The 1850 Federal census of St. Paul, Minnesota Territory generates a puzzle. Listed in the same household (#160) in order: Michael Delonner (b. 1837), Maxine Valance (b. 1820), Lenson (Lecon ?) Valance (b. 1826), Melamie St. Cyr (b. 1801), Abner St. Cyr (b. 1835), Julie St. Cyr (b. 1834), Alic Towiskie (b. 1826), Amelie Towiskie (b. 1845), Harcape Towiskie (b. 1846), Maria Towiskie (b. 1850), Michael St. Cyr (b. 1812), Maria Towiskie (b. 1843), and Josephine Towiskie (b. 1844). There can be no doubt whatever that the Michael St. Cyr of the 1850 St. Paul census, a trader born in Wisconsin in 1812, is one and the same as the Michel St. Cyr recorded in the 1850 Territorial census at Long Prairie, Minnesota. The Territorial census was made on 1 Sept. 1850, and the Federal census on 15 September 1850, so he had traveled from Long Prairie to St. Paul in about a fortnight. While Michael and Melamie have the same surname, they are not listed as man and wife. Under her name are listed two St. Cyr children, then a fair number of children with the surname "Towiskie." Two of the Towiskie children are listed under Michael St. Cyr, and may be presumed to have been his own, apparently born out of wedlock, the most likely candidate being the 24 year old Alic (for Alicja ?) Towiskie. Was Melamie living as Mr. Towiskie's common law wife? Was she an unknown first wife of Michel St. Cyr? Was she the same as Kenoka, the mother of Michel St. Cyr?
Schoolcraft may throw some much needed light on this conundrum. He says, "The sister of Michael St. Cyr is married to a Pole, and has one child that has blonde hair and light eyes; and another who has light brown hair, copper complexion, and black eyes." This must refer to a St. Cyr woman who has exactly two children. The name "Towiskie" certainly appears to be Polish — the name "Towski" is attested as such — and the two children in question may be the two that are living under the surname "St. Cyr." Poles in America at this time were very rare, so this is not likely a coincidence. So what of Mr. Towiskie? In 1849, we find in the St. Paul census a name that does not appear in the 1850: Narcisse Towiskie. It turns out that the best explanation is that in 1848, Narcisse got caught up in the California Gold Rush. It is likely that Narcisse, the presumed head of household, first had a common law marriage to Melamie St. Cyr, at the same time that Michel St. Cyr had a relationship with Alic. She and Michel had two children in 1843 and 1844 (Maria and Josephine) out of wedlock (as Michel St. Cyr was married to someone else in Long Prairie). She then married Narcisse Towiskie and had two children by him in 1845 and 1846 (Amelie and Harcape). The two children of the mostly absentee father, Michel, were brought up as Towiskies. When the Gold Rush occurred in 1848, Narcisse and Alic ran off to make their fortune, leaving the household under the care of Melamie and Michel when he came down from Long Prairie. Narcisse apparently died in California, and Alic returned with a new baby, Maria.
Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.
Melamie is 23 degrees from Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh Mountbatten, 26 degrees from Grace de Monaco, 26 degrees from Henrik af Danmark, 41 degrees from Sālote Tupou, 26 degrees from Liliʻuokalani Kapaakea, 29 degrees from Te Atairangikaahu Paki, 32 degrees from Bhumibol Adulyadej, 25 degrees from Claus van Amsberg, 21 degrees from Jan Sobieski and 35 degrees from Fionnuala O'Connor on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.