Wye/Sheahan Family Stories


Since much of this site has to do with the history of the region I am inviting readers to contribute any photos, stories, or letters that would add to the interest of this site.

Several years ago I received an inquiry from Lisa Curtis who had a family connection with Wye wrote:

We were very excited to find your website and to hear about your book.
My dad and uncle were born at Wye when my grandparents, Emil and Siiri Erickson, were working for Mr. Plaunt in the 1930s. My grandfather spoke of what a kind and generous man Mr. Plaunt was. To see the videos on the website was wonderful and we watched them carefully to try to catch a glimpse of him.
We would like a few copies of your book and I’m hoping that you have some left. Can you let me know?
Thank you so much for giving us a new connection to our family history.

Later Lisa sent me photos of her father and uncle when they were quite young and somehow they got lost, so I owe her an apology. Her grandfather Emil Erickson worked for my grandfather.

Siiri Erikson with son Eric (R) with Lydia Hicks, my great-grandmother

Emil, Siiri and Eric Erickson

Siiri with sons, Eric and Raine

Emil Erickson taking a log of logs to the dump

Emil Erickson (middle) with his buddies in Wye


Gerry Thibault of Hamilton sent this letter in November of 2022 about his family’s connection to Wye and Sheahan. He is hoping other members of the Constantineau family will respond.

Reading this book Pogamasing was a real pleasure and brought back fond memories of the times and events experienced in Wye/Sheahan when I was young. The book also prompted me to find out more about my mother, Delia Maria Constantineau’s past.

Although I was less than 10 years old at the time (born in 1942), I remember catching fireflies with my sister Rita in the evening with a jar in the open field at my grandmother’s house near the Spanish River bridge. Her maiden name was Proxide Laframboise. She married my grandfather, Edmond Constantineau, but I never knew him. I also remember my grandmother’s house on the left side of the photo. I don’t remember going into grandmother’s house, but I remember they had a good size underground root house next to the dwelling.

I remember the bridge over the river. It was a scary bridge because the river flowed quite fast at this point with a lot of eddies. As children, we were afraid of the bridge as there was quite a drop from the bridge to the water. The planks on the bridge were old, and the cracks made the trip across even more daunting.  Next to the bridge, on the right side, was my Uncle Edmond’s house. I remember staying there. I was always afraid to stay there as the house backed up right against the river. I was sure his house would fall into the river, and be the end of us. Luckily, that never happened (the spring ice washed the bridge away in 1957). The house was replaced by the present owner Marc Pelletier who purchased Ernie and Edmo’s trapline.

What made this book so interesting was it cleared up some history concerning my mom’s side of the family. I remember going to Benny, Ontario, in the 1950s and seeing the house my mom (Constantineau’s) lived in. At that time, I remember rooting around in the small dump behind the house for old bottles and cans and other stuff they threw out. The windows were no longer on the building and there was a lot of growth around the house. The dark-weathered wood planks on the exterior made it look a little spooky. The Benny house is long gone, but I still remember the location. It was just across the road from a small shack with old red brick siding as you entered the small hamlet by road from HWY 144. This one-room shack belonged to a Finn named John Erickson. We often visited him with my brother-in-law Willie Martel who also grew up in Benny. The Martel’s worked in the lumber industry in that area for many years as well.

However, getting back to the story. I knew my mom’s father Edmond Constantineau worked in sawmills in the area.  He was first involved in the wood industry in Cutler Ontario, where my mom was born in 1920. It appears when the lumber business ceased in that area, work eventually brought him North to a sawmill (operated by the Hope Lumber Company) located near the Bannerman River in Benny, Ontario. From what I’ve been told, when the Benny mill closed, he moved to the one in Sheahan, previously known as the Wye. He worked in this mill and was in charge of the lumber yard, and from the village sketch on page 161 shows the Constantineau house # 22 on the North East side of the tracks. While Andy Thomson’s book refers to my grandfather as Leo Constantineau on page 149, the family confirms his first name was actually Edmond. There is a reference to Leo Constantineau, my grandfather, and the Constantineau family on page 149 of the book. My mother, Delia Constantineau, told me her father, Edmond Constantineau, died in his early 50’s. He had suffered a heart attack while pushing a boxcar loaded with lumber sometime in the 1930s when he worked at Wye in the lumber yard, but I’ve never been able to confirm this. At that time, the sawmill was producing a lot of railroad ties and everything was shipped by rail cars (see page 150).

It is still unclear to me where my grandfather Edmond lived, as I remember my grandmother living next to the Spanish River bridge when I visited Sheahan. It could be, after my grandfather died, she moved out of the house in the Wye village, and built one closer to the river, just across the road from where my Uncle Edmond Jr. (we knew him as Edmo) lived. See page 260 showing my uncle’s house on the right, and my grandmother’s house on the left, as you look East from the bridge toward the tracks.

My father, Wilfred Thibault, married my mom Delia Constantineau on June 7, 1941. I believe this courtship began during those Saturday evening dances at the Wye village in the late 30s or early 40s. Since Dad played the violin, he might have contributed to the festivities. Dad was working as a section man for the CPR near Ramsay. So, dances at the Wye village might have been where the relationship started. Dad was later promoted to the position of Assistant Roadmaster in the Cartier-Ramsey subdivision. He ended his 44-year career with the CPR railway in the Sudbury-Parry Sound division.

I tried to contact the descendants of Ernest Constantineau, but his son (Gary) passed away on November 20, 2016. His daughter (Marlene Viianen) may have also passed, but I have no confirmation of this. Marlene may still live in the Chelmsford-Sudbury area, but I haven’t been able to contact her. I don’t know where to find any more history about the Constantineau family at the Wye. The book shows a picture of Uncle Ernie Constantineau on page 172.

On page 168 of Pogamasing, he notes the Dubreuil and Constantineau families lived in the Wye village from 1929 to 1940. He also notes my grandfather Leo Constantineau (Edmond) was brought to the Wye to run the lumberyard. My aunt Eva Constantineau married John Dubreuil. This is the only direct family connection I know to the Constantineau’s.

My aunt Clara Constantineau married Bert Johnson. They lived in a CPR house in Forks, North of Sheahan, as he was employed by the CPR. I believe his daughter Helen Dubreuil still lives in Sudbury. Her husband Henry Dubreuil passed away in 2018 at the age of 92. See the obituaries below.

There are several children of Ernie Constantineau that still reside in the Sudbury-Chelmsford region. I’m hoping to contact them at some point for further history on the Constantineau family.

My account of the above information and history has not been fully researched and is only my best recollections of what my parents told me and what I experienced as a child at the time.

Gerald (Gerry) Thibault, Hamilton Ontario – November 16, 2022 – Contact Gerry at thibaug@gmail.com

Gerry also sent in Obits of his family that can be forwarded if requested: Ernest Constantineau (2002), Henry Peter Dubreuil (2018), Raymond Dubreuil (2016) Gary Constantineau (2016)


It amazes me how many people have a contact with the former history at Wye, the CPR stop, where my grandfather had his sawmill and lumber operation during the 1930s. Yesterday (Nov. 25 – several years ago) I received these photos from my 3rd cousin Tom Plaunt, whose mother, now 102, lives in a nursing home in Renfrew. Tom’s family is not only connected to my family through our common ancestry, but his parents lived in New Liskeard and his mother taught my wife Mandy! Tom and his mother have an equally strong interest in our family’s history and always brings me stories, and this case, photos to enrich our common history. In his email he wrote:

“Speaking of Pog: Last week I did a trip up to Renfrew, and managed to talk to Eileen Brydges, 97, who lives on Mom’s hallway. Her husband Ambrose worked for WB at Wye-and-about in the 1930’s, and took lots of pictures to send home to his girlfriend, who happened to be a schoolteacher and wanted materials about life in the lumber camps. She gave me a collection of photos for our perusal. They are all glued onto a long strip of (glued together) paper….the way she presented them to her students.”

He added I could use the photos so what better way than to share them with others. Some of them are different from those I have found in my family’s scrapbooks and are most interesting. These photos are also a bit clearer so even though I have cut and paste them as they were found in Eileen Brydges’ scrapbook Ambrose Brydges’ Photos of Wye, you can easily see them.

Thanks for sharing them.


Here is a verifying story of my grandfather’s generosity sent to me by Chris Grimard that he had heard from his mother Rita Dubreuil. I had heard of my grandfather’s bigheartedness from his children, but I had never heard it from those who were the beneficiaries of it.

“I was talking to my mother about the book. She and her sister Jean were born at Wye Ontario to Delia (Constantineau) and Dode Dubreuil, who worked in the mill at Wye. As I listened to her stories one of them caught my attention. I was told that Bill Plaunt (Sr.) was a saint according to my grandmother (Delia) who told this story to my mother. Bill would often travel to Sudbury on business and on one occasion he approached my grandmother and asked her to write down the sizes of clothes that fit the children. At that time my grandmother had 8 children. When he went to Sudbury he purchased clothes for all the children. To this day my mother still tells us this story of this unselfish man.”

Here is a photo of four of the Dubreuil children that is in the book, but I didn’t have their names. Thanks to Chris I now have them. I had talked to Florence, Rita (Chris’ mother), and Lillian and their recollections are in Pogamasing in Chapter 13.


Edward, Florence, Arthur and Lillian Dubreuil


These three photos were sent to me by Amy Amiro of some former CPR stations: Pogamasing, Straight Lake, and one unknown. Maybe someone will recognize it and let me know. Here is her note to me explaining her connection to these photos.

My Adopted Mother (Virginia Aubin) was born April 14, 1888 at Pogamasing. She was baptized by Rev. R. Caron, a Jesuit Missionary. Her Godparents were Arthur Malenfant & Marie Boule. Her Father was Odilon Aubin – he was born in St. Luc, Quebec on March 13, 1859 and came West in 1881 on C.P.R. construction work. He remained in the employ of the C.P.R. until 1900 as section foreman at many different places on the main line between Mattawa and Dalton. He left the services of the C.P.R. in 1900 and came to Sudbury in the employ of the Algoma Eastern. He was promoted to roadmaster and held this position until his death on October 1, 1927.

I also have a photograph of the Pogamasing Station showing my Grandparents standing in front with three of their children.


Pogamasing Station, circa 1890

Aubin Family and two trackmen at the Straight Lake (Stralak) Station, June 20, 1898

Unknown Station along the CPR


Ian Macdonald of Chapleau sent these images of the Pogamasing station taken sometime in the 1940s or 50s alongside the Spanish River.

Courtesy of the John Futhey Collection, Chapleau Public Library


Courtesy of the John Futhey Collection, Chapleau Public Library


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Grimard March 10, 2013 at 5:22 pm

I was talking to my mother Rita (Dubreuil ) Grimard about the book. She and her sister Jean was born at Wye Ontario. As I listened to her stories one of them caught my attention . I was told that Bill Plaunt was a saint according to my grandmother who told this story to my mother. Bill would often travel to Sudbury on business and on one occasion he approached my grandmother and asked her to write down the sizes of clothes that fit the children. At that time my grandmother had 8 children. When he went to Sudbury he stopped and had purchased clothes for all the children. To this day my mother still tells us this story of this unselfish man.


Lindsay January 29, 2014 at 9:49 pm

Virginia would be my great aunt


LarryB March 30, 2014 at 10:37 pm

Beautiful memory joggers right there. Thank you Andy for sharing!


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