The road men at Limonest


There are two road men at Limonest.

They will “benefit” from the new regulations of February 1835, Antoine BOUCHARDIN is 52 years old and Claude PETASIQUE, 27, the latter is married to Constance BRAILLON.

Plaque de cantonnier
Copper plate of the road mans’s hat


They are now more numerous and all live with their families at Limonest

  • Jean THIBAUD is the chief road man, he lives at La Sablière with his wife Marguerite and his son François.
  • Jean-Pierre GEY lives at Le Bourg with his wife Claudine and daughter Claudine.
  • Étienne PRIEUR and his wife Marie have found original names for their two children: their daughter is called Jeanne and their son Jean. Although Étienne could not read or write, he was hired as a road man, there may not be that many candidates !
  • Étienne CAILLE lives at Le Petit Paris with Henriette and their daughter Claudine.
  • Pierre PICARD resides at La Barollière with Antoinette and their four children.
  • Jacques NOUVEAU is also a road man, with Anne his wife they have two children Marie and Jean.


More changes to the list :

  • Jean THIBAULT, is still there, even if the spelling of his name changes, he is declared a travelling road man, he is 32 years old, his son François is 8.
  • Étienne CAILLE is 45 years old, Henriette 28 years old and Claudine 10 years old.
  • Pierre PROST, 37 years old, is married to Marguerite VINCENT, 33 years old, they live at Saint-André and have a 7-year-old daughter, Magdelaine.
  • François DUMONT married Marie DUPONT, they live with Jean, Marie's little brother.
  • Jean BILLARD, 36 years old, living in Le Puy d'Or is very happy, on May 3 little Pierrette was born, her mother Marie has done a good job.
  • Jean RIBERON got married on January 25 of this year 1846, the new bride, Marie-Françoise SALETTE is very brave, on the registry of civil status the signature of her name shows that she did not tremble. (In fact, it was her brother Jean who signed, because like her mother Augustine, who also lives in Limonest, Marie-Françoise cannot write).

    But why should she have trembling on that beautiful day?.... Because her new husband is already a widower, three times !

    Jean Riberon was born in Lentigny in the Loire, on the 15th of November, he is 43 years old ; his first wife Magdelaine Devis died in Chalamont in 1831, the second Rose Collas in Lent in 1833, and the third Marie-Rosalie Salette in Ceyzeriat in 1843. Did you notice the last name? It is the same as that of his new wife, in fact, he remarries with his sister-in-law, she is 40 years old.

    But in 1846, article 162 of the Civil Code prohibits marriage between brother-in-law and sister-in-law ; fortunately for Jean and Marie-Françoise, since 1832, article 164 gave the king the possibility of lifting this prohibition on serious grounds.

    King Louis-Philippe therefore granted "an exemption of degree" on December 20, 1845, to allow this marriage. What could have beeen the serious grounds ?

    Undoubtedly the education of Jean's young children, because as the first two Jean-Benoît and Marie-Françoise, born from her first marriage are adults (19 and 16 years old) the children of Marie-Françoise's sister are still young: Marie is 11 years old, Joseph 10 and Jean-Marie 7.





A little over a hundred years ago, there were then 5 road men and 1 chief road man in Limonest, without forgetting the administration agent Joseph POITRASSON who lives in the district of Limonest.

  • Jean-Marie VIAL is a chief road man, he was born in 1866 in Joux, his wife Emilie is 6 years younger than him and they have four children all born in Limonest.
  • Michel BEDIN is 36 years old, he comes from Saint Just-d'Avray and lives alone.
  • Régis CUZIN is 44 years old, he comes from Saint-Bonnet-le-Courreau in the Loire, where his father was a wood sawyer; his wife Marie is from Boen-sur-Lignon, their daughter Antonine is a seamstress at Dumas.
  • Henry CLÉMENT is 36 years old, he was born in Saint-Christophe-la-Montagne (today Saint-Christophe), his wife Jeanne-Étiennette VINCENT was born in Limonest, she is 28 years old and has three children. CLÉMENT is a road man who didn't waste any time, their wedding took place on November 8, 1901 and little Jean arrived on October 14, 1902, followed by Maria who is 7 years old and Jeanne 3 years old. CLÉMENT also has the joy of having her mother-in-law at home, Marie Louise BUISSON, a 57-year-old woman from Saint-Didier-au-Mont-d'Or.
  • Jean-Claude ROYER lives at Le Puy d'Or, he was born at L’Arbresle 52 years ago, his wife Marie MAGDINIER, born in Lentilly is of the same age, before her marriage in 1881, she was a silk worker, and Jean-Claude worked at Mathieu GRANGER's house in Le Puy d'Or, he probably left his place to his younger brother Louis and then went to work with Marie at Jean PUPIER's house in La Gabrielle. For more than twenty years he has been a road man; their son Jean-François was a roof tiler at MAÏER, thanks to his uncle François Magdinier who also worked there ; their daughter Françoise unfortunately only lived for a month.
  • Étienne AYNÉ is the oldest of the road men, he is 62 years old, he was born in Dardilly. Before becoming a road man, he was a farmer in the Bois d'Ars, now he lives in La Garde with his wife Louise, a farmer, his son Pierre who is 31 years old, his daughter-in-law Antoinette and his grandson Étienne who is one year old.






Finally, a last word on a friend of the chief road man : the administration agent Joseph POITRASSON-GONNET, born in Bois-d'Oingt in 1871 ; in 1906 when he meticulously prepared the bid for the Petit Paris wash-house in Limonest (see history of a wash-house : http://lavoirsrhone.free.fr), we wondered if he did not have a monarchist sensibility, his children being named Philippe-Auguste and Marie-Antoinette ; but in 1908 a newborn child arrived, who received the first name of Auguste-Marie, no royal reference, did his ideas change or did we make a false assumption ?

Finally, after getting to know our road men, let's laugh a little with them !

Recruitment of a road man

A road man takes a test before being hired.

To see if the applicant can handle a shovel, the mayor asks him to dig a hole. He completed the task. The mayor, satisfied, asked him to fill it up.

When the work was finished, the road man was surprised :

  • — I don't understand, there's more soil than before…
  • — It's normal, replied the mayor, because you didn't dig deep enoughd !

Postcard from the early 20th century



Sur la route le cheval bute,
La comtesse fait la culbute,
Et tombant la tête première,
Elle montre tout son derrière.

Agilement, sans aucun mal,
Elle se remet à cheval,
Tandis qu'à l'aspect d'un corps nu,
Le cantonnier est accouru.

- Je vous remercie mon ami,
De moi n'ayez aucun souci,
Je suis très leste. Avez-vous vu
Mon agilité, Bienvenu ?

- Vous nommez ça l'agilité!
Je l'ignorais en vérité.
Au pays, un derrière nu,
Nous appelons cela un ...