Names Lost in Vermont, Part 22: Marcy, Burch, and Mosher 


You may wonder, after 21 installments of this series, why there is always another investigation in the wings. As I continue to document Vermont families born in Canada East [Quebec] before the Civil War, I continue to encounter names that need exploration.  Let’s start with the Joseph Marcy household as recorded in Middlebury’s 1850 census. Joseph Marcy, age 50, laborer, born Canada, is followed by wife Polly, age 38, and their children, Adaline, 15, “deaf and dumb,” Malina, 10, Virginia, 6, Joseph 4, and then Louisa, age 1, born in Vermont. Louisa’s birthplace allows us to pinpoint family’s migration in the late 1840s. Recognizing the surname Marcy as a variation of the surname Mercier led me to discover the marriage record of Joseph Mercier and Appoline [Polly] Mongeon [rendered as Mosher in Vermont records] in St. Hyacinthe, Québec, on January 21, 1834. Until they moved, children of this couple in the same birth order as in the census were baptized in St. Hyacinthe. You may note the long list of Vermont French-Canadian families that came from the environs of St. Hyacinthe.

TINTYPE PHOTO OF Edwin Birch, circa 1880. He was born as Antoine Gipouloux dit Lafleur. Over the years, Gipouloux became Boleau, which is French for “birch.”

Middlebury’s 1860  census reveals Joseph Marcy’s household had expanded to include one more child, Harriet, born in Vermont, followed by three individuals with the surname Burch: Austin, age 21, born L[ower] Canada, Treffley, age 24, also born L[ower] Canada, and Josephine, age 1, born Pa [Pennsylvania].  Why were the Burchs in the Marcy household? I surmised that Austin and Treffley Burch were brothers, but where was the mother of the child Josephine? The answer to that question surfaced in the entry of the “rehabilitated” marriage of Augustin [Austin] Lafleur and Josephine Mercier at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Middlebury, on August 29, 1858. Evidently, the couple had been married earlier outside the Catholic Church but now sought validation of their marriage. No doubt, you are already puzzled by the different first and last names. 

First, Burch, was an established variant of the name Lafleur, for reasons to be explained momentarily. Secondly, Josephine Mercier turned out to be the second daughter of Joseph and Polly Marcy, baptized as Appoline Melina Mercier, in St. Hyacinthe on 4 April 1840. For nearly all of her long life, she was known as Malany Burch. Her Catholic marriage record also named her husband Augustin’s parents: Hubert Lafleur and Louisa Lafine [Brodeur dit Lavigne in Québec records]. Even with this information, I could not connect the dots, especially how anyone could get Burch from Lafleur.

Tracing the migration of both the Burch [sometimes written as Birch] and Marcy families from Middlebury in 1860 to Poultney in 1870 started to make sense of these seemingly disparate pieces. One finds in Poultney’s census two Birch households enumerated consecutively: Treffley Birch, age 34, his wife, Jennie, age 27, born Canada, and two children, Hattie and Nettie. They were followed by James Burch, age 76, Louisa Burch, age 74, both listed as boarders born in Canada. Austin, Malany, and Josephine Birch were in the next household. Jennie Burch was the same as Virginia Marcy, age 6, in the 1850 census! Thus, two brothers from the Burch family married two sisters from the Marcy/Mercier family.

NATURALIZATION RECORD OF Austin Burch, 1876. Note that his brother Treffley and nephew were naturalized on the same day.

Were the older couple, James and Louisa the parents of Augustin and Treffley Burch? By the 1870s, another brother Edwin/Edward Burch migrated to Poultney along with their sister Louisa Langsyne [L’Enseigne] Barney. Perhaps the fervor of the United States Centennial inspired Austin and Treffley Burch and their nephew-by-marriage, John “Laflowers,” to be sworn in as American citizens in September 1876. Plugging in all these common denominators into the search engine of Généalogie Québec, with its splendid indices of Québec Catholic parish registers, eventually resulted in my discovery of the marriage of Hubert Gipouloux dit Lafleur and Marie Louise Brodeur dit Lavigne at Beloeil, Québec on  March 1, 1813. Their thirteen children included Antoine [Edwin], Trefflé [Treffley], Augustin

[Austin] and Louise. Finding these children in the correct birth order proved their father Hubert Gipouloux became James Burch in Vermont! 

Tracing this surname back to the original 17th century ancestor revealed that various generations slipped in spelling between Gipouloux and Giboleau—Boleau, in French, is a birch tree! Pierre Gipouloux dit Lafleur, from Larenque, Aquitaine, France, married Marie-Anne Antrade in Batiscan, Québec, on February 3, 1688. Father of eight children and ancestor of scores of descendants, Pierre lived to be 93 years old.

Completing the Poultney chapter of the Birch/Burch family brought me into contact with Suzanne White Parker, Edwin [Antoine] Birch’s great-great-granddaughter. She had posted Edwin’s photo in her family tree on Finding Antoine Gipouloux’s baptismal record with the names of his parents, Hubert and Louise, broke down Suzanne’s genealogical brick wall stalled at Edwin’s generation. Edwin Birch’s obituary appeared in The Poultney Journal in 1905, describing him as “honest and industrious,” also noting he and his wife were members of the Baptist Church. Edwin’s brother Treffley and his wife Jenny Burch also appeared several times in The Poultney Journal. Their golden wedding anniversary celebration in May 1906 listed all of the guests who brought presents to the party. The same newspaper also published a detailed obituary of Treffley Birch, “an old and esteemed resident” in August 1915.

One more story needed to be chased down. Back to the 1870 Poultney census with Joseph Marcy’s extended family. Joseph and his wife, Polly, were joined by his son, Joseph Marcy. Jr., and his wife, Maggie, daughter of Edwin Birch. Hattie LaFlower, age 14, wife of John LaFlower, was the youngest child of Joseph and Polly.  Charles Clarkson, age 27, occupation “peddling salve,” was married to Adaline Marcy, who had been consistently labeled in prior censuses as “deaf and dumb.” Was the census correct in describing Charles Clarkson also as deaf and deaf?  A headline from The Rutland Herald, “A Man Struck by a Locomotive,” from October 5, 1876 confirmed the information: “The man proved to be Charles Clarkson of Middlebury, Vt., a deaf and dumb vender of patent medicines.” Clarkson recovered from a broken leg.

MIDDLEBURY 1850 CENSUS. Note that Adaline is labeled as “deaf and dumb.”
1870 CENSUS FOR March and Clarkson family, noting that Charles Clarkson and his wife Adaline were labeled as “deaf and dumb.”

Adaline (Marcy) Clarkson’s life ended disconsolately, as reported in this story from The Windom Reporter (Windom, Minnesota) on 14 March 1896:

A sad and sudden death is reported from Mountain Lake. It is that of Mrs. Adaline Clarkson who came to Mountain Lake with two or three of her sons some time last fall…She was a mute and her husband lives somewhere in Iowa. The death is so sudden that Coroner Tilford was sent for… Her death was caused by heart failure.  Dr. Tilford reports the family is in very destitute circumstances, the clothing the poor woman had on being worn to shreds, and the children poorly clad. He wrote a line to Commissioner Goss asking that the county provide the necessary burial facilities. The boys did not like the idea of their mother being buried at public expense, and showed a determination of repaying the county for money expended as soon as they could earn and spare enough. It seems to be a case calling for more than usual public sympathy.

POULTNEY 1970 CENSUS for Birch.
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