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Jesmer Family Ancestral Homelands

Jesmer Family Ancestral Homelands

 Poitiers Poitou France

Montreal Quebec

Cornwall Ontario

Hogansburg/Bombay Upper State New York

Greenbush Township Minnesota

Two to three centuries ago, it was easy to point to where ancestral homelands might be. People tended to live in the same region for generations. One of my ancestors, on my great grandmother’s side of the family, came from a family group (The Soquet’s) that lived in, or near one village in Belgium for two hundred years. (Nethen Belgium: They lived together, mostly on farms. They were surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousin’s siblings, nieces and nephews. They also mostly married to their own people.

The Jesmer’s followed this trend when they came to the New World. They all lived in a region and groups of them moved altogether to another. For example, in 1860s’ at least twenty-five of the Jesmer Clan took the train west to Minneapolis and then a steamer to Taylor Falls MN, to register for a land claim. They then took an overland route forty miles west to Greenbush Township MN. They settled together as a group and formed, “The French Settlement”. ( ) It wasn’t until the 1880’s that they started to spread out and settle all across the west, into the western USA and the western provinces of Canada.

It is not like the Jesmers ceased to be represented in older “homeland” regions. Many have stayed there for the last two and a half centuries and kept the “home fires burning”. If you go to Cornwall Ontario, there you will find many Jesmer’s and Robideaux’s. The same is true for the homeland across the St Lawrence River in Upper State New York, near Hogansburg/Bombay. ( ) There also are Jesmer around Minneapolis.

After 1880 it becomes hard to say a certain area is a Jesmer homeland, because the large Jesmer clan spread out to various regions in the west. It would become too complicated to get into specifics. Because of this western expansion there are Jesmers around Seattle WA, Texas, Denver Colorado, Manitoba, Sakatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia…to name a few of the places. My own branch of the Jesmer’s have members of the Jesmer Clan living around Wadena Saskatchewan since 1904. We are related to the Soquet’s living around Greenbay Wisconsin. My mom has relatives who are Sawicki’s in Southern Manitoba. There are also the Morton’s living in Western Canada.

Because the Jesmer’s lived together in groups, it is easy to pin point homelands, or regions where they settled, farmed, engaged in businesses, established churches and raised their family prior the 1880’s. The first homeland would be Poitier Poitou France. ( )The second would be Montreal Quebec. The third would be Cornwall Ontario. The fourth would be 7 kilometers south, across the St Lawrence River in Hogansburg/Bombay, St Lawrence County New York, and the fourth is Greenbush Township Minnesota near Princeton MN. After that they spread out all over the place.

First, the Jesmer’s in France. The region where Louis Laurent Dahaut Dit Jasmin, (our immigrant ancestor) came from the area around Poitiers France. ( ) I assume that he was a farmer. He sailed arrived in Montreal Quebec in 1757. Many people who lived in Montreal came from this region. I read somewhere the settlement of Montreal was a university project, from a university in the region of Poitiers. After working and living there for three years he married and began to raise a family in the southern area of Montreal. Eventually he and his ever-growing family moved westward, through Longueil County, and Westward to Glengarry County and Stormont County around Cornwall Ontario. He finally died in 1805, but his descendants live on in the region today. ( )

Around 1814, Louis’ three sons moved across the St Lawrence to live in Fort Covington New York. It was about seven kilometer’s south. One of those sons, was Louis, my ancestor. They were laborers and farmers. There was lots of work in the saw mills. There was a lot of small-scale shipping, transporting goods to through Cornwall to Montreal. They worked hard and raised large Catholic families.  ( )

Louis had a son Joseph ( ) and a grandson also named Joseph. ( ) They continued to work and farm and raise large Catholic French speaking families in the same area until the 1860’s. Joseph A. Jesmer (the grandson) farmed in between Hogansburrg and Bombay.

In 1867, Joseph A. Jesmer and his young family, along with two brothers, made the log train ride to Minneapolis. There he started a farm in Greenbush Township, near Princeton MN. They joined with about two dozen members of the Jesmer family and established the French Settlement. People started moving away to other western destinations. Around the 1930’s there were a few left in the area. This was the last common homeland region for most of the Jesmers found in the west.

For my branch of the family tree, the decedents of Nelson A. Jesmer and Jenny Soquet Jesmer, our family homeland is Wadena Saskatchewan. ( ) Nelson moved there with his young family in 1904 and started farming and engaging in business and local politics. Some of their descendants are still there today (in 2020). I have relatives in the Western Canadian Provinces.