July 31, 2009

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink

The ocean at Salisbury Beach, Ma at night

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!

Whenever I've gone to the beach or just to walk on the beach along the ocean, I've thought of that expression.  My mother used to say that every time our family went to the beach and someone was thirsty.  Of course, we would have brought our own drinks but it was something she never failed to say so it stuck in my head over all the years.

Since I really enjoyed participating in the 3rd edition of the Festival of Postcards entitled " Signs",
I decided to enter this blog into the 4th Edition entitled Water.  The Festival of Postcards is hosted by Evelyn Theriault at A Canadian Family.

Lucie's Legacy

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
Acadian & French-Canadian Ancestral Home

This has been cross posted with the
Acadian & French-Canadian Ancestral Home Blog

July 29, 2009

History of Lawrence, MA Immigrant Communities

Ste-Anne Parish Church, Lawrence, Massachusetts

Ste-Anne Church was located at the corner of Haverhill and Franklin Streets - the chapel was on Haverhill Street. This  is where my family as well as all French-Canadian immigrants  worshiped when they migrated to Lawrence from Quebec.   The church on the right of the street is where the parish began.  It was soon too small to accommodate the growing French-Canadian population.

Once the larger church was built under the leadership of  Father Forestier s.m.,  who was pastor at the time, the original parish church became a chapel for daily mass on the lower level and the upper lever was converted into a parish hall with stage and all where the parish school would hold its plays, graduations and all its events.

In yet later years, as the parish population began to purchase homes in the suburbs, the number of parishioners began to dwindle and Ste Anne Chapel was dismantled and became a second "hall" where parish meetings as well as other activities were conducted.   Eventually and many years later, the Marist Fathers who had ministered since the early 1900's no longer  had enough priests to continue on.  Ste Anne Parish would come to and end as would eventually Our Lady of Mount Carmel, St. Theresa and more recently Sacred Heart.  The Augustian Fathers took over ministry at St. Theresa's merging it with St. Augustine's of Lawrence renaming it Our Lady of Good Consel.   Most recently, Diocesan priest have assumed its ministry.

Anyhow, that big beautiful church that was Ste Anne still stands empty today.  The Archdiocese in recent years finally removed all of the beautiful stained glass windows parishioners had sacrificed to obtain for their beautiful house of worship and those a now in storage.  There was a magnificent weather vane on top of the church and family oral history is that my grandfather and his brother climbed to the very top of that huge building to install it.  I have not been able to verify whether or not this is true.

Ever since I can remember, Lawrence was known as the  "Immigrant City."  Starting with the Irish in the 1840's, it has been home to numerous different immigrant communities, mostly arriving  during the great European immigration to America that ended in the 1920's. Since early 1970s, Lawrence has become home to a sizable Hispanic population, reaching over 68% of the population of Lawrence by 2006.

Immigrant communities, 1845–1920

Lawrence became home to large groups of immigrants from Europe, beginning with the Irish in 1845, Germans after the social upheaval in Germany in 1848, and French Canadians seeking to escape hard northern farm life from the 1850s onward. A second wave began arriving after 1900, as part of the great mass of Italian and Eastern European immigrants, including Jews from Russia, Poland, Lithuania and neighboring regions. Immigration to the United States was severely curtailed in the 1920's with the Immigration Act of 1924, when foreign born immigration to Lawrence virtually ceased for over 40 years. In 1890, the foreign-born population of 28,577 was comprised as follows, with the significant remainder of the population being children of foreign born residents: 7,058 Irish; 6,999 French Canadians; 5,131 English; 2,465 German; 1,683 English Canadian. In 1920, towards the end of the first wave of immigration, most ethnic groups had numerous social clubs in the city. The Portuguese had 2; the English had 2; the Jews had 3; the Armenians, 5; the Lebanese and Syrians, 6; the Irish, 8; the Polish, 9; the French Canadians and Belgian-French, 14; the Lithuanians, 18; the Italians, 32; and the Germans, 47.  However, the center of social life, even more than clubs or fraternal organizations, was churches. Lawrence is dotted with churches, many now closed, torn down or converted into other uses. These churches signify, more than any other artifacts, the immigrant communities that once lived within walking distance of each church.

The French Canadians

French Canadians were the second major immigrant group to settle in Lawrence. In 1872, they erected their first church, St. Anne’s, at the corner of Haverhill and Franklin Streets. Within decades, St. Anne’s established a “missionary church”, Sacred Heart on South Broadway, to serve the burgeoning Québécois community in South Lawrence. Later it would also establish the "missionary" parishes in Methuen: Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Theresa's (Notre-Dame du Mont Carmel et St-Thérèse). The French-Canadians arrived from various farming areas of Quebec where farms had grown arrid for lack of knowledge that crops needed to be rotated after a time. Others who integrated themselves into these French-Canadian communities were actually Acadians who had left the Canadian Maritimes of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia also in search of work.

The Irish

Irish immigrants arrived in Lawrence at its birth, which nearly coincided with the Great Potato Famine of 1842, the event that drove great numbers of Irish out of Ireland. The Great Stone Dam, constructed in from 1845–1848 to power the nascent textile mills, was largely built by Irish laborers. The first Irish immigrants settled in the area south of the Merrimack River near the intersection of Kingston Street and South Broadway. Their shantytown settlement put them close to the dam being constructed, but away from the Essex Corporation row houses built north of the river to attract New England farm girls as mill workers. The religious needs of the Irish were initially met by the Immaculate Conception church, originally erected near the corner of Chestnut and White Street in 1846, the first Roman Catholic church in Lawrence. By 1847, observers counted over ninety shanties in the Irish shantytown. In 1869, the Irish were able to collect sufficient funds form their own church, St. Patrick’s, on South Broadway.

The Germans

The first sizable German community arrived following the revolutions of 1848. However, a larger German community was formed after 1871, when industrial workers from Saxony were displaced by economic competition from new industrial areas like the Ruhr. The German community was characterized by numerous school clubs, shooting clubs, national and regional clubs, as well as men’s choirs and mutual aid societies, many of which were clustered around the Turn Verein, a major social club on Park Street.

The Italians

Some Italian immigrants celebrated Mass in the basement chapel of the largely Irish St. Laurence O’Toole Church, at the intersection of East Haverhill Street and Newbury Street, until they had collected sufficient funds to erect the Holy Rosary Church in 1909 nearby at the intersection of Union Street and Essex Street. Immigrants from Lentini (a city in the Sicilian province of Syracuse) and from the Sicilian province of Catania maintained a particular devotion to three Catholic martyrs, Saint Alfio, Saint Filadelfo and Saint Cirino, and in 1923 began celebrating a procession on their feast day.  Although most of the participants live in neighboring towns, the Feast of Three Saints festival continues in Lawrence today.  My husband's Consentino family came from Mistretta, Italy.  They lived next door to St. Lawrence O'Toole Church but eventually became parishioners of Holy Rosary since it was the Italian ethnic parish of the neighborhood just a few blocks away from where they lived.  This parish was ministered to by the Augustinian Fathers but Diocesan priest have taken the helm and the parish was merged and renamed Corpus Christi Parish.

The Lebanese

Lawrence residents frequently referred to their Arabic-speaking Middle Eastern community as "Syrian". In fact, most so-called Syrians in Lawrence were from present-day Lebanon, and were largely Maronite Christian. Lebanese immigrants organized St. Anthony’s Maronite Church in 1903 .  Pictured here is  St. George’s Orthodox Church, the oldest Greek Orthodox-rite Church in the United States.


The Jews

Jewish merchants became increasingly numerous in Lawrence and specialized in dry goods and retail shops. The fanciest men's clothing store in Lawrence, Kap's, established in 1902 and closed in the early 1990s, was founded by Elias Kapelson, born in Lithuania. Jacob Sandler and two brothers also immigrated from Lithuania in approximately 1900 and established Sandlers Department Store, which continued in business until 1978. In the 1880s, the first Jewish arrivals established a community around Common, Valley, Concord and Lowell Streets. In the 1920s, the Jews of Lawrence began congregating further up Tower Hill, where they erected two synagogues on Lowell Street above Milton Street, as well as a Jewish Community Center on nearby Haverhill Street. All three institutions had closed their doors by 1990 as the remaining elderly members of the community died out or moved away.

The Polish

The Polish community of Lawrence was estimated to be only 600–800 persons in 1900. However by 1905, the community had expanded sufficiently to fund the construction of the Holy Trinity Church at the corner of Avon and Trinity Streets.  Their numbers grew to 2,100 Poles in 1910. Like many of their immigrant brethren from other nations, most of the Poles were employed in woolen and worsted goods manufacturing.


The English

A sizable English community, comprised mainly of unskilled laborers that arrived after 1880, sought work in the textile mills where they were given choice jobs by the Yankee overseers on account of their shared linguistic heritage and close cultural links.

Yankee farmers

Not all immigrants to Lawrence were foreign-born or their children. Yankee farmers, unable to compete against the cheaper farmlands of the Midwest that had been linked to the East coast by rail, settled in corners of Lawrence. Congregationalists were the first Protestant denomination to begin worship in South Lawrence, with the erection in 1852 of the first South Congregational Church on South Broadway, near the corner of Andover  Street.

First Settlers

Of  course, the very first settlers were the English who pioneered our villages back in the 1600's and early 1700's.  In 1776 the American Revolution ensued - the rest is history!

Sources:  Personal notes and experiences and Wikipedia.   I have been unable to find photos of all the churches but I am still searching.  We knew where all of these communities were when I was growing up and there were postcards of all the churches and my sister took many photos as well.

Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino


July 28, 2009

Bread and Roses Strike of 1912 - Labor Protest - Lawrence, Massachusetts

The above photo was taken as protesters marched against owners of the mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

My mother sometimes talked about this strike. She was already working in the mills. Immigrant families left Canada in search of work and in hopes of a better life. Agriculture had dried out because our ancestors knew nothing back then about crop rotation but they'd heard there was lots of work in the mills of Fall River, Lawrence and Lowell, Massachusetts as well as Manchester, New Hampshire. Mills sprung up in many cities and towns. It became a way of life until the mills left in the 1950's and headed south where labor was cheaper than in these northern mills where workers had learned to unionize to protect their rights.

On January 12th, 1912 the labor protest that became known as the "Bread and Roses" strike began in Lawrence.

A new state law had reduced the maximum workweek from 56 to 54 hours. Factory owners responded by speeding up production and cutting workers' pay. Polish women were the first to shut down their looms and leave the mill. As they marched through the streets, workers from all the city's ethnic groups joined them. Over the next months, increasingly violent methods were used to suppress the protest, but the strikers maintained their solidarity. After Congress held hearings on the situation, the mill owners were anxious to avoid bad publicity. They settled with the strikers, bringing to an end a watershed event in American labor history.

The Bread and Roses Strike of 1912 changed U.S. labor laws forever.


On January 12, 1912, workers in the American Woolen Company Mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts, opened their pay envelopes to find that their wages had been cut. They took to the streets in protest, beginning a history-making confrontation between labor and capital. The "Bread and Roses Strike," as it became known, broke new ground in several ways. More than half of the workers in the Lawrence textile mills were women and children, and women played a major role in the strike. Most of the workers were unskilled newcomers from the Middle East, southern and eastern Europe. They spoke more than a dozen different languages and practiced a variety of religions and ethnic customs. What bound them together was the need to improve their living and working conditions.

By the turn of the twentieth century, New England's factory towns were generally miserable places. Wages were low, rents were high, and living conditions were crowded and unhealthy. The factory floors were brutally hot in summer and painfully cold in winter. The machinery was dangerous; pressure to speed up production increased the risk of accident and injury.

The photo below is that of a "spinner" girl. Girls and boys worked as young as ten years of age in the mills. It was the same for bobbin girls or lap boys, bobbin girls kept the spinners supplied with bobbins as needed. I really don't know what my mother started as in the mills but I do know that as far back as I can remember she was a weaver in the weave room. I remember my brother being a bobbin boy when he started working in the mills. Later he worked in the "Mule Room". Actually, it was really the Spinning Room but it was called the "Mule Room" simply because the spinning machine was called a "spinning mule". My grandfather, aunts and uncles were all weavers. During World War II the Lawrence Mills wove material for army uniforms as well as blankets.

Under Massachusetts law, schooling was compulsory for children under age 14, but poverty forced many parents to lie about their sons' and daughters' ages and send them to work in the mills. One boy, asked if he'd like to go to school, said that he would love to, but he wanted to eat. My mother was eleven years old in January of 1912 and had left school in sixth grade to work in the mills.

In response to reports on the deplorable conditions at the mills, the Massachusetts legislature voted to reduce the maximum workweek from 56 to 54 hours. The law took effect on January 1, 1912. Although the legislation was intended to help the workers, many of them feared, correctly, that the mill owners would simply speed up production and cut their pay by two hours a week.

When workers opened their first paychecks in January and discovered that what they feared had in fact come to pass, a near-riot broke out. Polish women were the first to shut down their looms and leave the factory; they marched through the streets of Lawrence shouting "short pay!" They were soon joined by other workers drawn from the city's many different ethnic groups.
Because the country's most established labor organization, the American Federation of Labor, drew its membership from mostly white, English-speaking skilled craftsmen, it had no interest in a strike that involved women and unskilled, foreign-born workers. The AFL denounced the Lawrence protest as "revolutionary" and "anarchistic."

The owners were initially unconcerned. Without the assistance of the AFL, the Lawrence workers would never be able to sustain a strike. But the more radical Industrial Workers of the World, (I.W.W.) stepped in and sent organizers to Lawrence. Relief committees were formed to provide food, medical care, and clothing to strikers and their families. One magazine reported, "At first everyone predicted that it would be impossible to mold these divergent people together, but aside from the skilled men, comparatively few [broke the strike and] went back to the mills...."

The strikers employed some new tactics. Large groups went in and out of stores, not buying anything but effectively disrupting business. Huge marches were organized, with strikers singing songs, chanting, and carrying banners. One reporter wrote, "It was the spirit of the workers that was dangerous. They are always marching and singing."

One group of women carried a banner proclaiming, "We want bread and roses too." Roses signified the respect due to them as women, rather than just as cheap labor. The slogan caught on and provided the refrain for a popular new song—and the name of one of the most important events in American labor history. Once it was clear that the strikers had solidarity and leadership, management and city officials responded with force. The state militia broke up meetings and marches; soldiers sprayed protesters with fire hoses in frigid winter weather.

Bread and Roses by James Oppenheim

As we come marching in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing "Bread and roses, bread and roses."

As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women's children and we mother them again,
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread but give us roses!

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes it is bread we fight for but we fight for roses too!

As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days.
The rising of the woman means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler - ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses, bread and roses!

In February, children of strikers were sent to live with sympathetic families in other cities, a tactic that had been used successfully in Europe. The exodus of the children was a public relations disaster for the Lawrence authorities, and they forbade children to leave the city. On February 24th, a group of defiant mothers accompanied their children to the railroad station. Police surrounded and brutally clubbed women and children alike, then threw them into patrol wagons; 30 women were detained in jail.

Newspapers reported this ugly scene, and people all around the country were outraged. A congressional investigation began. As witnesses described working conditions in the mills and the events of the strike, President William Howard Taft ordered an investigation into industrial conditions in Lawrence and throughout the nation.

By March, the hearings had caused so much negative publicity that the American Woolen Company decided to settle. On March 12, 1912, management agreed to the strikers' demands for a 15% pay raise, double pay for overtime, and amnesty for strikers. The striking workers had demonstrated a powerful lesson: even traditionally powerless groups such as women and recent immigrants could prevail if they worked together.

Bread and Roses Mural

Here is what the Massachusetts AFL-CIO Labor Union said about it:
"One of the most prolific strikes in United States history was the Bread and Roses strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1912. On the heals of a labor victory in legislation, reducing the work week from fifty-six to fifty-four hours, employers in Lawrence’s mills reacted by slashing wages to compensate for lost work. The mill owners expected their workers to be unhappy about the slash in pay, but did not expect the full scale retaliation that followed.
Lawrence at the turn of the century was a city of immigrants from many different backgrounds. These immigrants worked in Lawrence’s mills, and because of their different ethnic backgrounds, mill owners believe that the workers would not be able to organize because of ethnic differences. The owners proved to be wrong. In the first week of the strike, angry workers walked from mill to mill hurling bricks and stones through mill windows encouraging workers in those mills to walk off the job as well as a result of the pay cut. During the first week 14,000 workers walked off the job in Lawrence and were followed by 9,000 more in the coming weeks.
The Industrial Workers of the World, the IWW or “Wobblies,” took a major role in orchestrating and leading the strike. They successfully organized the different ethnic groups who lived and worked together and raised the money necessary to feed and provide for the strikers and their families. Many children were sent away to other cities in order to maintain the resources for the striking workers. This move gained tremendous sympathy from the public, and therefore the factory owners attempted to make sure this practice was stopped immediately. On February 24, 1912, they sent police officers to prevent some mothers and children from leaving Lawrence on a train to Philadelphia. The officers beat up the women and children and caused a public relations nightmare that led to a Congressional investigation of the strike. The owners realized that they had been beaten and finally came to terms with the IWW.
The true heroes of this strike were the women of the city of Lawrence. Women’s neighborhood associations were focused more the womanhood than ethnic identity, and thus became more inclusive and unifying which significantly helped the IWW to organize the striking workers and their families. Women also were prolific forces on the picket lines. They were better than the men at finding scabs who were attempting to cross picket lines, and were often more militant than their male counterparts."

Mass Moments

Commonwealth of Toil: Chapters in the History of Massachusetts Workers and Their Unions, by Tom Juravich, William F. Hartford, James R. Green (University of Massachusetts Press, 1996). Rebel Voices: An IWW Anthology, by Joyce Kornbluh (Charles H. Kerr Publishing, 1988). Bread and Roses: Mills, Migrants, and the Struggle for the American Dream by Bruce Watson (Viking, 2005).

Massachusetts AFL-CIO at http://www.massaflcio.org/1912-bread-and-roses-strike

Labor Notes http://labornotes.org/node/679

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Lucie's Legacy

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino 
Acadian & French-Canadian Ancestral Home
Cross posted with the AAH Blog

July 27, 2009

My French-Canadian Grandparents

Arthémise Dumais Lévesque

My Mémère (Grandmother) was baptized Arthémise Marie Dumais on 16 December 1874 at Ste-Anastasie de Lyster, Quebec, Canada.

She passed away in 1962 in Lawrence, Massachusetts where her family had migrated when she was a teenager.

I used to spend a great deal of time with my Mémère. Much of our extended family lived in the same neighborhood in nearby tenements. (You know they used to be called tenements whereas today they are given a sophisticated name of "apartments" - they are all the same. If you have a comfortable living, I suppose it is an apartment with amenities; if not, it is still a tenement in my view with little amenities.)

My Mémère and I had a special relationship and I loved her dearly. There used to be evening novenas in the parish church almost year round. She used to take me with her as a small child - in the winter months I used to get tired pretty early and would fall asleep with my head leaning on her fur coat until she would wake me to go home. After all, playing out-of-doors for a young child was very tiring and by 7p.m. this child was ready to call it a day but would not miss going with Mémère for anything in the world. When I was in junior high and high school I would meet her at 6 a.m. Mass every morning.

Étienne "Stephen" Lévesque

My Pépère (Grandfather) was baptized Étienne Lévesque on 29 May 1872 at Notre-Dame de l'Assomption, Baie-des-Sables, Matane, Quebec, Canada. He passed away on May 3, 1953 in Lawrence, Massachusetts where he too had migrated withhis family as a teenager. My grandmother and his mother were fourth cousins and I'm sure their relationship was not lost on the family.

As all immigrant families to Lawrence, their families settled into a French-Canadian ethnic neighborhood near their parish church of Ste Anne. The Italians, Lebanese, Irish etc. all had their own neighborhoods - it was almost like villages within the city. Each had everything it needed such as variety stores (markets), pharmacies as well as newspapers in their own ethnic tongue and social groups where they could meet and organize to be involved in the city.

My Pépère, like most immigrants who lived in Lawrence, worked in the mills. He worked for as long as I could remember in the Wood Mills - once the largest worsted mill industry in the country. At work, and as I discovered in other settings, he was known as Stephen which is English for Étienne.

I did not see a whole lot of him except when I slept over at their home. He would leave for work around 1p.m. - as did most of our family - begin working at 2p.m. and end work at 10 or 11p.m. My Pépère worked in the weave room as did most of our family. My mother, my sister and my brother worked at the Pacific Lower Mills situated on the canal. The Wood Mills were situated on the Merrimack River. They all headed south in the 1950s because they could hire employees at much lower hourly rates. By the way, it is in Lawrence that the Bread and Roses Strike took place. I'll write about that in a future blog.

My grandparents married in 1895 at Ste-Anne Church, Lawrence, Massachusetts. The above photo was taken on the day they celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1945.

I believe that in remembering our ancestors, we honor their memory, their commitment, their faith and their love of family. There isn't a day when I don't think about them.


Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
Acadian &  French-Canadian Ancestral Home

Cross posted with AAH Blog

July 26, 2009

Golden Anniversary Celebration

Back row: Armand Levesque, Raymond Levesque,
Jeanne Soucy Levesque, Lucien Delcour,
my brother Albert LeBlanc, Mathilda Doyon Levesque,
Alphee Levesque, Albert Levesque,
Gloria Levesque, my sister Claudia LeBlanc,
my father George LeBlanc,

Front row: Me, my mother Rosanna Levesque LeBlanc,
Claudia Levesque Delcour, my cousins Gilbert/ Dolores Levesque,

Mémère Arthémise Dumais Levesque - on her lap Ronald Levesque, Pépère Étienne Levesque, Emile Levesque,
Malvina Gallant Levesque, Patricia VanCoillie - absent: Gerard Levesque and Gabrielle Rousselle Levesque

The above is a family photo taken when we celebrated my grandparent's Golden Wedding Anniversary. Fifty years of marriage is certainly an occasion to celebrate and celebrate we did. My grandparents, Étienne Lévesque and Arthémise Dumais were married 15 October 1895 at Ste Anne Church, Lawrence, Massachusetts.

They were the parents of nine children. Three died shortly after birth and one died in child birth at the age of 22. Her name was Alexina. I've always like that name.

All of their living children married. Their son Emile and his wife Malvina five sons and two daughters for a total of eight. One son and one daughter died sometime after birth. Albert and Viola had one daughter; Alphee and Mathilda had one son and two daughters; Claudia and Lucien had no children; my parents Rosanna and George had three sons and three daughters. Two sons and one daughter died at young ages. Two great grandchildren are in the photo - they were grandchildren of my uncle Emile and his wife Malvina.

Beatrice, Arthémise, Étienne and Philibert leaving Ste-Anne Church after renewal of marriage vows

The anniversary celebration for our grandparents began with the renewal of their marriage vows at Ste Anne's where they had married fifty years earlier. The same "witnesses" participated - my grandmother's sister Beatrice and her husband Philibert. From the church we went to a hall where a gala celebration took place. It was a wonderful time.

This year my husband Tony and I will celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. Our youngest daughter Sarah married this past May. Our oldest daughter Rebecca will be married 9 years at the end of September. What pleases us most is that our daughters and their spouses entered their marriages committed that they will be wed forever.

I believe there are three things to live by in a marriage:

1. Never go to bed angry with one another (even if that seems impossible!)
2. Keep your love for one another alive
3. Never let anyone come between you and your spouse (especially your own parents)

If you are having an anniversary this day, this week, this month or this year, CELEBRATE! An anniversary is the time to celebrate all you have lived as a couple committed to one another.



July 3, 2009

Independence Day - Fourth of July 2009

The signing of the Declaration of Independence.

    In Congress, July 4, 1776,


When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That, to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed. That, whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such Principles and organizing its Powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of People, unless those People would relinquish the right of Representation in the legislature; a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness, his invasions on the rights of the People.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws of Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of Peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his protection, and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens, taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions, We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free People.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in GENERAL CONGRESS assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude of our intentions, DO, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly PUBLISH and DECLARE, That these United Colonies are, and of Right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Bri tain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that, as FREE and INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do. AND for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Attested, CHARLES THOMSON, Secretary

The Dunlap Broadside of the
Declaration of Independence

Signers of the Declaration of Independence














Have you ever wondered what  happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers wree captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died.

Twelve  had their homes ransacked and burned.  Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revotionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred  honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists

Eleven were merchants, nince were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captued.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthyplanter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy.  He sold his  home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the  Britishthat he was forced to move his family almost  constantly.He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were  taken from him,and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the  properties of Dillery, Hall,  Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and  Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown , Thomas Nelson, Jr.,  noted that
the British General  Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson

home for his headquarters. He quietly urged  General

George Washington  to open fire. The home was destroyed,

and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. 

The enemy jailed his wife, and she died  within a few months.

John Hart was driven  from his wife's bedside as she was dying.

Their 13 children fled for their lives. His  fields and his gristmill

were laid to waste. For more than a year he  lived in forests

and caves, returning home to find his wife  dead and his

children vanished.

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday  and silently thank these patriots. It's not much  to ask for the price they paid.

Remember: Freedom is never  free!

When I was growing up in Lawrence, I just loved these patriotic holidays.  We would be playing out-of-doors and suddenly we would hear bands playing and  it would be a holiday parade that we would run out on the main street near our homes to see the parade pass.  Later, along with the extended family, we would go to the stadium to see the fire works.  If the fire works were on the eve of the 4th of July we would have a cookout on the 4th - if the fireworks were on the 4th itself then we would have had a cookout after the parade.  Of course in those days, a cook out meant that our mothers had prepared the food and we took it outside to eat.  There were not charcoal or gas grills.  Those were the days!

I hope everyone has a terrific Fourth of July celebration!  Let's not forget our military men and women who have always made these celebrations possible and who continue to do so - it is their service that  affords us ongoing freedom in the United States of America!

God bless America and all of you!

Your Cousin Lucie
Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
Acadian & French-Canadian Ancestral Home

Cross posted with the 
Acadian & French-Canadian Ancestral Home Blog

July 1, 2009

A postcard tells a story about "Theater Row"

Theater Row, Lawrence, Massachusetts

A couple of weeks ago I promised to blog about postcards - well I got waylaid but here I am at last.

Back almost a month ago, I decided to pull out all of the postcards we have in this house and enter one of the Festivals of Postcards hosted by Evelyn Theriault on her A Canadian Family Blog. First my husband and I pulled out all the postcards that he has had for years that belonged - from what I can figure out - to his father before his father was married and to one of his uncles. We pulled those out and I could not believe the treasure trove of postcards that have been sitting around all of these years. Many date back to the early 1900s!

After doing a bit of research about old or vintage postcards I realized that back in those days there were postcard clubs and this is how they worked: people would agree or sign up to send a postcard from wherever they traveled to the name or names of the persons they had. What helped me to figure this out was because some from the Gaspé region of Quebec were on dates that would have been impossible for my husband's uncle Peter to travel to Canada because of the business he owned at the beach. He and his wife could definitely not travel in the summer. The other thing is that some postcards are from France and different parts of the U.S. Anyhow we know they did not travel to those places.

Now other than uncle Peter's and my father-in-law's cards, I've been searching high and low for the postcards my mother had. I have come across a very few but I know there are more. I've put them in such a safe place that I've not yet found them - to my great chagrin.

Nonetheless, I did find the two postcards posted in this blog. They are two different views of "Theater Row" in Lawrence, Massachusetts where I grew up.
When I was a kid, my mother would pay for me and one or two of my cousins to go to the movies. In those days they were all double feature movies and started with Looney Tune Cartoon, the first feature, the news reel and then the second feature. Lots of value for twelve cents wasn't it? When I was in high school the cost to go to a movie increased to eighteen cents then to twenty-five cents where it remained for a very long time.

Back to "Theater Row" - it was so named because on one side of the street the movie houses began with the Palace then it was the Broadway then the Modern and then the Strand. As if that wasn't enough, across the street was the Victoria.

According to "Rilpey's Believe It or Not," the only place in the world where one could find a street with four movie theaters in a row was in Lawrence, MA. Known as "Theater Row" on Broadway, there were the STRAND (built in 1917), later renamed as the ASTOR, the MODERN (1921), BROADWAY (1910) and PALACE (1921). Along with several other theaters in downtown Lawrence, these venues entertained Merrimack Valley citizens for decades.

We would do one theater on Saturday and sometimes we do another on Sunday afternoon. I remember seeing Shirley Temple live on stage at the Victoria once. During WWII different people would come on stage to encourage people to buy War Bonds to support the war effort.

Though the various theaters sold candy and pop corn there was a candy and variety store before the Palace and one after the Strand. The one before the Palace was called Charlie Mann's and the one after the Strand was called Louis Pearl's. Interestingly enough, when I was researching through Lawrence City Directories for my father's family it turned out that they lived in a tenement over Louis Pearl's.

As though Theater Row wasn't enough, there were other theaters in Lawrence. My husband grew up in the Italian neighborhood of the city and they used to go to the Central Theater. On the same street (Broadway) where Theater Row was located but much further in a northerly direction was the Warner Theater.

What I've shared just goes to show how many memories can be evoked through old or vintage postcards.

So if you have vintage postcards, why not share what memories they hold for you?


Your Cousin Lucie

This blog has been submitted to the Festival of Postcards hosted by Evelyn Theriault at A Canadian Family Blog

Lucie's Legacy