AS RECORDED IN:
COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF
TOLLAND AND WINDHAM COUNTIES CONNECTICUT.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF PROMINENT AND
REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS AND OF MANY OF THE EARLY SETTLED FAMILIES
PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903 P. 876
MADAME JOSEPH CYR, whose high standing in the business world is but the natural outgrowth of her clear judgement, wise foresight and upright methods in the display of her marvelous creations of esthetic taste in the line of millinery, is a charming representative of the vivacious and capable French-Canadian. Madame Cyr was born in Iberville, Province of Quebec, Canada, March 4, 1859, a daughter of Benoit Goyette, who was born at Ste. Brigade, in the same Province. In her maidenhood she was known as Valerie Goyette.
Benoit Goyette was the son of a farmer, and was given a liberal education for the day. For some time he engaged in teaching, but after his marriage, he entered the grocery trade in partnership with his brother-in-law Julien Benoit. After a few years he sold out and opened a hotel in Iberville, which he successfully conducted for more than forty years, winning great popularity by the high order of his entertainment. He was prosperous in his business always, but his generous nature so laid him open to the wiles of those less careful in their methods, that he suffered large losses through indorsing notes. In 1872 he and his wife, Marguerite Benoit, came to the United States, stopping for a short time in Grossvenor Dale, Conn., then locating in Wauregan, same State. After a sojourn of four years they returned to Canada, but after a few years among old friends and neighbors there, they returned to Connecticut, and made their home at Danielson with their daughter, Mme. Cyr. The mother died March 28, 1900, aged seventy-nine years, and the father passed away April 21st, following, aged eighty-one years. They were the parents of eighteen children, eleven of whom grew to adult age, and of whom are named: Josephine; Benoit, who has traveled extensively in foreign lands and highly educated, is general financial and business agent for the Christian Brothers school in New York City; Pontien is a successful miner in British Columbia; Rosalie; Napoleon; Moises; Louis is one of the best educated of the family, and now resides in Montana; Azilda; Valerie; Julien died at the age of twenty-one when he had barely completed his apprenticeship at the cabinet making trade in Boston, and he left some beautiful specimens of his handicraft in inlaid work and carving that are now in the possession of Mme. Cyr; Eugenie and Emma.
Madame Cyr received her education in a convent in Canada, and to a limited extent in the public schools at Iberville. She was but thirteen years of age when she accompanied her parents to Connecticut, and in Wauregan she attended a night school for a short time. Her course of instruction in the convent had included Latin, French and English, so that she had some knowledge of the language when she came to make her home in the States. In spite of her tender years she began working in a factory, first at Grosvenor Dale, and then at Wauregan. This employment she followed until she was twenty-one, when she began to learn the milliner’s trade. In 1880 she engaged as an apprentice to Madame Breault, then a milliner at Danielson. After six years of careful instruction on the part of the teacher, and painstaking effort on the part of the apprentice, Mme. Cyr was able to enter the business arena for herself. She opened her stock in the Ely Building, and four weeks later suffered loss by fire, but saved a good share of her stock of goods. Nothing daunted, this determined little French woman borrowed a small sum from her brother, and again started in business. When she first opened, her total capital stock was fifty-nine dollars, the savings from her earnings. One assistant was all she needed at the first, but her patronage has become so extended that now six girls are kept all the year, and during the busy season ten are employed. This is now the largest establishment of its kind in northeastern Connecticut. Mme. Cyr has all the love of the beautiful so characteristic of her race, and with it the ability to put her ideas into practical use. The creations of her art are noted for their exquisite beauty and refined taste. From a financial standpoint Mme. Cyr’s success has been almost phenomenal. She owns one of the finest as well as one of the largest buildings in the town, and has been able to meet all the demands of her rapidly increasing business, as well as to assist her family. She has been devoted to her people, and has given them the attention and aid a generous woman bestows upon those she loves.
It was in 1888 that Mlle. Valerie Goyette became Mme. Cyr, wife of Joseph Cyr, a well known and highly respected citizen of Danielson.
Linda D. Pingel – great-great granddaughter of Cyrus White of Rockville, Ct.
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April 7, 2008
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