About Minnie's Diary
Minnie's Diary belonged to Marie Amelié "Minnie" Gamache, my great-grandmother. It provides a brief written record of her life in 1904 on a farm north of Hermansville, Michigan.
Minnie was born on Feb. 8, 1884, near Rimouski in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region of French Canada. She is shown below with her parents, Peter and Ora (Dubé) Gamache, who were also natives of Rimouski. The family immigrated to Champion, Michigan, in 1884. Minnie's three brothers were born in Champion: Edmund in 1887, William in 1888 and Frederick in 1890. Sometime in the 1890s they moved to Hermansville in Menominee County.
Peter and Ora and their children built their Meyer Township home in the middle of a French-Canadian community, turning cut-over, stump-filled forest land into farmland, where they grew potatoes and raised cattle, pigs and other livestock.
For more on the Gamache family's journey from French Canada to America, see this blog post from December 2020.
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Disclaimer: While the diary entries are real, the stories I've created to illustrate Minnie's life are fictional. They are based on my research into the history of Hermansville and its residents, but should not be taken literally. I welcome your corrections and alternate interpretations.
-- Jodi Perras, Minnie's great-granddaughter
The Peter Gamache Family, 1904.
Top row, l. to r., Edmund, Minnie and William. Bottom row, l. to r., Frederick, Aurora and Peter.
The illustration below shows the French-Canadian community living north of Hermansville, based on a 1912 plat book of Menominee County. Minnie's father, Peter Gamache, owned 120 acres outlined in orange. Many names here will show up in Minnie's Diary throughout 1904. Also shown are Hermansville and "Frenchtown," an older French-Canadian community. (Map not drawn to scale.)
Below is the 1912 plat book map for Township 39 North, Range 27 West, including the Gamache farm. If you're interested in exploring these Menominee County maps, you can access them via Hathitrust and the University of Michigan at this link.
Image source: Hathitrust and University of Michigan, public domain.