Memorial  Plaque

       As soon as he was back from France in 1992, after spending an entire day at the Departmental Archives in Angers, going through the records of Aubigné-Briand, Albert Cholette got in touch rapidly with Father Gérard Lebel, editor of La Revue de Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré to inform him of his latest genealogical findings.

       Since Father Lebel was in the process of publishing a 2nd printing of volume No 10 of the series Nos Ancêtres, he decided to include the new findings. They are to be found on pages 50 to 59 of this new edition published in 1993.

       The years went by without any special happening until Saturday, August 12th 2000, when Albert Cholette was agreeably surprised by the unexpected visit at his home of Philippe Lamy, the mayor of Aubigné-sur-Layon who was accompanied by his wife Madeleine and his son Guillaume. Philippe Lamy knew of course that a former citizen of his small community, Sébastien Cholet, had left for Canada three centuries earlier and had numerous descendants there. He wanted to be better informed.

       After the first few casual exchanges on this beautiful Summer day, the conversation soon shifted to the history of this Aubignese citizen who had chosen to seek adventure in Canada. He whose origins had remained unknown for almost three centuries had suddenly become the subject or the story of a child lost and found. Aubigné-sur-Layon wanted to know more about its former citizen and about his life in Canada.

       The various subjects of conversation soon led to a tangible way of remembering his past in his former community. Among others, the idea of a memorial plaque dedicated to Sébastien Cholet was soon agreed upon.  It could be unveiled on a special occasion such as the one which was then soon approaching. Indeed, each year since 1994, a large regional Feast is held on the last Sunday in August which draws large crowds from the surrounding country. It is the Feast of the Patrimony or Heritage, and of wine, of art in music and of gastronomy. The organizers of that Feast could be approached so as to include in the program for 2001 the unveiling of a memorial plaque dedicated to Sébastien Cholet.

       After having discussed several other subjects, Philippe Lamy repeated before leaving that he was going to do all he could to ensure that a memorial plaque be unveiled on Sunday, August 26th 2001. Upon his return home he submitted the project to the persons involved who received it favourably. Philippe Lamy was thus able to inform Albert Cholette in his letter dated November 19th 2001 of his successful intervention. Here are some extracts :

     “ … I must acknowledge that recalling the memory of your ancestor Sébastien Cholet, a child of the community of Aubigné, was a subject of deep emotion.


     … the inhabitants who are passionately attached to their architectural patrimony are putting in place the basic elements of the next Feast of the Patrimony, of the Art and of Wine in Music which takes place every year on the last Sunday in August.  The next one will take place on Sunday, August 26th 2001. It is very important for the inhabitants of the community. The Feast is also greatly appreciated by a great number of Angevines and numerous foreign tourists who stay in the region (6000 visitors in the year 2000).


     Why these different details ? Because I think of proposing that you participate in the Feast for 2001. You could be the guest of honour. As part of the Feast, a memorial ceremony could be organized in remembrance of mister Sébastien Cholet. More generally you could head a Quebec delegation comprising Friends, Musicians, Singers, Artists … this delegation would represent different facets of Quebec culture

         Albert Cholette, who had long been dreaming of a way of perpetuating the souvenir of his ancestor in Aubigné-sur-Layon, was very pleased to learn that such an occasion presented itself that would actually achieve the desired goal in a very noticeable way. In his reply to Philippe Lamy, dated November 28th 2000, he rejoiced that a ceremony was to take place whereby a memorial plaque dedicated to Sébastien Cholet would be unveiled. The proposal went along very well so that Philippe Lamy, after the fever of the municipal elections where he was re-elected without hesitation, could write in his letter of April 16th 2001 :

       “ … Henceforth we can devote our time to the preparation of the coming Feast of the Patrimony, of the Art, and of Wine in Music. We are pleased to confirm that you are the guest of honour.

  The inaugural ceremony which is to take place on Saturday afternoon August 25th or on Sunday morning, August 26th (decision pending) will be devoted essentially to recalling the memory of Sébastien Cholet and the unveiling of a memorial plaque.


     As soon as possible, would you please give us the following information :


  • The history of Sébastien Cholet and the inscription which is to appear on the memorial plaque

  • the date of your arrival and the length of your visit

  • the number of people accompanying you

  • do you wish to stay with a family or at the hotel ?


Within the scope of the Feast we wish to put Quebec in evidence and some of its cultural aspects … “


       In his letter of April 28th 2001, Albert Cholette answered that he was pleased with the arrangements as planned. While confirming his presence at the ceremony, he submitted at the same time an outline of the text which might appear on the memorial plaque. Philippe Lamy further wrote on June 8th :

       “I have learned with great satisfaction that you were coming to Aubigné-sur-Layon for the purpose … Obviously, I transmitted this important information to all the members of the Association AUBIGNÉ LAYON --- LAND OF REMEMBRANCE, who organize this splendid manifestation. All of them, more particularly Claude Bourron, the President, rejoice as I do at the idea of welcoming you in the village of your ancestor … The inscription you suggest for the memorial plaque seems excellent to me. With your agreement it could be possible to specify in addition the date on which the plaque was unveiled by yourself”.


       Philippe Lamy took charge of the preparation of the memorial plaque which was cast  at the Art Foundry “ La Médusine “ in Vouvant en Vendée. On the other hand, the president Claude Bourron and the wine-grower Jean-Paul Cochard went to Faveraye-Machelles, at the chateau Chant d’Oiseau (Bird Song), and met mister Pierre de Saint-Pern, owner of the farm known as “Les Chollets”. Their purpose was to obtain his permission to fix the memorial plaque on the wall of his property “Les Chollets” in Aubigné-sur-Layon. His authorization, dated August 17th 2001 reads as follows :

       “I undersigned Pierre de Saint-Pern, owner of the farm known as Les Chollets located in the commune of Aubigné sur Layon (formerly Aubigné-Briand), authorize Mister Albert CHOLETTE, quebecer, a descendant of Mister Sébastien Cholet born on March seventh, of the year one thousand six hundred and seventy seven, in Aubigné Briand at the place known as Les Chollets, son of Sébastien Cholet and of Perrine Hylaire, who arrived in Canada in the year one thousand seven hundred and two, to affix, in the name of the numerous descendants of this ancestor now living in the New World, a memorial plaque on the outside wall of the property at the corner of the road going to Machelles”.

       All was ready for the great manifestation which took place over a period of four days. Albert Cholette was gratified all along, finding himself at the very heart of all the manifestations as president of honour. He was greeted on his arrival by the TGV at Angers, on Friday noon the 24th, by Philippe Lamy who took him to the Prieuré (former monastery) in Aubigné where he was graciously sheltered throughout his stay by the owners Claude Bourron and his wife Catherine.

         A gastronomic dinner had been planned for the opening of the Feast of the Patrimony, on the evening of Friday the 24th. The menu carried the following introduction :

  Mister Mayor, the Municipal Council, the members of the Association of the Patrimony  
“Aubigné sur Layon --- Land of Remembrance”  
Mister Albert Cholette  
at the Inn of Éventard  


Article which appeared in "Le Courrier de l'Ouest"
on Saturday August 25th 2001  


       It was a memorable dinner, under the supervision of the renown Chef Jean-Pierre Maussion, during which the president of the association of wine-growers, Jean-Paul Cochard, presented to Albert Cholette three bottles of the famous wine from Aubigné-sur-Layon, known as “Coteaux du Layon --- Appellation Coteaux du Layon contrôlée”. Jean-Paul Cochard also presented to Albert Cholette an imposing wooden sculpture of St. Vincent, the patron saint of wine-growers. It was 50 cm high  and its size was such that it created logistic problems for its transportation on the return trip !

         On Saturday morning, August 25th, a ceremony took place at the town hall, in the presence of numerous persons, whereby :

  By virtue of the deliberations  
of the Municipal Council of Aubigné sur Layon  
on July 16th 2001  
Mister Albert Cholette  
of the Commune of Aubigné sur Layon



Article which appeared in "Le Courrier de l'Ouest"
on S
unday August 26th 2001  

The long-awaited event was naturally that scheduled for Sunday August 26th. Aubigné-sur-Layon becomes on that occasion a commune where the streets are reserved for pedestrians. In view of all the outside visitors coming from the surrounding country, all the roads leading into the commune are closed at the entrance. Large parking lots are available on the outside and the visitors get free transportation to the centre of activities. The official invitation card announcing the opening ceremony read as follows :


The Mayor and the Municipal Council  
The President and the Members of the Association of the  
Patrimony “Aubigné sur Layon --- Land of Remembrance »  
take pleasure in inviting you to the opening ceremony  
of the Feast of the Patrimony, of Wine, of Art in Music  
under the presidency of  
Mister Albert CHOLETTE (Quebec)  
Doctor of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology  
representing the CHOLETTE family from North America  
whose ancestor was born at Aubigné-Briand in 1677  
in the presence of  
a delegation from TZUZUKI-KU-JAPAN  
and of Mister Charles JOLIBOIS  
President of the Association of Mayors from Maine and Loire

  10 h 30 : Reception and visit of the “Quebec Pavilion”  
then discovery of the iconographic works  
of Paolo BARONNI (XVIIIth c.)  
Presentation of the memorial plaque  
dedicated to Sébastien Cholet  
Inauguration of the Fountain of “Coteaux du Layon” wines

       After the visit of the Quebec pavilion and of the paintings in Saint-Denis church, it was with great emotion that Albert Cholette unveiled the memorial plaque dedicated to his ancestor Sébastien Cholet, accompanied by Mayor Philippe Lamy and by Claude Bourron, president of the Association of the Patrimony. The plaque was unveiled on Sunday, August 26th, in the Church Square and was moved the following day to the place known as “Les Chollets”.

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born on March 7th 1677 at Aubigné-Briand
son of Sébastien Cholet and of Perrine Hylaire
arrives in Canada in 1702.
On October 19th 1705, in Montreal, he marries


daughter of Benjamin Heard and of Elisabeth Roberts
captured in 1692 at Dover in New Hampshire
by a raid of Indians and Canadians
then brought back to Montreal as captive.
They are the ancestors of thousands of


in Canada and in the United-States
This plaque was offered and laid by
Mr. Albert Cholette on August 26th 2001

Articles which appeared on August 27th 2001 in Le Courrier de l'Ouest published in Angers (Maine and Loire) Saumur edition The memorial plaque was unveiled on the Church Square on Sunday August 26th 2001 and moved the next day to be laid permanently on a wall of the residence known as Les Chollets where Sébastien Cholet was born and lived

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    As president of honour, Albert Cholette was then invited to inaugurate the Fountain of the 'Coteaux du Layon' wines which consisted in six large barrels that were inter-connected. As he opened the faucet, the wine started flowing into the large basin placed underneath. Not wanting to waste the precious liquid, he closed the faucet just as quickly … but he heard … just as quickly … "leave it open", which he did !

The visitors could buy for 20 francs a glass bearing the inscription Aubigné sur Layon and for the modest sum of 15 francs they could drink all the wine they wanted all day long. There were wine stations in the twelve stands spread over the commune. Pastries and different local products were also available.

The activities were to culminate on the following day, on Monday August 27th, when the memorial plaque was to be laid by Albert Cholette and Pierre de Saint-Pern on a wall of the property known as "Les Chollets" in the presence of numerous persons, of which historian Roger Gonnord, mayor Philippe Lamy and Claude Bourron, president of the Association of the Patrimony.

As a last gesture, the organisers had planned the plantation of a grapevine which Albert Cholette had the pleasure to perform in the company of two wine-growers, of which Jean-Paul Cochard. This grapevine, together with the memorial plaque, will recall the everlasting souvenir of Sébastien Cholet at Aubigné.

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Laying of the memorial plaque on Monday August 27th 2001, by Albert Cholette and  Pierre de Saint-Pern

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Historian Roger Gonnord, mayor Philippe Lamy, Albert Cholette, Pierre de Saint- Pern, owner of the farm known as "Les Chollets", Roger Bourron, president of the Feast of the Patrimony

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The memorial plaque was laid on the exterior wall of a building of the farm known as "Les Chollets", at Aubigné-sur-Layon, on the road to Machelles and Thouarcé, at the intersection of the small road toward Mihoudy on the left.
Ceremony of the plantation of a small grapevine at the site of the memorial plaque in the presence of two wine-growers, of which Jean-Paul Cochard who holds the small grapevine in his hands

      Needless to say, Albert Cholette was very grateful to all those who participated in different ways to ensure the success of this Feast. He is mostly thankful to Philippe Lamy and Claude Bourron and to their spouses for their full devotion in carrying out all the preparatory work and for the incredible reception they reserved to their invited guest.

For Albert Cholette, it was the fulfilment of a
wonderful and beautiful dream.