May 6, 2010

The First Habitant

1617: An apothecary by the name of Louis Hébert decides to bring his family and claim a piece of land in the vicinity of Québec city for farming purposes. He thus becomes the first "Habitant" of Canada.

Who is Louis Hebert?  He is our ancestor via 3rd generation Jean-Francois Thibault who was married to Angelique Proulx who was Louis great great granddaughter via her maternal grandmother Marie-Francois Hebert. 

Louis Gaston Hebert was born in 1575 at 129 Rue du Honore, Paris, France (I stayed a 10 min walk down Rue d'Or from the home of my ancestor last year); the son of Nicolas Hebert and Jacqueline Pajot. His family was quite affluent, with ties to the Royal Court of Catherine de’ Medici; where his father was the official druggist and spice merchant to the Queen. In this capacity, he would have had access to the royal palace; and though a bourgeois; would have been respected as a gentleman of the court. But Louis could not depend on a large inheritance and had to make his own way.

Marie Rollet, wife of Louis Hebert, QC’s first settler; d. 1649 at QC In 1617, with her husband and three children she came from Paris to QC where she found starvation, sickness, and threats of Indian attack. A year after their arrival, says SAGARD, the first marriage solemnized in QC with the rites of the church took place, that of their daughter Anne and Etienne Jonquet. Anne died in childbirth the following year, but there is no record of the child.

Marie Rollet aided her husband in caring for the sick and shared his interest in the savages, concerning herself especially with the education of Indian children. In 1627, at the baptism of CHOMINA’S son, Naneogauchit, which the priests were striving to make an impressive occasion, she feasted a crowd of visiting savages out of her big brewing kettle. Her name appears often as godmother at the baptism of converted savages. Two years after the death of Louis Hebert, on 16 May 1629, she married Guillaume Hubou. After seeking Champlain’s advice, she and her family (i.e., her second husband, her 15-year-old son Guillaume, and her daughter and son-in-law Guillaume Couillard) remained in QC during the English occupation and kept alive among the neighboring savages the memory of French friendship. After the return of the French in 1632, her house became the home of Indian girls given to the Jesuits for training. She died in 1649, leaving her husband, her one surviving child, Guillemette Hebert, and a number of grandchildren. She was buried at QC 27 May 1649.

Marie-Francoise Hebert (Angelique Proulx's maternal grandmother) was born on January 27, 1638, in the small Quebec settlement; the daughter of Guillaume Hebert and Helene Desportes. Her paternal grandparents were none other than Louis Ganton Hebert and Marie Rollet, and though Louis only lived for a short time at the French Trading Post, Marie kept the family together through epidemics, war and even British occupation.

Her maternal grandparents were also among the first would-be colonists, but never survived the deportation by the Kirke Brothers. However, Marie’s mother, Helene, did return with her aunt and uncle, Marguerite Langlois and Abraham Martin, when the French post was returned.

On November 20, 1651, Marie-Francoise, then just thirteen; married Guillaume Fournier, a baker brought to the colony; and the couple would have fifteen children. Guillaume was described as a rather disagreeable man, and though his marriage to Marie gave him control of a fair bit of land; it seems that he was always fighting for more. Born in 1619 at Coullemer, Orne, Normandy, France; he was the son of Gilles Fournier and Noelle Gagnon.

Taking after her grandmother, Marie-Francoise was very active in the community and for many years acted as a midwife to the small settlement. The family eventually settled at St. Thomas de La Pointe A La Caille, in Montmagny, Quebec; where Guillaume died on October 25, 1699 and Marie-Francoise on March 16, 1716.


rennie said...

Louis Hebert is my 11th great grandfather or

rennie said...

I am interested in any info on the Louis Hebert family...