Monday, January 29, 2018

Pascal Pinsonneau, Canadian Convict Sent to Australia

Our 2nd cousin 5x removed, Pascal Pinsonneault, a farmer from La Prairie, was a patriot who participated in the “Lower Canada Rebellion,” and an attack on the house of David Witty, La Tortue (Saint-Constant), during which Aaron Walker was killed on November 3 1838.

Pascal was, one of several, sentenced to death for murder by the Court Martial on 10 Jan 1839, but his sentence was later commuted to exile to Australia. 

He left the prison Pied-du-Courant on 26 September 1839 and went to Quebec where it is embarked aboard the ship “Buffalo” to Australia.

He was pardoned in 1843, he returned to Canada in 1845. He died about 1865 in La Prairie.

(French: La rébellion du Bas-Canada), commonly referred to as the Patriots' War (French: la Guerre des patriotes) by Quebecers, is the name given to the armed conflict in 1837–38 between the rebels of Lower Canada (now Quebec) and the British colonial power of that province.

The rebellion was preceded by nearly three decades of efforts at political reform in Lower Canada, and sought accountability from the elected general assembly and appointed governor of the colony. The appointed legislative council (a type of upper house) was dominated by a small group of businessmen known as the Château Clique, the equivalent of the Family Compact in Upper Canada.

Activists in Lower Canada began to work for reform in a period of economic disfranchisement of the French-speaking majority and working-class English-speaking citizens. 

The rebellion protested the injustice of colonial governing as such, in which the governor and upper house of the legislature were appointed by the Crown. Many of its leaders and participants were English-speaking citizens of Lower Canada. 

The French speakers felt that Anglophones were disproportionately represented in the lucrative fields of banking, the timber trade, and transportation industry.

Source: Wikipedia

Our Lineage:

Pascal Pinsonneau (1812 - 1865) — 2nd cousin 5x removed

François Marie Pinsonneau (1773 - 1843) -- father of Pascal Pinsonneau

Pascal Pinsonneau (1729 - 1802) -- father of François Marie Pinsonneau

Jacques Pinsonneau dit Lafleur (1682 - 1773) -- father of Pascal Pinsonneau

Joseph Pinsonneau (Pinsono) (1733 - 1779) -- son of Jacques Pinsonneau dit Lafleur

Gabriel Pinsonneau (1770 - 1807) -- son of Joseph Pinsonneau (Pinsono)

Gabriel Pinsonneau (1803 - 1877) -- son of Gabriel Pinsonneau

Lucy Passino (Pinsonneau) (1836 - 1917) -- daughter of Gabriel Pinsonneau

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Paschal Pinsonneau - Fur-trader, and interpreter with the Kickapoo Indian Nation

Paschal Pensoneau (far right) (2nd cousin 5x removed)
Fur-trapper, trader, and interpreter with the Kickapoo Indians

From: "HISTORY OF ATCHISON COUNTY KANSAS," by sheffield Ingalls, Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kansas, 1916

The first permanent white settler of what is now Atchison county, Kansas was a Frenchman Paschal Pensoneau (Pinsonneau), who, about 1839, married a Kickapoo Indian woman and about 1844 settled on the bank of Stranger creek, near the present site of Potter, where he established a trading-house and opened the first farm in Atchison county on land which had been allotted him by the Government for services in the Black Hawk and Mexican wars.

Pensoneau had long lived among the Kickapoo Indians, following them in their migrations from Illinois to Missouri and Kansas, generally pursuing the vocation of trader and interpreter. 

1854 map Eastern Kansas

As early as 1833 or 1834 he was established on the Missouri river at the old Kickapoo town, later removing to Stranger creek, as aforementioned. He became a very prominent and influential man among the Kickapoos. He long held the position of Government interpreter for that tribe. 

After the treaty of 1854, diminishing the Kickapoo reserve, Pensoneau moved to the new lands assigned the tribe along the Grasshopper river, where he lived for many years. 

About 1875 he settled among a band of Kickapoo Indians, near Shawnee, Indian Territory, where he died some years later. 

He was born at Cahokia, Ill., April 17, 1796, his parents having been among the emigrants from Canada to the early French settlements of Illinois.

Paschal Pensoneau and the fur trade

Paschal worked as a fur trader and translator

The first of the Pensoneau brothers to settle in Cahokia was Louison, who arrived in U.S. territory in 1784. He was a fur trader among the Kickapoo, Potawatomie and Miami Indians in Indiana and Illinois. In a memoir dictated in 1883, his son Paschal said, “My father was head-boss for the American Fur Company,” owned by Jacob Astor, on the Wabash and Vermillion rivers. For a time, Louison kept a second home in Peoria, Illinois.

Louison married Louise “Lizette” LeCompte, daughter of “Old Mme. LeCompte,” who lived to 109 years of age. She was half Potawatomie, spoke several Indian languages, and was legendary as a peacemaker. When she heard of impending attacks against the town of Cahokia in its early days, she would walk into the woods on her own to parley. Several days later, she would return with a party of Indians who had decided not to attack but to accept the gifts and hospitality the townspeople were only too happy to offer to avoid a battle. Often, the feasting continued for days. Louison and Lizette had ten children, and one followed in both his father’s and grandmother’s footsteps. Paschal, born in 1795, lived largely among the Kickapoo Indians from the time he was thirteen years old.

“I went to Terre Haute, where there was a trading post. My father gave me a set of tools so that I could repair the Indian guns, and I followed that business a great deal,” he said in his memoir recorded by the Kansas State Historical Society.

French fur-trading families often exchanged young men with Indian families, so the boys would grow up familiar with each other’s society, culture and language. The French youth who lived among the Indians were called coureurs des bois, or runners of the woods.

By the 1830s, Paschal worked for Stephen Phelps, one of two main traders with Black Hawk’s band of Sac and Fox Indians. When the Illinois militia and then the U.S. Army were called up to oust Black Hawk and his followers from Illinois in the summer 1832, Paschal enlisted in the militia. Black Hawk was defeated in the brief war, and his bands were forced to leave their traditional seasonal homes for the plains west of the Mississippi River. Phelps accompanied Black Hawk to Washington, D.C., for the treaty negotiations.

The U.S. Congress passed the Indian Removal Acts at about the same time. These events forced Indians to move west of the Mississippi River, and the Kickapoo—who had allied with the Americans—also had to leave their land in Illinois.

A Kickapoo family

Paschal stayed with the Kickapoo and traveled west. He married Shikina, the daughter of a chief, and went with a group of sixty-three families to live along the Missouri River above Fort Leavenworth. They stayed there for about five years before moving to Kansas, where Paschal is credited with being the first white settler of Atchison. The couple had a number of children, and they eventually settled on the Kickapoo reservation. Paschal gave the account of his life in 1883 as part of establishing land claims for his military service and for his wife’s and children’s rights to tribal lands.

Paschal continued to work as a trader and interpreter in Kansas, and he was the interpreter for the Kickapoo Treaty signed June 28, 1862. He also served as an interpreter for the U.S. Army during the Civil War.

Paschal returned once to Illinois, in the late 1870s, when he was about 80 years old, but by then his parents, brothers and sisters had all died. An account by John F. Snyder, a family friend, stated that Paschal’s marriage had never been accepted by his siblings, “who ranked socially among the highest class of citizens here ... and if they did not disown him outright, they called ‘off’ and never mentioned his name and really did not know where he was or care to know.”

Paschal visited with Snyder’s brother, who “described him to me as a striking figure, of stately patriarchal appearance, and an intelligent, dignified and courteous gentleman. He was well dressed, and perfectly at his ease, with nothing in speech or manners to indicate his long association with Indians ... I feel quite sure that the Indian woman Paschal married was fully his peer in all that pertains to moral, social and domestic life.”

Pascahl and Shikina’s descendants have been active in Indian affairs and leadership positions over generations, and family members maintain websites with historical documents and photos. Especially helpful are the sites that Velma Louise Pensoneau Jones and Donna Flood maintain at

Key sources:
Alderfer, William K., Ed. The Blackhawk War, 1831-1832. Vol. 1, Illinois Volunteers, Ellen M. Whitney, Ed. Galvorro, Ill. Illinois State Library Collections of Illinois State Historical Society, 1970.

Armstrong, Perry A. Black Hawk War: with biographical sketches. Springfield, Ill.: H.W. Rorker, Printer and Binder, 1887.

Brink, McDonough & Co. History of St. Clair County, Illinois. Philidelphia: Corresponding Office Edwardsville, Ill., 1881.

Jackson, Donald, Ed., Black Hawk Autobiography. University of Illinois, 1955.

Jetté, René. Le Dictionnaire généalogique des Familles du Québec; des origines à 1730. Montréal: Presses de l’ Université de Montréal, 2003.

Pensoneau, Paschal, statement to George Remsberg, Manuscripts Department, Kansas State Historical Society, 1883. Online documents for Atchison County.

Snyder, John Francis, Adam W. Snyder and his Period in Illinois History 1817-1842.Virginia, Ill.: E. Needham. Second Edition, 1906.

His brother Laurent Pinsonneau (1807-1848), our 2nd cousin 5x removed, was also a Fur trader for the American Fur Company.  He established a trading post to trade with the Kickapoo Nation of the State of Illinois from present-day Wisconsin State. 

His trading post -- established about 1833 -- was located on the Missouri River, 4 miles from Fort Leavenworth, about 5 or 6 miles from the Kansas River source.  Native Americans involved in trade included the Delaware, Kansa, Shawnee and Kickapoo nations.



Under the supervision of François Gesseau Chouteau, Laurent Pensineau 1681 operated a trading post for the American Fur Company in northeast Kansas among the Kickapoo Indians.

Born in 1805, he was the son of Louison Pensineau and Lizette Le Compt, early settlers in the Illinois Territory, who were highly respected in their community.  Louison’s ancestors had come from Normandy, France to settle in Fort La Prairie, across from Montreal, Canada.  His mother, a native of Cahokia, was the daughter of a Frenchman and a half-breed woman (half French, half Pottawatomie).  He must have been living among the Kickapoos in Missouri prior to the treaty of Castor Hill of February 13, 1833 and their arrival in Kansas, as he had a son, Louis, born in 1828, whose mother was probably a Kickapoo woman, named Nina. 

On October 25, 1833, he was granted a license to trade with the Kickapoos.

On September 9, 1833, François Gesseau Chouteau wrote to Pierre Ménard, about the arrangements he was making for the opening of the trading post: Pinnsonneaux is here. . . . I made the necessary arrangements at his arrival here to go immediately to construct his trading post among the Kickapoo.  But first of all, I went to advise the agent [Cummins] who told me he had to see the place to designate and make his report to Gen. [William] Clark.  He promised me he would go to see the place in 2 or 3 days.  But he fell very ill and he is not yet over it so you see how all these formalities slow us down.

On November 25, 1833, Chouteau wrote: The Kickapoo post is now established.  As soon as I was able to obtain a location and a license for the agent, I took the measures in such a way that the post could be built in a short time.  It is four miles from the fort, in a beautiful location, that is to say, above the garrison and in the sight of the Missouri.

His post was located at the mouth of Pensineau’s Creek, also known as Pensineau’s landing on the Missouri River. 

The pen and ink sketch of the Kickapoo Mission, drawn by Father Peter Verhaegen, S.J., shows the Maison du marchand (Merchant’s house), on the right bank of the Missouri River near the Kickapoo Mission, It was a two-story building with a road leading from it to the mission.

Pensineau was closely associated with the Catholic Church.  His name appears frequently on the baptismal records.

In November 1833, when Father Benedict Roux visited the Kickapoo reservation and celebrated mass in Pensineau’s home, the trader translated into French the message sent by Chief Kennekuk. 

Laurent was instrumental in the establishment of the mission for the Kickapoos.  Father Roux wrote to Bishop Rosati on March 11, 1834: “Mr. Pinsonneau tells me these good Indians are eager to have me go and baptize their children; they desire most eagerly to hear the counsels of the Black-robes and to embrace his religion.” 

On June 1, 1836, Reverend Charles F. Van Quickenborne, S.J. and three lay brothers came to open the Catholic Mission near the Kickapoo reservation.  Pensineau put his home at their disposal until the construction of the mission was completed in the following month of October.

Father Van Quickenborne recorded his impressions of his lodging: “Our accommodations are rather better than I had anticipated.  Mr.Painsonneau [Pensineau, the one who keeps a store for the nation, has had the kindness to let us occupy one of his old cabins.  It is 16 feet square made of rough logs and daubed with clay.  Here we have our chapel, dormitory, refectory, etc.  We had to sleep on the floor.”

It is not known how long Pensineau managed the American Fur Company trading post but he was still there in the summer of 1837 as Count Francesco Arese, an Italian nobleman from Milan who was ascending the Missouri River on the steamboat St. Peters, wrote in his Journal that a few hours after leaving Fort Leavenworth, “at a post of the American Fur Company [they] landed the boss of the trading post.”  The “boss” was probably Laurent Pensineau. 

On July 14, 1837 François Gesseau ordered the unloading of packs of furs in “Pensineau’s shed” to be picked at a later date by the steamboat St. Peters.  Probably Pensineau had left by 1842 as there was a new trader among the Kickapoos. 

Pascal Pensineau must have assisted his brother in the management of the trading post as his presence is noted between the years 1833 and 1838.  The baptisms of two of his daughters were recorded in the Kickapoo Register of Baptisms,

Brigitte Amable on January 4, 1837 and Maria on October 30, 1838.  Both of the girls’ mothers were Kickapoo women.  Pascal must have later moved to the Pottawatomi Sugar Creek reservation as his marriage to a Pottawatomi woman was registered there on June 28, 1847, as well as the baptism of his three year old daughter, Rosalie. 

Laurent Pensineau may have returned to Illinois where he was born as he married Elizabeth Hays there and later died at Point-ā la Pierre in Illinois on July 18, 1848.


1681 . Also known as Lawrence Pinsonneau, Pinsonneu, Painsonneau, Pensineaux, Pencenaux. 
1682 . “The Indian Agent (Laurent Pinsineau) is a French Creole… General Clark took him under his protection and Messrs. Chouteau & Co. will procure him all the advantages and comforts which his new situation will require.” Graves-Garraghan-Towle, History of the Kickapoo Mission, 11. General William Clark was the governor of the Territory of Missouri from 1813 to 1820 and was afterwards Indian Affairs Superintendent. 
1683 . Ibid., 257. 
1684 . Barry, Beginning of the West, 248. 
1685 . Marra, 119. 
1686 . Ibid., 122. 
1687 . Ibid., 253, 310, 408
1688 . Reproduced in Garraghan, Jesuits, between pp. 402 and 403, from the Archives of the Missouri Province, S.J., St. Louis. 
1689 . Garraghan, Catholic Beginnings, 35-54; Jesuits, 1:388; Graves-Garraghan-Towle, History of the Kickapoo Mission, 3n3. 
1690 . On March 3, 1834 Father Roux baptized Pensineau’s eight year old son, Louis at the “mouth of the Kansas” in a rented “chapel where Father Roux officiated until April 1835. 
1691 . Garraghan, Catholic Beginnings, 3. See chapter 15. 
1692 . Barry, Beginning of the West, 309-310. 
1693 . Letter of Van Quickerborne to Father McSherry, dated June 29, 1836. Graves-Garraghan,- Towle, History of Kickapoo Mission, 12; Garraghan, Jesuits, 1: 396. 
1694 . Microfilm in the Kansas State Historical Library.

Paschal’s Military Records:

Record Source: Illinois Black Hawk War Veterans
Name: Paschal Penceneau
Rank: Private
Company: Butler, P
Brigade: ODD
War: Black Hawk War
War Years: 1831-1832

Service Entry Place: Monmouth, Illinois, USA

US, Register of Civil War, Military, and Naval Service, 1863-1959
Name Paschal Pensineau
Birth Place Illinois
Residence Date 30 Sep 1865
Station or Residence Place Kansas
Year 1865
Title Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval in the Service of the United States, Volume 1

Paschal and Laurent’s Ancestry:

Paschal Pinsonneau 1796–1884, 2nd cousin 5x removed)
BIRTH 17 APR 1796 • Cahokia, Illinois
DEATH MAR 1884 • Indian Territory, USA
Marriage 1839 • Kansas
Spouse Shikina Pensoneau b. ABT. 1820 • Kickapoo, Nation, Atchison County, Kansas, USA

His brother:

Laurent Pinsonneau 1807–1848, 2nd cousin 5x removed
BIRTH ABT. 1807 • Cahokia, Illinois
DEATH 18 JUL 1848 • Cahokia, St. Clair County, Illinois, USA
Marriage 11 May 1829 • Cahokia, Illinois
Spouse Elisabeth Hayes (1810–1895)

His father:

Louison Pinsonneau 1765–1831, 1st cousin 6x removed
BIRTH 21 DEC 1765 • La Prairie de la Madeleine, Canada
DEATH 24 JAN. 1831 • Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois, USA
Marriage 12 Sep 1795 • Cahokia, Illinois
Spouse Louise Lecompte (1765–1846)

His grandfather:

Pascal Pinsonneau 1729–1802, 6th great-uncle
BIRTH 19 APR 1729 • LaPrairie de la Madeline, Quebec, Canada
DEATH 4 FEB 1802 • La Prairie, Quebec, Canada
Marriage 5 Feb 1753 • Laprairie
Spouse Marguerite Bourdeau (1731–1793)
His great-grandfather:

Jacques Pinsonneau dit Lafleur 1682–1773, 6th great-grandfather
BIRTH 13 APR 1682 • Contrecoeur, Quebec, Canada
DEATH 22 MAR 1773 • La Prairie, Quebec, Canada
Marriage 21 Jul 1712 • Laprairie, Quebec, Canada
Spouse Marie Elisabeth Bourassa (1695–1766)

His 2x great-grandfather:

François Pinsonneau dit Lafleur 1646–1731 (my 7th great-grandfather)
BIRTH 1646 • Saintogne, Charente-Maritime, Poitou-Charentes, France
DEATH 26 JAN 1731 • La Prairie (Notre-Dame-de-LaPrairie-de-la-Madeleine), Québec
Marriage 1 May 1673 • St-Ours, Sorel, Quebec, Canada
Marriage to Anne LeBer (Leper) (1647–1732)
Served with the Carignan Salieres Regiment and fought the Iroquois in 1665-66
Marriage 1 May 1673 • St-Ours, Sorel, Quebec, Canada
Spouse Anne LeBer (Leper) (1647–1732) a Fille du Roi

Paschal and Laurent’s relationship to me:

Paschal Pinsonneau (1796 - 1884) — my 2nd cousin 5x removed

Louison Pinsonneau (1765 - 1831) father of Paschal Pinsonneau

Pascal Pinsonneau (1729 - 1802) father of Louison Pinsonneau

Jacques Pinsonneau dit Lafleur (1682 - 1773) father of Pascal Pinsonneau

Joseph Pinsonneau (Pinsono) (1733 - 1779) son of Jacques Pinsonneau dit Lafleur

Gabriel Pinsonneau (Pinsono) (1770 - 1807) son of Joseph Pinsonneau (Pinsono)

Gabriel Pinsonneau) (1803 - 1877) son of Gabriel Pinsonneau (Pinsono)

Lucy Pinsonneau (Passino) (1836 - 1917) daughter of Gabriel Pinsonneau

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

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

Addenda 19 Jan 2018:

Narcisse Pensineau, another brother of Paschal and Laurent
Source: “History of Benton County, MO,” Chapter 3 — Early Settlers

“The first settlers in what is now Benton County were John F. Hogle, a German, and Narcisse Pensineau, a Frenchman. The Pensineaus were among the earliest of the French settlers about Cahokia, Ill. — noted fur traders in the Northwest. Hogle has his name perpetuated in the name of Hogle Creek. It was at the mouth of this stream that Hogle and Pensineau established a trading post. 

It cannot be ascertained what year they came, but it was long before the earliest pioneer settlers followed them into the dark wilderness. 

Hogle became Indian agent of the government. They came seeking the barter and trade with the Indians, and fixed their trading post at the mouth of this creek, where was the largest Indian village in what is now Benton County. This was the first non-Indian settlement, and theirs the first store.”

If you found some ancestors please let me know on La Prairie Voyageurs Facebook

Friday, October 13, 2017

Ripples from La Prairie Voyageur Canoes -- My Voyageur Ancestry

Editor Jerry England at Rendezvous Reenactment in 1987

"Ripples from La Prairie Voyageur Canoes" is, a collection of genealogy and research notes, about my French-Canadian ancestors who were involved in the fur trade during the 17th and 18th centuries.

I've published it online to be enjoyed by anyone who shares my ancestry.  I also consider the work to be a "Genealogy Act of Kindness," which I believe will generate its own rewards.

Ripples from La Prairie Voyageur Canoes

Introduction, Contents and Chapter One - La Prairie

Chapter Two - Our Earliest Fur Trade Ancestors

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Barrette Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Bourassa Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Boyer Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Deneau Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Diel Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Dupuis Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Duquet Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Gagne Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Leber Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Lemieux Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Migner dit Lagacé Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Perras Family
Chapter Three - La Prairie's Pinsonneau Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Poupart Family

Chapter Three - La Prairie's Vielle Family

Chapter Four, Voyageur Families of Trois-Rivières and Quebec

Chapter Four, Quebec's Amiot Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Beauchamp Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Cloutier Family & Jean Mignault dit Chatillon

Chapter Four, Quebec's Cusson Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Dardenne Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Desroches Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Godefroy Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Godet Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Miville Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Moreau Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Nepveu Family & Denise Sevestre

Chapter Four, Quebec's Picard Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Rivet Family

Chapter Four, Quebec's Sedilot Family

Chapter Five, Miscellaneous Fur Trade Ancestors

Chapter Six - Ancestors in 1600s Fur Trade Timeline

Chapter Six - Ancestors 1700s Fur Trade Timeline

Chapter Seven, French Canadian Heritage of Lucy Pinsonneau

Appendix One - French Era Fur Trade Forts, Posts and Depots

About the Author


Endnotes (for back cover)

END OF BOOK -- 240 pages

Jerry England and his vintage Old Town Canoe in the Grand Tetons


New Found La Prairie Voyageur Ancestors (AFT March 11, 2017)

Homage To My LaPrairie Voyageur Ancestors (includes voygeur contracts)

Still More La Prairie Voyageur Ancestors (AFT March 11, 2017)

Narcisse Roy (1765-1814) Montreal Fur Trade Silversmith

Eastern Woodlands Indian Mocotaugan or Crooked Knife

Tasse à canot de voyageurs - Voyageurs canoe cup

Francois Bourassa's 1686, voyage to Hudson Bay for the Compagnie du Nord

Philippe Foubert voyageur for the Compagnie des Habitants, 1649
More Fascinating Ancestors from the Fur Trade Era of New France

Our La Prairie Voyageurs with Explorer Nicolas Perrot

Jean Baptiste Moreau and the Compagnie de la Colonie du Canada

Paschal Pinsonneau - Fur-trader, and interpreter with the Kickapoo Indian Nation

Pascal Pinsonneau, Canadian Convict Sent to Australia

Hendrick Christiansen, Great-Grandfather of LaPrairie Voyageurs?

Re-examining the History of La Prairie-de-la-Madeleine.

Jacques Deniau dit Destaillis accused of illegally selling brandy to savages

There are more earlier, or at least different posts, here:

A Canoe Load of French-Canadian Ancestors

Happy paddling

Canada Voyageurs Dollar - Tree Of Life Pendant

Jerry's Fur Trade Ancestors:

I've discovered more than 35 great-grandfathers (10th - 4th) who had a hand in the fur trade.  In total more than 100 relatives were either coureurs de bois or voyageurs during the 17th and 18th centuries.

10th great-grandfathers

Philippe Foubert (1616-1661) (10th great-grandfather)

9th great-grandfathers

Philippe Amiot (Amyot) dit Villeneuve (1602-1639) (9th great-grandfather)
Charles Boyer (1631-1698) (9th great-grandfather)
Jean Cusson (1630-1718) (9th great-grandfather)
Gabriel Lemieux (1626-1700) (9th great-grandfather)
Jean Mignault dit Chatillon (1622-1680) (9th great-grandfather)
Pierre Peras (Perras) dit La Fontaine (1616-1684) (9th great-grandfather)
Jacques Hugues Picard (1618-1707) (9th great-grandfather)
Andre Robidou dit Lespagnol (1643-1678) (9th great-grandfather)

8th great-grandfathers

Mathieu Amiot (Amyot) Sieur de Villeneuve (1628-1688) (8th great-grandfather)
Antoine Jacques Boyer (1671-1747) (8th great-grandfather)
Jean Baptiste Desroches (1621-1684) (8th great-grandfather)
Charles Diel dit Le Petit Breton (1652-1702) (8th great-grandfather)
Denis Duquet (1605-1675) (8th great-grandfather)
Pierre Gagne (Gagnier) (1645-1726) (8th great-grandfather)
Francois Leber (Lebert) (1626-1694) (8th great-grandfather)
Gabriel Lemieux (1663-1739) (8th great-grandfather)
Pierre Poupart (1653-1699) (8th great-grandfather)
Jean Baptiste Moreau (1657-1727) (8th great-grandfather)
Maurice Rivet (1642-1712) (8th great-grandfather)

7th great-grandfathers

Guillaume Barrette dit Courville (1678-745) (7th great-grandfather)
Francois Bourassa (1659-1708) (7th great-grandfather)
Jacques Deneau (Deniau) dit Destaillis (1660-1720) (7th great-grandfather)
Charles Diel (1688-1734) (7th great-grandfather)
Moïse Dupuis (Depuis) (1673-1750) (7th great-grandfather)
Jean Duquet dit Desrochers (1651-1710) (7th great-grandfather)
Joseph Poupart (1696-1726) (7th great-grandfather)
Guillaume Barrette dit Courville (1678-745) (7th great-grandfather)

6th great-grandfathers

Louis Courville Barrette (Baret) (1717-1753) (6th great-grandfather)
Francois Moise Dupuis (1709-1764) (6th great-grandfather)
Etienne Duquet dit Desrochers (1694-1762) (6th great-grandfather)
Jacques Pinsonneau dit Lafleur (1682-1773) (6th great-grandfather)

5th great-grandfathers

Pierre Barette dit Courville (1748-1794) (5th great-grandfather)
Jean-Baptiste Mignier (Meunier) Lagasse (Lagace) (1749-1828) (5th great-grandfather)
Joseph Pinsonneau (Pinsono) (1733-1779) (5th great-grandfather)

4th great-grandfathers

Jean-Baptiste Meunier (Mignier, Minier) Lagasse (Lagace) (1776-1835) (4th great-grandfather)
Gabriel Pinsonneau (1770-1807) (4th great-grandfather)

Homage to voyageur ancestors - MacKenzie River Dollar Pendant

If you found some ancestors please let me know on La Prairie Voyageurs Facebook

Monday, July 24, 2017

Jean Baptiste Moreau and the Compagnie de la Colonie du Canada

Of the many companies that held fur monopolies, only two were controlled by New France (The Canadians).  They were The Communauté des Habitants and The Compagnie de la Colonie.

The Communauté des Habitants only existed for about 15 years in the mid-17th century (1645-1663).  You may recall Philippe Foubert (1616-1661) our 10th great-grandfather appears to have been a voyageur for the Compagnie des Habitants in 1649. SEE:

The Compagnie de la Colonie lasted an even shorter period of time (1700-1706). 

In 1699, faced with a prolonged slump in the beaver trade caused by over-production, the colony's merchants had two options: to lower the price of the pelts they sold to the farmer-generals (financiers who collected in a certain district) of the Domaine d'Occident, at that time holders of the monopoly for the buying of furs and their sale in Europe; or to take over the monopoly themselves. 

They chose the second solution, set up the Compagnie de la Colonie, and sent two delegates to France to negotiate transfer of the monopoly. An agreement between the two parties was signed on June 9, 1700, and ratified by representatives of Canada's elite on behalf of the whole colony, in October, at the Château Saint-Louis in Québec. 

Weighed down by debt, and unable to deal with the decline in the fur trade, the Compagnie de la Colonie was liquidated in 1706 and the monopoly was handed over to French merchants.  Source:

1704 and 1705 engagements from the Archives of Quebec

Jean Baptiste Moreau (1657-1727) our 8th great-grandfather was engaged by the Compagnie de la Colonie in 1704 and again 1705, to go fort le pont Chartrain (aka Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit or Fort Detroit).

View of Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Explorer Nicolas Perrot and our La Prairie Voyageurs

Nicolas Perrot (1644-1717), far right on this delightful sculpture depicting "The Spirit of the Northwest," (located in Green Bay Wisconsin) was a French fur trader, North American colonial official, and explorer

Perrot immigrated to New France (Canada) as a youth, and his services there under the Jesuits and Sulpicians enabled him to learn Indian languages and native cultures. He entered the fur trade about 1663, working in the Great Lakes region, and in 1668 he was among the first French traders who dealt with the Algonkin tribes around Green Bay. Governor Frontenac sent Perrot in 1670 as interpreter on an expedition that claimed the Upper Mississippi area for France in June 1671. He returned to New France that autumn, married, and settled on an estate at Becancour. For the next 12 years, he evidently worked his lands but also engaged in some fur trading, as he was awarded a license for that purpose in 1674.

In 1683 Governor Lefebvre de La Barre authorized Perrot to undertake a Great Lakes trading expedition, and the next year, the governor directed him to obtain the support of western tribes in his campaign against the Iroquois. In 1685 Perrot was made commandant of the Green Bay region, and, with his commission, he journeyed to the junction of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers, where he built Ft. St. Nicolas. In 1686 he constructed Ft. St. Antoine on Lake Pepin and initiated trade with the Sioux and other local tribes. The following year, Perrot was ordered to assist another campaign against the Iroquois. He ousted British fur-traders expeditions from the Great Lakes region, and, on May 8, 1689, he officially renewed France’s claim to the Upper Mississippi.

Perrot continued to work among the western tribes until 1696, when all trading licenses were revoked. He then returned to Lower Canada. Perrot subsequently worked as an interpreter and served in the militia, although he devoted his final years to writing his memoirs, published in 1864.

Source above: Encyclopædia Britannica -

Between 1667 and 1690, three of our La Prairie Voyageur Ancestors traveled with Perrot, and became some of the first European men to travel in the Upper Mississippi Valley, in what is now Wisconsin and Minnesota.

1667 Société Desroches, Beaudry, Nafrechoux & Perrot Notary Record

1667, August 12, Nicolas Perrot formed a trading company (Société) with Toussaint Baudry, Jean Baptiste Desroches (1621-1684) our 8th great-grandfather. and Isaac Nafrechoux.  Together they traveled west to Ottawa. Traveling still further west, Perrot and his partners became the first French traders to deal with the Algonquian tribes near Green Bay in 1668. Working to break the trade monopoly the Ottawas had over the western tribes, Perrot opened direct trade relations with the Potawatomi and established himself as an Indian diplomat by settling a dispute between the Potawatomi and the Menominee.

"The Pageant of the Sault, France claims the Great Lakes" 

St-Lusson explaining to the natives that they are now subjects of King Louis XIV of France

1670, September 3, Intendant of New France Jean Talon asked explorer-trader Nicolas Perrot to accompany, as an interpreter, Daumont de Saint-Lusson.  Saint-Lusson was Talon's commissioner delegate "to the land of the savages Outaouas, Nose-pierced , Illinois, and other nations discovered in North America on the side of Lake Superior.  He was also to search and discover mines of all kinds, especially of copper, to take possession in the name of the King of the whole inhabited and uninhabited country.

Perrot then formed a new commercial company, this time with Pierre Poupart (1653-1699) our 8th great-grandfather, Jean Dupuis, Denis Masse, Jean Guytard and Jacques Benoît, and set off with Saint-Lusson. They made a brief stop in Montreal, and in October they went on to Lake Huron via the Outaouais River, Lake Nipissing and the French River. They spent the winter at Manitoulin Island, and in the following spring Perrot dispatched Indian emissaries to the northern nations with the mission of inviting them to Sault Ste. Marie in order to hear the King's word that Saint-Lusson bore them and all the nations. Perrot had gone ahead to the nations of Bay des Puants, to invite them to this important meeting. 

On 4 June 1671 Saint-Lusson called together all the Indian nations that could be reached; there were 14 of them.  In the presence of this important gathering of nations and a few prominent Frenchmen a ceremony took place which had important diplomatic consequences. 

The interpreter Perrot, in the name of the king of France, began to read in the Indian language from the document that confirmed the appropriation by France of this immense territory, discovered and yet to be discovered, which stretched from the seas of the north and west to that of the south. 

Then they erected a cross, “to bring forth there the fruits of Christianity,” and immediately beside it a cedar post bearing the arms of France. As the crowd, made up of both French and Indians, uttered repeated cheers of “Long live the king,” a “sod of earth” was lifted in the air three times, in a symbolic gesture. Henceforth this part of a continent belonged to the king of France, and these 14 nations were dependent on His Majesty and subject to his laws and customs.  In return they could count on his protection. 

The French intoned the Vexilla Regis, to the great wonderment of the Indians. Then Father Allouez delivered a harangue to the Indians in which he extolled the power of Louis XIV, “the Captain of the greatest Captains.” 

Daumont de Saint-Lusson then spoke, and expressed himself “in martial and eloquent language.” In the evening a splendid bonfire was lighted, presents were exchanged, and a Te Deum was sung to thank God, in the Indians’ name, for having made of them “the subjects of so great and powerful a Monarch.”

Some Hurons and Ottawas, who arrived late for the ceremony, likewise swore allegiance to Louis XIV. Saint-Lusson’s official journey, which cost the king of France nothing and which added a segment – somewhat symbolically it is true – to his empire, in fact marks the beginning of the planned explorations that were to lead to James Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Rocky Mountains.

1690, Nicolas Perrot establishes a lead mine and trading post on the Mississippi River

1690 May 11, Nicolas Perrot engages Jean Cusson for a voyage to the 8ta8ois

From the notary record of Antoine Adhémar (Montreal) we know Jean Cusson (1630-1718) our 9th great-grandfather was a voyageur engaged by Perrot 1690, May 11, for a voyage to the 8ta8ois (Ottawa Indians).  Source: 17th Century Engagé Contracts to the Great Lakes and Beyond – 20 May 1682 to 15 May 1690 – Part 1, Diane Wolford Sheppard. 

In 1690, some Miami Indians, then living upon the Mississippi, brought Perrot a specimen of lead ore from a "ruisseau" (probably Catfish creek, Dubuque), and requested him to come and establish a trading-post among them, which he shortly proceeded to do. Hence the region became known as "Perrot's Mines." 

Thomas Jeffreys, in "The Natural and Civil History of the French Dominions in North and South America," London, 1760, p. 135, says, "Ten leagues below the Wisconsin are the lead mines, formerly discovered by the Sieur Perrot, 'and still bearing his name." The site of that trading-post is undetermined.

A commanding point at the mouth of Tete des Morts creek, ten miles below Catfish creek, has been suggested for it. "The fact that the village of the grand chief of the Miamis was but four leagues below, was a good reason for locating the trading-post at this place, where it would be convenient for him and his people to barter their furs." (L. C. Draper. Wisc. His. Coll. x. 332). Source: State Historical Society of Iowa, "Nicolas Perrot, the First Commercial Traveler on the Upper Mississippi" by Rev. Dr. William Salter. 

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Monday, July 3, 2017

More Fascinating Ancestors from the Fur Trade Era of New France

Pierre Leber's portrait of Marguerite Bourgeoys, c. 1700

In CHAPTER TWO, Our Earliest Fur Trade Ancestors and How they Fit Together, I introduced readers to the Leber brothers: Francois Leber (Lebert) (1626-1694) voyageur (my 8th great-grandfather) and his brother Jacques Leber (Lebert) dit Larose (1633-1706)(my 9th great-uncle) Montreal trading post partner of Charles Le Moyne. Francois and Jacques were the sons of Robert LeBer (1601-1625) and Colette Cavelier (1605-1694).

Two fascinating ancestors in the history of New France are children of Jacques Leber (Lebert) dit Larose:

French colonial period artist Pierre Leber 

Pierre Leber (Le Ber) was for a long time considered as a well-meaning but untalented amateur; he suddenly became famous, however, as the result of the discovery in 1965 of the original of the portrait of Marguerite Bourgeoys, hailed as one of the masterpieces of Canadian art. 

There is, of course, no comparison between this canvas – completely repainted on two occasions – and the formal portrait as the great century conceived it, but its accent of truth and the economy of the means employed could not fail to appeal to modern taste. According to eye-witnesses, Le Ber was apparently seized by a sudden inspiration and executed his work with extraordinary facility. Be that as it may, he rendered with unusual force the human qualities that the early Montrealers saw in Sister Bourgeoys. It is in truth a great work, worthy of the subject that inspired it, and certainly a good likeness.

Was it merely a stroke of luck? There is in any case no doubt that Le Ber, who was probably trained at Quebec, devoted the major part of his time to artistic work. Proof of this is to be seen in the substantial amount of painter’s equipment and the abundance of artist’s supplies enumerated in the inventory of his possessions made after his death. 

Moreover, his will informs us that he concerned himself with ornamentalist architecture. It refers to the chapel of St Anne – a stone building which he had had constructed at Pointe-Saint-Charles to match the one at Bonsecours – and mentions a tabernacle for which he had furnished the design to a carver from Ange-Gardien, no doubt Charles Vézina.

Painting St. Charles Borromée, patron of Pointe-Saint-Charles, 
attributed to Pierre LeBer, early 18th century

In “Ma Saberdache,” Jacques Viger transcribes a text by Abbé Sattin which relates that during the building of the Hôpital Général Le Ber “himself worked at the interior decoration by contributing a large number of pictures painted by his own hand,” and adds “that only one of them remains [in 1843], that it is a daub, and that the others have wisely been burned.” Despite this statement, it is doubtful that the Sisters of Charity resorted to such an auto-da-fé

The question is obscure. When in 1719 Brother Chrétien [Turc] succeeded Charon at the head of the Hospitallers, he had an inventory of the establishment drawn up; no painting is listed in it, except a “picture representing a crucifix,” which was apparently a framed print. On the other hand, when Mother Youville [Dufrost] took possession of the hospice in 1747, the inventory mentioned the presence of 27 pictures in the sacristy and the church. If one can go by the titles, only two of these would seem still to exist in the mother house of the Sisters of Charity: a “St Catherine” and a “Jésus au jardin des oliviers.” According to accounts of the time, it seems that the others were lost in the fire of 1765, and that they were not deliberately destroyed. 

Finally, to Le Ber are attributed various works which are to be found at the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, particularly an “Enfant Jésus” painted for Sister Barbier.

Jeanne Leber, Famous Recluse of Montreal

Jeanne Le Ber, famed recluse; b. 4 Jan., 1662 at Montreal, daughter of Jacques Le Ber and Jeanne Le Moyne; d. 3 Oct. 1714 at Montreal.

Jeanne Le Ber was baptized the day she was born by Abbé Gabriel Souart, Maisonneuve [Chomedey] being her godfather and Jeanne Mance her godmother. At an early age she was interested in a religious vocation and frequently visited Jeanne Mance and the Hospitallers. To complete her formal education she spent three years, 1674 to 1677, as a boarder with the Ursulines in Quebec where her aunt, Marie Le Ber de l’Annonciation, taught. The Ursulines were impressed by her many acts of self-denial and were disappointed when, at the age of 15, she returned to her family in Montreal. She was a pensive, withdrawn, and introverted young lady, who daily spent much time in prayer and in adoration of the Sacrament. A friendship with Marguerite Bourgeoys was greatly to influence her future.

Jeanne Le Ber seemed to savour the social status of her family, however, and always enjoyed prominence and praise for her virtues and talents. As the only daughter (she had three younger brothers) of Jacques Le Ber, with a dowry of approximately 50,000 écus, she was rightly considered the most eligible girl in New France.

The death of one of the sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame in 1679 profoundly affected her; she sought the guidance of Abbé Seguenot, Sulpician parish priest at Point-aux-Trembles (Montreal) who was to remain her confessor, and decided to live a secluded life for a five-year period. With her parents’ permission she retired to a cell at the rear of the church of the Hôtel-Dieu, which served as parish church at that time. Her practices of self-mortification increased: she wore an undergarment of haircloth and corn-husk shoes, she refused to communicate with her family or friends, and she reportedly practised self-flagellation. She left her seclusion only to attend daily mass.

Jeanne Le Ber remained undecided about entering a regular order and taking permanent vows; nevertheless, her determination to shun the attractive life her family offered became evident. In November 1682 she refused to leave her cell to attend her dying mother and later refused to assume the management of the household for her widowed father.

Instead, on 24 June 1685 she took a simple vow of perpetual seclusion, chastity, and poverty. Her spiritual directors, the Abbés Dollier de Casson and Seguenot, encouraged her to continue her pious observances. Her poverty and seclusion, however, were somewhat tempered by the fact that, befitting her social rank, she retained throughout her years of withdrawal from the world an attendant, her cousin Anna Barroy, who saw to her physical requirements and accompanied her to mass. Pleading frailty, she did not abstain from meat as did strict observers in the 17th century. When her brother Jean-Vincent was killed by the Iroquois in 1691, her vows did not prevent her viewing his body and assisting with funeral arrangements. At the same time she attended to a number of business matters, for she had not felt obliged by her vows to divest herself of her property. She ceded the farm at Pointe Saint-Charles to the Hôpital Général of the Charon brothers. 

Her self-imposed rule of silence was subject to amendment by her spiritual director, and she does not seem to have been refused permission to receive visitors whenever she desired. In 1693, for example, she had a long conversation with M. de La Colombière who wished to re-enter Saint-Sulpice.

When she heard that the sisters of the Congrégation planned to build a church on their property she gave them generous financial assistance on condition that they reserve for her a three-room apartment directly behind the altar, so that she could view the blessed sacrament without leaving her quarters. The apartment was built to her specifications, one room at each of three levels: the lower storey, a vestry for confessions and communion, with a door to the sisters’ garden; the second storey, a simple bedchamber; the upper level, a workroom. Dollier de Casson witnessed the agreement drawn up by the notary Basset, whereby the sisters of the Congrégation promised to supply food, clothing, and fuel, to offer daily intercessions, and to wait on her whenever her lady-in-waiting was absent. In return Jeanne Le Ber provided the capital funds for building and decorating the church and an annual income of 75 livres.

On 5 Aug. 1695 she took the solemn vows of a recluse at a ceremony attended by scores of curious colonists. She spent much time in making church vestments and altar cloths and in fine embroidery. Six or seven hours a day were devoted to prayer and meditation, communion was received four times a week; and when the sisters of the Congrégation retired for the night Jeanne Le Ber would spend hours prostrate before the altar of the deserted and silent church. According to her confessor she did not find complete consolation in her self-abnegation and her religious exercises were always burdensome to her.

She introduced the practice of the perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and made a gift of 300 livres to the sisters of the Congrégation for its observance. Another 8,000 livres provided for perpetual masses. She also presented them with the tabernacle, ciborium, chalice, ostensorium, and a silver lamp for the chapel.

Throughout the colony she enjoyed a great fame and continued to receive distinguished visitors from time to time. In 1698, Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix], returning from France, accompanied two English gentlemen, one of them a Protestant minister, on a visit to her. Her father visited her twice a year. His request to be buried in the church of the sisters of the Congrégation to be near his daughter was granted, but Jeanne, to the disappointment of the curious, did not attend his funeral.
When a final illness overtook her in September 1714 she divested herself of her remaining possessions. The sisters of the Congrégation received 18,000 livres, the revenue of which maintained seven boarders, and all her furniture. She died on 3 October and was buried next to her father.

In 2015, from: -- Sainthood cause opened for (Jeanne Leber) Montreal laywoman, Calling her a star in a “constellation of holiness,” Montreal Archbishop Christian Lépine has opened the cause for sainthood of a 17th-century Montreal laywoman.

More about their father, Jacques Leber (Lebert) dit Larose

LeBer-LeMoyne Fur Trading Post in Montreal

Jacques Leber (Lebert) dit Larose (1633–1706)
BIRTH 1633 • Normandie, Eure, Haute-Normandie, France
DEATH 25 NOV 1706 • Montréal, Quebec, Canada
Our 9th great-uncle
married to: Jeanne Le Moyne (1635–1682)
BIRTH ABOUT 1635 • France
DEATH NOV 1682 • Ville Marie, Nouvelle France, Canada
wife of our 9th great-uncle and the sister of Charles Le Moyne Sieur de Longueuil his business partner.

Jacques Leber (Lebert)(Le Ber) dit Larose, merchant, seigneur, ennobled in 1696; b. c. 1633 in the parish of Pistre, diocese of Rouen, son of Robert Le Ber and Colette Cavelier, who may have been related to Cavelier de La Salle; d. 25 Nov. 1706 in Montreal.

Le Ber came to Canada in 1657 and took up residence in Montreal. A brother, François, also settled there around the same time, and a sister, Marie, became an Ursuline nun in Quebec. The Iroquois were then intensifying their war against the colony and Jacques, living in the area most exposed to their incursions, risked his life on many expeditions against these Indians. In 1663, he and François were members of the militia of the Holy Family which Chomedey de Maisonneuve had organized for the defence of the island.

Le Ber, however, was not primarily a soldier but a businessman. On 7 Jan. 1658, he had wed Jeanne Le Moyne, sister of Charles Le Moyne de Longueuil et de Châteauguay, and shortly afterwards he went into business with his brother-in-law. By 1664, the two partners owned stores in Montreal and Quebec and their affairs were in a flourishing state. Le Ber’s activities, however, were not limited to the fur trade and the sale of merchandise. He was keenly interested in Canada’s other economic resources and was one of the principal pioneers of their development. He engaged in the cod fisheries, in trade with the West Indies, was one of the first men to send staves and sheathing to France, and experimented with the transplanting of European fruit trees.

By the 1670s Le Ber was one of the key figures in the closely knit group of wealthy and ambitious businessmen which had emerged in Canada. Among his associates was Charles Bazire, the partner of Charles Aubert de La Chesnaye, with whom he engaged in various commercial ventures. 

In 1674, Governor Louis de Buade de Frontenac leased to the two men the post he had founded at Cataracoui, which was strategically located for trade with the Iroquois and some of the western tribes. The following year, however, the governor arranged for the transfer of the lease to Cavelier de La Salle. Le Ber, who had previously acted as a staunch ally of Frontenac, now became one of his chief adversaries. With Le Moyne, La Chesnaye, and Philippe Gaultier de Comporté, who also felt slighted by Frontenac’s policy, he appears to have organized a rival fur-trading network. In 1682, this group of powerful merchants gained the favour ofLe Febvre de La Barre. The new governor promptly placed Le Ber and La Chesnaye in possession of Fort Frontenac (Cataracoui, now Kingston, Ont.) and also encouraged the formation of the Compagnie du Nord, in which Le Ber and Le Moyne invested 21,357 livres.

By the 1680s, Le Ber was one of the wealthiest and most respected men in New France. He owned a store in Montreal and each year sent large quantities of fur and bills of exchange to France. In 1693 alone, those drawn on the state and private parties amounted to 79,380 livres. He was also the seigneur of two-thirds of Île Saint-Paul near Montreal, whose value was given as 18,400 livres in an inventory of 1694, and of Senneville, an estate of 200 arpents on Lac des Deux Montagnes. Le Ber himself lived on Rue Saint-Paul in Montreal, in a two-storey house whose grounds were enclosed by a wooden fence. When he entertained at dinner his guests were probably served on silver plates worth 2,140 livres and waited upon by Jacques, a Negro slave. In 1696, Louis XIV placed a number of letters of nobility on sale in order to replenish his depleted finances. Le Ber promptly purchased his for 6,000 livres and proudly added the title esquire to his name. In August 1715 a decree of the council of state revoked all letters of nobility sold since 1689, but Le Ber’s descendants obtained letters patent exempting them from this law.

Le Ber’s wealth gave him considerable influence in the affairs of the colony. He was one of the 20 notables summoned by Frontenac in 1678 to give their opinion on the brandy trade with the Indians. The majority view was that no restrictions should be placed on this trade, but Le Ber and four others maintained that it should be forbidden outside the confines of the main settlements. The question was temporarily settled the following year when Louis XIV issued an edict that reflected this minority opinion. In 1684, Le Ber sat on another assembly of notables; along with the others present on this occasion, he opposed replacing the tax of 25 per cent on beaver pelts and of 10 per cent on moosehides by a head tax (capitation) and impositions on foodstuffs and property.
When the Iroquois renewed their war on New France in the early 1680s, Le Ber and his family once more came to the defence of the colony. In 1686, he built a stone mill on the island of Montreal near the Ottawa River to provide the inhabitants of that area with a shelter in case of attack by the Five Nations. In 1693, he joined a war party of 300 Canadians, 100 soldiers, and 230 Indians that attacked the Mohawks in their own territory.

Le Ber died in Montreal on 25 Nov. 1706. According to the report of Jacques Raudot on the financial status of the principal shareholders of the Compagnie de la Colonie, he was then a wealthy man. Le Ber’s wife had died on 8 Nov. 1682, and two sons had also predeceased him: Louis, Sieur de Saint-Paul, who died in the early 1690s in La Rochelle where he had acted as his father’s business agent, and Jean-Vincent, Sieur Du Chesne, fatally wounded during an encounter with an English and Iroquois war party near Fort Chambly in 1691. Three children survived their father: Jeanne, the famous recluse, Pierre, and Jacques, Sieur de Senneville. While serving in France as aide-de-camp in the 1690s, Senneville dissipated his share of 40,000 livres from his father’s estate. Following his return to Canada, he was made a captain in the colonial regular troops and soon became a successful fur-trader and merchant. When he died in 1735, he and Toussaint Pothier, with whom he had formed a partnership in 1731, had 64,000 livres in cash in their Montreal store.

About Charles Le Moyne de Longueuil

Charles Le Moyne, Monument at Place d'Armes, Montréal

Charles Le Moyne Sieur de Longueuil (1626–1685)
BIRTH 2 AUG 1626 • Dieppe, Haute-Normandie, France
DEATH 1685 • Montréal, Quebec, Canada
brother-in-law of our 9th great-uncle

Charles Le Moyne de Longueuil et de Châteauguay, soldier, interpreter, trader, seigneur, son of Pierre Le Moyne, innkeeper, and of Judith Du Chesne; b. 2 Aug. 1626 at Dieppe (Normandy); d. February 1685 at Montreal.

The fact that his maternal uncle, the surgeon Adrien Du Chesne, was in the colony, encouraged Charles Le Moyne to come to New France. He was 15 years old when he arrived in 1641. At first he was an indentured employee of the Jesuits in the Huron country, and over a period of four years he familiarized himself with the Indian languages.

In 1645 he was serving in the Trois-Rivières garrison as an interpreter, a clerk, and a soldier. The following year he settled at Ville-Marie (Montreal), where he was to remain throughout his whole career. His life there took the form of continual skirmishes with the Indians, who plagued the fort unceasingly with their attacks. In 1646, and again in 1648, he took a number of Iroquois prisoners. In the spring of 1651, with the pioneer Jacques Archambault, he barely escaped a massacre in which several settlers perished; there was only one other survivor, Jean Chicot, and he had been scalped. On 18 June of the same year he repelled another attack, and for his bravery he was named storekeeper of the fort.

In another ambush, in 1655, he and Lambert Closse took half a dozen Indians prisoner, among them a chief. During a trip he made to Quebec in 1657 he instituted an exchange of French and Iroquois prisoners. He very nearly set out with Dollard Des Ormeaux on the 1660 expedition; he did not go, however, because he wanted it to be postponed until after seed-time.

During an attack by 160 Indians in February 1661, only Le Moyne had a weapon with which to defend himself. Just as he was about to be captured he was saved by Mme Celles Duclos, who brought him an armful of weapons. In the summer of 1665 he was taken prisoner by an Iroquois party, but set free thanks to Garakontié, a friend of the French and a chief of the Onondagas.
In January 1666 Le Moyne was in command of the settlers of Ville-Marie who served as the advance guard for Governor Rémy de Courcelle’s fruitless expedition to the Iroquois country. In the autumn he was to be found at the head of the Montreal settlers in the campaign against the Mohawks, which was personally conducted by the lieutenant general, Prouville de Tracy. On his return he escorted the army chaplain to Fort Sainte-Anne on Lake Champlain. In addition, in the summer of 1671, he took part, as an interpreter, in a new expedition to Lake Ontario organized by Courcelle. In 1673 he resumed his role as an interpreter for the chiefs of the Iroquois tribes, when Governor Buade de Frontenac went to Lake Ontario to lay the foundations for the settlement of Cataracoui.

In the autumn of 1682 he took part in the assembly of the notables of the country, called by Governor Le Febvre de La Barre to decide whether New France should take the Offensive against the Iroquois territory. In the spring of 1683, he was again delegated by La Barre, this time to go with four Indian chiefs from Laprairie, near Montreal, to the south shore of Lake Ontario; they were to take gifts to the Five Nations, who were once more defying the authorities of New France and neglecting to send their deputies, according to agreement, to negotiate the terms of the fur trade and of the alliances.

In the year of his marriage (1654), Charles Le Moyne had received from Chomedey de Maisonneuve a gift of money and a grant of 90 acres of land, since called Pointe-Saint-Charles, and a site in Saint-Paul Street, where for 30 years he had his home and his headquarters.
The Lauson family, in 1657, granted him a fief of 5,000 acres, in accordance with the uses and customs of Le Vexin in France; this was on the south shore at Montreal, cut directly out of the huge seigneury of La Citière. To this fief was added in 1665 grants of land on the Île Sainte-Hélène and the Île Ronde. In 1669 he had an establishment at the Saint-Louis rapids. 

In 1672 Governor Frontenac and Intendant Jean Talon confirmed him in his title to the seigneury of Longueuil by augmenting it with the unallotted lands between Varennes and Laprairie, and by extending it to one and a half leagues in depth. The following year, “because of the zeal that he has always shown in the service of the king,” Frontenac granted him a seigneury at Châteauguay two leagues across by three in depth, and the Île Saint-Bernard, now called the Île Châteauguay, at the mouth of the Rivière du Loup. In 1676 the intendant Duchesneau, in compliance with his request, still further extended the depth of his seigneury of Longueuil, and Le Moyne collected all his fiefs under the name of Longueuil.

With his brother-in-law and business associate Jacques Leber (Le Ber) he acquired in 1679 the Boisbriant fief, which subsequent documents situate “at the upper end of the Île de Montréal,” which took the name of Senneville, and of which Leber became the sole holder. Under M. de La Barre’s administration he obtained with Leber the right to trade in furs at Fort Cataracoui and to ship supplies there, in compensation for funds advanced to Cavelier de La Salle, a bad debtor.

In 1682 he had been one of the shareholders of the Compagnie du Nord, whose agents, Radisson and Chouart Des Groseilliers, went over to the English in the Hudson’s Bay Company.
He made application, in 1684, for the purchase of the fief of the Île Perrot, which had belonged to François-Marie Perrot, the governor of Montreal.

In addition to his residence in Saint-Paul Street – the finest at Ville-Marie – Le Moyne, from 1674, owned a house and buildings on his fief of Longueuil. In 1675 he had there some 20 copyholders (censitaires). In 1684, in favour of his eldest son Charles, he relinquished his Longueuil fief, which was to be elevated to a barony in 1700.

With Pierre Gadoys, Le Moyne was elected a warden of the parish church of Ville-Marie in 1660, and when the royal government was set up at Montreal in 1663 he was given the office of attorney-general, which he filled for a year of two.

In 1668 Le Moyne received letters patent of nobility. These letters, which were not registered within the prescribed time-limit and which were therefore theoretically cancelled, were nevertheless recognized by the authorities of the colony and by the king himself. Nobody, moreover, seems to have challenged the right of Le Moyne or of his descendants to their titles between 1668 and 1717, at which time the situation was regularized by the registration of the letters patent in the Parlement of Paris and the Cour des Aides.

Governor Le Febvre de La Barre, asserting that Le Moyne had done more than any other person in the war against the Iroquois, recommended him in 1683 for the post of governor of Montreal.
Shortly afterwards, Le Moyne was to perform his final service for his country. It was he who in the summer of 1684, with the help of Father Jean deLamberville, saved from disaster La Barre’s unfortunate expedition against the Iroquois, by inducing the latter to negotiate for peace at Anse de la Famine (Famine Cove).

Worn out before his time, Charles Le Moyne was not yet 60 when he dictated his last will and testament on 30 Jan. 1685. He passed away a few days later and was buried in the crypt of the church of Notre-Dame at Montreal.

At Ville-Marie, in 1654, he had married Catherine Thierry (1640–90), the adopted daughter of Antoine Primot and of Martine Messier. His wife survived him by only five years. He had by her two daughters and 12 sons, almost all of them famous: of the latter several died in battle of their wounds; others were commandants of different localities; and one, Pierre Le Moyne* d’Iberville, was the most renowned soldier of New France.

The inventory of Charles Le Moyne’s possessions, which was drawn up shortly after his death by the notary Bénigne Basset, enumerated, in addition to the titles of landed property quoted earlier, personal possessions to the value of more than 125,000 livres; this makes Le Moyne the richest Montreal citizen of his day.

Also see: Chapter Three - La Prairie's Leber Family

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