That's my name!
Dubuque Travel Blog› entry 41 of 70 › view all entries
We left Madison in the morning as matter to drive further south. On the way to Kansas, we were passing through this funny named city: 'Dubuque'... which is actually my family name.
I had spotted the place on the map and absolutely wanted to stop by and visit this city, it actually bears my family name (or an historic variation of it which appear in my genealogy).
Even more funny, is that it is named after Julien Dubuque, a french canadian settlers who moved there during the French Colonial time... and he left from Champlain, a vicinity just off my native county of Portneuf by the St. Lawrence coast.
Of course I took tons of pictures since everything is Dubuque something, Dubuque county road, Dubuque Court Hall... etc. We first arrived by East Dubuque which is on the Ilinois side, and more of a tiny hamlet and lightly in an economic lag so we quickly crossed the Mississippi and went to park in downtown Dubuque, first stop the Tourist office.
Souvenir were abondant and I needed them, I left with tshirts, magnets, postcards. After all I had to bring all that information to my family back in Quebec. I would also later find out that he is a direct relative to my genealogy branch, basically he was a brother or cousin of one of my ancestor. He left Quebec right after the death of his father who appear in my ancestry. I felt proud, and amazed, he left the comfort of the bank of the St. Lawrence in the 18th century to venture into the wild far far away into land that were not fully settled ... first to Sault Ste. Marie Ontario, Du Pere and Fond-du-Lac in Wisconsin which were very tiny outpost in the North American wilderness.
He pushed the path further to reach the Mississippi and settle in the vicinity of the current town that has his name.
And even, what pushed him to leave... how was life in the Valley back then? And what frustrates me more, why is our history totally ignoring all that, is there a national shame? or a refusal to recognise that many of these North American town were settled outpost by French canadian who lived there and simply merged into the new society.
I was amazed to go by his tomb, and actually even more amazed that he had historical marker telling his story, while he remains unknown to us Quebecers.
This was like a pilgrimmage to me, we spent most of the afternoon there looking at the different part of the city before we finally hit the road back, doing some sightseeing panoramic view toward Iowa City.
I was amazed at home green and beautiful the countryside was, it felt like all the farmers were actually proud of their installations, just like it was noted in Wisconsin with the well maintained red barns.
Finally we reached Iowa City and the freeway, it was late afternoon and we stopped in this student city to eat. We relaxed a bit and had a sandwich on the main street and relaxed before I gave the wheel back to Megan to continue the journey. The sun set rather quick after we left Iowa City so there was not much to look at anymore, Megan then concentrated on the road while I finally snoozed watching the building up of huge thunderstorms and lightning at a distance while we drove toward Des Moines.
I looked at the Thunderstorm illuminating the sky and tried to notice bits of the city as we circled pass Des Moines, I had always wondered why it has a french name. I would finally fall asleep as the rough rain would start to pour, only to get awaken by thunder once in a while.
We arrived safe and in one piece in Topeka late that night.