Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jenkins Family Road Trip Day 14, July 14

Our final day of vacation. We checked out of our hotel and they allowed us to leave our car there until 4 p.m. so we could finish off some things we wanted to see and do before heading off to Montreal for a stopover. Such as the tour of the crypt. But first we wanted to check out some stores on a street just around the corner from our hotel that we hadn't had a chance to explore yet. I saw this window display, and well we didn't get to far from here. We ended up spending a couple of hours in this store known as Boutique Medievale (bear with me I don't know how to use the accents on my computer).

They had clothes, hats, scarves, jewellery, daggers, swords, chalices, chessboards, tapestries etc. Everything for the medieval enthusiast. I was in heaven!!! We all ended up with something and for Daniel's birthday we ended buying Troy Chess pieces with a sweet chess board made to look like a castle wall with turrets on each corner. He has been dying for a really nice chess set and we found numerous ones here. Took him awhile to pick the pieces and chessboard, and later that night in our hotel room he beat his dad's butt in chess.

I ended up getting some rune pendants for me, Marissa and Denise (my besties). The girls ended up getting some jewellery as well. Dave didn't really want anything for himself, I think he was hoping Daniel would share the cool new chess set. LOL

We had to go back to the hotel and deposit our purchases in the van, and grabbed some lunch (did I mention we lost track of time, whoops) and headed back to Notre Dame Basilica.

The guide I spoke to the evening before was busy, but a young lady was more than helpful and took us through a secret door at the back of one of the side altars, down a spiral staircase into the crypt. I was allowed to take pictures, but not allowed to use a flash so some of the picture are of poor quality due to a low shutter speed and no tripod to keep the camera steady.

First off we have the memorial plaques to Champlain and some of the first Governor Generals of New France. In the crypt, if the cross is white, they do not have the person's remains, but if the cross is black, they have the remains and they are place behind the plaque in the crypt. They do not have Champlain's remains, but they have been looking for years in hopes of finding them. They believe his remains would have been treated very much like Bishop Laval's (which they do have), and it is very possible they would have been buried near or in the basilica.

The main part of the crypt is where the bishops, archbishops, cardinals are buried. You can tell what their rank in the church is based on the number of tassels on their plaque. A number of bishops have a spot in the crypt, but are buried in France as they never even came to New France during their term as Bishop of the Parish.

View of the clergy catacombs in the crypt.

Here we have a shrine to a number of Jesuit priests that were killed by Native Americans in the early years of European settlement. They are considered martyrs and the basilica has relics of four the Jesuit priests.

And now we are getting ready to go into the crypt where the civilian remains are. But first we had to pass through this ornately carved wooden door. The carvings represents various stages of Bishop Laval's life.

The crypt itself is very very dark, with two extremely large ossuaries containing the remains of over 900 people. They also have Bishop Lava's casket on display. They accidentally found his casket while doing renovations under one of the choirs in 1877. And with this discovery and subsequent reburial, there were quite a few celebrations and ceremonies throughout Quebec City. You can read a bit more about what had gone on with the discovery of Laval's casket here. And also read about Bishop Laval and his importance in Quebec history here.

Here is a picture of site just outside the crypt that that they are excavating looking for more remains. The original cathedral was not as large as it is now, there was a cemetery on either side of the cathedral and also within the cathedral itself, very much like in Europe. A number of families had their own pews and underneath these pews you would also find the family burial plot. If someone in the family died, they would remove the family pew, lift up some of the stones underneath, bury the person, put everything back for the next mass. With the reconstruction of the Basilica in 1923 after an other devastating fire, they moved the remains from the cemetery and in the Basilica to this crypt. Our guide explained that to this day residents and workers in Old Quebec still find human remains during renovations, gardening etc. and bring them to the basilica and the remains are placed in one of the ossuaries.

This is one of the best pictures of one of the ossuaries I could find. We then managed to see the register and with a list of names provided by Dave's sister Mary, our genealogist, and his mom. we went through the whole list a few times and managed to match some names and sent them off to the family. Mary was going to try and see if they match based on the info she has managed to find so far of their ancestors. One thing I know, there were a lot of Maries and Jacques in both lists. Whew. And our guide was so kind and patient waiting for us to finish our research.

Afterwards we went to Montmorency Parc in Old Quebec to get some pictures of the statues of Louis and Marie Hebert. Along the way we found a Statue of Bishop Laval.

The statue is a grouping of three, Louis is the centre statue, rather high up. I had to go across the street to get pictures.

On one side is a statue of their son in law Guillame Couillard.

And on the other side is Marie Rollet. Here is a picture of Dave, Laura, Amanda, and Daniel with their great-great-great- etc grandmother.

By this time it was getting close to 4:00. We rushed back to the hotel to claim our van before being charged extra and headed to Montreal for dinner and an overnight stop. The next day we headed for home sweet home and ended our two week road trip.

In looking back on our trip, I would love to go back to any of the places we visited but the two that would top my list would be Salem and Quebec City.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jenkins Family Road Trip Day 13, July 13

This was a very full day for us. It was a family history day, lots was seen, and hundreds of pictures were taken. Dave's family roots on his mom's dad's side (try to stay with me here) are from Quebec, going back to the first settlement of Quebec. In fact Dave, our children and his family are direct descendants of Louis Hebert and Marie Rollet, Louis is considered the first Canadian Apothecary and first European to farm in Canada. Marie is famous in her own right, she taught a number of Native American children to read and write and was well loved by them. Dave and his family are also connected with numerous other names in the list of the founding families of New France (Quebec). But I will try and not bore you to much.

It was a gorgeous day and we were able to see the stunning view from our room in daylight.

The majority of family research we would be doing today would be in Levis, across the river from Quebec City. The quickest and most efficient way to get there is by ferry. And it also gave the kids something to do as well instead of just sitting in the van AGAIN.

One of the first things we found was this plaque, in honor of the Samson family. Another important name in the history of Levis and Quebec City, and Dave is a direct descendant of this family line, my mother in law's maiden name is Samson.

The plaque is on the property of this house, we are not sure of the connection, possibly the land of one of the early Samson families during colonial times?

Throughout Levis are various streets named after Dave's ancestors. We managed to find a few of them.

And this is the family homestead, Dave's great grandparents lived here until they moved to Mt. Clemens, just outside of Detroit in the early 1900's.

Every time any one of Dave's family is in Levis and Quebec City we have to take a picture in front of the homestead. I am sure the people living in the area are starting to wonder why these crazy English speaking people want their picture taken in front of a regular house, across the street from a hamburger stand. LOL

Our next stop was to the cemetery where the family plot is. A distant relative by the name of Colonel Robataille, had the remains of a number of ancestors transferred to his plot since they were moving a number of graves from another cemetery, to a mass grave in this cemetery. We aren't sure who exactly he had buried here. I love the marker Colonel Robataille chose, different than any other grave marker in the cemetery; which also made it very easy for us to find.

Here is the statue marking where the mass grave is. The number of bodies moved is astounding, 15,000 were exhumed. That must have been a huge undertaking.

Our final stop in Levis was the old A.C. Davie shipyard, where Dave's great great grandfather was a carpenter. It is now in ruins but they are working on restoring the site to what it once was and there is a museum across the street in one of the old outbuildings and the house where the Davie family lived. The Davie shipyard was an important piece of the history of Levis and maritime history of the St. Lawrence River.

These pictures show what is left of the shipyard where they would repair and build hundreds of wooden ships every year.

Once inside the museum we were fortunate to see a scale model of how the shipyard would have looked like when in use. The patent slip was a unique technology invented by the Davie family to help in the process of ship repairs. It use to be that to repair ships they would have to wait for low tide, do the repairs quickly before the tide came back in, and then would have to wait until low tide again to finish what they started, which would sometimes take weeks to complete. With this unique patent slip they would bring the ship up to the underwater rail system and lay a cradle underneath the ship when the water was high enough, and when the low tide started they would place special wooden bolsters underneath, once the tide was low enough the ship would be resting on the cradle and bolsters and using a crane would be hauled up to one of several areas to be worked on. This allowed the shipyard to work on numerous ships at any one time during anytime of the tide cycle.

Tools of the carpenter.

Afterwards Daniel had to put on the diving mask replica they have. And of course Laura had to make faces behind him. Joys of siblings. LOL

After the museum we explored the Davie family home. There were various artifacts from the Davie family throughout the home and upstairs they were still renovating. I loved being able to see the different layers of linoleum, a time capsule of flooring styles through the years.

Afterwards we went back to Quebec City had dinner at the hotel and decided to wander around Quebec City before heading to the waterfront to watch the the 3d presentation "The Image Mill"

I loved the old European feel of the streets, I could have spent days wandering the streets of old Quebec City.

Unfortunately a rain storm came in and we made a mad rush for the Notre Dame Basilica to take shelter from the rain, along with a number of other tourists. The details of the architecture were stunning. At one point Dave had to take Daniel back to the hotel to go washroom, and there were no public washrooms in the Basilica. Amanda decided to go with them and we would meet up at the waterfront later when the weather cleared. So it was just Laura and I left.

We sat for a bit and just enjoyed the peace and quiet that came over the building as people started to leave. I started to wander around, looking at the shrine to Bishop Laval etc. At the back was a small display about the history of the Basilica back to the days of Champlain. Near the end of the display they talked about a crypt under the church with hundreds of Quebec's founding members remains. Which made me wonder if there might be some of Dave's ancestors underneath the Basilica. At this point they were announcing that the Basilica was closing, so I walked up to a couple of young men who appeared to be working at the Basilica and started to ask questions about the crypt. One of the young men was originally from Maine so he was my designated guide for the discussion of what is under the basilica. Turns out he was a direct descendant of one the Champlain's ship engineers but we determined it was a ship that came after Dave's ancestors Louis and Marie. Too make a long story short, he told me to come back the next day and we could have a tour of the crypt and access to the register listing the names of all the people down there. So basically Dave leaves me unattended for a period of time, I start to talk to strangers and end up with a tour in the bowels of the Notre Dame Basilica in old Quebec City. Not a bad start to our evening I believe. LOL

After being released from the Basilica, we were literally locked in, Laura and I wandered to the waterfront and met up with Dave and crew along the way. We were given our free 3D glasses and found a good spot where all of us would be able to see the show.

The show is a presentation of Quebec's history in 3d images projected on the silos. It started with prehistoric times and ended with today, and was about an hour long. Well worth it and best of all it was free.

Playing scrabble on my iPhone waiting for the show to begin.

We wandered back to our hotel room for the next day would get our tour of the crypt beneath the Notre Dame Basilica.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jenkins Family Road Trip Day 12, July 12

Today was the day we headed back to Canada, but first we had to get through Maine. We stayed over night in Bangor to break up the trip. Breakfast at Denny's across the street from the hotel we stayed at and we were on our way.

Maine is a gorgeous state, very much like home. Loved it.

Maine is full of lakes, rivers etc. and the scenery is gorgeous. Along the road to Quebec there were numerous look outs to stop at. We pulled over at one so we could stretch our legs and enjoy the fresh air. We stopped along the Kennebec River, where Benedict Arnold and his troops travelled on their ill fated trip to Quebec under the orders of George Washington in 1775. He started with 1100 men, and by the time they reached Quebec City, they were down to about 500, losing a number to sickness, desertion, accidents etc. The mission was a complete failure and in 1780 he was caught sending military secrets to the British. Dave and I wondered if his experience in Quebec affected his stance on the American Revolution, thus causing him to switch sides.

Closer to the Quebec/Maine Border we stopped at another lookout overlooking the mountains in Quebec. It was stunning, but unfortunately it was a hazy day and the view was not what it could be.

We arrived in Quebec City after dinner where we celebrated Daniel's 11th birthday. Yes, we gave the our son the gift of spending the day in the van for his birthday. We are awesome parents. Lol

After we arrived at our hotel in Quebec City, we gave Daniel some gifts we picked up up for him in D.C. I think we did well smuggling the gifts from D.C to Quebec and him not noticing.

The Birthday Boy himself.

Opening his gifts, from us, some packs of Baseball Cards, a wire Mandala. From Laura, Cosmos Kinetic Art , and from Amanda Newton's Cradle.

Watching his Newton's Cradle in action.

Our hotel in Quebec City was the Hotel Manoir Victoria. And we highly recommend this hotel to anyone visiting Quebec City. Its in the heart of Old Quebec, Valet Parking, excellent staff, clean and spacious rooms.

And this was the nighttime view from our room.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Jenkins Family Road Trip Day 11, July 11

Today was the day we visited Salem. I have always been fascinated by the history of Salem, specifically the witch trials, since I first heard about them years ago. We started out with the Salem Witch Museum. Just outside the museum is the impressive statue of the founder of Salem, Roger Conant facing the Salem common.

The Salem Witch Museum is housed in an old church. No pictures were allowed inside, but both Dave and I were impressed with the presentation. We start out in what use to be the sanctuary and is now a sitting area surrounded by dioramas depicting various scenes in the story of the Witch Trials of 1692 where 20 people were killed and more than 180 people accused and imprisoned on charges of witchcraft. All started by some girls showing "symptoms" some experts speculate what they did was out of boredom, basically 17th century mean girls, Puritan style. Other experts also speculate that the girls' symptoms were from a bacteria in wheat flour. I guess no one will know for sure. If you don't know the full story and are interested I recommend reading more information here. There is far too much for me to post here on my blog.

After the presentation on the witch trials and the horrors that were caused by these young girls and the beliefs at that time, we were ushered into another room which I was more than impressed with. They have a new exhibit titled WITCHES: EVOLVING PERCEPTIONS . The exhibit examines the evolution of the word witch and thankfully dispels many myths and misconceptions of the term "witch". Starting with the Celtic Wise woman, who was the local healer of her village and would help with delivery of children, taking care of the ill etc. Enter the early Christian church and for some reason the early church leaders were threatened by these wise women, and instilled fear of Satan and convinced people that these wise women were in league with the devil. Thus the witch hunts began, and unfortunately, though the Salem Witch Trials are famous, hundreds and thousands of people were killed at the hands of the Church, on charges of witchcraft. The exhibit ends with a recorded explanation from modern Wiccans what their religion is really about, and talks about how witch hunts still go on today, just in a different form i.e. Senator McCarthy, aids epidemic.

Afterwards went to see the the Witch Trial Memorial. The memorial is located next to the 17th Century Charter Street Burying Point.. Entering the memorial you will see an inscription of the victims' protests of innocence, which are interrupted mid sentence by the wall, "symbolizing society's indifference to oppression". In the centre are six locust trees, last to flower and first to lose their leaves "represents the stark injustice of the trials". At the rear, you see the wall is "crumbled" and looks out into the burying ground, "a reminder to all who stood mute witness to the hysteria". Along the wall, are 20 stone benches, each bearing the name and execution dates of each victim, in chronological order which they were killed.

Found this tombstone in the old burying ground from one of the original residents of Salem who came across the Mayflower. Totally fascinating.

While walking through Salem we found Daniels St. and we had to get a picture of Daniel standing under the street sign.

Also in Salem is America's oldest candy shop, the YeOlde Pepper Candy Companie The candy shop was started in 1806 by Mrs. Spencer who lost everything in a shipwreck on her way to America with her family, the citizens of Salem decided to help her out knowing she was a candy maker and gave her a barrel of sugar, which led to the Candy Shoppe. You can read the full history here. In the store, they had a huge jar full of Gibraltars, the candy Mrs. Spencer was famous for, the jar was found in the Hawthorne hotel during renovations, they believe the candy was made in the mid-late 1800's. Not sure how good it is now though.

Laura, Amanda and I decided to explore some shops, I was looking for a something special for Laura as an early 16th birthday present, and Dave and Daniel decided to explore the ship "Friendship". This is a replica of the original Friendship . The original ship was built in Salem in 1796 and travelled all around the world carrying all sorts of goods from spices to sugar to coffee. On her last voyage back to Salem, the war of 1812 had begun, but the crew didn't know about the war. They were captured by the British and were surprised to learn that the U.S. was at war with Britain. Friendship was then used by the British for the rest of the war to transport goods and troops. A model of the original ship is also on display at the Peabody Essex Museum .

I like to finish this post off with a couple of photos of Laura and Amanda hunting for shells along the shore in Salem. A beautiful port town as well. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to see everything we wanted, which means I have to come back to Salem again. Hopefully soon.