(Joseph and Dora Filion and family 1915— photo courtesy Richard Filion)
Joseph Amboise and Marie Rose Derimene (Belanger) otherwise known as “Dora” Filion were the parents of Newmarket’s prominent Filion family. Most of Joseph’s sons and grandsons were active in town government over the past decades – all were volunteers on or elected to several committees, boards and commissions including: selectmen, legislator and mayor.
Joseph was born in Rimouski, Quebec, Canada on 3 Sep 1868 to Thomas and Marie (Parent) Filion - both of whom were also born in Rimouski. Joseph first immigrated to Salem, Mass. in 1880 where he worked in a tannery, was a currier and bookkeeper before he ran a store. He then moved his family to Newmarket where he opened a store in the Brooks building (now Panzenella’s Restaurant) until 1908. He went back to Canada for two years, but returned to Newmarket in 1910. (1)
The date he left for Canada remains in question. According to grandson Richard Filion: “…the evidence is that it is more likely Joseph went to Canada for two years in 1918 after or perhaps in anticipation of prohibition. There are no deeds or mortgages between 1908 and 1914, and also none between 1916 and 1920 as the deed for the stable was filed in 1920.”
On their return to Newmarket, Joseph and Dora settled on Spring Street at the corner of Elm Court (below Doctor Towle’s a home) where they raised their children and Dora tended to her extensive rock garden.
(Dora in her rock garden —photo courtesy of Richard Filion)
Temperance movements have long been influential in New Hampshire. Although it was later reversed, the state had established state-wide prohibition years before the Civil War. After the war, U.S. Congressman Henry Blair of New Hampshire introduced a prohibition amendment to the Constitution, the first time such an amendment had ever been introduced. As a senator, he again introduced another prohibition resolution in 1885 that also failed.
Early in the twentieth century, New Hampshire passed a local option law that permitted individual localities to decide for themselves whether or not to impose prohibition and many did.
When Congress gave states the option of ratifying the Eighteenth Amendment to establish National Prohibition, New Hampshire eagerly did so. State residents strongly supported National Prohibition and expected it to improve health and safety, reduce crime, improve the economy, and raise public morality. They were to be disappointed. (2)
(2) Prohibition and Repeal in New Hampshire, by David J. Hanson, Ph.D.
Joseph Filion developed a wholesale liquor business in 1910 in a building (now gone) on the north side of Central Street. He also had two saloons: one on the south corner of Central and Main Streets; and the other one in the stone building where Felix Sobozenski later had his business.
Before National Prohibition, New Hampshire initiated its own prohibition by counties. When Rockingham County went dry Joseph bought a bar in the next county. When the state went dry he got on the train to Boston, got off at the first stop in Massachusetts and bought the first bar he came to.
When the entire country went dry he returned to Canada and was somehow involved in a clay pipe manufacturing company. But that failed and he came back to Newmarket and settled on Spring St. just south of the “Steamboat Block” .
(sign: New Market Historical Society archives, gift of Louis P. Filion)
After Prohibition was enacted in 1919, Joseph bought the lumber business of J. Elmer Kent. (That building adjacent to Town Hall has since been renovated and is now Kent Place, a combination of housing units and offices).
“Elmer Kent liked to train and race harness horses, and he built the stable to house his horses and provide a more reliable income. He really did not care for the business part of the arrangement. At that time “Yankees” and “the French” did not really socialize, but Kent was unusual in that he was friendly to the newcomers. He approached Joseph and told him that he needed an income to support that large family and should buy the stable.” (3)
”This was told to me by Richman Walker. I found a deed for the stable dated 1920 and Cynthia LaMontagne sent me a picture of the barn dated 1922 where a sign is visible saying “STABLE” on the left, “J. A. FILION” in the middle, and “COAL, WOOD, GRAIN” on the right. I believe at that time the “wood” referred to was cord wood used to heat as my father told me a number of times about buying up wood lots for cord wood. (3)
(3) Per Richard Filion, written for the New Market Historical Society, 2013
Joseph initially dealt in coal and grain, with supplies arriving by rail. He bought up various woodlots on Bay Road and around town where he lumbered wood locally and had it milled to sell from his building. His successor (in 1938) was his son Robert H. Filion. After WW II, the R. H. Filion was a thriving and enterprising business carrying hardware and building supplies of all kinds. Many returning servicemen relied on Filion hardware to build their homes.
Robert’s son Richard continued the business until the 1990’s when box store competition such as Home Depot and Walmart, as well as national hardware chain stores such as Ace and Aubuchon forced the closing of many local building supply companies throughout New England.
Joseph Filion served as a Water Commissioner in Newmarket, and was a member of the Lamprey Order of Eagles. The couple moved into a new home at 2 Packers Falls Road in 1941. After a period of failing health, he died 24 Jun 1947 at his home on Packer’s Falls. His wife Rose “Dora” died two years prior on 17 Oct 1945 at the Exeter hospital at age 73. Dora was born 25 Jun 1872 in St.Cyrille, Canada to Clovis and Hermine (Langlois) Belanger. Joseph and Dora are buried in Calvary cemetery in Newmarket.
Thomas Filion, at the time of his enlistment in WW I was a lumberjack working for his father on Durham Point Road. He was Army Private during the war and was injured at Aisne, Marne, France on July 25, 1918. Thomas was gassed at Belleau Woods and spent a long convalescence in Canada. Prohibition was repealed in 1933, and at some time after that Tom Filion began a beer distribution business. And business was Good!
It operated from the first floor of the Creighton (Legion) building on Main Street. Later Tom bought the large brick warehouse on Bay Road next to the MaCallen Company from which he continued to operate the business until he sold it to Ernest Cutter in 1948, and it was renamed Bayside Distributors. The building was old and inefficient, with low ceilings and uneven wooden floors. In many places the Lamprey River was visible thru the floorboards on the first level. Bayside Distributors later moved in the 1970s to Rt. 108 in Durham, and again relocated in 1985 to Rt. 125, Brentwood, NH where it continues the beer trade begun by Thomas.
Thomas J. Filion was President of the NewMarket National Bank on Main Street. The bank went through many acquisitions over the years: first, becoming a Branch of the Rockingham National Bank, later the Indian Head Bank, then the Fleet Bank, and today the building is owned by the Bank of America (although the Bank moved its operations out of Newmarket at the end of 2013). During the Depression, Thomas had been president of the Newmarket Industrial Associates. In 1934 he arranged for the largely successful “Recovery Dinner” held in the mills which celebrated the opening of the Newmarket Shoe Company, the first industry to return to Newmarket in years after the mills closed.
(Thomas Filion, WW I uniform —photo courtesy of Richard Filion)
A WWI veteran, Thomas was also elected past commander of Robert G. Durgin American Legion Post #67, and a was an active member of: World War I Veterans, Barracks 125; the Newmarket Service Club; and Lamprey Fraternal Order of Eagles. For many years he served on the Newmarket School Board.
Thomas and his wife Irene lived at 214 Main Street in town, and in later years wintered in Fort Lauderdale, FL., where he died in 1967. He and his wife are buried in Cavalry cemetery.
Louis Filion bought the Loiselle ice business and renamed it “Newmarket Ice and Coal” and was in the ice business until about 1946. He cut ice from the Lamprey River, and for years he stored it in an ice house by the river’s edge and sold it by horse and cart through town. Turcotte’s Hardware store on Main Street also had an ice house in the back where he bought and sold Louis’ ice. The Star Theater was above the store and those who remember it say that the air was cooled as it passed through the ice house, then blew into the theater, thus creating the “first cooling system in Newmarket.”
Louis began a successful heating oil business in 1931 which he first operated from his father’s Company Offices on “Kent Street”, and later, in 1938, he moved to Main Street beside Marcotte’s Store. He also owned a filling station from that location. During World War II, he operated the family transportation bus line from Newmarket to the Portsmouth Navy Shipyard for all town employees.
He represented Newmarket in the state legislature in the 1930’s and was a former town selectman. He also was a standard bred horse owner and trainer. He raced his small stable at harness race tracks and county fairs throughout New England.
After 1946, he started a construction company with a grant from the Roosevelt Administration. He owned a gravel pit on Rte.152, and when he retired in 1957, his son Robert L. Filion continued the gravel and construction business until he also retired twenty years later selling to Cheney Enterprises. Robert was a WW II veteran who served in the US Coast guard. Robert also took up his father’s interest in sulky racing and owned several young race horses.
(Louis Filion and Celia Lauzon wedding Sep 1, 1924 in South Berwick, ME - photo courtesy of Carolyn Filion Barnes)
Louis’ son Leo was a Korean War veteran serving as a Navy paramedic aboard a hospital ship. After the war, he was graduated from UNH with a degree in engineering.
Both Robert and Leo have been active in Town government both having served on several budget & CIP committees, various boards and commissions. Robert was elected as Town selectmen. Louis’ third son Gerard died young in 1971 at age 42 due to injuries sustained in a fire at the Schanda hunting camp in the White Mountains.
Theodore – b. March 8, 1906 Newmarket; died age 68 Sept 1974 at Malden, Mass. m 1934 Anna (Caouette) and moved from Newmarket to 239 Main Street in Somersworth, NH about 1954.
Prior to his enlistment in the US Navy during WW II, he was a painter living on Elm Street. After the war, he became a cook and restaurant owner.
He owned the Ruth Lee Block on Main Street and he operated Ted’s Restaurant on the first floor. The restaurant and entire Block was destroyed by fire on a cold (5 below) January morning in 1948. The fire spread through the entire block, a three-story building with eighteen apartments above the restaurant.
The building was an entire loss, and one of the worst fires in Newmarket’s history. Luckily no one was killed.
His home and all his furnishings, his business and all the cash in his restaurant were gone. He, his wife Anna and his son Theodore, Jr. occupied the apartment directly over where the fire broke out.
The family was awakened to the screams of Neville Atherton who had opened up the restaurant and began preparation for the 5 o’clock breakfasts. Neville lit the coffee urn - a subsequent explosion, shattering of glass and billowing of smoke caused a quick evacuation of the building. Theodore and neighbors David, Camille and Norman Mongeon went through the building helping people exit prior to the Fire Department’s arrival. After the fire, the building was later rebuilt as the Berry Block where it is today, on the west side of Main Street across from Mill No. 4.
After the war, Theodore was a major supporter of veteran causes and a member of the local VFW, American Legion and the Eagles. He held several offices in each fraternal organization. He was the 1939 Newmarket Town Treasurer, and was elected as a selectman in 1940 for three years. He was an avid fisherman who in 1941 held the smelt record with a catch of 22 bushels in one day. He was secretary-treasurer of the Royal Order of Great Bay Smelters - a group of experienced fishermen from towns around the Great Bay.
He was raised in Newmarket and was educated in the Newmarket grammar and high school system. He attended the University of New Hampshire in Durham. He had been a resident of Somersworth for over 35 years. He had owned and operated the R.H. Filion Lumber Company, a family business for over 30 years.
Active in politics, he had been the mayor of Somersworth from 1959 to 1963. While mayor, he was instrumental in bringing to Somersworth an urban renewal program, housing for senior citizens and low-income families, as well as the implementation to cleanup the Salmon Falls River. He was also a NH delegate to the Democratic Party Convention that nominated John. F. Kennedy. Like his father, a long time racing enthusiast, he was appointed by Governor John King to the Racing Commission at the Rockingham Race Track.
Mr. Filion was a communicant of St. Martin Catholic Church, where he had been a member of the Holy Name Society when the organization was active. He was also a former member of the Commercial Club.
His wife Aldea was also actively involved in Church events and the Democratic Party. She served as president of the Somersworth Democratic Women’s Club.
Robert’s son Richard was a Vietnam era veteran and continued running the family business, H.R. Filion Lumber, until the 1990’s when box store competition such as Home Depot and Walmart, as well as national hardware chain stores such as Ace and Aubuchon forced the closing of many local building supply companies throughout New England. Richard also served on the Newmarket School board, the Highway Safety Committee, as well as other Town boards and business organizations.
Back row: Theodore, Mabel, Louis, Edith, Robert
Middle row: Rose, Florida, Melina, Diana, Mary, Eva
Seated: Helen, parents Joseph and Dora, and lastly, Thomas
1. Rose Anna Diana (b.04/29/1892 Salem, MA; d. within the year in Salem on 08/07/1983)
2. Diana R. (b.11/26/1893 Salem, MA.) m. 10/29/1928 in Newmarket to Ralph Raoul Hebert (aka Raoul E.) (b. 11/08/1898 Manchester, NH; d. 09/1981 Manchester) Diana was a 35 yr old clerk, and her husband was a 29 year old broker when they married. He later was the Treasurer-Manager of both The Franco American Publishing Company and the Saint Mary’s Bank La Caisse Populaire Ste.Marie (the bank was owned by the NH Catholic Diocese).
(Diana Filion marriage to Ralph Hebert October 29, 1928, photo coursety of Richard Filion)
3. Thomas Joseph (b.8/18/1895 in Salem, MA; d.03/25/1967 at age 71 in Fort Lauderdale, FL) He m. Irene Bouchard ( b.03/21/1900 in Salem, MA; d. 09/27/1978 at age 78 in Dallas, TX). They had one daughter: Evelyn m. Orville Sackett – resided Dallas, TX
4. Mary Rose Delima (b.01/09/1897 Newmarket; d. 07/24/1959 St.Anne’s Home, Dover). She m. 8/18/1919 in Newmarket to Joseph Rene Levesque (b.09/20/1896 in MA; d. 04/24/1958 in Newmarket). She was a member of Robert G. Durgin American Legion Auxiliary and St. Mary’s Church. They had three children:
1) Roland B. Levesque (b.2 Feb 1926 NH; d. 10 Dec. 2004 Dover) Roland served in Korea, enlisting 1951. He m. Helen Wajda.
2) Jeannette (b. 1924 Newmarket, d. 01/12/2016 Rochester ) m. Frances Piascik ; Jeannette worked in a machine gun factory in Connecticut.
3) Irene Levesque (b 10 Feb 1921 in Newmarket, d. 10 Apr 1999). Irene was a Navy Wave in WW II and in August 1946, she married Robert Vidler (b. 14 Jun 1913 , d. 25 Aug 1980 Exeter). When Jeannette Levesque met Frances Piascik in Connecticut, they were introduced by Irene and Robert Vidler who also resided in CT. At one time Edith (Filion) and Arthur Plourde resided in the same area of the state as both her nieces Jeannette and Irene.
5. Eva May (b.6 May 1898 Newmarket, d. age 83 on 19 Feb 1982 Waterford, CT). She m. 9/3/1923 in Newmarket, George Nute Willey (b.01/07/1899, d.09/1957). Eva was co-owner with her husband George of the landmark Willey Hotel, Main Street Newmarkert. After her husband died in 1945, she was sole owner and operator of the Hotel. She was also owner of Willey’s Wholesale Candy Distributors of Rye , NH. She later was a bookkeeper at Filion Lumber. She was a graduate of Newmarket High School and a past president of the Robert G. Durgin American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 67.
Eva and George had two children:
1) Doris Eva Willey (b.13 Apr 1926 Exeter, d. 19 May 2009 New London, CT). She m. 19 Jan 1946 in Portsmouth to Thomas M. Grace Jr. (d.07/29/1966). Doris attended the University of New Hampshire and had worked for 20 years as a technical editor at Electric Boat Co. They had Three sons: Timothy M a resident of Coronado, CA; Thomas M. III of Naples FL and William A. of Waterford, CT; and one daughter- Lisa m. (Grace) Stevens of Mocksville, NC.
2) George Hamlin Willey (b. 5 Dec 1927 Newmarket , d.14 Feb 1978 age 50, Norfolk Cty, VA). He m. Martha Jane Reilly (b. 13 Apr 1929 in Mass., d. 3 Oct 2011 in VA, at age 82). George and Martha had three children.
6. Helen Laurianna. (b. 06 Jun 1899; d.9 Oct 1991). She m. 4/29/1923 in Newmarket to Joseph A.Proulx (b.1900; d.1969 Sandwich, MA). Helen was a member of the Pocahontas tribe of the Wahwahtavsee local council which surprised her with a wedding shower a month before she married. She and Joseph had three children:
1) Roger J.(b.5/20/1924 Exeter; d. 6/22/2010 Exeter). He m. 1947 Noella Bernier. Roger graduated Newmarket HS and enlisted US Navy in WWII, involved in 5 invasions. He owned & operated Roger Proulx Trucking Company for 20 yrs, then became a harness horse racer until he and his wife moved to Pompano Beach, FL. Their children: 1) Ronald Proulx m. JoAnn –resides Winter Springs, FL; 2) Norman Proulx –resides Bel Air, FL; and 3) Stephen Proulx m. Shurlann–resides in Nottingham.
2) Maurice Joseph (b.5/29/1926 Exeter; d.5/25/2010 Brentwood). He m. 1949 M. Jacquelin Bernier. Maurice graduated Newmarket HS 1943 and joined the US Navy in WW II serving in the Pacific Theatre on the USS Block Island as a machinist mate. After the war he attended UNH & travelled the country as a professional umpire. Maurice was the founder and Chairman of Proulx Oil and Propane, still a family business today. He and his wife had seven sons and one daughter: 1) Andre m. Marilyn – resides- Fort Myers, Fl; 2) Thomas J. m. Mary Jane – resides Dover; 3 ) Victor J – m. Kathryn – resides- Windsor, CT; 4) John P – resides Exeter; 5) James D. m. Lisa – resides Stratham; 6) Denis P. – resides West Rutland, VT.; 7) Michelle V –resides Exeter; and 8) Charles V – d. prior to 2010
3) Lorreta Madleine (b.1929; d.2011 Sandwich, MA) m.James Sibson. They had two daughters: Joyce Dove of Tallahassee, Fl; and Jean Sangster of Plymouth, MA.
7. Marie Caroline. (b.1901; d.01/12/1977 at age 76 in Newwmarket) She went by the name of Mary and m. 10/29/1928 Ernest Trottier (b.1898; d. 12/1954 Manchester) – Ernest was part owner of Brown and Trottier Funeral home 1917- 1954.
8. Louis Phillippe (b.04/24/1902 Newmarket; d.04/21/1998 Exeter). He m. 09/01/1924 in South Berwick, ME to Celia Lauzon (b. 07/18/1903 South Berwick; d. 6/27/1981 Portsmouth Hospital). They had three daughters:
1) Theresa m. Joseph Clancy – resided Wethersfield, CT and Vero Beach, Fl.;
2) Lucille m. Francis Pelland — resided McClean, VA and Vero Beach, FL;
3) Carolyn m. Hamish Barnes (d. Oct 1971) –resides Centerville, MA. Caroyln was on the organizational committee for Newmarket’s 250th Anniversary and served on the town Conservation Commission, Planning Board and Budget Committee. They had one son John Barnes.
Louis and Celia had three Sons:
1) Robert (Fibber) L. m. Helen (Ham) Phalen – resides Newmarket. He had one son Dale (Bumpy) Filion -resides Newmarket, and one stepson George Phalen- resides NJ;
2) Leo Filion m. Jeanne Hamel (b.12/06/1935; d.08/02/2012) – resides Newmarket. They have five children: 1) Stephen -resides Newmarket; 2) Michael m. Jacqueline - resides Durham; 3) Sandra m. Richard Erlenbach - resides Durham; 4) Mark m. Nicole Chantre - resides Newmarket; 5) Scott m. Rachel- resides Newmarket.
3) Gerard Edward (b. 09/09/1929, Newmarket; d. 01/03/1971 Boston) he m. Marlene F. Yates (b.06/25/1931 Manchester; d. 09/09/1998 Exeter). Gerard was an elctronics mechanic at the Portsmouth Navy Yard. He and marlene had two sons: Glen R. and Kevin G. Filion; and a daughter Susan Filion Johnson.
9. Rose Lydia Marie (b.06/17/1903 Newmarket; d. 09/18/1906 – 3 yrs 3 months 1 day)
10. Melina R. (b. 01/02/1905 Newmarket; d.01/12/1997 Brentwood). She m. 9/3/1928 in Newmarket, Marshall L. Solomon (b.1897 Terryville, CT; d. 7/25/1955 Epping, NH) – He was living in Cambridge MA and a superintendent; she was a secretary when they married. They lived in Nahant, Boston and Cambridge while he was employed in sales for an electrical and mechanical engineering firm. Between 1940 and 1955, the family changed their name from Solomon to Hall. The family lived in Epping for nine years prior to Marshall’s death in 1955. Melina was very active with the Newmarket Senior Citizens. She was a former director and treasurer, and was the primary force behind the building of the senior center. She and her husband had one son:
1) Marshall Peter Hall – Gales Ferry, CT. who at one time worked at the Electric Boat Company (the same company where his cousin Doris Willey worked).
11. Theodore W. (b.03/08/1906 Newmarket; d. 09/03/1974 Malden MA, buried Calvary Cemetery). He m. 4/16/1934 in Newmarket to Anna Caouette b.1902. Their children are:
1) Theodore R. —resided Somersworth and enlisted in the US Navy in 1960;
2) Anne m. George Gagnon – resides in Somersworth; and
3) Rhea Beatrice m. John Edward Hamel (a former paratrooper with the US Army) - resided Rochester and Columbia, MD.
12. Mabel Dorothy at 105 years old, was the the last of the siblings left. (b.05/18/1907; d. 12/10/2012 in Rye, NH at age 105) m. 10/03/1932 in Newmarket to David Joseph Lamontagne (b.- 1898 Quebec; d. 07/08/1979). David moved to Manchester in 1907 and lived there until his death. Mabel graduated from the Notre Dame de Lourdes School of Nursing in 1928 and worked as nurse at Notre Dame Hospital. It was there that she met her future husband when he sought treatment for a broken nose from his days as a professional fighter. She left nursing and raised her family in Manchester’s “West Side”. She later worked with her husband and helped manage thier Red Arrow Diner chain. She served as a member of the NH Milk Control Board in 1962.
Their children are:
1) Rita LaMontagne m. Bowlby - resides Portsmouth; she has two daughters: Karen and Lynn
2) Raymond - resides CT - he has a son David, and three daughters: Susan, Cynthia, and Nicole
13. Florida Octavia (b.01/22/1910; d. 09/12/1974 Lancaster, NH) m. at age 24 on 09/17/1934 in Bellows Falls, VT to Arthur E. Perreault a saleman in Manchester, NH. They resided in Manchester until 1940. By 1941 she had remarried to Stanley M. Bacon (b. 12/20/1903; d. 11/29/1997) a shipper in a Paper mill. They lived in Lunenburg, VT
14. Edith C. (b.06/28/1911 Newmarket; d. 03/06/1977 Exeter). She m. 11/27/1930 in Newmarket to Arthur Plourde (b. 12/05/1902 Exeter; d. 08/02/1984 Exeter) – Arthur worked as manager and book keeper for Filion Lumber Company for many years. They had no children. In 1941 Edith and Arthur resided and worked in New Haven, Connecticut.
15. Robert Henry (b. 01/26/1913 Newmarket; d. 09/04/2002 at age 89 in Rochester). He m. 09/02/1938 in Somersworth to Aldea Elise Doyon (b.02/07/1913 Somersworth; d.12/09/2002 at age 93 Somersworth)
They had two children:
1) Cecile m. William Law - resides Winchester, MA with two Children: Jason and Emily Law.
2) Richard - formerly resided Newmarket – now resides Somersworth. He has two children: a daughter Marsha and a son Kai.
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