The Chicoine Family Reunion

Note: An updated post about this photograph, including a new date and additional identifications, was published in September 2021 and is available here.

A century ago, numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the French Canadian blacksmith Leon Chicoine and his wife Marie Vary were in the habit of gathering annually for an extended family reunion at Riverside Park in Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa.

In the summer of 1925, the Sioux City Journal printed the following:

200 ATTEND FAMILY PICNIC AT RIVERSIDE

More than 200 members of the Chicoine family, residing in Sioux City and surrounding territory, held their annual picnic at Riverside park Sunday. Several hundred of the family, which is one of the pioneer families of this part of the country, are located in northwestern Iowa, southeastern South Dakota and northeastern Nebraska.

The majority of those who attended the picnic were from Sioux City, Jefferson, S.D., Elk Point, S.D., and Salix, Ia. The oldest member of the family present was Mrs. Philip Bernard, Sioux City, 70 years old, and the youngest was Rose Chicoine, 6-month-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fedora Chicoine, of Jefferson. A basket dinner and a program of games and sports occupied the afternoon and evening.

The following year, a large group photograph—or rather several photographs pieced together—was taken at the family gathering, and featured just shy of one hundred and fifty individuals. The photograph is labeled Griebel Photo along with a street address; according to the 1926 Sioux City Directory, a Henry Griebel was indeed at that address, but his home and studio were elsewhere in 1925. Thus, the 1926 date provided for this photograph seems plausible—and the decade itself is undeniable when taking into account that the women almost uniformly have their hair bobbed! Riverside Park, the location of the reunion, was a popular summer gathering place along the Sioux River, offering swimming, boating, and other recreational activities. 1926 marked the final year that Riverside Park would host the popular Interstate Fair, and an amusement park would open there the following year.

Chicoine Family Reunion, Riverside Park, Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa, 1926; digital image 2021, courtesy of Jeanette Borich; privately held by Ken Chicoine, 2021.

There is, fortunately, a key for this photograph, with many thanks to the late Maurice Chicoine. However, it is incomplete and not without error. If you recognize any kin in the photograph, please feel free to comment so that the key can be confirmed and/or updated accordingly. The names from the original key are transcribed below:

Photo 1 Top Row: Agnes Chicoine, Emma Chicoine, Pauline Lambert, Elsie Montagne, Carrie Chicoine, Odile Chicoine, Luella Limoges Chicoine, Delia Brault, Albina Chicoine, Louise Ryan Chicoine, Edna Quintal Chicoine, Mrs. Alphonse Chicoine, Mrs. Bob Wyant, Mrs. Quintal

Photo 1 Middle Row: Alphonse Chicoine, Alex Chicoine, Denis Chicoine, Edgar Chicoine, Edmond Chicoine, Odias Chicoine, Elmer Chicoine, Leo Chicoine, Conrad Chicoine, Emil Chicoine

Photo 1 Front Row: Orville Chicoine, Ferdinand Chicoine, Donald Chicoine, …?, Ilian Bertrand, Wallace Chicoine, Theresa Chicoine, Doris Chicoine, Bernice Chicoine, Veronica Chicoine, Madonna Chicoine, Marc Chicoine, Hubert Chicoine

Photo 2 Top Row: Ora Quintal, Ella Quintal, Rose Montague, Martin Chicoine, Cora Chicoine, Marty …?, Martin Quintal, Adrian Chicoine, Leander Bertrand, Mrs. J. B. Fountain, Ruth Chicoine?, Aloysius Bourassa, Esther Bourassa, Laura Montagne Chicoine, Orise Montagne, Rachel Chicoine Dougherty holding Richard, Dalma Beaubien Montagne

Photo 2 Middle Row: Eugene Chicoine, Philip Bernard, Joe Montagne, Bert Crevier and baby, Fedora Chicoine, Leonard Chicoine, J. B. Fountain, William Chicoine?, T. D. Dougherty and child, Art Chicoine, Louis Beaubien, Clarence Montagne

Photo 2 Front Row: Claire Montagne, Madonna Chicoine, Gabriel Sirois, Oswald Montagne and child, Lucille Crevier, Maurice Chicoine

Photo 3 Top Row: Priest from Salix, Wiska Derauleau, Viola Montagne, Rosella Montagne, …?, Mr. Adams, Mrs. Adams, Sophia Menard, Mrs. Eugene Bosse, Joe Chicoine, Mrs. Joe Chicoine, Obeline Chicoine Lambert, Corrine Chicoine, Mayme Chicoine, Gertie Crevier Chicoine, Leona Chicoine Crevier, Yvone Morin Chicoine, Beatrice Chicoine, Rose Langle Chicoine, Arsenia Allard Chicoine

Photo 3 Middle Row: Joe Gregoire, Sylvester Montagne, Laurence and child, …?, Ernest Menard, Maxine Chicoine, Charlotte Crevier, …?

Photo 4 Top Row: Simone Sirois, Bertha Sirois, Genevieve Sirois, Happy Jauron with child, Mrs. Jauron, Delphine Chicoine, Irene Trudeau, Marie Perrault Chicoine, Amanda Chicoine, Regina Benjamin Chicoine, Elise Chicoine Benjamin, Marcella Chicoine, Christina Chicoine Bourassa, Mrs. Alex Bourassa

Photo 4 Middle Row: Fabien Lambert, Raymond Chaussee, Joe Chicoine, Hermidas Chicoine, Gerome Gadbois and child, Alfred Chicoine, Isaac Benjamin, Alex Bourassa, John Bourassa, Gerard Chicoine

Photo 4 Front Row: …?, …?, Pauline Chicoine, Janette Chicoine, Loretta Chicoine, …?, Bourassa child, Roger Bourassa

Not named in the key are my great-great-grandparents, Henry Joseph Adam and his wife Melanie Veronica Lutz, immediately recognizable to me although I never met either one. Two individuals standing near them, recorded as “Mr. and Mrs. Adams,” are, I believe, Henry’s uncle and aunt, Peter Adam and his wife Elizabeth Courtmanche. Both Peter and Henry’s father Timothy Adam, who died several years before this photograph was taken, were sons of Timothée Adam and Marguerite Chicoine, Marguerite being a daughter of the aforementioned Leon Chicoine and Marie Vary.

I was introduced to this photograph upon meeting for the first time a distant cousin and fellow genealogist, Jeanette Borich, in 2019. We were stunned to find that my great-great-grandmother Melanie (Lutz) Adam was standing immediately to the right of her stylishly-dressed grandmother Viola (Beaubien) Montagne in this photograph, and like to think that they would be pleased that their descendants are in touch nearly a century later.

Copyright © 2021 Melanie Frick. All Rights Reserved.


SOURCES

“200 Attend Family Picnic at Riverside,” The Sioux City Journal, 04 August 1925; digital image, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 15 March 2021).

Photos: Historic Images of Sioux City’s Riverside Neighborhood,” The Sioux City Journal, 20 November 2020.

“Riverside Park,” Sioux City History (www.http://www.siouxcityhistory.org/art-a-leisure/80-riverside-park : accessed 15 May 2021).

17 thoughts on “The Chicoine Family Reunion

  1. Jeanette Borich

    Good Morning and BRAVO, Melanie!

    I cannot wait to learn who responds to this. This is quite exciting. I am so lucky to be able to collaborate with you and others to learn more about our heritage.

    When you have time, can you send me a photo of Melanie Lutz, your namesake (hope I used that word correctly)? I won’t post it, but it would be fun to see another pic of her—especially since she is incorrectly labeled as my great Aunt Rosella.

    Jeanette

    >

    Reply
  2. Jean Novotny

    Melanie, one well-known Chicoine from Elk Point is David, who is president emeritus of South Dakota State University. I believe he now lives in the Sioux Falls area. Also, I am a descendant of the Fricks who were among the first settlers of Dakota Territory. They came from Liechtenstein to Iowa in the 1850s but originally came from the Frick Valley in Switzerland. Two of the brothers settled in the Jim River valley east of Yankton.

    Reply
    1. Melanie Frick Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Jean! I haven’t forgotten that I owe you some scans from the 1916 SNS Yearbook and I promise I will get those to you soon! :) I know I saw Frick portraits in the old Dakota Territorial Museum in Yankton years ago. My husband’s ancestors were not in Dakota Territory, but I know there are Swiss origins so it’s possible that the lines are connected.

      Reply
    2. Ellen Chicoine Little

      Hi Jean and Melanie, Thank you for this amazing picture and bit of history!!! David is my brother and divides his time between Volga and Chicago. We are the grandchildren of Elmer and Louise Chicoine. Our dad, Roland was born in 1922 but doesn’t seem to be pictured.
      Ellen Chicoine Little
      Sacramento, CA

      Reply
      1. Melanie Frick Post author

        Hi Ellen, Thank you for your comment! Not all of the children in the photograph are identified, so I wonder if your father might be one of them…

  3. Nancy

    Wow! What a find!
    Don’t you love the old photographers who could photograph 150 people and have all their faces appear so clearly (even if in four different sections)!? And don’t you love modern technology that allows you to scan and enlarge such a photograph so that you can almost create portraits of each person?! You have a wonderful treasure in this photograph. I hope you get enough responses from kin to eventually be able to identify everyone in the photo.

    Reply
    1. Melanie Frick Post author

      Thank you, Nancy! I hope so too. Yes – the clarity of the original photograph is amazing, as is the technology we have now to be able to preserve, enhance, and share it!

      Reply
  4. Jeanette Borich

    Hi Melanie–I forgot to mention–as an edit to Maurice Chicoine’s key–Dalma Beaubien, my great grandmother and Viola Beaubien Montagne’s mother, should be identified as Dalma Cyr Beaubien instead of Dalma Beaubien Montagne. I look forward to many others contributing identifications and edits as we enjoy this amazing piece of Jefferson, SD history.

    Reply
  5. Michael Malloy

    Thanks so much for posting this photo Melanie. I’ve enjoyed secretly reading your blog for a few months now and can’t contain myself not to respond this most recent post… I so love these old photos of relatives. I know I’ll have hours of fun scanning this in detail for family members. thanks Again!, Mike

    Reply
      1. Mike Malloy

        Sohia Menard (nee Chicoine) is my great grandmother. She is standing near your Great-Great Grandparents. Mrs. Alex Bourassa (nee Mary Philomine Brouillette) is my Great Aunt, among others. I was born in 1950 so don’t recognize anyone but know I’m related directly and by marriage to many in the photograph

  6. Denyse Meister

    In the 2nd photo, middle row, There is a ? behind William Chicoine, That is him, he is my grandfather

    Reply
  7. Denyse Meister

    Happy is Leopold Jauron’s nickname. Hi wifes name is Eva Marie Chicoine. He is holding Elizabeth. Based on the year o the picnic, it would have to be Joseph Chicoine’s 2nd wie, Marie Pepin.

    Reply
  8. Karen Martin

    So glad to have this reunion photo! I see my grandparents, Edgar and Laura Montagne Chicoine and their daughter Madonna. Somewhere may be my children Marlene and Harvey. Edgar is son of Joseph Philias Chicoine and grandson of Leon Chicoine. Many of Edgar’s sisters are present.

    Reply
    1. Melanie Frick Post author

      Thank you for your comment, Karen! I’m glad you were able to pick out several family members! And yes, some of the children are still unidentified – feel free to share if you are able to spot Marlene or Harvey among them.

      Reply

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