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.

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