert Schiller (op. cit.) who had himself obtained it from Hessian researcher John H. Merz, 304-52 Hayden Street, Hamilton, Ontario L9A 2X2.

On September 30, 1800, with 316 former German soldiers who had remained in Canada, he sent a petition to Lieutenant-Governor Robert S. Milnes asking to be granted a piece of land. Eventually (1805), he owned the fief and seigniory of Riviere David, now the municipality of Saint David in Lower Richelieu.12 The seigniory was later sold to Josias Würtle, also of German origin, who was a merchant in Quebec City. He left it (1831) to his son Jonathan (1792-1853), deputy of Lower Canada. He passed it to his son, counsel Jonathan Sexton (1828-1904), who was deputy, provincial treasurer (1882-1884) and speaker of the Legislative Assembly (1884-1886). He was honorary advisor to the Montreal German Association.

Renunciation of Lutheranism and Birth of Telesphore, Father of Seraphine

In the spring of 1801
, Augustus J. Benjamin became seriously ill and took to bed. One feared forhis life and on March 29, Louiseville parish priest Bertrand gave him the last rites after he had made him abjure Lutheranism. Three years later, in the month of January, the father of my great great grandmother Seraphine: Telesphore (1804-1880) was born, 10th child of a family of eleven.13 In Maskinonge where his parents had been living since 1820, he married, on October 22, 1827, Etiennette Lemire, daughter of Antoine and Josephte Lemire (nee Dupuis). Their marriage contract,14 signed October 17, bears the signatures of Augustus J. Benjamin and Marguerite nee Hebert.


12 R. Lessard, op. cit.
13 His brothers and sisters were: Marguerite, dead at birth (1784), Benjamin, born in 1785, husband of SophieCraig (1808), then of Marie Lamontagne (1819), Marie-Louise, born in 1787, wife of Guillaume Paille,Augustin, dead at birth (1789), Josette, born in 1790, wife of Augustin Moreau, Sophie (1792-1795), Albert,born in 1794, husband of Sophie Dagenais, Godefroy, born in 1796, Marie-Sophie, born in 1798, wife of Joseph Vezina (1817), then of François-Xavier Brunelle (1821), Alexis, born in 1828, husband of Victoire Vezina (1828), then of Suzanne Falstre (1833). A fact is worth mentioning. The elder brother of Telesphore, Benjamin, followed on his father's path and joined the army. He commanded two companies belonging to Charles of Salaberry at the time of the battle of Châteauguay. His bravery on the battle field, on October 26,1813, was worth for him to be raised to the rank of captain. Ref. J.P. Wohler, Charles de Salaberry Soldier of the Empire, Defender of Quebec, Dundurn Press, Toronto, 1984, p. 88 -90; Victor Suthren,
Defend and Hold: the Battle of Châteauguay, Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, 1986, p. 12-13.
14 Prepared by his brother-in-law François-Xavier Brunelle, notary in Maskinonge.

Seraphine was born six years later, on August 19, 1833,15 and baptized the same day in Maskinonge (Parish Church of St. Joseph). Her godparents were her uncle Albert Schiller and his wife Sophie Dagenais. Dr. Augustus J. Benjamin was still living. His death occurred two years later, on June 8, 1835.

Descendants of Seraphine Schiller

On October 5, 1852, Seraphine married a farmer from Kildare, Quebec: François-Xavier Laurion (1828-1900
),16 son of François and Sophie Laurion (nee Mandeville17). They had five children of which four lived and were married in Saint Côme (Berthier), including Denise (1858-1939). 18 On October 4, 1876, she married my great grandfather Louis Bordeleau (1851-1921), 19 son of Joseph-Octave and Julie Bordeleau (nee Clement/Klemenz dit Lallemand). The following inscription, in the parish registers of Kildare (St. Ambroise) and Saint Côme, testify to her birth and marriage.


15 She came after two children dead at birth (David, 1828, and Alexis, 1831), one dead in infancy (Charles, 1829-1831) and another who died unmarried at 30 years old: Charles, 1832-1862. Louis, who came after Seraphine (1834), had a son with Azilda Landry whom he married in Maskinongé in 1857. We have found one daughter, Olive, married to Joseph Denis (1890). Their son, Joseph Jr., had with wife Marie-Reine Gregoire (married in Berthierville in 1919) a son, Bernard, who married Louisette Page (Berthierville, 1962). We met their son Hubert who lives in Gatineau, Aylmer sector, with his family.
16 Widower of Emilie Deshaies, daughter of Modeste and Marguerite Deshaies (nee Clement/Klemenz dit Lallemand), whom he married in Kildare on November 24, 1846. Marguerite was the sister of Julie, the mother of my great grandfather Louis Bordeleau. See in the Annex the lineage of Julie and Marguerite Clement/Klemenz dit Lallemand.
17 Married in Saint Paul de Joliette on February 23, 1824.
18 She was born in Kildare on April 18, 1858.
19 Brother of Romuald (Helene Gregoire, 1864), Nazaire (Sophie Chevrette, 1865), Marie-Jeanne (Theophile Rivest, 1868), Henriette (David Brault, 1869), Victoire (Joseph Prudhomme, 1875), Godefroy (Osine Landry,
1876) and Lactance (Oivine Hetu, 1876).


Marriage of Louis Bordeleau and Denise Laurion

Marriage Contract

The couple had seven children
20, raised in Saint Côme (10th Line), including my grandfather Georges Bordeleau (1889-1971). His godparents were his grandparents François-Xavier Laurion21 and Seraphine Schiller. Aunt Gabrielle Bordeleau , who knew her, says of grandmother Denise: "she was a very gentle old lady. On the corner of her kitchen table, she had a box where were put her utensils and her dishes. She spoke while washing up her dishes and water flew everywhere she worked so fast. Her son Georges looks very much like her ".


Denise Laurion           Georges Bordeleau

My grandfather Georges was married in Saint Côme to Marie -Evelina (Florida) Landry (1891-1987)
, daughter of Jean22 and Euphrosine Landry (nee Gagnon). The ceremony, presided by the parish priest Joseph S. Barrette, took place on September 12, 1911. This is also parish priest Barrette who buried in Saint Côme the body of Seraphine Schiller, when she passed away on February 6, 1913. The following inscription in the parish register of Saint Côme does testify of it.


20 Juste (1881-1962), husband of Angelina Bruneau, Leon (1887-1983), husband of Marie-Anne Marion, Adelard (1893-1962), husband of Docia Melançon, Armand (1898-1915), Malvina (1883-1920), wife of Jean-Baptiste Venne, then of Urgel Melançon, Emma (1885-1888) and Anna, born in 1891, wife of Magloire Venne.
21 He died on January 16, 1900, while visiting his son Georges (Gaudet Anna), in Leeds (Northampton), Massachusetts. He was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Leeds.
22 Brother of Elie, whose daughter Melina (married to Leon Roy) was the mother of renown writer Gabrielle Roy. Their father François came from Saint Jacques de l'Achigan and had deported Acadian ancestors.

The couple had nine children, including my mother Florence, born in Saint Côme on May 5, 1922 and deceased on December 25, 1990.

She appears on the following photo, taken in the 1980's, next to her mother, with my father Henri Theriault23 to her right. One sees, left to right: her brothers Gaetan (Rejeanne Nadeau), Gerarld (Lucie McCabe), Jean-Louis (Laurette Boucher), Theodore24 and Romeo (Gabrielle Chailler). At the time the photo was taken, her sistersMarie-Reine (Emilien Riopel), Emurielle and Juillette were deceased.

23 Son of Joseph and Parmelia Theriault (nee Arbour), born on June 2, 1914. Married in St Côme 1947.07.26.
24 Widower of Yvonne Rivest and Laurianna Baillargeon.

I was born on July 23, 1947 in Saint Côme, brother of Michel, Luc (Jocelyne Vivier), Manon,Jocelyn (Danielle Lavoie) and Daniel. I married in Montreal, on June 27, 1970, Diane Chouinard, daughter of Félix and Rachel Chouinard (nee Charest). We had the following children: John, born in 1974, husband of Shylah Antle and father of Veronica, Mélanie, born in 1977, and Justin born in 1990.


Large New France Map 1610-1791.pdf

The 1666 Census of Montreal

Brief History of Montreal

Historic Dates for Quebec/Montreal

BENJAMIN SCHEILLER 1757-1835 Posted by Paul A. Plante, 3/31/2000

My Immigrant Ancestor-Benjamin Schiller
by Robert P. Schiller

Descendance de Thomas Goulet

"The Family Tree of Cecile Schiller Belland"


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