Mary Theresa Vadnais, John Emil Extrand & Family

My great-grandfather William (Perry) Vadnais had only one surviving older sister, Marie “Mary” Theresa, my great-grandaunt. 

Mary was born at Centerville in Anoka County on November 28, 1858, not long after her parents Francois and Tharsile (Hus Lemoine) Vadnais had immigrated to Minnesota.1  Francois was 31 years old and Tharsile was 26 years old.  Mary was their 5th child and would be the first of their 8 children to survive into adulthood.

15 year old Mary Theresa Vadnais – 1873

Up until the 1875 Minnesota census, Mary is enumerated with her family.2  I had thought that I would find her in the 1875 Minnesota census as still living with her family, but she was not.  The census was taken in June and she did not marry until later that year, so where was she?  I looked through the White Bear census and first found her 23 year old future husband John E. Extrand.  This led me to hope that I would eventually find her.  Just one page later there she was, in the household of William Markoe.  Her name is shown as Maria Vadies and she is 17 years old.3  Was she a domestic in the Markoe household?  I think that is more than likely.

1875 Minnesota Census record showing Maria Vadies [Mary Vadnais] in William Markoe household

On September 11, 1875 Mary Theresa Vadnais and John Emil Extrand were issued a marriage license by Ramsey County.4  Oddly, the accompanying certificate of marriage, which would normally be filled in at the bottom of the same page, is for the couple on the following page, so I’m unsure of their marriage date and place of marriage. 

September 11, 1875 Marriage License for John E. Exstrand [Extrand] and Mary Vadnais

By the 1880 U. S. census John and Mary have 3 children: Henry Franklin born on June 21, 1876,5 Charles William born on March 24, 18786 and Mary Mathilda born on November 25, 18797 (John and Mary’s children are my first cousins twice removed).  The census also shows that John is employed as a foreman for the railroad and they have 5 boarders residing with them. Two of the boarders are John’s brothers and one is my great-grandfather, Mary’s brother, William who is just 16 years old.8  At only twenty-one years old, Mary is managing a household of 10 people. 

1880 U. S. census showing the Extrand family and 5 boarders

The 1885 Minnesota census shows that 2 more children have been added to the family: Emily Louise born on August 21, 18829 and Mabel Ann born on January 26, 188510 (It should be noted that Mabel must have been born in 1885 because of her being listed in the 1885 census, but her grave marker shows 1886.). There are also 3 boarders in the household, one of which is Mary’s 15 year old sister Mathilda “Tille”.  Interestingly, my great-grandparents William and Jennie and their family are listed right after Mary’s family.11  They may have lived next door to one another. 

1885 Minnesota census showing the Extrand family (from the bottom of page 15) and the Wm Vadnia [William Vadnais] family (at the top of page 16)

John and Mary’s 6th and last child Jennie C. was born on March 23, 1887.12  Mary was 28 years old and John was 35 years old. 

The 1895 Minnesota census shows a full household that includes the family of 8, as well as one of John’s brothers, and 2 other boarders.13  Mary must have been a remarkable woman to manage all that she did.  She essentially ran a boarding house while raising 6 children.

At the turn of the century all but their son Charles lived at home. He had moved to St. Paul and was working for the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad as a fireman.14 

The 1900 U. S. census lists John as a yardmaster for the railroad, their son Henry is working as a bookkeeper and the 4 daughters are students.  All can read, write, and speak English.  They have one boarder, a 22 year old female music teacher.15

Tragedy struck the family on October 3, 1902 when their oldest child Henry committed suicide by shooting himself.  He was 26 years, 3 months and 12 days old.16  His funeral was held on Sunday, October 5 and he was laid to rest that day at Union Cemetery in White Bear Lake.17  I can only imagine the heartbreak.

October 3, 1902 White Bear Life18 article, partially transcribed
(I find it strange that no one mentioned hearing the gunshot.)
Henry Franklin Extrand memorial card and his monument at Union Cemetery, White Bear Lake

According to the 1905 Minnesota census the family home was at 4th Street and Cook Avenue.  (To be precise, it was located on the southwest corner where the White Bear Armory building now stands.  In 1922 the house would be moved to another location on Cook Avenue to make way for the Armory to be built.)  John is a railroad clerk, Mary keeps house, and the 4 daughters are living with them: Mathilda is a school teacher, Emily is a telephone operator and Mabel and Jennie are both students.19

During the first 13 years of 1900 the five children were married.  Charles married Augusta K. Patterson on April 3, 1900.20  Emily married William Louis Goesch on June 12, 1907.21  Mabel Ann married Charles Parker Collison on June 24, 1908.22  Jennie C. married Albert John Goesch on November 10, 190923 (the Goesch brothers married Extrand sisters so their children would be double cousins) and the final marriage occurred on June 8, 1912 when Mary Mathilda married Fred Marion Ferrell.24  All of the children were married at the First Presbyterian Church in White Bear Lake by Reverend J. C. Robinson, the first resident pastor. 

William Louis and Albert John Goesch (Emily’s and Jennie’s husbands) were the only sons of William Goesch (probably the man in the picture), the proprieter of a dry goods store on Third Street in White Bear Lake.  As teenagers William and Albert worked for their father at the store.  I assume that the family lived upstairs. Photo Courtesy of the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society

By the time the 1910 U. S. census was taken, William and Mary’s household included Mathilda and Jennie, as well as Jennie’s husband Albert.25

Tragedy struck again on July 8, 1911 when Mary, the matriarch of the family, passed away.  She was 52 years, 7 months and 16 days old.

“Passed to Rest” in 1911 White Bear Press26

According to the obitiuary, they think Mary’s brother William (my great-grandfather) is dead.  He did not die until 1922.  It also refers to her 2 sisters: Mrs. A. Duprey (Mathilda “Tille”) of White Bear and Mrs. White (Cordelia “Annie”) living in St. Louis.  I’ve never seen information about Cordelia with the surname “White” or that she lived in St. Louis.

Mary T. Extrand Minnesota death certificate #2115327

Mary’s funeral was held on Monday, July 10, 1911 after which she was laid to rest in section 16, lot 10, grave 2 at Union Cemetery, White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

Headstone for Mary Theresa Extrand
1915 “Our Men of Affairs” John E. Extrand in the White Bear Press28
1919 Extrand-Erhardt marriage announcement in the White Bear Press29

John remarried on June 14, 1919 to Mrs. Ann Extrand (Ann Milner).  Ann had grown up in White Bear and was also widowed. 

In the 1920 U. S. census John is 68 years old, he and Ann are living in his home on Cook Avenue (the future White Bear Armory location) and I assume he retired from the railroad because his occupation is school janitor.30

John is still in his home on Cook Avenue (the same house, but moved from the White Bear Armory location) in the 1930 U. S. census.  The value of the home is given as $3000.31

John passed away on January 20, 1932.  His obituary was published in the White Bear Press 2 days later.32

John E. Extrand 1932 White Bear Press obituary, partially transcribed

John was laid to rest next to Mary in section 16, lot 10, grave 3, at Union Cemetery, White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

Headstone for John Emil Extrand

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