On my mother’s French side of the family, my Mississippi roots, I have a great-great grandmother, Mary Louise Fournier. She was born on the first of November in 1844, daughter of Andrew (or Andre) and Marie Morin Fournier. She married Francois “Frank” Fountain, Jr. in 1866, not long after the Civil War. Together she and Frank raised 10 children, including a set of twins; my great-grandfather, Armond, was the youngest. They raised their family in the sleepy fishing village of St. Martin, Jackson Co., MS, separated from Biloxi by Biloxi’s Back Bay. See Francois & Mary’s family group sheet here, which includes an interesting story of the history of St. Martin: Francois & Mary Louise Fournier Fountain Family
I was wondering what was the meaning of Fournier (and what did the name have to do with ‘water’ this time??)
On Genealogy.FamilyEducation.com, I found the following:
- French: occupational name for a baker, Old French fournier (Latin furnarius), originally the man responsible for cooking the dough in the fourneau ‘oven’ (see Baker). This surname is frequently Americanized as Fuller.
- There are many points of origin for the name Fournier in North America; bearers of this name arrived from all over France: from Limoges, Normandy (to Quebec city, 1651), Paris (to Trois Rivières, Quebec, 1657), La Rochelle (to Quebec city, 1670), Picardy (to Boucherville, 1688), and Orléans (to Quebec, 1670).
About.com states: An occupational surname from the Latin word “furnarius” meaning “man of the oven.” The term “furnus” meaning oven in Latin became “four” in modern French.
(If you’ve read my other posts on Surnames, you will know that I was relieved to know this surname has nothing to do with ‘water’, unless it was being boiled! However, the family did live on Biloxi’s Back Bay!)
Mary’s nickname was “La-Char.” I looked that up, too, and found it could mean “the chariot”, which could mean she was the driving force of the family, but with her maiden name, Fournier, I think maybe she burned too many dinners.
What do you think?
The little village of Winnetoon, Knox County, NE is one mile square. On all sides it is surrounded by tall corn fields. It is definitely in “the middle of nowhere, off the beaten path”. An even smaller fantasy village is situated within Winnetoon’s city limits. Winnetoon Board Walk Back in Time is spread over 9 of the 15 lots on West Main Street. Hidden among the wildflowers, prairie grasses and false buildings are creatures waiting to be found.
When asked “Why”, my answer has been, “To commemorate Winnetoon’s history in a fun way. Besides, I had Cowboy Joe to help. This has been my dream and Joe’s nightmare.”
When Dad’s sister died, my cousin, Alan, presented me with a box of old family photos. One depicted an elderly gentleman standing among several trees surrounded by strange creatures. Alan and I were at a loss.
Sometime later, I showed this picture to another cousin, Gary. He had a similar one from his mother, who had mentioned Uncle Claus. Still later, I met a distant cousin. Tom had the answer, along with many more photos. It was indeed Great Uncle Claus.
Claus Seltz (1872-1956), brother to Alan’s, Gary’s and my grandmother, Maria, and Tom’s grandmother, Catharina, came to Nebraska from Germany in 1887. He became an interpreter for the US government during WWI. In 1917 Claus wrote a book Direct Method Physical Development. Claus, who remained a bachelor, worked as an assistant district cashier for the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co. in WA. It was there he purchased half an island in the Columbia River. This he developed into a tourist attraction he named the Forest Glade Zoo. An inquiry to the state of WA shows no record of this venture.
His zoo was filled with fallen trees and rocks made into images of a man, an alligator and many weird creatures. The pictures my cousins had were promotional ones Uncle Claus had taken of his zoo.
After finding Uncle Claus, I have another answer to why I built my village…
“I am Uncle Claus revisited.”
…Gayle Neuhaus, Winnetoon, NE
Thank you, Cheri, of Those Old Memories, for the One Lovely Blog Award! I was so surprised to receive it…how nice of you to include me! As a new blogger, I wasn’t sure if anyone was reading my blog or not!! I also need to thank my cousin, Gayle Neuhaus, for all of her posts on my blog. She helps keep me going!
Thanks to all of my followers!
I have been known to visit graveyards on vacations. When my husband and I see old tombstones in a cemetery, we often stop and take a look around. I particularly love church and family cemeteries. They often contain beautiful, intricately carved stones, especially those of children. These old cemeteries provide mature shade trees, hydrangea and rose bushes along windy pathways, a special kind of beauty and peace. In Elmira, NY, is one of my favorite cemeteries – Woodlawn. It lies at the very end of Walnut Street. Once, after we first moved to Elmira, I had an argument with my husband. I stormed out of the house and took a drive. I ended up in that peaceful place and searched around for Mark Twain’s grave there. I forgot about being angry. Since then, it’s become a special place for my husband and I. We have even driven through there in the rain. It’s just that nice!
My homeschooled grandson is studying Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), and my mom and I had a chance to visit the Twain family home last fall in Hartford, CT, along with my daughter and grandson. It was a wonderful tour and our guide was very knowledgeable. Now I’m waiting for my grandson to visit me so he can get his fill of Mark Twain in Elmira. Elmira proudly boasts of its connection to Mark Twain. Not only is he buried there, but his wife, Olivia Langdon, was born there in 1845 and the couple was married there on February 2, 1870.
Four children were born to Samuel L. & Olivia L. Langdon Clemens:
Langdon Clemens (1870-1872)
Olivia Susan Clemens (1872-1896)
Clara Langdon Clemens (1874-1962)
Jane Lampton Clemens (1880-1909).
Clara Clemens was the only surviving child of Samuel Clemens. She married Ossip Gabrilowitsch, and had one child, Nina Clemens Gabrilowitsch (1910-1966). Twain’s direct family line ended when Nina died in 1966, with no children.
Jeff Glor, of CBS news, in his review of the book, states:
[He wrote] daily dictations over four years, about whatever he found interesting that day.
So was Mark Twain the first BLOGGER?
“I would say that is exactly right,” Hirst said. “Partly a journal, partly a diary, and partly recollection. So yeah, I think of it as a kind of blog, a blog without a web!” (Robert Hirst is curator of the Mark Twain Papers at UC Berkeley.)
Read more about Mark Twain & his Elmira connection by clicking the links below.