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Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
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Often there are interesting and striking differences in the legends that are passed down through the generations and what the researcher actually finds. The Pecor family is an excellent example. Both versions have an important place in the family history.

The Legend gives life to the people and describes what our ancestors thought, how they reacted, what was appropriate behavior for the times, the difficulties they faced daily, their goals, hopes, virtues and vices.

The researched story provides the details that make the history complete. It clarifies relationships, documents events and is an important link to the past, for generations of the future.

Please click on the name below.
 PECOR - PECARD Family History

This presentation is a summary of the research that provides an accurate history of the Pecor family back to the original existance in France. This is the family of record.


This is the family of local legend, a summary of information written in the Oconto County Reporter  and several books by George Hall. It is derived from the oral history passed down through generations. This is the family of romance and adventure.


This is a more recent picture of the family in Wisconsin as it was documented in the Oconto County Reporter.

For more on the Pecor - Picard Family, please visit Ellen Picard's Web Site:
The Picard Surname Homepage



submitted by Barbara Vander Leest PhD
The contributor welcomes e-mail on the family and will graciously share her wealth of Pecor research.

So much has been written on the Picard/Pecor family, but unfortunately much of it is less than accurate. I suspect that "old timers" took great joy in embellishing and creating stories for questions to which they did not know the answer! In any case, a fortuitous find of an obituary naming the Canadian hometown of one of the Pecor brothers, has lead to a thorough and documented look at the Picard/Pecor families of Oconto.

At the time the brothers came to Wisconsin, they were all using the Picard surname. In Wisconsin the name evolved to Pecor because that is what the French pronounciation of the name sounds like in English. Records have been found with the name spelled Picard, Pecor, Picor, Pecard and Pecore.

True to his name, the immigrant ancestor of the Oconto Pecors was born in 1637 in Notre Dame de Montreuil, Picardie, France. Philippe Destroismaisons came to French Canada as a young man and married Martine Crosnier at Chateau Richer, Quebec on 18 Nov 1669. They had 13 children, the ninth, Charles Destroismaisons was born 1684 and died 1750. He married three times, and by his 2nd marriage to Marie Madeleine Boule had a son Paul now called Destroismaisons  dit Picard. Paul, by his second marriage, to Marie Janot, produced 11 children, including Paul Basile Picard dit Destroismaisons b. 1762 d. 1825. From his marriage to Marie Marthe Soucy, Paul Basile Picard had 10 children, two of whom interest us, a son Basile b. 1786, and a son Marcel b. 1795 in St. Roche, Quebec. Basile Picard, from his marriage to Elizabeth Lefebvre, had a son Paul-Basile (b. 1811) who appears to be the father of Joseph Pecor of Oconto. Marcel Picard was the father of the four Pecor brothers who settled in Oconto, John Baptiste, Peter, David and Felix. Thus Joseph Pecor and the Pecor brothers were first cousins once removed.

Marcel Picard was bom 16 April 1795 in St. Roch des Auln, Quebec and married at Louiseville, Maskinonge, Quebec on 26 Feb 1816 to Marie Belonger the daughter of Augustin Belonger and Marguerite Juneau ( a distant relative of Solomon Juneau the founder of Milwaukee). They had twelve children baptised at Louiseville and Maskinonge, Quebec, seven of whom survived childhood and married. All seven of these children ended up in Oconto, Wisconsin. The seven surviving Picard children are:

3 - Felicite Picard b. 29 Mar 1820 Maskinonge
5 - John Baptiste Picard b. 13 Nov 1822 Maskinonge
6 - Peter Picard bp. 23 Jul 1824 Maskinonge
8 - MarieCexofint Picard bp. 25 W 1829 Maskinonge
10 - Marie Eleonard Picard b. 20 Feb 1833 Maskinonge
11 - David Picard b. 30 Jan 1836 Maskinonge
12- Felix Picard b. 6 Jan 1838 Maskinonge

Felicite Picard married 10 Jan 1843 at Ste. Ursule, Maskinonge, Quebec to Ignatius/Ignace LeFebvre. They had 11 children, the first 8 born in Ste. Ursule, the last 3 in Oconto. They came to Oconto in 1857 where the name became La Fave. Felicite died 5 June 1896 and Ignace died 11 June 1899. Both are buried in the Catholic Cemetery in Oconto, but no tombstone survives.

John Baptiste Picard married 29 Aug 1848 in Ste. Ursule to Emerence Valliere. They had 10 children, the first 4 born in Ste. Ursule, the rest in Oconto. They came to Oconto about 1855. John died 19 May 1910 and his wife 21 Sept 1911. Both were buried in the Catholic cemetery.

Peter Picard married 15 July 1850 in Brown County (St. John the Evangelist Church - "The Old French Church") to Angelique Couchaine who was 1/2 Menomimee through her mother. According to the Menominee Tribal Rolls, her Menominee name was Pe To Pan; no connection to a chief, or reference to her being a "Princess' are listed. Her father was probably Michael Couchaine, a French Canadian, who filed a Declaration of Intent in Brown County in 1847. Angelique died 30 Aug 1863 in Oconto, and according to the St Peter's parish register, was buried in the Catholic Cemetery. There remains today a tombstone for Angelique in the cemetery. These two facts together probably indicate that Angelique was not buried on the reservation as is often written. Peter Picard first came to Wisconsin in the late 1840's and settled in the Duck Creek area of Brown County. On the 1855 Wisconsin state census he is listed in the town of Howard in Brown County. In 1858 he patented two parcels of 40 acres each in Oconto County, part of which became his substantial holdings in "Frenchtown" on Oconto's west side. Peter was instrumental in forming a French Catholic church in Oconto for the burgeoning French Canadian population. He donated the land for the church which was named St Peter's in his honor. As late as 1875, Peter is found in the City of Oconto, but after that he apparently lived with his married son Marcel/Marshal on the reservation where he died around 1920. No record of his death or burial has been found, although the stories of his burial on the reservation are probably accurate. Since Angelique was apparently buried in Oconto, Peter is probably buried near his son Marcel who predeceased him and who lived on the reservation. Peter and Angelique had 4 known children of whom  3 survived to marry. Since they were born before the formation of St Peter's, their baptisms are found in the French Church in Green Bay.

Marie Caroline Picard is probably the Caroline married to Frank Oliver Gravel,as his first wife. Caroline died 27 Jan 1884. Frank Gravel married second 4 July 1888 to Lucy Cote. Little is known of Caroline and Frank, and the connection is still suspect but probably correct.

Marie Eleonard/Eleonore Picard married 25 Nov 1861 in Ste. Ursule to Olivier Danneau as his second wife. They came to Oconto about 1864/5 where Olivier died 13 Oct 1888. Eleonore had at least 5 children with Danneau, but only two survived (Olivier had several children with his first wife who came to Oconto with their father). Eleonore died 18 March 1909 in Oconto and is buried in the Catholic Cemetery.

David Picard married 13 Aug 1871 at St Peter's Church in Oconto to Sophia Filatreau/Filiatro(?). David may have been previously married since his oldest son was born in Canada prior to his reported marriage in Oconto. According to his obituary, David moved from Oconto to Menominee, MI. in 1884. He died there 8 Jan 1921. His wife died about 1908; they had six surviving sons and a daughter.

Felix Picard married 12 Aug 1856 in Yamachiche, Quebec to Philomene Grenier, and remained in Ste Ursule until the death of his parents. He came to Oconto with his family in 1873 although he had been there with his brother Peter in the 1850's. Felix and Philomene had 9 known children. He died 11 Nov 1914, and hismfe died 16 May 1921. Both are buried in the Catholic Cemetery in Oconto.
Joseph Pecard was probably  the son of Paul Picard and Elizabeth Lachance. He was born 23 May 1825 in Louiseville, Quebec (near Maskinonge), and married about 1862 to Domethilda Bellanger. According to his 1869 Declaration of Intention, Joseph came to Wisconsin in 1853. The 1900 census indicates that the couple had 17 children, although evidence of only 15 has been found. Seven of the children, all sons, survived childhood. Joseph died 28 July 1915 and his wife followed him on 19 Feb 1921. Joseph was a first cousin once removed to the seven Picard siblings discussed in the following entries. On this Oconto web page he was called John Pecor.

Much additional information on this extended family is available. Many of the dates are from census records, tombstones or church records examined at the Green Bay Diocese Archives in Green Bay. Any corrections or additions with proofs are welcomed. Please click on the name for a direct e-mail connection:  Barbara Vander Leest PhD


Submitted by Dave Cisler

If Oconto was built on lumber (as it's often said), then the city owes much of its foundation to John Pecor and his sons, all but one of whom were lumberjacks in the time when "lumber was king".

The exception was Joe, who turned to railroading as a livelihood. But with six hefty sons wielding axes in the north woods for many years, it would be difficult to estimate how many of the trees they felled went into the homes and buildings of the city or formed the sawdust on which the streets are built.

John Pecor was one of the town's earliest pioneers, arriving in time to help build Oconto's first sawmill, Jones' watermill, at Susie's hill. He was born in Canada in 1825, the grandson of a Frenchman who had deserted from Napoleon's army and fled first to England and then to Canada. In 1844, when he was 19, he came to the United States.

John spent some time in Pennsylvania and in 1854 moved on to Oconto, traveling by boat to Green Bay and making it the rest of the way on an Indian trail through the woods, carrying his truck on his back. Peter Pecor, generally considered to be the founder of Frenchtown, was already living here, running a trading post for the Hudson Bay Company on what is now Pecor Street, and John stayed with him when he first arrived.

But whether John came to Oconto through Pete Pecor, or even if they were in any way related, no one seems to know, according to information received from John's last living son, Fred Pecor, who lives at 907 Fabry street in Oconto.

In any event, John married soon after arriving here and went to work for the Gardner Lumber Company in Pensaukee. He made the trip back and forth on weekends on foot, but soon gave that up to go to work for the Holdt & Balcom Lumber Company as a wagon maker, remaining with Holts for 68 years.

John's forte was carpentry and, besides helping build the water mill, he also helped with the construction of the Comstock mill, situated further up river, which turned out barrel staves. Later he was one of the builders of Holt's shingle mill, located across the street from the hospital, until it burned in the 1930's.

John also built three houses which are still standing in the city, but this was a matter of necessity. All in all, he fathered 17 children and as the family outgrew one abode, he built a larger one. The first Pecor home was the house on Main street, just west of the railroad crossing, now owned by Jack Trempanier. The second is the present home of Mrs Rose Mineau on Pecor street, and the last house John built was at 1023 McDonald street. This was originally much larger than it is shown here and had, in fact, 21 doors. The mortality rate among children was high in those early days, and at the time the picture of the seven boys was taken, they were all that remained in the family. One son drowned near Susie's hill while watching fishermen spear sturgeon in the river.

One of the stories John used to tell his boys was the great excitement in town at the time of the great Peshtigo fire in October, 1971. Before he left to go down to Sugarbush to help fight the spreading blaze, he put a ladder down the well and gave instructions to his wife that she was to take the children and crawl down into the well if the fire came close.

Besides being lumbermen, the seven sons were also soldiers, Joe and Ed fought in the Spanish-American War of 1898 (Ed lost an eye in the fighting) and all the brothers were members of the city's first National Guard unit, Company M, Fred enlisted in the regular army in 1908 and spent three years at Vancouver Barracks in Washington state. Fred's two sons, the late Donald Pecor, and John Pecor were in the Army in World War II. Fred's wife of 56 years is the former Gertrude Belle Barribeau.

Other decendants of John still living in Oconto are Laurence Pecor, a son of Frank, a long-time member of the city council and presently chairman of the board of public works and also a member of the Oconto county board of supervisor's; Ernest "Friday" Pecor, John Jr's son, owner of the Log Chateau; and Roy and Leonard Pecore, both sons of Albert.

Although some have tried, none of the latter day Pecors has been successful in tracing down their early lineage in France. An unsubstantiated story has it that three brothers jumped ship in France to avoid conscription into Napoleon's army and that two subsequently went to Canada and the other settled in this country in what was, in the 18th century, French territory and later became the Louisianna Purchase, of which Wisconsin was part.

The story further says that the brothers changed their original surname to Picard (Picarde, Picardy) after jumping ship, taking the name of the area they came from, Picardy, France. Growing from this is the belief that the family has estates in France but that they were unable to claim them because of their defection from the country. True or not, and it well may be a likelihood, it's interesting to think that Oconto ancestors are the legal heirs of the land that inspired the famous song, "Roses of Picardy".


Historical study of the Pecor family indicates that the name is of French origin and was originally spelled "Pecard" but pronounced Pecor. The family goes back to Picardie, France, where there was the Picard Estate surrounded by the village of Picardie. At the time of the "Wars of Picardie", three brothers owned the estate. Each left everything they owned in the "Old World" to settle in Montreal, Canada. The grandson of one of these brothers was Peter Pecor, who settled in Oconto County many years later. He was the eldest of four brothers, named Felix, John, and Davis.

Not long after arriving in what is now Oconto, Peter married the princess daughter of one of the last Native Chieftens to hold counsel in the ancient Indian Village of Oconto. His bride's name was Angelique Courchaine. She was much sought after as a marriage partner by both native men and new settlers, due to her intelligence, work ethic, and gracious beauty. At first the marriage did not have the approval of her father.

There are many legends that colorfully describe this tall and handsome Canadian. He owned much of the land that is now "Frenchtown" in the city of Oconto and was considered a wealthy and prominent leader and guide to community affairs and relations. He donated land for the original St. Peter Catholic Church and Cemetery and helped build th original log building. Being a firm believer in education, he also donated and help build the first school in the village, which was named after him and stood on what is now Center Street. He sold land to the Oconto Lumber Company and laid out the lots and blocks that were sold to families for many of the homes that still stand.

At the time of his arrival, about 1849, there were some mills along the Oconto River in the village area, and a few settlers. Only well worn paths, and no roads, entered and exited the settlement.

The children of Peter and Angelique settled in other parts of Oconto County, such as Town of How to the west, where Pecor Creek bares the family name. After his wife died, Peter went to live with her people on the reservation. Upon his death the Indians refused to let his body be buried in the City of Oconto. They wanted him to "sleep his long sleep" where his wife, Angelique, was buried. There is no trace of his grave to be found, but legend passed down through generations indicates he lies where the "Little Oconto", near South Branch, joins the Oconto River. His beloved Angelique lies buried nearby in the Reservation Cemetery.

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