A Manchester, New Hampshire Small Grocery: Morency’s Market & the Morency Family

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Joseph Morency, proprietor of Morency’s Market in Manchester NH, circa 1950. Photograph Courtesy of Marc Morency, his grandson, and used with his permission.

Over the past two hundred plus years, these shops have been called by many names: grocer, grocery & provision store, fruit & grocery, grocery company, market, retail store, corner store, convenience store. The corner grocery store has been an essential part of most New Hampshire communities.

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Front view (from Hall Street) of Morency’s Market. Photograph Courtesy of Marc Morency, grandson of Joseph the market owner, and used with his permission.

In 1891 typical grocery store offerings included dairy (butter, cheese, milk), eggs, coffee, tea, molasses, syrups, sugars, baking goods (cream tartar, starch, salt, pepper, lard), fruit and dried fruit, flour and grain, meats and vegetables. These stores often also delivered wood and coal.

Up until 1916 when the first self-service grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, was opened in Memphis Tennesse by Clarence Saunders, you would normally give your list of needs to the grocery clerk.   He or she would gather the items for you, and often would have to measure out some of your items into bags or other containers. It was a slow process that did not work well with many customers at once.

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Joseph Morency standing in front of his grocery market with daughter Annette and son Leo. Photograph courtesy of Marc Morency, Joseph’s grandson and used with his permission.

The grocery store has often been a staple of New Hampshire’s small towns–as much as the local meetinghouse, town green, and post office. With greater competition (from supermarkets to superstores) and with customers having improved mobility, they are struggling to remain open, and are quickly disappearing.

When I was growing up in Manchester, New Hampshire, a grocery store–Morency’s Market, was literally across the street, on the corner of Hall and Shasta Streets. It was a tiny place, built in the 1940s, and offering mostly food and cooking basics, newspapers, and an amazing section of penny candy.

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Night scene of Morency’s Market, corner of Hall (facing this street) and Shasta. Mr. Joseph Morency can be seen in the window. Photograph courtesy of Marc Morency, grandson, and used with his permission.

Joseph Morency was one of many French Canadian immigrants who came to Manchester looking for work and a better life. He started off as a laborer, then worked for many years as a chauffeur. He lived in the southeast side of town, a section that quickly became predominantly French after St. Antoine (Saint Anthony’s) Church and Rectory were built. In 1940 Mr. Morency opened a small grocery store on the corner of Hall and Shasta Streets. He raised eight children on income from that business. In about 1963, after 23 years in business, at the age of 65, he closed his shop.

He left behind many good memories. He was patient with the children who came to his store, a single penny clutched in a grubby hand. They were allowed to take as long as they needed to pick out sweets. My mom was frugal with her grocery spending, but Morency’s Market was where we bought the things we ran out of–bread for lunch sandwiches, butter, cooking oil.

I’m sure the Morency family didn’t make a great profit off my family alone, but combined with all the families in the neighborhood who chose to shop there, rather than to drive or walk a greater distance for a few small items–it all added up. The bread he stocked was either from Genest’s, and Sunbeam bread from Cote Bros. Baking Company–both local bakeries.

It is a shame we can’t take a lesson from what our grandparents and parents did. They shopped locally with people they knew. In turn, Mr. Morency spent his money in town, banked locally, and bought a house not far away from where he worked. Manchester prospered in those days, because of hard-working, honest men like him.

My thanks to Marc Morency whose prompted this story by his posting of photographs of the family store on Facebook, and to his father Leo for allowing these accompanying photographs to be scanned, and to both of them for allowing me to use their family pictures.

*****Genealogy of the Morency Family*****
(Please note, this is not an attempt to research ALL Morency families–only the family that lived in Manchester, New Hampshire and are connected with the grocery store mentioned in this article.)

Antoine Bauche, b. 1600 in Montmorency, Paris, Ile-de-France and d. 30 Dec 1648 in Pres De Paris, Val-d’Oise, Ile-d-Paris. He married Margueirte Guillebert. She was b. 1604 in Montmorency, Paris, ile-de-France, France and d. 4 May 1661 in Arch Paris, Val-d’Oise, Ile-de-France, France.

Guillaume Baucher, son of Antoine & Marguerite (Guillebert) Baucher, was b. 3 October 1630 in Pointoise, Paris, Ile-de-France and d. 25 Oct 1687 in Montmorency, Quebec, Canada. He married Marie Paradis. She was b. 1642 in St. Jean Perche, France and d. 16 Dec 1708 in St. Famlie, Quebec, Canada.

Guillaume Baucher Jr., son of Guillaume & Marie (Paradis) Baucher was b. 25 April 1666 and d. 13 August 1717 in Ste Familie, Isle de Orleans, Quebec, Canada. He married Marie Asselin. She was b. 25 August 1679 in Montmorency Canada and d. 15 August 1715 in Ste. Familee, Montmorency Canada.

Hilaire Baucher, son of Guillaume & Marie (Asselin) Baucher Jr., was b. 12 Nov 1706 in Montmorency, Quebec Canada and d. 29 May 1781 in Montmorency, Quebec Canada; he married Francois Simon. She was b. 30 Dec 1709 and d. 3 August 1744.

Augustin Morency, son of Hilaire & Francois (Simon) Baucher, was b. 17 Feb 1741 and d. 12 August 1825. He married 8 Apr 1762 to Catherine Marquis Canac. She was b. 23 Oct 1741 and d. 6 Avr 1784.

Francois Xavier Morency, son of Augustin & Catherine (Marquis Canac) Morency, b. 26 Nov 1762 and d. 1823 in Sainte Famille, Ille Orleans, Quebec, Canada; m. Genevive Foucher. She b. 1763 and d. 1844

Joseph Morency, son of Francois Xavier & Genevieve (Foucher) Morency, b. 9 March 1807 in Sainte Famile, Isle, Quebec, Canada. He married 18 Feb 1831 to Scholastique Letourneau, dau of Louis & Catherine (Guyon) Letourneau. She was b. 1815.
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Children of Joseph & Scholastique (Letourneau) Morency:
1. Appoline Morency
2. Cecile Morency
3. Ferdinand Morency
4. Francois Xavier Morency
5. Marie Morency
6. Mathile Morency
7. Rose Morency
8. Adelaide Morency
9. + Joseph Morency, b. 16 May 1833 Canada

Joseph Morency, son of Joseph & Scholastique (Letourneau) Morency, was b. 16 May 1833 in Canada, and d. 16 Nov 1907 in Pontbriand QC. He married 6 Feb 1866 at Sainte Marie De Beauce, Quebec, Canada to Marie Virginie “Virginia” Bilodeau, dau of Charles & Josette (Letourneau) Bilodeau, daughter of Charles & Josette (Letourneau) Bilodeau. She was b. 16 June 1842 Ste Marie, Beauce, QC and d. 16 May 1923 in Manchester NH.
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Children of Joseph & Virginia (Bilodeau) Morency:
1. Adele Morency
2. Anna Morency
3. Delia Morency
4. Leda Morency
5. + Joseph Alphonse Morency, b. 11 Nov 1867
6. Josephine Morency, b. 30 April 1873 in Quebec Canada, d. 15 February 1955 in Robertsonville, Quebec Canada; she m. Alcide Valliere. They had one child, Maria valliere, b. 1902

Joseph Alphonse Morency, son of Joseph & Virgenie (Bilodeau) Morency, b 11 Nov 1867 in St. Pierre De Broughton, Canada / Christened 12 Oct 1868 same place; d. 15 April 1924 in Manchester NH, of endocarditis. Laborer. Resided 732 Harvard Street (11 years a resident, so removed there about 1913). He married 1 Aug 1892 in Broughton Ouest, Beauce, Quebec to Delina Routhier, dau of Antoine & Celanise (Jacques) Routhier. She was b. 7 March 1872 in St. Hyacinthe Quebec Canada and d. 15 July 1943 in Manchester, NH.
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Children of Alphonse & Delina (Routhier) Morency:
1. Gédéon Joseph “Gideon” Morency, b. 9 April 1896 in St. Pierre de Broughton, Quebec Canada, d. 11 Dec 1968 in Manchester NH; m. 1) Rhea Emile Dussault, dau of Joseph & Georgianna (Gauthier) Dussault. 7 children; m2) Yvette Metevier.
2. Alida Morency, b. 30 Sep 1897 Canada; d. 20 Feb 1974 in Manchester NH;
3. +Joseph Alphonse Morency, b. 18 Nov 1898 Canada
4. Marie Emilda Morency, b. 2 July 1900 Canada; d. 1 Sep 1935 in Manchester NH
5. Amedee Morency, b. 4 July 1902 in Canada; d. 7 Dec 1971 in Manchester NH; m. 20 June 1932 to Germaine Hurd/Huard, dau of Arthur & Emilie( Lemieux) Huard.
6. Marilda Eleda Morency, b. 4 July 1900 St. Antoine PQ Canada, d. 1 Sep 1935 in Manchester, Hillsborough Co. NH of diabetes, single, 35 yrs 1 mo 27 days old.
7. Marie Alberta Bertha Morency, b. 5 Apr 1905 in Canada; d. 25 Jan 1996 in Manchester NH; m. 21 Feb 1927 in Manchester NH to Tancrede Pariseau, son of Joseph & Caroline (Trudeau) Pariseau. They divorced. She m2) Ben Wood.
8. Marie Eva Morency, b. 28 Aug 1911 in Canada; d. 24 Nov 1913 in Manchester NH of diphtheria of 3 days duration.

Joseph Alphonse Morency, son of Alphonse & Delina (Routhier) Morency; b. 18 Nov 1898 in Robertsonville, Les Appalaches, Quebec, Canada, d. 30 Nov 1978 in Manchester NH; m. 4 Feb 1919 in Manchester NH to Marie Gratia Adrienne “Grace” “Gracia” Dusseault/Dussault, dau of Joseph & Georgianna (Gauthier) Dusseault. She was b 11 February 1895 in Manchester NH, and died November 1972 in NH. Occupations: 1928-1933 living 740 Harvard St., Chauffeur; In 1934 moved to 137 Cartier street, still a chauffeur. In 1936 his occupation changed to “Shipper.” In 1937 moved to 344 Dubuque Street. In 1940 living in Manchester NH, he is listed as a salesman, retail grocer. By 1942 he is listed as “Grocer” with store at 44 Hall Street. In 1945 moved to 27 S. Lincoln Street. By 1964 he has sold the store, and is listed as “REPR” for Bee Bee Shoe Company. [Grocery Store from 1940 to 1963] [Grandson, Marc Morency states: “My grandfather was a chauffeur for Mr. Tancrede Pariseau who owned Pariseau’s and was married to his sister Bertha.”
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1930 US Census > NH > Hillsborough Co. > Manchester > 104 Belmont Street
Morency, Joseph Head $8000 M W 31 married at age 20 Can-Fr C-F C-F Grocer light delivery
Morency, Grace wife F W 35 married at age 24 NH NH Canada
Morency, Maurice son M W 9 single NH
Morency, Lucien son M W 9 single NH
Morency, Amedee son M W 6 NH
Morency, Roger son M W 2-8/12 NH
Morency, Albert son M W 2/12 NH
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Children of Joseph & Grace (Dusseault) Morency:
1. Maurice Joseph Morency, b. abt 1921 NH; m. 15 June 1946 in Mancheseter NH to Georgette Marie Biron, dau of Oscar & Lydia (Pichette) Biron. She was b. abt 1924.
2. Lucien Morency, b abt 1923 Manchester NH; m. 2 Sep 1946 in Allenstown, Merrimack Co. NH to Valerie E. Gagnon, dau of Francois J. & Marie (Bosse) Gagnon.
3. Amedee George Morency, b 15 Aug 1923 in Manchester NH, d. 17 Sep 1998 in NH; m. 25 April 1946 in Manchester NH to Irene Marie Lavoie, daughter of Arthur & Adeline (Salvail) Lavoie. She was b. abt 1926
4. Joseph Adrien Morency, b. 24 Apr 1927 Manchester NH; d. same day, spina bifida hydramnios, lived 10 minutes.
5. Roger Morency, b 20 May 1925 Manchester NH; d 18 Jan 1928 Manchester NH, age 2 yrs 7 months 28 days of whooping cough
6. Albert Morency, died 19 Oct 1943 Manchester NH
7. Therese Morency, b abt 1932 NH; in 1955 living with parents at 27 S. Lincoln Street, office clerk at Leavitt Co.
8. Annette Morency, b abt 1935 NH; in 1955 living with parents at 27 S. Lincoln Street; student
9. Leo Morency, b abt 1938 NH; in 1955 living with parents, shoe worker

****ADDITIONAL READING****

Montmorency, Quebec Canada

French-Canadian Immigration to the United States

Library of Congress: French-Canadian Immigration in New England (Lesson Plan)

The Pioneers: Immigration from Old France to New France

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