Pierre Jean Pitre

1872 Matapedia, Quebec 1896 Matapedia, Quebec

 

 

Continuation of tree (9th child of Moise Pitre/Scholastique Gallant); all know surname descendants:

               8      Pierre Jean Pitre  b: 20 March 1872  St. Alexis, Matapedia, QUE; d: 6 December 1896  St. Alexis, Matapedia, QUE

                              + Judith Cecile Doiron  b: 22 January 1877  St. Alexis, Matapedia, QUE; m: 29 January 1895  St. Alexis, Matapedia, QUE [Laurent/Romulle Gallant]; d: 11 March 1897  St. Alexis, Matapedia, QUE

                         9        Joseph Arthur Pitre  b: 31 March 1896  St. Alexis, Matapedia, QUE; d: 5 May 1952  St. Charles, Limoilou, QUE

                                     +Marie Marguerite Ruest (Michaud)  b: 5 September 1908  St. Octave de Metis, Matane, QUE; m: 17 May 1949  St. Roch, QUE [Edouard/Adele Ross]; d: 9 January 1953  Montreal, QUE  (executed by hanging)

                                10        stillborn male Pitre  b: 18 March 1939  St. Charles, QUE; d: 18 March 1939  St. Charles, QUE

 

 

Notes for Pierre Jean Pitre:

Census

- 1891 Matapedia, Quebec:  Moise Pitre 54 (farmer), wife Calostique 58, Pierre 19, Sylvain 16, Thomas 12.
 

Notes for Joseph Arthur Pitre:

- 1901 Matapedia, Quebec:  Widow Scholastique Pitre 68, Thomas 22, grandson Jos. Arthur 5.

- 1911 Matapedia, Quebec:  Daniel Pitre 46 (farmer/carpenter), wife Marie Anna 56, Laurent 17, nephew Arthure 15.

- Canada WWI CEF Attestation Papers:  Arthur Daniel Pitre; b. 30 Mar 1896, St. Alexi, Bonaventure, P.Q.; present address St. Alexi, Bonaventure, P.Q.; single; farmer; next-of-kin Daniel Pitre (uncle), also St. Alexi; taken at Drill Hall, Quebec, 10 July 1918; 5'9", medium complexion, brown eyes/hair (scar on each side of neck, haryngitis)

- 1921 Matapedia, Bonaventure, Quebec:  Laurent Pitre 27 farmer, wife Ana 24, parents Daniel 55, wife Marie 65, cousin Arthur 25. (St. Alexis)

* Having now located the marriage record, my connection of this Joseph Arthur Pitre to Marie Marguerite Ruest is correct.  After his parents both died within 3 months of each other, about a year after Arthur's birth, he is found with his grandmother in 1901, his uncle Daniel in 1911 and again in 1921.  He is also listed in Canadian WWI Attestation Papers.  During Marguerite's trial he is listed usually as Arthur Pitre but occasionally as Joseph.  One article states they were married in May 1949, Marguerite being a widow with 2 sons Maurice (16) & Jean Guy Michaud (10).  Marguerite's marriage in 1927 to is to widower Charles Michaud.  The entry of a stillborn baby in 1939 lists the parents as Arthur Pitre & Marguerite Ruest.  One article in September 1949 states she is the mother of a 4-year-old girl.  The entry for the stillborn baby says that Arthur Pitre is from St. Roch.  Marguerite is mentioned as running a boarding house in St. Roch.  Arthur's death record in 1952 states he is age 55 years & 5 days, and his wife is Marguerite Ruest.  When Marguerite is hanged, she is again stated to be a widow.

 

Obituary:  The Montreal Star (Montreal, Quebec), Wednesday, 7 May 1952:  Mrs. Pitre's Husband Dies at Quebec - Quebec, May 7 - Arthur Pitre, husband of Mrs. Marguerite Ruest Pitre who was sentenced to death for her part in the time-bombing of an airliner, died here Monday, it was disclosed today.  He was 55.  He was survived by his wife and their son, Jean Guy Pitre.  Mrs. Pitre was convicted of murder for acting as the courier for the death bomb that cost the lives of 23 persons aboard a Canadian Pacific plane Sept. 9, 1949.  She is awaiting appeal of the death sentence.

 

Notes for Marie Marguerite Ruest:

There are dozens of articles, throughout the Canadian and American press regarding the bombing of an airplane.  While some may question whether Marguerite was actually a willing and knowing participant, the courts found her guilty and she was hanged.  She was the last woman hanged in Canada.

The bomb plotter was Albert Guay, a watch/jewelry salesman, with whom Marguerite's brother Genereux Ruest did business.  Guay was married to Rita Morel but had started an affair with a young waitress.  Marguerite apparently helped to arrange liaisons between them.  Guay decided to murder his wife by arranging a trip for her on a plane on which he would have a bomb placed.  He had clockmaker Genereux make the bomb using dynamite, batteries, and an alarm clock.  Marguerite actually purchased the dynamite for Guay at a hardware store.  At that time she ran a boarding house at St. Roch, and the neighbours, later the press, referred to her as 'Madame le Corbeau' (Madame Raven) because she always wore black.

On 9 September 1949, Rita Guay board an internal flight with Canadian Pacific Air Lines.  On that day Albert Guay also purchased a $10,000 insurance policy on Rita, which he attempted to collect a few days later.  Marguerite took a taxi to deliver the package containing the 25-pound package to the plane, supposedly for mail delivery.  Due to a flight delay the bomb exploded while the plane was still over land rather than water as Albert Guay intended.  The bomb brought the plane down killing all 23 on board.  Albert Guay was arrested 2 weeks later, tried in February 1950 and executed by hanging in January 1951.  After he was convicted, he claimed that Marguerite and her brother had knowingly assisted him.  This claim may have been to delay his execution thinking he would be called to testify against them. 

Both Marguerite and her brother were arrested in June 1950.  Ruest claimed that he thought the bomb was to be used to clear tree stumps from a field.  Guay testified against him, he was convicted, and hanged in July 1952.  Guay had urged Marguerite to commit suicide, but her overdose of sleeping pills failed.  Her trial began in March 1951.  She claimed that Guay had told her the package contained a statue.  Guay had already been executed, but she was convicted and sentenced to death.  In January 1953 she was taken to Bordeaux Prison in Montreal and executed by hanging at about half an hour after midnight on 9 January 1953.

Ogdensburg Advance, Sunday, 11 January 1953:  Montreal - The last chapter of the fantastic case of the time-bombing of an airliner that brought death to 23 persons more than three years ago is ended.  Early Friday in Montreal's Bordeaux jail, Mrs. Arthur Pitre, buxom, 43-year-old Quebec widow, was hanged for her part in the bizarre affair that snuffed out the lives of all aboard the plane that crashed near Sault au Cochonue, Sept. 9. 1949.  Mrs. Pitre, charged with delivering the time-bomb to the plane was the third to mount the scaffold for the crime.  J. Albert Guay, 33-year-old Quebec jeweller and mastermind in the plot to kill his wife, collect $10,000 insurance money and marry a young waitress, was hanged Jan. 12 last.  Genereux Ruest, 54-year-old crippled watchmaker who made the bomb, was hanged July 25.  He was Mrs. Pitre's brother.  The stocky Mrs. Pitre dropped through the trap at 12:35 a.m. EST after the possibility of a reprieve failed to materialize.  She was pronounced dead 15 minutes later by Dr. Romeo Pluoffe, jail physician.

 

 

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Items in RED have been verified against parish register entries.

 

Last updated:  15 November 2023.