1663

Our European ancestors continued to come to New France, and although I have by no means exhausted their stories, I am going to move along a little in our family history.  I promise to come back to these pioneers later.

The year 1663 in New France was noteworthy for three reasons.  First, it was the year that saw a very important change in how the colony was governed. Up until this time, the colony had been administered mainly by the fur-trading companies such as the Compagnie des Cent-Associés and the Communauté des Habitants. In 1663 King Louis XIV of France, aka the Sun king, brought the colony directly under royal rule. A new form of administration was now adopted that gave power to the Governor, the Intendant and the Bishop.

The population was very small, about 2500 people (not including the natives). Attacks from the Iroquois, as we have seen, were a constant threat.  Many seigneuries had been granted, but not settled, and the settlements that did exist were scattered.

Secondly, to solve the problem of a small population, the year 1663 saw the beginning of the arrival of the filles du roi or “King’s daughters”. These were single women, many of them orphans, who were recruited for the specific purpose of emigrating to the colony to marry. They were given free passage, a basic trousseau that included some personal supplies, and temporary accommodation in New France until they married. Some were also given a dowry that was more likely to be “in kind” than in cash. After the marriage the family received a bull, a cow and some other supplies.

These women were given the opportunity to choose their husbands, and in fact “interview” them.  They had the right to refuse a suitor.   You can read more here.  Some 770 women arrived under this program between 1663 and 1673.  34 of these women are Hogue or Girardin ancestors. I will certainly be sharing some of their stories.

And of course, we have a plaque.

Filles du Roi

The third notable event of 1663 was the Charlevoix earthquake which struck on February 5th, and was felt along the entire eastern part of North America.  You can read a scientific summary of it here.  It is estimated to have been a magnitude of between 7 and 8.  Aftershocks were felt until the following July or August.

You can also read a description by Father Jerome Lalemant in The Jesuit Relations.

earthquake1663

I estimate that about a hundred of our ancestors were in New France at this time, and would have experienced this earthquake.  One ancestor, Marie Therese Hunault, whom I wrote about here, was born on February 12th, seven days after the first shock.

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