Historical Notes

The Maritime Exodus

Cape Breton to Texas - Marie’s Story

What I know of Marie's life is cobbled together from things her daughter, my Aunt Marie, told me as well as remembrances of my own, and the genealogy information on the Goyetche Family website, for which I am very grateful! She was born October 17, 1887 in Arichat, Nova Scotia. I presume her father was a fisherman. He was Louis (Joyce) Goyetche and her mother was Marie Landry. They had 13 children and Marie was their 7th child. Two baby boys died before she was born and she had four older sisters. At least 3 other siblings died in infancy or early childhood. She was christened in the Catholic Church in Arichat, where her parents were married. I remember her telling me she was frightened of the nuns in their black habits and that she left school after 8th grade. The family emigrated to the Boston area around 1900, as the family tree shows the first child born in the U.S. was Francis Joyce Goyetche, born in January 1901. He died in August of that year. She told me that they lived in Newton (a suburb of Boston) and she worked at the Waltham Watch Factory. Possibly other members of the family did as well. At some point she met my grandfather, Henry Valentine Pond. He was born in Auburndale, MA, ten miles from Newton. His father, George Frederic Pond, Jr. (born 1864) was in the real estate business in Boston. George Frederic married Eliza Linthwaite Turner. Henry was their only child. They had a summer home on Cape Cod and I imagine that Henry's upbringing was privileged and very different from Marie's. Henry's parents were Episcopalian, well established and looked down on Marie, the poor French Canadian Catholic factory worker. They did not approve of the marriage and it may be that Henry and Marie eloped. Henry had a gift for mechanics, loved boats and had an adventurous spirit. Although later in life he was very devoted to his mother, actually living with her until she died, he and Marie decided to follow their hearts and escape the disapproval of his family. They booked passage on a ship to Galveston, Texas where Henry had obtained employment as a chauffeur and mechanic for the Laskers, a well to do family. I believe this was in 1908 or 09. Soon he acquired his own boats and began a barge company, moving produce from the mainland across the bay to Galveston Island. Later, he and another man had a company that delivered oil for furnaces. He served during World War I in the infantry in Europe and in World War II as a civilian tugboat pilot. My cousin Fred believes Henry also was on the Texas border during the time of the Mexican Expedition against Pancho Villa, and the army needed mechanics to put guns on vehicles in that Expedition. That would have been prior to his deployment to service in World War I. My grandmother Marie had three children. They included Marie Valentine born in August 1910; George Frederic II born in April 1912; and my mother Dorothy Linthwaite born in February 1920, all at St. Mary's Hospital in Galveston, run by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. They were christened in Trinity Episcopal Church and all confirmed there and all remained lifelong Episcopalians. Marie devoted herself to childrearing, sewing, keeping house, and enjoyed an active social life. I can only speculate that my grandfather was a charming, intelligent and adventurous man, ambitious and a good provider. By 1928 their eldest daughter, Marie Valentine, was a student at The University of Texas in Austin, enjoying sorority life. No doubt my grandmother Marie was enjoying comfort and social status in Galveston, a city of banking, shipping, and a population of many ethnic groups. It was booming and they were members of the Galveston Artillery Club, so evidently were doing well.  However, by 1930 Marie's world crumbled. Henry fell in love with his secretary, Anne Gertrude Burt, and by September 1931 they had a child together. Marie and Henry divorced, plunging her into economic distress, along with my mother Dorothy. Marie was deeply hurt and back then divorce was a scandal. Their daughter Marie was forced to come home from the University after only 2 years, and go to work as a secretary for a prominent department store owner in order to support her mother and young sister. George, too, gave up his education to join the Merchant Marines and help support the family. My proud grandmother often did not have enough to eat during those depression years, but my mother Dorothy said she always had nice dresses and hair ribbons, so that no one would guess their dire straights. Henry and Anne moved to Arkansas and at some point ran at hotel in Harrison. His mother, Eliza, came to live with them in her latter years. Before the divorce, while Marie, George and Dorothy were growing up in Galveston, they took the Mallory Line ships to Cape Cod for summer vacations. Eliza and Marie must have reconciled enough that she was able to have a relationship with her grandchildren, but I don't think Eliza and Marie were ever close. I have letters written between Eliza and her granddaughter Marie Valentine, whom she called Val, and there seemed to be genuine affection between them. By the 1940's, Marie's life had settled down.  She rented a modest home, where she lived with her eldest daughter Marie. Both were active in the Red Cross as volunteers during World War II. Son George was on the Atlantic in Merchant Marine ships during the war but escaped injury. He and Dorothy both married in the early 1940's but Marie was single all her life and supported herself and her mother Marie.  I was born in 1949 and my grandmother Marie was a great help to my mother as long as she lived, until 1962 when Marie died of cancer. My sister, 2 1/2 years younger, and I spent many weekends and much of the summer in Galveston at her home. She took wonderful care of us and kept the house for her and daughter Marie, who became a successful business woman, a buyer of women's clothing for an exclusive Galveston department store. Grandmother Marie loved my sister and me and our two cousins, sons of her son George. We all wish she had lived longer than her 75 years.  She returned to New England every two years, flying on prop planes as she disliked jets, in order to visit sisters and nieces and nephews in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She never spoke of Henry, nor did my Aunt Marie or my mother. I did not know that he had five more children with Anne while in Arkansas until Marie Valentine died in 1989. Eventually, Henry's marriage with Anne became strained, and that is when Henry brought his aged mother Eliza to live with them. She died in 1949 or 50.  I never met Eliza or Henry and Anne, or any of my mother's half siblings. I have many photo albums my Aunt Marie and my mother Dorothy kept as children, of their trips to the Cape Cod summer home at Harwich Pines and of happy days in Galveston before World War I.  My grandmother Marie was beautiful, vivacious, vain and a good mother to all her children and a dear grandmother to her grandchildren. She liked to write poems and had a lovely handwriting style. She liked to smoke cigarettes to show off her pretty hands and nails. She had a gentleman caller in her 60's that I remember took her dancing and out for dinners, an Italian man named Londo. He brought Italian nougats and sweets that I loved, and those candy boxes made great treasure boxes. She loved to travel to Mexico and New England and out west when she could. She had that beautiful white Goyetche hair, which she wore pinned up with silver Mexican combs. Marie died in June 1962 in Galveston, Texas at the age of 74. Her granddaughter Wanda and husband Troy Cuniff live in Nacogdoches, Texas. 
For generations there have been strong family connections linking Cape Breton and the Maritimes in Canada with the U.S. and, in particular, the “Boston States”. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, the Maritime Provinces experienced an out-migration that was strongly motivated by economic factors. Although relatively prosperous in the 1850s and 60s, the regional economy was severely disrupted in succeeding decades. The economic dislocation which characterized these years (1860-1900) in much of the Maritimes provided the overriding motives for a significant exodus. Thousands of Maritimers moved to the United States, with most destined for Massachusetts. It has been estimated that over 260,000 people left the region between 1871 and 1901. The out- migration of more than a quarter of a million, when the population was only 894,000 in 1901, was indicative of a substantial outward movement. Nova Scotia genealogists estimate that today there are nearly 4 million descendants of these Maritimers who live in the United States and around the world. Among a number of Goyetche families that migrated to the Boston area was that of Louis (Joyce) Goyetche (1846 – 1941), his wife Marie and their children, including Marie Marthe Goyetche, who left Cape Auget, Nova Scotia at the turn of the century for Newton, Massachusetts. Marie Marthe married Henry Valentine Pond and eventually settled in Galveston, Texas. This is Marie’s story as told by her granddaughter Wanda Cuniff.
The Goyetche Family Genealogy