ancestry of Manitoba has been updated from the genealogy information acquired through the efforts of Larry Quinto, who
is a fourth cousin once removed, I think that sounds so cool; and through his grandmother's side (Euphrosine Desjarlais),
Larry resides in Ottawa. And key information on his site had been obtained from a colourful update sent
in by Glen Desjarlais, son of Jules Desjarlais the singing cowboy from Winnipeg Manitoba. Thank you both.
On the 24 September
2004 I was invited to a diner honoring Lucien Desjarlais of Louiseville, along with the surviving members of the Desjarlais
family of Louiseville. And during that reunion Michelle Desjarlais had given me a book on the "History of Louiseville', dating
from 1665 to 1960. And what I had discovered in that book had opened my eyes with reference to the first pioneer of Louiseville,
and that is to say, Jean-Jacquet deGerlaisse. And what I had found interesting, and I include those side notes, while
reading through those documents and while our ancestors had been laying down our roots in New France (Quebec) the history
that we had studied in grade school was also unfolding,and in parallel and at the same time as our genealogy, so on with
of New France had begun with the exploration of this vast continent by the French explorer Jacques Cartier in 1534. Jacques
Cartier had been looking for a new route West, as had Henry Hudson, so I guess one could say that the discovery of Canada
had been accidental.
Canada just happened to be on the route that those explorers had taken while they had explored that
new passageway. And as I continue with our genealogy I will include notes that make reference to historic events of that time
period and that had unfolded in parallel with the historic events of our ancestry.
Note: Queen Elizabeth 1st daughter of the infamous King Henry Vlll had lived from 1533 to 1603.
time of Colonization 'Acadia' had formed a part of the Old French Colony. New France had spread over an immense territory
and that must have been a source of inspiration for the new colonists, as it is for me today as I read about it. New France
from 1609 to 1763 had included Quebec, Acadia, and the vast Louisiana Territory, all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico, and
then west to the Rocky Mountains, and then had continued north to the Great Lakes area, which is almost the whole of
continental USA, except for the Eastern seaboard.
Note: Galileo Galilee the famous Italian astronomer that had invented the telescope had
lived from 1564 to 1642.
to whom we give so much credit to the development of Quebec, had lived from 1491 to 1557. And that development had continued
with Samuel de Champlain the French explorer that had founded Quebec City in 1608, and he had lived from 1567 to 1635.
Rubens the famous Flemish painter had lived from 1577 to 1640. He had painted those fat ladies, from which we have coined
the term Rubenesque. And Hamlet,
one of the most famous Shakespearean tragedies had been first printed in the year 1603.
Cartier had first explored the Gulf of the mighty St. Lawrence in 1534, he had made first contact with the indigenous population.
And in 1535 when Cartier had first arrived at a place very near what is now Quebec City, and that place had been the Indian
Village of Stadacona. The Chief had been named Donnacona. And when Samuel de Champlain had returned in the year
of 1608 the Indian settlement of Stadacona had vanished. And seeing that as an opportunity to establish a strategic foothold
as well as a good site for development, Quebec, the walled city had been born. The walled city is still there today, it is
known as the Citadel. And during the following years, New France had become a thriving community, with Frontenac as Governor,
Jean Talon as Intendant, and Laval, as Bishop. An Intendant is nothing more then an administrator sort of like today's Mayors.
And fraternization with the indigenous population had not been discouraged, and a lot of the men had run with the Indians
of the surrounding area. That had meant that they had befriended the Indians and they had partied with them, and had enjoyed
their women. Those men had become known as Coureur-de-bois, and that had been a slight to those men, an insult of sorts for
trucking with savages, yet it had been those very men that had discovered the lucrative fur trade. That term 'Coureur-de-bois'
had been translated by the British as 'Runners-of-the-woods', but it hadn't been the woods that the Frenchman had been
running after, it had been the Indian women, and had nothing to do with the woods, stupid Anglais,
And rapidly the fur trade had become very important and had soon been New Frances
only source of revenue. And this bounty had lasted quite a few years until the British had snuck in the back door through
Hudson's Bay, and they had eventually infiltrated New France. The Brits and the French homeland had been engaged in a continuing
war, and that influence had carried over into New France. And that had resulted in skirmishes between the French and the English
and lives had been lost.
Before I continue, historically speaking the exploitation of New France had begun
as a private venture, but that had changed to a Royal decree in 1663.
And in the year
of 1642, just one year before Jean-Jacquet had been born, a courageous band of settlers, Nuns and soldiers, had pushed their
way upriver to the island with the volcanic cone. The place is known as Mount Royal, and it was there that those courageous people had built their little fort, and on the slope
of that hill. And despite several Iroquois attacks the settlement had grown into the small fur-trading town of Ville Marie, which would later become the Cosmopolitan City
of Montreal. The locale in Montreal center today, that is known as Place D'Armes, had been a battlefield in 1644.
Note: In 1644 had been born a man who would make violins a work of art and precision. Antonnéo
Stradivarius had lived from 1644 to 1737.
difficult to picture the life of the early colonists, it had been a very hard and difficult life. So why had they come? What had convinced those that had opted to leave a civilized lifestyle
behind and travel to a far away land, when nothing had been certain except the uncertainty and danger of living in a savage
country? Think of it, they had left their families and friends behind, forever, at least that is what I had thought in
the beginning of researching this story? So, what had it been that had lured them into the unknown? Had it been the promise
of land, the promise of riches, or something as simple as a new start in life? Or had they been forced or coerced? Coming
to New France could have been the way of repaying a debt I suppose, and staying out of debtors prison? Why do I
say that? I say that because of information I found this June 2003. I was surprised to read archives relating to the
departure of colonists, and that not all of those French Colonists had chosen to remain in New France. In fact many had
returned to their homeland. And I had always thought that once here, as in New France, that the colonists had been
here to stay, but I had erred in my assumption.
And boatloads of French Colonists
had returned to France after having served out their term. That happened because when the French had begun the exploitation
of this great country that had not meant that they had originally considered permanent residence here. And although many
had chosen to remain in New France it had been their choice, and France didn't care one way or the other.
and exploitation of New France had begun by the One-Hundred Associates, businessmen who's only interest had been to make a
profit. That would explain why our numbers had been so low when compared to those of the British. And our
inferior numbers had led to our eventual downfall; anyway, on with the story.
The change of lifestyles for the colonists to adapt to had been drastic. Even the
trip across the Atlantic Ocean had not been without peril, and some new colonists had died onboard and had been buried at
Note: In 1610 a man named Henry Hudson while exploring for a new passage to China
had instead discovered Hudsons Bay. He died there trapped by the cold weather after his crew had mutinied, which had been
his claim to fame.
And when Jean-Jacquet
had arrived in New France it hadn't been long before he too had discovered that the winters in France and Belgium had been
nothing compared to the winters of New France. And for some the winters had been too cold and too long, and many had died.
They had to put up with the cold of the winter and the scarcity of food, and the occasional and continuing skirmishes
with the Indians. And because of the cold and isolation the Habitants as they were called, had wintered within the built up
areas, be it Sorel or Quebec City, for example, because the life on the Seigniorial had been too difficult during the cold
winter months. Sounds like it had been anything but a picnic?
The year is 1665, and Jean-Jacquet has arrived. And
during the next two years and during the quiet times,
he would work the farm with his host family and till the fields, for the Regiment's diner table. But he had also
been part of the support staff within the Carignan-Salieres Regiment. He, like many of the other support soldiers had
been housed within local families, to provide the needed security within the Seigniorial, but when not otherwise
engaged they had helped around the farm. This hadn't been anything new to Jean-Jacquet deGerlaisse because he had grown up
within the Seigneurie des Hameteaux, where his father had been the Seigneur.
deGerlaisse was born in St. Paul-de-Liege, Belgium, in 1643. He was the son of Ferdinand deGerlaisse, "Seigneur
des Hameteaux" and his mother the beautiful Dorothée Cona. This paragraph reveals that Jean-Jacquet's father had been
a feudal lord or a landowner in French Belgium. Most of the country of Belgium had been under the French Monarchy, and St.
Paul-de-Liege had been a Principality. And while much of Europe and France and including Belgium had been war torn during
the 16th and 17th Centuries, St. Paul-de-Liege had been spared occupation and the ravages of war because it had been
the Ecclesiastical Seat of the Roman Catholic Church, and home to the Prince-Bishops.
It is interesting
to note that Jean-Jacquet had already been 'Sieur de St. Amant' when he had left Belgium, a title that he did not retain
here, however, yet that title had forever been included within his coordinates, as in Jean-Jacquet ... dit St. Amant,
and in some other official documents retrieved his name is written Sieur deGerlaisse or Sieur de St. Amant.
So, I continue;
the son follows in the footsteps of his father up to a point. It is no secret that wars had plagued the better part of Belgium
during the 16th and 17th century. So at the age of nineteen Jean-Jacquet had joined the Carignan Regiment. He could not
hold the rank of an officer because he had not been of traditional Noble birth. And
later, when the Carignan-Salieres Regiment had disbanded in 1667, land had been promised to those soldiers that would agree
to remain in New France. And Jean-Jacquet plus 300 of his comrades at arms had remained.
And shortly thereafter he had entered into discussion with his host, a
man named Jean Trudel, who incidentally had been married to a lady of Belgium ancestry. And together they had arrived
at an agreement, and with that decision made Jean-Jacquet had signed a marriage contract. Jean-Jacquet's future wife to be
was Jeanne Trudel, who had been eleven years old at the time of the signing. Wow, that had blown me away. But it was the times,
and the way things were done. She had been the picture of beauty and innocence. Born in 1656 Jeanne Trudel had been twelve
years old at the time of their union. They had married at, 'La parroise of L'Ange Guardien' near Lac Beauport,
Northeast of Quebec City.
Jeanne Trudel, had been the daughter of Jean Trudel and Marguerite Thomas, de la Paroisse de L'Ange Guardian. And marriages
during those times had been pre-arranged, and marriage contracts had been signed, and Dowries had been assigned to seal
And during their first year of
marriage and as so stipulated within the marriage contract; they had lived with her parents. I doubt that they had even slept
together, in fact I'm certain they hadn't, at least not the first years.
Jean-Jacquet had accompanied the ex-soldiers of the Regiment that had remained, to guard the Seigniorial, and
had been away from home a lot I imagine.
And I have done the calculations. Jeanne had her first child at the tender age
of seventeen in 1673, and Jean-Jacquet had been thirty years old at the time. That year, 1673, had been pivitol
in the life of Jean-Jacquet. What had remained of the Carignan-Salieres Regiment had long since fragmented, and in its stead
had formed several small Militia units, and each one assigned to a particular Seigneury. And 1673 is also the year of their
first born, Catherine, and it is also the year that Jean-Jacquet had signed up with the 'Militia', and that just
happens to coincides with the year that his lease had been finally approved.
As a footnote,
three years after Jean-Jacquet had married, Raddisson and Grosseilliers had founded the Hudson's Bay fur trading Company.
Now you must remember the times, it had been the English against the French every step of the way. And although that
move had been precipitated because Raddisson and Grosseilliers had been snubbed by the French colonists, and worst, by their
homeland of France, but had that been reason enough for that traitorous act? They had been French had they not? So how the
hell could they have gone over to the British? I sometimes wonder what Jean-Jacquet had thought of that? I mean really, what
was the world coming to?
history shows, on the 12 Aug 1673 the deal is sealed and with that investment Jean-Jacquet had become Louiseville's
first colonist. His farm lease of seven
years, closed, had been drawn up the 27th July.That lease had been
drawn up by Messire Francois Dollier de Casson and had been signed by Jean-Jacquet deGerlaisse dit St. Amant... habitant de
la Riviere-du-loup seigneurie de Maneruille, 12th August 1674.
And I have driven
through the area, and visited Sorel and Trois-Rivieres, and while I had driven through Louiseville the migrating Canada geese
had covered the neighboring fields. The migrating ducks and geese always stop in those fields, and I was wondering if they
had during that time, three centuries earlier? There had been so many geese, enough to feed the whole of the French settlements
of the 17th century and more. It had been an awesome sight.
the 1670s the Hudson's Bay fur trading Company drew away some of the fur trade that had formerly gone exclusively to the St.
Lawrence. And because of that skirmishes between the French and the English had escalated. And those small battles had been
a part of the greater struggle, that is to say, the war between the parent countries of France and England.
And by the middle
of the 17th century there had been a mere 25000 French colonists as compared to the 80,000 British.
And during this point
in history, the Western portion of this great land had still belonged to the North American Indian. But that is also a misnomer,
because the North American Indian had not staked a claim to land. They had considered the land as being free and without boundaries.
And they had thought nothing of following the great buffalo herds as far south, and into what is now Montana and onwards
to New Mexico. And true to their heritage the Plains Indians had been nomads. But with the arrival of the British and the founding of the Hudson's Bay fur trading
company, a vast western portion of western Canada would eventually fall under HBC control.
The political upheaval
of the times and the uncertainty that accompanies political instability does not deter Jean-Jacquet from his path. He remains
a determined worker of the soil.
The lucrative fur trade which had
always been at the forefront, had remained New Frances main source of revenue, but a thorn in her side. New France had
needed the land and the farms to provide stability
for a growing community, but it had also liked the easy money that the fur trade had provided.
The fur trade had never appealed to Jean-Jacquet, he had loved the land,
it had been stable and he could see the fruit of his labor. And he had been very successful at his job. And a public notary,
Me. Adhemar establishes his worth in a balancing of the books between he and Joachim Germano, the 2nd September
And at the time Jean-Jacquet
had been thirty-eight years old and had been the owner of six bovines and twelve acres of valuable land.
And as I had written
these passages I had tried to envision Jean-Jacquet, what had he looked like? Had he been tall and thin
with an athletic body. He had been part of the Carignan-Salieres Regiment, and that regiment had boasted its members as being
big and strong? Did he smoke or chew tobacco?
And being from
Belgium, and having lived within the very modern and beautiful City of St. Paul-de-Liege, I would think that
Jean-Jacquet was most probably educated. In fact, within a passage of the Book "Histoire De Louiseville", it is mentioned
that Jean-Jacquet deGerlaisse had been of the 'Bourgeoisie, and somewhat educated ... which seems somewhat like a backhanded
I wonder, did he know Raddisson and Grosseilliers, had he ever seen them? He had most certainly known or heard of
them because of the importance that their going over
to the British camp had, and by all appearances they had been very high profile individuals.
So, as I sit here in the comfort of
my home in front of my PC and writing this, the TV set plays in the background. And my two toy poodles are on the couch, I
think they are sleeping. And I try to imagine this individual, and I try to imagine what it's like where he is sitting?
He had sat in the middle of the destruction of all that it had meant to settle down under the French flag, and had been unable
to stop what had been happening around him, and surely had been frustrated at the thought of an eventual capitulation. That
had to be frustrating?
The small battles had been going on all around him. Louiseville is not that far from the settlement of Ville Marie.
And Ville Marie has grown into the City of Montreal. And there had been another murderous Iroquois uprising in 1689 with
the massacre of Lachine.
And I surmise through
the reading of our family tree that we are the descendants of humble ancestry, no Nobility and no Aristocracy, and certainly
no Royalty. We are the products of an adventurous parentage, at least I think so. Our forefathers had been brave enough
to dream the dream, and had been brave enough to accept the change that the dream had demanded of them. Think of it! The colonists
had left an already established and civilized lifestyle, where one could go to the corner store for a loaf of bread, and then
they had embarked upon a camping trip that would last for the rest of their lives. When they had chosen to come over to New
France, survival had meant doing everything, just in order to survive from one day to the next. There hadn't been any luxuries.
It is near
impossible to imagine what it had been like back then. I have gone, and I have visited Louiseville to try to get a feel for
the place, but I hadn't been able. The place looks like many of the small farming communities. It is very pretty and situated
on the St. Lawrence River, so is actually a picturesque town. I had visited the magnificent Church and the lonely cemetery,
and I had walked along the river, the same river that Jean-Jacquet had walked, I saw his land, and the same river that had claimed the lives of two of his granddaughters,
Catherine and Marie-Therese, so long ago. I tried, but I couldn't feel it or taste it, and the total immersion of that environment
of that time past, had escaped me. It had only been later as I had written this historic that they had come to life.
And on that land today, is
erected a cross with the year 1665 attached, showing where the first chapel had been built, and on his land. And interestingly
within the book 'Histoire de Louiseville', a map shows the placements of the farms, and it has Jean-Jacquet's name inscribed
on two plots of land. One of those plots was his, the one where the chapel had been built, while the other plot had belonged
to his son Jean-Francois. His son Antoine had also farmed, and his land had been nearer his fathers.
Live the sweltering
hot humid summers, where sleep evades you at night because of the suffocating heat. And experience the freezing cold winters
and the cold arctic air that whips off the St. Lawrence and cuts through your warmest clothes and whips your face, bringing tears to your eyes, tears which instantly freeze.
And at night, at home, the only place to keep warm is under the covers while you listen to the howling wind outside. And when you sit down and eat during the winter months, you
ration your food, or later you may go hungry. And just before the winter set in, they would hunt and trap rabbits and clean
and hang them in a cold room outside, safe from vermin, to tide them over through winter. Summer, only fresh food because
they hadn't any refrigeration.
Ah the nice warm
bed, but you have to get up, no matter what, that's what it meant when you worked the land. It meant getting up at the crack
of dawn and seeing your breath as you had struggled to get a fire going to warm up the house.
a horse named 'Maggie' now so he has to go out to the barn and feed her. The barn is small with low ceilings and tight stalls.
It had earth piled around the outer walls and on the roof for insulation from the harsh winter. It is warm in there, and from
the animals breath it is humid. His cattle have also to be fed and watered, and he has to milk the cows. He has to clean the stalls and lay down new straw for bedding for his animals;
these animals are his lifelines.
He finishes his morning chores and heads for the house, he hasn't even eaten yet
but he knows that Jeanne has a hot coffee and breakfast waiting for him. It is still dark as he exits the barn and he rubs
his hands together blowing warm air over them, then he closes the barn door and heads for the house.
Ya gotta love him!
And all the things
that we take for granted today, such as aspirin and penicillin did not exist in Jean-Jacquet's day. Colonists often died because
they had lacked proper medical care and often the very young had not been strong enough to fight the ravages of disease. Smallpox,
diphtheria, tuberculosis, measles, chicken pox, and the mumps had been common maladies but sometimes they had proved fatal.
Dehydration caused by dysentery had claimed many young children, as had whooping cough. Something as benign as appendicitis
was most often fatal. Dental hygiene had not been a big concern and rotten teeth had been a common thing and a part of everyday
life. Listen to this, it is something that I have just recently learned, and quite by accident. If you look at photos
of the people of that time, none of them are smiling.
the white man's disease that had followed them to the new world had spread to the people of the First nations, and in some
cases had almost decimated certain tribes. The tribes had been small, kept small because it had been easier to feed a small
group. And within certain areas, those small groups had lived within sight of each other, for strength against attack; there is strength in numbers.
Note: And while history is unfolding for our ancestors Johann Sebastian Bach had lived 1685- 1750.
the French had tried to stimulate growth of the population by encouraging large families. Jean Talon had rewarded those who
had married young and those that had large families. The others had been penalized, those that had remained single had been
Louis de Buade de Frontenac had begun his second mandate in 1689, the year of the Lachine massacre and also the moment that
England had declared war on France.
In Canada the English had vastly outnumbered the
French and in 1690 when the British had approached Frontenac to capitulate, from his bastion in Quebec he had answered
with that now famous phrase, "You will get your answer through the mouths of my canons". Well, if not realistic, it had sounded
de Gerlaisse had been very successful as a 'Habitant' and on the 6th May 1690 he and his beautiful wife Jeanne
formally recognized that her father had fulfilled their wedding dowry as promised. Do you understand the implication of that
statement? What that means is that no matter how divorced they had been as Colonists and from the parent country of France,
they had taken with them the values and traditions that they had grown up with. I have found no mention what that Dowry had
been, but one can imagine that it had been financial aid, plus some farm animals?
is true that the colonists had very large families, that had been encourage by Talon and the Church. If ones wife hadn't always
been pregnant the Parish Priest had wanted to know why? It is also true that the children had all helped around the farm. They had done chores, they fed the chickens and cleaned the house. They had done the laundry and set the table, and washed
the dishes afterwards and they even made the beds. And on Sunday, after mass the children had gathered all the adults shoes
and had shined them with shoe polish. The older children of the family had taken care of the younger. And as the children
grew older the clergy had looked after schooling, and in most instances the Nuns had taught school. Schools of that milieu
rarely went any higher then grade four for the simple reason that it had not been necessary. Besides,
education had been for the aristocrats.
ways the life of the Colonists had not been much different from today. After the days work is done we all take our pants off
one leg at a time. We suffer the same losses today that they had then. We say that the death of a family member is never easy
to bear but when that death is that of a child it is the worst death. Parents are supposed to die first. And when our children
are taken away, and most often brutally, it is hell.
Our first family
had lost three of their precious children. They had lost their first-born; a girl named Catherine aged ten. That is just when
we are finally getting to know them, ten is not old. Jeanne's second child a boy named Pierre had only lived four months.
She had still been nursing the little angel when
he had died. Jean-Jacquet had baptized two of his girls Marie-Josephte; the first had lived for less then a month. How could
they have coped with the loss of their children?
a young mother and wife still manage to hold the family together, to clean house, cook the meals and comfort the children,
to mourn, to cry, and ask why?
It becomes obvious
to me that for the Colonists to survive had taken a great degree of community spirit. Whenever someone suffered a loss
or illness they had all pulled together, because the family ties had been very close. Jeanne and Jean-Jacquet mourn the loss of their babies, they buried them and had continued on with life. They certainly did not have it easy, none of the first colonists
had, but they did their best.
And you know what, we are the living proof of their
When I had first
begun writing this genealogy our ancestors had been complete strangers, only so many names on a piece of paper with the dates
when they had lived and died.
They had not been alive, and I know that sounds like an odd thing to say but its true. And today I feel a kinship
since I have given them life, so to speak, and my heart goes out to them. Jean-Jacquet and Jeanne had managed to raise a loving
family of ten beautiful children in less then perfect circumstance, and now I
realize a connection. Now I realize that we are part of that family. Their blood flows
through our veins.
But things go downhill.
And with each declaration of war by the Sovereign Nations, the repercussions had been felt in Canada. And in 1713, and by
the Treaty of Utrecht, France had conceded Detroit, Hudson's Bay, Acadia and Newfoundland.
Note: In 1756 had been born what would become the phenomenal Austrian music composer by the name of Wolfgang
Amadeus Mozart. Amadeus signifies aimé de Dieu, Loved by God. This child prodigy had written his first Overture at the age of six. He had died December 5th 1791 and he was only
35 years old.
with the deportation of the Loyal French subjects (Acadians) in 1755 the bell had tolled, signalling a prelude to the end.
The conquest of Canada, which had been buried under the struggle of the fur trade, had finally known its conclusion. And what
Jean-Jacquet had been afraid of had finally happened, after Quebec had been taken in battle. He
hadn't seen that of course, it had been after his time. And New France had
become British by the Treaty of 1763.
Canada, which had been basically Quebec, had
been allowed to keep its boundaries, its French language, and its freedom of worship, its education system and its civil code.
And at the signing of the Capitulation of Quebec, which had taken place shortly after the Battle of the Plains of Abraham,
and those concessions aforementioned had been considered generous by both sides. And for that generous consideration the French
had proved loyal when British revolutionary forces from the south had captured Montreal in 1755 and had attempted to
The British-American Revolution,
which had begun in 1755 had lasted until 1783.
As a footnote, built
near the Plains of Abraham and covering seven acres, can be found the Ursaline Convent founded in 1639. It is certainly amongst
the oldest educational institutions for girls on the continent. Within its Chapel it holds in reverence the skull of the fallen General Montcalm.
Note: Around this
time had been born another famous composer by the name of Ludwig Van Beethoven, renowned German Composer that had lived 1770-1827.
I think it is
appropriate to note that an Indian Chief by the name of Pontiac had led an uprising against the British because he had
supported the French. That unsuccessful uprising had lasted from 1763 till 1766, but it had been too little too late.
But throughout it
all Jean-Jacquet and his wife had a very good life. They had been together many years and their happiness had made their hardships
seem bearable. They had many Christmas parties and many happy birthdays. The children had learned to play the fiddle like
their father, and together they had sang the
lusty French songs of the times at family parties and accompanied by the accordion. They had brought up their family well,
they had regularly attended church and when they couldn't they had knelt around the kitchen table and had said their prayers.
They had worked the land and had taken the time to smell the flowers and they had prospered, and so had their community. Then
when the Clergy had decided that the community had needed a Chapel they had approached Jean-Jacquet.
the 11th September 1711 Jean-Jacquet had been obliged to give up a parcel of his land to the construction of the
Chapel. For the portion of land that he had willingly given up he had been given one hundred pounds. He had also been granted
the privilege of having his family seated at the front of the church in a pew reserved in his and his children s names.
Jean-Jacquet de Gerlaisse and his wife Jeanne Trudel are the first of the
Desjarlais ancestors on this continent and have the privilege of beginning the story of our lineage. Our ancestry continues through his son baptized Jean-François.
From the union of Jean-Jacquet de Gerlaisse and the lovely Jeanne Trudel are
born ten beautiful children. They are listed below.
1. Catherine B 14
Baptised 23 April 1673, L'Ange Guardien
Died 28 May 1683 Sorel
2. Pierre B 26 Sep 1677 Sorel
Died 14 Jan 1678
3. Madeline B 01 Jan
4. Jeanne B Dec 1679 St.François-du-Lac
Married 20 Aug 1705 Trois-Rivieres,
Pierre Benoit, Sieur de la Forest,
Gabriel Benoit and Anne-Marie Guédon
Died 25 Nov 1771
5. Marguerite Born (Unknown)
Married 1704 Trois-Rivieres,
Pierre Lamirante, Sieur de
Jean Lamirante Sieur de Papineau
6. Marie-Josephte Born 16 Nov 1689 Trois- Rivieres
Died Dec 1689
7. Marie-Josephte Born Oct 1690
Married 25 May 1709, to
Lesage, son of
Lesage and Marguerite Roussel
Died 12 May 1768 Louiseville
8. Antoine Born (Unknown)
Married 25 May 1709
Marie-Angelique Pelletier, veuve de
Banhiac, and daughter of,
Pelletier and Marguerite-
Madeline Morrisseau (No children)
9. Marie-Ann Born 19 Mar 1698 St. Anne-de-la-Perade
Married 04 Mar 1714, to
Brissard, son of
Brissard and Marie Bernard
Baptised 02 Jun 1699
that continues the branch of our lineage is Jean-François. He had been the last of the ten children and is most
pivotal, because he had been the one that had continued the family name. His mother Jeanne had been forty-three at the time
of his birth and she had survived another thirty-five years.
even before Jean-François had learned to walk his parents had already noticed how quick and smart he had been. All
through his growing years he had shown maturity beyond his years. As a very little tyke Jean-François would follow his
older brother Antoine and his father into the field. He would get up early so that he could help his father milk the cows. He loved to play in the barn and be around the farm animals, he used
to talk to them affectionately. Jean-Francois had indeed been different. For starters he had been the only one in the family
that had green eyes, everyone else in the family like their mother and father had brown eyes. Jean-Jacquet had said that he
had his mother's eyes, those of Dorothee Cona. And Jean-Francois seemed to know things; he had that uncanny common sense and
knowledge of an old soul. And by the time he had been seven years old his father had noticed how fastidious he had been. By
the time he had reached his tenth birthday he had already been helping his father without ever being asked.
had been amazed by the work ethics of his young son, and it hadn't gone unnoticed within the community. And he and his father
had become very close as he was growing up, almost conspiratorial, and one day he had confided in his father that he too would
have a farm just like his, one day.
and his wife Jeanne are very proud of little Jean-François and with their help le Seigneur Trottier-de-Beaubien of Riviere-du-Loup
(Louiseville) had put aside a parcel of land in Jean-François' name, he was twelve years old at the time. Can you believe
it at the age of twelve Jean-François has his own land?
And this parcel
of land incurs a rent. Jean-François' land is five acres wide by twenty acres deep. The rent is, and I quote 'three Francs
plus un sols de cens et deux chapons de vingt sols faisant un total de cent un sols de redevance par année'. Okay, I have
no idea what that amounts to, it is obviously old form measurements of the French Feudal system.
you noticed the errors in writing; I copied them verbatim, as is, from the archive.
think that Jean-Jacquet had probably counter-signed the lease, it makes sense, I mean the boy was twelve right? And that possibility
would explain why the two land tracts on the old map of the seignorial had been both listed under his name. And by today's
standards this venture seems inconceivable, but in the 18th Century who knows? Perhaps twelve years old then had been
considered the difference between an adolescent and an adult? I mean Jean-Jacquet's wife had been twelve when they had married?
Twelve then had probably been the equivalent to what eighteen years of age is today?
And because we
know that Jean-Fançois had the land and we also know that the land had been without a cabin or a barn and certainly without
livestock. I would have to surmise that Jean-Jacquet had supplied the much-needed equipment to get the land going so that
it could eventually pay for itself. So probably with
the help of family and neighbors they had built the cabin and the barn on the land and helped Jean-Francois break ground
as they had harrowed and tilled the field, clearing away the tree stumps and boulders. I still have trouble accepting that a twelve-year-old boy could own land and make it pay the
rent, and even better the land had made a profit. Obviously Jean-François had not been an ordinary boy, as Jean-Jacquet had
noticed of him at a very young age, it kind of makes you proud.
During the first
five years Jean-François had farmed his land he had lived at his fathers home and the family had combined their efforts on
both parcels of land. They had finished the small utility shed that had been erected to shelter some farm equipment, but its
main purpose had been to shelter the cords of wood that he would later store there to heat the future house that he would
live in, and burn in the stove for meals. They had finally built a barn and Jean-Jacquet had given his son two bovine to begin
a herd of his own. And for seven years Jean-Francois had worked hard and saved his money, paying back his father whenever
he could for the generosity that he had shown him over
Jean-Francois wears a straw hat in the fields and he had just bought a new pair of work boots that he had bought
with his own money. He smokes a pipe in the fields; he had tried chewing tobacco but hadn't liked the way that it had colored
his teeth, and he had swallowed the black juice once and it had made him puke.
Then one day
shortly after Jean-François had turned nineteen he and his father had begun to build the cabin that would be his future
home. They had only finished the framework and the outer walls and the roof, the rest could be finished at their leisure.
And during those years the community had become more and more populated and civilized. The colonists had become self sufficient and self sustaining. The large families had accorded
them a large reservoir of potential future wives and husbands. Marriages had still been pre-arranged in most instances,
but many prospective husbands find their own future wives within the community. And it had been with that new attitude that
Jean-Jacquet had spoken to Jean-Francois. One
day his father suggested that it was time that he should think about getting married and raise a family of his own to,
which Jean-François says, what?
You know something,
I have not had any trouble identifying with Jean-François at all, and I can hear him as clear as a bell as he washes his hands
and face for supper and he looks up at his father, his face still dripping water. Where am I going to find the time Dad? When
I get finished with my days work I just feel like taking it easy and lay down and rest? And Jean-Jacquet had looked over at his wife and had winked as he had answered, son it's more fun to lie down and rest with a good woman.
And so Jean-Jacquet
had planted the seed, and one day while Jean-Francois was at the Sunday community picnic he had spotted the girl of his dreams.
You must realize that Jean-Francois had been one of the most eligible and sought after bachelors within the community.
He could have had the pick of the crop. But on that day a women had caught his eye. She had been in the company
of one of his cousins so he had gone over and had introduced himself. Alas, she had only been visiting and after the dance
he had learned that she had gone. She had lived near Quebec City. But he has fallen in love, and so like all the deGerlaisse
men, he had pursued the girl of his dreams until she had caught him.
But in the
beginning Jean-Jacquet had been dead against this union. He had wanted only the best for his son, and his idea of marrying
a woman that had already been married once hadn't fit into his plans. But eventually the marriage had been arranged, and once Jean-Jacquet
had met her, and to the
of Jean-Francois, he had consented and had welcomed her into the family with open arms. She had been the beautiful Marie-Catherine
Aubert. She had been the widow of Pierre Guyon and the daughter of François Aubert and Angelique Testu. Marie-Catherine had
been bright eyed and had a remarkable intelligence about her, coupled with a quick wit and a sense of humor. She had that
magic, that charisma, which had made Jean-François look much taller.
And so on
the 23rd June 1719 and in Quebec City Jean-François had married the lovely Marie-Catherine Aubert and then they
had resumed married life on the land that he had been farming for the past eight years.
many years after the colonization of the New World, we live in what has often been described as the land of plenty; a free
world where one can live in peace and tranquility in land that had been originally populated by children of a lesser god.
Take for example Australia; it had been
populated with convicted felons straight out of the British dungeons with a complete disregard for the aboriginal people that
had already lived there. We, of Canadian descent share the ancestries of similar circumstance, and although our forefathers
for the most part had been honest people some had been from debtors prison and worst, and had not been of upper class,
in an otherwise classless society. The first colonists had been working people. And that is what was needed in the beginning,
to cut lumber and clean the fields of brush and boulders and begin tilling the land.
And earlier I had said that they had lived within a classless society, and
for the most part that had been true. There had been Royalty and Nobility, then the masses, and whom had been referred to
as peasants ... that is, until the birth of the "Bourgeoises" and what had been referred to as the emerging Middle
And in the very
beginning only men had been sent to colonize the new land and once the colony had been deemed suitable France had sent boatloads
of women as prospective wives. Those women had been known as, les filles du Roi. They had been orphans mostly, perhaps a few
had been prostitutes, and in essence those girls had been without parents and a Dot, (Dowry) and thusly without a future
in France. A young French
that period without a dowry had been deemed unmarrieable.
Those girls had arrived in New France and
been boarded in a special home, and there had been familiarized with the hardships and dangers of colonization and had been
taught what had been necessary for survival, as the lady of the house. That program had begun in 1663 and had lasted
until 1673, and it is credited with contributing greatly to the successful population of Quebec.
as we sit in the comfort of our homes within this land of plenty we see that colonization has worked. In many ways the North
American Continent has surpassed the parent countries from which they had begun. And if colonization hadn't taken place, would
this land still be barren land with herds of roaming buffalo and scattered bands of nomadic Indians?
Throughout the span
of Jean-François and Marie-Catherine's life they had lived and loved through the good times and the bad. They had worked hard
at raising a good family and had succeeded. Two of his sons, Antoine and Jean-Francois would follow in his footsteps and own
land within the same Seignorial. Antoine had married, but hadn't any children.
family had attended church regularly and had sat
right up front in their reserved pews. Just that little inconsequential thing, had placed the deGerlaisse within a certain
class within the community, and it had made them proud of whom they were, they had not been haughty, but they had been the
deGerlaisse and the church had been built upon
and just three years after Jean-François had married, his beloved father Jean-Jacquet had passed away. He and his father had
been very close. He had taken his fathers death very hard.
And I pause for
a moment in loving memory of Jean-Jacquet deGerlaisse; loving husband of Jeanne Trudel. He leaves his wife and children, Madeline,
Jeanne, Pierre Benoit, Marguerite, Pierre Lamirante, Marie-Josephte, Jean-Baptiste, Antoine, and Marie Angelique Pelletier,
Marie-Anne, Jean Brissard, Jean-François, Marie-Catherine.
He was loved by all and will be missed.
10 December 1722 and was buried in Louiseville,RDL.
He was 79.
On the diagram below, the
positions of the land tracts owned by Jean-Jacquet and Jean-Francois are both listed under Jean-Jacquet deGerlaisse name.
The land owned by Jean-Jacquet, and where the Chapel had been built is the land at the bottom right. An iron cross is erected
on that property, where the Chapel had been built. There is also a sign in the field where the Old Fort had been. I have also
inserted a diagram under the chapter Jean-Francois. It depicts the land tracts after Jean-Jacquet had passed away. On
the diagram below, is written Lac St. Pierre. That is actually a portion of the St. Lawrence Seaway that bulges out,
and it is not a land locked lake.
|Diagram appears in the Book-History of Louiseville
|The Farm plots, and names from date on map