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1. Angel Guardian (Anges Gardiens) Cadets, Lowell, Mass. Formed back in an earlier era and AKA the A.G.Cadets, this group marched in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade held in Lowell on March 28, 1913.Over 6,000 marchers took part in seven huge divisions. This group also participated in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Lowell on Saturday, March 17, 1917. It must have been cold that day. They were under the command of Major Alcide Bellefeuile and were referred to as a semi-military company.

2. Chevaliers of St. Louis, New Bedford, Mass. They were an all male company independent of any parish and were formed sometime before 1907.In that year they merged with the South End branch of the New Bedford Sharpshooters and became the Sharpshooters Garde # 1. I don’t have any other information about their activities or members.

3.Franco American Legion, New Bedford, Mass. This was a women’s group, which competed in the Franco American Brigade of New England Drill Championships in Worcester, Mass. The date was Saturday, May 16, 1942, at the High School of Commerce gymnasium in Worcester. They took the 2nd place trophy.

4. Garde Association Canado Americaine. Nothing known at his time

5.Garde Amerique, Central Falls, Rhode Island. The parish here was Notre Dame, founded in 1873. Nothing else known at this time.

6.Garde Breboeuf, Taftville,Conn. Mr.Ralph Dion of Taftville, Conn. was its captain in 1916.Nothing known at this time.

7. Garde Champlain, Claremont, N.H. I was not able to learn anything about this garde in print or on the internet.

8.Garde Charrette aka Charrette’s Cadets, Lowell, Mass. According to the Lowell Sun on June 16, 1938, this Garde was newly formed. It was named after one George Charrette who was born June 6, 1867 in Lowell and lived in Lowell all his life. He enlisted in the US Navy and fought as a Gunner's Mate First Class in the Spanish American War.He along with seven others volunteered to sink the USS Merrimac at the entrance to the harbor of Santiago, Cuba, in an attempt to bottle up the Spanish fleet.He was awarded the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism displayed in that operation which occurred on June 2, 1898. Mr. Charrette later fought in WWI and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery after he died on February 7,1938. This Garde was formed in his honor shortly after he deceased. The Acting Captain was Mr. Gerard Savard. Their advisor was Mr. Donald C. Jodoin, who was the Secretary of the Garde d’Honneur. I don’t have the names of any other members, nor do I know what parish sponsored them. I believe they became defunct at the start of WWII.

9. Garde Chenier, Suncook,N.H. I was not able to learn anything about this garde in print or on the internet.I believe this was the Garde which held a performance on the day of December 7, 1941.Mom and Tante Rita said they came back to Lowell in late afternoon and saw people reading the newspaper about the declaration of war.

10. Garde Evangeline,Augusta, Maine They were a branch of the Societe d'lAssomption in Augusta. They were started in 1937. From a tenth anniversary booklet published in 1947,this Garde was listed as a women's/ girl's drill corps, The Garde was mentioned in a story from the Portland Press Herald dated April 24, 1949.The Garde Evangeline was described as a drill team of "junior misses" dressed in blue & white uniforms and were said to have given a fine performance. The occasion was the Governor's Ball held at Augusta City Hall the previous evening.No other information has been found about them.

11. Garde d’Honneur Association Catholique, Lowell, Mass. In 1916, Joseph Lamoureux of Lowell, served as the captain.The Garde d’Honneur was founded before World War I and became defunct sometime in 1942. A story in the 1938 Lowell Sun confirms the early days with a report that 25 years prior, a parade was held in Lowell on St. Patrick’s Day, March 28, 1913.It was said that more than 6,000 marchers took part in seven divisions, including 13 bands. Garde d’Honneur was among those taking part and downtown Lowell was thronged with onlookers.

Four years later, on Saturday March 17, 1917, Captain Nelson Phillips led the Garde d’Honneur in that year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. Indeed, it was the heyday for parades back then. With no television as a distraction, most people took the time to attend parades often and were highly entertained by them.

By 1938, Garde d’Honneur had moved their headquarters from the C.M.A.C. on Pawtucket St. to a location in Centralville and had Company A. for women & Company B for men. On Thursday, January 6, 1938, the Garde d’Honneur was featured in the Lowell Sun. Company B intended to put on a winter outdoor sports carnival on Tuesday, January 18, at the carnival grounds in Groton. Members were to depart Lowell in sleighs at 10 a.m. that morning. The story stated that this was the first event of this type to be sponsored by this Garde. The captain of Garde d’Honneur at that time was George Maynard. Other members were Sgt. Albert Couture, Quartermaster Ralph Asselin, Corp. Omer Guilbeault, Pvt. Ernest Dubois, and Pvt. Raymond Gagne. Two members of Company A were Cecile Paquin and Pearl Bordeleau.

The following month they were to sponsor at the St. Louis Parish Hall on West Sixth St., a competitive drill scheduled for Saturday, February 26. This was to be for the New England championship and more than forty invitations were sent out. Gardes from all over New England and New York State were to compete. There was to be first an elimination contest for officers on Sunday, January 23.I’m not exactly clear just what this was. On February 24, 1938, another story about this event was run in the Lowell Sun. Secretary of the Garde d’Honneur, Donald Jodoin, announced that about 15 teams had accepted invitations to compete for the New England Championship.

About a month later, Mr. Jodoin announced he was resigning from Company A in order to devote more time to his work with the National Guard Equipment Company of New York. As an example of this Garde’s versatility, a story on Wednesday, April 6, 1938, carried the news that Company B of Garde d’Honneur planned to stage a vaudeville show on April 22, at St. Louis Circle Hall. Members of Company A. were set to serve as ushers. Tryouts were scheduled for April 10th under the direction of Ernest Patenaude, a member of St. Louis de France Parish. The proceeds were for the Garde’s uniform fund. A story run on April 27, told that the show was successful.

A story in the Lowell Sun in October 1942, told how in the old days before cars were common on the streets of Lowell, the Garde d’Honneur, which was apparently sponsored by the C.M.A.C., took part in an annual pilgrimage to honor the deceased of the parish. It began with a procession from the C.M.A.C. down Merrimack St. to St. Joseph Church, now a shrine, on Lee St. There a Libera, which combined the chorus of every French Canadian parish in the city, was sung. After the Libera, everyone climbed aboard “electric cars” which were actually trolleys and road all the way to Riverneck Rd. in East Chelmsford. From there, everyone debarked and walked about a quarter mile to St.Joseph’s cemetery for formal ceremonies honoring the deceased. This event was always held in November since that was the month, which the Catholic Church dedicated to the dead.

The story went on to say that most semi military teams in the city took part in the annual pilgrimage. At the cemetery, there was the recitation of the rosary, followed by a salute from the firing squad of the Garde d’Honneur, playing of Taps, the singing of another Libera and an impressive sermon. Sometime in the late 1920’s when automobiles were much more common, the procession to St. Joseph Church in downtown Lowell was discontinued and everyone went directly to the cemetery. The event was also moved to a Sunday in October when the weather was usually much more mild.

In 1942, the event was held on Sunday, October 10, however, due to a shortage of gasoline and automobiles, it was decided the C.M.A.C. pilgrimage route would proceed from the C.M.A.C. hall along Pawtucket Street to Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto on the grounds of the Franco American Orphanage. All members of the C.M.A.C. were invited, as well as all French Canadian residents of the city. At 2 p. m., the rosary was recited and a Libera was sung. Loud speakers were strung around the property to accommodate the large crowds. The article alluded to the “old Garde d’Honneur,” which was at that time defunct. Very likely, their ranks were so depleted because of the war, they could no longer continue. This story confirms that the Garde closed up most probably sometime in 1942.

12. Garde d'Honneur, Brockton,Mass. Founded and incorporated July 21, 1919.A contact name and address were listed on the internet.

13. Garde d’Honneur, Plattsburgh, New York The Garde d’Honneur was sponsored by the Franco American civic and fraternal group the St. Jean Baptiste Association d’Amerique. According to a story in the Plattsburgh Daily Republican the Garde was begun in 1903. In 1909, it was instrumental in establishing the International Gardes composed of Gardes from New York and Quebec.The first general encampment and convention was held in Plattsburgh in July of 1909. It was at this time that the custom of fancy drill team competitions began with the awarding of trophies for winning teams. In 1910, the 2nd annual convention was held in Malone, New York.There the Garde d'Honneur won first place for the best drill team.

In 1911, the Garde d'Honneur became a member of the Franco- American Brigade of New England. Then in 1913, the annual convention was held in Fall River, Mass. where this Garde won a trophy. During WWI, most of the Gardes in the northeast disbanded for lack of members,however it was noted in the paper that the Garde d'Honneur never disbanded. In 1927, a drum and bugle corps was begun in Plattsburgh under the leadership of Mr.Wilfred Tremblay.

In 1934, an article in the Plattsburgh paper displayed a large box ad encouraging the general public to attend the Labor Day fete coming up on Monday, Sept.3 at the Fair Grounds of Ausable Forks. This Guard was prominently recorded as performing at the fete.A story in the Lowell Sun indicated that they were under the leadership of Captain Leon Mitchell, who was formerly of Lowell. In June 1938, Henry Breault was a major in the group. The Plattsburgh,New York Daily Press dated Friday, August 1, 1941 states that the Garde d’Honneur was set to leave the following morning by bus for a convention at Quebec City and a visit to the shrine of Ste. Anne de Beaupre. The three day trip arrangements were being handled by Henry Brault and John B. Light.

14. Garde d'Honneur, Worcester, Mass. This garde was mentioned in several newspaper stories pertaining to the Garde Independente. It was stated that it was an auxiliary of the Garde Independente. Most likely it was composed of supporters or boosters of the Garde Independente. To my knowledge they never marched in parades or competed in drill championships.I include then in case anyone may know more about them.

15. Garde d'Honneur Champlain, Manchester, N.H. Serving as captain in 1916 of Company A was P.Doucet of Manchester.The captain for Company B was Emile Lafontaine of Claremont, New Hampshire.

16.Garde d'Honneur St. Jean Baptiste #1 I could not find any information about them in print or on the internet.

17. Garde d'Honneur St. Joseph. It was divided into companies and Ambroise St. Pierre was captain of Company E in 1916.I could not find any other information in print or on the internet.

18. Garde d'Honneur du Sacre Coeur, Haverhill, Mass. I have no information about them.

19. Garde d'Honneur Union Ouvriere, New Bedford, Mass. I have no information about them.

20. Garde des Hussards Canadiens, Lawrence, Mass. In 1916,the captain was Joseph Desbiens of Lawrence, Mass.I have no othe rinformatioon about them.

21.Garde Domremy, A.C.A., (Association Canadienne Americaine) Lowell, Mass. My mother, Yvette Lamarche Taylor, belonged to this Garde. This was an all female Garde, which had a drum corps as well as a drill section. The drill team carried out elaborate drills and routines to stirring martial music. There appears to have been at least 30 to 35 girls at any one time in the Garde Domremy. It was sponsored by Ste. Jeanne D’Arc parish, which also sponsored the Garde Ste. Jeanne d’Arc. Apparently, the latter was so popular that all their slots were full, yet the parish had many more talented girls who wanted to join. In response to many requests, the Garde Domremy was founded in late 1937, by Mrs. Nelson A. Pepin, who was also their adult leader and advisor.

On the 15th of January, 1938, the Lowell Sun carried a story about the election of officers for the year 1938. Like most all the other Gardes in Lowell, they had held their election in early January. Therese Lambert was chosen president; she was listed as a graduate of Notre Dame Academy and Lowell Commercial College, where my mom also went several years later. Other officers were Dora L’Heureux, vice president and Leanne Boucher, apparently as secretary-treasurer. A Miss Juliette Poirier was accepted as new member. She was the daughter of Henry Poirier, who had a well-known furniture store, Poirier’s Furniture, on Merrimack St. My Mom did not mention the names of any of these young ladies as members when she was in the Garde in 1940-1941, therefore they all must have dropped out to get married etc.

The news story went on to say that the Garde was sponsoring a sleigh ride on Monday January 17th . They were also putting on a St. Valentine’s Day dance party Wednesday, February 9th, at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Lowell. The C.M.A.C. orchestra was engaged for the event.

The Friday, February 18, 1938, issue of the Lowell Sun carried a large B & W photo of the entire Garde seated for their picture. The story mentioned that the Garde had just recently been founded by Mrs. Nelson J. Pepin of 57 Third Avenue and they showed “great promise”. Members who were in the photo were follows: Jeanne Allard, Agnes Gilbert, Cecile Boisvert, Irene Canon, Laurette Therrien, Helene Noel, Laurette Morin, 3rd sergeant; Dora l’Heureux, Estelle Cote, 1st lieutenant; Leanne Boucher, corporal; Antoinette Douville, Therese Roberge, captain; Pauline Vigeant, 1st sergeant; Gertrude Allard, corporal; Juliette Poirier, Estelle Rondeau, Lumina Langlais, Gertrude Descheneaux, 2nd lieutenant; Lorraine Boucher, corporal; Antoinette Trepanier, Gisele Cote, 2nd sergeant; Yvette Therrien, Albertine Gagnon, Therese Lambert, captain; and Lucille Payette.

By April 1938, other young women had joined. These included Giselle Cote, sister of Estelle Cote, Irene Simon, and Pauline Vigeant. Except for Pauline Vigeant, I don’t believe any of them were members three years later when our Mom was a member, thus reinforcing what she said that there was a continual turnover every year. Some girls quit after a few months to get married, or because responsibilities at home and at work made it difficult to attend the practice drills. Mom said if a girl couldn’t pick up new drills quickly, she was asked to leave. New faces showed up which made it hard to be acquainted with everyone. This probably explains why neither Mom, nor Rita Matte, nor Rita “Skip” Sawyer, nor Rita Langlois Lamarche could remember many of the girls’ names.

On April 16, 1938, the Lowell Sun reported that the Garde had been invited to attend a banquet in honor of former State Rep. Henry Achin at the Rex ballroom sponsored by the Garin chapter of the Association Canado Americaine. Special tables had been set aside for them.

In the Sun, appeared a story dated Thursday, August 18, 1938, which talked about three parties given that previous week by members of the Garde Domremy to raise funds for their activities. These expenses would have included bus transportation to various outings, rental of the parish hall for drill practice etc., and perhaps assistance to purchase a uniform for ladies who could not afford it. Gertrude, Jeanne and Gabrielle Allard handled the arrangements for the party held at the home of their parents Mr.& Mrs. Damase Allard, residing at 112 Mt. Hope Street, in Pawtucketville. It can be assumed that these three were members. A 2nd and 3rd party were held at the home of Mrs. Omer Deschenaux at 93 Mt. Hope Street. Gertrude Deschenaux acted as hostess, so no doubt she was a member. About 30 people gathered for each of these parties, which featured some of the following: singing, piano entertainment, tap dancing, bridge and whist card games and numerous other parlor games. Luncheon or refreshments were served. The names of many of the attendees were listed, but I have no way to know which were Garde members and which were supporters.

Friday evening, October 28, 1938, eight members of the Garde Domremy acted as usherettes in their colorful uniforms at the graduation exercises of Lowell Commercial College. The graduation was held at the Andover Country Club. After the graduation, a formal Halloween dance was held for the students and their friends.

In 1940-41 the two captains, Pauline Vigeant and Lorraine Mineault, wore white uniforms with a white plume in their caps. The other members wore a golden yellow uniform with black trim across the bodice. The high hats had a wide band of gold trim around the brim and a black plume on top. My Mom recalls traveling by bus from Centralville up to Fourth Avenue in Pawtucketville. There in the Ste. Jeanne d’Arc Parish social hall, the Garde practiced their drill routines once a week usually on a Saturday.

Other members in 1940-41, included Mom’s good friend, Gertrude (Gert) Roberge, her younger sister, Theresa (Terri) Roberge. Their brother was Skippy Roberge, who played with the Boston Braves Baseball team for several seasons in the early 1940’s. Then there was Rita “Skip” (Aubin) Sawyer. Rita said she was not a member of the Garde for very long. She recalls joining in the fall of 1940, and our Mom was already a member she said. Once Rita began dating Vic Sawyer, he was not too thrilled with the weekends she was spending with the Garde instead of with him. Once they became engaged, which was I think, in the summer of 1941, Rita dropped out. She and Vic were married on Thanksgiving Day, 1941.

Another member was Rita Aurore (Langlois) Lamarche, later married to Mom’s older brother George Lamarche, and Cecile Gingras, who was a bridesmaid in Rita’s wedding, which took place on September 2, 1944. Additional members during that period were Claire Bureau, Claire Saucier, Rita Michaud, Lorraine Ducharme, who later married Gerry “Shorty” Rocheleau. Lorraine was our Dad, James Taylor’s 2nd cousin and Gerry Rocheleau played on the Aiken Stars softball team for several years with our uncle George Lamarche. Then there was Rita (Bergeron) Matte, later married to Charles Matte, Pauline Harvey (maiden name unknown) married to Bob Harvey, Laura Pintal, who later married Leon Matte, Mom’s neighbor diagonally behind her house.

The Garde Domremy traveled by bus to Montreal in the summer of 1940 or 1941, to visit the shrine Oratoire St. Joseph and other famous sites. Brother Andre aka St.Alfred Bessette, a distant cousin of our family, founded it. He recently became a Saint in the Catholic Church. The Garde stayed in a dormitory at the College St. Joseph, which was within sight of the famous Oratoire where many miracles are said to have occurred as at Lourdes and Fatima. While there, the Garde Domremy put on a display of drills and maneuvers to please their hosts and also the tourists who were lucky enough to be there at that time. It was indeed a memorable trip. After more than sixty years, Mom still recalled this trip fondly.

According to Aunt Rita (Langlois) Lamarche, the Garde Domremy had gone to a drill competition in Suncook, New Hampshire on Sunday, December 7th, 1941. When the team returned to Lowell by bus that evening, they learned that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. President Franklin Roosevelt declared war on Japan the next day, Dec. 8,1941.

In a story dated May 1, 1942, it was announced that on Sunday, May 3, the Lowell Twilight Baseball League would open its summer season at the South Common in Lowell. The Garde Domremy was to be on hand to kick off the league’s season and was to take part in the flag raising ceremonies. Then on Thursday, May 7, the Garde planned to hold a Mother’s Day party at the Rex banquet hall in downtown Lowell where the mothers of all the Garde members would be the special guests. Next, on Sunday May 10, the Garde was scheduled to attend its annual communion mass at Ste. Jeanne d’Arc church. I gather from reading many newspaper articles that being in the Garde took up a lot of one’s time. Possibly that is why there was a quite a bit of turnover among the girls.

22. Garde Federation FFA. (Franco Federation d'Amerique) New Bedford, Mass. I have no information about them.

23.Garde Foch, Manchester, New Hampshire. Another group listed in the Brault book, they were begun in 1920 just after the end of World War I.This Garde took its name from Marshal Foch, military commander of France in WWI. They did not survive too many years and nothing else is known about them.

24.Garde Franco-Americain, Haverhill, Mass. This Garde was founded prior to 1920, but I don’t have much information about it. Paul and Elaine Sinotte of North Wales, Pa. graciously provided me with two post card type photos of the Garde. Elaine Sinotte’s father, Wilfred Villeneuve and her uncle Armand Villeneuve were both members of this Garde. The two photos appear to have been taken in front of a school in Haverhill. In one photo there are twenty one members and in another twenty. In the first photo the men are wearing capes over their uniforms which were either dark blue or black. The trousers had a plain dark stripe down the leg. In the 2nd photo we see that there was a gold stripe down the pant leg, the jacket collar was gold, with gold ribbing down the front. The men carried swords at their waist and the left jacket sleeve had a golden Fleur de Lys embroidered on to it. Officers had a horizontal double gold stripe about six inches above the cuff on the left sleeve. They also had a gold braid on the right shoulder. Members holding lower rank had their stripes about half way up on the left sleeve just as in the military. All members wore military caps with an eagle pin in the top center and with a gold band around the circumference. Top officers, probably the captains had a wider band and the major had a gold band which was wider yet. He also wore medals over his left breast pocket. All Garde members wore dark shoes and white dress gloves.

25.Garde Frontenac, Lowell, Mass. According to the Lowell Sun, a story dated April 23, 1938, said that the Garde Frontenac had celebrated their 6th anniversary on April 23, 1913.Albert Bergeron was the founder, captain and drillmaster and St. Jean Baptiste Parish was their sponsor. According to the story, they wore blue uniforms with gold braid and carried swords. They wore dark shoes and white gloves. Twenty five years later in 1942, Mr. Bergeron was still the captain and drillmaster. He must have had great leadership skills.

The first story we have of them is a small one dated Monday, December 27, 1937, wherein the Lowell Sun tells us that the Garde Frontenac had a recent meeting at their headquarters, the C.M.A.C. hall, to elect the following officers for the coming year: John Desforges, reelected as president, David Letendre, vice president, Roland Beaudoin, secretary, Wilfred Fortier, treasurer; executive committee Henry Martin, Walter Mireault, Paul Marchand and Joseph Morin, guard. Induction ceremonies were to be held in January. A story appearing in the Lowell Sun on Monday, January 17th, confirmed that the induction had taken place. Captain Albert Bergeron, along with Ernest Surprenant and Romeo Touzin, served as masters of ceremony at the C.M.A.C. Hall.

April 6, 1938, was the date the Garde held a roller skating party at the Crescent rink in Lowell. On Monday April 18, 1938, the Garde Frontenac planned a whist party at the Pawtucketville Historical Society headquarters on Mammoth Road. Then on April 28, another roller skating party was to be held. We have a photo dated September 3, 1938, of the Garde Frontenac on the steps of the C.M.A.C. which shows 29 men dressed in dark double-breasted jackets with teal colored slacks. They wore hats similar to most military caps with a gold braid across the visor and a gold pin above the braid. The men wore white gloves, dark ties and dark shoes. Some men had numerous medals and military ribbons which were worn over the left pocket. A teal blue braid was hung on the left shoulder about half way down the arm. There was a gold button on each shoulder and elsewhere on the jacket.

Their practices were on Sundays every week at the CMAC building located on Pawtucket Street facing Merrimack Street across from St. Joseph Hospital, now the Health South Pavilion. This building was dedicated on September 6, 1900. CMAC was the acronym for Corporation des Membres de l’Association Catholique.

Sunday, August 7, 1938, the Garde traveled to Suncook, N.H. to compete in a competitive drill sponsored by the Garde Sacre Coeur of Suncook. Two days later on the 9th of August, the Garde was present at a drill exhibition in Pelham, N. H. The story went on to say that the Garde attracted a good deal of attention wherever they went. A story appeared about the Garde Frontenac in the Wednesday, August 31, 1938, edition of the Lowell Sun. The story stated that the Garde was a “semi-military organization” with many trophies in its possession, garnered from appearances in all parts of New England. That weekend the Garde was to set out for Plattsburgh, New York, to participate in a convention of Gardes from New England, New York and Quebec. Buses were to leave Lowell Saturday morning. They would attend a military mass at St. Peter’s Church in Plattsburgh on Sunday morning to be followed by a drill competition in the afternoon, then in the evening, a celebratory banquet was planned, after which was the election of officers. On Monday, Labor Day, a large parade was to be held by all the Gardes in attendance.

On Tuesday, September 6, 1938, the Lowell Sun announced the good news that the Garde Frontenac, who were the reigning New England Champions, had taken 1st place in the Labor Day Parade competition and came in 2nd by 1/10 of a point to Garde Sacre Coeur in the drill competition. Albert Bergeron was the team captain and all members received medals for their 1st and 2nd place finishes.

Another story appeared in the Lowell Sun on Saturday, October 1, 1938. The story stated that the Garde competition, which was to be held in Nashua, the previous Sunday, September 25, was postponed to Sunday, October 2. This was because of the hurricane, which hit the Lowell-Nashua area on September 21. In those days, hurricanes were not named, but it caused severe damage and flooding in many parts of New England. Members of the Garde were instructed to meet at C.M.A.C. hall at 9 a.m. in full uniform for departure to Nashua. The Garde was to attend a military mass at St. Louis de Gonzague Church in Nashua at 10:30 a.m, Sunday morning, after which a parade would be held through downtown Nashua and then a drill competition. The article went on to mention that the first of a series of winter socials was to be held at the Crescent Rink, presumably in Lowell, on October 26, in the form of a Halloween costume party.

Monday, October 3, 1938, brought news that the Garde Frontenac had won three first prizes in the regional Garde competition at Nashua. These were first prize for having the greatest number of judge’s points among the 16 teams, the greatest number of points in the men’s division, and another first prize for the best appearance in the parade.

Some of the members at that time were Raymond “Lemon” Lussier, Arthur Trouville, Raymond Trouville, Francis Trouville, Fred Hervieux, George Painchaud, Lucien Matte, Gerard Camire, Existe “Ike” Duhamel, Louis Charles Duhamel, Bert Tetrault and Alphe Cassista. Lucien Matte said there were no dues, but each member was responsible to buy his own uniform and pay his own expenses wherever the Garde went. Lucien said that during the summers, the Garde had drill competitions in Lowell. They also traveled to Nashua and Manchester, New Hampshire where they won several trophies. The Captain /Drillmaster kept the trophies at his home. Lucien said that the Garde Frontenac usually comprised 32 men, but had as many as 40 at times. None played musical instruments; they all took part in the elaborate drills typical of the period.

Lucien, now deceased, also indicated to me that their uniform was an exact replica of the army uniform at West Point, except that the Garde Frontenac had navy and teal blue uniforms instead of army gray and the Garde wore white gloves. Several photos generously provided to me by Ruby Duhamel show the men on parade on Moody St. in Little Canada and others posing after a parade. Ruby describes the uniforms as dark royal blue jackets with gray trousers. A dark blue stripe ran down the trouser leg. It's very likely that the uniform changed a bit over a period of years. Lucien was a brother of Charles Matte and a first cousin of Raymond Matte and Leon Matte. Leon and his 2nd wife live in a house on 7th Avenue diagonally behind our parents house. Raymond Matte’s family lived on Old Meadow Road for more than forty years. We chummed with their children when we were young in the 1960’s and 1970’s. He is now deceased.

Lucien played on the Aiken Stars softball teams with our Uncle George Lamarche in the mid to late 1930s.Charles Matte also played for the Aiken Stars and later married our Mom’s friend, Rita Bergeron. Ray “Lemon” Lussier played on the Aiken Stars softball team with our Uncle George Lamarche during the 1934-1935 season. Ray dated for a while, Rita Bergeron, who was a good friend of my mother and who later married Charles Matte. Lucien Matte’s involvement with the Garde Frontenac ended when he enlisted for six years in the U.S. Navy in November 1940.

About 1940, Roger Connor, who was a friend of my Mom’s, was a member. We have some photos of Roger believed to be marching in a parade in Boston in 1940 or 1941. Mom thought it was perhaps the Memorial Day Parade.

Another member of the Garde Frontenac in the late 1930’s was Conrad Sevigny, a 1st cousin of our Aunt Rachel Nault Lamarche. His sister Pearl Sevigny was married to our Uncle Leo Lamarche. His brother Roger Sevigny was a long time friend of our parents. Conrad said that Arthur Trouville was assigned the front and number 1 position in their drills. When Arthur was drafted into the Army, Conrad took his place. Later in the fall of 1942, he too was drafted. He indicated that at the time he left the Garde, they were down to about twenty members, while sixteen was the minimum required for any drill team. Conrad says that the Garde disbanded while he was in the Service.

The Gardes played a big part in the life Ruby Duhamel Cook.Her father and two of her uncles, plus two cousins were members.She tells me that her father Louis Charles Duhamel was born in Shawinigan, Quebec,and brought up in New Bedford, Mass. and was an altar boy at St. Joseph Church there. Mr. Duhamel later moved to Lowell, Mass.where he belonged to two different Gardes.He joined the Garde St. Louis along with his older brother, Existe "Ike" Duhamel about 1935-1936 or so. The two Duhamel brothers switched to the Garde Frontenac in 1937. Louis Charles was known by his family as Charlie. He met and married his wife Claire Ann St. Hilaire in Lowell where they married on April 26, 1941 at St. Jean Baptiste Church. The Garde Frontenac gave them an Honor Guard at the church which was the custom for members who married or passed away. Mr. Duhamel later became a Lowell police officer who patrolled the Little Canada beat. His fellow officers called him Louie. Another of Ruby’s uncles, Gerard Camire also joined the Garde Frontenac in 1937.

On Sunday, October 10, 1942, the Garde took part in the annual C.M.A.C. pilgrimage to honor the dead. Because of a shortage of gasoline, the route was changed and all participants walked from the hall along Pawtucket Street to the Our Lady of Lourdes grotto on the grounds of the Franco American School. There, all took part in the saying of the rosary, the singing of a Libera and a sermon by a well known Lowell priest. The story told how the ranks of the Garde were badly depleted, but all current members were expected to be there in full uniform. The story also alluded to the fact that the Garde d’Honneur was by then defunct.

On Sunday, October 28, 1945, the C.M.A.C. held their annual pilgrimage to honor their dead and those of the French Canadian community of Greater Lowell. Busses took the hundreds of attendees to St. Joseph Cemetery where the annual program took place. The Lowell Sun stated it was the first appearance by the Garde Frontenac since 1942. The Garde Sacre Coeur was also in attendance, but not any other Garde.

Sunday, October 2, was the date in 1949, that this pilgrimage to honor the dead was held at St. Joseph Cemetery. It was reported that thousands attended this year, making it one of the best attended ever. Beautiful weather brought out crowds who either drove there in their own cars or who boarded special busses for the event. The usual procession formed at the gates and proceeded to the Calvary where the annual rites were held. Captain Albert Bergeron at the head of the Garde Frontenac took part. It was mentioned that he was a former president of the C.M.A.C.,the Corporation des Membres de l'Association Catholique founded in 1878.

Sunday, November 2, 1952, was a big date in the history of Little Canada. On this date the Marist Brothers, who staffed St. Joseph School since the turn of the century, were feted at a luncheon attended by hundreds. Former pupils, their wives, the clergy, and many Brothers, formerly and currently teaching at St. Joseph were in attendance. Garde Frontenac was among the invited, still under the leadership of Albert Bergeron, who was a past president of the St. Joseph Alumni Association and chairman of the anniversary’s parade committee. The day’s events included a parade from the Brothers residence down Merrimack St. to St. Jean Baptiste Church for a 9:30 a.m. mass. Following the mass, the Garde Frontenac among many others marched through the streets of Little Canada, then back to St. Joseph School hall for a catered luncheon.

The Garde was still going strong in the early 1950s, when a story appeared in the news that their annual banquet was being held on Saturday night, March 15, 1952.

26. Garde Fusillers Laurier,aka The Laurier Rifles, Biddeford, Maine. This society was founded in Biddeford in 1904. We have a photo of a parade in Biddeford celebrating Biddeford's 300th anniversary. Their captain was James J. Momma. The parade was held on September 16, 1916. The article also stated that the Garde was connected to the St. Jean's Dramatic Club.All the info we have about them comes to us from a photo and story found in the McArthur Library in Biddeford.Serving as captain in 1916 was Joseph Montminy of Biddeford, Maine.

27.Garde Independante, Franco Americaine, Lowell, Mass. Another story in the Lowell Sun dated Thursday January 6, 1938, reports that this Garde, all female, had elected civil officers for the year 1938, and the induction was to be held at the Centralville Social Club on Sunday, January 30.An elimination drill was to be held on Monday, January 24, wherein two lieutenants and a sergeant would be chosen to lead the Garde in drills etc. throughout the year. The elected officers were: Marguerite Drapeau, president, Roberta Gregoire, vice president, Lorraine Mineault, secretary-treasurer. Trustees included Therese Frechette, Lucille Roy, and Juliette Daigle. Guards were Alice Gregoire and Lillian Breton. Lorraine Mineault later left the Garde Independente and became a member of the Garde Domremy. She was one of two captains when my mother was a member in 1940-41.

On Wednesday September 7, 1938 the Garde’s activities resumed after an apparent layoff during the summer. The story stated that a bugle section would be added to the drum section already in place. This Garde practiced at C.M.A.C. hall on Pawtucket St. as did the Garde Frontenac. They were called Independent apparently because they were not sponsored by any one specific parish, as were most of their cohorts.

28.Garde Independente, Company A & B, Worcester, Mass. In 1900, at the age of nineteen, Harry T.Renauld and some fellow friends founded a new Garde known as Garde Independante, Company A. The key to its success was that apparently it was not affiliated with any particular parish but drew on members from all over the city of Worcester, its suburbs and even places such as Putnam Ct. A few years later, the Garde was so successful that Harry organized Company B for the ladies. Mary Renauld, Harry’s sister, commanded that unit for many years as well. Their sisters Irene and Sophie were members of the ladies company. We have a photo taken about 1939 of the women members of the Garde Independente Co. A.,posing in front of a monument in downtown Worcester.There were sixteen women and their two male commanders, Col. Harry Renauld and Major Frank Tatro.The gals are wearing white slacks, with a navy stripe down the leg and a navy colored jacket secured at the waist by a 3" belt.The jacket buttoned down the front and the pockets appeared to have been trimmed in gold.They also wore white blouses with a dark necktie.They wore white shoes.However one member wore a white skirt instead of the white slacks. The cute part of their uniform was their helmets which mimicked those worn by the military in WWI. They appeared to be metal, silver in color with a chin strap.

The sergeant, Constance Vincent, was distinguished by a strap from the shoulder to the waist. Colonel Renauld wore numerous medals, shoulder braids and lapel pins.He too had a shoulder strap and wore a traditional army cap encircled with a 3" gold braid. Major Tatro's uniform was the same except for fewer medals and no braid on the shoulder. The photo and accompanying story states that the Garde planned to participate in a prize drill, that is a drill competition to be held on May 20, of that year at the High School of Commerce gym in Worcester. A parade was to be held to kick off the event.It should be mentioned that all the Gardes had more than one uniform, usually a summer one and a winter one. Also the uniform varied depending on the type of event and the members were expected to purchase their own uniforms. The ladies of Garde Independente had a indoor uniform for dress occasions. It was white, trimmed in gold braid, with a cape as well.They wore white gloves. Members had a white hat with a chin strap and topped with a large pompom.

Another news clipping probably from 1938-1939 reports that Garde Independente, Co. A., and its auxiliary Garde d'Honneur were to take part in a military mass sponsored by the Canadian Legion at St. John's Church. The headquarters was then at 34 Front Street.Members were to form ranks there, then would march to the church for a 10 o'clock Sunday mass. On Tuesday following the Garde was to take part in exercises sponsored by the Worcester chapter of the war veterans, D.W.V.

A news story from 1940, indicates that the Garde held their annual meeting at their club at 150 Washington St.The annual meeting was no doubt in January.The story goes on to say that Harry T. Renauld was elected president and secretary for the 40th consecutive year. This indeed must have been a record for any Garde anywhere in New England.The other officers were as follows:Dale F. Means, vice president & recording secretary, Robert E. Bartley, treasurer,Joseph A. Beeso, financial secretary. The following were elected to the board of directors:Edmund L. Cross,Stanley O. Ricard, Alfred C. Vincent,Wesley A. Adams and Arthur L. Brewer.As mentioned elsewhere officers of the club were elected.Their duties were administrative and financial.Officers of the drill team were selected based on ability and experience.Those officers for 1940-41 were Theodore N. Renauld, major,Frank E. Tatro, major,Dale F. Means,captain,Co. A.,Theodore N. Moreau, captain Co. B.,Michael J. Gardagnola, 1st Lieut.,Raymond A. Tetreault, 2nd Lieut.,Edmund L. Cross, 1st Sgt.,and Leo P. Carpenter, adjutant.

An article in a Worcester newspaper of 1941 indicates that the annual meeting took place at Polish Alliance Hall in Worcester. Harry Renaud was elected president of Company A. for the 41st consecutive year.He was also elected as the company treasurer as well. The elected military officers were very similar to the elections held in 1940.This time Raymond A. Tetreault replaced Dale F.Means as vice president and recording secretary and was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. Michael Sardagnola was promoted to captain.Reginald E.J. Brewer was chosen as a 2nd Lieut.

Harry commanded Company A until it was disbanded after the start of WWII. An article in Je Me Souviens, says they won numerous championships and were regarded as the top drill team in the country in their day.

29. Garde Jacques Cartier, Lowell, Mass. This group was formed back in the 1913 era and was listed as taking part in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade held in Lowell on March 28th, 1913. It was a huge parade featuring over 6,000 marchers.In 1916, the captain was J.L Pigeon of Lowll, Mass.

30. Garde Lafayette, Augusta,Maine This Garde was mentioned in a newspaper, the Daily Kennebec Journal, article dated June 6, 1872.They were among those serving to welcome the French Band from France who had arrived via New York aboard the steamship St. Lawrence.The French Band was making a tour of American cites including Boston and Chicago.We have no other information as to dates it was active, members or leadership etc.

31.Garde Lafayette, Manchester, New Hampshire. This was a team listed in Gerald J. Brault’s book “The Franco-Americans of New England”, published in 1985. They were founded in 1887 and are considered to be the first organized infantry of the national guard in the state of New Hampshire. They were called up by President Woodrow Wilson to assist with the rebellion along the Mexican border.

32.Garde Lafayette, Worcester, Mass. I hsave no information about them.

33. Garde Lasalle I have no information about them.

34.Garde Levis I have no information about them.

34A.Lewiston Garde, Lewiston, Maine We have come into possession of a photo featuring a band known as "Fanfare Montcalm," numbering twenty two members. The photo caption reads "Brass Marching Band of Lewiston, Maine." The photo was taken July 18, 1885 by a J.C. Higgens of Bath, Maine. The members were all dressed in full military uniform. A stack of rifles was in the background. The uniform looked either dark grey or dark blue. The trousers were lighter in color.The jackets had buttons up the middle and looked very similar to the uniform worn at West Point.We surmise that Lewiston may have had a militia at that time along with a marching band. The members ranged in age from pre-teenagers to men in their fifties. Most likely the band disbanded at the start of WWI.

35. Garde Malone,New York This Garde was noted as being one of those who were planning to join with others in northern New York to form a regiment. The date was December 12, 1916.It is not known if the Garde was male or female. However a newspaper story in June 1929 indicated that the Garde in Malone was then female. It is unknown when this Garde was founded or disbanded.

36.Garde Mariele, Lowell Mass. The parish of St. Louis de France formed a Garde drill team for the members of the parish grade school. It was mentioned as participating in the Memorial Day Parade of 1953. I don’t know when it was formed or when it disbanded, but it was probably started to compete with the grade school teams at Ste. Jeanne d’Arc.

37.Garde Marquette, Nashua, N.H. I have no information about them.

38.Garde McElvain, aka McElvain Cadets, Nashua, New Hampshire This Garde was composed entirely of female employees of the McElvain Shoe Factory in Nashua. On Thursday, February 26, 1938, the Lowell Sun ran a story about the upcoming New England Regional Championships in drill competition. Garde McElvain was set to compete at the Cercle St. Louis in Lowell two nights later. This team walked away with the 1st prize trophy in the women’s division. On October 2, 1938, they sponsored a competition in Nashua for nine women’s teams and seven men’s teams from throughout New England.

39.Garde Milette, Nashua, New Hampshire They were a female drill team. I have no other information about them.

40.Garde Militaire (2nd charentime?) Salem, Mass. I have no information about them.

41.Garde Montcalm, Manchester, New Hampshire or Lewiston, Maine. This unit was mentioned in the Brault book. They were active in the latter part of the 19th century but nothing else is known about them.

42. Garde Montréal, Quebec, Canada Bernard Charbonneau was colonel of the group. I do not know the exact name of the group or any other information about them.

43.Garde Napoleon, Fall River, Mass. This Garde was established in the last part of the 19th century. I have no other informationabout them.

44. Garde Nationale F.F.A.(Franco Federation America?) New Bedford,Mass. Captain of Company 1 in 1916 was Cyrile Beland.I have no other information about them.

45. Garde Nationale Independante, New Bedford, Mass. I have no other information about them.

46. Garde Nationale, Haverhill, Mass. I have no information about them.

47.Garde Nationale Co.G. Salem, Mass. I have no other information about them.

48. Garde Nationale,Co. A, Worcester, Mass. I have no other information about them.

49.Garde Notre Dame, Lowell, Mass. They were an all women’s team sponsored by Notre Dame de Lourdes Parish. The parish also sponsored an all men’s team, the Garde Sacre Coeur(Sacred Heart). Their drills and social events were held at the parish hall on East Pine Street. According to the Lowell Sun, dated Wednesday, December 22, 1937, members of the Garde Notre Dame celebrated the previous night, their first annual Christmas party. One could safely conclude that the Garde Notre Dame was founded sometime earlier that year. The party was given for the benefit of the parish Our Lady of Lourdes Ladies Sodality and was attend by over 300 women. The party featured musical entertainment, a luncheon, distribution of gifts by Santa Claus, an exhibition drill by the Garde Notre Dame and the singing of Christmas Carols. Attending the party were Fr. Eugene Labrie, O.M.I., spiritual adviser, for the Sodality and the Garde, Fr. Antoine Barette, pastor of the parish, Henry St. Amand, drill master, and Omer Pinard, assistant drill master. Mr. St. Amand and Mr. Pinard were both active in the Garde Sacre Coeur.

Members who organized and/or attended the party included: Georgiana Morin, Irene Bell, Lillian Bell, Ida Fournier, Rose Fournier, Therese Boivert, Imelda Gaudette, Capt. Jeanne Tetreault, Ruth Rivard, Stella Paradis, Janet Paradis, Edna Paradis, Lorraine Lamoureux, Cecile Lapan, Lillian Levasseur, Rose Parc, Blanche Pinard, Valerie Pigeon, Rita Desforges, and Irene Desforges.

On January 3, 1938, the Garde Notre Dame and the Garde Sacre Coeur, both of Notre Dame des Lourdes Parish, announced induction ceremonies to be held on Sunday, January 9. The mayor, Dewey Archambault, a French Canadian, and his wife, were to be special guests. Officers from other Lowell Gardes were also to be invited. Albert Bergeron, captain of the Garde Frontenac, was to be the inducting officer, assisted by Captain Raymond Hervieux of the Garde d’Honneur.

On Monday January 10, a large black & white photo and news story appeared in The Lowell Sun of the Garde Notre Dame’s officers standing with their parish spiritual adviser, Rev. Eugene Labrie O.M.I. The four were dressed in dark jackets, which appear to be buttoned up the front, and which were V shaped at the waist, white or off white skirts, which hung to about two inches above the ankles, white shoes, and dark hosiery. Their jackets featured gold buttons along the shoulders and a few inches down the bodice. They wore white gloves and hats cocked to one side. The hats were dark on top like the jackets with a wide band the color of the skirts all around the bottom. The following women were installed as officers: Lorraine Lamoureux, president, Celia Lapan, vice president, Rita Desforges, secretary, and Edna Paradis, treasurer.

These four women apparently handled the day to day affairs of the Garde, but were not necessarily the highest ranking women, as far as drill competition was concerned. Promotions that day included Miss Lamoureux to 1st lieutenant, Angele Paradis to 2nd lieutenant, Stella Paradis to 1st sergeant, Constance Lamoureux, Rita Desforges, Georgine Poitras and Lorette Lessard, all to Corporal. Other members at that time were Louella Roux, and Jessie Fortin.

On January 14, 1938, the Lowell Sun featured a photo and a lengthy story proudly announcing the formation of the Federation of French American Catholic Societies of Lowell. The Gardes typically cooperated with this endeavor and each sent a representative. Garde Notre Dame sent Lorraine Lamoureux, who ended up elected assistant secretary to the Federation.

The Tuesday, January 18, 1938, issue of the Lowell Sun carried the story that the Garde was planning a whist party for Monday night January 24, at the parish hall on East Pine St. This was to raise money for the Garde’s uniform fund. The grand prize was $50.00! Whist & bridge parties were very popular in that day especially for raising money. The officers planned this event with assistance from Aurore Desmarais and several others.

On Monday night, August 1, 1938, Garde Notre Dame appeared at the South Common in Lowell to take part in the Firemen’s parade starting at 7 p.m. They were joined by the Garde Domremy and others. Then on Sunday, August 14, the Garde held their annual outing on the grounds of Notre Dame Academy in Tyngsboro in conjunction with Our Lady of Lourdes ladies sodality.

An article in the Tuesday, September 6, 1938, edition of the Lowell Sun indicated that Lorraine and Constance Lamoureux had represented the Garde Notre Dame at the annual convention of Gardes in Plattsburgh, New York. They traveled there with their mother since apparently the Garde did not have enough money to transport the entire team.

On Thursday, September 15, 1938, a story in the Lowell Sun tells us that Captain Jeanne Tetreault and the Garde Notre Dame were to participate in a competition in Nashua, New Hampshire, on Sunday September 25, and would be wearing their new uniforms for the first time. They were to practice their drills the following evening at their parish hall on East Pine Street. On Thursday, September 22, 1938, the team was to hold another practice drill at Washington Park. Since a hurricane hit the Lowell area on the 21st,and created a great deal of damage, it is doubtful that the practice went on as scheduled!

Yet another story in the Lowell Sun, this one dated Tuesday, September 27, stated that the Garde, along with several other parish organizations, would serve as aides at the parish bazaar to be held at Highland Hall from October 26 to October 30. Most parishes held bazaars in that day to raise money for the needs of the parish. The Garde was to oversee the “shooting gallery.” In addition, there was to be a candy booth, bingo games, “horse racing”, and a refreshment booth. A church supper was to be served every night to bring in yet more attendees. The Garde was to fill a “hope chest” for a prospective bride, which presumably was to be raffled off. This then is an example of how units such as the Garde Notre Dame served the needs of the parish and gave the young adults in that day a sense of responsibility.

The Monday, October, 3, 1938, issue of the Lowell Sun featured a story about the Garde Notre Dame which had taken third place among sixteen teams at a regional competition held a week previous in Nashua. They received their trophy from Governor Murphy of New Hampshire. The story indicated that this drill team was relatively new to competition, so that corroborates another news story that the Garde was begun sometime the prior year.

The next day, October 4, a photo of the Garde Notre Dame sporting their new uniforms, appeared in the Lowell Sun. In a black and white photo, the skirts and matching jackets looked dark blue and had five rows of gold braids across the bodice of the jacket. The high hats had a dark feathery plume on top with a large gold emblem across the high visor. The ladies wore dark shoes and white gloves. The captain, Jeanne Tetreault, wore a white uniform with gold buttons and gold belt with matching white hat with dark plume, white shoes and white gloves. Their 1st Lt. was Lorraine Lamoureux, who was also president of the organization.

Monday, November 21, 1938, the Lowell Sun listed a story wherein Captain Jeanne Tetreault requested all Garde members to appear in full uniform at 7 p.m. that evening at the Archambault Funeral Home. The purpose was the reciting of the rosary at the bier of Lt. Arthur Lavalle, a long time member of the Garde Sacre Coeur. The Garde Notre Dame sent nine of its member to the funeral mass the next day. These included: Jessie Fortin, Ruth Rivard, Gertrude Paradis, Marcelle Renaud, Claire Maille, Rita Leblanc, Rose Parc, Blanche Pinard, and Louella Roux.

The Garde Notre Dame was very involved in serving the needs of the parish. Another example of this was a parish “lawn fete” held on Friday and Saturday, August 1 & 2 1942. Edna Paradis and Rita Leblanc were the Garde’s representatives on the parish council for this event, which was to raise money for the needs of the parish. Apparently, Captain Jeanne Tetreault had left the Garde to get married and Rita Leblanc was elected captain. In December 1942, she called a meeting of the Garde to discuss plans for the annual Christmas party. She also stated that drill meetings were being switched to Monday nights at 7:30 p.m. instead of on Sundays.

50.Garde Notre Dame, Cambridge, Mass. They competed in drill competition for the New England Regional Championship held on Saturday night, February 26, 1938.Teams competed at Cercle St. Louis aka St. Louis Circle Hall in Lowell.I have no other information about them.

51.Garde Rochambeau, Lowell, Mass. In early January 1938, this Garde also conducted an election of officers for the coming year. President Anthony Leblanc was re-elected president, Dan Marchand, vice president, Leo Marchand, corresponding secretary, Ralph/Raoul Plouffe, 2nd guard, and Raymond Gagne, publicity. According to the news article in the Lowell Sun, on Thursday, January 13th, the election took place at the home of Major Andre Laverriere, 61 Lilley Avenue in Lowell’s Centralville section. Another meeting was scheduled for January 18th. A follow-up article run on Wednesday, January 19, 1938, stated that Leo Levasseur was elected president to replace Antoine Leblanc.

52.Garde Rochambeau, Southbridge, Mass. They competed in the New England Regional championship on Saturday night February 26, 1938. The drill competition was held at Cercle St. Louis, aka St. Louis Circle Hall.I have no other information about them.

53. Garde Rochambeau, Nashua, N.H. We should keep in mind that those who were the elected officials of the organization were not necessarily the highest ranking officers in Garde parades and drills. The elected officers were responsible for the day to day administrative operations of the Garde. The semi military ranks which members held were based on seniority and drill performance. I believe this system was in effect in all the Gardes. For example Gerard Berube was a captain in the Garde formations, but only the recording secretary of the organization.

On Tuesday, March 1, 1949, a church procession consisting of clergy, altar boys parishioners, and a delegation from St. Anne’s Sodality and the Children of Mary Sodality, proceeded on the street from the Holy Infant Jesus Rectory to the nearby parish church. The Garde Rochambeau stood as a “Military Guard of Honor” for the parish ceremonies. About a month later on April 8, 1949, The St. Stanislaus Knights of Columbus paraded to St. Stanislaus church for their annual mass and afterwards to the parish auditorium for the communion breakfast. The Garde Rochambeau and the Garde St. Louis took part in this annual parish function.

During the 1930s and 1940’s, the card game whist, was very popular and easier to learn than bridge. Whist parties were a highly successful means of raising funds. On the 26th of April, 1949, the Garde held a whist party at the parish hall to raise funds for the coming 40th anniversary celebration in June of the Garde’s founding. Reportedly 64 tables were in play that evening.

On Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, 1949, special services were conducted by St. Louis de Gonzague Parish to celebrate the opening of the parish’s new cemetery. Many members of the parish, as well as numerous veteran and civic organizations were present. The Garde Rochambeau led by Captain Gerard Berube also took part. An invocation was given by former army chaplain Rev. Robert Paradis and an address was given by Rev. Richard Carrignan. The pastor, Rev. Paul Desaulniers, blessed the flag, and then followed the raising of the flag. Volleys were fired by the Garde Rochambeau and Taps was sounded. Members of the firing squad were Paul Lebrun, Donald Lambert, Paul Fortier, Raoul LeBrun and Emilien Riendeau. The gathered assembly then proceeded to the parish’s old cemetery, where similar ceremonies were conducted.

Sunday, June 5, 1949, the Garde celebrated 40 years of service to their community. The day began in the morning with a special mass at St. Francis Xavier Church. In the afternoon, members and guests celebrated at Dave’s Grove in Merrimack, New Hampshire.

Sunday April 10, 1950, marked the date of the annual Nashua Knights of Columbus Communion Breakfast held in the auditorium of St. Stanislaus Parish. The Knights grouped at their hall on Main Street and marched in formation to the church. After mass the line of march continued to the auditorium on Spring St. Participating in the parade was the Garde Rochambeau, the Garde St. Louis drill team, the parish Boy Scouts etc.

The Garde took part in the Memorial Day parade of 1950 with Paul Levesque as the commanding officer. One long time member was Raoul Bonnette, who was a major and who joined the Garde in 1926. The members of the Garde planned a birthday celebration for his wife Alma Bonnette, on Saturday August 21, 1950. She observed her 53rd birthday. Most of the Garde members and their wives attended. The party took place at her home, 16 Chautauqua Ave. On Tuesday January 23, 1951, the Nashua Telegraph ran a story about Raoul A. Bonnette. He was a good example of someone who joined the Garde as a young man and stayed on well into his middle years. Major Bonnette, who had been the company treasurer for 25 years, was installed as president of the Garde Rochambeau which was referred to as an “independent military organization”.

Other officers installed were Edmond Vaillancourt, vice president, Paul M. Chasse, recording secretary, Paul Dion, finance secretary, and Roger Neveu, treasurer. Auditors were Emile Rodier, Oscar Lamothe, and Roland Soucy. Maurice Belanger was installed as guardian. Promotions were also announced at this installation as follows: Gerard Berube to staff captain, 1st Lt. Paul Chasse to captain, and Lt. Paul Dion to 1st Lt. and Cpl. Paul Lebrun to 2nd Lt. The program featured several speakers, a gift presentation to Major Bonnette for his years of service, followed by a buffet luncheon. The ceremonies were held at St. Francis Xavier Parish Hall attended by more than 150 members and guests.

Even though the Garde Rochambeau did not win as many trophies as the Garde Frontenac or the Garde Sacre Coeur of Lowell, it survived depletion during the War and was going strong until the early 1950’s at least. The Garde was much in demand for parades, civic functions and many parish activities. Since there was only one Garde in Nashua and the surrounding area, they were able to prosper longer than many of their contemporaries. I do not know when this Garde became defunct. In 1966, the Nashua Gazette mentioned there was a Garde Rochambeau Hall in Nashua, which was used for wedding receptions etc.

54. Garde Sacre Coeur, aka Sacred Heart, Lowell, Mass. The Lowell Sun reported that 25 years previous, the Garde Sacre Coeur marched in the St. Patrick’s Day parade held on Saturday, March 17, 1917. The team, which carried swords, was lead back then by Captain Alfred Renaud. This Garde was an all men’s team sponsored by Notre Dame de Lourdes parish in the Highlands area of Lowell. On Thursday night, January 6, 1938, the Garde Sacre Coeur gave a drill exhibition at the induction of officers of Post # 4, La Legion Franco Americaine, & its ladies auxiliary, held at Memorial Hall in Lowell. A crowd of more than 400 attended the ceremonies.

Then on Sunday afternoon, January 9, 1938, before a capacity crowd at the parish hall, the Garde Sacre Coeur along with its sister, the Garde Notre Dame held their annual induction ceremonies. Mayor Dewey Archambault gave highly laudatory remarks. A black & white photo in the Lowell Sun shows sixteen men posing with Pastor, Rev. Antoine Barette, O.M.I. spiritual advisor. Pastor Barrette’s remarks included the fact that the Garde was functioning during World War I and that sixteen of the then 32 members had enlisted in the war. Two were killed and six wounded. The men wore dark jackets, either black or navy blue, and slacks which were either off white or a very light tan. They had white shirts, dark ties, and a gold braid hung from the shoulder. They had military style caps with a broad gold band across the front. Some of the men had ribbons and medals above the breast pocket, thus the description semi military units.

Mr. Wilfred Arpin retired as president.The new officers were Armand Boisvert, president, Captain Alphonse Brule, vice president, Corp. Francis Brule, financial secretary, Joseph Belanger, secretary and treasurer. Auditors were Ovila Labelle and Jean Desmarais; directors were Omer Pinard, Joseph Lavallee, Arthur Tellier, and Gerald Drolet; guards were Alfred Boisvert, Leo St. Cyr, and George d’Avignon. Other members were Leopold Marchand, Lt. Joseph Brule, Victor Roux, Eugene Camire, Leo Dery, Normand Dandenault, Gerard Tessier, Louis Morin, Henry Gregoire, Corp. Ernest Forest, and Joseph Turcotte. Omer Pinard received a stripe for ten years of service and was also promoted to sergeant quartermaster, Henri Gregoire was promoted to color sergeant, Henri St. Amand to sergeant, Theophile Desmarais and Emile Bergeron to corporal, and Joseph Drolet to lance corporal. The colorful ceremonies were followed with entertainment by the Blue Moon Serenaders, as well as performers on the violin and guitar.

On Sunday, March 20, 1938, Garde member Leopold Marchand died suddenly at his home. His funeral service was held on March 22, at St. Jean Baptiste Church on Merrimack St., which was the closest church to the funeral home. Members of several Gardes marched from the funeral home to the church and members of his unit acted as pall bearers. He was said to have received semi military rites at his funeral.

During the week of Monday, June 13, 1938, the Garde sponsored the annual parish carnival, the proceeds of which were to go to the treasury of the Garde, said to have been hard hit in the past year. Sunday June 26, 1938, the Garde was to attend mass in fill uniform for triduum services in honor of the Sacre Heart. Following the 7 a.m. mass, breakfast was to be served in the parish hall with pastor Father Barette as the main speaker.

The Garde Sacre Coeur along with the Garde Frontenac attended the annual convention of the semi military Gardes of New York, New England and Quebec in Plattsburgh, New York, on Labor Day weekend 1938. According to the Lowell Sun, the Garde Sacre Coeur left Lowell by bus on Friday night, September 2, 1938. They had traveled to Quebec for a drill competition just the week before and had won several trophies there. The schedule called for them to attend a military mass at St. Peter’s Church in Plattsburgh on Sunday morning, followed by a drill competition in the afternoon, then a banquet on Saturday night. On Monday, Labor Day, a large parade was to be held in downtown Plattsburgh.

On Tuesday September 6, 1938, the Lowell Sun announced that the Garde Sacre Coeur had taken first prize in the drill competition, for which each of the members received a first prize medal. They bested Garde Frontenac by 1/10 of a point in the drills and were led by Captain Alphonse Brule. The Garde Sacre Coeur also took 2nd in the Labor Day Parade, for which they also received a medal. Lt. Joseph Belanger of Garde Sacre Coeur was selected as adjutant general for the parade, a great honor.

Then on Monday October 6, 1938, a good size story appeared in the Lowell Sun noting that the Garde Sacre Coeur had taken 2nd place among 16 teams at a drill competition in Nashua, N.H. Garde Frontenac had swept three first place trophies. New Hampshire Governor Murphy presented the awards.

On Tuesday, November 22, 1938, the funeral of 1st Lt. Arthur Lavallee was held at St. Jean Baptiste Church. Members of the Garde who acted as bearers were Sgt. Wilfred Arpin, Sgt. Omer Pinard, Corp. Ernest Forrest, Corp. Emile Bergeron, Corp. Francis Brule, and Corp. Alfred Boisvert. Mr. Lavalle must have been an older, long time member of the Garde.

Friday, August 28, 1942, Notre Dame de Lourdes parish sponsored a two day lawn fete in the school yard of the Franklin school. This was to raise money for the needs of the parish. It was something all parishes faced in those days; raising money to supplement what they received from the diocese. All parish organizations pledged their support and Garde Sacre Heart was no exception. Their two representatives on the parish council for this event were Captain Alphonse Brule and Wilfred Arpin.

On May 18-19th, 1945, the Garde sponsored the parish carnival at Washington Park in Lowell. Funds raised were used to defray expenses of the Garde and other parish expenses. Then on June 3, 1945, the Garde Sacre Coeur took part in the annual mass and communion breakfast of the C.M.A.C. which had one of the largest memberships of any Franco American group in the Lowell area. Several hundred men attended the affair, which involved a line of march down Merrimack St. to St. Jean Baptiste Church for the special mass. Afterwards, all got into formation and returned to the hall for an enjoyable breakfast. Garde Sacre Coeur was the only Garde who participated. Women were not invited and all the other male Gardes were either defunct or so depleted they were not active.

On Sunday October 28, 1945, the C.M.A.C. annual pilgrimage to St. Joseph Cemetery was held. This time busses were hired to transport the hundreds of people in attendance. Garde Sacre Coeur took part, as was their annual custom. They and the Garde Frontenac were the only Gardes present that year.

55. Garde Sacre Coeur, Suncook, N.H. They hosted a competitive drill on Sunday, August 7, 1938.The Garde Frontenac among others competed. No word on the results. This Garde held an event of some kind on December 7, 1941.It was after arriving by bus in downtown Lowell that members of the Garde Domremy, my mother's Garde, learned that President Roosevelt had declared war on Japan.

According to a news story which appeared in the New Bedford Evening Standard, this Garde was begin in 1909. They celebrated their 3rd anniversary by inviting the New Bedford Sharpshooters and others to celebrate with them. A competitive drill and parade was held in Taunton on Sunday, August 4, 1912.More than 500 Garde members were in the parade including sixty seven from the Sharpshooters. The Sharpshooters won first prize in the drill competition. 56. Garde Sacred Heart,(du Sacre Coeur) Taunton, Mass. Wilfred Arsenault of Taunton served as captain in 1916.I have no other information about them.

57. Garde Sacred Heart, Wauregan, Conn. They were an all male Garde who competed in the Franco American Brigade of New England drill championships. They were held in Worcester, Mass. at the High School of Commerce gym on Saturday, May 16, 1942. The men took went home with the 3rd place trophy. Their female counterparts from Wauregan won the 1st prize trophy for the ladies.

58.Garde Sacre Coeur(Sacred Heart)Taftville, Ct. The parish was founded in 1868.This may have been a female garde since there was a Garde Breboeuf already in Taftville.

59. Garde Schila, Taftsville, Conn. Took part in the New England Drill Championships held at Lowell on Saturday, March 28, 1938. No other information is known about them.

60.Garde St.Albans,Vermont. I do not know the exact name of this group, but it was most probably all male. They were around as early as 1916,when the Plattsburgh Republican of December 12, 1916 reported they were among several Gardes who were planning to form a Garde Regiment representing the North Country.Later in 1929 the Plattsburgh Republican stated that the Garde team from St.Albans, was a female company.I have no information as to when they were formed or disbanded.

61.Garde St. George, No 1, A.C.A.,(Association Canadien Americaine) Manchester,N.H. This garde was officially formed December 4, 1914. Serving as captain in 1916 was Albert B. Hamel of Manchester.I have no other information about them.

62. Garde St. Francis, Fitchburg, Mass. Information about this all men’s Garde was provided to me by Mr. Gerry Lalonde and his wife Rose, of West Nottingham, N.H. Mr.Lalonde’s father Alfred J. Lalonde joined this Garde about the year 1905. Alfred met his future wife Laura Levesque at a joint exercise with the Garde St. Rosaire of Gardner about the year 1908-1909.The couple later married on April 10, 1910.Gerry provided me with a photo of the Garde St. Francis, no doubt taken prior to 1910. Shown are twenty one members of the Garde along with their chaplain standing in front of a school in Fitchburg. Most of the members appear to be of high school age. Their uniforms were as follows: dark jacket with gold buttons down the center, the sleeves were plain with no insignia of any kind. On the shoulders were gold epaulets with a white shirt collar showing.

The three top officers were a bit older and carried swords at their waist. The officers had a double band of gold around their military cap, whereas the enlisted men had a gold pin about six inches wide over the visor of the cap. One enlisted man carried a bugle. The trousers were dark gray with a navy blue stripe down the pant leg. All members wore dark shoes and white gloves. A later photo shows Alfred Lalonde, who was an officer, in a new uniform. The trousers were still dark grey, but the navy stripe down the leg was outlined in gold. The jacket had gold ribbing at the cuff, on the shoulders and around the collar. The military cap had but one gold band around it and he was not wearing any gloves.

63.Garde St. Jean Baptiste,Marlboro, Mass. Narcisse Dupuis of Marlboro, Mass.was captain.I have no other information about them.

64. Garde St. Joseph, Fitchburg, Mass. This was an all male Garde. In 1916, Ernest Croteau served as captain. A story in the Worcester papers states that the Garde St. Joseph won the first place trophy in the Franco American Brigade of New England competition held in Worcester.The clipping does not list a date but it was probably in May 1941. Prior to the drill competition the Garde members formed ranks in front of their headquarters at Washington and Madison Streets. The parade marched up Madison to Main Street and then passed the reviewing stand in front of City Hall.Those in the reviewing stand were Mayor Bennett, Sherif H. Oscar Rocheleau, Harry T. Renauld,parade marshal,Edward A. Brodeur, president of the civic auxiliary of the Brigade,Howard O.Santon, Ernest Roy, Alderman, James G. O'Brien, and Councilman Robert I. Scott.

The St. Joseph Garde also took part in the 1942 Franco American Brigade of New England drill competition held in Worcester, Mass. The date was Saturday, May 16, 1942, at the High School of Commerce in Worcester. Garde St. Joseph walked away with the 2nd place trophy among the men’s Gardes.

65. Garde St. Joseph, Lowell, Mass. February 23, 1938, saw the appearance in the Lowell Sun, of a group photo of of this Garde along with a list of members. It was listed as the first group photo taken of the Garde St. Joseph , which leads me to think that they were formed sometime late in 1937. Mr. Albert Bergeron served as drillmaster of the group. If you recall he was the founder and leader of the Garde Frontenac as well. The story said that all members were students at St. Joseph High School and most probably belonged to St. Jean Baptiste Parish, which sponsored the high school. They were as follows: Helene Martin, Claire Desruisseaux, Germaine Beaudoin, Therese Loranger, Ruby Champagne, Ethel Hubert, Cecile Heroux, Florida Lemire, Irene Desilets, Cecile Larochelle, Therese Bergeron, Irene Moge, Mariette Desilets, Cecile Geoffroy, Rita Racette, and Yvette Bergeron. Rita Bergeron was the Captain, while Florence Trudel and Jeanne Douville were chosen Lieutenants.

66. Garde St. Joseph, Burlington, Vermont This was a female Garde,probably located in the above parish. They participated in many activities with the St. Jean Baptiste Union of America.A news story in December 1916, the Plattsburgh Daily Republican indicated that a movement was afoot to create a regiment from the various companies in the smaller cities and towns of Northern New York and Vermont.I have no other information as to when they were founded or were disbanded. The Plattsburgh Republican wrote that there were two female Garde companies in Burlington as of June 1929.

67. Garde St. Louis, Lowell, Mass. They were sponsored by the French Canadian Parish of St. Louis de France in Centralville, Lowell. The Lowell Sun reported in March 1942, under its Quarter Century Ago column, that the Garde St. Louis marched in the mammoth St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 17th, 1917. They were described as wearing dark blue uniforms and they carried rifles. Their captain way back then was Arsene Guy. Tante Rita Grenier reports that her husband, Uncle Arthur Grenier and her two brothers, George and Arthur Lamarche were the ones who founded the Garde St. Louis in St. Louis de France Parish. This could not be since St. Louis is known to have had a Garde since at least 1917. It’s possible that the Garde went defunct and was resurrected by the Lamarche brothers in the mid 1930’s.

Tante Rita told me that when she was married on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1936, the Garde St. Louis attended the wedding, since Uncle Arthur Grenier was a member of the Garde. At the church, they formed two rows opposite each other. As they stood facing one another, they extended their long swords and formed a type of canopy. The young couple walked down the aisle beneath this wonderful canopy and proceeded to the alter to say their vows.

Silvio Gregoire was the Captain and his brother Lionel Gregoire was a member of the team as well. Some of the names that Tante remembered were Arthur Bonin, Edward Chandonnet, and Albert Guilbeault. Tante Rita also reports that the uniforms, which they wore, in 1938, were either a light blue or a bluish grey with maroon braids and gold buttons. The slacks were completely maroon with a dark stripe down the leg. The men wore white shirts, dark ties, dark shoes, and a wide black belt, which went over the right shoulder and then around the waist. Their military caps were dark with a gold band across the visor. The men carried sabres at the waist and wore white gloves.

An article appeared in the Wednesday, February 23, 1938, edition of the Lowell Sun. Here’s what it had to say: “The Dramatic Circle of the Garde St. Louis began its series of plays on Sunday night at Dracut’s Grange Hall when it presented the comedies, “The Automatic Dish Washer” and the “Uncle from Canada” both in French” The story went on to say that the plays were to be presented at Ste. Jeanne d’Arc Parish Hall on Friday night and on the following Monday night at St. Joseph Hall on Merrimack Street in Little Canada. The plays were presented for the benefit of Ste. Therese’s Church in Dracut, which had recently burned down. Performing in the two plays were Arthur Malo, Lionel Mousseau, Charles Pratte, Conrad Gregoire, Leo Cote, Leonce Chandonnet, William Gaillardetz and Valmore Gregoire. Committees in charge of details included: Roger d’Amour, Chairman, Sgt. Thomas Pineault, Corp. Arthur Lamarche, Lionel Isabelle and Charles Pratte, all in charge of scenery; Tickets, Sgt. Arthur Grenier, chairman, Fred Elie, Albert Drouin, Pvt. Leo Pineault; Lt. Arthur Gaillardetz, who was very active in many other parish affairs; Albert Lemieux is general secretary, while Conrad and Capt. Silvio Gregoire directed the plays. Other members at that time were Leonel Gregoire, Pvt. Edouard Blanchette. Mr. Lemieux married Simonne Gregoire at St. Louis de France Church on April 23, 1938.

Then on March 8, 1938, it was reported that members of the Garde’s “dramatic circle”, had traveled to Newburyport, Mass., two days prior to perform the plays, again for the benefit of Ste. Therese’s Church. A news story on Wednesday, April 6, 1938, reported that the Garde St. Louis planned to reorganize along “military lines” and that new officers would be selected. I can only presume that this meant that all members would be assigned a rank from private to captain as other Gardes were doing.

A story on August 4, 1938, reported that the Garde would be enjoying their annual outing at a private farm in Pelham, N. H. on Sunday, August 7.I believe this was Frank and Rose Lamarche's farm. Frank was the older brother of my maternal grandfahtwer Napoleon Lamarche. The highlight of the day would be a baseball game between the officers and the privates. Playing for the officers were Captain Silvio Gregoire, Leonel Gregoire, Roger d’Amour, Frederick Clement, Fernand Pratte, Ernest Pratte, William Gaillardetz, and Leonel Lamarche, who was my uncle. Playing for the privates team were Captain Albert Lemieux, Alfred Roy, Valmore Gregoire, “Kid” Morrissette, my uncle Arthur Lamarche, another uncle Arthur Grenier, E. Grenier, Raymond Gaillardetz, and Maurice Monette. They also held a tug-of-war, which the officers won, a relay race, which was won by the Gregoire brothers, Valmore and Leonel and a hop, skip, and jump competition, won by Valmore Gregoire. Sounds like it was a whale of a good time. Later in August the Garde was planning a “horserace contest” at the parish lawn party.

On Tuesday, September 6, 1938, a story appeared in the Lowell Sun that Captain Silvio Gregoire, who was very active in parish affairs as well as the Garde, had received an invitation for his unit to take part in the Massachusetts 101st Infantry Division Association parade being held the following Sunday in Waltham. They were to depart Lowell by bus on Sunday morning.

Another typical example of their activities was on Tuesday, September 13, 1938, when the parish announced the 3rd annual parish Communion for all men of St. Louis de France Parish. The Mass, to be held on Sunday, October 2, was to be at 7 a.m. at St. Jean Baptiste Church after which a breakfast for 350, was to be served at the parish hall on Merrimack Street. I presume the mass was not held at St. Louis because their parish hall was not large enough to use for breakfast after mass was over. The Garde St. Louis was mentioned as escorting the men at church and at the hall. The Garde would have formed a canopy with their swords at the entrance to the church and at the social hall. The attendees would have walked beneath the canopy as they entered the buildings A large communion mass followed by a breakfast such as this was typical of events held by various catholic parishes in that day. It provided a social outing for the men and fostered camaraderie and loyalty to the parish. It was also a way to encourage men to attend mass and take Communion.

On Wednesday, September 21, 1938, another article appeared in the Lowell Sun announcing that the Garde St. Louis had conducted their annual election the previous Sunday and the officers for the coming year were named: William Gaillardetz, president for a 4th term, Thomas Pineault, vice president, Lionel Gregoire, recording secretary, Fernand Pratte, financial secretary, and Arthur Lamarche, corresponding secretary. The story included the fact that the Garde St. Louis was to participate in a parade and drill the following Sunday, September 25, in Nashua, New Hampshire under the sponsorship of the Garde McElvain of Nashua.

Another story about the annual communion mass ran in the Saturday, October 1, 1938, edition of the Lowell Sun. In this article, it was implied that the mass would be at St. Louis de France church at 6:30 a.m. and that more than 1,000 men were expected. The story confirmed the Garde St. Louis would escort the men to the church and that Mayor Dewey Archambault would be the speaker at the breakfast to follow in their parish hall. I can only conclude that there was a misprint in the original story or that a change of venue was made after the first story ran in the paper on September 13th.

On Monday morning January 21, 1946, the funeral mass was held for Rev. Charles Cordier pastor of St. Louis Parish. Father Cordier was in failing health and had resigned as pastor just the week before. Archbishop Richard J. Cushing of Boston, later made a cardinal, presided over the funeral services which were very largely attended. The Garde St. Louis sent a delegation to the services, which included Henry Morrissette, Lionel Gregoire, Leo England and Earnest England. They also served as a Garde of Honor while Father Cordier lay in state in the parish church.

68.Garde St. Louis, Nashua, New Hampshire We have a newspaper article from the Worcester newspaper not dated, but mostly likely from May 1941, picturing members of the Garde St.Louis marching in the Franco-American Brigade of New England parade held in Worcester just prior to the regional championships.Typically the parade was on a Saturday afternoon and the championships were held after dinner.The story says that the Garde St. Louis was awarded a special prize for being the most outstanding organization in the parade. This probably meant that this Garde had done more to support their parish than any other Garde in the drill competition. Supporting the parish as in raising funds was one of the main purposes of the Garde. A story in the Nashua Gazette on Friday, November 8, 1946, reported that the St. Louis Garde, aka “drill team” was to march in Nashua’s Armistice Day Parade on Monday, November 11th. On the 12th, it was reported that thousands viewed the parade, which had among the marchers, the largest contingent of returned men and women vets since the war ended in August 1945.

69.Garde St.Louis, Newburyport,Mass. I have no other information about them.

70. Garde St. Louis de Gonzague, Indian Orchard, Mass. No information about them.

71. Garde Ste. Mary, Putnam, Conn. This was an all women Garde that competed in the 1942 Franco American Brigade of New England drill championships. They were held at the High School of Commerce gym in Worcester, Mass. on Saturday, May 16, 1942.Garde St. Mary came in third.

72. Garde du Ste.Sacrement, Fall River, Mass.

73. Garde Ste. Anne, Fall River,Mass. They took part in the 1938 New England Championship drill competition held at St. Louis Circle hall on the night of Saturday, February 26. 1938.More than 500 attended the competition and thirteen teams took part. No other information about them.

74. Garde Ste. Cecile, Leominster, Mass. This group took part in the 1938 New England Championship drill competition held at Cercle St. Louis in Lowell on Saturday, February 26, 1938.With 13 teams competing, it was said to be among the finest drill competitions in many years. This team took 2nd place among the women’s teams.

75. Garde Ste. Cecile, Plattsburgh, New York This was a ladies Garde sponsored by Council Ste. Cecile No. 177,which began in 1906. This counsel came under the umbrella of the St. Jean Baptiste Association, a Franco American civic and fraternal group found in many New England cities. Miss Valeda Light was Captain in about 1935. Their male counterpart was the Garde d’Honneur. In the Plattsburgh Daily Republican, was a story dated Saturday, April 12, 1929. It pertained to a banquet held for the Vice president general of the governing body of the Association Ste. Jean Baptiste d'Amerique.Garde Ste. Cecile served as an Honor Guard at the banquet.Mrs Nellie Prairie was the president of this counsel/conseil at the time. I have no other information about them.Around this time,in Plattsburgh there was a group known as the Conseil Montcalm. I assume this group was for men but do not think they had a Garde organization.They existed merely to support the parish.

76. Garde Ste. Jeanne d’Arc, Lowell, Mass. The parish itself was founded in 1922 and it sponsored a Garde of the same name. Judging from newspaper stories, the parish at various times supported a drum and bugle corps, a company of baton twirlers as well as the Garde. December 17, 1937 the Lowell Sun ran a story and photo about a Christmas party sponsored by the Garde Ste. Jeanne d‘Arc for the benefit of children of the parish. The party was held at the parish hall on 4th Avenue on Thursday, December 16th. Candy and gifts were provided to all the children and members of the Garde exchanged gifts as well. There was plenty of entertainment concluding with the singing of some Christmas carols in English! Members of the Garde who attended were Jeannette Parent, Jeanne d’Arc Racette, Constance Girard, captain Irene Ladebauche, Gertrude Jussaume, Marguerite Cayer, Lorraine Gagnon, Alice Chaput, Claire Denis, Estelle Leblanc, and Therese Drouin. Some members of the Garde who organized the party were: Ursule Belley, Pauline Breton, Gertrude Lefebvre, Yolande Bergeron, Irene Gearin, Rita Narbonne, Lillian Martin, Laurette Paradis, Louise Gaumont, Cecile Drouin, Jeanne Blazon, Anna Sicard, Angele Guilbeault and Cecile Lacourse.

Another article appeared in the Lowell Sun, dated Wednesday, September 21, 1938, announcing that officers for the coming year were elected at the meeting held the previous Sunday. The officers elected were Ursule Belley, president, Alice Chaput, vice president, Jeanne Lambert, recording secretary, Marie Belley, financial secretary, and Gertrude Lefebvre, treasurer. Rev. G. Lehouillier was director. Interestingly, Mr. Silvio Gregoire, a member of the Garde St. Louis, was listed as the drillmaster for the Garde Ste. Jeanne d’Arc. It went on to say that he was in the process of forming yet another company composed of older girls. Thus it seems that they had two companies of girls, possibly 15 to 20 per company.Ruby Duhamel Cook of Lowell has told me that two of her cousins Rita and Yvette Duhamel were members of the Garde Ste. Jeanne D'Arc about this time.Jeannine Matte Richardson of Merrimack, N.H.had three aunts in this garde. They were Anita Tellier Matte, her sister Rachel Tellier, and Georgette Clermont Venne.Anita and Georgette were both captains!

Memorial Day, 1942, luckily fell on a Saturday and it allowed the maximum crowd to take part in the popular patriotic activities that holiday weekend. The Garde Ste. Jeanne d’Arc, now under the leadership of drillmaster David J. Letendre, planned an all day roster of activities to commemorate our fallen soldiers. They also were celebrating the feast day of their patron saint. The day began with an 8 a.m military mass where a special banner was to be blessed. The banner was blue and white like their uniforms and in the center was a beautiful Fleur-de-Lys hand painted by Mme. Anna Jalbert, the Garde’s chaperone. It also featured two hundred stars, one for each man of the parish then in the armed forces. Following the mass, there was a breakfast in the parish hall for all the French Canadian Gardes, which were to march that day. The Gardes then proceeded downtown for the mammoth parade. Following the parade the Gardes returned to the parish hall for luncheon presided over by the Mayor, George T. Ashe, Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers, and a large number of clergymen and other dignitaries. As if that wasn’t a full day, they then presented a competition drill for numerous Gardes and drum corps. The ladies and men must have been truly exhausted after all the events of the day.

Two months later, on July 13, 1942, Captain Estelle Rondeau married Corp. Larry LaRochelle of the United States Marine Band in Washington, D.C. No doubt, she dropped out of the Garde at that time.

Friday night, July 31, 1942, the Garde sponsored a whist party with prizes to be awarded the winning card players. Also featured was the showing of “moving pictures” which would “satisfy the most discriminating.” The affair was held in the schoolyard on 4th Avenue and all parishioners were urged to attend. This was most likely a fund raiser for the Garde.

On Sunday, November 2, 1952, the Garde Ste. Jeanne d’Arc drum corps took part in a special mass and parade through the streets of Little Canada as part of a celebration honoring the Marist Brothers, who had taught at St. Joseph School since 1892.After the parade, luncheon was served in St. Joseph School Hall. Members at that time who took part were Sgt. Charles Reardon, Corp. Kenneth Dumais, Pfc. Robert Lagasse, Pfc. Roger Dumais, Pvt. Gerald Rivet and Pvt. Marcel Gregoire. You will note that this drum corps evolved from all female to all male, and that the leader had a non French Canadian name. The drum corps were thanked and extended appreciation for their long standing service in the community.

77. Garde Ste. Jeanne d’Arc, Brocton, Mass. The captain Florence Amelote, was chosen most popular captain at the New England Drill Championships held February 26, 1938, in Lowell.No other information is known about them.

78. Garde Ste. Marie, South Lowell, Mass. The parish of Ste. Marie was founded in 1931. Garde Ste. Marie was an all male Garde formed in late 1937, by the pastor, Rev. Gustave Berneche, O.M.I. The Garde was under the direction of Major Albert Brodeur, and made its first public appearance on Christmas Day, at which time the group was blessed by the pastor at the midnight mass. The Monday, December 27, 1937, issue of The Sun listed the following members: David Bourgeois, Henry Champagne, Robert & Roger Ducharme, Merrill Dube, Raymond Rondeau, Emile Surprenant, Lionel Nadeau, Joseph Morin, Les Gelineau, Roger Gagnon, Francis & Roland Gendreau, Paul Goyette, and Raymond Marchand. Next, an article in the Friday, January 7, 1938, edition of The Lowell Sun, noted that the Garde was planning an amateur talent show for Friday night, January 28, at the Carmine St. parish hall. Local amateurs were encouraged to compete for valuable prizes.

The same story was run again on Saturday, January 15th. On the evening of Tuesday, January 25, contestants and members of the Garde were requested to be present at the parish hall that night for a dress rehearsal.

79. Garde Ste. Rosaire, Gardner, Mass. The information which I have on this Garde is limited. Mr. Gerry Lalonde and his wife Rose of West Nottingham N.H., provided me with some information. Mr. Lalonde’s mother, Laura. A. Lévesque Lalonde was a member of the Garde St. Rosaire beginning about the year 1905. Gerry’s father Alfred J. Lalonde, was a member of the Garde St. François in Fitchburg. The two met when these Gardes held joint exercises about the year 1908-1909.The happy couple was married on April 10, 1910. No doubt a number of couples met this way.

80. Garde Ste. Rose de Lima, Waregan, Conn. This was a ladies group, which competed in the 1942 New England championships for Franco American Gardes. It was held Saturday, May 16, 1942, at the High School of Commerce gymnasium in Worcester, Mass. By this time the Gardes were collectively known as the Franco-American Brigade of New England. Garde St. Rose de Lima won first place in the ladies division.

81.Garde Union Canadienne, Taunton,Mass. No other inforamtion abailable.

82. Garde Wilfred Laurier Founded on June 8, 1908.No other information available.

83. Garde St.Francis Xavier, Winooski,Vermont The Plattsburgh paper stated that the Garde from Winooski would be attending the Northern New York district convention of the St.Jean Baptiste Society, June 24, 1929. They would march in the grande review of Garde companies for the pleasure of all attendees. This was listed as female company.Nothing more is known about this group.

84. Garde Zouaves Pontificaux, Marlboro, Mass. No other information is available.

85. Gold & White Garde, Leominster, Mass. They competed in the New England Semi Military Drill Championships held at Cercle St. Louis, aka St. Louis Circle Hall on the night of February 26, 1938.

86. La Garde Laurier,Inc. Lawrence, Mass. According to a newspaper article found in the Nashua Gazette,this Garde was established June 8,or 18,1908.In 1916, Mr. Wilfred Lacroix of Lawrence,was captain.or November 5, 1912.

87.La Jeune Garde du Sacre Coeur, Fall River, Mass. Due to its size the Garde was organized into at least three companies.Serving as captain for Company C in 1916 was L. Joseph Rioux.

88. Ligue des Patriotes (Patriots League) Fall River, Mass. No other information about them.

89. O.M.I.Cadets,(Oblates of Mary Immaculate) Lowell, Mass. Took part in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Lowell on Saturday, March 17, 1917.They were under the leadership of William F. Conroy and were composed of a drill team and a drum corps. They were referred to as a semi-military company in the Lowell Sun. Were these young men studying for the priesthood or were they simply recruited under the auspices of the O.M.I. priests?

90. Papal Zouaves, Worcester, Mass. This Garde was established sometime before 1896. According to a story in “Je Me Souviens”, published by the American French Genealogical Society, a Henry Renauld served in the Papal Zouaves for four years. It is not known how long they were in operation.

91. Papal or Pontifical Zouaves Mentioned in Gerald Brault’s book, this was originally an international force used to defend Pope Pius IX during the period 1860-1871.It was known for its colorful and unique style of uniform. A unit of the Papal Zouaves was formed in New England in 1887, but lasted only a few years. Mr. Brault does not mention in which city they were active, but it could have been Worcester, Mass. above.

92. Portuguese American Civic League Drill Team, Lowell, Mass. This team marched in the Memorial Day parade held in Lowell, Saturday, May 30, 1942. I have no other information about them.

93. Sharpshooters-Garde Les Francs Tireurs, New Bedford, Mass. The Sharpshooters began as a fraternal and civic organization started in 1891 by a group of 80 French Canadians. From the beginning they were not affiliated with any particular parish but drew their membership from all over New Bedford and probably surrounding areas. The group assisted members to become American citizens, provided a death benefit to members and assisted families whose bread winners may have been laid off from work. At one time they had over 1,400 members between a South End branch and a North End branch. However it was not until 1907, that a uniformed drill company was begun. At that time there was in New Bedford an independent drill group known as the Chevaliers of St. Louis. The entire group joined the Sharpshooters and formed the nucleus of a Sharpshooters Garde # 1 at the South End branch.

The Sharpshooters owned their own building in which the Orpheum theater was located. The bldg. also had a rifle range and many other amenities.In 1916, founder Prudent Coderre, was still serving as captain. In 1923, a North End branch was founded and known as the Sharpshooters Garde # 2. There was a supreme council to oversee and coordinate the two clubs. The Sharpshooters became one of the most successful Garde units in the country and held that position for many years. They had a great depth of talent, plenty of money to support themselves and dedicated leaders. Because membership was so large they were able to support a Sharpshooters Band which played during parades and drills.

In 1933, a Sharpshooters Drum & Bugle Corps was started and needless to say became very successful in its own right. According to the website, the Sharpshooters Garde # 1 won the championship among the Union of Franco American Guards of New England from 1927 thru 1931, then in 1933 and in 1948. Captain Prudent Coderre, was chosen most popular captain in the New England Garde Drill Championships held in February 26, 1938, in Lowell. He took home a large trophy cup.

Their history has also been extremely well documented in the pages of the New Bedford newspapers and in the fact that members rosters, and other important memorabilia have been preserved at their headquarters. There is an enormous amount of information about the Sharpshooters available, such that it would be impractical to try to list it all here. Readers who have connections to New Bedford are recommended to try the link which we have provided on our website to the website at Orpheum Rising Project Helpers. This website contains a thorough history going back to 1891 and documents the group up to its demise in 1960. The website contains many historical photos, dozens of newspaper articles and photos of rare memorabilia. One photo shows the Sharpshooter officers sitting and about 50 trophies were arrayed on the floor in front of them.

94. St. Anthony Polish Society, aka St. Anthony’s Drum Corps. Lowell, Mass. They were affiliated with St. Michael’s and marched under the captaincy of Stanislaus Pasterczyk in 1917.He also captained the St.Michael's team. At that time, The Lowell Sun referred to all them as semi military companies. However by 1938, it appears from coverage by the Lowell Sun of the Firemen’s Relief Fund Parade held August I, 1938 that the semi military company had evolved into a drum corps. The members wore all white uniforms, with dark ties and dark shoes. Two young boys who carried their banner also wore a dark cape over the uniform.

95. St. Michael’s Polish Society, Lowell, Mass. Another of the many semi-military companies who marched in the St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday, March 17, 1917. They were headed by Captain Stanislaus Pasterczyk.

96. St. Rita’s Cadets, Lowell, Mass. Their uniform was a dark blue or black jacket with gold buttons, with white skirts, white caps and white shoes. The captain however was dressed all in white. They were a little different in that some carried flags and some batons. Other senior female Gardes did not do so. St. Rita’s was also different in that they had a mounted standard bearer for parades. On Monday night, August 1, 1938, St. Rita’s took part in the grand Firemen’s parade and carnival on the North Common in Lowell. It was to benefit the Lowell Firemen’s Relief Fund. There was also a carnival which was to last all week. A special feature was to give orphans free rides on all the venues one afternoon that week. There were to be fireworks, a soap box derby and entertainment for the crowds. Fire depts. from Lowell and five suburban Fire depts. displayed their new and ancient fire fighting trucks etc. St. Rita’s won 1st place in the parade for female teams and Captain Mary Coyle was awarded the Thomas Calvin trophy, donated by the commissioner of public safety for the city of Lawrence. Rev. Denis A. Maguire was director at that time.

St. Rita’s Cadet Band won 1st place in the Lowell Safety Parade of June 14, 1942.By this time I don’t know whether this group could be considered a semi-military unit. They had baton twirlers and a drum corps, but what kind of uniforms did they wear and did they still have military ranks? Did they perform precision drills? If not, they would no longer fall under the definition of a Garde. They were listed as taking part in the Memorial Day Parade of 1945.

97. St. Stanislaus Polish Society, Lowell, Mass. They were affiliated with St. Michael’s and probably marched with them under the same captain.

98.Universal Drill Team, Webster, Mass. We do not as yet know much about this drill team and the exact name of their group.What we have learned from a newspaper story in a Worcester,Mass. newspaper is that the Universal drill team sponsored a regional drill competition on Saturday, Sepember 9, 1939. Twenty teams were expected to attend. We have no other information about this competition.

99. Victory Cadets, Lowell, Mass. This was a new Garde unit probably organized during or shortly after WWII started. I have no information about their members, uniforms, or activities. They did participate in the Memorial Day Parade of 1945 under the direction of Doris Conley Mullane. There was also a group called the Victory Twirlers, who most likely were a part of the Victory Cadets. Very likely they disbanded by the late 1940’s.

100. Zouaves of Notre Dame, Lowell, Mass. They were under the command of Major L. Lessard and took part in the St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday, March 17, 1917 in Lowell. They were referred to as a semi-military company in the Lowell Sun.

GARDES OF THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC Until recently we knew there were garde units in Quebec but we had no informatiion about them.Recent research has turned up numerous Gardes in Quebec Province many having been mentioned in the Nashua Gazette.

A League of Gardes (Ligue des Gardes) This was proposed and established July 1, 1901, comprising all the then existing gardes in Quebec and some from New England. The Zouaves were among those who were founding members.A convention was held in the latter part of June 1902 and attended by 567 members of the various gardes. A grand parade and procession were held.

Federation of Parish Gardes Inc. Celebrated their 75th anniverary, claiming 1,000 members. Today there are several dozen gardes active in the various parishes of Quebec Province.It appears as though they are comprised of both men and women.I will not list them here as there are so many.

101. Garde d'Honneur(Pope) Leon XIII, Hull, Ontario. Nothing is known about them at the present time.

102.Garde Independante Champlain, Quebec, Canada. Information about this garde was found in a publication called "Le Monde Illustre"(The World Illustrated) dating from 1889-1903.It is kept in the Bibliotechque Nationale du Quebec.(National Library of Quebec.A book of statutes and rules written in 1901, the year of their incorportation is available on line. The book is 102 pages which indicates how well established and maintained they were.Much more information about them is also found online. This garde also had a newspaper called Le Journal Official de la Garde Independente Champlain.It seems as though they were the most organized and professional of the Canddian gardes of the time.

Founded December 10, 1894 by David Legault who was Commandant for a number of years.Their spiritual advisor(cure) was located in St.Roch, Quebec and that was their headquarters.This garde represented the Haute Ville (Upper Town) of Quebec.The garde headquarters were in the parish of St.Roch. A photo taken January 14, 1899 shows a J. Comte as the Commandant. A later Commandant was Emile St.Onge, 1919-2011.In a photo dated October 1897 the band is shown sitting on the wide steps of a monument numbering at least sixty members. The men are wearing dark jackets, white pants,high black boots and a white belt over one shoulder and across the chest.They wore a familiar cap with a white or gold band around it. Also shown are members who played drums, trombone, tuba etc.

In a photo dated January 1896, a photo of the garde was taken indoors. Twenty three members posed for the photo. Apparently they were members of the garde fencing team. They wore a dark vest with thirteen brass buttons down the left side of the vest.Beneath the vest each wore a white longsleeved shirt. Their pants matched the vest in color.Each held a sword in his right hand. Two hats sat on the floor which looked very similar to those worn in France by garde regiments 100 years before.

In another photo dated March 29, 1890, ten members of the fencing team gathered together with the instructor J. Comte, who was also the commandant.Yet another photo shows the garde passing in review on the rue Rideau along the Ottawa River near the town of Masson in Ontario.A total of seventeen photos were taken from this valuable magazine and are available online.In 1954, the garde celebrated their sixtieth anniversary with a huge celebration.

103.Garde Nationale, Montreal. I was not able to find much on the internet but would note that there is a book at the Newberry Library in Chicago pertaining to this garde and the Garde Nationale at Bordeaux in France.

104.Garde Ville Marie, Independante, Montreal A photo of this garde appears in January 1899 with Mr. Joseph Comte as commandant.About thirty members are posing on the steps of a public building in Montreal. Their uniform is all dark blue or black, with a white sash across the shoulder and chest and a white belt. Members are all holding a sword and the group shows three drummers. 110. La Garde Independente Salabery,St. Hyacinthe,Quebec. Much of the early history of this garde appeared in issues of Le Monde Illustri. One issue dated August 24, 1901, gave numerous photographs of the principal leaders of the garde along with much text.Their uniform was dark blue or black with a white belt.

105. La Garde Independante du Palais, Archidiocese de Montreal. Montreal,Canada

106. La Nouvelle Association des Zouaves du Quebec. A photo of the garde appeared in Le Monde Illustrie dated June 24, 1901.Approximately forty men were pictured.They carried no rifles or swords. The group was founded in 1899 by Charles Edmond Rouleau. It was incorporated May 17, 1902. The men of this garde wore the tradional uniform of the Zouaves in Europe.The uniform appeared to be one piece covering the upper body and lower body and gathered at the calf. It gave the appearance of pants similar to pantaloons. They also had short jackets,heavily embroidered. The cap was simple and they wore black shoes covered with white spats.

107. Garde Montcalm, Basse Ville(Lower Town)du Quebec No other information about them.

108.Zouaves Pontificaux Canadiens, Montreal This garde was founded in January 1901 in the parish of St. Hyacinthe.Their uniforms were modeled after the Papal Zouaves assigned to protect Pope Pius IX from 1860-1871. Mr. C. E. Rouleau was the first president.

109.Zouaves Pontificaux Canadiens, Trois Rivieres So popular were the Zouaves in French Canadien culture that a group was founded by Gedeon Desilets in 1902 at Trois Rivieres.

110. Zouaves Canadiens. Formed December 16, 1906.No other infornation available.

Military Guards-Militia Units These few are included as an example of military guards which often marched in parades and may have done precision maneuvers and drills for the benefit of the public. The difference between the Guards and the Gardes is that the guards were in fact in the military either as militia, national guardsmen or other military units. They wore professional military uniforms, often carried rifles, held military rank and carried out their functions not as a hobby, but as part of their military duties. A large number of these guards were named after notable Irish patriots. They had companies in many different cities around the country. Many of them served in the Civil War on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line. After the war, these military organizations competed in their own drill competitions for the amusement of the public and for the honor and prestige it bestowed on the winners. They were active well into the last quarter of the 20th century.

112. Emmet Guards Robert Emmet was an Irish political activist in the 18th century. He was born in Clonakilty, County Cork, Ireland.

113. Grattan Guards, Lawrence, Mass. It is believed that this unit was named after Henry Grattan born in Ireland in 1746 and a leader in the cause for Irish legislative independece from England. In a newspaper article dated April 11, 1899, the Grattan Guards are mentioned as being part of the 8th Massachusetts Infantry, Company L. In 1908 a Henry Webber was listed as the commander.They took part in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade of March 28, 1913, in Lowell. Four years later, they were again part of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade held Saturday, March 17, 1917. Capt. Thomas Donohue was in the lead.

114. Meagher Guards, Charlestown, Mass. They were named after General Thomas Francis Meagher, born in County Waterford, Ireland. They took part in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 28, 1913, in Lowell. Another news story featured in the Sun, Saturday, March 14, 1942, under the column “Quarter Century Ago” by the Old Timer, reported that they participated in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade of March 17th 1917. The Meager Guards wore blue uniforms and were captained by James O’Leary.

115. Sarsfield Guards, Haverhill, Mass. Named after Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Luncan, a commanding officer in the English army during the reign of Charles II and James II of England. The Sarsfield Guards were founded in San Francisco on September 15, 1855. The Haverhill Company took part in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Lowell on March 28, 1913, as well as the one held Saturday, March 17th, 1917. Jeremiah Driscoll captained these guards.

116. Sheridan Guards, Lowell, Mass. Were among the 6,000 marchers in the St. Patrick’s Day parade held March 28, 1913, in Lowell. On Saturday, March 17, 1942, Captain Michael McDermott led the Sheridan guards in another huge St. Patrick’s Day parade.

117. Wolfe Tone Guards, Lowell, Mass. Thie outfit was named after Theobald Wolfe Tone,born in Dublin, who is considered to be the father of Irish Republicanism.He was killed in 1798. They marched in the St. Patrick’s Day parade held on March 28, 1913, in Lowell. Francis J. Kierce was the Captain when the Wolfe Tone Guards again marched in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 17, 1942.

Gardes in France During the Franco Prussian War in Europe in the 1870's, the French Army was divided into huge battalions, known as Gardes. Among others was the Garde Cinque, Garde Mobile and Garde Republicaine and Garde Lafayette. There were hundreds of thousands of soldiers in these Gardes. They may have served as a model when French Canadian parishes began to establish Gardes of their own around 1900.

Researched and written by Dennis J. Taylor at Philadelphia, Penna.July 2001.Updated April 5, 2009, July 31, 2012 & January 6, 2013 at Atlanta, Ga.


 
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