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Blanche Lalonde

On Wednesday, May 20th, 2015, I went to Woodlawn Cemetery to visit the burials of former House of Refuge residents. When I was about to leave, I slowly started my way back to the cemetery entrance, but I read all of the names on the tombstones as I made my way out.


As I was about to leave, a small white tombstone caught my eye. I read her name, saw her birth year and the year she passed away, and quickly calculated her age in my head: eighteen. Out of no where, I felt this overwhelming sadness. I stayed with Blanche for a few minutes, knelt down, and promised I would tell the world her story. It did take some time, but this is me keeping good on my promise.


Blanche Lalonde was born on February 8th, 1915, to proud parents Leonard and Leila Lalonde (née Lashway.) She was a Mill Hand at the Cornwall Cotton Mills, and despite being eighteen, Blanche was not married.


Blanche's parents Leonard and Leila, from what I have discovered so far, did not have any other children. In 1919, Leonard and Leila would divorce. This is something extremely uncommon given the time period.


Leonard would then marry a woman by the name of Antoinette that same year he divorced Leila. Leonard and Antoinette would have three children: two sons, and one daughter.


On April 15th, 1926, Leila Lalonde would take her new husbands last name. Leila married Edward Arthur Sabourin, a thirty-one year old widow, at St. Columban's Church in Cornwall. I cannot find any record to indicate whether they had children or not.


On Tuesday, December 12th, 1933, Blanche would pass away from septicemia. This is a disease that poisons the blood, which often occurs due to severe infections. It is known that septicemia is a serious, life threatening infection that gets worse very quickly. In Blanche's case, she would suffer for ten days, losing her life in Cornwall's Hotel Dieu Hospital. The septicemia she suffered from was caused by a miscarriage.


Despite Blanche’s situation (a woman pregnant out of wedlock in 1933), her parents were by her side through her pregnancy, and the illness that followed her miscarriage. It is because of her parents love that she was laid to rest with the tombstone that I would find, eighty-two years after her death.

Blanche's Death Certificate: