GPHS Moorings Newsletters - page 70

Izzy’s Corner
Pierre and Euphemia Provencal, their adopted
children and their livestock on the farm
One of the many pleasures I experience at the GPHS is learning the rich history
that surrounds us.This summer we joined
and I looked for information
on Pierre and Euphemia Provencal. In particular, I was interested to see if I could find
anything about their adopted children. It has been noted that they had 24 adopted
children and before this summer we knew very little about them. How old were they?
When did they arrive? Were they there all at the same time? All we really knew was
that the Provencals educated them, housed them and made them productive citizen in the community.To my delight I found the 1850
and 1860 U. S. Census report on Pierre and Euphemia Provencal and this is what I discovered!
In 1850 Pierre was called Peter and his last name was spelled Prevonsal. He was 53 years old and was a farmer. Euphemia’s name
was spelled Uphemia. She was 36 years old and was a housewife. Catherine, their only daughter, was 8 years old.There was a 95-year
old gentleman who resided at the farm house. His name was John B. Coshwa and he had no property value.There were four adopted
children living on the farm at the time: Theresa Beaubien, aged 18; Caroline Pockett, aged 14; Francis Connor, aged 5; and Richard
Connor, aged 2.
In 1860 Pierre Provencal was 62 years old and was still a farmer. Euphemia was 46 and a housewife with more adopted children.
Catherine Provencal was 18 years old and a seamstress. Celina Vallie was a servant on the farm. She was from Canada and was 22
years old. Benjamin Steger was a farm hand aged 27 and came from Switzerland.The adopted children living on the farm in 1860 were
Richard Cooms, aged 12; Francis St. Aubin, aged 4; Mary St. George, aged 14; Edmund Grant, aged 14; andTheodore Grant, aged 12.
Pierre’s three nephews were also adopted.Their names are Benjamin, Isadore and Adolph Vincent.There is no information on
these three children in either census report.
Peter had 100 acres of improved land, 147 acres of unimproved land.The cash value of the farm was $10,000.00 and the value of
his farming implements and machinery was $25.00. He had 12 horses, 5 “milch” cows, 2 working oxes, 8 sheep and 8 swine.The value
of the livestock was $484.00. He had 150 bushels of rye, 800 bushels of Indian corn, 400 bushels of oats, 400 lb. each of ginned cotton
and 20 lbs. of wool.This information keeps the Provencal-Weir House Museum alive!
Izzy Donnelly
Director of Education
Nearly 300 members came out over two nights to see history come alive
on stage during two productions of
Talking Headstones
.This collaboration
between the Grosse Pointe Theater and the Grosse Pointe Historical Society
delighted the audience with stories of Grosse Pointe’s past amid the wonderful
atmosphere of St. Paul’s Cemetery on Moross. A big thank you goes to the
following members of Trombley Boy Scout Troop 86, led by David Pingree, for
their help in clean-up, set up, helping guests to their seats, setting up luminaries
and closing up for each performance: Alex Manchester, Eric Lucander,
Anthony Genaro,Tony
Genaro, Pat Mulier, Josh
Williams, John McNamee,
and Deborah Pingree.
For more fabulous
photos of the event, visit
Talking Headstones
Donna Miller, Ruth Ellen Mayhall and Phyllis Reeve in
“A Thirst for a Change”.
Jessica Boehmer and Luke Naidow in
“The Promise of a Lifetime”.
Royce Howes (Rick Mason) interviews Helen Duncan
(Kathy Conlon).
Euphemia Provencal
Pierre Provencal
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