The Quenettes

ca. 1785 to 1891

 

Mom recalls hearing that her grandfather DeLace Johnston's grandmother was French Canadian. Though we have found that his grandmother Quenette was not born in Canada, it appears that she was of French descent and her father Francis was indeed born in Canada.

Francis Quinett had married his wife Eleanor by 1820 and had moved to New York State by 1827. Their children included Archibald, Alexander, George, Mary, and a son whose name is unknown to us.

Alexander was born in Steuben County, NY in 1827. He married Clarinda Galutia on the first of December, 1850 in Hornellsville in the same county.

Clarinda was born in adjacent Allegany County in 1835, so it is likely she was no older than 15 when they married. Her great-grandfather, probably of French descent, appears to have immigrated from the Isle of Jersey, off the coast of Normandy and Brittany. Clarinda's grandfather Jacob served in the Revolutionary War.

Alexander and Clarinda had six children, the oldest of whom was Elizabeth Eleanor, the mother of DeLace Johnston. They followed Clarinda's sister Sophia and Sophia's husband Charles Smith to Houston, Minnesota in 1857. Eleanor was probably age 5 at the time. Clarinda's parents and her borther Jacob also moved to Houston, though Jacob eventually returned to the East Coast.

Alexander Quenette died of pneumonia while serving in the Civil War. He died in Madison during the first days of Spring in the last year of the War. His age was about 37, and his oldest child, Eleanor, was only 12. The premature death of Alex must have had a traumatic effect on his family. His oldest children Eleanor and Isabelle married at ages 15 and 13 in Saint Paul, and had moved further North within two more years. Clarinda married twice more, and spent her last years in an asylum for the insane in Rochester. She died there at about age 67. Though she remained in Southeast Minnesota and Northeast Iowa, most of her children followed Eleanor and Isabelle northward. We know that Frank and George did and William did not, but we don't know knothing about the youngest child, Jennie.

From central Minnesota, Frank moved to Hope, North Dakota twice, and eventually settled in Saskatchewan. George settled near Hope, ND. William stayed in Houston.

Seeing that two of Eleanor's borthers moved to the Hope, ND around 1890, it may be that she died on a return trip from there rather than somewhere in Kansas. After all, Kansas was a long way south, and already settled.

We have managed to contact the descendants of Frank and George to date.

 

Dan Jensen

9 March, 2001