Sunday, October 16, 2016

Gaelic Love on Cape Cod: David, the Irishman, and Jane, the Welsh Maid

Edited from the Dennis Historical (Massachusetts) Society Newsletter, Feb/March 2008, by Burt Derick.

David O'Killia (O'Kelly) and Jane Powell’s (my 11th great-grandparent's) story is one of loneliness and love. In the 1650s, New England Separatists realized they needed to bring in willing (sometimes unwilling) workers, which was easy given the strife in Great Britain from wars, ravages of plague and religious persecution. Nearly all were young and unmarried, at the bottom of the social class.

David and Jane were poor bondservants (sometimes called White Slaves) charged with fornication.  They were in their teens, and forced to endure great hardship. Jane was likely originally from Wales. The distance between the homes of the owners of their indentures (Wm. Swift and Edw. Sturgis') is 24 miles, quite a distance in those days. Perhaps they met on the same ship from England to America.

David and Jane were poor, lonely, scared, moving to an uncertain future and they were Gaelic, sharing a common language others on the ship may not have had. They would have been immediately separated and endured a hard life, as Jane's plea in court shows. Many of the colonists were religious fanatics, ruling with an iron hand, punishing people for minor infractions. Somehow, in a time when roads were less than cartways and transportation was slow, David found Jane. Perhaps he had an errand to do for his master, attending the only gristmill in the area to get the corn ground to flour. It is unlikely it was a chance encounter--not a single encounter in the woods of Sagamore, but one of many. There was certainly a background relationship between these people that resulted in the encounter for which they were charged. The fornication charge likely means she was pregnant, rather than caught in the act.

Despite Jane's guilt, the magistrates could not bring themselves to levy the typical punishment of public whipping and they sent her home. They also didn't charge David with seducing the girl. They leave the two to work out the problem. It's also remarkable the Clerk took time to record so many details of Jane's predicament

After securing freedom for both of them, David did the honorable thing and married Jane and they moved to a 100 acre farm that was eventually named Kelley's Point, at the head of Bass River on the banks of what is today called Kelley’s Bay. The area is now called Mayfair in current day South Dennis, Massachusetts.

David's family lived in South Dennis, Massachusetts over 40 years, raising a family of five boys and two girls: Sarah b. ca 1660, Joseph b. ca 1662, +Jeremiah b. ca 1664, John b. ca 1667, David was b. ca 1670, Elizabeth b ca 1672, Benjamin b. ca 1675. All were mentioned in David’s will.

Our lineage is:

David Okille (about 1636 - 1697) -- 11th great-grandfather

Jeremiah OKilley (OKelley) (1664 - 1728) -- son of David Okille

Sarah OKilley (1689 - 1736) -- daughter of Jeremiah OKilley (OKelley)

Solomon Carpenter (1677 - 1750) -- son of Sarah OKilley

Elizabeth Carpenter (1703 - 1740) -- daughter of Solomon Carpenter

Soloman Braman (1723 - 1790) -- son of Elizabeth Carpenter

William Braman (1753 - 1804) -- son of Soloman Braman

Waterman F Brayman (1786 - 1865) -- son of William Braman

Elvira W. Brayman (Pierce) (Corey) (1822 - 1909) -- daughter of Waterman F Brayman

Marcus M Pierce (1842 - 1882) -- son of Elvira W. Brayman (Pierce) (Corey)

Lillian Amanda Pierce (1867 - 1957) -- daughter of Marcus M Pierce

Frank Jackson Bailey (1886 - 1968) -- son of Lillian Amanda Pierce -- our grandfather

Monday, October 3, 2016

Canoeing Advice for Old Folks -- (Elderly + 70 Years-Old)

I just came back from a little canoeing adventure in Oregon, and I've been thinking about a bad experience where I capsized my canoe.
I'm 74 years-old, so my lost of critical functions -- lack of strength and balance -- are a concern.  As we age we lose a lot of muscle and our balance gets poorer, it's a fact of life.  
I try to do balance and strength exercises to be fit leading up to a canoe trip, but they don't help much anymore.
I've also tried swamping my canoe in our backyard pool to practice a self rescue.  My 12' Old Town Pack Canoe fills with water, but doesn't sink until I try to get into it.  Then it sinks to the bottom of my feet.  
That's not a completely bad thing because coupled with my personal floatation device (PFD) I have a relatively safe platform to cling to.

That is unless it's severely windy, freezing cold, or nobody is within shouting distance.
In the last few years all of my canoe trips have been solo, so I've learned to take some precautions to return home safe.
Here are my suggestions for staying alive:

1. Always wear your PFD.

2. Always carry a whistle, compass and map of the area (in a waterproof case).

3. Always carry a -- easy to reach -- knife with a serrated edge.  All of my gear (fishing rod, tackle box, landing net and paddle) is on a leash, so it would be relatively easy to get entangled and possibly trapped under my canoe.
4. Always carry a spare change of clothes in a dry bag.  Rain pants, a paddle jacket and a wool or poly sweater will suffice.
5. Always carry a first aid kit, space blanket, headlamp, canteen of water, a Sierra cup (to boil water) and a means of starting a fire.
6. Don't go canoeing alone in windy conditions, and if it gets windy while you are on the water get to shore to wait it out.
7. Don't go canoeing alone in cold conditions.  If the water is below 50° you have just a few minutes to get out before hypothermia sets in.
8. Don't canoe beyond your safe swimming distance.  For me that's about 150' from shore with waterlogged clothes.

9. Be especially careful when entering and exiting your canoe.  Most canoe capsizes occur within 5' of shore.

10. AVOID DOCKS IF POSSIBLE.  I learned this just a few days ago.  Most older folks don't have the upper body strength to pull ourselves up onto a dock, and without immediate help you could be hypothermic before you can make your way around a long dock and back to shore.

I usually try to launch and exit my canoe at a beach, so if I do fall it's usually in a few inches of water, not several feet as found at a dock.

Canoeing is a passion that I've enjoyed 60 years.  
Nearly all of my canoe trips these days are solo, and I believe I'll be just fine as long as I adhere to my few simple rules.
One Last Thought
If you plan to canoe in alone in wilderness areas here's one more item you might consider carrying for protection from predators.

SEE: Backcountry Travel -- Packin' Iron

Happy paddling

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Paddling the Upper Klamath Canoe Trail

Located in the Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge is a marked, 9.5 mile canoe trail that meanders through a large freshwater marsh.

The canoe trail has four segments: Recreation Creek, Crystal Creek, Wocus cut and Malone Springs. Each section offers a different look at the Upper Klamath Marsh.

You can launch your canoe or kayak at the Rocky Point boat launch or the Malone Springs boat launch.

I can recommend staying at the Rocky Point Resort which offers both tent and RV camping as well as rental cabins.  Their restaurant is now open 7 days a week and offers a selection of delightful sandwiches and meals at affordable prices. 

Just in case you get skunked at fishing -- as I did -- they have fresh cod and chips.

Rocky Point Resort is located on Pelican Bay and has been in existence since at least 1909 as this old postcard attests too.

Ask about mooring your canoe or kayak at Rocky Point Resort's dock if you plan on staying longer than a day.

For me the canoe trail began at Rocky Point Resort, just north of Pelican Bay, which is aptly named for the American White Pelicans that often inhabit the area. It's great fun to watch pelicans soar with incredible steadiness on a wingspan averaging 9 feet.

Their large heads and huge, heavy bills give them an almost prehistoric look. Gliding on the water surface you'll see them dip their pouched bills to scoop up fish, or tip-up like an oversized dabbling duck. Groups of pelicans can be seen working together to herd fish into the shallows for easy feeding.

A solo White Pelican guided the way as I began my journey up the canoe trail.

There is an abundant variety of waterfowl and other wildlife in the refuge.  I am certainly not an authority on birds, so if you want to know what birds you can expect to see, you'll need to do a little homework.

Mammals along the canoe trail include Mink -- like this one I saw on a boat dock -- muskrats, beaver, occasionally otter, deer, coyotes, and rarely -- a newly located family of gray wolves.

Around every bend in the creek you can expect to see ducks and other waterfowl launch themselves as your canoe comes into view.

On my outward bound journey I passed several summer cabins, on the west, that had been grandfathered in when Recreation Creek became part of the Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge.

Once past the cabins the forest to the west comes down to the creek while the rushes to the east creates an entirely different view of the marsh.

Wocus lilies -- which flower in the spring -- can be seen throughout the marsh. Wocus is a Native American word for the Rocky Mountain Pond Lily.

The Klamath Tribes, formerly the Klamath Indian Tribe of Oregon once gathered seeds of the wocus lily as an important food staple.

One of the many Shore Birds I encountered wading and feeding in the shallows along the edge of Recreation Creek.

I'll call them Cattail Rushes -- because I'm no expert on rushes -- are full of songbirds like these Red-winged Blackbirds.

It's unlikely that you'd ever get lost -- but just to keep you from wandering into areas of nesting birds -- the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has installed signs that clearly define the canoe trail.

To aid the nesting of the extraordinary bird life in the area the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has installed many of these birdhouses on posts along the water's edge.

About two miles north of Rocky Point an industrious beaver has built a dam across Recreation Creek.

Many canoeists would be undaunted and simply pull their boat over the top, but for me -- with my poor balance it was swim or turn around.  The decision was easy because I had seen a number of likely fishing holes that needed to be explored.

As I turned around on my homeward bound journey I noticed this beaver had his home in the bank of the creek.

Of the two creeks -- Recreation Creek and Crystal Creek -- for me the prettiest is by far Recreation Creek because of the forest.

I paddled this creek twice -- once in the morning, and once in the evening. The bird life is far more active in the early morning, but the evening shadows from the forest are both cooling and intriguing.

For me one of the real delights was spotting several Kingfisher birds. In the past I'd only seen them in Montana's Glacier National Park.

As you near Rocky Point the creek widens and you are again greeted by pelicans dipping for fish.

Friend Kenny kayaking Pelican Bay

To the south of Rocky Point Pelican Bay widens again, but is very weedy and shallow except for a channel that skirts the west and southern shoreline.

When I got back to the place where I had been mooring my canoe I was welcomed by this Great Blue Heron who grudgingly consented to share his dock with me.

I would definitely return to visit the area again.

My only displeasure was not hooking one of the huge Redband Rainbow Trout that inhabit the area. Given that the water is crystal clear and the creek holds thousands of small bait fish and perch these 2 to 3 foot trout are not easy to catch. 

One fellow fisherman said, "The small fish are so thick you can almost walk across the creek on them."

Call me disappointed.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Great-Grandfather Jean-Baptiste Meunier Meets the Poncas

Jean-Baptiste Meunier (Mignier or Minier) dit Lagassé (Lagacé) (1749–1828), my 5th great-grandfather, was born before 8 Apr 1749 in la-Pocatière, Quebec, Canada.  He died 15 Sep 1828 in Laval, Quebec, Canada.  He married Marie Judith Gravel Brindeliere (1757 - 1779) 30 Oct 1775 in Cap-St-Ignace, Québec.  He was the son of Joseph Meunier Lagassé (Lagacé) (1706 - 1778) and Felicite Caouette (Cahouet) (1709 - 1783).

Jean was also a brother of two famous voyageurs: Andre and Charles Mignier dit Lagassé, both of whom used the Lagassé surname.  Both of these brothers traveled with the famous explorer, map maker David Thompson.

About the Surname

This family descends from Andre Migner (Meignier, Meunier, Minier) dit Lagacé (Lagassé) a French soldier assigned to the Carignan-Salières Regiment that had been sent to Quebec in 1665 by King Louis XIV to protect the French settlers from marauding Iroquois Indians.  In the army he was called by his nickname or noms de guerre, "La Gachette", which means "trigger" and is used to describe someone who can shoot with great ability -- a sharpshooter.  La Gachette eventually evolved to be Lagacé.

This family is difficult to track because of the many different spellings of both the surname "Meunier" and the dit name (called, said, or also known as) "Lagacé."

For whatever reason it appears the Lagassé name was dropped by Jean-Baptiste Meunier and some of his descendants.  However, a great-grandson, George Pinsonneau (changed to) Pierce identified his mother Marie Emélie Meunier (1808–1883) as a Lagassé many years later.

Missouria, Otoe and Ponca Indians by Karl Bodmer

Trading with the Poncas

Research reveals that Jean-Baptiste Meunier became a voyageur and traveled to the Missouri River and other Tributaries of the Mississippi.  About 1794, Jean-Baptiste Meunier and his partner, Jacques Rolland, established trading house near a village of the Ponca Indians on the Missouri River.  

1778 Voyageur contract

Jean-Baptiste Meunier - (1778, Feb 20 - Ezechiel Solomon hired Jean-Baptiste Meunier, voyageur de Laprairie de La magdeleine to go to Mississippi, and spend the winter, Notary Antoine Foucher) From the Archives of Quebec, M620/0097

Ponca Village on the Missouri River by Karl Bodmer


From: Jean-Baptiste Trudeau on the upper Missouri (1794-1796), his journal

[Translation: Two years later, Jean Meunier reached the Poncas village at the mouth of the Niobrara and may be made ​​by grant Carondelet , governor of Louisiana , the exclusivity of trade with this nation for a four-year period starting in 1794.]

[Translation: Jean-Baptiste Meunier, from Vercheres , settled in St. Louis before 1789 , the year he would have been the first white man to discover the Poncas located 400 miles upstream from Missouri. In 1794 is exclusive holder of license deals with this nation. Trudeau to meet again (see sheets 53, 55, 71 and 76 of the manuscript ) . Meunier was more engaged . In some names are spelled Menier , Monier or Munier.]

From: French-Canadian Trappers of the American Plains and Rockies ( (edited)

There were the settlers of French-Canadian origin operating in the Illinois country. They plied the Missouri River and other tributaries of the Mississippi deeper into the South, seeking additional fur-trading opportunities. 

It must also not be forgotten that there were a large number of subordinates, regular employees, from both small and large companies, as well as the self-employed, all of whom worked to assure the day-to-day operation of the fur-trading industry.

In the last decade of the 18th century, Jacques d'Eglise, Pierre Dorion, Pierre-Antoine Tabeau, Joseph Gravelines, Jean-Baptistes Meunier, Joseph Ladéroute, and Pierre Berger were all involved in operations along the Missouri, as were literally hundreds of others during the decades that would follow.

These are characters who have all long disappeared without a trace, except for their names written in various ledgers-the only written record left in a world where illiteracy reigned supreme.

From: Archaeology at French colonial Cahokia, by Bonnie L. Gums

1794 to 1809 - Jean Baptiste Meunier (Munier); a records search in the Illinois State Archives and the St. Clair County Archives failed to locate any notice of sale by Meunier after 1809.

From:  Prologue to Lewis and Clark: The Mackay and Evans Expedition, by ‪W. Raymond Wood‬
Eight years later, in 1793, the trader Jean Baptiste Meunier (or Monier) claimed that he was the first European to visit and "discover" the Ponca.  He and his partner, Jacques Rolland, nevertheless dealt with them from a trading house they established near the Ponca village. 

From: Before Lewis and Clark: Documents Illustrating the History of the Missouri, 1785-1804, edited by ‪Abraham Phineas Nasatir‬
See the letter from Meunier And Rolland to Carondelet, St. Louis, 1794.

It appears his son Jean Baptiste Meunier also became a voyageur
Jean Baptiste Meunier (Mignier) said Lagassé (Lagacé) (1776–1835), my 4th great-grandfather, was born 24 Apr 1776 in Terrebonne, Quebec, Canada.  He died before 1835 in St-Laurent, Québec, Canada.  He married Marie Angelique Baret (Barette) dit Courville (1779 - 1815) 21 Oct 1799 in Laprairie, Quebec, Canada.

1800 Voyageur contract

(1800, Feb 14 - James & Andrew McGill hired Jean-Baptiste Meunier voyageur de Chambly to go to Mississippi, and spend the winter, notary Louis Chaboillez) From the Archives of Quebec, M620/1200.

Descendancy Chart

Jean-Baptiste Mignier
(Meunier) Lagasse (Lagace) (1749 - 1828) -- my 5th great-grandfather

Jean-Baptiste Mignier
(Minier) Lagasse (Lagace) (1776 - 1835) -- son of Jean-Baptiste Mignier (Meunier) Lagasse (Lagace)

Marie Emélie Meunier
Lagassé (1808 - 1883) -- daughter of Jean-Baptiste Mignier (Minier) Lagasse (Lagace)

Lucy Passino
(1836 - 1917) -- daughter of Marie Emélie (Mary) Meunier Lagassé -- my 2nd great-grandmother (our French Connection)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Uncle Charles Lagasse on the Columbia Plateau with David Thompson

Charles Mignier Lagasse (Lagace), Nor'Wester, -- my 6th great-uncle, was born 28 November 1744, in Ignace, Quebec, Canada; his death date and place are unknown.  Charles was the son of Joseph Mignier dit Lagace (1706 - 1778) AND Felicite Caouette (Cahouet) (1709–1783)

Spouse: Marie Madeleine Aubé dit Aubert, born 07 August 1747, in Rivière-Ouelle

Children: i. Andre Lagasse (Mignier) dit Lagace (1775 - ), ii. Charles Mignier dit Lagace (1777 - )

1792 NWC Voyageur Contract

LAGACE, CHARLES [Charles Mignier dit Lagace (1744 - ) -- 6th great-uncle]
Last Name: LAGACE
Last Name Standardized: LAGACE
Given Names: CHARLES
Contract Date: 17920328
Contract Place: MONTRÉAL
Length of Contract: 1
Parish: CHICOT
Parish (Standardized): St-Cuthbert
Destinations: DANS LE NORD [translation: North past Grand Portage]
Merchant Company: MCTAVISH, FROBISHER & CO.
Notary Name: Chaboillez, Louis
Wages: 900 LIVRES
Advance at Signing: 156
Archive Source: BANQ, Greffes de notaires
Microfilm Number: M620/1197

Charles Lagasse, Nor'Wester, on the Columbia River Plateau

Charles Lagasse, or Lagace  may have joined the North West Company (NWC), under the leadership of McTavish and Frobisher, earlier than 1792, but we know for sure he was engaged by them on March 28, 1792.

Charles Lagasse went on to become a long time NWC employee who spent much of his time in the Columbia River plateau area with David Thompson. 

From: New light on the early history of the greater Northwest: the manuscript journals of Alexander Henry, fur trader of the Northwest Company and of David Thompson, official geographer of the same company 1799-1814, AND from Lives Lived West of the Divide: A Biographical Dictionary of Fur Traders. Working West of the Rockies, 1793-1858, by Bruce McIntyre Watson, we learn:

As early as April, 1800 Charles Lagasse was with David Thompson on the Upper Saskatchewan River.

From October 5th through the 23rd 1800, Charles Lagasse went with David Thompson to the Kootenay Indians.  Thompson set Charles up with trade goods, so he could winter with the Kooteneys during the winter of 1800-1801.  In the spring of 1801, Charles Lagasse returned to Rocky Mountain House to meet with Thompson.

From ‪Parkways of the Canadian Rockies‬: ‪A Touring Guide to Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, and Yoho National Parks‬, we learn that the first white men to go up the Saskatchewan River and over Howse Pass were two North West Company voyageurs named Le Blanc and La Gassi (Lagasse), who were sent by David Thompson to winter on the west side of the Rockies with the Kootenay Indians in 1800.

On November 7, 1808, Charles Lagasse went with David Thompson on a journey from Boggy Hall to Kootenay House.   

Between 1808 and 1810, Charles Lagasse was with David Thompson in the Rocky Mountains.

In the spring of 1810, in the Saleesh area, David Thompson paid Charles Lagasse for the hire of three horses, but on May 17th 1810, David Thompson attempted to force him to duty for which Charles Lagasse said he was not fit, so Thompson listed him as a deserter.

On June 22nd 1811, Charles Lagasse reappears with David Thompson at Ilthkoyape Falls (also known as Kettle Falls) on the Columbia.  Thompson named the falls Ilthkoyape Falls and the Indians who fished there Ilthkoyape Indians. These are among the forebears of Indians who are today organized as the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

On August 29th 1811, Charles Lagasse went south on the Columbia River with the David Thompson expedition as they headed up the Columbia after stopping at Astoria.

In 1812, Charles Lagasse re-engaged on a two year contract in the Columbia (to be free in Montreal in 1814).

In 1813-14, Charles Lagasse wintered at Fort George (Astoria).

On April 4th 1814, Charles Lagasse was noted as being a bowsman on John Clark’s canoe on the brigade to Fort William and Montreal.

Charles Lagasse returned to the Columbia area and continued his association with the NWC until 1821, when his contract was transferred to the Hudson’s Bay Company during its merger with the North West Company.

In 1821, but he was listed as a ‘freeman’ (meaning his contract had expired).

After 1822, Charles Lagasse does not seem to have been engaged by the HBC.  Had he expired?  His date and place of death remain unknown.

Bruce McIntyre Watson's work suggests that Charles may have married a Flathead Indian woman: "Charles La Gasse appears to have taken as a wife, Emme, Flathead (c.1795-1855).  Two of their children may have been Pierre (c.1815-1882) and Josette/Suzette (c.1812-1896) although oral tradition indicates that “Pierre”, a brother of Charles, was the father of the two children but no such “Pierre” appears in any extant records."

Additional Sources:

The Travels of David Thompson 1784-1812, Volume II Foothills and Forests, by Sean T. Peake

Historic Hikes in Northern Yoho National Park, by Emerson Sanford, Janice Sanford Beck

The First Explorers of the Columbia and Snake Rivers, by J. Neilson Barry

The Washington Historical Quarterly, Vol. 11, No. 3, Jul., 1920, David Thompson's Journeys in Idaho
(Continued), by T. C. Elliott

Our Lineage from Charles Mignier Lagace (Lagasse):

Charles Mignier dit Lagace (1744 - ) -- my 6th great-uncle

Joseph Mignier dit Lagace (1706 - 1778) -- father of Charles Mignier dit Lagace

Jean Baptiste Mignier Lagace (1749 - 1828) -- son of Joseph Mignier dit Lagace

Jean Baptiste Mignier Lagasse (Lagace) (1776 - 1835) -- son of Jean Baptiste Mignier Lagace

Marie Emélie Meunier dit Lagassé (1808 - 1883) -- daughter of Jean Baptiste Mignier Lagasse (Lagace)

Lucy Passino (1836 - 1917) -- daughter of Marie Emélie Meunier dit Lagassé -- my 2nd great-grandmother (Our French Connection)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Uncle Pierre, Nor'Wester goes to Portage de la Montagne

"Expedition at Kakabeka Falls" by Frances Anne Hopkins

In 1802, Pierre Pinsonneau, a Nor'Wester -- my 5th great-uncle -- signed a contract to make two voyages to the Northwest. 

His one year agreement species that he will go to Fort Kaministiquia and to Portage de la Montagne (also known as Mountain Portage in English).

My guess is that the intent was to transport trade goods to the old French Fort Kaministiquia, and then to return to Montreal to obtain more trade goods to be taken over the Mountain Portage perhaps to the Rainy Lake Post.

The contract…

Last Name: Pinsonneau
Last Name Standardized: PINSONNEAULT
Given Names: Pierre
Contract Date: 1802, Dec 6
Contract Place: Montréal
Length of Contract: 1
Overwintered: Yes
Parish: L’Acadie
Parish (Standardized): L’Acadie
Destinations: Nord Ouest, Fort Kaministiquia, Portage de la Montagne
Function Notes: - Faire deux vogages du Fort Kaministiquia au Portage de la Montagne, exempt du Nepigon [Translation: Make two voyages: Fort Kaministiquia and Portage de la Montagne, free of Nepigon]
Merchant Company: MCTAVISH, FROBISHER & CO.
Company Representative: Mr. W. McGillivray
Notary Name: Chaboillez, Louis
Wages: 1300 LIVRES
Advance at Signing: 600 LIVRES
Contract Notes: - l’équipement double - s’oblige de contribuer d’un pour cent sur ses gages pour le Fonds des Voyageurs - soixante-huit mots rayés - passer par Michilimakinac, s’il en est requis [Translation: double equipment - is obliged to contribute one percent of his wages for the Voyageurs Fund - sixty-eight words struck - through Michilimakinac, if required]
Archive Source: BANQ, Greffes de notaires
Microfilm Number: M620/1201

Contract points of interest…

Kakabeka Falls by Lucius R. O'Brien

Voyageurs used the Portage de la Montagne (Mountain Portage) -- a 1.3 km carry -- around Kakabeka Falls on Kaministiquia River as a major route to the northwest.

Nor'Westers were employees of the North West Company. The North West Company (NWC) was a fur trading business headquartered in Montreal from 1779 to 1821.

HBC post, Fort William by William Armstrong

In 1807, the North West Company renamed Fort Kaministiquia as Fort William. After 1821, it was a Hudson's Bay Company trading post.

Pierre's contract also states, "free of Nipigon."  After the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the Lake Nipigon area passed into the hands of the Hudson's Bay Company.

With great wealth at stake, tensions between the rival companies increased to the point where several armed skirmishes broke out, so it would be wise for a Nor"wester to avoid a post owned by the Hudson's Bay Company.  In 1821, the two rival companies were forced to merge.

Pierre's contract says his function is that of "gouvernail" (rudder man or steersman) in the canoe. Within each fur trade canoe, less-experienced voyageurs took on role of middle paddlers called "milieux", more experienced men took up the more high-paying positions of steersman or "gouvernail" and bowsman or "avant."

About Pierre Pinsonneau...

Pierre Pinsonneau (Pinsono), was born 29 Jun 1765 in Laprairie, Quebec, Canada. He died after 1826, at an unknown location.  He married Anne-Felicite Bisaillon on13 Jul 1790, in Laprairie, Quebec, Canada. 

Pierre was the son of Joseph Pinsonneau (1733–1779) and Marie Madeleine Duquet (1734–1791); and brother of Gabriel Pinsonneau (1770 - 1807), my 4th great-grandfather.

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Canoe Load of French-Canadian Ancestors

My French-Canadian Fur Trade Ancestors in the 17th and 18th Century...
compiled and edited by Jerry England 2016

• Direct ancestors are in red text.


Jean-Baptiste Godefroy de Linctot, Sieur -- 10th great-uncle (1626, served Samuel Champlain in the capacity of interpreter)

Thomas Godefroy de Normanville -- 10th great-uncle (1626, served Samuel Champlain in the capacity of interpreter)


Philippe Amiot -- 9th great-grandfather (1636, Coureur de bois near Trois-Rivières)


Mathurin Gagnon -- 11th great-uncle (1645-63, was a member of Communauté des habitants (Compagnie des habitants), colonial merchants who held the fur trade monopoly in New France.  He and his bothers Jean and Pierre operated a general store and became outfitters in the Lower Quebec)

Jean Mignault dit Chatillon -- 9th great-grandfather (1648, Governor Montmagny sent Jean Mignault to the "Huron's Country")

Jean Amiot -- 9th great-uncle (1640s, Interpreter and indentured employee of the Jesuits among the Hurons.  The Indians called him “Antaïok.” In 1647 he outran and captured an Iroquois who had taken part in the martyrdom of Father Isaac Jogues. He was a remarkable athlete; in a tournament at Quebec he beat all the young Indians who tried to race against him, either on foot or on snowshoes.


Mathieu Amiot -- 8th great-grandfather (1650s, Interpreter, fur trader for the Jesuits in the Huron country)

Denis Duquet -- 8th great-grandfather (1659, member of the Traite de Tadoussac)


Charles Amiot -- 9th great-uncle (1660s, Interpreter, fur trader for the Jesuits in the Huron country)

Pierre Duquet sieur de La Chesnaye -- 8th great-uncle (1663, Accompanied Guillaume Couture on expedition to the Northern Sea - reached the Rupert River)

Andre Robidou dit Lespagnol -- 9th great-grandfather (1666, working as a voyageur for Eustace Lambert, a prominent fur trader)

Jean Baptiste Desroches -- 8th great-grandfather (1667, formed a trading company with Nicolas Perrot, Toussaint Baudry, and Isaac Nafrechoux.  Together they traveled west to Ottawa Country, and to Green Bay in 1668)

Jacques Leber -- 9th great-uncle (1669, partner with Charles Le Moyne for Lachine's first Fur Trading Post)


Pierre Poupart -- 8th great-grandfather (1670, Voyageur for Daumont de Saint-Lusson and Nicolas Perrot when they claimed the Great Lakes for France)

Pierre Peras dit La Fontaine -- 9th great-grandfather (1670s, Pierre, his three sons and sons-in-laws involved in the fur trade as Coureurs des bois)

Charles Diel dit Le Petit Breton -- 8th great-grandfather (1677, voyageur with Frontenac at Fort Frontenac)


Nicolas Desroches -- 8th great-uncle (1682, Apr 17 - François Hazeur, marchand, de Québec, engages Denis Turpin, Ignace, Hébert et Nicolas Desroches, for exploration and trade with 8ta8ats (Ottawa Indians))

Jacques Nepveu (Neveu) -- 1st cousin 9x removed (1684, Sep 27 - Henri de Tonty, governor of Fort St. Louis de la Louisianne under the authority of De La Salle, engaged voyageurs, Jacques Nepveu (Neveu), and Anthoine Duquet Madri to go to Fort St. Louis de la Louisianne where they will trade merchandise for beaver skins)

Denise Lemaistre -- 9th great-grandmother (1684, fur trading with the Catholic Iroquois AND 1691, massacred by the Iroquois)

Charles Deneau dit Destaillis -- 8th great-uncle (1685, Antoine Bazinet hired Charles for a voyage to Sault Ste. Marie)

Joachim Leber -- 8th great-uncle (1685, Voyageur to the 8ta8ois (Ottawa Indians))

Francois Bourassa -- 7th great-grandfather (1686, Voyageur to Hudson's Bay for the Compagnie du Nord)

Laurent Barette -- my 8th great-uncle (1686, voyageur on Henri de Tonti’s search for La Salle on the Mississippi River)

Daniel Joseph Amiot dit Villeneuve -- 8th great-uncle (1686, voyageur on Henri de Tonti’s search for La Salle on the Mississippi River)

Francois Leber -- 8th great-grandfather (1688, to Ottawa Country.  Francois and his three sons were Coureurs des bois known as the fathers of the fur trade)

Joseph Boyer -- 9th great-uncle (1688, Voyageur to the 8ta8ois (Ottawa Indians))

Louis Duquet sieur Duverdier -- 8th great-uncle (1689, 28 Aug - Engagement de Louis Duquet Sr Duverdier et Louis Provencher au Sr Nicolas Perrot, Michililmackinac)


Jean Cusson -- 7th great-grandfather (1690, Voyageur for Nicolas Perrot to the 8ta8ois (Ottawa Indians)  Jean Cusson and Marie Foubert had six of his sons, Jean, Michel, Charles, Ange, Nicolas and Joseph who were all active as fur-traders from 1690 to 1713. All having all received permission to travel to the west.

Michel Cusson -- 9th great-uncle (1690, May 11 ‒ Nicolas Perrot hired Jean Cusson, and Michel Cusson, frères, for a voyage to the 8ta8ois (Ottawa Indians) [Antoine Adhémar]

Jean Gabriel Picard -- 9th great-uncle (26 August 1691 ‒ Claude Greysolon, sieur de LaTourette, hired Jean Gabriel Picard to make a voyage to the 8ta8ois (Ottawa Indians) [Antoine Adhémar])

Antoine Jacques Boyer -- 8th great-grandfather (1690, Coureur de bois who bought land with 600 livres from the sale of beaver pelts.  1694, Charles Legardeur, sieur de L’Isle, hired Antoine to make a voyage to the 8ta8ois (Ottawa Indians)

Gabriel Lemieux -- 9th great-grandfather (1690, Voyageur and courier de bois to Michilimackinac and Sault Ste. Marie)

François Bourassa2 -- 8th great-uncle (1690, Voyager to Michilimackinac)

Joseph Farfard (Fafart) -- 1st cousin 9x removed (1690, 5 May, 7 May, and 8 May ‒ François Garconnes de Boisrondel/t, acting for François Daupin, sieur de LaForest, hired Daniel Joseph Amiot, Joseph Bénard, Joseph Fafard, Louis Fafard, frères, and Jean Lat for a voyage to the Illinois [Antoine Adhémar – four contracts]

Joseph Bénard -- 1st cousin 9x removed (1690, 5 May, 7 May, and 8 May ‒ François Garconnes de Boisrondel/t, acting for François Daupin, sieur de LaForest, hired Daniel Joseph Amiot, Joseph Bénard, Joseph Fafard, Louis Fafard, frères, and Jean Lat for a voyage to the Illinois [Antoine Adhémar – four contracts]

Antoine Duquet dit Madry -- 8th great-uncle (1691, 16 Aug - Engagement de Antoine Duquet dit Madry à François de Laforest, Michililmackinac)

Antoine Martin dit Montpellier -- 1st cousin 9x removed (1694, May 21 - Louis Rouer de Villeray, acting for the ancient company of Jean Oudiette and Pierre Benac, in the name of Charles Catignon, reached an agreement with Antoine Martin dit Montpellier, of St Bernard, Charles Cadieux, of Beauport; Charles Neveu/Nepveu 1st cousin 9x removed and François Dumesny, of Québec; to go to Michilimackinac to hunt for the furs that Nicolas Perrot had sent sieur Amiot (probably Daniel Joseph) to bring to the Jesuit warehouse in the name of Jacques Charles Patu/Pattu, manager of the ancient company of Oudiette [Chambalon and Roy, Vol. 18, p. 72])

Jean Perras -- 9th great-uncle (1692, Voyageur to the 8ta8ois (Ottawa Indians))

Moise Dupuis -- 7th great-grandfather (1692, courier de bois to Schenectady, NY)

Jacques Hugues Picard -- 9th great-grandfather (1693, Voyageur to the 8ta8ois (Ottawa Indians)

Francois Leber2 -- 8th great-uncle (1693, Voyageur to the 8ta8ois (Ottawa Indians))

Maurice Benard -- 1st cousin 9x removed (1694, 16 September – Amador Godefroy, sieur de St. Paul, and Antoine Lepellé hired Maurice Bénard dit Bourjoly for a voyage to the 8ta8ois (Ottawa Indians) [Antoine Adhémar]

Joseph Moreau -- 9th great-uncle (1696, April 11 - Montreal, voyageurs Joseph Moreau and Louis Durand signed a contract with Marie-Therese Guyon, the wife of Antoine de Lamothe-Cadillac to go to  Michilimackinac with merchandise to be delivered to Commander Cadillac at Michilimackinac)


Jean-Baptiste Neveu -- 1st cousin 9x removed (also written Nepveu; he is sometimes called Sieur de La Bretonnière), Montreal merchant and fur trader, seigneur; baptized Jean on 20 Dec. 1676 in Quebec, son of Philippe Neveu, a tailor, and Marie-Denise Sevestre; d. 24 June 1754 in Montreal.

Charles Cusson -- 9th great-uncle (1701, voyageur with Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac when he established a settlement at Detroit)

Pierre Rivet -- 8th great-uncle (1703 - hired as a voyageur to go to Detroit)

Jean Rivet -- 8th great-uncle (1705 - hired as a voyageur to go to l'Ouest)

Rene Rivet -- 8th great-uncle (1705, May 30 - hired as a voyageur to go to l'Ouest)

Pierre Beauchamp -- 8th great-uncle (1705, Jun 5, Voyageur to Détroit and again 9 March 1709)

Jacques Beauchamp -- 8th great-uncle (1705, May 30, Engaged to go to Détroit and again 9 March 1709)

Jacques Godé (Godet) -- 1st cousin 9x removed (1707, Voyageur to Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit)


Pierre Gagne -- 8th great-grandfather (1712, Voyageur to Détroit)

Jean Baptiste Moreau -- 8th great-grandfather (1716, Apr 30 - Nicolas Perttuis embauché Jean Moreau voyageur de Batiscan aller à Michilimackinac, notary Adhemar)

Charles Diel2 -- 7th great-grandfather (1718, Pierre  Roy hired  Charles  Diel  to make  a  voyage  to  Détroit)


Joseph Poupart -- 7th great-grandfather (1723, August 27, Charles Chesne embauché Joseph Poupart voyageur de LaPrairie, aller à Détroit, Notary Adhémar)

Jean Baptiste Amiot -- 1st cousin, 8x removed ( 1724, was employed as a blacksmith at Michilimackinac)

Alexis Rivet -- 8th great-uncle (1728 - hired as a voyageur to go to Détroit du lac Érié)


Pierre Barette dit Courville -- 7th great-uncle (1734, Voyageur to Michilimachinac)

Gabriel Lemieux -- 8th great-grandfather (1734, May 28 - Ustache Gamelin embauché Gabriel Lemieux  voyageur aller à poste des associes [Kamanistigouia???], notary Lepailleur de LaFerté)

Rene Bourassa -- 6th great-uncle (1735, voyageur for Pierre Gaultier de La Verendrye to Michilimachinac and beyond)

Pierre Rivet -- 8th great-uncle 30 years later (1736, May 28 - Gatineau et Hamelin embauché Pierre Rivet aller à Poste de la Riviere St- Joseph Notary Claude-Cyprien-Jacques Porlier)

Nicolas-Pierre Rivet -- 1st cousin 8x removed (1738, May 16 - Marin Hurtebize embauché Nicolas Rivet aller à poste des Illinois Notary François Lepailleur de LaFerté)


Charles de Langlade -- husband of Charlotte Ambroise Bourassa my 1st cousin 7x removed (1745, Established a fur trading post at Green Bay, Wisconsin. He is called the "Father of Wisconsin." He was also a War Chief during the Revolution.)

Charles Diel3 -- 7th great-uncle (1747, voyageur to Wabash, Indiana)


Joseph Poupart -- 1st cousin 8x removed (1751, Jul 2, Jacques Quesnel embauché Joseph Poupart voyageur de LaPrairie, gouvernail, aller à Illinois, notary Adhemar)

Augustin Barrette -- 7th great-uncle (1751, Voyageur to Michilimachinac)

Francois Moise Dupuis -- 6th great-grandfather (1752, Jun 2 - Nicolas Volant embauché Francois Dupuis voyageur de LaPrairie aller à Michilimackinac, notary Adhemar)

Etienne Duquet dit Desrochers -- 6th great-grandfather (1753, Apr 13, Toussaints Pothier embauché Étienne Duquet voyageur de LaPrairie, gouvernail, aller à Michilimackinac, notary Danré Blanzy)

Jacques Poupart -- 1st cousin 8x removed (1753, Apr 8, Toussaints pothier embauché Jacques Poupart voyageur de LaPrairie, gouvernail, aller à Michilimackinac, notary Danré Blanzy)

Joseph Gagne -- 8th great-uncle (1754, May 17 - Dominique Godet hired Joseph Gagne voyageur de LaPrairie to go to Detriot, Devant or Gouvernail, Notary Louis Claude Danré de Blanzy)


Joseph Pinsonneau -- 5th great-grandfather (1763, Voyageur to Michilimachinac)


Pierre Barette dit Courville -- 5th great-grandfather (1778, Voyageur to Michilimachinac)

Jean-Baptiste Meunier -- 5th great-grandfather (1778, Feb 20 - Ezechiel Solomon hired Jean-Baptiste Meunier, voyageur de Laprairie de La magdeleine to go to Mississippi, and spend the winter, Notary Antoine Foucher)


Charles Boyer -- 1st cousin 8x removed (1788, Built a Post near the junction of the Boyer and Peace rivers for the North West Company.)


Gabriel Pinsonneau -- 4th great-grandfather (1797, Voyageur  to Michigan for a trading company owned by brothers Jacques and Francois Laselle)

François Rivet -- 2nd cousin 7x removed (1791, Nov 8 - Jacques Giasson embauché François Rivet voyageur de L’Assomption aller à Chaque fois que nécessaire (Wherever required) Nord excluded, 3 years, Notary Louis Chaboillez)

Charles Lagace -- 6th great-uncle (1792, Mar 28 - McTavish, Frobisher & Co. (NWC) hired Charles Lagace to go to the North through Grand Portage, function Gouvernail or rudder man, Notary Louis Chaboillez)

Michel Vielle dit Cossé -- 5th great-uncle (1793, Mar 19 - Engaged as a voyageur to go to dans le Nord-Ouest du Canada (far north west) for traders McTavish, Frobisher and Company aka North West Company)

Louis Barette dit Courville -- 5th great-uncle (1795, Aug 21 - Jacques & François Laselle hired Louis Barette dit Courville to go to Detroit)

Joseph Vielle dit Cossé -- 5th great-uncle (1797, Feb 14 - Engaged as a voyageur to go to Nord Ouest [North West], Nipigon and Lac Superieur for traders McTavish, Frobisher and Company aka North West Company, Company Representative: Alexander Mackenzie)

Joseph Pinsonneau (Pinsono) -- 5th great-uncle -- b/o Gabriel Pinsonneau -- 4th great-grandfather (1799, Mar 3 - McTavish, Frobisher and Co (NWC) embauché Joseph Pinsonneau voyaguer de LaPrairie aller à Detroit, Notary Chaboillez)


Jean Baptiste Meunier -- 4th great-grandfather (1800, Feb 14 - James & Andrew McGill hired Jean-Baptiste Meunier voyageur de Chambly to go to Mississippi, and spend the winter, notary Louis Chaboillez)

Daniel Bourassa -- 2nd cousin 6x removed (Born 1780, Den Haut, Mackinac, Michigan, may also be known as Topinabee, the Potawatomi chief)

Pierre Pinsonneau (Pinsono) -- 5th great-uncle -- b/o Gabriel Pinsonneau -- 4th great-grandfather (1802, Dec 6 - McTavish, Frobisher and Co (NWC) embauché Joseph Pinsonneau voyaguer de LaPrairie aller à Fort Kamanistiguia, gouvernail, Notary Chaboillez)

Andre Lagasse -- 1st cousin 6x removed -- (1803, Apr 19 signs 4 year contract to act as a guide and interpreter for the North West Company, and to go to the Red River, Swan River and Lake Winnipeg.)

In 1972, my aunt Muriel shared her genealogy work with me.   I learned my 2nd great-grandmother Lucy was born to French-Canadian parents.  Because her maiden name had been Americanized to Passino it took more than 35 years to discover my true French-Canadian roots.

Finally, in 2010, I discovered the family name was really Pinsonneau.  During the past six years I have pieced together a family history that goes back to the very beginning of New France.

What is most fascinating to me is the fact that we are descended from so many voyageurs.

Without any knowledge that I had ancestors involved in the fur trade I spent years studying and reenacting the fur trade era.

This page is a work in progress…

For vignettes about some of these ancestors see:

Fur Trade Timeline and My French-Canadian Ancestors