BELEQUE – HEBERT – TESSIER – GAGNON
Esther Beleque was born 11 December 1840 to Pierre Beleque and Genevieve St Martin on the French Prairie, Oregon Territory. She was Baptized 24 December 1840. She was Confirmed 5 October 1851.
Esther married Joseph Hebert on 5 December 1859 by B. Delorme, Vic. Gen. at St Louis Mission. Joseph parents were Charles Hebert (deceased) and Ursule Paradis, Canada.
Joseph and Esther moved to Frenchtown and made their home by Mud Creek (South across the Walla Walla River from St Rose Mission). Esther’s sister Mary Sophie was married to Narcisse Cornoyer. They also moved to Frenchtown and made their home on Pine Creek (Southeast of Joseph and Esther’s).
Joseph committed suicide through insanity on 14 December 1869 at age 39. He was buried at St Rose by J.B.A. Brouillet, Pt. Witnesses were Narcisse Cornoyer and Theodore Tetreau.
25 September 1871 Esther and Moise Tessier were married by J.B.A. Brouillet, Priest. Present were Louis Andre Branchaud, Mary Clementine, Narcisse, and Joseph Cornoyer, Francis Le____, Antoine Bassette and Rene Landry. Moise’s parents were Anthony Tessier and Marie Anne Branchaud of Beqularnais, Canada East.
Esther, Joseph and Moise were active in the Catholic Missions taking part as sponsors, godparents and witnesses.
Esther and Moise opened their home to Cyrille Gagnon when he came from Canada. Cyrille was the nephew of Joseph Hebert. Cyrille’s parents were Pierre Gagnon and Rose Hebert. His mother, Rose died in 1864 when he was three years old. Cyrille became a United States Citizen on 17 December 1883. He worked farming for Esther and Moise until Moise died in 1907 and then purchased the land from Esther. Esther lived with Cyrille until her death in 1915.
Cyrille’s father, Pierre Gagnon also lived with Esther and Moise from time to time. Pierre came from Canada via Chicago. He worked building the road between Ft Bennett, Montana and Portland, Oregon. Pierre became a citizen of the United States on 19 March 1878.
Esther’s Father – Pierre Beleque joined the North West Fur Campany in 1818 in New Caledonia and remained in the trade until about 1830, when he took up a claim on the French Prairie. This claim embraced the old Henry House trading post and surrounding Company pasture land, now marked with a State Historical Marker. He resided in the old post house with his wife, Genevieve St Martin, where they reared seven children. Many descendants remain locally.
Beleque and his oldest son, a lad of thirteen, went to the California gold fields and were said to have been unusually successful. Pierre died on the homeward journey and was buried at sea off the mouth of the Columbia. The gold dust was lost overboard by the boy. Beleque was described by a contemporary as “mild and honest”. He was one of the leaders in petitioning for priests to be sent to the settlement on the Prairie. His will, thoughtfully made prior to his departure to the gold fields, was the first to be recorded in Marion County, Book One, page one. His widow married Casimer Gardipe.
Esther’s Mother – Genevieve St Martin was born in 1814. She was the daughter of Joseph St Martin of St Pierre-de-Sorel, Canada (1784-1839) and a Chinook Native. Genevieve married Casimer Gardipe and had several more children. She died in 1904 in Oregon.
Joseph Hebert’s brother, Charles married Marcelline Gagnon. She was the sister of Pierre, Marcel Sr, Medard and Lucien Gagnon. These brothers all resided in Frenchtown.
Esther and Moise Tessier, Pierre and Cyrille Gagnon, Mary Sophie and Narcisse Cornoyer and Mary St Martin Hubbard are all buried close together in Mountain View Cemetery in Walla Walla, Washington. Mary St Martin Hubbard was the sister of Genevieve St Martin.
Information on Pierre Beleque from Catholic Church Record of the Pacific Northwest by Helen Munnick all other information gathered by Judith Fortney 2015