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Marie-Anne Gaboury

Rue Marie-Anne Gaboury

Marie-Anne Gaboury was born beside the St. Lawrence in the community of Maskinongé. Proving too young for farm labour, after her father died, Gaboury worked for years as assistant housekeeper at the local rectory. At 26, she married Jean-Baptiste Lagemodière, a fur trader who worked in the Hudson Bay territory. Shortly after their marriage, Jean-Baptiste decided to set out once again to hunt and trade. Marie-Anne insisted that she accompany him. Despite disapproving relatives and sceptical voyageurs, they ventured out together. She would be the first French-Canadian woman to travel into the West.

The years that followed saw the couple travelling much of the West, including a four year stay in the Fort Augustus region, now Edmonton. Many hardships were overcome by Gaboury and her husband. The two faced the difficult weather conditions of the Prairies, were threatened by hostile or curious Aboriginals and the conflict between the North West Company and their bitter rival, the Hudson’s Bay Company. Aided by friends, both Caucasian and Aboriginal (Jean-Baptiste’s skills as a hunter and traveller) the couple thrived in the harsh environment.

Gaboury and her husband had eight children, of whom one daughter—Julie—became the mother of the renowned Métis leader Louis Riel.

MacEwan, Grant. Marie-Anne. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books, 1984.

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