The Iroquois Threat

When Champlain came to New France he established trade alliances with the Huron, Algonguin and Montagnais.  In 1609 at the Battle of Ticonderoga, his use of firearms against the Iroquois, enemies of the Huron, succeeded in fostering a long war between the Iroquois Confederacy and the French.  The Iroquois traded with the Dutch in New York and thus obtained their own firearms.  They became an almost constant threat to the colonists at Montreal, Trois Rivières and Quebec. At times they threatened the very existence of the settlements.

Some of our Girardin ancestors experienced this threat in a very direct way.  I will tell three of their stories.

Pierre Lefebvre came to New France around 1642 and settled first  in Trois Rivières and then at Cap-de-La-Madeleine. In 1648 he was captured by the Iroquois.

The Jesuit Relations, Vol. 32, tell us:

“During this whole month of July, several events occurred at 3 rivers which concerned the yroquois, and will be found in the letters among the Archives or in the relation,—among others, the capture of two of our Frenchmen, pierre le Febvre,…and a nephew of Monsieur de la Poterie.

OCTOBER

Of the three yroquois who escaped on the 6th, who were captives at 3 rivers, the one named le berger came back, and brought with him Pierre le febvre, a captive among the yroquois”

So, a happy ending for Pierre.

Pierre married Jeanne Auneau, another fille à marier, who at the time of Pierre’s capture, had an 18-month old son and was pregnant!  One can only imagine how she felt during the three months of his captivity.  They would eventually have seven children.   Pierre was an important person in Trois Rivières, becoming a syndic des habitants (as sort of trustee) in 1658 and a churchwarden in 1663.

Here is our descent from Pierre to Mémère:

1-Pierre LEFEBVRE (1623-bet 1668 and 1670)
+Jeanne AUNEAU (abt 1624-1697)
2-Marie Catherine LEFEBVRE (1648-1705)
+Antoine TROTTIER DESRUISSEAUX (1640-1706)
3-Antoine TROTTIER DESRUISSEAUX dit POMBERT (1681-1733)
+Marie Charlotte Charles MERCEREAU dit LASAVANE (1685-1715)
4-Marie Catherine TROTTIER DESRUISSEAUX dit POMBERT (1708-1788)
+Louis SICARD CARUFEL dit DERIVE (1705-1783)
5-Genevieve SICARD dit DERIVE (1728-1798)
+Pierre LESIEUR (1700-1761)
6-Madeleine LESIEUR (11 Mar 1756-?)
+Joseph LESIEUR dit LAPIERRE (1754- 1813)
7-Josephte LESIEUR (1778-1864)
+Charles GIRARDIN (1773-1853)
8-Paul GIRARDIN (1801-1878)
+Marie Louise BERNARDIN (1824-1912)
9-Napoleon GIRARDIN (1851-1929)
+Onesime ALLARD (1852-1896)
10-Marie Emma GIRARDIN (1878-1979)

My second story is about Jean Chicot who came to Montreal in 1650.  He was scalped by the Iroquois in 1651 but survived.

In the book Montreal:under the French Regime William Henry Atherton gives this account

“on May 6, 1651 : On this day, Jean Boudard had left his house with a man

named Jean Chicot when suddenly they found themselves surprised. by eight

or ten Iroquois. Chicot ran for safety to a tree recently cut down and hid

himself there, but Boudard, making headlong for his home, met his wife,

Catherine Mercier, not far from it. Asking her whether the dwelling was

open she replied: “No, I have locked it!” “Ah!” cried he, “then it is death

for both of us ! Let us fly at once.” In their flight, the wife could not keep

pace with him and, being left behind, was seized by the Indians. Hearing her

cries the husband returned and attacked them with fisticuffs, so violently that, not

being able to master him otherwise, they massacred him on the spot. The

cries and confusion aroused three of the settlers, Charles Le Moyne, Archambault

and another, who, running to render assistance, were seen falling into an

ambuscade of forty Indians behind the hospital. Discovering their mistake they

made a retreat to the front door of the hospital which luckily was open, having

escaped a brisk fusillade, as Le Moyne well knew by the hole in his hat. With

the captive woman, the Indians who had surprised Boudard then sought the

hiding place of Chicot.  He defended himself with his feet and hands so vigor-

ously that fearing, lest he should be assisted by the Frenchmen they now saw

approaching, they took his scalp, taking a piece of his skull with it. This they

carried with them as a trophy, as well as the head of Boudard, who was com-

monly known as “Grand Jean.” Jean Chicot did not die, however, till nearly

fourteen years later”

In 1662 Jean married Marguerite Maclin, another fille à marier.  She came to New France as an orphan in 1659 and lived under the protection of Marguerite Bourgeoys. Marguerite Bourgeoys, Maisonneuve, and another ancestor, Gilbert Barbier, were witnesses at their wedding on October 23, 1662.

Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), Montreal, Basilique Notre-Dame, 1642-1681, image 131 of 233 accessed on ancestry.ca

Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), Montreal, Basilique Notre-Dame, 1642-1681, image 131 of 233 accessed on ancestry.ca

Jean and Marguerite were only married for five years before Jean died, leaving Marguerite with two children under four years of age.  She quickly remarried and had another ten children with her new husband.

Here is our descent from Jean Chicot:

1-Jean CHICOT (1627-1667)
+Marguerite MACLIN (abt 1647-1733)
2-Jean Baptiste SICOT dit LALIBERTE (1666-1757)
+Marie Madeleine Anne LAMOUREUX (1680-1758)
3-Marie SICOT DIT LALIBERTE (1698-1738)
+Louis BABIN dit LACROIX (1694-1756)
4-Marie Madeleine Anne BABIN dit LACROIX (1720-1758)
+Charles DAUNAIS dit LAFRENIERE DELAUNAY (1711-1766)
5-Marie Josephe DAUNAIS dit LAFRENIERE DELAUNAY (1742-?)
+Jacques TAILLEFER (1733-1769)
6-Jean-Baptiste TAILLEFER (1765-?)
+Marie Angelique DEBONNE (1766-?)
7-Marie TAILLEFER (1801-1872)
+Jean Baptiste BERNARDIN (1784-1857)
8-Marie Louise BERNARDIN (1824-1912)
+Paul GIRARDIN (1801-1878)
9-Napoleon GIRARDIN (1851-1929)
+Onesime ALLARD (1852-1896)
10-Marie Emma GIRARDIN (1878-1979)

The last story concerns Pierre Garman dit Picard who came to New France about 1639 with his wife Madeleine Charlot and their two daughters.  They lived in Quebec (city), Trois Rivières and Cap Rouge.  Madeleine died sometime after 1643.

From the Jesuit Relations, Vol. 38:

“June 10, 1653: The Iroquois, having appeared at Cap rouge, kill there françois Boulé, having pierced him with three gunshots,—in the stomach, in the groin, and in the thigh,—and having removed half of his scalp. . . . Besides, they lead away alive Pierre Garman, called “le Picard,” and his son Charles, 8 years old”

Pierre was presumed dead. Some websites claim that the son, Charles, married an Iroquois woman, had one daughter baptized and then disappears from all records. I’ve been unable to prove this one way or another.

And here is our descent from Pierre Garman:

1-Pierre GARMAN dit PICARD (?-10 Jun 1653)
+Madeleine CHARLOT (?-bef 1652)
2-Florence GARMAN (abt 1626-?)
+Francois BOUCHER (1617-bef 1681)
3-Marie BOUCHER (1652-1713)
+Antoine CHAUDILLON (abt 1643-1707)
4-Catherine CHODILLON (abt 1673-1745)
+Francois NEVEU dit LEMON (1666-?)
5-Marie NEVEU dit LEMON (Sep 1689-1747)
+Jean Baptiste BANLIER dit LAPERLE (1682-?)
6-Marie Madeleine BANLIER LAPERLE (1721-1795)
+Michel LANGEVIN (1718-?)
7-Marie Madeleine LANGEVIN (1749-1822)
+Louis LUSSIER (1749-?)
8-Christophe LUSSIER (1773-?)
+Marie Charlotte BRUNEL (1774-1806)
9-Magdeleine LUSSIER (1795-1832)
+Charles ALLARD (1787-1862)
10-Joseph Pierre ALLARD (1826-1875)
+Marie BONIN (1827-?)
11-Onesime ALLARD (1852-1896)
+Napoleon GIRARDIN (1851-1929)
12-Marie Emma GIRARDIN (1878-1979)

Life was not easy for our early ancestors, and I will have many more stories to tell.

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2 thoughts on “The Iroquois Threat

  1. Jackie, my name is Logan Cicotte and I am also a descendant of Jean Chicot (the spelling has changed). I’ve written a few posts about him on my blog you might like. http://loganandcompany.blogspot.com/

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