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Image of two gold wedding bands  ARCHIVED - I Do: Love and Marriage in 19th Century Canada

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The Meeting

Mary and Amédée

Their story starts with an exile.

Amédée's father, Louis-Joseph Papineau, was a leader in the ARCHIVED - Rebellion of 1837 in what was then Lower Canada. When the rebellion collapsed, the Papineau family went into exile. Amédée, the eldest son, stayed with family friends in Saratoga, New York, where he taught French at a girls' school.

In Saratoga, Amédée met the Westcott family, and over the course of the year 1840, he got to know James Westcott's young daughter, Mary Eleanor. He was 22; she was 19 and one of his students.

Journal entry by Amédée Papineau mentioning Mary Westcott. Saturday, May 23, 1840. Microfilm volume 33, p. 24
Source

Journal entry by Amédée Papineau mentioning Mary Westcott. Saturday, May 23, 1840. Microfilm volume 33, p. 24
[PDF 319.59 KB]

Journal entry by Amédée Papineau mentioning Mary Westcott. Monday, August 3, 1840. Microfilm volume 33, p. 36
Source

Journal entry by Amédée Papineau mentioning Mary Westcott. Monday, August 3, 1840. Microfilm volume 33, p. 36
[PDF 299.58 KB]

More Love Messages

Journal entries by Amédée Papineau mentioning Mary Westcott. Thursday, May 8 to Friday, May 9, 1845. Microfilm volume 35, p. 6

Source

Journal entries by Amédée Papineau mentioning Mary Westcott. Thursday, May 8 to Friday, May 9, 1845. Microfilm volume 35, p. 6
[PDF 337.54 KB]

Late in that year, Amédée admitted in his journal that he had fallen in love with her, just as he was due to travel to France for a reunion with his family. They corresponded while he was away. His journal records a letter from Mary that clarified her feelings: "I have received a letter from my dear Mary that dissipates all my fears and doubts."

Journal entry by Amédée Papineau mentioning Mary Westcott. Saturday, June 11, 1842. Microfilm volume 33, p. 185
Source

Journal entry by Amédée Papineau mentioning Mary Westcott. Saturday, June 11, 1842. Microfilm volume 33, p. 185
[PDF 292.33 KB]

Journal entry by Amédée Papineau mentioning Mary Westcott. Thursday, December 1, 1842. Microfilm volume 33, p. 222
Source

Journal entry by Amédée Papineau mentioning Mary Westcott. Thursday, December 1, 1842. Microfilm volume 33, p. 222
[PDF 296.18 KB]

But their courtship was long and difficult. Amédée returned from France to Saratoga in June 1843 to face Mary's father, James, who was anything but pleased to learn of their attachment. Mr. Westcott insisted that they wait four or five years to become engaged. His principal objection to the young man was his Roman Catholicism. The Westcotts were Presbyterian, and Mary's father did not want her to have to renounce her beliefs (Noël, 51-58).

Letter from James R. Westcott to Louis-Joseph-Amédée Papineau, Saratoga Springs. Received June 25, 1843. Page 1 Letter from James R. Westcott to Louis-Joseph-Amédée Papineau, Saratoga Springs. Received June 25, 1843. Page 2 Letter from James R. Westcott to Louis-Joseph-Amédée Papineau, Saratoga Springs. Received June 25, 1843. Page 3

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Letter from James R. Westcott to Louis-Joseph-Amédée Papineau, Saratoga Springs. Received June 25, 1843. Three pages

 

Letter from Mary Westcott to Louis-Joseph-Amédée Papineau, Saratoga Springs. June 30, 1843. Page 1 Letter from Mary Westcott to Louis-Joseph-Amédée Papineau, Saratoga Springs. June 30, 1843. Page 2 Letter from Mary Westcott to Louis-Joseph-Amédée Papineau, Saratoga Springs. June 30, 1843. Page 3 Letter from Mary Westcott to Louis-Joseph-Amédée Papineau, Saratoga Springs. June 30, 1843. Page 4

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Letter from Mary Westcott to Louis-Joseph-Amédée Papineau, Saratoga Springs. June 30, 1843. Four pages

 

Letter from James R. Westcott to Mary Westcott, Saratoga Springs. May 25, 1845. Page 1 Letter from James R. Westcott to Mary Westcott, Saratoga Springs. May 25, 1845. Page 2 Letter from James R. Westcott to Mary Westcott, Saratoga Springs. May 25, 1845. Page 3 Letter from James R. Westcott to Mary Westcott, Saratoga Springs. May 25, 1845. Page 4

Source

Letter from James R. Westcott to Mary Westcott, Saratoga Springs. May 25, 1845. Four pages

Was this the real reason for their trouble? Perhaps. It was certainly a serious concern. Mary herself raised doubts about whether they could manage their religious differences.