Click on pictures to enlarge.  



The following story was written by my sister, Sandie, my cohort in genealogy. We have been able to trace our family's history through old documents, photos, word of mouth stories told by family members, numerous travels to courthouses, libraries, cemeteries, archives, and churches in Michigan and Canada, as well as countless hours in internet research. This is a glimpse into the early lives of our Rivett and Sabourin families.


Rosalie Sabourin was born to Pierre Sabourin and his wife Margaret Morin dit Valcour on April 13, 1856.  It was probably quite an event for the happy parents, since Rosalie was their first daughter.  The family would continue to grow and by 1876, it would include 11 children, five boys and six girls.  Father Pierre was a hard working farmer, so mom had her hands full caring for this large brood of children.  Since Rosalie was one of the older children, she was probably given many chores and was a very responsible child. 



                      According to old census records, Pierre Sabourin and Margaret Morin dit Valcour lived in a log shanty in Ontario similar to this one.



When Peter Dennis was born he was baptized at Notre Dame Cathedral in Ottawa, Canada. It reads, "March 31, 1864. I, the undersigned priest, baptized Pier Dinis, born 5 days ago, of the lawful marriage of Antoine Rivette and Harriet Boudry. Sponsors: Piere Boudry and Margaret Challison."


This is the Sabourin barn on French Settlement Road near Kemptville, Ontario. It was built by Rosalie's first cousins. It is over 100 years old.



It would be fantastic if the family knew the facts about how Rosalie met her husband to be, Peter Denis Rivett, but nothing was ever recorded about their courtship.  Dennis, as he was later known, came from another farm family near the community of Kemptville, Ontario.  Maybe it was at Holy Cross Church or at a social function, a picnic or square dance.  Dennis and Rosalie always did love “fiddle” music as they referred to music of their time. 



This is the record of Rosalie and Peter Dennis' marriage.

Denis RIVETTE, 28, farmer, North Gower, same, s/o Antoine RIVETTE

 & Harriet BRANTHY, married Rasalier SABOURIN, 23, South

 Gower, same, d/o Augustin LABOURIN & Margaret MORIN, witn:

Alex'r SABOURIN & Mary Ann RIVETTE, both of North Gower,

 15 Feb 1876 at Oxford, RC

( Notice many misspellings.) 



     This is the Notre Dame Cathedrale in Ottawa, Canada, where Peter Dennis Rivett was baptized and he and Rosalie Sabraw/Sabourin were married in 1876.

Peter Dennis' parents, Antoine Rivet and Harriet (Henriette) Beaudry were also married there in 1838.



Their marriage took place on February 15, 1876 and in December of that same year, they became parents of a son they named Dennis.  A couple years later, little Margaret would come along.  She would later become our grandmother.

Father Dennis was still working on the farm, but longed to provide a better life for his family.  Many of the Rivetts and Sabourins had left the comfort of their homes in rural Ontario and headed for mid Michigan.  A few others moved to northern New York.  Hearing that the lumbering trade was always in need of help, he decided to leave his small family and head to Michigan himself.  Upon arriving sometime between 1879 and 1880, he lived and worked in the Bay City area.  Bay City was a booming lumber town, and he had no problem getting a job in this trade. 

Rosalie, meanwhile stayed home with the two children.  She must have been a very frugal mother and wife, living on what money Dennis could send her way.  A few years later, Dennis decided that it was time he moved his family to Michigan also, but didn’t want to raise his family in the rowdy town of Bay City.  He visited the nearby tiny community of Zilwaukee, MI and thought it was perfect for them.  Most likely, he found a small house to rent and soon, Rosalie left the comfort of her home and family in Ontario to join her husband.  It may have been about this time when the family name of Sabourin became Sabraw, at least for our closest family members anyway.  It has also been found that some of the earlier Sabourins started using the Sabraw name in Ontario, even before our family came to Michigan.

Dennis continued working in the lumber camps, and often was gone for days and even weeks, especially in the winter when a lot of the timber was cut down.  Sometimes he even went with the crew, into northern lower Michigan and worked for months at a time.  Once he even took his oldest son with him.

       I found this small article printed in the Saginaw News back on April 4, 1910.


Peter Dennis and his sons often worked the lumber camps in northern Michigan as well as in the local sawmills. This is a photo of a Saginaw sawmill.

Their family continued to grow and Rosalie would give birth to seven more children, six who survived.  Six were girls, three were boys.  All the children never strayed far from the area where they were raised, living and dying in Zilwaukee or nearby Saginaw, Michigan.  Dennis and Rosalie loved their little community of Zilwaukee and claimed it was their little piece of heaven.  They never left it and always sang its praises.  In 1926, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, surrounded by family and friends.  Both lived another five years and died within a week of one another, in January of 1931.  It must have been a real true love!

  The Rivett Family

Back: Eva, Dennis, Rosalie, Frank, Mathilda, Moses

Front: Anna, Peter, Edward, Margaret



This is a copy of Peter Dennis Rivett's Declaration for Intention for Naturalization, and his Naturalization document. If you look closely, you can see his own signature.     



Their daughter Margaret, who was named after her grandmother Margaret Sabourin, married a German fellow by the name of Henry Louis Bauer, when she was 20 years old in 1899.  Although not a rich man by any means, he bought them a nice two story home on the main street of Zilwaukee.  This home had been owned be a doctor, and the rumor is, they found human bones underneath in the crawl space! This is the home where Margaret Ann was born and raised, along with her seven siblings.  Margaret Ann remembers her grandmother Rosalie as a kind and happy little woman, who loved family and was a very good cook.  She was able to visit her grandparents, Peter Dennis and Rosalie, often since they lived so close.



      This is Margaret Rivett's baptism document. It reads, "On the eighteenth Mar, one thousand eight hundred and seventy nine, I, the undersigned priest, baptized Margaret, born 6th of February, of the lawful marriage of Denis Rivet and Rosalie Sabourin. Sponsors: Antoine Rivet and Melina Sabourin.  Edw. H. Murray, Priest  (Holy Cross Catholic Church of Kemptville)



         Holy Cross Catholic Church of Kemptville



                               Margaret Rivett Bauer as a young woman.


The Bauer Homestead on Westervelt Road iin Zilwaukee. Pictured are Orrin, Lillian, Margaret Rivett Bauer, Vernon in buggy, and Harold, taken circa 1910.





The youngest Margaret met her lifelong love right there in Zilwaukee.  It seems that dad Frank Troge took a shine to cute and sassy Margaret, when he was visiting Zilwaukee with some friends.  After a brief courtship, they eloped and ran off to Ohio.  The year was 1941.  The rest is history.

               Margaret Ann Bauer - taken in 1941