ARSENAULT, JOSEPH FELIX, businessman and office holder; b. 16 October 1865 in Abrams Village, son of Joseph Octave Arsenault* and Gertrude Gaudet; m. 26 September 1892 Gertrude Cormier, and they had 11 children, Alyre, Ermalie, Irene, Louise, Ulric, Jacqueline, Edouard, Alfreda, Auldine, and two unnamed children (died in infancy); Roman Catholic; d. 27 February 1947, in Summerside.
Arsenault, a Conservative, was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in the general election of 1897 for 3rd Prince. He was re-elected in the general election of 1900. He was defeated in the general election of 1904 by Joseph F. H. Arsenault*.
Arsenault’s father was a Member of the House of Assembly and served on Executive Council, eventually becoming the first Island Acadian in the Senate. Aubin Edmond*, one of Arsenault’s brothers, was premier from 1917 to 1919.
“Joe-Felix,” as he was known in his community, attended the local school in Abrams Village, St. Joseph’s College in Memramcook, New Brunswick, and the Commercial College in Charlottetown. In 1897 he became a partner in his father’s general store in Wellington. The firm, J. O. Arsenault and Sons, appears to have prospered in the 1890s. In 1899 it built a three-and-a-half-storey general store, one of the largest on the Island, and, for a time, Wellington’s biggest attraction. In 1900 Arthur Rogers of Summerside joined the new firm, J. O. Arsenault, Son and Company. The partnership expanded into buying and selling livestock and agricultural produce, operating a brick kiln, and entered the lobster industry. It shipped lobster by sea and rail to off-Island markets. In December 1901, the business declared bankruptcy. In 1902 Arsenault organized a joint stock company in the same area, but, by 1903, H. S. Sharp Ltd. of Summerside acquired a controlling interest. Later that year, Herb Sharp sold J. O. Arsenault, Son and Company Limited to his son James. Arsenault maintained an association with his former business until 1905, when he left for the United States.
In Coleraine, Minnesota, Arsenault worked for the Oliver Mining Company. Except for two years spent managing a general store in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he lived in Coleraine until 1913. That year he moved to Quebec, and from there to Summerside in 1914. Arsenault relocated to Charlottetown in 1917 when he joined the Department of Internal Revenue. In 1922 he returned to Abrams Village to manage a general store, moving back to Summerside in 1925 to manage a similar business. From 1930 to 1945, Arsenault served as Deputy Prothonotary and Clerk of the County Court.
Arsenault was an active member of the Societe l’Assomption, and he was a member of the Societe Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin and the Knights of Columbus in Summerside. Joe-Felix Arsenault died 27 February 1947.
Gertrude Arsenault of Sackville, New Brunswick, daughter of Vital Cormier and Celina Bourque, died 1 Decem
References: Acadiens p. 86; CPG 1901, 1905, 1909; Elections PEI; Past and Present pp. 608-609; Guardian 29 July 1983. Guide to abbreviations
Photograph courtesy of PEI Public Archives and Records Office,
Reference Number Acc3177/12