Aurore!  The Mystery of the Martyred Child
Skip to page: 2 / 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

[ Boutique de forge de Télesphore Gagnon, La Presse (Montréal),   ]COURT OF KING’S BENCH. )

Sitting in Quebec City on April 19, 1920. )


PRESENT: THE Honourable Justice L. P. Pelletier.
— vs -
On the accusation of murder.

TELESPHORE GAGNON OF Ste. Philomène de Fortierville, farmer, 37 years of age, who, being sworn on the Holy Gospels, doth depose and say:


Maître Francoeur.- Your Honour, I ask that the protection of the Court be granted so that the witness's testimony in this case may not be used against him.

By the Court.- This application cannot be made by counsel.

Maître Francoeur.- But I didn't have time to see him before.

By the Court: In any case, I will ask him.

Monsieur Gagnon, you are yourself accused in respect to this case?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. (By the Court) You're not obliged to answer any questions?

A. No, Monsieur.

Q. By the Court.- Except in asking for the protection of the Court to have it declared that what you will say cannot be used against you in your own trial?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Maître Fitzpatrick.- After being granted this protection by the Court, is the witness obliged to answer?

By the Court.- Yes.

Maître Francoeur.- Do you ask for the protection of the Court?

— 2 — [page number changed by hand] — 3 —

A. Yes, Monsieur le Juge. Your Honour, Monsieur le Juge, I ask for the protection of the Court.

By the Court.- You are asking for the protection that I have referred to, and this protection is granted to you.

Q. You are a farmer in Ste. Philomène, Monsieur Gagnon?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Would you please tell the Court and the Jurors when you married the accused Marie-Anne Houde? In what year?

A. I couldn’t say.... Two years ago.

Q. You can't say exactly?

A. No. I can't say what year.

Q. How many children of yours did your wife bear?

A. Three…. I'm a bit deaf.

Q. Are you saying that she bore three of your children?

A. Yes. Only two are alive, and one was a miscarriage. That's to say, she is pregnant today, it’s that one.

Q. (By the Court) One alive, one dead, and one that she's bearing?

A. Yes.

Q. (By the Court) One alive, one miscarriage, and the other is in the mother's womb?

A. Yes.

Q. How long into your marriage did your wife have this miscarriage?

A. Five or six months into it, I think.

Q. How old is the baby who is alive?

A. He must be about ten months old.

Q. Would you tell the Court if, when she is with child, when your wife is pregnant, she's the same as she usually is?

A. No, Monsieur.


Q. How is she?

A. No, Monsieur.

Q. What have you noticed?

A. I have noticed that she's very different when she's pregnant.

Q. In what way?

A. With respect to meanness, and finally, in many ways.

Q. Mostly meanness?

A. Meanness, and you could say she has set ideas. You could call it unyielding. She focuses on something, and you can’t get her to change her mind.

Q. Is she stubborn?

A. Stubborn, yes. When she was in that condition, when she would start saying things like that, you wouldn’t dare say a word. I had to stop. I preferred not to push her too far when she was in that condition, because she would have been completely beside herself.

Q. Did you notice if this was worse during her last pregnancy?

A. Yes.

Q. You noticed that?

A. Yes.

Q. Since she became pregnant the last time?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. (By the Court ) What you're saying is that you had to be careful not to contradict her too much?

A. No.

Q. (By the Court) Is that what you mean to say?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. And have you noticed this even more since she became pregnant this time?

A. Yes, Monsieur.


Q. Does your wife talk much?

A. Not much. She daydreamed a lot. There were many times when I arrived in the evening and I noticed that she wasn’t talking either.

Q. Are there times when, after daydreaming, as you say, she talked a lot?

Objection to this question by Maître Fitzpatrick on behalf of the Crown as leading and question withdrawn.

Q. Was she very excited after that?

A. Yes, sometimes. You're asking... sometimes.

Q. Did you understand the question?

A. I don't remember.

Q. Are there times when, after she had been daydreaming, she would become more excited, more upset?

Objection by Maître Fitzpatrick on behalf of the Crown to this question as leading. Objection sustained.

Q. After daydreaming, as you just said, how was she?

A. Oh, well. It sometimes seemed that she would become impatient, that she got herself worked up.

Q. Do you know the father of the accused, your wife?

A. Yes.

Q. For how many years?

A. For a couple of years.

Q.Where does he live?

A. In Ste. Sophie.

Q. Do you know if he is a man who indulges in alcohol?

A. For the past couple of years, he has been a man who indulges…

Objection by Maître Fitzpatrick on behalf of the Crown


to this evidence as being illegal. Judgement reserved on this objection.

A. (Continued) I say this according to my wife, according to what she told me. In recent years, for the past couple of years, I became somewhat aware that he was drinking a bit, like anyone else.

Q. For the past couple of years?

A. Yes.

Q. How old is he now?

A. Sixty-nine or seventy years old.

Q. Did he drink more before?

Objection by Maître Fitzpatrick on behalf of the Crown to this question as leading.
Question withdrawn.

Q. Do you personally know if he used to drink more?

A. I know because my wife told me.

Q. Do you know if her brother drinks?

A. He's been like most youths since I've known him.

Q. Before that?

A. Before that, he would drink quite a bit, according to my wife.

Objection to this evidence on behalf of the Crown as hearsay, and objection sustained.

Q. How many children do you have in your home?

A. Five?

Q. Do you have a hired girl?

A. No, Monsieur.

Q. Who would do all the work taking care of the children at your place?

A. At the time, when we were at home, it was my wife.

Q. Besides that, would she go to the barn to tend to the cows?

A. Sometimes. It happened that she would go in the evening


now and then.

Q. Did she work hard?

A. Oh, well, ---------- the little girls would help out a bit around the house. She would do the household chores; she would work in the stable; she would tell the little boys to care for the animals.

Q. There was no one other than the children to help her do the work?

A. No.

Q. In normal times, as well as when she was pregnant?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Do you have many animals?

A. We must have about twenty-five head.

Q. Did she sometimes do the barnyard chores as well?

A. She did them.

Q. She cared for the animals?

A. Yes. This winter, she did so now and then, in the evening.


Q. Are you saying that your wife would be mean when she was pregnant?

A. Like that.

Q. Didn't you ever notice that she would be mean enough that you were obliged to intervene to protect your children?

A. When she would be that mean, she would quarrel. She's a women who has a tendency to quarrel.

Q. You don't understand my question. I'm asking you if she was mean enough for you to be obliged to intervene to protect your children.

A. I never said anything to her.



Q. There was never any question, that's curious, that your wife would be so mean, before today?

A. ...........

Q. You never talked to anyone about this, that she was mean?

A. ...........

Q. You never talked to anyone about this?

A. I was not about to talk about my wife.

Objection to this evidence by Maître Francoeur, and objection dismissed.

Q. Now, as a question of fact, was your wife a good woman, a woman like any other?

A. Yes, when she wasn't pregnant, but when she was pregnant, you had to be very careful not to cross her.

Q. Did you ever talk about this to the neighbours, that you had to be so careful?

A. No.

Q. Is this the first time that you have talked about this, today?

A. Oh, well, I don't remember if.........

Q. You lived with this woman for two years prior to marrying her?

A. Yes.

Q. And was she to your liking?

A. As you might expect.

Q. Was she a woman to your liking in every way?

A. At that time, yes, Monsieur.

Q. Now, when you would come home in the evening, would she talk to you about the children?

A. No.

Q. She never talked to you about the children?

A. No.


Q. She never talked to you about Aurore?

A. She would tell me now and then that Aurore was unruly.

Q. Did she love her own children?

A. The same as mine.

Q. So she didn't love them?

A. She loved them just like the others, in my opinion.

Q. Isn't it true that she would always say bad things about Aurore?

A. I found that she didn’t say worse things about Aurore than about the others; hers were just as bad as Aurore.

Q. Wouldn't she say that Aurore was filthy?

A. I saw that with my own eyes.

Q. Is it true that she would say that?

A. She told me that she was filthy, but at that time, I saw it myself.

Q. Isn't true that she would spend her time saying bad things about Aurore? ----- And that she also talked about Aurore in front of the neighbours?

A. I never knew about the neighbours, if she talked about my little girl at the neighbours'.

RE-EXAMINED BY Maître Francoeur on behalf of the accused.

Q. When your wife lived at your place, before you married her, was your wife living with you?

A. Yes.

Q. Didn't you live with her as husband and wife?

A. No.

And further witness saith not.

Source: ANQ, TP 999, 1960-01-3623, 1B 014 01-04-004B-01, Cour du banc du roi, assises criminelles, district de Québec, Déposition de Télesphore Gagnon, procès de Marie-Anne Houde pour meurtre, April 19, 1920, 9.

Return to parent page

Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History