|Joseph Christian Leyendecker (March 23, 1874 – July 25, 1951)|
It's difficult not to select horses for a match with the prompt this week. Even though I've used this picture of my grandfather Hector with his team many times, I'm using it again.
Recently I found out my grandfather's horses were likely of the Percheron breed. These two, as you can see, are quite large and were very strong. They worked constantly, pulling heavy loads, plowing, and pulling all the farm machinery before they purchased motorized equipment. Hector loved them.
|Hector Fortier, Letellier Manitoba.|
I've also learned over the course of the last several years from my cousin, that my ancestors emigrated to Canada from the Percheron area of France. I don't think my grandfather had much knowledge about his history, so I doubt that he purchased the horses based on their French pedigrees. It's probably a coincidence. Percheron horses were among the most common draft horses in America.They were developed by breeding Arab stallions to the mares native to Perche in France.The resulting large horses were strong and possessed good temperaments. Percherons carried knights into battle during the Crusades. The first of the breed line in this country came to New Jersey in 1839.
I found the ancestry information that my cousin provided me fascinating and it led me and my husband to an ancestor hunt in Percheron in 2010, where we visited Mortagne du Perche, the town my ancestors left around 1640, for the wilds of Canada.
|Angels on ceiling of Notre Dame, Mortagne|
From Wiki: Little is known about the Cloutier ancestors. Most genealogists agree that Zacharie Cloutier was the grandson of Nicolas Cloutier of Perche. The most common variation of the surname is Cloustier. Most sources state the surname was originally given to a person who crafted and sold nails, coming from the Latin word "clavus" meaning nail ("clou" in French). Some descendants of Cloutier who immigrated to the United States from Canada changed their surnames to Nailer in this respect.
If I ever need an AKA for any reason, I'm taking Xainte Nailer. It sounds straight out of Jackie Collins. Maybe I'll use an ax mark** for a signature just like Zacherie did.
How Mortagne looked in 1640 is anyone's guess but now it's a lovely town with many artisan food shops and pretty gardens, set amid softly rolling fields.You wonder why anyone would have left it for New France and all of it's unknowns.
|Do you think they're wondering where I've been for all these years?|
|Cloutier family home. Quebec, from 1676-1965|
We drove around the larger area from where the French migrated known as Le Percheron, and visited the "Museum of French Emigration to New France" in Tourouvre. This part of France is not well known on the tourist travel circuit but seems to be gaining popularity with Parisians who are buying up the farms and country houses to use as second homes. We spent 4 or 5 hours wandering around the museum.
|Hotel du Tribunal|
|Special at the Tribunal|
|Chef Freddy Pommier, |
|Le petit dejeuner at Tribunal|