July 27, 2011

More Witchcraft, Young Love and Banishment Our 9th Great Grand Aunt

PIERRE MORIN dit BOUCHER married MARIE-MADELEINE MARTIN in Acadia about 1661. They probably married at Port-Royal. Pierre was born in Normandy, France, about 1634. His home Parish in France remains unknown. Marie-Madeleine was born about 1642 at Port-Royal, Acadia. She is the daughter of Pierre Martin and Catherine Vigneau and sister of our 9th Great Grandmother Andree Martin wife of Francois Pellerin. 

Pierre was a laborer, and owned 3 cows, 4 sheep, and had 1 arpent of land in cultivation at the time of the 1671 census at Port-Royal. By 1680 they had moved to Beaubassin. He is listed as a tenant of Michel Le Neuf, Sieur de Valliere on 20 March, 1682 at Beaubassin. On the 1686 census at Beaubassin they owned 15 cows, 8 sheep, 12 hogs and had 30 arpents of land. (An English acre is 5/6th of an arpent; 86 arpents equal 100 English acres.) Quite a bit is known of Pierre and Marie and they have an incredible tale. In 1685, Marie-Madeleine was one of the witnesses against Jean Campagna in his trial for Witchcraft at Beaubassin. Her age was given as 43 years. Campagna had been accused by his neighbors at Beaubassin of the crime. Campagna was acquitted and released. Three years after the Witchcraft trial, the Morin family would find themselves on the receiving end of the Law.  (Interesting of note here Andree Martin and Francois Pellerin's daughter married the son of Laurent Godin grandson of none other than our Pierre Godin who also accused Campagna of witchcraft.)  
They were banished from Beaubassin, Acadia in September, 1688. Pierre and Marie-Madeleine had a son Louis who was about 25 years old when he and the daughter of the above-mentioned Michel Le Neuf fell in love. One thing led to another, as it always does, and the 17 year old girl, named Marie-Josephe Le Neuf, was discovered to be pregnant in the Spring of 1688. Marie-Josephe LeNeuf was obviously close to the Morin family. She is named as Godmother on two Baptisms of Morin children.
She was the daughter of an important family -- the Le Neufs considered themselves as such. Louis Morin was the son of a mere laborer. Louis was arrested. His parents and brothers and sisters and two brothers-in-law, their children---19 persons in all---were arrested. They were tried by the local Parish Priest, a Father Trouve. Trouve acted for Le Neuf, who hoped to keep the scandal as quiet as possible; how he hoped he could keep it under wraps in such a small and interconnected community as Beaubassin.
Father Trouve organized everything, including a list of witnesses against all 19 of the conspirators... for that is how they were portrayed. All 19 were judged guilty. The property of all 19 was confiscated; and all 19 were exiled from Beaubassin and Acadia. Their property was awarded to Michel Le Neuf. (Michel Le Neuf tried to confiscate all Pierre Thibodeaus property in 1690. He was not successful with Thibodeau.) Louis Morin was sent to France and sentenced to a lifetime of service in the Royal Navy. He was sent on the ship La Fripone in September of 1688. He is said to have died shortly after.  The priest, Father Trouve, wrote a letter, (which still exists), extolling his own actions as necessary and just. He even suggests that the sentences had been lenient, considering the offense.
Father Trouve felt compelled to justify what he had participated in for he became so unpopular in Beaubassin that he was forced to abandon his Parish. When he attempted to land at Les-Mines, the citizens there refused to let him come ashore. Trouve was forced to continue on to Port-Royal.
Two years later, in October of 1690, Mathieu de Goutin wrote a letter to the Court in France. In this letter, De Goutin wrote that Father Trouve had brought the charges against Louis Morin, had heard witnesses, had pronounced judgment, and had imprisoned Louis Morin and exiled all the others charged. De Goutin charged that Father Trouve had done this despite the fact that Kings Officers had been available. Trouve had obtained an Order that the entire family be exiled on the pretext that one of the brothers-in-law had 'spoken ill' of Father Trouve, and had mentioned the name of the "gentlewoman".
De Goutin tells us that both Trouve, and Michel LeNeuf, were now very unpopular in the colony. He states that Father Trouve had been forced to leave Beaubassin. He further tells us that the Morin family was related to one-third of the habitants of Acadia, and so feelings of anger among the habitants ran deep. When Michel LeNeuf died at sea in 1705, he went unmourned in Acadia. There is evidence that some of the settlers he brought from Trois-Riviers in 1676 left Beaubassin for Quebec soon after 1705. Could they have been compelled to leave by vengeful Acadians?
As for the remaining 18 conspirators; they were sent, impoverished, to Quebec. Pierre Morin died in 1690, about two years after arriving in Quebec. In Quebec the exiles acquired powerful friends for Pierre Morin, Jr. had married Francoise Chiasson, who was also exiled. Francoise Chiasson had a brother, Jean Chiasson, who had settled at Quebec, and who married Marie-Anne Lemoine in 1697. Marie-Anne Lemoine was the cousin of Charles and Jacques Lemoine, and Anne Lemoine, who had married Michel Messier, Sieur de St-Michel. The Lemoines were the most powerful family in Quebec. This family connection may explain a large grant of land, on the Gaspe River, given to Marie Martin in 1697.
Marie Martin disposed of this land grant in September, 1702: "25 September, 1702: Marie Martin, widow of Pierre Martin, in relinquishing a fief "of half league, on either side of the Gaspe River," that had been granted her, about 1697, by Francois de Gallifet, the King's representative at Montreal, declared that her husband had died twelve years previously."
In 1699 Marie Martin was recorded as living in the house of her son Pierre at Mont-Louis, Quebec. She died at Quebec on 16 September, 1714 and was buried the next day. Pierre and Marie-Madeleine Martin had 12 children altogether. They are the parents of 5 sons and 3 daughters who have descendants.
There is no record of what happened to the baby.

July 26, 2011

Witchcraft - The first Witch trial of the Maritimes 1684

Charles Godin dit Bellefontaine, dit Boisjoli who married Marie Melanson was the grandson of Pierre Godin dit Chatillon.  Pierre Godin was born in 1630 in Châtillon-sur-Seine, Cote-d'Or, France.

Pierre Godin dit Châtillon,  son of Claude Godin & Marie Bardin, enlisted to go to Canada on 23 May 1653 in the study of notary LaFousse at La Flèche, Anjou, for the salary of 100 livres per year. He was a master carpenter, and had worked as a journeyman at Châtillon-sur-Seine (arrondissement of Montbard), Burgandy.

On 20 Jun 1653 he acknowledged receiving 127 livres advance wages (notary BELLIOTTE). He arrived in Canada as a member of the "Grande Recrue" on 22 Sep 1653 aboard the "Saint-Nicolas" and was given a land grant by Governor MAISONNEUVE on 2 Feb 1654.

On 27 Sep 1654 a marriage contract was drawn up by notary Lambert Closse, and signed by him, between Pierre and Jeanne 
Rousseliere, daughter of Louis Rousseliere & Isabelle Paris. She was one of the "Filles à Marier." They were married by Father Pierre Pijart, SJ on 14 Oct 1654 at Montréal.
Pierre became a soldier with the 19th squadron of Montréal's "Sainte-Famille" militia in 1663, by which time he and Jeanne had four children. Five more would follow, until 1672.

In that year Pierre Godin and his oldest son Laurent (then age 17) were tried for beating neighbor Pierre Boutonne dit La Ramée, after he had allegedly slapped daughter Catherine (then around 13), claiming she had stolen bread from him. On 30 Aug 1672 Boutonne agreed to pay the costs of pursuing the trial.

In 1675 Pierre was entrusted with the project of building a chapel at Lachine, at which time the family was living near the rapids. Between 7 Jun 1676 and 11 Jun 1677, they immigrated to Port-Royal, Acadia , where Pierre's experience as a carpenter was needed.

On 28 Jun 1685 Pierre sued Jean Campagnard for witchcraft, "claiming that Campagnard cast a spell on him to make Pierre forget threats that he made. The case was not a success for Pierre." He died at Rivière-St-Jean sometime before the 1686 census, which found his wife and three children at Port-Royal, Acadia.


July 25, 2011

Our English Ancestors

Pierre Laverdure and his wife Priscilla landed in 1657 after sailing from England with their sons onboard the ship Satisfaction. It is also generally accepted that the family disembarked at St. John's fort at the mouth of the St. John River. The family had sailed to Acadia with the newly appointed English Governor of Acadia, Sir Thomas Temple and a group of other settlers. Pierre and Priscilla, however, were to reside in Acadia for only 10 years.

A Boston court document from 1677 (Priscilla's petition of May 3, 1677) recorded Priscilla's late husband, "Peter Leverdure", as being a Frenchman and a Protestant and "Priscilla Leverdure" as being an Englishwoman. The petition goes on to state that Priscilla's husband had left "[St.] John's fort to escape the wrath of his countrymen Papists". This latter statement clearly suggests that Pierre was a French Huguenot who might have left France as the Catholic government's tolerance for the Protestant Huguenots began to rapidly deteriorate during the 1620's. Either due to the problems unwinding in France or for some other reason, Pierre ended up in England were he and his Priscilla were married about 1630. Ten years before Priscilla's petition the 1667 Treaty of Breda between the English and the French had ceded Acadia back to France. Pierre and Priscilla, both Protestants, were probably unable to fathom the idea of living under a French Catholic government and thus departed for Protestant ruled Boston, Massachusetts, sometime between 1667 and 1770 (Sir Thomas Temple had managed to delay the actual handing over of Acadia to French until 1670).

Two of Pierre's sons went by the Melanson surname, societal logic would dictate that this was their father's surname. However, no record has been found to put the Melanson surname with Pierre senior so perhaps Melanson was Priscilla's surname. Many have suggested that it was Mallinson (or a variation thereof) but there are no records to indicate this in any official sense that would serve to accurately enhance any historical or genealogical research. In an effort to present the most factual data available, most professional researchers and genealogists omit any suggestion of a maiden name for Priscilla from their work. Many spelling variations resembling the Melanson name did exist in England during the 1500's and 1600's but it seems unlikely that Pierre and Charles, both apparently well educated and obviously literate, would go on to consistently misspell their surname when they settled in the New World. This and other details surrounding the origin of the name has gone on to create many theories and possibilities, but it is not known for certain why or from where Pierre and Charles started to use the Melanson surname.

Charles dit La Ramée (Melanson) married Marie Dugas, daughter of Abraham Dugas & Marguerite-Louise Doucet. Charles dit La Ramée and his wife Marie would establish their family near the old Port Royal habitation in the Port Royal basin at what is today known as the Melanson Settlement (sometimes referred to as the "Melanson Village" in old records and maps). The settlement grew quite large over the years with a total of nine households being located on the land during its peak times.

Charles and his wife Marie seem to have done reasonably well as the census' show their cleared land expanding and their livestock increasing. They also had a large section of dyked marshland along the Rivière Daupin (the Annapolis River) adjacent to their property. It was from this dyke that archaeologists recently retrieved two intact aboiteax, one of which is the largest and oldest aboiteau found to date. Other archaeological digs at the Melanson Settlement discovered the foundations of many of the homes and buildings that once stood on the site, including the structure that housed Charles Melanson (son of Charles dit La Ramée) and his wife Anne Bourg.

Marie Melanson daughter of Charles Melanson and Anne Bourg married Charles Godin Boisjoli/Bellefontaine. Their daughter Anne married Pierre Sirois. Marie-Josephe Siros married Vincent Rioux. Basillisse Rioux married Hillaire Thibault. Basillisse and Hillaire were parents of Fabien our great great Grandfather.

For more reading http://www.gregors-gathering.ca/Acadia/Melanson/melansons-intro-gen1.htm

July 21, 2011