Henry DoVille, Sr.

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BIOGRAPHY OF HENRY DOVILLE, SR., husband of Mary Lucille St. Peter


Henry DoVille (Doveil), Sr. emigrated from Sorel, Canada to Sodus, New York.  Henry was born in 1804 in Canada.  I know very little about his childhood.  I believe he was raised in Sodus Point.  He met and married Mary Lucille Bussierre (St. Peter?) and they had 12 children.  Two boys and one girl died before the age of 10.  Mary was 17 years old when their first child, Egbert was born, and 36 at the birth of their last child.


Henry became a boat builder and owned boat yards in the Sodus Bay area.  Much has been written about his business as well as the boats he constructed.  I have decided not to transcribe those documents, but I have copied them onto archival paper for your reference.  He was evidently a prolific builder and quite an accomplished businessman.  Besides building ships in Sodus Point, he also built some in Pultneyville, nearby.  He taught his sons to build and they took over his business after his death.  Many of them also went on to become sailors, ships captains, boat builders, entrepreneurs, market and hotel owners, etc.


Because there is so much written history about this family, it is easy to confuse Henry Senior and Henry Junior, as the writers did not differentiate between the two men.  I believe I have correctly understood that Henry Sr. was also a sailor at different times during his life.


The 1860 Census lists him as a ship carpenter. The 1860 photo of him shows a big, burly man.  He was one tough guy by all appearances!   At this point his 3 oldest sons (ages 15-23) were all listed as sailors.  Children certainly grew up quickly in those days.


His ship yard was located at what is now known as “The Loop” in Sodus Point, NY ( at the end of Greig St.  His sons later owned several parcels in that general area, so perhaps some of those parcels previously belonged to Henry Sr.


Today there are a few “boat yards” in the general vicinity and I often wondered if they were built on the very spot where Henry started his business so long ago.


Mary was born in 1818 and died in 1888, but I know nothing more about her.  Henry died on March 12, 1863, in the middle of the Civil War.  I often wondered if he built any ships that helped the North in that war.  I also wonder what became of Mary, as she outlived him by about 23 years.  I have no doubt she lived with one or more of her children as she had so many.  I have not found any Census records indicating her whereabouts.


In the records of the St. John’s Episcopal Church is the following statement:  Baptized Adults and Children August 1845, DoVille, Henry, Mary Lucy, Octavia, Henry, Egbert, Joseph.”  “Persons Confirmed in St. John’s Ch— (illegible)  on Tuesday morning May 24th, 1842 Mrs. Mary Lucy Duville.       John Williams Clark, Missionary, St. John’s, Sodus”


St. John’s Church, Sodus Records of 1845, (Reel #1420002 Salt Lake City Utah)


Baptisms:  “I baptized at Sodus Point, Oct. 31, 1845, Amelia Isabella, daughter of Henry and Mary Lucy Duville, born April 2, 1843.  The sponsors were Charles W. Rees, Mrs. (?) Amelia A. Fitzhugh and Mrs. (?) Minerva Isabella Morley.  Richard F. Cadle.”


Also in church records:  Baptisms  “I baptized at Sodus Point, Oct. 31, 1845, Charles Theodore, son of Henry & Mary Lucy Duville, born June 25, 1845.  The sponsors were Charles W. Rees and Henrietta M. Morley.  Richard F. Cadle.”


There is an entry for “Matilda Auguste Duville”, daughter of Lucy & Henry dated 1845.  I have seen nothing about her since and assume she died in infancy.


Both Amelia and Charles were baptized on the same day. (It was a Friday)