Norma Genevieve (Peltier), Ferdinand and Arnold Tessier

My grandaunt Norma Genevieve Peltier was the 7th of 13 children born to Albert and Celestine (Derosier) Peltier.  Norma was born on January 14, 1898 in the town of White Bear, Ramsey County, Minnesota; at the time of her birth, Albert was 37 years old and Celestine was 29 years old.1  I find it hard to fathom that Celestine had 7 children by age 29.  Norma was welcomed by her 6 siblings: 12 year old Alice Mabel, 10 year old Albert Noah, 9 year old Ellen Lucy (my grandmother), 7 year old Mary Rose “Vina”, 3 year old Edmund Joseph and 2 year old Cleveland Peter.

January 14, 1898 Minnesota birth record for Norma Peltier

Norma was baptized by Father Joseph Goiffon.

The 1900 U. S. enumerates Norma as a male by the name of Norman.  If I didn’t know who all of the children were in the Peltier family, I would maybe entertain the notion that Norman was another member of the family, but he is not; genealogical records can mislead if you don’t pay attention and do your due diligence.

1900 U. S. census showing The Albert and Lena Pelkie family, Norman [Norma] is on line 70

Norma had just celebrated her 3rd birthday when her mother gave birth to Eveline on February 12, 1901.  Sadly she died 12 days later on February 24, 1901.3  By the 1905 Minnesota census, Norma would see one additional sibling born, Frances Mary.4

1905 Minnesota census showing the Albert and Celestine Peltier family5
Norma (about 5 years old) and her younger sister Frances (about 1 year old), circa 1903

Ferdinand Joseph Tessier (Fritz), Norma’s future husband, was born on December 29, 1891 in White Bear, Ramsey County, Minnesota.6  His father Paul was 31 years old and his mother Ludovine (Labarre) was 23 years old.  Ferdinand was the 2nd of 10 children born to the couple.

Ferdinand at 11 or 12 years old – circa 1903

Norma is last enumerated with her family on Kohler Road in White Bear Township in the 1910 U. S. census.7

Norma Peltier on Kohler Road family farm in White Bear Township, circa 1915

Ferdinand and Norma were married on Wednesday, February 19, 1919.8  At the time of their marriage, Ferdinand was 28 years old and Norma was 21 years old.

1919 Wedding photo showing Ferdinand and Norma with best man Albert Noah Peltier (Norma’s oldest brother) and unknown maid of honor
(I’ve colorized the picture)
White Bear Press wedding announcement8
The Catholic Church at Little Canada would have been St. John’s.  Adlore (my grandfather), Howard and Ben were Norma’s brother’s-in-law.  Peter was more than likely a good family friend, but at the time he was also the mayor of the Village of White Bear.  I find it interesting that no women are mentioned.

The couple is enumerated in the 1920 U. S. census as residing on New Canada Road in White Bear Township.  They either live in a home on his parents’ farm, or next door to their farm.  Ferdinand is working for the railroad as a laborer.9

1920 U. S. census showing Ferdinand and Norma Tessier

Norma gave birth to their only child, Arnold Paul on August 21, 1921 when she was 23 years old and Ferdinand was 29 years old.10  He was born in Dellwood, Washington County, Minnesota which makes me suspect that Norma was staying with her sister Alice (LaBore) when Arnold was born.

Arnold Tessier – circa 1922

The 1930 U. S. census shows the family as living by Norma’s parents and siblings and also by Ferdinand’s brother Henry and his wife and family.  The first person shown on the page below is Norma’s uncle Leon Onesime who also resided on the family farm.  Ferdinand is listed as a truck farmer.11

1930 U. S. census

The 1940 U. S. census information is similar to what was recorded on the 1930 U. S. census.  However, son Arnold is now working for his father on the family farm.12

1940 U. S. census
Norma at her home on Kohler and McMenemy Roads in White Bear Township, late 1940s

After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States was pulled into World War II.  Arnold, at 20 years old, registered for the draft on February 16, 1942 and his 51 year old father Ferdinand registered on April 26, 1942.13, 14  Arnold enlisted on September 21, 1942 and was assigned to the U. S. Army 60th Chemical Depot Company where he would serve until October 17, 1945.15  Ferdinand was not called into service, in part because of his age, but also because of the disability he listed on his draft registration: “2nd and 3rd fingers on right hand crippled.”  I can only imagine how much Arnold’s parents worried about and missed their only child.

Arnold Tessier, circa 1943
Arnold, Norma and Ferdinand, late 1940s

Ferdinand passed away at 56 years old on August 28, 1948.16  He had a horrific work accident resulting in his being electrocuted while doing his job at Cedar Sanitary Ice Company at 601 Prior in St. Paul.

Minnesota death certificate #26677   for Ferdinand Joseph Tessier
Memorial booklet for Ferdinand Tessier

Ferdinand was laid to rest in St. John’s Cemetery, Little Canada, Minnesota on September 1, 1948.

Sadly, Norma only survived another 20 months after Ferdinand’s passing.  She died on April 27, 1950 at 52 years old.17  Her death certificate shows that the cause of death was a coronary thrombosis (blood clot in the heart) which probably led to her having a massive heart attack.  She passed away at home.

Minnesota death certificate #13339   for Norma G. Tessier
Memorial booklet for Norma G. Tessier

Norma’s services were held on Monday, May 1, 1950 and she was interred next to her husband in St. John’s Cemetery.

Grave marker for Norma and Ferdinand Tessier, St. John’s Cemetery, Little Canada18

Arnold married Marlene Gunderson shortly before his mother’s death.  Between 1950 and 1970 they would have 7 children: 4 boys and 3 girls.  Arnold passed away at 49 years old on April 24, 1971 and was buried at St. John’s Cemetery in Little Canada.19

Arnold Tessier Obituary
Grave marker for Arnold P. Tessier, St. John’s Cemetery, Little Canada

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