Joseph Stanislaus Arsenault was born Oct. 11, 1901, the son of Pierre Arsenault and Héléne Bertin. of Bathurst, Gloucester County, New Brunswick. At the age of 23 months, he was kidnapped by gypsies and disappeared. In 1907, a young English-speaking boy, named Willie Hatkins, was found aboard a coastal lumber ship in Rivière Caplan, Gaspé. He had been adopted by Elie Joncas, a lumber inspector with the McLean Company. Willie Hatkins stayed with the Joncas family for 12 years before travelling to Nova Scotia, and later on, to Western Canada and the United States. In 1925, Willie Hatkins was hired by the Bonaventure and Gaspé Telephone Company, where he stayed until 1929.
After the death of his adoptive father, Willie Hatkins, now 30 years old, took up homesteading at St. Elzéar, some 20 miles distant. In 1933, several of Willie Hatkins' friends crossed the Baie de Chaleurs to play ball in Petit Rocher. There, a chance encounter with Pierre Arsenault, a man who strongly resembled Willie Hatkins, led to a series of events resulting in Willie Hatkins (a.k.a. Joseph Stan Arsenault) being reunited with his father, Pierre Arsenault.