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 Alexis Merrill “Maza Kaga” Charbonneau

Alexis Merrill “Maza Kaga” Charbonneau

Birth
Canada
Death 12 Feb 1939 (aged 89)
Valentine, Cherry County, Nebraska, USA
Burial Valentine, Cherry County, Nebraska, USA
Plot Section B Lot 37 Grv 4
Memorial ID 92916918 · View Source
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Valentine, Neb, June 4 - Few men or women living today can recall from their own experience this western country as it was 64 years ago. Few of the men who first settled on these plains are now living to tell their grandchildren stories of famous characters as they knew them. One of these few is Alexis Charbonneau, 82 of Valentine. Not only can he recall the west as he saw it in 1867, but he can tell about it in such dramatic and picturesque manner that he is famed in this section as a story teller. His own story is colorful. He was born in Ogdensburg, NY in 1850 of French and Irish parentage (Charbonneau is a Norman word meaning charcoal burner). His early training consisted of classical French and Latin studies given in hopes of preparing him for priesthood, but after the death of his mother he ran away from school and his father taught him the blacksmithing trade. Early in his teens he became fascinated by stories of the west with it's mining camps and at 17 he yielded to the lure and came west to Sioux City. After a brief stay he went up the Missouri on a packet to Yankton and then on to Fort Pierre. Here was plenty of opportunity for a young smith for there were guns to be repaired, scissors to be made, horse shoes to be put on, cooking utensils to be fashioned, on down the multitudinous tasks that a people far from civilization would find. So here young Alex found life exciting enough to fulfill his thirst for adventure, so he went to work. For several years he worked as traveling blacksmith for a stage coach company which carried mail and passengers to and from the Black Hills. He has been on stages when they were held up, and he fished from rivers the bodies of men shot by Indians. In Fort Pierre he married and established his home as one of the few permanent residents. After the Fort Pierre days, Alex moved to the Rosebud country to help build the Rosebud Indian Agency. Calamity Jane Nursed His Children Through Scarlet Fever. His wife was the daughter of a first settler in Sioux City. It was his privilege to know many interesting notables, but the one most likely to rouse a listeners interest is Calamity Jane. He knew her not only as an expert gunwoman, but as a friend and neighbor, for in 1879 she came into the Charbonneau home during an epidemic of scarlet fever and nursed the three young Charbonneaux through to health. But let him tell it: "Know Calamity Jane? Sure I know her. We live Fort Pierre same time. She good hearted, kind, gentle, she take care of my children when they sick." "Shoot? She shoot, yes with the best of them, better than most men. She shoot quick, straight and," he pauses and with a gesture that seems to express the word he is groping for, "sure." "No she is not big, she small, graceful, I should say. Best hearted woman ever saw. She much misunderstood. She one man woman, that is she loyal to one man until their interest no longer took them same places, then she find new man. But she not bad. "One time rich lady from New York come to Fort Pierre, she take fancy to Calamity when Calamity about 40. She say, 'Jane you come with me, stay with me, you have home long as you want home.' "Well, yes, she went but she came back, one year, maybe two. People say, 'What the matter, Jane?' She say "They killed me." They say in surprise, 'Killed you?' 'Yes' she say, 'They killed me with kindness.'" Although it has been more than 65 years since he left school, Mr. Charbonneau still speaks and writes French and understand and uses Latin phrases. Omaha World Herald - 1932

Married to Rosalie Leonais with whom he had five children Bertha, Paul Alex, Alphonse Merrill, Della M and Ernest E after her death in the 1890's he married Jennie Howard with whom he had the following ten children Samuel Terry, Susan B, Nettie R, John B, Leo Jacob, Maxim George, Florence May, Zina F, Ruby May and Tinna.



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  • Maintained by: Suki Davey
  • Originally Created by: PJ's Gramma
  • Added: 2 Jul 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 92916918
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Alexis Merrill “Maza Kaga” Charbonneau (6 Jan 1850–12 Feb 1939), Find A Grave Memorial no. 92916918, citing Mount Hope Cemetery, Valentine, Cherry County, Nebraska, USA ; Maintained by Suki Davey (contributor 47883436) .