The sad death of Mr. Telesphore Turgeon, who was burned in the recent fire at Hinckley, Minnesota, calls to mind the occasion on which he was a victim of one of the worst boating accidents that ever occurred in Almonte. In June, 1868, the late Mr. Turgeon, in company with two of his wife’s sisters, Maggie and Lizzie Varin, aged about fourteen and eight years, and his little son, started from above the railroad bridge to have a sail up the river.
When fairly out in the stream one of the oars broke, thus leaving the boat at the mercy of the current. Mr. Turgeon jumped out and tried to draw the skiff to the shore, but the current proved too strong, and he was swept over the falls along with the boat and its occupants.
The children were all drowned, but Mr. Robert Brown, a law student in the office of Mr. (now Judge) Jamieson dove after and succeeded in rescuing Mr. Turgeon in a lifeless condition, after he had been on the bottom for some time, and he was resuscitated.Mr. Turgeon afterwards presented Brown with a handsome gold medal in recognition of his bravery. Mr. Turgeon was insured in the Almonte branch of the’ C.M.B.A. for $2000.
Also read-The Almonte Ladies Barber and After an Hour’s Hard Work with Pails all the Danger was Over… and Great Hinckley Fire
Margaret Williams was left a widow at age 42 with seven surviving children. The eldest Claire (aka Clara) was 20, just married and gave birth to a son Eusebe Telesphore Turgeon within a week of his grandfather’s death. Eusebe Varin’s business probably failed following his death and it appears that Margaret Williams moved to Almonte, Ontario with her children. Daughter Claire and her husband Telesphore Turgeon went too. Almonte was a booming mill town about 30 miles from Ottawa on the Mississippi River a tributary of the Ottawa River.
Information from Family Trees put up on Ancestry shows that Margaret Williams died in Almonte on the 21 Sept 1867 at the age of 45. I have not yet been able to confirm this. She left seven children orphans with married daughter Claire age 22 the eldest.
Information from Family Trees on Ancestry is that the two youngest Varin girls ages fourteen and nine and their three year old nephew Eusebe Telesphore Turgeon, the son of their eldest sister, all died on 11 June 1868. Information is that the youngest girl drowned. Clara Varin Turgeon and her husband Telesphore Turgeon lived in Almonte until well into the 1880s and had a number of children.
The family then moved to Minnesota, USA, to the area between Duluth and Minneapolis where Telesphore died in the huge Hinkley forest fire in 1895. The rest of the family survived and the children married. Their descendents live in the States.
Up until the 19th century barbers were generally referred to as barber-surgeons, and they were called upon to perform a wide variety of tasks. They treated and extracted teeth, branded slaves, created ritual tattoos or scars, cut out gallstones and hangnails, set fractures, gave enemas, and lanced abscesses