This pocket watch belonged to Mr. Majorique Bordeleau. He always carried it with him as a souvenir of his trip to the Klondike. An inscription reading “M. Bordeleau” is engraved inside one of the flaps of the case along with the mention “Dawson” for Dawson City, the capital of the Yukon until 1952.

Majorique Bordeleau was born on August 27, 1869, in Saint-Tite, Champlain county, in Quebec. He was the son of Basiliste (sometimes called Basilide or Basile) Bordeleau, a farmer, and Philomène Jacob. In 1881, Majorique was 11 years old and went to school in Saint-Tite. He had two brothers: Narcisse, 15, and Octave, 13.

The family then decided to settle in Saint-Séverin, also in Champlain county, because in 1891, during the Canadian census, Majorique, 21 years of age, was a farmer there and lived with his father and mother.

With the blessing of Father François-Xavier Cloutier, then parish priest and future 2nd bishop of the diocese of Trois-Rivières, Majorique married Marie Courteau, daughter of Urbain Courteau, a farmer, and Louise Bayard, from the mission of Saint-Jean-Baptiste de la Rivière-aux-Rats, on April 7, 1891, in the Immaculate Conception parish of Trois-Rivières.

Majorique was a farmer, certainly, but he also had an adventurous spirit. He participated in the gold rush and travelled to the Yukon. When he decided to leave with a few companions in February 1898, he left his wife, who had just given birth to a daughter, Marie-Anne, the previous month, in the care of his parents. The couple already had four sons: Joseph, Octave, Sinaï (1894), and Alfred-Joachim (1896).

Curiously, while the oral history of the account of his trip to the Klondike has him returning to Saint-Séverin-de-Proulxville in 1902, during the 1901 Canadian census, Majorique was mentioned as present at his home with the indication that he was a farmer there.

Whatever the case, the couple would go on to have five more children: Joseph Marc France, who was born in April 1904 but died at the age of 5 months; Marie Angélina (Angéla) (1904); Joseph Jean Baptiste Albert (1906) (the donor of this watch); Marie Bertha Félicité (Alberta) (1908); and Marie-Ange Camille (1910).

With his son Sinaï, Majorique would also become a cheesemaker. As for his eldest sons, Joseph and Octave, they would become farmers and woodcutters in the work sites during the winter.

Majorique Bordeleau died on August 23, 1954.

Donation from Jean-Albert Bordeleau
Musée Pierre-Boucher Collection
1978 45 C