Laurent Barette -- my 8th great-uncle -- was born about 1666 in Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Canada; and died about 1725 in Cap De La Madeleine, Champlain, Quebec, Canada.
Laurent was the son of my 8th great-grandparents: Guillaume Barette, born 3 APR 1633 in Belizeville En Caux, Eure, Haute-Normandie, France; and died 21 JUL 1717 in LaPrairie, Quebec, Canada AND Louise Charrier, born 1643 in Luçon, Eure-et-Loir, Centre, France; and died 1706 in LaPrairie, Quebec, Canada
IN 1686, 20 YEAR-OLD LAURENT GOES TO LOUISIANA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO WITH HENRI DE TONTY
Henri de Tonty, voyageur, trading post commander, officer in the colonial regular troops and lieutenant to René-Robert Cavelier de La Salle.
In November word reached Tonty that La Salle was in the Gulf of Mexico; on 16 Feb. 1686 he set out with 25 Frenchmen and 4 Indians to join him. La Salle was supposed to be setting up a colony at the Mississippi’s mouth, but when Tonty reached there (sometime between the 8th and 13th of April) he “learned nothing of M. de La Salle except that some Indians had seen him set sail and proceed southward.” Tonty dispatched canoes to the east and west, “to see if they could discover anything.” Having found no sign of him after each had sailed “about thirty leagues” and being obliged to turn back “for want of fresh water,” Tonty decided to return upriver: “I proposed to my men, that . . . we should follow the coast as far as Menade [Manhattan], and by this means . . . arrive shortly at Montreal . . . part of my men . . . were opposed . . . , so I decided to return the way I came.”
16 FEB 1686 – HENRI TONTY ENGAGED THE FOLLOWING MEN AND LEFT FOR FORT SAINT LOUIS TO SEARCH FOR LA SALLE:
16 February 1686 – Henri Tonty and the following men left Fort Saint Louis to search for La Salle: Daniel Joseph Amiot, André Babeu, Laurent (Couture) Baret, Louis Baron, Vallier Beaufils, François Bisaillon, Pierre Bisaillon, Michel Boyer, Jacques Caillas, Joseph Charbonneau, Jean Couture, René Cuillerier, Charles Delaunay, Joseph Dubos, Martin Faller, Jacques Filiatrault, Jean Filiatrault, Pierre Lafontaine, Jean Lorrain/Laurin, Robert Marchand, Jean Michel, Jean Baptiste Nolan, Vital Oriot, Louis Paquet/Pasquier, Mathieu Perrin, Jean Rouleau, Mathurin Rousseau, Jean Roy, four Shawnee and five Illinois. Tonty took possession of the true mouth of the Mississippi/Colbert on 13 April 1686, but found no sign of La Salle even after he had dispatched canoes to the east and west about 30 leagues. After the canoes returned because they had no fresh water, Tonty proposed that they go back to Montréal via canoe by following the coast to Manhattan but his men did not agree with this option As Tonty and his men travelled north on the Mississippi on their return voyage, Tonty moved the King’s arms that La Salle had planted on his 1682 voyage five leagues farther north. He made peace with the Quinipissa (a tribe that joined with the Mougoulascha tribe) and left a letter for La Salle with the chief. Ten of his men asked for a settlement on the Arkansas River on land that La Salle had granted to Tonty. Tonty granted the request to some of them, including Jean Couture.
SOURCE (above): French-Canadian Exploration, Missionary Work, and Fur Trading in Hudson Bay, the Great Lakes, and
Mississippi Valley During the 17th Century – Part 8 – 1686 to December 1694
IN 1687, LAURENT RETURNED TO THE COUNTRY OF THE ILLINOIS
The Illinois Country (French: Pays des Illinois) -- sometimes referred to as Upper Louisiana (French: la Haute-Louisiane; Spanish: Alta Luisiana) -- was a vast region of New France in what is now the Midwestern United States. While these names generally referred to the entire Upper Mississippi River watershed, French colonial settlement was concentrated along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers in what is now the U.S. states of Illinois and Missouri, with outposts in Indiana. Explored in 1673 from Green Bay to the Arkansas River by the Canadien expedition of Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette, the area was claimed by France. It was settled primarily from the Pays d'en Haut in the context of the fur trade. The French name, Pays des Illinois, means "Land of the Illinois [plural]" and is a reference to the Illinois Confederation, a group of related Algonquian native peoples.
19 AUG 1687 - ENGAGEMENTS OF DUMAY AND LAURENT BARETTE TO LA FOREST, TO GO TO FORT ST. LOUIS IN THE COUNTRY OF THE ILLINOIS
Agreement between Monsieur de la Forest and Dumay, accounting both for himself and Pichart. Before Antoine Adhemar, recorder, notary, and scrivener of the Isle of Montreal, residing at Villemarie, and the witnesses named at the end, were present in their own persons, the Sieur Francois de la Forest, captain in the detachment of the marine, on the one part, and Francois Dumay, acting both for himself and for Louis Pichart, voyageurs, at present in this city, on the other part, which parties of their own free will and voluntarily have in good faith covenanted and agreed as follows : that is to say, the said Dumay, for himself and for the party above named, obligates himself to take for the said Sieur de la Forest, one thousand weight of merchandise as far as Fort St. Louis in the country of the Illinois on the stipulation that the said Sieur de la Forest shall furnish them a canoe and provisions such as are customarily furnished to voyageurs as far as the said Fort St. Louis ; and in case there is no water in the river of the Illinois to pass with their canoe, the said Sieur de la Forest promises to have them aided in carrying or dragging the said merchandise as far as the said Fort St. Louis ; and this is in further consideration of the sum of 600 livres, that is to say 300 livres each, which the said Sieur de la Forest promises and obliges himself to give and pay to them at the said Fort St. Louis in beaver whenever they shall have arrived there with the said merchandise. This payment of the said 600 livres in beaver the said Dumay and Pichart may load in the canoe that they are to bring back, without prejudice to the said parties from another agreement made with Monsieur de Tonti for their return, which shall retain its force and effect ; and further the said Sieur de la Forest permits the said Dumay and Pichart to carry to the said country of the Illinois up to the value of the sum of 100 livres for the two of them on the stipulation that they furnish the said Sieur de la Forest before their departure a statement of the merchandise and other things that they shall carry and embark in the said canoe ; these goods they shall trade as seems good to them and they may carry in their said canoe the peltries that they obtain in the country of the Illinois to the amount or partial amount of the said merchandise ; and in default of a statement by the said Dumay and Pichart of what they carry to the said country they shall not be permitted to carry anything there at all. For thus, etc., promising, etc., obliging, etc., and of the said notary, August 19, 1687, in the morning, in the presence of Sieur Jean Ouenneville, usher of this jurisdiction, and Laurent Barette, of Cap de la Madeleine, witnesses, undersigned with the said Sieur de la Forest and the notary. The said Dumay has declared that he does not know how to sign when interrogated according to the ordinance.
F. de la Forest
August 19, 1687
Agreement between Monsieur de la Forest and Barette. Before Antoine Adhemar, recorder, notary, and scrivener of the Isle of Montreal, residing at Villemarie, and the witnesses below named, were present in person Sieur Francois de la Forest, captain in the detachment of the marine, on one part, and Laurent Barette, of Cap de la Madeleine, voyageur at present in this city, on the other part, which parties of their own free will and voluntarily have in good faith covenanted and agreed as follows : that is to say, that the said Barette promises and engages himself to aid in taking a canoe loaded with a thousand weight from Lachine to Fort St. Louis in the country of the Illinois with any other man the said Sieur de la Forest shall assign to him, and to aid in his own person on his return in bringing down a canoe loaded with peltries for the said Sieur de la Forest, on the stipulation that the said Sieur de la Forest shall furnish provisions and a canoe to go to the said Fort St. Louis and for his return according to what is customarily done for voyageurs. And during the sojourn of the said Barette in the country of the Illinois, he shall subsist himself at his cost and expense, and in case there is not enough water in the river of the Illinois to float a canoe, the said Sieur de la Forest promises to furnish people to help in carrying or drawing the said merchandise at his cost and expense; and further the said Sieur de la Forest promises to give and pay to the said Barette for his voyage, going and returning from the said country of the Illinois, the sum of 300 liwes in beaver at the said Fort St. Louis when the said Barette shall arrive there. Further, the said Sieur de la Forest permits the said Barette to carry to the country of the Illinois up to the sum of 100 livres of merchandise and other things in order to have provisions for his support during the stay that he shall be obliged to make in the said country from his arrival until his departure; and if he trades the merchandise and other things he may carry to the said country of the Illinois, he shall be bound to give one list to the said Sieur de la Forest and to keep another copy of it endorsed by the Sieur de la Forest ; lacking this, the aforesaid permission shall be voidied It is further allowed that the said Barette shall load into the canoe in which he shall come down, the peltries which he shall receive at the said fort for the said 300 livres payment for his voyage, as well as those for which he barters the said merchandise, as also a packet of beaver which he has at the said country of the Illinois, without any deductions from the said sum of 300 livres. For thus, etc., promising, etc., obligating, etc., waiving, etc., made and passed at Villemarie in the office of the said notary, August 19, 1687, in the forenoon, in the presence of the Sieur Jean Ouenneville and Louis Gillet, residents in this city, witnesses, who have signed with the said parties and the notary, after hearing it read according to the ordinance.
F. de la Forest
I, the undersigned, give permission to the said Barette to carry to the said country of the Illinois besides the 100 livres granted him by the aforesaid account, the sum of fifty livres to have provisions or to trade. Done on this last of July, 1688.
F. DE la Forest
(1) Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library - THE FRENCH FOUNDATIONS 1680-1693
(2) Fur Trade Contracts during the French Regime Researched by Diane Wolford Sheppard http://habitantheritage.org/
Laurent Barrette's two brothers were:
Jacques Barette -- my 8th great-uncle -- born abt 1668 in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada; and died abt 1691 in Champlain, Québec, Canada. He is reported to have been a voyageur and fur trader in Illinois.
+ Guillaume Barrette -- my 7th great-grandfather -- (the first notary Royal de la Seignerie de LaPrairie), born 27 MAY 1678 in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec, Canada; died 7 JAN 1745 in LaPrairie-de-la-Madeleine, Québec.
Laurent's tales of adventure probably inspired future generations of voyageurs:
In truth the life of a voyageur was filled with backbreaking toil -- in the sometimes almost inhuman conditions of the frontier. The journey from Lachine to the head of Lake Superior alone took seven to eight weeks, so it must have taken twice that long just to reach the "County of the Illinois"
Danger was at every turn for the voyageur, not just because of exposure to outdoor living, but also because of the hard work.
Canoes were often damaged on rocks in white water. Swift flowing waters with dangerous rapids could cause canoes to overturn. Drowning was common, along with broken limbs, compressed spines, hernias, and rheumatism.
Canoes had to be portaged (carried) around waterfalls and impassable rapids. Some portages were measured in miles, along bushy trails, up creviced cliffs and through bogs -- often in knee-deep mud, where men slithered over slimy boulders and stumbled on tree roots.
Voyageurs encountered impassable portages, rough weather, winds, gales, and freezing cold.
Ambushes from aboriginal peoples sometimes controlled live and death.
Wild animals could also be hazardous. There's an old saying, "voyageurs never met a small bear, tame moose, or a wolf that wasn't snarling with blood lust." When they floated down the rivers on the Great Plains they had to deal with herds of thousands of buffalo.
Swarms of black flies and mosquitoes, were often kept away from men sleeping with a smudge fire, which in turn caused respiratory, sinus and eye problems. Voyageurs sometimes applied an Indian remedy -- ointment made from bear grease and skunk urine -- to rid themselves of the swarms that followed them.
Yet the beautiful scenery, fascinating customs and manners of native peoples, and the opportunity to make a lucrative income from fur trading must have enticed young men to leave their farming jobs at home and to seek their fortunes in the woods.
Pierre Barette dit Courville -- my 7th great-uncle -- born 29 JAN 1708 in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec, Canada; died MAY 1755 in St Constant, Lapraire, Quebec. He was the son of my 7th great-grandparents: Guillaume Barrette, born 27 MAY 1678 in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec, Canada; died 7 JAN 1745 in LaPrairie-de-la-Madeleine, Québec AND LaPrairie, born 27 JUL 1683 in Montréal, Quebec, Canada; died 8 MAY 1719 in Montréal, Quebec, Canada.
2 juin 1734 - Engagement de Pierre Barette, de la prairie de la Madeleine, à Michel Gamelin, faisant tant pour lui que pour Pierre Gamelin, son frère, pour faire le voyage à Michilimakinac, aider à y monter un canot de marchandises et le redescendre en la présente année chargé de pelleteries)
5 juin 1745 - Permis du gouverneur de Beauharnois au sieur Rivard de partir de Montréal avec un canot équipé de sept hommes pour se rendre au poste de Michillimakinac. Défense au sieur Rivard de faire la traite ailleurs qu'au poste de Michilimackinac et ses dépendances.
Rôle des engagés du dit canot: Joseph Jolier (Joliet?), Bourgeois, associé; Pierre Barette, Joseph Rhéaume, François Cardinal, Augustin Baret (Barrette?), Pierre Desnoyers, de LaPrairie; Jacques Belestre, de Maskinongé.
Augustin Barrette -- my 7th great-uncle -- b.21 JAN 1719 in Canada; died abt 1771 in LaPrairie, Quebec, Canada. He was another son of my 7th great-grandparents: Guillaume Barrette, born 27 MAY 1678 in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec, Canada; died 7 JAN 1745 in LaPrairie-de-la-Madeleine, Québec AND Jeanne Gagné, born 27 JUL 1683 in Montréal, Quebec, Canada; died 8 MAY 1719 in Montréal, Quebec, Canada.
14 juin 1751 - Engagement de Augustin Barette aux s" Lemoine Despins frères pour aller à Michilimackinac - Étude Adhémar.)
(5 juin 1745 - Permis du gouverneur de Beauharnois au sieur Rivard de partir de Montréal avec un canot équipé de sept hommes pour se rendre au poste de Michillimakinac. Défense au sieur Rivard de faire la traite ailleurs qu'au poste de Michillimakinac et ses dépendances.
Rôle des engagés du dit canot: Joseph Jolier (Joliet?), Bourgeois, associé; Pierre Barette, Joseph Rhéaume, François Cardinal, Augustin Baret (Barrette?), Pierre Desnoyers, de LaPrairie; Jacques Belestre, de Maskinongé.)
Their brother was Louis Courville Barrette (Baret) -- my 6th great-grandfather -- born 24 FEB 1717 in Napierville, Quebec, Canada; died 30 JAN 1753 in St Constant, Lapriaire, Quebec, Canada. Also a son of my 7th great-grandparents: Guillaume Barrette, born 27 MAY 1678 in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec, Canada; died 7 JAN 1745 in LaPrairie-de-la-Madeleine, Québec AND Jeanne Gagné, born 27 JUL 1683 in Montréal, Quebec, Canada; died 8 MAY 1719 in Montréal, Quebec, Canada.
Pierre Barette dit Courville -- my 5th great-grandfather -- born 2 FEB 1748 in LaPrairie, Quebec, Canada; died 31 JAN 1794 in LaPrairie, Québec. He was the son of my 6th great-grandparents: Louis Courville Barrette (Baret), born 24 FEB 1717 in Napierville, Quebec, Canada; died 30 JAN 1753 in St Constant, Lapriaire, Quebec, Canada AND Marie Josephe Poupart, born 5 SEP 1725 in Chambly, Quebec, Canada; died 3 JAN 1799 in LaPrairie, Quebec, Canada
18 mai 1778 - Engagement de Pierre Barette" aux S" William G Jean Kay pour aller Fort Michilimackinac - Étude P. Lalanne, flls.)
To learn about more of my fur trade ancestors see: