There is also indexed information that includes copies of records relating to births, deaths, marriages and any other tidbits that I thought might be of interest. I hope you enjoy getting to know from whence you came. Be proud of this heritage of struggle, love, hope and survival. The genes of these people live on in you. Willi Johnston.
Robidoux Chronicles By Hugh M Lewis:
May Where the previous visitors, such as the Vikings, had been fishermen, not adventurers, these gentlemen had loftier goals. They began mapping the coastline and its terrain but also reported to their royal superiors that the inland waterways were teaming with fish and that the land was rich in fur bearing animals. Cartier had been hired by King Francois I of France to find gold and mineral wealth and to look for a western trade route to China. It has been written that he was not much more than a pirate and had limited investment in, or care for, this new land, which he misunderstood from the natives to be called Kanada.
Almost immediately the Indians flocked to trade or simply to beg for food. Champlain was eager to barter as Europe had shown a keen interest in the superior beaver peltries for their hats and other fashion items, but he could not dismiss the hunger and misery of the natives and conceived the desire to improve their condition as well. His natural human sympathies were aroused, along with an active religious faith to which the idea of converting the heathens appealed. The Algonquins, as his guides, porters and interpreters, soon sought his military alliance.
This tribe and its friends the Hurons controlled the trade routes via the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes to the West, therefore, in Champlain sealed his alliance forever in blood. To do this he joined his new friends in a war party that went up the St.
Lawrence by canoe and turned up the present Richelieu River to what is now called Lake Champlain. On its shores he helped them defeat temporarily their bitter enemies, the Iroquois.
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Their numbers were augmented by the Jesuits in , beginning with six eager men. The Indians, principally the Algonquin and Huron of the area, received the Fathers cordially enough as they saw that in the early process of Christianization baptism there was no ulterior threat to their lands or power.
Consequently the priests enjoyed a high prestige among the Indians which the latter somewhat unreasonably transferred to all other Frenchmen. But there were squabbles even in those early days between French factions, such as the Huguenot non-Catholic traders , and the disorder it created did not go unnoticed. On April 29, , for New France , he created a commercial monopoly for the territory and vested the monopoly in the Company of New France also known as The Hundred Associates 1 ; Champlain himself was a member. At this time the Company of Hundreds was reorganized and Champlain returned with ships and supplies.
Much of the history of this time has come to us from letters and reports written by men like Champlain and also from a large repository of work, called Jesuit Relations, written by the Jesuit priests. On the other hand, the reports could be brutally honest as in the following missive by Jesuit Missionary Francois de Crepieul Jesuit Relations 63, in regard to living with the Montagnais tribe in the area around Tadousac. Many of the Fathers of the Society of Jesus longed to show their diligence to God through martyrdom and therefore they were not afraid to go amongst the natives in order to learn their language , the better then to make their conversion:.
The life of a Montagnaix missionary is a long and slow martyrdom- is an almost continual exercise of patience and mortification - is a life truly penitential and humiliating, especially in the cabins and on the journeys with the savages…the missionary almost all day sits or is on his knees exposed to an almost continual smoke during the winter…His usual drink is water from a stream or some pond, sometimes melted snow or broth, pure or mixed with snow in a dish usually quite greasy….
As a further example of the adjustments that the Jesuits would have had to make, one of the staple foods of the tribes of the St. Lawrence valley and the Great Lakes region was sagamite , an unappetizing gruel into which the Indians threw hunks of read meat, small animals, birds, fish, and frogs, usually tossing them in whole without bothering to skin, pluck, or gut them. Pierre Couc dit Lafleur. Pierre Couc dit Lafleur was born circa Life for the general populace was a daily ordeal in those early days in France.
His was a life of little joy, less freedom, and no choice. Whether peasant or city dweller, he was constrained by church and state, and by the habits and mentalities of his milieu, to lead a life of servitude in a society where inequality was the unchallenged rule. Happiness lay in their hands. But as we know, in the previous century Portugal , Spain , France and England had been sending exploratory ships west looking for a passage to the Orient and had revealed a continent ready for exploration and settlement.
As a soldier of the King, he would he would be expected to enforce the laws, clear land, build fortifications and fight the hostile Five Nations Indians Iroquois in Nouvelle France.
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As a newly arrived immigrant, on August 27 th , he signed the baptismal papers for a small Indian orphan named Perrine. By all accounts Pierre was a good and affable man, learning their language and visiting when he could.
It is generally thought that Marie was an Algonquin orphan. Native children often became orphans when the warring Iroquois killed or carried off members of their tribes. Please note that there have been errors made by Fathers Rene Jette and Cyprien Tanguay, priests who compiled and translated records but also made some unconfirmed assumptions.
They suggest that she was the daughter of Sachem Pachirini and Barthelemi Anara8i — Barthelemi, at any rate, being later identified as a male and Sachem Pachirini was the chief of the clan and there is no indication that he was her parent. In fact, there is no documentation to support their assumption in part or in whole. As a result of Iroquois attacks on the Hurons and Algonquins, her clan semi-nomadically moved in the area between the Ottawa and St.
Assabinach, who would become her husband, was born circa A daughter, Catherine, would be born to Marie and Assabinach during their travels there and later a son, Pierre, was born in Sadly on a spring day in , a band of Iroquois attacked their village and Assabinach and her two children, Catherine and Pierre, were taken. As was noted previously, the Iroquois often took children as hostages or adopted them to replace their lost tribal members but men or warriors would suffer extremely cruel torture and death.
The Weskarini Band fought valiantly alongside the French colonists. Remarkably, many of the soldiers survived, among them was Pierre Couc dit Lafleur. Misery and fear did not abate as Iroquois attacks continued throughout the summer and into the next year. Mite8ameg8k8e and the remaining members of her clan suffered another terrible year The harvest had been burned, the livestock massacred, trading had been reduced to zero, and there was no food.
However, it was the small trading post at Trois-Rivieres that saved the situation. Pierre Boucher 4 ,an intelligent and brave commander-in-chief, trained in Indian warfare, and his forty-six men, by sheer courage, resisted six hundred Iroquois when they launched an attack and forced the Iroquois to surrender and a peace treaty was signed. Pierre Couc was one of the soldiers who fought brilliantly during this battle.
New France had a short respite. How could love have blossomed in such tumultuous times? And yet it did. After Pierre completed his years of service he decided to stay in a land that offered hope, rather than to return to France where his options would have been limited. He would have been offered a small land grant and since he came from peasant farming stock, he was used to clearing land, and hunting and fishing for survival. He respected all people. Pierre had learned the Algonquin language and frequently served as an interpreter between the colonists and the Native Americans.
Mite8ameg8k8e had taken an interest and enjoyed his frequent visits to her village. Her smile had sent Pierre a message.
She helped him perfect his Algonquian; he taught her French. Pierre was thirty years old; Marie was an orphan and a widow who had lost two children. The setting was to be the little chapel of this trading post on the Saint Lawrence River. Many relatives and friends of the fort and village attended the marriage. Regardless of whether the romantic version written by Mr. Leveillee is credible, the union of Pierre and Marie benefited from favourable circumstances; the tragic times at Trois-Rivieres brought the French and the Indians closer together since the thirty remaining families were grouped into the fort.
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It would not have necessarily led to marriage in other circumstances, but under the firm hand of the Jesuits, it was very difficult for anyone in the village to have an illicit union; in addition, Marie was pregnant. And the government encouraged the establishment of soldiers and mixed marriages by giving subsidies and compensation to settlers.
One of these belong to Pierre Couc and was located on the south west corner of what is now rue St. Pierre and rue St. Michel two blocks from the St. Lawrence River. Life for Pierre and Marie would have tended to be quiet and work-filled. Men hunted and fished for food and shelter; women harvested corn, beans, squash, berries and nuts and they prepared the meals and made clothing from tanned hides.
They also cared for the shelter, making it comfortable for their family.
The Algonquin and French colonists co-existed in a peaceful way, despite the hardships that befell them - enemy attacks, harsh winters, poor crops and disease. The Algonquin people being family oriented, adapted very easily to the way of life of the colonists and the colonists in turn accepted the way of the First Nations people. This union was realized in the areas surrounding the villages of Trois-Rivieres and later in St-Francois-du-Lac where Pierre and Marie would reside.
As described by Normand Leveillee:. Thus began the married life of Marie Mite8ameg8k8e Couc. Pierre and Marie had problems during those first years. Pierre injured himself and had enormous medical costs. To further lend credence to the fact that Pierre must have been an honourable man, on 15 Oct two years after their marriage, Pierre commissioned his friend Notary Severin Ameau to draw up a Marriage Contract to insure that designates his wife as co-owner of all his property. By Pierre had left the military. But a debt he owed to Jeanne Crevier, wife of his friend Pierre Boucher, for pounds which she lent him and that he disputed by alleging that she sold him wine that was too expensive was reclaimed as well as a debt of thirty pounds he owed to Sebastien Pronnevot for porcelain.
To add insult to injury, Pierre hurt himself in his work and had to be cared for by surgeon Francois Bellerman for two months and ran up a sixty pound medical bill. The amounts appear small to us in this day and age, but at that time it can be imagined that they would be almost insurmountable. Normand Leveillee writes:. The Iroquois began their attacks once more.