A newspaper article caught my eye this morning.

“After years of research, officials at Montreal’s archaeology and history museum say they’re now able to pinpoint the precise location of the city’s first European settlement.”

The settlement was known as Ville-Marie and, of course, some of our ancestors were there!  I have blogged about them  before.  See here and here.

You can read more about this discovery at CBC.




The Grande Recrue, part 3

Hogue ancestor Michel Theodore dit Gilles also came as part of the Grande Recrue of 1653.  He was a mason, paver and laborer and was already a widower at the age of 22 when he arrived in Montreal.  On September 16, 1658 he married fille à marier Jacqueline Lagrange who was 17.

Six filles à marier were married that same day. Maisonneuve was once again a witness. Michel and Jacqueline had two daughters, Marie-Barbe and our ancestor Jeanne.

Michel was a member of the 16th squadron of the militia of Sainte-Famille, formed for the protection of Montreal.  Unfortunately, on May 4, 1664, he was killed by the Iroquois at Longue-Pointe when returning from a hunting expedition.

Theodore Michel b 1631 burial 1664

After his death, an inventory was taken by the Montreal notary Bénigne Basset. His belongings included, among other things, two blankets, two small sheets, four bushels of wheat and his firearm.  Oh my, that doesn’t sound like much, does it? My source for this is the book Montréal, 1653: la grande recrue by Michel Langlois as found on Google Books.

Michel’s death left Jacqueline with two children, one aged three and a half years and another only nine months old.  Needless to say, she married again, this time to Laurent Glory dit La Bière. Jacqueline had another seven children with this husband.  He died in 1681 when Jacqueline was pregnant with her last child.

A few months later, Jacqueline married for the last time to Nicolas Ragueneau.  She outlived this husband also, and was buried August 3, 1688 in Montreal.

Here is our descent to Pépère.  Our descent is through their daughter Jeanne, who has a very surprising story to tell, but that is for another post.

1-Michel THEODORE GILLES (1631-1664)
+Jacqueline LAGRANGE (1641-1688)
2-Jeanne THEODORE (1663-1730)
+Jacques AMELOT SANSPEUR (abt 1667-1729)
3-Francois HOGUE AMELOT (1694-1760)
+Marie Angelique COITEUX (1697-1779)
4-Joseph Amable HOGUE (1734-?)
+Marie-Josephe BELANGER (1740-1775)
5-Louis Amable HOGUE (1769-?)
+Marie Anne LABELLE (1776-?)
6-Louis Amable HOGUE (1796-1858)
+Marguerite TAYLOR (1805-1885)
7-Thomas HOGUE (1840-1924)
+Philomene MCMILLAN (1848-1923)
8-Thomas Joseph HOGUE (1879-1955)

Grande Recrue

Our story continues in Ville Marie (Montreal). By 1651, Maisonneuve’s dreams were not yet accomplished.  Ville Marie had a very small population and was under constant threat from the Iroquois as I wrote about here. All the settlers, and the hospital founded by Jeanne Mance, were forced to move inside the fort for protection. Really, one would think these people would be tempted to go back to France!  Some did, but obviously not our ancestors or I wouldn’t be writing this.

And so began the “Grande Recrue”.  Jeanne Mance offered money from her French benefactor to Maisonneuve, so he could recruit more settlers in France. He was looking for young, strong men who had useful skills and, perhaps more importantly, could use firearms.  The men would sign contracts agreeing to work for three to five years. About 100 men and 15 women made the voyage. The women included Marguerite Bourgeoys, who was coming to start a school in the colony.

The voyage in 1653 was not an easy one. The ship The Saint-Nicolas-de-Nantes left Saint-Nazaire on June 20, 1653. After a few days it became obvious the ship need major repairs and the decision was made to return to France.

From the website of Maison Saint-Gabriel we learn:

Marguerite Bourgeoys explained the events: “Sieur de Maisonneuve and all of his soldiers stopped on an island from which there was no escape. Otherwise, not a single one would have stayed. Some even set about swimming to save themselves since they were furious and believed they had been taken to perdition.” (Les Écrits de Mère Bourgeoys, p. 46).

Not an auspicious start to this adventure! The repaired ship, or perhaps a different one, finally left on July 20, 1653. Illness was rampant on the ship and eight men died. The ship finally arrived at Quebec City on September 22, 1653. They arrived in Montreal on November 16, 1653.

Five of the men and one woman who made this voyage are our ancestors. They were Girardin ancestors Fiacre Ducharme dit Fontaine, Louis Guertin dit Le Sabotier,  and Jacques Milot Laval; Hogue ancestor Michel Theodore dit Gilles, as well as Toussaint Hunault dit Deschamps and Marie Lorgueil who would marry in 1654 and are both Girardin and Hogue ancestors.  Of course there is a plaque commemorating this event, in Place de la Dauversière, Montreal.

By Jean Gagnon (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jean Gagnon (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

The plaque says (my translation) “They saved the island of Montreal and all of Canada also”. Quite an accomplishment! Today’s post will talk about three of these men.

Fiacre Ducharme dit Fontaine was a master woodworker who married fille à marier Marie Pacreau in 1659.  He also served as corporal the 18th squadron of Montreal’s Sainte-Famille militia.

As many of our Montreal ancestors served in this militia, I will offer some background on what it was. In 1663 Maisonneuve created this militia because there were not enough regular soldiers to protect Montreal from the Iroquois attacks.

The Loyal Edmonton Regiment Military Museum tells us that:

“The Soldats de la Sainte-Famille de Jésus, Marie et Joseph consisted of 20 squads of 7 men each. The force provided additional guards for workers in the fields and relieved the Montreal militia for nightly guard duty on the walls of the town. Following the arrival of French regular troops in 1665, Maisonneuve disbanded the Soldats de la Sainte-Famille de Jésus, Marie et Joseph in 1666. In three years, the unit lost only eight men to Iroquois war parties.”

Fiacre died in 1677 when the youngest of their seven children was only three years old.  Marie married again.

1-Fiacre DUCHARME FONTAINE (abt 1628-1677)
+Marie PACRAU/PACREAU (abt 1630-1699)
2-Marie Angelique DUCHARME (1674-1742)
+Claude DUDEVOIR (1663-1735)
3-Philippe DUDEVOIR (1701-1755)
+Marie Marguerite DUBREUIL (1701-1769)
4-Marie Catherine DUDEVOIR LACHINE (1726-1777)
+Francois GUERTIN (1723-1788)
5-Marie Catherine GUERTIN (1745-1835)
+Francois DUPRE (1731-?)
6-Pierre DUPRE (1773-1858)
+Marie Amable LETARTE (1784-?)
7-Marie Amable DUPRE (1801-?)
+Jean Baptiste BONIN (1799-?)
8-Marie BONIN (1827-?)
+Joseph Pierre ALLARD (1826-1875)
9-Onesime ALLARD (1852-1896)
+Napoleon GIRARDIN (1851-1929)
10-Marie Emma GIRARDIN (1878-1979)

Louis Guertin dit Le Sabotier was a wooden shoe maker (sabotier) and he also married a fille à marier Elisabeth  Camus in 1659. In 1663 he became a member of the 19th squadron of Montreal’s Sainte-Famille militia.

Elisabeth was about fifteen when she married.  She bore 11 children and died in 1680 when the youngest was only two and a half months old!  Louis died seven years later.

We descend from two of their sons:

1-Louis GUERTIN  DIT LE SABOTIER (1625-1687)
+Marie Elisabeth CAMUS (abt 1645-1680)
2-Louis GUERTIN (1668-1733)
+Marie Madeleine CHICOINE BELLEVUE (1672-1745)
3-Marguerite GUERTIN (1692-1746)
+Michel LANGEVIN (abt 1693-1757)
4-Michel LANGEVIN (1718-?)
+Marie Madeleine BANLIER LAPERLE (1721-1795)
5-Marie Madeleine LANGEVIN (1749-1822)
+Louis LUSSIER (1749-?)
6-Christophe LUSSIER (1773-?)
+Marie Charlotte BRUNEL (1774-1806)
7-Magdeleine LUSSIER (1795-1832)
+Charles ALLARD (1787-1862)
8-Joseph Pierre ALLARD (1826-1875)
+Marie BONIN (1827-?)
9-Onesime ALLARD (1852-1896)
+Napoleon GIRARDIN (1851-1929)
10-Marie Emma GIRARDIN (1878-1979)
2-Paul GUERTIN (1680-1755)
+Marie Madeleine PLOUF (1683-1760)
3-Francois GUERTIN (1723-1788)
+Marie Catherine DUDEVOIR dite LACHINE (1726-1777)
4-Marie Catherine GUERTIN (1745-1835)
+Francois DUPRE (1731-?)
5-Pierre DUPRE (1773-1858)
+Marie Amable LETARTE (1784-?)
6-Marie Amable DUPRE (1801-?)
+Jean Baptiste BONIN (1799-?)
7-Marie BONIN (1827-?)
+Joseph Pierre ALLARD (1826-1875)
8-Onesime ALLARD (1852-1896)
+Napoleon GIRARDIN (1851-1929)
9-Marie Emma GIRARDIN (1878-1979)

Jacques Milot Laval was listed as a milicien, meaning a militia man, on the list of immigrants of 1653. In 1663 he was also a member of the 10th squadron of Montreal’s Sainte-Famille militia.

He married Marie Jeanne Hebert whose parents I wrote about here. Marie was only about 13 when she married.  She bore 11 children, and died at the age of 40.  That was two years after the birth of her last child who died the day it was born.  The youngest living child was five. Such hard lives our female ancestors had.

1-Jacques MILOT LAVAL (abt 1629-1699)
+Marie Jeanne HEBERT (abt 1647-1687)
2-Catherine MILOT LAVAL (1665-1708)
+Jean Baptiste JOFRION (abt 1670-1740)
3-Marie Catherine JOFRION (1698-1761)
+Pierre TAILLEFER (1700-1773)
4-Jacques TAILLEFER (1733-1769)
+Marie Josephe DAUNAIS LAFRENIERE dite DELAUNAY (1742-?)
5-Jean-Baptiste TAILLEFER (1765-?)
+Marie Angelique DEBONNE (6 Jul 1766-?)
6-Marie TAILLEFER (1801-1872)
+Jean Baptiste BERNARDIN (1784-1857)
7-Marie Louise BERNARDIN (1824-1912)
+Paul GIRARDIN (1801-1878)
8-Napoleon GIRARDIN (1851-1929)
+Onesime ALLARD (1852-1896)
9-Marie Emma GIRARDIN (1878-1979)


Gilbert Barbier dit Minime

Another Girardin ancestor whose name is on the Founders Obelisk in Montreal is Gilbert Barbier dit Minime, a master carpenter whose dit name implies that he was small in stature. However, we can find this ancestor mentioned in several books, suggesting he loomed large in the history of Ville Marie.  Dollier de Casson wrote in his book  A History of Montreal:

“ he (Barbier) was by no means the least either in fighting or in his trade; we owe the acknowledgement of this truth to his courage and to the services he has rendered on this island, whose buildings have nearly all been made by his hands or by those whom he has taught.”  

In William Henry Atherton’s book Montreal, 1535-1914, Volume I: Under the French Regime we read:

Under the French Regime

Robert Prevost in his book Montreal:a history (translated by Elizabeth Mueller and Robert Chodos: McClelland & Stewart, 1993) states:

“Twelve men came to augment the initial contingent, including Gilbert Barbier, known as le Minime, a skilled joiner to whom La Dauversiere entrusted several artillery pieces to consolidate the defence system of the palisades.  Eight years later, Sieur de Maisonneuve would grant Barbier the first parcel of land located outside Ville-Marie, in Point Saint-Charles”

Gilbert married Catherine Delavaux on November 14, 1650 and Maisonneuve was a witness at their wedding. Catherine was one of the “filles à marier”, a topic I will expand on in another post. Catherine had been brought to Ville Marie under the care of  Jeanne Mance.

Gilbert was appointed to serve as the procureur fiscal (a sort of lawyer) for Montreal in 1657 and 1662.  He died in 1693 and Catherine in 1688. They had eight children.  We are descended from their daughter Marie Adrienne who married Etienne Trudeau.  Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau is descended from this same couple, meaning that Mémère was a 7th cousin to the Prime Minister!

Here’s our descent:

1-Gilbert BARBIER MINIME (abt 1619-1693)
+Catherine DELAVAUX LAVAU LAMINIME (abt 1620-1688)
2-Marie Adrienne BARBIER MINIME (1652-aft 1721)
+Etienne TRUDEAU (1641-1712)
3-Charles TRUDEAU (1684-1742)
+Marie Madeleine LOISELLE (1694-1748)
4-Marie Josephe TRUDEAU (1717-1762)
+Paul LUSSIER (1711-1773)
5-Louis LUSSIER (1749-?)
+Marie Madeleine LANGEVIN (Sep 1749-1822)
6-Christophe LUSSIER (1773-?)
+Marie Charlotte BRUNEL (1774-1806)
7-Magdeleine LUSSIER (1795-1832)
+Charles ALLARD (1787-1862)
8-Joseph Pierre ALLARD (1826-1875)
+Marie BONIN (1827-?)
9-Onesime ALLARD (1852-1896)
+Napoleon GIRARDIN (1851-1929)
10-Marie Emma GIRARDIN (1878-1979)

Several of Gilbert’s other children provide us some fascinating hints of life in New France:

Son Gabriel was with René-Robert Cavelier de La Salle, the explorer of the Mississippi. Gilbert died tragically in Texas at Fort St. Louis. You can read about him here.

Daughter Marie became Marie dite de l’Assomption, the first Montreal-born woman to join the Congrégation de Notre-Dame de Montréal, whose founder was Marguerite Bourgeoys.

Son Nicholas Charles was killed by the British August 11, 1691 at the Battle of La Prairie (near Montreal). The French won the battle but incurred heavy losses.

Son Charles Henri was killed June 8, 1691 by the Iroquois in a fight near Repentigny.

We arrive in Montreal

Up until this point in our story, our ancestors have been in Quebec (city) and Trois-Rivières.  Now they arrive in Montreal.  A group of very religious people in France formed the Société de Notre-Dame de Montréal pour la conversion des sauvages de la Nouvelle-France (I believe the name speaks for itself). They obtained the seigneury of the island of Montreal and recruited Paul de Chomedey, better known as Sieur de Maisonneuve, to establish a mission on the island, and Jeanne Mance to build a hospital.

In 1641 Maisonneuve arrived, and some of our ancestors were with him. It was late in the year and the colonists had to spend the winter at the fort in Quebec before they could go to the island in May of 1642.  They called the settlement Ville Marie.

Remember the Heritage Minutes that used to be on television? Here’s a link to one about Maisonneuve, although for some reason this clip is audio only.

Les amis de la montagne (Friends of the Mountain) have an interesting video about the history of  the cross on top of Mount Royal.  Click on the Audio-Video button.

You knew there would be a plaque right? It’s on the Founders Obelisk erected in Place d’Youville by the Montreal Historical Society in 1893.

Picture posted with the kind permission of Robert Jackson  The Duval Family of Unity and Marshfield, Wisconsin

Picture posted with the kind permission of Robert Jackson
The Duval Family of Unity and Marshfield, Wisconsin

Augustin Hebert dit Jolicoeur and Adrienne Duvivier, Girardin ancestors, have their names on  this plaque. Since the plaque was made in 1893, research has shown that Adrienne was not actually there in 1642.  Augustin was a soldier who came to the fort at Quebec around 1637, and then joined Maisonneuve at the founding of Montreal.  Augustin returned to France and married her there in 1643 in Paris.  Their daughter Marie Jeanne was born around 1647, just before the family came back to settle in Montreal.

Robert Jackson tells us on The Duval Family website that in 1648 Augustin was given

“nearly 40 acres, bounded today by Rue St-Pierre (Rue de Bleury), Rue St-François-Xavier, Rue la Moyne, and Boulevard Maisonneuve in downtown Montréal.”

Adrienne was widowed at the age of 27 when Augustin died tragically (a story for another post).

Here’s our descent:

1-Augustin HEBERT DIT JOLICOEUR (abt 1620-1653)
+Adrienne DUVIVIER (abt 1626-1706)
2-Marie Jeanne HEBERT (abt 1647-1687)
+Jacques MILOT LAVAL (1629-1699)
3-Catherine MILOT LAVAL (1665-1708)
+Jean Baptiste JOFRION (abt 1670-1740)
4-Marie Catherine JOFRION (1698-1761)
+Pierre TAILLEFER (1700-1773)
5-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)