Daumeray, Angers, Anjou, France
Burial: 12 Aug 1687
Ste Aux Trembles, Montreal, Ile Of Montreal, Qc
The pictured Guertin Coat of Arms hereby illustrated is officially documented in Rietstap's Admorial General. The original description of the arms (shield) is as follows (translated from original French):
"Blue: a gold cevron accompanied in the upper third by two silver stars and in base by a silver crescent; a gold olive branch issuing from the crescent."
Taken from the web page by Dennis Guertin
Louis Guertin dit Le Sabotier
a member of
La Grande Recrue de 1653
"Ces cent hommes ont sauvé l'île de Montréal et tout le Canada aussi."
(These one hundred men saved the island of Montréal and all of Canada as well.)
MM. de Denonville et de Champigny, 1687
The following story of Louis Guertin, one of the first of our ancestors to come to the New World is taken from many sources.
Update: 1 October 1996
The Story of Louis Guertin dit Le Sabotier
The following comes from my liberal translation of "La Grande Recrue de 1653" (see references) and other sources.
Ten years after its founding, Montréal agonized. Casualties from Iroquois attacks increased without pause and one witness wrote:
"The Iroquois have spread their rage and cruelty all over our country, not just against the Algonquins and Hurons who they have conquered, but now they're turning their fury to our French villages."
"...the colonists feel well justified in their fear that since the Hurons have been destroyed, they are now surrounded by the Iroquois."
In 1651, a priest wrote :
"It's a marvel that the French of Villemarie have not been exterminated by the frequent surprise (attacks) that have repeatedly been beaten back."
and another wrote:
"The courage of the French in Villemarie came as a terrible surprise to the Iroquois on many occasions...It will be a long time before Montreal becomes a peaceful place to live, the Iroquois have been fighting for many years and the barbarities they have committed against many of their prisoners are those not even the most cruel tyrant could have invented."
A nun wrote:
"We have seen on many occasions 10 men of Villemarie, and sometimes less than that!, fighting off groups of 50 or 80 Iroquois; this is how they gained a great reputation in all of Canada, and in France, and the Iroquois themselves have avowed that 3 Montrealers had more fight in them than 6 others."
It was from this tiny colony, reduced to fifty or so inhabitants, that its founder Monsieur de Maisonneuve departed in the fall of 1651 for France with the mission to recruit no less than 100 settlers. He had already decided that if he couldn't get the 100, he would have to abandon Villemarie and pull all the colonists back down river to Quebec.
By the end of the summer of 1653, the Iroquois had concluded peace arrangements with other tribes and some 600 warriors were traveling to Montréal with the objective of attacking and destroying Villemarie.
M. De Maisonneuve En France (1652)
When he left Maisonneuve had hoped to return by July 1652. (Since I'm writing this while I translate it on the fly, I'll leave off the financial problems he had on page 6 for later or someone else!)
To supplement the colony he was looking for young, strong, and courageous men familiar with weapons and possessing a useful and needed profession. And sincerely Catholic!
He hired a M. de la Dauversiere to help in the enlistment, and between March, April and May of 1653, men he had organized in Picardie, Champage, Normandie, Ile de France, Touraine, Bourgogne (Burgandy), but principally in Maine and Anjou, and above all in the region surrounding La Fleche, concluded contracts with notaries and the "Compagnie de Montreal".
Those from the La Fleche region numbered 119, and another 34 from elsewhere brought the total to 153.
The men signed on for periods of three to five years with the passage and salary, each according to his profession, paid by La Compagnie de Montréal.
(The recruits were advanced a portion of their wages, to settle their affairs in France, etc.)
Each colonist promised to appear to board the Sainte-Nicholas-de-Nantes captained by Pierre le Besson, owned by M.Charles Le Coq, sieur de Beaussonnière. The departure date was set for the last day of April, 1653 from the port of St-Nazaire.
(There is some discussion and at least one or two papers written on the actual numbers of colonists, but I will stick to the following.)
Of the 153 recruits, 50 didn't show up for departure, leaving 103. Of the 103, 8 died during the crossing, leaving 95. Of these 95, 24 were destined to be massacred by the Iroquois, 4 would be drowned accidentally, and another would die in a fire. Fewer than 49 would eventually leave heirs (never married, returned to France after the enlistment period, etc.) , and 29 of them would end up joining the St-Famille militia in 1663.
The role for the recruitment taken at dockside in St-Navaire lists the annual salaries for the recruits and the amount advanced. Here is:
"A Louis Gueretin La somme de soixante Et quatorze livres quatre sols huict deniers"
Translated: To Louis Gueretin the sum of seventy-four livres (4 sols, 8 deniers)
Further, he is listed as being hired at 60 livres per annum, and acknowledges the receipt of 74 livres in advance. He had been hired as:
"Guertin dit le Sabotier, Louis, defricheur et sabotier."
A defricheur is someone who clears bush, and a sabotier is a boot maker. What kind of boot, or shoes, I'm not sure of. The wooden clogs everyone associates with Holland are also called "sabots", and are not exclusive to Holland, but they could have been what we think of as shoes or boots.
Louis concluded his contract on the 24th April 1653, and the acknowledgement of having received an advance on the 20 June 1653, the same day the Saint-Nicholas-de-Nantes left St-Nazaire.
La Soeur Bourgeois who was on board wrote:
"A peine avait-on levé l'ancre qu'on s'aperçut que le navire était pourri et faisait eau de toutes parts" !
Translated: As soon as the anchor was raised, it was apparent the ship was rotten and water appeared (leaked in) everywhere.
By the time the ship was 350 leagues at sea, it was found to be so unseaworthy that it returned to port and another ship had to be chartered. It proved to be difficult to find another ship on such short notice, and in the meantime Maisonneuve put all of the soldiers on an island to ensure they wouldn't desert. None did. This ship (name lost to history) finally left on the 20th July 1653.
Louis appears in the list as number 70. Out of curiosity, what happened, or was to happen to his shipmates? Well...:
Passenger 60 would be killed by the Iroquois in 1664.
Passenger 61 would die during the voyage.
Passenger 62 would return to France in 1658 and return to Canada in 1659 and marry.
Passenger 63 would marry in 1663.
Passenger 64 would marry and be killed by Iroquois in 1662.
Passenger 65 would marry in 1667.
Passenger 66 would drown in 1656.
Passenger 67 would die during the voyage.
Passenger 68 would die during the voyage.
Passenger 69 would stay on.
Passenger 70 would stay on and marry in 1659.
Passenger 71 would die during the voyage.
Passenger 72 would die during the voyage.
Passenger 73 would be killed by the Iroquois in 1660 with the Compagnon de Dollard.
Passenger 74 would be killed by the Iroquois in 1660 with the Compagnon de Dollard.
Passenger 75 would die during the voyage.
Passenger 76 would marry in 1658.
Passenger 77 would die during the voyage.
Passenger 78 would stay on.
Passenger 79 would move to Trois-Rivières.
Passenger 80 would stay on
The crossing took 60 days. As mentioned above, as many as 8 recruits died during the crossing and the ship arrived at the city of Quebec on the 22nd September 1653 where attempts were made by the locals to convince the colonists to disembark and take up life in Quebec. (How could they resist? In the Upper Town there was five or six houses and in Lower Town, two stores!) None did.
After more than ten years of existence the people of Quebec still thought of Montreéal as "une folle enterprise" (a crazy undertaking) and refused to furnish Maisonneuve with barges to travel upriver. The vessel they had crossed in was too large to travel further up river and apparently in such disrepair it was burned where it floated to dispose of it! The month of October was spent trying to find smaller boats to go upriver, which the authorites finally gave in to and the settlers did not arrive in Villemarie until the 16th November 1653. A full two years after Maisonneuve had left for reinforcements.
Three years after his arrival Louis was granted a piece of property by M. de Maisonneuve on the 10 December 1656. This land was 2 arpents along the riverfront by 15 arpents deep. It would be bounded by the present-day Dorion and Papineau Streets, with the depth ending between Logan and de Montigny Streets.
From "La Grande Recrue de 1653" we find out that Louis was a "Concessionnaire de Villemarie le 10 décembre 1656". (Georges Christman informs us "Concessionnaire" means "Landholder"; others may have pointed this out to me as well, but Georges email made me jump on changing it.)
Jean Oliver signed a "reconnaissance" for him the 6th of February 1658 and Pierre Gadois leased him a cow the 9th of December 1660. I have inklings of what the former is but will hold off for now, and the latter is fairly self-explanatory. (Georges Christman also informs us reconnaissance "is a Promissory note in other words an I.O.U.")
Again, according to this reference, he entered into a contract to marry before Notary Public Basset on the 6 October 1659. (This was a common undertaking.) His wife to be was, Marie Madeleine Elisabeth Le Camus, daughter of Pierre and Jeanne Charas (or Charles), of St-Sauveur de Paris. Pierre is described as either a doctor or merchant (perhaps both?).
Let me put in an aside here: These people were pretty strict Catholics and most of the children born to them were automatically going to be named "Marie" something or other. It can get confusing when families get up to 10 and 12 children, and researchers 300 years after the facts try to nail down genealogies.
Elisabeth Le Camus arrived in Canada with the second "Recrue" of 1659 at the end of September (29th); so at age 14, she had already made a contract to marry within 6 to 10 days! "La Grande Recrue" states they were married on the 26 January 1659 in the parish of Notre Dame de Montréal, which is obviously a mistake and the marriage date is elsewhere reported as 26 October 1659. So they married less than a month after she arrived in Canada.
Louis was enrolled in the "milice de la sainte-Famille" as a soldier in the 19th Squadron (Squad). Maisonneuve had formed the militias in 1663 to organize against the Iroquois attacks. The militia was made up of 20 such squads. The 19th contained:
Jean Valliquet dit Laverdure (Caporal)
Jacques Delaporte dit Sainte-Georges
Pierre Gaudin dit Chastillon
Louis Gueretin dit Lesabotier
Simon Despres dit Berry
Census of 1666
This census states Louis was 31 years old and a habitant, and Elisabeth was 21. It also shows his neighbours as being Pierre Dardenne and Marin Hurtubise. His children are listed as "Elisabeth 5, Marie 4, Catherine 2."
Census of 1667
This census includes the following: 4 beats (beasts) and 14 arpents in value.
In 1673, he is shown as being taxed "deux livres" on the tax roll of Montreal.
On the 19 August 1678, Louis was called as a witness against Valiquet dit Laverdure, who was accused of cutting the wheat in the Seigneurs meadows without permission. This guy deserves a story in himself when I get around to it, plus he was Louis' Corporal in the Militia!
Elisabeth died and was buried on July 20, 1680.
Census of 1681
The 1681 Census has Louis at age 50,and his children Catherine 17, Louis 14, Madeleine 12, Pierre 9, Eustache 8, Angelique 6, Francois 3, and Paul 1. He owns 1 gun, 3 "horned beasts" (cattle or oxen?), and 30 arpents in value. By this time three other daughters had already married and left the home.
Marie Elisabeth married at 12 years old in 1673 to Eustache Prevost, Marie married at 13 in 1675 to Pierre Handgrave, and Marie married at 13 in 1679 to Jean Sauviot.
Without knowing the actual documents quoted here, it seems that Louis struggled as best he could but had to resort to leasing his land, and loans to keep going. When he died in 1687, his youngest child Paul would have only been seven, but the eldest daughter was 28 or so, so some of the legal documents dealing with the minors may show they went to live with siblings.
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