Antoine Charlois (1849-?)18 February 2021
Son of Jean Charlois and Jeanne Moutet, Antoine, eighth generation, was born in Chaulgnes on April 1st , 1849 during the Second Republic (1848-1852) presided by Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, the future Emperor Napoléon III.
Antoine Charlois, wood splitter, married Marie Dollet, also from Chaulgnes, in 1873. They had 11 children, including 7 daughters (Marguerite, Marie, Louise, Marie-Louise, Juliette, Julie and Marie) and 4 sons (Jean-Étienne, Léonard, Henri and Eugène, grandfather of Sylvain Charlois).
The list of their wedding witnesses shows the profession of two brothers of the bride: Jacques Dollet, 33 years old, cooper, and François Dollet, 37 years old, carpenter. This marriage united two families and two professions closely related, stave mill and cooperage, now more than ever at the heart of the group Charlois activities. A third witness, Eustache Bailly, friend of Antoine Charlois, was winemaker in Chaulgnes.
The couple’s eldest sons, as their father, are registered as wood splitters according to the 1901 and 1906 population census. A few years later, in 1911, Jean-Étienne settled as a lumber merchant. Eugène, born in 1900, was too young to be registered in 1911. However, there is no doubt that Eugène was already following his father and brothers in the forest to learn the wood splitter’s craft and skills.
As many families in this period, Antoine and Marie Charlois have paid a high price during the First World War. One of their son, Léonard died for France on the battlefield of Hem-Monacu (Somme) on August 2nd, 1916. Then, Henri and Jean-Étienne died as a result of their war injuries on February 28, 1924 and July 11, 1927 respectively.
Picture: Postcard of the series “The Forest in Nivernais”, printed in 1903 by the poet Achille Millien – Fonds Charlois pour l’Art et la Forêt.