Sunday, July 31, 2016

Great-aunt Denise was a Mother of Voyageurs

Denise Sevestre -- my 9th great-aunt, was born 1632 in Paris, France; and died 14 DEC 1700 in Quebec, Quebec, Canada.  Denise was the daughter of Charles Sevestre (1607–1657) and Marie Plichon (Pichon) (1605–1661).

Denise married twice…

First to Antoine Martin (1620–1659) on 18 Jun 1646 in Québec, Québec, Canada. Antoine was born 1620 in Montepellier, Herault, France  He died 11 MAY 1659 in Québec, Québec, Canada.

Second to Philipe Neveu (Nepveu) (1634–1720) in 4 Aug1659 in Québec, Québec, Canada.  Philipe was born 13 APR 1634 in Voves, Chartres, France.  He died 31 DEC 1720 in Quebec, Québec, Canada.

Denise's children with Antoine Martin:

i. Charles Martin dit Montpellier b: 07 OCT 1651 in Québec, Québec City, Canada, d. 1715
ii. Antoine Martin dit Montpellier Beaulieu b: 28 AUG 1654 in Québec, Québec, Canada; d. 1715; m. (1) Jeanne Cadieux 1690, (2) Marie-Thérèse Bonnet 1699
iii. Marie-Thérèse Martin dit Montpellier Beaulieu b: 28 NOV 1656 in Québec, Québec, Canada; d. 1725; m. Mathurin Langevin dit Lacroix
iv. Jean-François Martin dit Montpellier Beaulieu b: 02 DEC 1658 in Québec, Québec, Canada

Denise's children with Philipe Neveu:

i. Jacques Nepveu (Neveu) b. 1667 in Québec, Québec, Canada; d. 1722
ii. Charles Neveu b. 1671 in Québec, Québec, Canada
iii. Jean Baptiste Neveu b. 1676 in Québec, Québec, Canada; d. 1754

Voyageur sons of Denise Sevestre

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 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])

Jacques Nepveu (Neveu) -- 1st cousin 9x removed (1684, Sep 27 - in Québec, between Henri de Tonty, governor of Fort St. Louis de la Louisianne under the authority of De La Salle, and two voyageurs, Jacques Nepveu (Neveu), and Anthoine Duquet Madri. According to the terms of the agreement, Neveu and Madri will travel by canoe to the fort, where they will trade merchandise for beaver skins. Tonty, as outfitter, will provide all merchandise, canoes, provisions, ammunition, and any other necessary items. The two voyageurs can trade at the fort for as long as they desire, and will then transport all beaver skins back to Québec. After the expenses of the trip are deducted, the remaining profits will be divided into halves, with Tonty receiving one half, and the remaining half to be shared between the two voyageurs. In addition, the voyageurs will receive payment in pelts equal to the sum of 150 livres, as well as the right to carry a rifle, two "capots," three shirts, and a blanket to trade for their own profit. They also receive a bonus of 10 beavers. The contract, which had originally included two other voyageurs, brothers Guillaume and Gilles Boissel, whose names are crossed out, is signed by Tonty, Madri, Neveu, and notary Pierre Duquet, in the presence of two witnesses Jacques Turet and Hippolyte Theberge.)

Charles Neveu/Nepveu -- 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 StBernard, Charles Cadieux, of Beauport; Charles Neveu/Nepveu 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-Baptiste Neveu -- 1st cousin 9x removed (also written Nepveu; he is sometimes called Sieur de La Bretonnière), merchant and 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.

In January 1701, he left Quebec to settle in Montreal, where he appeared as a merchant. His business enterprise, located on Rue Saint-Paul, brought him large profits which enabled him to finance numerous fur-trading trips throughout the pays d’en haut and to organize for himself several of these lucrative expeditions. In 1709 he acquired from his brother Jacques for 200 livres a slave named Marie, who was 11 years old and of the Pawnee tribe.

His financial situation soon enabled him to diversify his investments, and on 28 Nov. 1710 he bought the seigneury of Dautré, situated on the St Lawrence. Five years later, on 21 Sept. 1715, he purchased from the Sulpicians a piece of land situated on Rue Saint-Paul where he had a two-storey stone house built for himself. Then from 1717 on he increased his investments in land; he bought from different owners the seigneury of Lanoraie, which belonged to him in its entirety in 1721. In that year his house on Rue Saint-Paul was destroyed by fire; the recognition of sovereignty and census of Montreal Island in 1731 tells us that at that date it had been rebuilt on the same site and to almost identical dimensions. On 4 July 1739 Governor Charles de Beauharnois and Intendant Hocquart granted him the land at the back of his two seigneuries, extending to the Rivière L’Assomption. This piece of land and his two seigneuries were incorporated into a single seigneury which was called Lanoraie.

Neveu developed his vast domain wisely and encouraged settlement. He had a tar kiln, sawmill, and flour mill built on his lands. He also had built, at his own expense, the first chapel and the presbytery of Lanoraie. In 1744 he gave the site for the building of the first stone church, then in 1752 he made over to the council of the parish, free of charge, a piece of land of 120 acres.

Like many other merchants, Jean-Baptiste Neveu was a churchwarden of the parish of Notre-Dame de Montréal; he exercised this responsibility from 1706 to 1709. He was also a member of the militia of the government of Montreal. In 1720 he was a captain, and in 1737 and 1741 he held the rank of colonel, which he seems to have retained until his death in 1754.

On 24 Jan. 1702, in Montreal, he had married Marie-Jeanne Passard; of this marriage a daughter was born. Having lost his wife on 3 Feb. 1703, he married Françoise-Élisabeth Legras in Montreal on 27 July 1704; of his second marriage 14 children were born. His wife survived him, dying in 1771.

Source: The Fur Trade in Canada: An Introduction to Canadian Economic History, by Harold Adams Innis

Friday, July 29, 2016

Great-uncle Joseph wins lawsuit against Cadillac

This is the story of two voyageurs Joseph Moreau, my 9th great-uncle, and Louis Durand who had their possessions taken from them by Antoine Laumet de La Mothe Cadillac a powerful and politically connected military official.

The voyageurs brought a lawsuit against Cadillac and won, but in the end they received a only a fraction of the court judgement in out of court settlements.

Cadillac, went on to establish the city of Detroit (1701), and eventually became governor of Louisiana (1710-1717).

The following story is edited from: “Why I’ll Drive an Oldsmobile but Never a Cadillac or The Adventures of Louis Durand, Joseph Moreau and Sieur Antoine Laumet de La Mothe Cadillac” – Roger Durand; “French-Canadian Families of Northeast Michigan: Part V” – Lorrie LaCross.  French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan, vol 18 #3, July 1997

1696, voyageurs go to Michilimackinac

On the morning of April 11, 1696, in Montreal, two voyageurs by the names of Joseph Moreau and Louis Durand arrived at the office of notary Antoine Adhemar and signed a contract with Marie-Therese Guyon, the wife of Antoine de Lamothe-Cadillac.

In this contract, Moreau and Durand agreed to leave Montreal for Michilimackinac with merchandise to be delivered to commander Cadillac at Michilimackinac.

They were to leave with the next canoe convoy leaving Montreal. Upon their return to Montreal the following September, Mrs. Cadillac would pay each of them a salary of one hundred pounds in silver. The contract stated that they were each permitted to take one hundred pounds worth of merchandise to trade for their own profit, and when they reached their contract destination they would be permitted to go where they wished. The authorization to bring merchandise was contained in a license issued by the governor of New France, Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac, to his military subordinate Cadillac.

Besides the written contract, there was also a verbal contract (this was alleged to be true by Moreau and Durand but, under oath, denied by Mrs. Cadillac -- the courts discounted Mrs. Cadillac’s oath) between Mrs. Cadillac and the two voyageurs in which Moreau and Durand agreed to take merchandise in excess of the contract.

By the time Moreau and Durand were ready to fill their canoes upstream of Lachine on the Ottawa River north of Montreal, they had even more merchandise to load.

In total they showed up on the river banks with the following: 1) Merchandise allowed by the trading license and contract with Cadillac; 2) Extra goods by verbal contract with Guyon; and 3) Extra goods added in by Moreau and Durand for their own profit (justified, they felt because of the low wages they were to receive by their contract).

While Moreau and Durand were loading their second canoe at Lachine, assistant intendant de LaTouche, (on orders from Intendant Champigny to insure the canoe convoy complied with the terms specified in their trading licenses from the King), stopped the loading by Moreau and Durand.

De LaTouche noted that their merchandise was in excess of the Frontenac permit, and de LaTouche confiscated what he thought to be the total of the excess merchandise and had it sold at an auction. These funds went to the l’Hotel-Dieu (charity) in Montreal.

However, de LaTouche didn’t get all of the excess merchandise. The canoe which had been seized was reloaded with merchandise from other canoes which had been overloaded by Moreau and Durand but not detected by de LaTouche. They eventually filled their canoe and two other canoes of the Indians who went up the river at the same time with them.

The convoy left toward the end of April and arrived at Michilimackinac without any more incidents. Commander Cadillac received the two voyageurs who brought his merchandise. He urged them to form a company to trade with the Sioux and requested that the two partners take in another partner, a voyageur by the name of Mathieu Sauton, who was also from Montreal. (Sauton had brought merchandise worth one thousand five hundred and thirty-nine pounds.)

Cadillac was personally interested in the plans of the company because it was he who would be suppling them with seven thousand pounds of merchandise for trading and he was to personally receive profits from the trading on these goods. The three voyageurs agreed to the plan but delayed their departure from Michilimackinac in order to sell some of the brandy to the troops, traders, and no doubt the Indians around the Fort.

Cadillac’s good will toward the traders changed drastically when he learned of the incident at Lachine which put him in a bad situation with the Intendant Champigny who had already reproached him several times for various complaints including transporting merchandise in excess of the permits granted by the King’s orders. Cadillac had always claimed that he was innocent and maintained that the complaints against him were unjustified. Various sources doubt his innocence. ( Margry, Origines francaise, t. V. CXXII).

Cadillac and Durand exchanged angry words and subsequently Cadillac had Durand arrested under the pretext that he answered him insolently. He also accused Durand of killing or injuring an Indian’s dog.

From prison Louis Durand sent a message to Cadillac that he would not (and could not while in jail) complete the trade agreement they had made. Joseph Moreau also refused to fulfill the obligation of the contract since he no longer had Durand to help him. Shortly thereafter, Moreau was also imprisoned because he was attempting to break his contract and, according to Cadillac, trying to help Durand escape.

Following the imprisonment of Moreau and Durand, Cadillac undertook a course of action which led to the lawsuits of which are the subject of this report.

On July 27, while the two voyageurs were in prison, Cadillac sent a sergeant and some soldiers from the garrison to the cabin where Joseph Moreau and Louis Durand kept their merchandise. The soldiers took for Cadillac’s use the the voyageur’s hardware, guns, food, wine, canoes, and strong box.

Among the many items were: twenty pounds of lead, five barrels of powder, fifteen sacks of wheat, a piece of red fabric from Limbourg, eighteen lengths, worth twelve pounds a length, blankets, a pair of stockings from Saint Mazant, a military coat; seven packs of beaver, two otter pelts, two elk skins, three hind skins, a quantity of "dry goods", eighteen pounds of vermillion, and more. The brandy must have sold well!

Cadillac ordered their strong box opened and this contained the following: papers, two razors, a mirror, a seal, a half pound of pepper, salt, nutmeg, a pocket knife, a knife, a stick of Spanish wax, six packs of playing cards, an ink pot and several trading documents including two bills of credit--one for sixteen hundred pounds and one for fifteen hundred pounds, from people who had bought brandy.

Cadillac then had the audacity to rewrite these bills in his name. These capricious actions of the powerful Cadillac against the two voyageurs were apparently not uncommon occurrences according to Cadillac’s contemporary authors.

Several days later the two partners were released from prison and they found themselves stripped of all their possessions. Since Cadillac was the law of the land at the frontier, they had nowhere to turn for justice and they had to borrow from other traders to survive.

1697, return to Montreal

They were able, nevertheless, to acquire some merchandise for trade with the Sioux. They probably spent the fall and winter amongst the Sioux and they eventually returned to Montreal and Quebec in the fall of 1697.

After their travels in the west, Moreau and Durand went to Quebec and waited for the return of Cadillac. It is apparent from existing documents that members of the Quebec Sovereign Council heard of the details of Cadillac’s actions against Moreau and Durand and they felt that Cadillac’s actions were so egregious that he should be brought before the court. Although Moreau and Durand were not the first to be bullied and wronged by Cadillac, they were the first to dare to challenge his actions before the courts.

Joseph Moreau and Louis Durand presented the commander with a long petition against him. Their primary demands included the two hundred pounds owed them for wages, and reimbursement for the bills of credit as well as for all the merchandise he had taken from them.

At the end of the petition, which was filed through Commissioner Champigny's office and dated Sept. 14, 1697, there was a summons for Cadillac to answer within three days.

An appointment was made for the following Tuesday at nine A.M. Bailiff Prieur brought the petition, the summons, and the appointment to Cadillac that same day.

Cadillac returned the petition and claimed that the merchandise was his own. Moreau and Durand refuted this and Cadillac was ordered to make a written answer.

Accusations and verbal counterattacks between Cadillac and Moreau/Durand went back and forth and on Nov. 23, 1697 the voyageurs and Cadillac agreed to a compromise which would keep them out of court. They agreed to the choice of the two merchants, Hazeur and Francois Viennay-Pachot, as arbitrators in their disagreement. Each merchant was to represent one of the parties and the arbiters could, if desired, choose a referee to decide the case. They did employ such a referee and his name was Chambalon.

Issues and questions regarding the facts in the case arose which required more in depth investigations and oaths by the parties involved, including Mrs. Cadillac. The Intendant appointed a man named Dupuy from the prevostship of Quebec as a separate investigator.

He attempted to learn the answer to the following issues: 1) What was the value of the merchandise traded in the land of the Sioux and Ottawa by Joseph Moreau and Louis Durand; 2) Was trade to the Sioux country authorized by Cadillac--against a strict policy at the time which was to prohibit such excursions; and 3) Did or did not Mrs. Cadillac make a verbal agreement with Moreau and Durand.

Cadillac made it clear that he wanted the arbitrators and Dupuy to cease investigation in these areas of the case and made threats against the parties involved. Indeed, he had his superior Frontenac intercede on his behalf. Dupuy continued his investigation in spite of opposition from Cadillac. The following day Frontenac had Dupuy seized and thrown into prison for continuing against the wishes of Cadillac, which were also his own. This was not the first time Cadillac or Frontenac solved their problems by incarcerating their adversaries.

The suit didn’t appear to be going well for Louis Durand and he wasn’t able, because of the suit, to earn a living. He had been residing in Quebec since Sept. 24, 1697, and seeing no end to the affair, decided it would be wise to put an end to his expenses. Consequently, on Jan. 23, 1698, he filed a paper to rescind his suit against Cadillac and made arrangements to do so through Gilles Rageot, notary in the provost of Quebec.

On the same day, apparently in exchange for his withdrawal from the suit, he received an agreement from Cadillac to pay a bill of two hundred and fifty pounds which Durand owed Nicolas Janvrin, a Montreal merchant. Cadillac agreed to do this as soon as Durand left for Michillimakinac.

We know that Cadillac did not fulfill his promise until much later, because there is a copy of this payment to Nicolas Janvrin dated the following October. That was all that Durand would receive from Cadillac.

1698, Joseph Moreau's lawsuit continues

The lawsuit of Joseph Moreau followed its course. On Feb. 14, 1698 the arbitrators Hazeur, Pachot and Louis Chambalon, intimidated by the imprisonment of Judge Dupuy and by the interference of Frontenac on Cadillac's behalf, and no longer feeling free to do as they had been instructed, withdrew from the case.

On Feb.25, 1698 the Sovereign Council took up the case again.

The Sovereign Council considered a request by Cadillac to return the case to the Quebec provost's office. Cadillac complained (probably correctly) that he could not possibly receive a fair hearing before the Intendant because the Intendant had already advised his adversary (Moreau) and had previously imposed a large fine on Cadillac for using brandy in his trade with the Indians.

The Intendant withdrew from the courtroom while the other members of the Sovereign Council heard Cadillac’s protestations. In the end, the Council decided to keep the case in the Sovereign Council and recommended that Intendant Champigny should remain as judge in the case. Cadillac was furious.

Another session of the Sovereign Council was held on Mar. 10th. Cadillac declared that since he was refused a change of venue, he would appeal to a higher court (in France) and Governor Frontenac announced that he was not able to refuse this appeal until he received notice from the King’s Council in France. At that, the Attorney General called for all communication on the subject to study what should be done.

On Monday, Mar. 17, at the request of the Attorney General, a special session was ordered for Friday, Mar. 21. At this session the Governor and the Intendant removed themselves temporarily from the courtroom and the council recommended to the Intendant that he should send the information on the case to the Secretary of State in Paris, Mr. de Pontchartrain, so that the court could receive the opinion of the King regarding this sensitive and volatile case. In essence, this recommendation is what Frontenac was telling them to do.

However, Champigny knew that Secretary of State Pontchartrain was a nephew of Frontenac and he probably felt that Frontenac’s recommendations would carry more weight that his (Champigny’s). Furthermore, according to French custom the Sovereign Council usually decided jointly with the Intendant on all civil and criminal offenses; but the Intendant, if he thought it right, could judge a civil case alone (cf. Faillon, t. 3, p.537).

Intendant Champigny now decided to judge this case by himself. His verdict was rendered on April 2, 1698. He ordered Cadillac pay Moreau the sum of three thousand four hundred pounds six deniers. The next day Moreau requested satisfaction from Cadillac.

Cadillac, to gain time, sent a request for help to Frontenac. Frontenac sent back an order to delay the decision of the Intendant against Cadillac until it pleased the King to announce his opinion regarding the affair. This would obviously take months and was a delaying tactic.

Joseph Moreau, in spite of the verdict in his favor by the Intendant, felt that with Frontenac’s involvement he was not able to obtain justice in New France and decided to sail to France in October in order to bring his suit against Cadillac to the King.

Cadillac, perhaps apprehensive that the outcome might go against him if Moreau would be able to plead his case in person, offered Moreau sixteen hundred pounds to settle the dispute. He then had influential people persuade Moreau that it would be better to accept this offer than to get nothing.

Moreau decided to accept the offer. However, before accepting it, he filed a deposition at the office of notary Roger on Oct.1, 1698 stating his reasons for withdrawing his suit against Cadillac. On Oct. 9, Gilles Rageot drew up the withdrawal of the suit.

Our Lineage from Joseph Moreau:

Joseph Moreau (1672 - 1708) -- 9th great-uncle
Jean Moreau (1635 - 1710) -- father of Joseph Moreau
Jean Baptiste Moreau (1657 - 1727) -- son of Jean Moreau
Gabrielle Louise Moreau (1694 - 1750) -- daughter of Jean Baptiste Moreau
Marie Elisabeth Rondeau (1708 - 1768) -- daughter of Gabrielle Louise Moreau
Marie Judith Gravel Brindeliere (1757 - 1779) -- daughter of Marie Elisabeth Rondeau
Jean Baptiste Mignier Lagasse (1776 - 1835) -- son of Marie Judith Gravel Brindeliere
Marie Emélie Meunier dit Lagassé (1808 - 1883) -- daughter of Jean Baptiste Mignier Lagasse
Lucy Pinsonneau (Passino) (1836 - 1917) -- daughter of Marie Emélie (Mary) Meunier dit Lagassé
Abraham Lincoln Brown (1864 - 1948) -- son of Lucy Pinsonneau (Passino)
Lydia Corinna Brown (1891 - 1971) -- daughter of Abraham Lincoln Brown -- my grandmother


Brown, George W., Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. I, 1000-1700, Canada, University of Toronto Press and Les Presses de l’universite Laval, 1966

Denomme, Theophile W., Jean Durand and His Descendants, Michigan Habitant Heritage, Vol. 17 #2, Apr., 1996

Durand, Elden, Durand: Jean Durand dit LaFortune and his descendants, manuscript, Kentucky, 1944

Durand, Joseph, C.S.V., Viateur Durand, C.S.V., Jean Durand et sa Posteritie, L’ Association des Familles Durand, Inc., Montreal, 1954

Laforest, Thomas J., Jacques Saintonge, Our French-Canadian Ancestors, Palm Harbor, Fl, 1993

Margry, Origines francaise, t. V. CXXII

Parkman, Francis, France and England in North America, Volume I, New York, Viking Press, 1983

Reid, J. H. Stewart, Kenneth McNaught, Harry S. Crowe, A Source-book of Canadian History, Toronto, Longmans Canada Limited, 1959

Mike Durand, The Legend of Louis Durand Early French Canadian Voyageur,

Monday, July 25, 2016

Great-uncle Pierre Duquet, Explorer and First Canadian-born Notary

Pierre Duquet de La Chesnaye -- my 8th great-uncle, explorer, royal notary, attorney-general, seigneurial judge, seigneur; baptized 14 Jan. 1643 at Quebec, Nouvelle France (Canada) and was buried there on 13 Oct. 1687.

Son of Denis Duquet -- my 8th great-grandfather -- and Catherine Gauthier, Pierre was one of the first pupils of the Jesuit college of Quebec. The Journal des Jésuites stresses on different occasions the role that he played in the musical portion of the religious ceremonies.

Shortly after leaving the college, Duquet, at the age of 20, bought the registry of the notary Guillaume Audouart, whom he succeeded as royal notary. His commission, dated 31 Oct. 1663, made him the first Canadian-born notary.

At this time Duquet had only just returned from an expedition, directed by Guillaume Couture:

In 1663, Guillaume Couture accepted Governor Dubois Davaugour’s invitation to assume command of an expedition to accompany “the Indians" northwards as far and as long as he shall deem it expedient for the service of the king and the good of the country: and he may go himself or send others to winter with them, if he thinks that his own safety may thereby be ensured and that some public advantage may ensue.” 

The expedition was an important one: to find an inland route to the northern sea. Two Frenchmen, Pierre Duquet, later a notary, and Jean Langlois, a shipwright, accompanied Couture; the others were Indians. In all there were 44 canoes. 

In an affidavit which he swore in 1688, Couture went over the itinerary they had followed: the group left Quebec in mid-May, started up the Saguenay River, and reached Lake Mistassini on 26 June. A sudden storm left a foot of snow. 

The group pushed on, and reached a river [Rupert] “that empties into the Northern Sea.” The French were unable to continue on their route, for the Indian guides refused to go any farther. Couture thus affirmed in 1688 that in 1663 he was unable to make his way to the northern sea.

Excerpt from: Couture -- Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Like most of the notaries of his period, Duquet had a well-filled career:

He was often given power of attorney by litigants, and in addition he was commissioned to carry out several inquiries into irregularities in the liquor traffic. 

In the autumn of 1666 he went with the Carignan-Salières regiment into Iroquois territory and signed on 17 October the Procès verbal de la prise de possession des forts d’Agnié. 

He was Deputy attorney-general (1675–1681), attorney-general (1681–1686), seigneurial judge of Notre-Dame-des-Anges, of the Île d’Orléans and of Orsainville, he was moreover the owner of several properties at Quebec and Lévis and of two seigneuries granted to him in 1672 and 1675. 

His multifarious occupations prevented him, however, from giving the desired attention to his notarial acts, in which are to be found many errors and omissions. His registry, which is nevertheless very interesting, is preserved in the Judicial Archives of Quebec.

On 25 August 1666 Duquet had married at Quebec Anne Lamarre, who came originally from the parish of Saint-Sulpice in Paris.

Source: Duquet -- Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Two of his brothers were Voyageurs or Coureurs De Bois:

Antoine Duquet dit Madry (1660 - 1733) -- 8th great-uncle
(1691, 16 Aug - Engagement de Antoine Duquet dit Madry à François de Laforest, Michililmackinac)

Louis Duquet sieur Duverdier (1657 - 1691) -- 8th great-uncle
(1689, 28 Aug - Engagement de Louis Duquet Sr Duverdier et Louis Provencher au Sr Nicolas Perrot, Michililmackinac)

To learn about more of my fur trade ancestors see:

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Great Uncle Laurent a Voyageur to the Country of the Illinois and Louisiana

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


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 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


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.


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.

Laurent Barette
J. Quenneville
F. de la Forest
Adhemar. notary

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 
Laurent Barette 
J. Quenneville
Adhemar, notary

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

SOURCE (above): 
(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

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:

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Great Grandma ran the Best Little "Maison Close" in Quebec

Every family has a few black sheep, and our French-Canadian ancestors were no exception...

My 9th great-grandparents, Marguerite Leboeuf and her husband Gabriel Lemieux ran a cabaret in Quebec.

In April 1665, they were accused by habitants of selling wine above the fixed price.  The Sovereign Council found them guilty and fined them 10 écus for this infraction of the city ordinances. 

More trouble in 1667 -- Marguerite Leboeuf was accused of adultery and of keeping a "maison close"

The Sovereign Council investigated new allegations that Marguerite kept "women and girls for the purpose of committing the crime of lewdness,"leaving the question of adultery between Marguerite and Gabriel. 

On 26 April 1667, Gabriel appeared before the Sovereign Council, and testified that Marguerite had been a good and blameless wife since they were married.  He claimed the accusations against her were false and nothing more than an attempt by their enemies to "disturb their peace." 

He demanded that those making the accusations be named, and that the Council charge said persons with slander and award Gabriel and Marguerite appropriate damages.

Gabriel stated the whole matter was probably just the machinations of overzealous creditors.  Marguerite appeared before the Council, asking for three years to pay off all her debts. She needed the time to raise the money, for Gabriel had gone to France the previous year with merchandise in the amount of 2,400 livres to sell. 

However, his ship was captured by the English while going from La Rochelle to Rouen, all the merchandise was confiscated and Gabriel even had to borrow money to return to Québec. 

This situation left the family in such an impoverished state that they were hounded by creditors who threatened to sell their furniture and put the family on the street, "thus depriving of the means to support her family." 

It appears Marguerite actually did run a "maison close" (brothel in English) under the guise as a Cabaret, but we may never know the truth of the matter as it is not mentioned further in the records of the Sovereign Council. 


From: Timeline of Quebec, Jean Provencher AND People's History of Quebec, Jacques Lacoursière

Quebec in 1667: Religious authorities are engaged in a crusade against prostitution. Marguerite Leboeuf has to close her brothel, and is driven from the city.

From: Canada the Good: A Short History of Vice since 1500, by Marcel Martel

From: THE LIFE OF NEW FRANCE 1663-1760

Crime and Punishment: Marguerite Leboeuf, wife of Gabriel Lemieux, accused of adultery and of inducing other women and girls to engage in lewd activities, 1667. No disposition was mentioned.

About Marguerite Leboeuf

Marguerite Leboeuf was born March 15, 1636 in Troyes, Aube, Champagne, France.

Marguerite is found a Filles a Marier on a Passenger and Immigration List for 1658 to Quebec [see Peter J. Gagne pg. 311].  

She married Gabriel Lemieux on September 1658 in Québec, Québec, Canada.  

Notes for Gabriel Lemieux -- my 9th great-grandfather.  He was born 10 APR 1626 in Rouen, Seine-Maritime, Haute-Normandie, France.  Gabriel was a cooper (Barrel Maker).  He died 2 DEC 1700 in Québec, Quebec, Canada.

Marguerite died young - at age 35 - on 23 NOV 1671 in Lauzon, Quebec, Canada.

The Children of Gabriel Lemieux and Marguerite Leboeuf:

i. Nicolas Lemieux (1659-?)

ii. Hélène Lemieux (1660-1745)

iii. Gabriel Lemieux (1663-1739) m. Jeanne Rodidoux and became a voyageur

iv. Marie Madeleine Lemieux (1664-1734)

v. Marguerite Lemieux (1666-1667)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The French and Indian Wars were all about the Fur Trade - Our Ancestors were on both sides

The French and Indian Wars is a name used in the United States for a series of intermittent conflicts between the years 1688 and 1763 in North America that represented colonial events related to the European dynastic wars. 

The title French and Indian War, in the singular, is used in the United States specifically for the warfare of 1754–1763, the North American colonial counterpart to the Seven Years' Warin Europe. The French and Indian Wars were preceded by the Beaver Wars.

In Quebec, Canada, a former French colony, the wars are generally referred to as the Intercolonial Wars or La guerre de la Conquête (the War of the Conquest). 

While some conflicts involved Spanish and Dutch forces, all pitted the Kingdom of Great Britain, its colonies and Native American allies on one side against France, its colonies and Native American allies on the other.

A major cause of the wars was the desire of each country to take control of the interior territories of North America, as well as the region around Hudson Bay; both were deemed essential to domination of the fur trade. 

Whenever the European countries went to war, military conflict also occurred in North America in their colonies, although the dates of the conflicts did not necessarily exactly coincide with those of the larger conflicts.

The North American wars, and their associated European wars, in sequence, are:

Years of War: 1688–1697
North American War: King William's War
European War: 1st Intercolonial War (in French), War of the Grand Alliance, War of the League of Augsburg and Nine Years' War
Treaty: Treaty of Ryswick (1697)

Years of War: 1702–1713
North American War: Queen Anne's War
European War: 2nd Intercolonial War and War of the Spanish Succession
Treaty: Treaty of Utrecht (1713)

Years of War: 1744–1748
North American War: King George's War
European War: 3rd Intercolonial War, War of Jenkins' Ear and War of the Austrian Succession
Treaty: Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748)

Years of War: 1754–1763
North American War: The French and Indian War
European War: 4th Intercolonial War or War of Conquest (in Quebec), 6th Indian War and Seven Years' War
Treaty: Treaty of Paris (1763)

Source: "Wikipedia"

LaPrairie (New France) Pioneer Denise Lemaitre

On the 10th of January 1660, and in front of the notary, Sevigne Basset, Denise Lemaitre -- my 9th great-grandmother -- signed a marriage contract with Pierre Pera dit Lafontaine, tonellier from St-Jean-du-Perrot in the La Rochelle diocese. The marriage took place on the 26th of January.

Denise and Pierre had ten children. On the 1681 census, it was noted that they had a 40-acre farm with ten of those acres under cultivation and six heads of cattle. It was further noted that their two oldest sons were absent: they were in the fur trading business in the deep forest. Six of their children got married, three of them twice.

We are descended from a daughter, Marguerite Perras dit Fontaine, who was born on December 27, 1665, in Montréal, Quebec. Only two of the sons, Jean and Pierre, carried out the Perras name. Pierre Pera never had a chance to see all his children grow up, get married and settle down.

He died the 30th of April 1684. Because of their efforts and hard work, they possessed, at the time of his death, two farms, one barn, one stable, eleven heads of cattle and six pigs.

But even the revenue from all those assets was not enough to support her large family so Denise had to do some fur trading with the Catholic Iroquois to make ends meet.

Eventually, on the 9th of October 1684, she married François Cahel, another pioneer. Three years passed before another catastrophe came into her life: her second husband died on the 18th of November 1687.

Denise Lemaistre did not contemplate starting a family for the third time. Instead, she went back to the skill she had learned in Paris. She practiced midwifery until her death. She died as a martyr for the colony. On October 29th 1691, in the village of Côte St-Lambert, she was killed and massacred by the Iroquois. She was 55 years old.

Deerfield (New England) Pioneer Sergeant John Plympton

"When King Phillip's war began in 1675, John Plympton (Plimpton) -- my 9th great-grandfather -- being the chief military officer in Deerfield, joined the army and served throughout with honor and distinction. 

At a time when the war, as all then living thought, was practically over, and after Deerfield had been destroyed by the Indians, he returned to rebuild his home, when on Sept 19, 1677  (two years and one day after his son Johnathan was killed ...), he [and two other men, three women, and 14 children] were taken captive by a band of Indians under Ashperton, carried to Canada where he was burned at the stake, at a point near Chambly;  nearly all of the other captives being permitted to be ransomed.   

During the war he attained the rank of captain, which was one of the highest military ranks to be attained at that time in the province or state. 

Prior to the war he was affectionately know to his townsmen as 'Old Sergeant Plympton.'  He left a widow and 13 children."

"Fort Chambly, Quebec" (near LaPrairie) by Cornelius Krieghoff

Source: "A history of the American and puritanical family of Sutliff or Sutliffe"

James Fenimore Cooper and NC Wyeth

What could be a better way to get a historical flavor of the times than to read… "The Leatherstocking Tales," a series of five novels by American writer James Fenimore Cooper, each featuring the main hero Natty Bumppo, known by European settlers as "Leatherstocking," 'The Pathfinder", and "the trapper" and by the Native Americans as "Deerslayer," "La Longue Carabine" and "Hawkeye".

The Deerslayer -- The First War Path (story dates: 1740-1755)
The Last of the Mohicans -- A Narrative of 1757 (story dates: 1757, during the French and Indian War or the Seven Years' War)
The Pathfinder -- The Inland Sea (story dates: 1750s)
The Pioneers -- The Sources of the Susquehanna; A Descriptive Tale (story dates: 1793)
The Prairie -- A Tale (story dates: 1804)

Source: "Wikipedia"

For me NC Wyeth's illustrations really bring this era of history alive.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Great Granddad Gabriel Lemieux was a Voyageur on the Ottawa River

We know from early notary records in the archives of Quebec that Gabriel Lemieux -- my 8th great-grandfather -- made two legal trips as a voyageur.  It's a safe bet that he made other trips as a coureur de bois, a term used to describe unlicensed fur traders and canoemen.

8 May 1690, Jean Baptiste Migeon, sieur de Bransat, hired Gabriel Lemieux for a voyage to the Ootawas (Ottawa Indians) [Antoine Adhémar]

From: Michigan’s Habitant Heritage (MHH), Vol. 35, #1, January 2014 - 17th Century Engagé Contracts to the Great Lakes and Beyond – 20 May 1682 to 15 May 1690 - Part 1

19 August 1692, Joachim Germaneau hired Gabriel Lemieux and Laurent Glory dit LaBrière to make  a voyage to the 8ta8ois (Ottawa Indians) specifically to Michilimackinac and Sault Ste. Marie [Antoine Adhémar - 2 contracts] 

From: Michigan’s Habitant Heritage (MHH), Vol. 35, #2, April 2014 - 17th Century Engagé Contracts to the Great Lakes and Beyond – 15 June 1690 to 23 May 1695 – Part 2.  Also see:

1805 map -  land of the Ottawas  (Ootawas)
north of Lake Erie, east of Lake Michigan, south of Lake Huron

To get to Ottawa Indians Country (Ootawas) Gabriel would have had to travel on the Ottawa River

The Ottawa River played an integral role in many of the key stories that make up Canada’s history. It was the route for much of the early European exploration of North America, including Samuel de Champlain. Explorers in search of the Northwest Passage began their journeys along the Ottawa River. Other celebrated figures in Canadian history including Nicollet, Radisson, La Vérendrye, Dulhut and De Troyes, traveled west along the Ottawa River to establish trade relationships with First Nations communities, laying the groundwork for the fur trade.

The fur trade relied on the famous waterway routes that began and ended with the Ottawa River. France’s North American colonial economy depended on the fur trade, which led to the development of the coureurs de bois and voyageurs era, and later to the creation of the North West and Hudson’s Bay Companies. Amid the profound social, political, and economic changes of the 17th  century, the Ottawa River remained one of North America’s most important trading routes. It played a central role in the story of the fur trade in North America, and thus in the development of Canada.

Ottawa River Routes

The Ottawa River led to two strategically important sites for the fur trade: The first was Lake Temiskaming post, the largest trading post on the Ottawa under the French. The second, Michilimackinac (now called Mackinaw City, Michigan), was the fur trading hub for the Great Lakes region. It was an 18-20 day voyage from Lachine to Lake Temiskaming, or a 35-40 day voyage from Lachine to Michilimackinac. This second route was extremely important to the fur trade: following the Ottawa River to the Mattawa Forks, voyageurs would then turn west along the Mattawa River, across Lake Nipissing, along the French River, and finally, through the Great Lakes to Michilimackinac.

Voyageurs Tasks

The voyageurs’ tasks varied with the seasons. In summer, they would make long journeys into the continent’s interior, usually following the Ottawa River for much of their way. Their days of paddling were long: they would leave early in the morning and often continue until far into the night. In autumn, they would establish a winter camp near a First Nations village and a body of water. Here, they would build a fort and a few dwellings, and from this base, would trade throughout the winter with First Nations Peoples. In this way, the voyageurs would collect furs from the tribes, even those that lived at great distances. In the springtime, the voyageurs would return along the same route to Montreal. Life was so hard for the voyageurs that desertions were common.

The Canoes

The canoes used by the voyageurs were built following Aboriginal methods, but were designed to fit the colonists’ needs. A voyageur canoe could measure as much as 36 feet in length and nearly 5 feet in width. The boat bore an extremely heavy load. Eight men, each carrying a pack weighing around 40 lbs., as well as a total of 1000 lbs. of provisions, were piled in alongside 60 to 80 bundles, each weighing from 90 to 100 lbs. In total, these slight vessels would carry a load of about 4 tons. Later, canoes carrying 15 people were constructed. Made of birch bark, it was only 1/4 inch thick. Given this, navigation along the rivers was both difficult and dangerous: even a small collision with a rock or piece of floating wood could pierce the canoe’s bark and spoil its precious cargo. After every night of paddling, the canoe had to be unloaded, pulled out of the water, inspected, and repaired.

Ottawa River Portages

The Ottawa River’s rapids and waterfalls interrupted the days of regular paddling of the voyageurs. Whenever the waters became impassable, the men were forced to stop, disembark, and carry their cargo and canoes through the forest until the waters were again calm enough to continue paddling. The voyageur setting out from Lachine would have twenty portages on his way to Lake Temiskaming, and thirty-five on his way to Michilimackinac. 

The majority of these portages were located on the north shore of the river, and followed already existing First Nations portage routes that they fortified to withstand the increased traffic. These portages were long and exhausting. Each man carried two or three bundles of merchandise weighing approximately 90 lbs. each. The men would often have to take several trips back and forth in order to transport all of the gear to the end of the portage route. Portages were so exhausting that the voyageurs measured the exact number of paces required to walk from the beginning to the end of each route. For example, it was recorded that the particularly challenging Grand Calumet portage measured some 2,035 paces long!

Source (above) Canadian Heritage Rivers System --

More about Gabriel Lemieux 

Gabriel Lemieux (my 8th great-grandfather), b. September 4, 1663 at LaPrairie, Quebec; d. September 18, 1739 at LaPrairie, Quebec.

He was the son of Gabriel Lemieux, b. April 10, 1630; d. December 2, 1700 and Marguerite Leboeuf, b. March 15, 1636; d. 1671.
He married Jeanne Robidoux, 17 December 5, 1690 at LaPrairie, Quebec

About Jeanne Robidoux:

Jeanne Robidoux, b. September 19, 1673 at LaPrairie, Quebec; d. 12 April 1736 at LaPrairie, Quebec. She was the daughter of André Robidou, dit L'Espagnol and Jeanne Denote.

Children of Gabriel Lemieux and Jeanne Robidoux:

i. Jeanne Lemieux, b. August 2, 1696, d. February 1, 1769, m. (1) Francois Longtin (2) Antoine Rousseau 

ii. Joseph Lemieux, b. December 27, 1698, m. (1) Francoise Brignon (2) Marie-Josephe Forand

iii. Pierre-Gabriel Lemieux, b. October 6, 1700, m. Marie-Josephte Demers 

iv. Marie-Josephte Lemieux, b. June 8, 1702, d. December 1, 1744, m. Joseph Rousseau 

v. Jacques Lemieux, b. May 17, 1704, d. April 21, 1775, m. (1) Catherine deniger (2) Pineault Marguerite 

+vi. Marie-Anne Lemieux, b. February 27, 1706, d. February 8, 1777, m. Joseph Poupart 

vii. Marie-Marguerite Lemieux, b. October 6, 1710, d. April 30, 1796, m. Joseph Beauvais 

viii. Gabriel Lemieux, b. May 10, 1712, d. April 11, 1751, m. Madeleine Babeu 

Our Lineage from Gabriel Lemieux:

Gabriel Lemieux (1663 - 1739) -- my 8th great-grandfather

Marie Anne Lemieux (1706 - 1777) -- daughter of Gabriel Lemieux

Marie Josephe Poupart (1725 - 1799) -- daughter of Marie Anne Lemieux

Pierre Barette dit Courville (1748 - 1794) -- son of Marie Josephe Poupart

Marie Angelique Baret (Barette) dit Courville (1779 - 1815) -- daughter of Pierre Barette dit Courville

Marie Emélie (Mary) Meunier dit Lagassé (1808 - 1883) -- daughter of Marie Angelique Baret (Barette) dit Courville

Lucy Passino (1836 - 1917) -- daughter of Marie Emélie (Mary) Meunier dit Lagassé

Abraham Lincoln Brown (1864 - 1948) -- son of Lucy Passino

Lydia Corinna Brown (1891 - 1971) -- daughter of Abraham Lincoln Brown -- my Grandmother