Obituary for Caroline (Dion) Gagne

Minneapolis Journal, May 1914

 

ONLY ONE HOUSE IN ST. ANTHONY WHEN PIONEER WOMAN CAME WEST

State Loses One of Earliest Settlers by Death of Mrs. Caroline Gagne.

In the passing of Mrs. Caroline Gagne, age 84 years old, who died a few days ago at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Joseph Premeau, 822 Ramsey street NE. She came here before Minneapolis existed and when there was only one house in St. Anthony.

Mrs. Gagne arrived in St. Anthony in 1854 from Quebec, where she was born Jan 12, 1830, to join her husband who had come two years before. For a year they made thier home on the East Side and then moved to a farm near Lake Calhoun. After two years Mr. Gagne felt that life on the quiet shores of Calhoun were not primitive enough. He had acquired a taste for maple sugar and decided to delve into the wilderness where he could tap the trees for himself.

Cut Path Through Wood

With a friend, he literally hewed his way through the woods to what is now the town of Corcoran, where he staked out his claim and made his home. The maples were plentiful and to this day the old Gagne homestead has the finest grove of royal maples in the state.

On this farm Mr. and Mrs. Gagne lived until 1886, when Mr. Gagne died, and the farm went to one of the sons, George, who, with his family, is still living on it. The couple had eleven children, eight of whom are living, sixty-six grandchildren, eight of whom have died, and sixty-four great-grandchildren, of whom fifty-five are living, or a total of 121 living descendants.

Hid Children From Indians

Mrs. Gagne often told of the hardships she and her husband had to undergo in the pioneer days, when the woods were full of Indians and wild beasts. She related stories of raids made by the savages which caused her to hide her children in the cellar and keep them under cover for days.

The funeral services were held at Notre Dame de Lourdes church on the East Side, and the interment was at Corcoran. The surviving children are: Mrs. Joseph Premeau, 822 Ramsey street NE; Mrs. Frank Cloutier, 512 Fifth Street NE; Mrs. John Belair, 724 Adams street NE; Mrs. E. La Belle, Glendive Mont., who formerly was proprietor of the French hotel on Nicolett avenue; George, Peter and Louis Gagne of Corcoran.