Friday, March 3, 2017

Ripples: Chapter Three - Meunier, Migner dit Lagacé Family

Migner dit Lagacé Family

also Mignier, Meunier, Meignier and Lagasse 

André Mignier (Migner) (Meignier) dit Lagacé (1641-1727) (8th great-grandfather)
son of Michel Mignier Lagace (1602-1678) and Catherine Masson (1620-1669)
Birth 11 APR 1641 • St Martin, Puy-de-Dome, Auvergne, France
Death 20 NOVEMBER 1727 • Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière, Quebec, Canada
Marriage 1668 to Jacquette Michel (1630-1710) (a King's Daughter - filles du roi)
• a French Sharpshooter in the Berthier Company of the Carignan-Salières Regiment, arrived on the ship Le Brézé 30 June 1665.

André Mignier dit Lagace (8th great grandfather) was a French Sharpshooter

André was a French soldier assigned to the Carignan-Salières Regiment that had been sent to Quebec in 1665 by King Louis XIV to protect the French settlers from marauding Iroquois Indians, who were raiding and slaughtering the early colonists.

The Carignan regiment was originally formed as a private army in 1644 by Thomas Francois de Savoie, Prince de Carignan. It was an army made up of hand-picked volunteers. The standards were very high and these men had to be physically strong, with a aggressive fighting spirit. The regiment had just returned from a successful engagement in the 1664 Hungarian campaign against the Turks, when the King agreed to send the soldiers, armed with matchlock and flintlock muskets, to Canada to aid the settlers.

André was 24 years old when he came to Nouvelle-France (Canada) on June 30, 1665. In the army he was called by his nickname, La Gachette, which means "trigger" and is used to describe someone who can shoot with great ability -- a sharpshooter. La Gachette eventually evolved to be Lagacé.

During the winter of 1665-1666, André was stationed in Quebec City. Between 1666-1667, his regiment joined the famous campaign against the Iroquois, manning garrisons and launching attacks. By the end of this period, their task was accomplished and the countryside was peaceful. About 800 of the soldiers returned to France at this time, but 400 -- including André -- stayed with the promise of receiving land.

On October 14, 1668 André received a piece of land located in Charlesbourg, and on October 23, 1668, in Notre Dame Church of Quebec, Father Henri de Bernieres blessed the marriage of Andre' Mignier and Jacquette Michel (1637-1710) a fille du Roi. 

1682, André and his family moved to Riviere-Ouelle, Quebec. 

He died 20 Nov 1727, at Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière, Quebec, Canada 

Jean-Baptiste Mignier (Meunier) Lagasse (Lagace) (1749-1828) (5th great-grandfather)
son of Joseph Mignier (Meunier) Lagasse (Lagace) (1706-1778) and Felicite Caouette (Cahouet) (1709-1783)
Birth ABT 1749 • Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière
Death 15 SEP 1828 • Québec, Quebec, Canada
Marriage 1775 to Marie Judith Gravel Brindeliere (1757-1779)
• 1778, Ezechiel Solomon hired Jean-Baptiste Meunier, voyageur de La Prairie de la Magdeleine to go to Mississippi, and spend the winter, Notary Antoine Foucher.
• 1794, Jean-Baptiste Meunier and his partner, Jacques Rolland, established trading house near a village of the Ponca Indians on the Missouri River.   
• 1800, James & Andrew McGill hired Jean-Baptiste Meunier voyageur de Chambly to go to Mississippi, and spend the winter, notary Louis Chaboillez.

Jean Baptiste Meunier dit Lagacé (5th great-grandfather) Meets the Poncas

Jean-Baptiste Meunier (Mignier or Minier) dit Lagassé (Lagacé) was a brother of two other famous voyageurs: Andre and Charles Mignier dit Lagassé, both of whom used the Lagassé surname.  Both of these brothers traveled with the famous explorer, map maker David Thompson.

About the Meunier dit Lagacé surname

This family descends from Andre Migner (Meignier, Meunier, Minier) dit Lagacé (Lagassé) a French soldier assigned to the Carignan-Salières Regiment that had been sent to Quebec in 1665 by King Louis XIV to protect the French settlers from marauding Iroquois Indians.  In the army he was called by his nickname or noms de guerre, "La Gachette", which means "trigger" and is used to describe someone who can shoot with great ability -- a sharpshooter.  La Gachette eventually evolved to be Lagacé. 

This family is difficult to track because of the many different spellings of both the surname "Meunier" and the dit name (called, said, or also known as) "Lagacé."

For whatever reason it appears the Lagassé name was dropped by Jean-Baptiste Meunier and some of his descendants.  However, a great-grandson, George Pinsonneau, identified his mother Marie Emélie Meunier (1808-1883) as a Lagassé many years later.

Jean-Baptiste Meunier -- Trading with the Poncas

Missouria, Otoe and Ponca Indians by Karl Bodmer

Jean-Baptiste Meunier became a voyageur and traveled to the Missouri River and other Tributaries of the Mississippi.  About 1794, Jean-Baptiste Meunier and his partner, Jacques Rolland, established trading house near a village of the Ponca Indians on the Missouri River.   
• 1778, Feb 20, Ezechiel Solomon hired Jean-Baptiste Meunier, voyageur de La Prairie de la Magdeleine to go to Mississippi, and spend the winter, Notary Antoine Foucher) From the Archives of Quebec, M620/0097

Ponca Village on the Missouri River by Karl Bodmer

From: Jean-Baptiste Trudeau on the upper Missouri (1794-1796), his journal

[Translation: Two years later, Jean Meunier reached the Poncas village at the mouth of the Niobrara and may be made by grant Carondelet , governor of Louisiana , the exclusivity of trade with this nation for a four-year period starting in 1794.]

[Translation: Jean-Baptiste Meunier, from Vercheres , settled in St. Louis before 1789 , the year he would have been the first white man to discover the Poncas located 400 miles upstream from Missouri. In 1794 is exclusive holder of license deals with this nation. Trudeau to meet again (see sheets 53, 55, 71 and 76 of the manuscript ) . Meunier was more engaged . In some names are spelled Menier , Monier or Munier.]

From: French-Canadian Trappers of the American Plains and Rockies.

There were the settlers of French-Canadian origin operating in the Illinois country. They plied the Missouri River and other tributaries of the Mississippi deeper into the South, seeking additional fur-trading opportunities.  

It must also not be forgotten that there were a large number of subordinates, regular employees, from both small and large companies, as well as the self-employed, all of whom worked to assure the day-to-day operation of the fur-trading industry. 

In the last decade of the 18th century, Jacques d'Eglise, Pierre Dorion, Pierre-Antoine Tabeau, Joseph Gravelines, Jean-Baptistes Meunier, Joseph Ladéroute, and Pierre Berger were all involved in operations along the Missouri, as were literally hundreds of others during the decades that would follow. 

These are characters who have all long disappeared without a trace, except for their names written in various ledgers-the only written record left in a world where illiteracy reigned supreme.

From: Archaeology at French colonial Cahokia, by Bonnie L. Gums 

1794 to 1809 - Jean Baptiste Meunier (Munier); a records search in the Illinois State Archives and the St. Clair County Archives failed to locate any notice of sale by Meunier after 1809. 

From:  Prologue to Lewis and Clark: The Mackay and Evans Expedition, by W. Raymond Wood
Eight years later, in 1793, the trader Jean Baptiste Meunier (or Monier) claimed that he was the first European to visit and "discover" the Ponca.  He and his partner, Jacques Rolland, nevertheless dealt with them from a trading house they established near the Ponca village.  

From: Before Lewis and Clark: Documents Illustrating the History of the Missouri, 1785-1804, edited by Abraham Phineas Nasatir

 A letter from Meunier And Rolland to Carondelet, St. Louis, 1794.

Voyageurs running rapids, by Arthur Heming

It appears his son Jean Baptiste Meunier also became a voyageur. See Jean-Baptiste Meunier (Mignier, Minier) Lagasse (Lagace) (1776-1835) (4th great-grandfather)

Charles Mignier dit Lagace (Lagasse) (1744-1819) (6th great-uncle)
son of Joseph Mignier (Meunier) Lagasse (Lagace) (1706-1778) and Felicite Caouette (Cahouet) 
Birth 28 NOV 1744 • Ignace, Quebec, Canada
Death Unknown
Marriage 1771 to Marie Madeleine Aubé dit Aubert (1747-_)(1709-1783)
• 1792, Mar 28, McTavish, Frobisher & Co. (NWC) hired Charles Lagace to go to the North through Grand Portage, function Gouvernail or rudder man, notary Louis Chaboillez.
• 1800, Charles Lagace (Lagasse) was with David Thompson on the Upper Saskatchewan River.

Charles Lagasse, Nor'Wester, on the Columbia Plateau with David Thompson

Canadian Rockies, by Albert Bierstadt

Charles Lagasse, or Lagace (my 6th great-uncle)  joined the North West Company (NWC), under the leadership of McTavish and Frobisher, sometime before 1792, but we know for sure he was engaged by them on March 28, 1792.

Charles Lagasse went on to become a long time NWC employee who spent much of his time in the Columbia River plateau area with David Thompson.  

Bow River Falls, by Albert Bierstadt

From: New light on the early history of the greater Northwest: the manuscript journals of Alexander Henry, fur trader of the Northwest Company and of David Thompson, official geographer of the same company 1799-1814, AND from Lives Lived West of the Divide: A Biographical Dictionary of Fur Traders. Working West of the Rockies, 1793-1858, by Bruce McIntyre Watson, we learn:

As early as April, 1800 Charles Lagasse was with David Thompson on the Upper Saskatchewan River.

From October 5th through the 23rd 1800, Charles Lagasse went with David Thompson to the Kootenay Indians.  Thompson set Charles up with trade goods, so he could winter with the Kooteneys during the winter of 1800-1801.  

In the spring of 1801, Charles Lagasse returned to Rocky Mountain House to meet with Thompson.

From Parkways of the Canadian Rockies: A Touring Guide to Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, and Yoho National Parks, we learn that the first white men to go up the Saskatchewan River and over Howse Pass were two North West Company voyageurs named Le Blanc and La Gassi (Lagasse), who were sent by David Thompson to winter on the west side of the Rockies with the Kootenay Indians in 1800.

On November 7, 1808, Charles Lagasse went with David Thompson on a journey from Boggy Hall to Kootenay House.    

Between 1808 and 1810, Charles Lagasse was with David Thompson in the Rocky Mountains.

In the spring of 1810, in the Saleesh area, David Thompson paid Charles Lagasse for the hire of three horses, but on May 17th 1810, David Thompson attempted to force him to duty for which Charles Lagasse said he was not fit, so Thompson listed him as a deserter.
On June 22nd 1811, Charles Lagasse reappears with David Thompson at Ilthkoyape Falls (also known as Kettle Falls) on the Columbia.  Thompson named the falls Ilthkoyape Falls and the Indians who fished there Ilthkoyape Indians. These are among the forebears of Indians who are today organized as the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

On August 29th 1811, Charles Lagasse went south on the Columbia River with the David Thompson expedition as they headed up the Columbia after stopping at Astoria. 

In 1812, Charles Lagasse re-engaged on a two year contract in the Columbia (to be free in Montreal in 1814).

In 1813-14, Charles Lagasse wintered at Fort George (Astoria).

On April 4th 1814, Charles Lagasse was noted as being a bowsman on John Clark’s canoe on the brigade to Fort William and Montreal. 

Charles Lagasse returned to the Columbia area and continued his association with the NWC until 1821, when his contract was transferred to the Hudson’s Bay Company during its merger with the North West Company.
In 1821, but he was listed as a ‘freeman’ (meaning his contract had expired). 

Fort George (Astoria)

After 1822, Charles Lagasse does not seem to have been engaged by the HBC.  Had he expired?  His date and place of death remain unknown.

Bruce McIntyre Watson's work suggests that Charles may have married a Flathead Indian woman: "Charles La Gasse appears to have taken as a wife, Emme, Flathead (c.1795-1855).  Two of their children may have been Pierre (c.1815-1882) and Josette/Suzette (c.1812-1896) although oral tradition indicates that “Pierre”, a brother of Charles, was the father of the two children but no such “Pierre” appears in any extant records."

Mount Rainier, by Albert Bierstadt

Additional Sources:
• The Travels of David Thompson 1784-1812, Volume II Foothills and Forests, by Sean T. Peake
• Historic Hikes in Northern Yoho National Park, by Emerson Sanford, Janice Sanford Beck
• The First Explorers of the Columbia and Snake Rivers, by J. Neilson Barry
• The Washington Historical Quarterly, Vol. 11, No. 3, Jul., 1920, David Thompson's Journeys in Idaho (Continued), by T. C. Elliott
Andre Lagasse was an Interpreter for David Thompson
Andre Mignier dit Lagasse (Lagace) (1775-_) (1st cousin 6x removed)
son of Charles Mignier dit Lagace (1744-1819) and Marie Madeleine Aubé dit Aubert (1747-_)
Birth 19 AUG 1775 • La Pocatière, Quebec, Canada
Death Unknown
Marriage 1798 to Marthe Thiboutot (1774-_)
• In 1803, Andre Lagasse signed a 4 year contract to act as a guide and interpreter for the North West Company, and to go to the Red River, Swan River and Lake Winnipeg. Andre Lagasse was an Interpreter for David Thompson.

We know from Journal entries and records kept by explorers Alexander Henry and David Thompson that Andre was part of their adventure among the Indians on the Red, Saskatchewan, Missouri, and Columbia Rivers.

About Alexander Henry

Alexander Henry 'The Younger' (1765 - 22 May 1814), was an early Canadian fur trader, explorer and diarist. From 1799 until his premature death in 1814 he kept an extensive diary which is the most complete record ever printed of the daily life of a fur trader in the north. These journals cover everything that happened to him in a most matter-of-fact manner and have yielded much material for historians and other researchers of that time period in North American history.

In 1792, with his well-known uncle of the same name, Henry became a partner in the North West Company and he was later a wintering partner of the XY Company and the Pacific Fur Company. His diaries record his travels from Lake Superior to the Pacific Ocean. In Canada, he travelled through Ontario, Manitoba, Assiniboia, Keewatin, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. In the United States of America his travels took him through areas that comprise the modern states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. 

He encountered many different tribes of Indians, and in the north saw much of the Chippewas, the three tribes of the Blackfeet, the Crees, Assiniboines, Sioux, Sarcees, and others. In the south, he reached the Mandans, the Minitari, the Rees, and even the Cheyennes, south of the Missouri River. On the west coast he saw many tribes of the Columbia River, such as the Wanapum. In 1808, he travelled with David Thompson from Lake Winnipeg to Fort Vermilion, Alberta.

From Fort George, Henry and Donald McTavish (first cousin of Simon McTavish) were being taken back along the Columbia River by five sailors of the Royal Navy to the warship HMS Isaac Todd when their boat capsized and they drowned.

About David Thompson

David Thompson (30 April 1770 - 10 February 1857) was a British-Canadian fur trader, surveyor, and map-maker, known to some native peoples as "Koo-Koo-Sint" or "the Stargazer." Over Thompson's career, he travelled some 90,000 kilometres (56,000 mi) across North America, mapping 4.9 million square kilometres (1.9 million square miles) of North America along the way. For this historic feat, Thompson has been described as the "greatest land geographer who ever lived."

Thompson's decision to defect to the North West Company in 1797 without providing the customary one-year notice was not well received by his former employers (Hudson's Bay Company). However, joining the North West Company allowed Thompson to pursue his interest in surveying and work on mapping the interior of what was to become Canada. 

In 1797, Thompson was sent south by his employers to survey part of the Canada-US boundary along the water routes from Lake Superior to Lake of the Woods to satisfy unresolved questions of territory arising from the Jay Treaty between Great Britain and the United States. By 1798 Thompson had completed a survey of 6,750 km (4,190 mi) from Grand Portage, through Lake Winnipeg, to the headwaters of the Assiniboine and Mississippi Rivers, as well as two sides of Lake Superior.

In 1798, the company sent him to Red Deer Lake (Lac La Biche in present-day Alberta) to establish a trading post. The English translation of Lac la Biche-Red Deer Lake-first appeared on the Mackenzie map of 1793.

Thompson spent the next few seasons trading based in Fort George (now in Alberta), and during this time led several expeditions into the Rocky Mountains.

In 1804, at the annual meeting of the North West Company in Kaministiquia, Thompson was made a full partner of the company and spent the next few seasons based there managing the fur trading operations but still finding time to expand his surveys of the waterways around Lake Superior. 

However, a decision was made at the 1806 company meeting to send Thompson back out into the interior. Concern over the American-backed expedition of Lewis and Clark prompted the North West Company to charge Thompson with the task of finding a route to the Pacific to open up the lucrative trading territories of the Pacific Northwest.

From: New light on the early history of the greater Northwest : the manuscript journals of Alexander Henry ... and of David Thompson ... 1799-1814

"A very successful winter was spent at Park River. Henry took at his station, 643 beaver skins, 125 black bear, 23 brown bear, 2 grizzly bear, 83 wolf, 102 red fox, 7 kitt, 178 fisher, 96 otter, 62 marten and 97 mink. 

Michael Langlois, clerk on the Red River Brigade, who remained in charge of the party at Morris during the winter of 1800- '01, had also a station at Hair Hills (Pembina Mountains) that winter. The returns showed 832 beaver skins, 52 black bear, 20 brown bear, 4 grizzly bear, 111 wolf, 82 red fox, 9 kitt, 37 raccoon, 108 fisher, 60 otter, 26 marten, 68 mink and various other skins, bags of pemmican, kegs of grease and bales of meat. 
Andre Lagasse, "a voyageur, conductor," in the Red River Brigade was sent from Morris to trade with the Indians in the Pembina Mountains the winter of 1800-'01. With him went Joseph Dubois, "voyageur, steerer or helmsman," and later they were succeeded by Joseph Hamel, "'voyageur and midman" in the Red River Brigade."

"There were many portages on the route from Lake Superior, ranging in length from short distances to 3,000 feet, over which both canoes and goods were packed, each man carrying from 90 to 180 pounds, the bowman and the helmsman carrying the canoe. 

In the first canoe there were — First, Alexander Henry, the bourgeois ; second, Jacques Barbe, voyageur, conductor or bowman; third, Etienne Charbonneau, voyageur, steerer; fourth, Joseph Dubois, voyageur, steerer; fifth, Angus McDonald, voyageur, midman; sixth, Antoine Lafrance, voyageur midman ; seventh, Pierre Bonga, a negro servant of Mr. Henry. 

Second canoe — Eighth, Michael Langlois (sometimes mentioned as Coloret), clerk, with his wife and daughter; ninth, Andre Lagasse (sometimes mentioned as Lagace or La Gasser), voyageur, conductor, with his wife; tenth, Joachim Daisville (sometimes mentioned as Danville and once as Rainville in transcribing Henry's Journal), voyageur, steerer; eleventh, Andre Beauchemin, voyageur, midman ; twelfth, Jean Baptiste Benoit, voyageur, midman. 

Third canoe — Thirteenth, Jean Baptiste Demerais, interpreter, wife and two children; fourteenth, Jean Baptiste Larocque, Sr., voyageur, conductor; fifteenth, Jean Baptiste Larocque, Jr., voyageur, steerer; sixteenth, Etienne Roy, voyageur, midman; seventeenth, Francois Rogers, Sr., voyageur, midman. 

Fourth canoe — Eighteenth, Joseph Masson (or Maceon), voyageur, conductor, wife and child; nineteenth, Charles Bellegarde, voyageur, steerer; twentieth, Joseph Hamel, voyageur, midman ; twenty-first, Nicholas Pouliotte, voyageur, midman."

"No. 9. No question of identity in this case. --There is at least one other of same surname, Charles Lagasse, or Lagace, who was with Thompson on the Upper Saskatchewan in April, 1800 ; went with him to the Kootenays, Oct. 5th-23d, 1800" -- I believe this is Andre's brother (See his HBC contract at end of this post).

The document above, from the Archives of Winnipeg, is the transfer of a contract for Charles Lagasse from the North West Company to the Hudson's Bay Company after their merger in 1821. 

 I believe this Charles is perhaps the younger brother of Andre.

Jean Baptiste Meunier dit Lagacé  Canoes to Lac la Pluie (Rainy Lake)

Jean-Baptiste Meunier (Mignier, Minier) Lagasse (Lagace) (1776-1835) (4th great-grandfather)
son of Jean-Baptiste Mignier (Meunier) Lagasse (Lagace) (1749-1828) and Marie Judith Gravel Brindeliere (1757-1779)
Birth 24 APR 1776 • Terrebonne, Quebec, Canada
Death BEFORE 1835 • St-Laurent (St-Laurent), Québec
Marriage 1799 to Marie Angelique Baret (Barette) dit Courville (1779-1815)
• 1800, Feb 14, James & Andrew McGill hired Jean-Baptiste Meunier voyageur de Chambly to go to Mississippi, and spend the winter, notary Louis Chaboillez.
1803, Oct 6, McTavish, Frobisher & Co. (North West Company) hired Jean-Baptiste Meunier voyageur de St-André-d’Argenteuil to go to Lac De La Pluie (Rainy Lake), notary Louis Chaboillez). From the Archives of Quebec.  Notes: Go through Michilimakinac if required, make two trips from Kamanatiguià Fort to Portage de la Montagne, and give six days of drudgery, and help carry the three canoes in the land.
• 1800, Feb 14, James & Andrew McGill hired Jean-Baptiste Meunier voyageur de Chambly to go to Mississippi, and spend the winter, notary Louis Chaboillez) From the Archives of Quebec, M620/1200.


• By 1800 Rainy Lake and Rainy River were witnessing heavy travel. Here was the main route of the fur trade, the voyageurs' highway that linked the Great Lakes with outposts in the remote interior. Both the Hudson's Bay Co. and its rival, North West Co., had trading posts in Fort Frances.
• Fort Lac la Pluie was a fur trade depot established by the North West Company sometime between 1775 and 1787. It was located on a high bank on the west side of modern Fort Frances, Ontario across from International Falls, Minnesota on the Rainy River downstream (west) of some rapids (Chaudière portage) where the river flows out of Rainy Lake. Upstream at the outlet of the lake was the old French post of Fort Saint Pierre (1731-1758).

The place was a depot rather than a trading post and served two purposes. By this time the trade had reached the rich Lake Athabasca country which was too far to reach from Montreal in one season. Each May, when the ice broke up, boats with trade goods would head west from Montreal and winterers with canoe-loads of fur would head east. They would meet at Grand Portage on Lake Superior, exchange goods and head back before the freezup. To further save time goods and furs would be shuttled between Grand Portage and Lac la Pluie. Second, it was a source of food. The voyageurs had no time to hunt and it was difficult to haul food from Montreal. Rainy Lake produced wild rice and fish. The fort also built kegs and canoes.

• On the 1825 Chateauguay, Quebec, Canada census (a few years before his death) Jean-Baptiste Meunier was living in Chateauguay, Huntingdon, Lower Canada.  His daughter Marie Emélie Meunier dit Lagassé and her husband Gabriel Pinsonneau are also living in the same neighborhood.

dit names: found primarily in France and New France (French-Canada) are essentially an alias tacked on to a family name or surname. Dit in French is a form of the word dire, which means "to say," and in the case of dit names is translated loosely as "that is to say," or "called." Therefore, the first name is the family's original surname, passed down to them by an ancestor, while the "dit" name is the name the person or family is actually called or known as. Dit names are used by families, not specific individuals, and are usually passed down to future generations, either in place of the original surname, or in addition to it.

I wonder if my love of shooting comes from 
André Mignier dit Lagace "The Trigger"?

fille du Roi: The King's Daughters (French) a term used to refer to the approximately 800 young French women who immigrated to New France between 1663 and 1673 as part of a program sponsored by Louis XIV. 

New France settlers welcome King's Daughters, 1667

The program was designed to boost Canada's population both by encouraging male immigrants to settle there, and by promoting marriage, family formation and the birth of children. While women and girls certainly emigrated to New France both before and after this time period, they were not considered to be filles du roi, as the term refers to women and girls who were actively recruited by the government and whose travel to the colony was paid for by the king.

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