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Guy Billard sent us this interesting article about Jean-Baptiste Lepage (called Pierre Lepage) of St. Columban - who had 3 wives and fathered 43 children (16 of them were girls and the rest boys) between 1892 & 1940. The article is in French so maybe Anne McLaughlin can provide a proper translation at some point for our American cousins....

I thought this article I got from the SHGV archives on St Colomban would be of interest to your members.



Bonjour Guy,
I am translating the article that you kindly submitted on J. B. Lepage. I have some questions. Could you contact me at my Email address: Grand merci, Anne
Thanks to Anne McLaughlin, we now have an English Translation of the article about Pierre Lepage....

Translation ? Article on Jean Baptiste Lepage from St.Columban

Under Photos
Family grouping :
Jean Baptiste Lepage while he was living in St.Columban with some of his 43 children

Woman & Child:
Rose de Lima Francoeur, Jean Baptiste?s third wife, who bore 21 children

J. B. Lepage who bred 43 childrenTitle:
Before contraception methods in St.Columban

Fifty years ago, on September 19, 1948, Jean Baptiste Lepage died, a giant of a man who stood over six (6) feet tall, and weighed more than 340 pounds. A man that left his mark and where a souvenir of him is engraved in the memory of his numerous descendents, his 43 children, who went on to add to the multitude?

Author: Gilles Pilon

Jean Baptiste Lepage, aka Pierre Lepage, who with his three wives did indeed have 43 children, 16 girls and the remainder were boys. Although Jean Baptiste?s achievements do not rate in the Guinness Book of records, he had his first daughter on March 4, 1892, and his last daughter on October 23, 1940, all in St.Columban, in the Laurentians.

One for whom ?la revanche des berceaux? (the cradle?s revenge ? rapid population increase), was taken quite literally, since he was lawfully married to three different women ? Rose de Lima Campeau (5 children), Parmelia Bri?re (16 children), and Rose de Lima Francoeur (21 children) ? before his days came to an end at the venerable age of 77 years.


His youngest son, Joseph, Bernard, Ghyslain Lepage has few memories of his father. ?You see, there were seventy (70) years between us, so it can?t be said that we were very close to each other, and there were also many people in the house. At this time, we were still fourteen (14) people to sit down to eat?, so stated the youngest member of the family.

Bernard does remember that the family was poor, even though the father worked daily from morn ?till night. Jean Baptiste was a roofer, a tinsmith, a plumber, and even? an embalmer, all this in the village of St.Columban.

?Even though we were poor, my father was always welcoming and the village children called him P?p?re Lepage. He did enjoy his beer, and he loved oysters. ?His hands were as wide as a bat and he wore size 16 or 18 shoes?, added Bernard.

In spite of his many offspring?s, Mr. Lepage never received free land as was his right with 12 living children. ?He barely received a few Family Allowance cheques, a program that began in 1945.

Bernard and his wife Suzanne regret having so few souvenirs of this prolific ancestor. They are also saddened that the descendants are to be found everywhere, and that the family ties are so few.

This situation led them to organize a family reunion (in October 1998), ?Les retrouvailles des descendants de Jean Bapriste Lepage?. The event was held in the village of St.Columban, in St.Vincent?s Hall, on the Rivi?re du nord, where some forty children were born and lived.

More than 150 people, sons, daughters, nephews, nieces, etc, had confirmed their attendance by September 20, 1998. ?At least 300 of Jean Baptiste?s descendants and relatives are expected, some of whom will be more than 90 years old while others are but children.

The goal is to allow people to rebuild the family circle, to re-create the Lepage Clan, exchange memories and seek to trace the story of this prolific man and these women who contributed so much to ?la revanche des berceaux?, thereby saving the French Canadian race.

Collection: Raymond Aubry ? ?

Source: Le Journal de Montr?al, Sunday September 20, 1998