Painting by Ruth McMillan in 1976
Shows the Head of the Rideau Canal Locks in Ottawa, Canada in 1893
August 3, 2022:
I am researching the history of the HBC man Peter Godchere 1856-1910 who was born at Grand Lac,
Victoria and began his HBC career there under the guidance of his father named Jerome Godchere,
who started his HBC career at Grand Lac, Victoria in 1842. Peter Godchere eventually ended up
at the HBC Long Lake House post in Ontario and died in 1910 at Fort William, now Thunder Bay.
I have found only one document where Peter Godchere wrote his mother's name, Marie "Mary"
Makakons. It was on his second marriage record in 1906. I have been researching the HBC
Godchere men at Grand Lac and nearby sub-posts in an effort to learn more about Peter's
mother's family the Makakons. The name itself appears to be Ojibway for "container for
sap". I have scoured through numerous HBC and Indian Affairs Agency documents for
Maniwaki Dist, Grand Lac, River Desert, Lac Barriere, Rapid Lake, Golden Lake &
Timisgaming (Ontario) etc etc. Jerome Godchere shows up twice in the 1871 census
with two different families of multiple children, one in Victoria and one in Upper
Coulonge subdistricts of North Pontiac Dist. He was clearly a polygamist and his
son Peter followed in the same footsteps when he got to Long Lake having children
with at least 4 Native women while he was legally married to two of them.
I was wondering if you could point me to some additional sources to track down more
about 3 families from the Maniwaki area that Jerome had children with.
1. Margret Watagan & Jerome Godchere: Married at Maniwaki in 1848, one child, Paulin
Godchere, b. 1851.
His first partner and the only one I can find evidence he was legally married to was named
Marguerite or Margret Watagan (Above). Her Native name appears in their Maniwaki L'Assomption-
e-la-Vierge-Marie marriage record as "Oqiwanoque" or "Okiwaanokwe". I found an old Maniwaki
Indian Affairs Agency document that mentioned her as "Watagan's 4th Daughter Ugewayhanoque
(Ukehuanoque)". And I have numerous Indian Affairs documents with a man named Amable or Lemab
Watagan from 1873-early 1900s. I am trying to determine if that might have been a relation
because her parents were listed in the marriage record as Pierre Watagan and Marie Mani
Massagabon. Jerome and Margret were married in 1848 and had a son named Paulin Godchere in
1851. Margret shows up as Mrs Godchere on many HBC Grand Lac Post Account Book entries
(and related sub posts) and died in 1860. I did not find any records for additional
children with them, but I did find HBC Grand Lac and related posts account books with
mentions of the Godchere’s purchasing children’s shoes, plural, so they may have had more
children that were not baptized when they were born. The son Paulin disappears from the
records, so I assume he died in his youth.
1. "Showinegan" & Jerome Godchere: They appear together as "married" in the 1871 Census
living in Upper Coulonge, Pontiac Dist. with 6 children between 3 and 14 years old.
Jerome, fur trader, put his age at 40, but he was most likely born in 1826 so about
45 years old in 1871. Jerome himself was born at Trois Rivieres, not far from a place
called Shawinigan, a coincidence? She is listed as a Roman Catholic Indian, age 35.
I could find no additional records regarding this "wife" named Showinegan.
1. Mary Makakons & Jerome Godchere: Jerome appears a second time in the 1871 Census,
but this time without an adult female partner listed, with son Peter the oldest at age
15, and 6 additional children ranging in age from a few months to 13. I believe these
are the children of his partner Mary Makakons who must have died before this 1871 census
was taken. However, Jerome is not listed as a Widower, which is odd. Here he puts his
age as 50, and occupation again as fur trader. I have found a record for a Piien or
Pierre Makakons, whom I suspect was her father.
I read the 1961 HBC Beaver Magazine article about the Lac Barriere "Indians" by Leonard
Lee Rue, 1961, which has several photos of Chief David Makakons, who was 80 years old in
1959, so born circa 1879. The odd thing is that the name Makakons does not show up in the
early Maniwaki District Indian band census reports, which are very hard to read and the
name spellings change from one census to the next. Bu the name Piien or Pien shows up
numerous times. The name Amable and Lemab Watagan (I believe that is the same person)
shows up on almost every document concerning the Grand Lac agency in that time period
from 1870-early 1900s.
I can send you more documents and genealogy indexes if you would like, but if you have
any sources that are knowledgable of these communities, their history and prominent
families I would love to open a dialogue with them to sort this out.
James M Fortier
Turtle Island Productions, LLC
1148 Dulles CT
Pacifica, CA 94044
E-mail James Fortier and Allan Lewis