Box 03-241 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN FROM JOE PICARD, PEN NAME FOR FITZSIMON
Apr 7 1924
To: Rev. Calvin McQuesten [Quebec?]
From: Riviere du Fort
Dere's good-for-noteeng Joe LaFlamme,
Wit' tomp-line and la hache!
Dem tree' bettnire watch h'out, Ba Dam!
W'en Joe pass on de slash!
But, leetl' burd upon de tree
Is know Joe look for bois pourri!
W'en Joe is marry Rose Pellemere,
He's don' want to work no more!-
But Rose, she's tall heem purty clear
For cut de wood encore!
An' dat burd laugh at heem, for he
Know Joe cut only bois pourri!
Dere's plaintee mens lak Joe LaFlamme,
W'at don' lak work ver' moche:-
Dey let de hard-wood stan', Ba Dam!
An cut de sof', Ba Gosh!
Wall, dat burd know heem all, for he
Is keep' on call' dem, "Bois Pourri!"
Bois pourri--rotten wood
The Habitant name for the "Whip-poorWill"
Riviere du Fort
7th April, 1924 1
1 Biography of Charles S. FitzSimon (1871-1928)
Charles S. FitzSimon was born in Lislimnaghan, Omagh, County Tyrone, Ireland on Feb. 2, 1871. He emigrated to Canada in October of 1880 with his parents and seven siblings. The family lived in Toronto for a few years and then settled in Hamilton in 1885.
After working for the T.H. & B. Railway, Charles left Hamilton to take a position in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario with the Algoma Central Railway in 1901. He started as a clerk and worked his way up to Superintendent of Telephone Construction.
During World War One, Charles was a Captain in the 51st Soo Rifles detailed for duty with the Sault Ste Marie
After the war he returned to Hamilton where he lived with his wife, Edythe and sons George, Lawrence, and Ward. By 1921 his health was failing and he spent time in the Brant Military Hospital.
Charles was a published poet, writing under the pen name of Joe Picard. Much of his work was written in the vernacular (patois). His poems appeared in newspapers in Canada and the United States. His poem, "For Valour," appeared on the front page of Toronto Sunday World on November 6, 1921.
For a time Charles managed the Hotel Royal in Hamilton. His last place of employment was the Hamilton Cemetery Office where he was the book keeper. On January 3rd, 1928, he walked from his home on Waverly Avenue on the Hamilton Beach strip across the frozen Bay to work. Upon reaching the office, he had a heart attack and died.
This bio was sent to us by FitzSimon's grandson, Paddy Chitty, in February 2013.
Rev. Calvin McQuesten was very much interested in the French Canadians and their poetry and he gave readings from time to time from Joe Picard's poem: Box 03-241.
For more on Calvin's readings of French Canadian Habitant poetry, see Dr. Drummond's poetry. Calvin developed the ability to imitate Dr. Drummond's "Habitant" poems and did so publicly on several occasions. See W4559, Box 12-159, W-MCP2-3b.060, Box 03-188, Box 03-188a, Box 06-246, Box 03-243.