Saturday, February 13, 2016

Helene Desportes

DESPORTES, HÉLÈNE (Hébert; Morin), said to be the first white child born in New France, daughter of Pierre Desportes and Françoise Langlois; m. Guillaume Hébert in October 1634; m. secondly Noël Morin 9 Jan. 1640 at Quebec; d. 24 June 1675.


Pierre Desportes probably came to Quebec in 1614 with Abraham Martin: their wives were sisters. Desportes’ occupation is not known, but he must have had some standing in the community and sufficient education to be able to write, for he signed on behalf of the inhabitants the document of 1621 appealing to the king. No other facts are known about him. (He is not to be confused with Pierre Desportes de Liguère, to whom the Compagnie de la Nouvelle-France ceded Île Royale (Cape Breton) in 1636.)

Neither of Hélène’s parents witnessed her marriage contract with Guillaume Hébert, drawn up at Quebec in October 1634. The marriage took place the same month in the parish of Notre-Dame de Québec. About this only son of Canada’s first settler little is recorded except an occasional instance of his helping the priests in their relations with the natives. Since he had inherited half his father’s land, which included some acres on the St. Charles as well as the original site above the cliff, it is to be assumed that his chief occupation during his short life was the cultivation of his fields. He was but a little boy when he came to Quebec with his parents in 1617, and therefore probably still in his twenties when he died in 1639. Three children were born of this marriage, one of whom died in infancy. The other two were a son, Joseph, and a daughter, Françoise (b. 1638), who married Guillaume Fournier, 1651.

Hélène, having been widowed, married on 9 Jan. 1640 in the parish of Notre-Dame de Québec Noël Morin (1616–80), a wheelwright who became one of the early pioneers of Montmagny. Their son Germain* was consecrated to the priesthood by Mgr Laval* in September 1665, the first Canadian-born priest. Another son, Jean-Baptiste (1645–94), was a member of the Conseil Souverain. A daughter, Marie*, was the first Canadian-born nun.

Ethel M. G. Bennett

For information about the Desportes family in Quebec see Léon Roy, “Pierre Desportes et sa descendance,” SGCF Mémoires, II (1946–47), 165–68. See also Azarie Couillard Després, Louis Hébert: premier colon canadien et sa famille (Lille, Paris, Bruges, 1913; Montréal, 1918); La première famille française au Canada. Dionne, Champlain, II,passim. Sulte, Hist. des Can.-fr., II, 37, 78.

Revisions based on:
Arch. de Notre-Dame de Québec, CM1/D4, 7 (registres des membres de la Confrérie de la Sainte-Famille), vol.1. Bibliothèque et Arch. Nationales du Québec, Centre d’arch. de Québec, CE301-S1, octobre 1634, 9 janv. 1640 ; CN301-S226, 27 déc. 1639.

Pierre Miville dit Le Suisse (1602 - 1669)
9th great-grandfather of June

Aimee and Marie Madeleine were the daughters of Pierre Miville and Charlotte Maugis, and common ancestors of June.

MIVILLE, PIERRE, known as Le Suisse, master-joiner, pioneer and captain of the Lauson shore: d. 14 Oct. 1669.

Swiss by birth, Miville came to Canada via La Rochelle at a date that has not been established with certainty but that was previous to 28 Oct. 1649, on which date he, along with his son François, received from the governor, Louis D’Ailleboust, a grant of land in the seigneury of Lauson, which was later raised to the status of an arriere-fief. Miville apparently tried to entice some of his compatriots to Canada. In fact, on 16 July 1665, M. de Prouville de Tracy granted him, along with his sons and four other persons, a concession measuring 21 arpents by 40 at Grande Anse (La Pocatière), naming the locality “the Canton of the Fribourg Swiss.” This undertaking was unsuccessful. Pierre Miville stayed at Lauson until his death, 14 Oct. 1669. In France he had married Charlotte Maugis, who bore him six children at least; one of them, Jacques, was the founder of the Miville-Deschênes families of North America.

Honorius Provost

“Le canton de Suisses Fribourgeois,” BRH, XX (1914), 233f. L-E. Roy, Histoire de la seigneurie de Lauzon, I, 69–71.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Guillemette Hebert

Guillemette Hebert (1608 - 1684)
10th great-grandmother of June
Elizabeth Couillard (1631 - 1704)
daughter of Guillemette Hebert
Joseph Guyon (1649 - 1712)
son of Elizabeth Couillard
Angelique Guyon (1677 - 1718)
daughter of Joseph Guyon
Marie Angelique Letourneau (1697 - 1765)
daughter of Angelique Guyon
Marie Madeleine Leboeuf (1731 - )
daughter of Marie Angelique Letourneau
Jean Baptiste Gervais I (1753 - 1809)
son of Marie Madeleine Leboeuf
Jean Baptiste Gervais II (1776 - 1811)
son of Jean Baptiste Gervais I
Jean Baptiste Gervais III (1811 - 1887)
son of Jean Baptiste Gervais II
Jean Baptiste Gervais IV (1832 - 1916)
son of Jean Baptiste Gervais III
Achille Ovila Gervais (1886 - 1980)
child of Jean Baptiste Gervais IV
Gladys Gervais (1915 - 1996)
daughter of Achille Ovila Gervais
Barbara June Agla (1942 - )
daughter of Gladys Gervais

HÉBERT, GUILLEMETTE (Couillard de Lespinay), daughter of Louis Hébert and Marie Rollet, mGuillaume Couillard de Lespinay 26 Aug. 1621 at Quebec; b. in Paris or Dieppe c. 1606; d. 20 Oct. 1684 at Quebec and was buried there the following day. On Louis Hébert’s death, his daughter Guillemette and her husband Guillaume Couillard inherited half the estate. Guillaume Couillard became the head of the family, as his wife’s brother Guillaume was still a minor. Up to 1632, the Hébert house on the brow of the cliff was the only private dwelling in Quebec. Farther up along the edge was Champlain’s little wooden fort, and directly below it, on the shore, was the Habitation with the small Recollet chapel beside it. The only other buildings in the settlement were the convents of the Recollet and Jesuit orders on the St. Charles River, a mile away beyond dense woods. Guillemette and her mother were frequently alone on their property for Couillard was often on the river and the servant, Henri, whom the Héberts had brought from France, was murdered by the natives the same year that Louis Hébert died (1627).
Like her parents, Mme Couillard was interested in Indian children and was often godmother at their baptisms. After the English captured Quebec in 1629, she received into her home Charité and Espérance, two of the three Indian girls, protégées of Champlain, whom he had hoped to take to France with him. WhenDavid Kirke refused permission for the journey, the girls asked to be sent to Mme Couillard. They must have formed part of a cosmopolitan household, for it contained also Olivier Le Jeune, a black boy from Madagascar brought up the river by the English, sold to Olivier Le Baillif, and given by him to the Couillard family. Guillemette and her mother arranged for his religious instruction and he was baptized in 1633. By 1648 the Couillards had other servants and ten children, a lively – entries in the Journal des Jésuites would suggest even an unruly – ménage. At the marriage of the third daughter, Élisabeth, in November 1645, there were two violins in the chapel, a thing never before heard in Canada. The early 1660s, however, brought bereavement to Mme Couillard. Two sons, first Nicolas, aged 20, then Guillaume, aged 27, and her nephew Joseph Hébert fell victim to the Iroquois, 1661–62, and in March 1663 her husband died.
Being rich in land (the Héberts owned property other than their original homestead), Mme Couillard jointly with her husband had made various gifts for charitable and religious purposes: to the church in 1652, and to the Hôtel-Dieu in 1655 and 1659. As a widow, she sold to Bishop Laval* in 1666 the land for the “petit séminaire.” Her disposal of this valuable property (the fief of Sault-au-Matelot), on which her father had first established himself, met with strong objections from the younger generation. The litigation begun by these prospective heirs was to continue generation after generation, even into the 20th century.
Saddened no doubt by the dissensions in her family, and somewhat infirm in body, she withdrew to the convent of the Hôtel-Dieu, where, as a boarder, she spent her last years. In 1678, when her father’s bones were re-interred, she had herself carried to the Recollet chapel to witness the ceremony. She died in October 1684, “aged 78 years or thereabouts,” and was buried beside her husband in the chapel of the Hôtel-Dieu. At that time her descendants numbered over 250. The number at the present day could hardly be estimated.
Ethel M. G. Bennett There are brief references to Mme Couillard in Sagard, Histoire du Canada (Tross); Champlain, Works (Biggar); and in the records of the Jesuits. Sons and servants are mentioned in the Journal des Jesuits (see: JR (Thwaites), passim). Chrestien Le Clercq, who was in Canada 1673–87 and who often talked with her, gives details of her later life (see: First establishment of the faith (Shea), passim). For more complete information consult Azarie Couillard Després, Histoire des seigneurs de la Rivière-du-Sud et leurs alliés canadiens et acadiens (Saint-Hyacinthe, 1912); Louis Hébert: premier colon canadien et sa famille (Lille, Paris, Bruges, 1913; Montréal, 1918); “Louis Hébert et ses descendants,” BRH, XX (1914), 281–85; and La première famille française au Canada.
Revisions based on:
Bibliothèque et Arch. Nationales du Québec, Centre darch. de Québec, CE301-S1, 26 août 1621, 21 oct. 1684.