Aurore!  The Mystery of the Martyred Child
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Sitting in Quebec City on April 19, 1920. )

PRESENT: The Honourable Justice L. P. Pelletier.




On the accusation of murder.


Willie Houde, of Ste. Sophie de Lévard, farmer, 34 years of age, brother of the accused who, being sworn on the Holy Gospels, doth depose and say:


Q. You are the brother of Marie-Anne Houde ?

A. Yes, Monsieur Francoeur.

Q. Did you live with her in the early years?

A. I lived with her for a year or two when she was married.

Q. When she was married?

A. Yes.

Q. But before that, you were brought up together?

A. We were brought up together.

Q. After her marriage to Napoléon Gagnon, her first husband, you lived together?

A. We lived together one winter, at the beginning of her marriage. Then, after three years, we lived together again for a year.

Q. Do you know how many children she had with her husband?

A. Six --- living, and one miscarriage.

Q. In her first marriage?

A. In her first marriage, yes.

Q. Did you have the opportunity to see her at home when she was pregnant?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. How was she?


A. She was usually meaner when she was pregnant than at other times.

Q. She was not the same at all.

A. She was not the same at all.

Q.(By Maître Lachance) Did you see her at that time when she was in that condition?

A. Yes, certainly.

Q. You lived together?

A. We lived together for almost a year, together.

Q. While she was pregnant?

A. While she was pregnant, yes.

Q. Were you there when she had the child?

A. No, Monsieur.

Q. That year?

A. No, I wasn’t there; that happened some time after I left.

Q. What child was she pregnant with at that time?

A. I can’t say at the moment.

Q. When she was pregnant, would she beat her children?

A. Yes, Monsieur, she would beat them.

Q. What would she do when she in that condition that showed that she was meaner?

A. She would beat her children harder and more often, for little reason. You see, that’s what showed us that she was meaner in that condition than when she wasn’t pregnant. Never did I know of her actually leaving any marks on any of her children. She loved them. She would beat them with her hand on their arm or on their hand or somewhere else. When I lived at my sister’s, never did I know of her hitting her child so that it left a mark.

Q. But she would beat them harder when she was pregnant?

A. More often, when she was in that condition.


Q. How many children did she have at that time?

A. She had two, I suppose, Georges and Gérard, as I can recall.

Q. This was during the first years of her marriage?

A. Yes.

Q.(By the Court) You say that she would beat them with her hand?

A. She would beat them with her hand. Never did I have knowledge of her using a switch or a piece of wood to beat her child.


Q. Where were you living when she got married like that?

A. The second time?

Q. No, the first time?

A. In Ste. Sophie.

Q. Were you living with her?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you live with her the first year of her marriage?

A. Yes, she lived with us. As for us, we would go into the woods in the winter.

Q. Did you live with her in the first year of her marriage?

A. Yes.

Q. After that, you didn’t?

A. No.

Q. The first year of her marriage, she didn’t have any children?

A. No.

Q. Then how do you know if she would beat her children?

A. It was the second year.

Q. You weren’t there?


A. The second year of her marriage, she wasn’t living at our home. She was in Ste. Emilie. She came back to our home with her child.

Q. How long did she live at home?

A. She stayed for over a year at home.

Q. Were you there?

A. Yes. ---- We would go there in the summer when we came down to St. Ephrem.

Q. How long would you stay at home?

A. Three or four days.

Q. Was she pregnant every time that you were there, or were there times that she was not pregnant?

A. She could have been pregnant when I was at home.

Q. You have seen her with her child when she was not pregnant?

A. Yes.

Q. Did she ever beat her child when she was not pregnant?

A. Less often.

Q. But she would still beat him?

A. She would beat him from time to time.

Q. As a point of fact, Monsieur Houde, she would beat him when she was not pregnant?

A. When she was pregnant, she would beat him more. That is how I am giving my testimony.

Q. Before today, you didn’t think much about it, about her beating her children more when she was pregnant than when she wasn’t pregnant?

A. I had known about it when I was a boy, as I do today.

Q. But before today, you had not thought much about that?


A. I would think about it when I would see her. I had eyes to see how she was behaving.

And further deponent sayeth 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 Willie Houde, procès de Marie-Anne Houde pour meurtre, April 19, 1920, 5.

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Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History