Translated (with some literary license) from MÉMOIRE DE FAMILLE, Carole Michau:
Pierre was uneducated and poor, unable to read or write. From Savoy, he left France for New-France (Canada) around New Year's Eve, 1665, having enlisted in the Regiment du Carignan Salieres, to defend the French colony from the Iroquois. The crossing lasted a hundred and sixteen days and was noted as calm. On board that New Year's Eve, Pierre crossed the Atlantic with two very significant characters headed for the colony. These travel companions were the governor of News-France, Daniel de Rémy de Courcelles and l?intendant Jean Talon. We also believe that Pierre was connected with Sieur de Manereuil because a contract for rendered service was signed between the two parts in 1665, making Pierre a servant (?) of Manereuil. This same Manereuil will be later lord of Trois-Rivières-du-Loup en haut (Louiseville), where Pierre would live, a few years later. But, for now, let us return to this famous voyage which brought Pierre to the colony of News-France.
With approach of land, a problem occurred which provide to be catastrophic for all aboard. The travellers, too anxious to get to the new world, opened the ports? too early, causing all who used them to die?[problem in tranlation, but it sound like the passengers, in haste to make landfall, debark in some way, too ealy, causing many to drown]. Moreover, when they arrived at the port, several people coming from the ships, had died for reasons unknown. The patients [those sick, but surviving] were transported to l’hôpital de l’Hôtel Dieu de Québec, where they were looked after by the Master surgeon of the place, Jean de Madry. We don't have any idea of the disease which reached the passengers of New Year's Eve, but we suppose that it was an unspecified epidemic, because of the number of passengers afflicted, all at the same time. With the unloading, more than one hundred thirty people were hospitalized. No detail indicates to us that Pierre was physically touched by this disease, but it is certain he was affected psychologically because of the number of French compatriots who found death there, just beside him.
Pierre arrived, in the land of New-France with the unloading of the Carignan regiment at the town of Quebec. Pierre unloaded in Quebec with a thousand other soldiers, in a brown and gray uniform, with a mousket, a rifle with bayonet and a sword. The soldiers were divided into companies. Pierre's lack of education placed him in the regiment of Lafouille which took men of the same social condition as Pierre. The Lafouille company had at its head, Captain Jean-Maurice Philippe of Vernon sieurr de Lafouille. These soldiers had come with the goal of repelling the Indians by the use of force if necessary, to put an end to the war which caused such an amount of desolation within the colonizing people.
The company of Lafouille was directed towards the station of Sorel, on the Richelieu river. There, they built a fort to protect this territory from the Indian invasions. At the time of his military service within the company, Pierre made friends with François Banhiac dit Lamontagne who was a comrade of his in the company. Pierre and François remained great friends until the death of Pierre. Following the military presence over a large part of the colonized territory, peace was quickly restored and the war ceased. It was in July 1667, that the Indians signed a peace treaty with the French. According to the signature of this peace treaty, the soldiers were given orders to remain at this post through 1668. Therefore, in 1667, we find several soldiers of the Lafouille company living near the Trois-Rivières-du-Loup en haut (Louiseville). The government tried entice the soldiers to become inhabitant, thus colonizing this country. Therefore, the governor promised land to them once they finished their military commitment.
These soldiers, with idea of becoming residents of the colony were not long in beginning work there. The clearing started by these new colonist was born of dreams and aspirations, and these new pioneers worked with the sweat of their brows, to move back the forest, to cultivate the ground that they found. The soldiers who decided to remain in News-France were offered free land and a small sum of money to remain during the first three years of their life as colonists. Pierre probably remained in News-France because the situation that was offered to him here was more pleasant than what he would have realized upon his return to France. Pierre, like four hundred other soldiers, accepted this offer to stay until 1668, accepting his land in the seigniory of his friend, Manereuil. There was a problem that this land was badly located, leaving it was isolated from the other colonists and dangerously exposed to the various threats which surrounded it. For now, he was satisfied with the good will he had accepted from the king. His land had an are of three arpents across and it was located west of a large river. From 1668 to November 23, 1670, Pierre in his capacity as a great worker, had succeeded in turning over two arpents of his land, with the pickaxe. We can note however that the hard labour of the clearer was not worth much money since it provides him only thirty livres total, i.e., eighteen livres immediately and the remainder to come. The land did not have any commercial value since it was too far away from the other colonists.
In 1669, Pierre had made such a commitment to Trois-Rivieres, to go to seek a wife there. The town was embarrassed as it had only nine girls there to marry and far too many men. The number of girls being thus insufficient, Pierre returned bredouille [his belonging?] from there, with his land. However, he attended the marriage of Jean Bérard, his buddy and of Charlotte Coy, his future wife.
In 1670, having sold his small holdings, Pierre, the resident, did not have any more land to cultivate. This inactivity was on the other hand very short since at at the beginning of January 1671, Sieur de Manereuil conceded land to him measuring six arpents in area. This time its placement was on the East of the river and close to the other colonists. It was bordered on one side by the land of Marin Marais and other side by no one other than Jean Bérard, the friend of Pierre and the husband of Charlotte Coy, the woman that Pierre married later.
On his parcel, Pierre had the right to fish. Moreover, for the rendered services, the lord yielded to him the fruit of the labor from his land. In the space of hardly two months, Pierre grew rich by three arpents good ground, located well. It was a good market for him.
Thus in 1671, Pierre is one of the eleven censitaires [entries in the census?] of the seigniory and he is one of five true colonists, the others being rather traders of furs or strangers, not spending much time on their land. These five true colonists are: Nicolas Vauquelin, Marais dit Labarre, Pierre Brugnon dit Lapierre, Jean Bérard dit Laverdia, Gerbaud dit Bellegrade. This mini-company that they formed relieved them of some of the insulation from civilization. The inhabitants were isolated from the remainder of the territory. Thus, the neighbors became like an integral part of the family of each one. For example, we can see in the documentation which we were able to find, where Pierre Brunion was present in the entourage of Jean Bérard when the latter married Charlotte Coy. Pierre was also present for the birth of the last child of Jean and Charlotte, fore-mentioned Jean-baptiste who was baptized in Saint-Pierre de Sorel. Pierre also attended the baptism of Pierre Jacquet, a child of the seigniory.
In 1672, Manereuil returns to France and will return never again to the country of News-France. This fact will influence the history of this locality since, the lord not being present, he cannot provide new concessions any more. The only land sold after this date will be it by the citizens who will sell their land entirely or partly. This is what Pierre did on August 29, 1675. He sold part of his land to François Bergeron, newcomer in the seigniory, whe quickly became another great friend of Pierre.
Since 1673, the great friend of Pierre, François Banhiac dit Lamontagne will come to live in the Trois-Riviere area. Let us recall that Pierre and François knew each other at the time of their military service within the Lafouille company, in 1665.
In July of 1677, after approximately eight years of marriage, Jean Bérard dit Réverdia died, leaving in mourning wife Charlotte and two children; Seven years old Christophe and three years old Marie-Charlotte. In September 1677, the notary Antoine Adhémar swore in Christophe Gerbaud dit Bellegrade as guardian of the two minors of the late Jean Bérard dit Réverdia. It is through an inventory, that we can see the heritage to which had Charlotte been left, with the death of her first husband. Here is an extract:
This inventory testifies to the great poverty of the Coy-Bérard couple at that time. Let us notice on the other hand that this poverty was by no means single with this couple, it was the same one for all the inhabitants of this time.
Put aside the land which could, despite everything, have a certain value, she did not have a great many posseions in this residence. Owning little, Charlotte and her two children could not at all hope for an easy future.
After approximately nine months of widowhood, Charlotte Coy remaried. This time, her choice went no further that her neighbor Pierre Brunion whom she had known since her arrival in New-France. Pierre was then old at 36 years. The ceremony took place on April 24, 1678 in Saint-Pierre de Sorel in front of several friends of the couple, including Jean Jacquet dit St-Lover and François Banhiac dit La Montagne.
Let us note that at this time, as the history of Quebec specifies, under the French model, it was common that the mourning of a spouse is of short duration since in these times, it was difficult for a woman to live without the support of a husband to provide for her needs and those of her children. The men, on the other hand, also had the need for woman, who was very few in this time. Therefore, as soon as a husband died, his widow was quickly coveted by the males of the surroundings. Moreover, a widow represented certain safety financially since she brought her family inheritance, which although little, when added to that of the husband, grew the richness of the couple.
According to his marriage with Charlotte, Pierre kept under his roof, the children of the first marriage, Christophe and Marie-Charlotte Bérard. They lived on the land of Pierre in Trois-Rivieres and together, they cultivated the ground, living in this virginal corner of the country.
Let us note that at that time, the interior of the houses of Quebec was simple and poor. The table and the bed were coarsely attached to the walls built in this small hut, the colonists were to put up with little space which this rudimentary shelter provided. When needed, one pulled down the table to eat there and following the meal put it back up on the wall. The same thing occurred for the bed. Only, the parents had a bed at that time. The children slept on the ground on straw mattresses and beds of ?? rolled up in covers of hairs of dog, skins of bear, original or ox to keep warm. We can imagine that the wood hut where Charlotte, Pierre and their children lived was about like that one.
Let us notice that at the time of her marriage, Charlotte was already pregnant from Pierre, since she was confined only six months after their marriage, that is to say on November 2, 1678.
April three, 1680, Charlotte gave birth to her first daughter with Pierre, and named her Marie.
[I'm sure this is a translation problem, but we can assume that Matie was the first child of Pierre and Marie]
With the census of 1681, Pierre was 39 years and Charlotte was 32. The assets of the couple, inter alia, included: a rifle, nine arpents of land in value and three animals with horns.
1682 was a very testing year for the couple Coy-Brunion since, on March22, 1682, Charlotte gave birth to twins. She named the first Pieere, after her husband, and other François as her father. François died in the days that followed his birth.
After this tragic year, Charlotte and Pierre live for four years before conceiving another child. Then March 13, 1686, this brought Jacques to join the family of Charlotte and Pierre. He was born in Trois Rivieres and baptized March 23, 1686 in the parish of St. Pierre de Sorel.
During the last pregnancy of Charlotte, Pierre died, leaving her alone to raise their children, the eldest only nine years and his baby not having been born yet. Pierre died on November 6, 1687, on his land in Trois-Rivieres de loup (Louiseville).
Pierre was only 45 years old when he died. He was thus still very young to disappear, but note that at that time the French and Indian War had begun again. Nothing states to us concretely that the death of Pierre was caused by the savages, but we believe it appropriate to suspect. Pierre could have been found dead at the hands of these Indians who again attacked the inhabitants at that time, at the provocation of the French authorities.
Thanks to the audacity of their two friends, François Bergeron and François Baillac, who faced the climate and the obstacles, so that Pierre was buried in Trois-Rivieres, November 8, 1687, two days following its death.
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