Archiver > METISGEN > 2003-06 > 1056307743

From: "Juanita Moore" <>
Date: Sun, 22 Jun 2003 18:49:03 +0000

Thanks Paulette :)

Marguerite GOURNEAU m. Paul Kepling/Keplin
daughter: Betsey Keplin m. Jean Baptiste BERGER s/o Pierre BERGER/Judith

Clemence GOURNEAU ( Feb 16 1847-Dec. 1943 Lewistown, MT) m. Isaie BERGER
Aug. 01, 1870 Pembina. Isaie s/o Pierre BERGER/Judith WILKIE (Pierre my
half 4th G-Grand Uncle s/o Jacques BERGER/Cecile DUMONT).

The following is from the Lewistown Democrat News: December 31, 1943 FUNERAL
of Requiem rites to be hold at St. Leos Catholic Church at 9 oclock this
morning will mark the funeral of Mrs. Clemence Gourneau Berger, 96-year-old
pioneer resident who died Wednesday at the home of her daughter, Mrs. James
Turcott, 304 North Dawes, following nearly 70 years residence in Central
Montana. Known as Grandma Berger, by her family and friends of this area,
the 96-year-old pioneer leaves to survive her, three daughters, a son, 13
grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.
Born at Pembina, North Dakota Feb. 16, 1847, Clemence Gourneau Berger was
the oldest of the 11 children of Joseph Gourneau and Judith McMillan
Gourneau, who were part of the members of the Red River half-breed
colonies. At the age of 23 years she met Isaie Berger and they were later
married on Aug. 1, 1870 at the sits of what is now Walhalla, North Dakota.
Shortly after her marriage they came to Montana and resided a few years
along the Milk river country, then came to Lewistown in 1879, and settled on
a homestead at the Boyd creek and highway 87 junction where they lived and
carried on what little farming was done in the early days. They were blessed
with a family of 12 children. In 1902 they sold out and moved to the Forest
Grove neighborhood and lived there till Mr. Berger passed away in 1920. Soon
after that she moved to Lewistown where she has lived continually since and
kept house for her sons until five years ago, when, due to advanced age, she
had to retire and live with her daughter, Mrs. Jim Turcotte. Grandma
Berger, as she was known, was a devout Catholic and was loved by all who
knew hed (her). She was always noted for her kindness toward all and was
always willing to lend a helping hand wherever help was needed. In her
immediate family she leaves to mourn her loss Mrs. Max Langevin, Mrs. Jim
Turcotte, John Berger of Lewistown, Mont., and Mrs. Link Walker of Billings,
Mont.; two brothers, two sisters residing at Belcourt, North Dakota; 13
grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Berger was not fortunate in having much schooling, but at that she was
a bright and industrious woman: was very keen about telling her early life
and how she came to settle in the Judith basin, which is related here as she
often presented it in her later life: While we roamed the prairies of
western Montana and the Dakotas we were always in the same company of people
of part Indian blood, and traveled in many groups. We left Walhalla, North
Dakota in 1870. shortly after we were married and set out traveling all over
the Dakotas, just camping here and there without thought of settling
permanently at any place, just following the buffalo trails. You might think
we lived the life of real Indians, but one thing we had always with us which
they did not ---religion. Wherever we were we had some Jesuit missionaries
with us. They baptized our children and instructed them in the Catholic
faith, and we always did try to live in accordance with their teachings. In
fact in those early days I believe people generally were more deeply
religious than they are now. Every night we had prayer meeting and just
before a buffalo hunt we would see our men on bended knee in prayer. Yes,
we endured many hardships. There were times when we could not find any
buffalo or other kind of game, and occasionally even water was hard to find.
Yet, somehow, we were all happy and with all our miseries we never heard any
complaints. Our men did all the hunting, and we women did all the tanning
of the buffalo hides, jerky meat making, pemmican and moccasins. For other
supplies, we generally had some trader with us like the late Francis Janeaux
and others who always had a supply of tea, sugar, tobacco and so on. Coming
west from the Canadian lines around the country called the Wood Mountains,
where we lived for sometime, my first two children were born there. Then we
left from there on to Milk river, the big bend, as we used to call it, which
is below what is now Malta, Mont., where we would stay for a time then back
again as far north as the Cypress hills in Canada. However, we finally made
our headquarters at the big bend after returning again to Montana. All told
we spent about six years along Milk river as far up as the present site of
Chinook, Mont. We were at Chinook when Chief Joseph and his fleeing band of
Nez Perces, were being pursued by our United States army. Those poor Indians
were about starved. They traded their good horses for any amount of dry meat
or bedding. It was a most pitiful sight to see their little children, heads
sticking out of some sacks made for the purpose and fastened to each side of
the mothers, riding on horseback. As time went by buffalo were thinning
out; and we had several meetings to decide on what to do next. We realized
that we could not live on hunting forever. One general meeting was called,
and it was then decided that we should settle permanently somewhere in 1878.
I remember my father-in-law, Pierre Berger, decided to cross the Missouri
river and come west. He told his sons he heard of a place through an Indian
friend which he believed would b e suitable for all. Of his
daughter=in-laws, I was asked if I was willing to go along with them. I
hesitated as I could not make up my mind at once, as I had always regarded
Minnesota as my home state, and naturally wanted to go back there. But they
finally got my consent to travel further west. So in the spring of 1879, a
band of 25 families headed by Pierre Berger started from Milk river by Fort
Assiniboine, thence to Fort Benton, where we crossed the Missouri river and
on down to Arrow Creek. We never saw such bad-lands, and believe me it was
not pleasant riding in our Red River carts over a wild rough country making
our own trails. Somehow we got through safely to the mouth of Spring Creek
and on to where the Arrow refinery now stands, and around the Judith
Mountains to the north and followed Box Elder to the Mussellshell, then
around the Snowey Mountains. We came in by way of the gap to the famous
Judith basin, which was indeed a paradise land of plenty with game of all
kinds, lots of good water and timber. What more could we want? After finding
what we had searched for, our journey ended right there. The only white man
we found here was named Bowes. He was living with a Piegan woman. He had a
little trading post situated near the site of the county farm. We were
greatly molested by Indian marauders stealing our horses. This country was
their main route. Of the 25 families who came here with us, were, as I
recall, all the Pierre Berger family; LaFountains, Fleurys, Doneys, Fayant,
Wilkies, Ledoux and the late Ben Kline. Our party all settled along the
foothills of the Judith Mountains. One of this party named LaFountain, who
was blind, settled on Blind Breed creek, which got its name from the poor
unfortunate. Later the Doneys and Fayants moved and settled in the
neighborhood of Fort Maginnis. In the late summer of 1879 more of our
people followed us here, including the Janeauxs, Morall (Morase?)
Laverdures, Wells, Daniels and LaTray families. Mose LaTray helped to build
the original log post office that still stands out in the city outskirts.
The following year Antoine Ouelette and family came in. Janeaux, Morace and
Ouelette took up their homesteads in what is now Lewistown. Soon after this
country was opened by more people, seems like other nations came flocking in
and in no time we had a community. The first death, shortly after our
arrival was a man by the name of LaFountain. He was buried on the hillside,
a short distance east, now known as the old J. I. Corbly ranch, which served
our people for a number of years. A daughter of Mr. Antoine Ouelette died
sometime after and he buried her on his own land. He later donated an acre
of his property to be used as a Catholic cemetery in the year 1893, under
the direction of our first Catholic pastor, Rev. Fr. Van Den Heuval, our
people were asked to remove all the former graves and transfer them to the
present site.


----Original Message Follows----
From: Paulette Boudreault-Gilbert <>
Date: Sun, 22 Jun 2003 07:46:20 -0700

Here's what it is am aware of on this surname from this
wondering if your Marguerite could maybe be sister or cousin??

Here's hoping someone may find with this info am sending ok? Good Luck!


Name: Joseph GOURNEAU [25905]
Birth: 1825, Minnesota Territory
Death: 1912,

Name: Judith DELORME [25906]
Birth: 1827, Minnesota Territory

Child 1
Name: Clemence GOURNEAU [38557]
Sex: F
Birth: 17 Feb 1847, Pembina, ND.
Death: Mar 1898

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