On Jun 29, 2013, descendants of Louis Loisel met up in Montreal. Aurora Losielle started off the day’s events with a presentation on the early history of Loisel’s in Montreal. Her speech is provided here.
The Early Establishment of Montreal Loiselle Pioneer Family
Prepared and Presented by Aurora Loiselle
With extracts from the section on the Loiselles of the book by Fr. DeJordy “Genealogies des Principales Familles du Richelieu”, Vol II, 1927
The purpose of this introduction is to situate our families who descend from our one common ancestor, Louis Loiselle, in the history of the founding of Montreal, where we are meeting today, 29 of June 2013 (the feasts of Saint Pierre and Saint Paul in the Catholic world).
This reunion, will allow us to experience live our family history linked to Montreal’s beginnings, today, through our visit and presentations in both the Notre Dame Basilica and the Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum and during our supper with New France themed show. There are no sufficient words to say how special this event is since we are all from elsewhere; our family is so old in this country, many left for different reasons and today we are trying to connect with our common roots. We have with us Loiselles from Rhode Island, Ontario, Saskatchewan and from Santiago, Chile (my family), Sinotte’s from different parts in Canada. All descendants from Louis Loiselle and Marguerite Charlot, one of the first 50 French families who settle in Ville Marie in the 1600’s, today’s Montreal.
Fr. De Jordy published in 1927, the book “Genealogy of the Principal Families of the Richelieu” and I will now refer to what he wrote, then, in his introduction to the chapter on our Loisel ancestor because it gives us a glimpse of this family in its historical context. So, he writes:
“Among the families of the Richelieu of normand origins and whose ancestors came to establish themselves in Ville Marie while Paul de Maisonneuve still lived and before the arrival of the recruits of 1653, there are no more respectable and older than the Loiselles, the Hebert, the Demers and the Messier.
Louis Loiselle, the founder of the family of this name lived in the Island of Montreal and had reached the age of 30 when he married on the 13 of January of 1648, Marguerite Charlot, originally from St. Jean de Gres, near Paris. She was a virtuous girl who accompanied Mlle. Jeanne Mance to Ville Marie and who had lived under her care until the day of her marriage. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/women/030001-1410-e.html
“”It was Mr. de la Vallee Poussin, eminent conferencier in Paris, who raised his voice one more time to denounce a slander that found some credit in some circles. It was Baron de La Hontan, an aristocrat but one who liked fights, who threw injury to our first French colonists. There was no proof found that Canada was first settled by delinquents and women of bad life. To the contrary, with the arrival of the Regiment de Carignan, many of them were the best soldiers of regiments in the mother country. The women who were recruited to come to New France to marry were young women of Parisian orphanages, young peasants of normand parishes chosen by their priests among the healthiest, strong and virtuous. They were brought by religious or lay women of faith, were given money by the King and were married shortly after arrival”. These are called the Daughters of the King. A parenthesis: the first Daughters of the King (Les Filles du Roi) arrived in 1663 and this year, 2013, marks the 350 th anniversary of their arrival. There are various commemorations around Quebec to celebrate who are known as “the first Mothers of French Canadians.”
Another excerpt from the same book: “According to Mr. James Douglas, published in the bulletins of the history courses at Queen’s University, a reputable work on the situation of women in New England and in New France, a comparative work where he researches the role that women played in both colonies. He says the inhabitants of New England arrived with their spouses and children and the majority in New France arrived alone. It was necessary that the religious authorities concern themselves on bringing in young women of age to marry and establish families in the new colony.”
We should underline here, that the first girl born and who survived in Montreal beyond the crib stage and who married here, is our Jeanne Loiselle, that she was not part of the Daughters of the King group, she was born in 1649, married Jean Beauchamp in 1666, a Frenchman, they had eight children and she lived until 59 years of age. At the time, there was Mlle. Jeanne Mance, who played the role of nurse in the colony and who found Hotel –Dieu of Montreal, the first hospital. She was of great influence in Ville Marie during the first years of the colony and is often referred to as the co-founder of Montreal. After, it was Marguerite Bourgeoys, another key figure, the founder of the Notre Dame Congregation and who dedicated herself to teaching and grooming the first children of the colonists, of which Jeanne and her sister Francoise. Marguerite Bourgeoys was made a Canadian Saint in 1982, she is the first Canadian Saint. http://www.marguerite-bourgeoys.com/en/chapel/marguerite-Bourgeoys.asp
From the same book: “While these women worked for the betterment of New France, there were no equivalents in New England, no women who occupied themselves actively in the public welfare . The religious authorities of that period, according to Winthrop, prohibited women to gather each week to even discuss doctrinal questions and the Holy Bible.” In New England the puritan spirit dominated.
“As Mr. Douglas remarked, the concept of the role of women in the life of the original American colonies, was different; it is with no doubt that New France benefitted more from the influence of some women of courage who devoted themselves to the colony, than in New England, where women were left at home by “exaggerated religious doctrine beliefs”, and had practically no role in the public welfare of the colony.”
From the preface: “Lodge, the American Senator during the heavy French Canadian immigration to the USA, in his speech on Immigration, said “these Immigrants represent one of the oldest establishments on the continent, they are now Americans in the large sense of the word. It is then acknowledged that the French-Canadian immigrants in New England had reached a population of 750,000, that in at least 13 of their towns, the Canadians and their descendants were over 10,000. One of these towns, Fall River with its 35.000 Franco-Americans came in third place after Montreal and Quebec, as center of French population. They find Franco-Americans in all legislative bodies of New England. The first Rhode Island citizen to have received the honor of five successive elections to the post of Governor (in 1912) crossed the border at the age of 16.”
Back to our pioneer, excerpt from the book:
“The Montreal “high society” of the period, had great estimation for the Loiselle couple; thus, the 26 of February of 1652, mayor Lambert Closse and Francoise Code had little Francoise in their arms in the baptismal fountain http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/closse_raphael_lambert_1E.html ; when son Joseph Loiselle was born the 26 of November of 1654, Paul de Maisonneuve and Jeanne Mance, founders of Montreal, served as godfather and godmother.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_de_Chomedey,_Sieur_de_Maisonneuve
The oldest of Louis Loiselle children, “ Jeanne, born the 21st of July, 1649, was the 1st girl of the colony to survive; eight years had passed without being able to keep children alive in Montreal. Jeanne just turned age 4 and a half when Sister Bourgeoys arrived from France and took charge of her instruction and grooming until marriage. Jeanne and her sister Francoise were among the first students of Marguerite Bourgeoys. Jeanne is still the first Canadian in Montreal who married there. The marriage was celebrated the 23rd of November of 1666 at the Notre Dame parish in Ville Marie.”
Extracts from “Nos ancetres # 18” Biographies des ancetres, St. Anne de Beaupre 1990
“It is written in a few records of history, that Louis Loiselle appeared in Montreal without a word. The first time they noticed him, he was getting married in the parish of Notre Dame in 1648. Present in the ceremony were: Paul de Maisonneuve, governor of the island, Gilbert Barbier and Charles Le Moyne.
Monsieur Paul de Chomedey Maisonneuve helps Louis Loisel to establish himself with dignity and gives him 1 000 pounds, an exceptional gratification. That is why there are questions, if M. de Chomeday had a special friendship with the Loiselle couple, both Louis and Marguerite Charlot may have traveled with the governor in his return to the colony the summer of 1647”. Major Lambert Closse also arrived in 1647 and may have traveled with Louis Loiselle, he was chosen as the godfather of Louis’ second daughter, Francoise.
“On 1667, the censors noted the that the urban neighbors of Louis Loiselle were Charles Dailleboust and Louis Artus, royal Juge.
People in Ville Marie helped each other. After 12 years Louis felt more at ease financially;
The 20th of March of 1661, he sold cattle to Robert Cavelier dit Deslauriers. Money, nothing.
The buyer gave him eight days of labour with cattle in addition to 40 cords of wood for heating delivered to his home. But sometimes people picked on each other. Thus, on the 20th of December 1662, a dozen of colonists were witness of an altercation during which the mason Urbain Brassard directed publicly horrible insults to locksmith Louis Loisel. He treated him as “Canard” or cocu. Next January, the tribunal ordered the said Brassard to draft in the presence of the notary an official reparation within 24 hours and to give 10 pounds to the church.
Ville Marie, lived in 1663 under the threat of the Iroquois. Monsieur de Maisonneuve organized the Milice de la Saint Famille. It had to do guard duties day and night. It was structured into 20 squads of 7 defending men each, or 140 men. Louis Loisel formed part of the 17th with Nicolas Hubert as corporal.
Louis got in trouble with his neighbors’, moving the land limits to his advantage. In 1680, Langevin, his neighour, was again complaining through the notary. This time our ancestor Loisel was cutting wood in his neighbors’ property according to his own land measurements. He was forced to pay for damages. After three centuries, one cannot exaggerate the importance of these various facts that put some spice in the life of the first colonists. In 1682, Paul Aguenier was condemned to pay damages that his animals has caused to Louis Loisel’s grains”.
The generosities of life offered 8 children to the Charlot-Loisel couple: Jeanne, Francoise, Joseph, Charles, Marie-Marthe, Charles, Barbe and Louis. Marie-Marthe, the two Charles and Louis died just a month after birth. The 7th of April of 1682 Joseph married Jeanne Langlois, daughter of Honore and Marie Pontonnier. He had bought property from Francois Beau in Pointe aux Trembles. With his 13 children, Joseph was the only one capable of transmitting to the descendants of le patronyme Loiselle. He died in Pointe aux Trembles on June of 1724.
But we cannot finish this synthesis of the settlement of our pioneer Loiselle in Ville Marie without mentioning that Louis and his family lived there during one of the worst periods of survival of New France under the constant attacks from the Iroquois against the French, the very reason why the Regiment de Carignan was sent to New France to try to avoid the total collapse of the colonial settlement. The very year Jeanne Loiselle was born, there was a Huron massacre at the hands of the Iroquois and in 1650 the martyrdom of Fathers Jean de Brebeuf and Lalemant . Major Lambert Closse, was only one of the several victims of Iroquois attacks.
“To save Ville Marie was to save New France” (from Marraine Mance booklet, Beauchemin 1962) .