The next chapter of the lives of Fortuné and Léopoldine was primarily compiled from information obtained from the various Canada Census of the years 1906, 1911, and 1916, and from the Winnipeg Henderson Directory of the years 1898 to 1945. The following is the likely scenario:
By the summer of 1904, Fortuné, with the land being sold, had abandoned farming. The original Mollot house was sold to Mr. Jack Black family, the new blacksmith and village constable, and Fortuné age 59, Léopoldine age 52, and the two youngest, Marie Louise age 13, and Thérèse age 11 moved to Winnipeg. However, for the year 1904, we have not been able to identify a specific address in Winnipeg. It is quite probable that they all lived with Gabrielle.
The three older children by that time were living independently. Ernest, age 25, was working in Winnipeg; Marcel, age 24, was married and had a butcher shop in Fannystelle. Gabrielle, age 29, according to a Manitoba Free Press advertisement dated Sept.7, 1903, had established a piano studio at the Winnipeg College of Music on Notre Dame East. According to archival school registers from the Sisters of the Holy Names, the two younger children, Marie Louise, age 13, and Thérèse, age 11, then attended St. Mary’s school for the school years 1904-1906. At that time, St. Mary’s school located at the corner of Carlton St. and St. Mary’s Ave. in downtown Winnipeg, was in the Archdiocese of St. Boniface because that was before the Archdiocese of Winnipeg was established in 1908.
From this research, we know that Fortuné and Léopoldine Mollot lived in Fannystelle for only 12 years that is, from 1892 to 1904.
Then, during the years 1905-1907, Gabrielle decided to pursue her studies in music at the Conservatoire National de Musique de Paris, Université de Paris. During that time, in August of 1906, Fortuné, Léopoldine, Marie Louise, age 15, and Thérèse, age 13, travelled to Europe to visit Gabrielle in Paris. From various postcards mailed to Canada from France and visa versa, dated from Aug. 10, 1906 thru March 28, 1907 and addressed to Marie Louise, Thérèse, Fortuné or Léopoldine, we know that they stayed in France for just about a year. Also from these postcards, we learn that the family members visited relatives in L’huitre which is next to the village of Trouans, the cradle of the Mollot family. They also visited Die, the Gallo-Roman city from which the Benoit family originate and Lyon, the birthplace of Fortuné. All the correspondence to the family in Paris was addressed to the two residences where Gabrielle lived while studying in Paris: 37, rue Davioud, in the 16th arrondissement, a beautiful area next to the Tour Eiffel called Passy, and 62, Boulevard de Strasbourg which is close to the university.
According to a passenger list obtained from Archives Canada, Fortuné, Léopoldine and the three girls all returned to Canada on Aug. 1, 1907 on the “Empress of Ireland”, Quebec City being the port of arrival.
Upon their return to Canada from France in August 1907, Fortuné and Léopoldine returned to live in Winnipeg, address unknown. Again, according to the archival school registers of St. Mary’s, Marie Louise and Thérèse, then ages 14 and 15 returned to attend school there.
From 1907 to 1919, Fortuné and Léopoldine lived at various addresses in Winnipeg.
Their confirmed addresses in Winnipeg are according to the places and dates on personal letters and postcards, the Winnipeg Henderson Directory and the 1911 and 1916 Canada Census. However, on the 1911 and 1916 Canada Census, Fortuné, ages 66 and 70 respectively, was recorded as living in Fannystelle in the country with the Marcel Mollot family and in the 1916 Census, Léopoldine lived with Gabrielle in the city. In other documents, they both lived in the city.
According to the 1908 Winnipeg Henderson Directory, Fortuné is listed as an artist and the family’s first Winnipeg address is 405 Sherbrook Street. Ernest is employed as foreman of Standard Laundry and Gabrielle as a music teacher all living at this same address. Also, according to a 1908 document obtained from St. Mary’s Church, the family was on the list of parishioners and contributors.
1909 - Winnipeg Henderson Directory - The family is listed as residing at 173 Langside Street. Fortuné is listed as an artist; Ernest as foreman of Standard Laundry, Gabrielle as music teacher and Lily with employment not stated. Personal archival letters of August 30, 1911 to the family were also addressed to this location.
It is important to note that in the Henderson Directory, only the household members who were employed were listed. Consequently, the housewife was not listed unless she was employed out of the home. Children were also not listed.
1911 - Winnipeg Henderson Directory - The family is still living at 173 Langside Street. Fortuné is listed as an artist, Gabrielle and now Lily are both listed as music teachers and Ernest now as foreman at North West Laundry. Ernest is now residing at 158 Carlton Street.
1912 - Winnipeg Henderson Directory - The family is now residing at 17 Fawcett Ave. Gabrielle and Lily are listed as music teachers and Thérèse employed as a clerk at the Great West Life Insurance Co. Personal archival letters of Feb. 12, 1912 to these family members were also addressed to this location. Ernest, foreman of North West Laundry, is now living at 779 Home Street, only a few doors from his work.
The 17 Fawcett Ave address has a very particular significance for Dr. Marcel Mollot, a great grandson of Fortuné and Léopoldine. Marcel practiced dentistry 4 doors down from 17 Fawcett for some 35 years without any knowledge that his great grand parents had previously lived so near at one time. It’s a small world after all!
1913 - Winnipeg Henderson Directory - The family relocates again to 635 Furby St. Gabrielle and Lily are listed as teachers at the Columbia Conservatory of Music. Thérèse is listed as a steno at the Great West Life Insurance Co.
1914 - Winnipeg Henderson Directory - The family moves again to 326 Young St. Davidson Block, suite #1. Fortuné is listed as an artist. Lily is listed as a music teacher and Thérèse has the same employment at Great West Life Insurance Co. Gabrielle, continues to teach at the Columbia Conservatory of Music, however is now residing at a different address; 446 Langside St.
1918 - Winnipeg Henderson Directory - Fortuné, Léopoldine and Gabrielle are now listed as residing in suite 503 at 366 Qu’Appelle Avenue overlooking Central Park in the Warwick Block. A personal letter addressed to Fortuné and Léopoldine dated Sept. 11, 1918 also verifies this 366 Qu’Appelle Avenue address. Gabrielle, still listed as a piano teacher has her music studio at the Canadian Conservatory of Music. Thérèse is still employed at the Great West Life Insurance Co. but residing on Carlton St. A new Mollot listing now appears: Marcel Mollot, owner of a grocery store “le Bon Marché.” The Marcel Mollot residence is listed as 53 Eugenie St. in Norwood.
1919 - Winnipeg Henderson Directory- Fortuné and Léopoldine reside at the same above address, the Warwick Block. However, they list themselves as Frank and Grace as they did on the ship passenger list dated Aug. 1, 1907 when they came back from France. No doubt, Frank and Grace were much easier names to explain and use. How interesting! Gabrielle is now listed as teaching at 347 Broadway, the Music and Arts Building. Also listed are Marcel Mollot, proprietor of “le Bon Marché” and Ernest Mollot as clerk at “le Bon Marché.”
The Warwick Block has an interesting history of its own. Built in the early 1900’s, it is a very majestic structure with gorgeous marble floors and huge balconies overlooking what we call Central Park. The lower floor housed the horses and carriages. The block even has a huge atrium. In its day it must have been a very beautiful complex. It is still in use today and is classified as a “Heritage Building.”
It is interesting to note that all the addresses at which Fortuné and Léopoldine lived were either in downtown Winnipeg or what we call today the “west end” which was predominantly English. At no time did they ever reside east of the Red River or what was then called the city of St. Boniface where the majority of the folks spoke French. Many of the Winnipeg homes or apartments in which they lived are still in existence today.
From the year 1919 onward, the names of Fortuné and Léopoldine are no longer listed in the Winnipeg Henderson Directory so it can be assumed that they no longer resided in their own apartment/house in Winnipeg.
In May, 1920, Léopoldine went to Timmins, Ontario to visit her daughter Marie Louise who had just given birth to grandson George Theriault born April 25, 1920. She then continued on to Chicago to visit her other daughter Gabrielle who was pursuing her summer studies there. According to a U.S./Canada cross border manifest dated May, 1920, Léopoldine indicated that she lived with husband Fortuné at 53 Eugenie St. in Norwood. However, at that time, according to the Winnipeg Henderson Directory, 53 Eugenie St. was the home of their son Marcel and wife Eugenie. Marcel was a livestock broker for some time in Winnipeg and also operated a small grocery store called “le Bon Marché” situated on the north east corner of Provencher Blvd and Taché Ave in St. Boniface. It was then known as ‘Le Bloc Dubuc’ and was located just next to the Provencher Bridge overlooking the Winnipeg skyline.
During the years 1918 to 1921, the Marcel Mollot family lived in Norwood at 53 Eugenie St. while the three oldest boys, Archille, John and Gabriel (Barney) attended St. Boniface College and Alice attended L’Academie St. Joseph. These attendances have been found in the respective school registers.
During that time, the Marcel Mollot family still maintained their home in Fannystelle as their main residence.
In the last years of Fortuné’s life, however, the elderly couple likely returned to Fannystelle where they lived with the family of their son Marcel, wife Eugenie and children as seen on various family pictures dated 1922 at the Marcel Mollot family home. It was quite common in those days for parents to spend their golden years living with one of their children. The Marcel Mollot home was always known to be full of people.
It is also interesting to note that during the years of World War I, that is 1914 to 1918, Fortuné and Léopoldine received numerous letters from friends and family in France describing the horrific events of the war and indicating that they were very fortunate to be living in Canada. As we all know, France suffered extremely high casualties. Some five million soldiers gave their lives. In virtually every small village or town in France today, we see a touching war memorial to recognize and honor this horrendous sacrifice.
Archives Manitoba has a web-site called Manitobia.ca. It contains excerpts dating from as far back as 1889 of English and French newspapers: La Liberté, Le Manitoba, Libre Parole, Echo du Manitoba, Morning Telegram, The Winnipeg Tribune, The Voice, The Daily Nor’Wester and the Winnipeg Free Press. By doing a search on this web-site, 580 references to the Mollot family were listed some of which are quite interesting. For example, in ‘La Liberté’ of March 7, 1916, Fortuné wrote an article objecting to the celebration in Canada of July 14th Bastille Day. One humorous write-up in the Winnipeg Tribune of Sept.7, 1940 tells about G. C. Mollot (Uncle Barney Mollot) being charged $5 in a Manitoba Court for having driven on a certain restricted highway with a loaded truck. Just Google Manitobia.ca; select French or English, then click newspapers. To search, enter MOLLOT. In those days, the newspaper played a very important role in announcements of social functions, family events and travels both far and near. The editorials and articles give a snapshot of the societal issues of the day. From these various write-ups of social events in the newspapers of the city, it seems that the Mollot family was quite well connected to the political scene. They were invited on numerous occasions to Government House to teas and other social events.
Sources such as cross border manifests, immigration manifests, ship manifests, and census lists, names were often misspelled. Though surnames were usually correct, given names were not. Immigration and census officers seemed to be more interested in the numbers of persons and other information rather than in the accuracy of their names. As previously mentioned, when Fortuné, Léopoldine and family immigrated to Canada on the ship Circassion, the manifest dated August 25, 1892 had most of the given names of the family members misspelled. The list showed the immigrants to be: “Fortime Jos Mollot and Annis L. Mollot” (Anaïs was her middle name). In the Canadian Census list of 1911, Fortuné is listed as “Fortuna.” Again, on the ship’s passenger list, the Empress of Ireland of Aug. 1st, 1907 coming from France to Canada after the completion of Gabrielle’s studies, Fortuné, Léopoldine, and the three girls were listed as follows: Frank for Fortuné, Leafa for Léopoldine, Mary for Marie Louise and Tobenelle for Gabrielle. The only one that was correctly listed was Therese, though written with no accents. Also, the 1919 Winnipeg Henderson Directory lists Fortuné again as “Frank” and Léopoldine as “Grace”. On many census and manifest lists, officers also incorrectly wrote most of their surnames.