Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jerome Family Portrait

A lost family portrait is found!

Recently, Ed Merck posted an intriguing entry on the Kittson County Historical Society website:

A kind lady contacted me about a picture she found in a California antique mall. Fortunately, she found my website about the Jerome Family and offered me the picture for her cost. It is in excellent condition. What a find! Based on the apparent size of my Uncle Julius, the boy in the photo, I estimate the picture was taken around 1904-5. 

There are comments on the backside written by an unknown descendant of the Smith-Jerome families. I include them here:
Back Row:  Elizabeth Smith Burk (mom's sister), Anna Smith Irwin (Mother) 14 yrs., Angeline Jerome Parenteau (mom's aunt)(sitting), Marie (Mae) Smith (Panshab, Whiteside ) (Mom's sister), Roger Jerome (mom's uncle), James H Smith (mom's father) ((Hiram – Elizabeth Smith) mom's grandparents)(sitting), Martin Jerome (mom's uncle)
Front Row: Andre Jerome (mom's grandfather), Julius Jerome (Napoleon's son), Margaret Gooselaw (orig. spelling: Goselin) Jerome (mom's grandmother) (Her mother McKay King), Napoleon Jerome (mom's uncle) (his wife was Elizabeth Renville), Margaret Jerome Smith (Mrs. James Smith) (mom's mother)
This is the only picture I have of my grandfather Napoleon in his younger years. It shows him with the athletic appearance I pictured him having. I had heard stories when I was a kid about how he and his brothers raced across the Red River, swimming with their hands tied behind them. Andre had a homestead on each side of the Two Rivers where it joins the Red River, so I imagine that is where those races were held when they were young. Grandpa was a great 'buddy' to me when I was a kid when he would spend a few months a year in our home at Ada and Argyle. Unfortunately, I never knew Grandma.

Andre lived just North of Emerson on land given him by Hudson Bay Company, near the fort. In early census listings they were included in U. S. census because of confusion over border. That was before he was arrested and tried for treason against the Queen following the Fenian raid. Stories say he, and his brothers or sons were in the dray business and carried supplies for the raiders. He was imprisoned by the British in the 'Stone Fort' at Winnipeg; the trial ended in a hung jury so he was returned to prison for the winter, then tried again, and once again it ended with a hung jury. Following release, he moved to a homestead west of Hallock. 

At one time, Napoleon bought and lived on what had been Fort Pembina, which they called the 'fort farm' and my mother spent several of her younger years there. Amos (Napoleon's son) and his family lived in Pembina and some of his family lived in St. Vincent at one time or another...Joe Rolette's wife was Angelique Jerome, but I think they lived in Pembina (I'm not sure of that because Pembina County included much of what is now Kittson County...) Angeline Parenteau was a Jerome. Her son Mark became a noted artist. I accidentally met him when I was going through flying training in the Rio Grande Valley in 1957, so we became friends and I have a portrait he painted of me at that time. He spent winters there with his sister. I remember visiting him and his mother in St. Vincent when I was very young. At that time he was a teenager and I was impressed with the soap carvings he had whittled.

I just checked the 1857 census for St. Vincent, Pembina County, Minnesota. It lists several Jerome families including Andre, his father Martin, and some of Andre's brothers as well as Joe Rollette.