Pierre Robitaille and Marie Maufait

<Translation by David Robitaille of Vancouver>

Of the four Robitaille brothers who first came to New France, Pierre is the ancestor of most of us. Shortly after his arrival on November 24, 1670, at the age of 18, he signed a contract witnessed by the notary Gilles Rageot, granting him a lot situated in the parish of L'Ancienne-Lorette (Old Lorette) in the Seignory of Gaudarville. This seignory had been granted to Jean Lauzon, the governor, who had then passed it on to his son, Louis. The estate was named in memory of Louis’ mother, Marie Gaudart. Two years later, on March 20, 1672, before the same notary, Pierre signed another contract with the Jesuit fathers. This time the contract was for a lot in the nearby Seignory of Saint-Gabriel. He had, perhaps, taken on more than he could handle; because, in October 1674, he withdrew from a portion of that estate.

Five years alter his arrival, Pierre married Marie Maufait. Marie was born in Québec on September 25, 1660, and was 14  years old at the time of her marriage. Her father, Pierre Maufay, lived in Côte Saint-Michel and was the son of Toussaint Maufay and Jacqueline Bénard from St-Côme-de-Vair, in the district of Mamers, in the cathedral town of Le Mans, Maine (Sarthe). The couple signed a marriage contract before the notary, Gilles Duquet, on May 5, 1675. Marie was accompanied by her father, her mother Marie Duval, and her sister Jeanne and her husband, Simon Allain, who lived near the Robitaille land. Marie’s parents promised to give their daughter:

" a party on the eve of her wedding, a milk cow, and a pig. ... to dress their daughter for her wedding and to give her six shifts (chemises), six handkerchiefs, six hats. a cover. a pair of sheets, six towels. all new… "

Unfortunately, there is no trace of the Robitaille-Maufait marriage in the parish registry. Since the town of L'Ancienne-Lorette did not establish its first parish until 1676, they may have been married at the mission in Sillery where a fire destroyed ail the documents, around 1680.

Marie Maufait guaranteed the posterity of the Robitailles by having 13 children : 10 boys and 3 girls. Three of the boys died very young: Romain at 2 months: Louis was 5 years old and Claude was 3. Without a doubt, the cruellest bereavement was caused by the death of Charles, al the age of 26. François remained a bachelor and died at the age of 40. There is no trace of the daughter, Charlotte Catherine.

The other five boys and two girls did marry.

  • André, the eldest, was born July 16,1678 and baptised on July 17 by Father Chaumonot, a missionary and the founding pastor of the parish of L'Ancienne-Lorette. He marned Marguerite Hamel, daughter of John Hamel and Félicité Levasseur, on January 1706 in L'Ancienne-Lorette. They had three children but Marguerite died on March 31, 1711 al the age of 26. Two years later, on September 11, 1713, at Notre-Dame-de-Foy (Our Lady of the Faith) church, André remarried. His second wife was Françoise Catherine Chevalier, widow of Denis Masse and mother of two children aged 1 and 3. They had seven children of their own, two of whom died young. André was buried in L'Ancienne-Lorette on January  6, 1736 at the age of 58.
  • Marie-Suzanne was baptised on August 16, 1680. She married Guillaume Belot, son of Biaise Belot and Hélène Calais on November 14, 1707 in L'Ancienne-Lorette. They had 8 children. She was buried at Notre-Dame-de-Foy on November 6, 1760 at the age of 80.
  • Pierre was born on October 11, 1682 and baptised the following day. At the age of 39 he married Madeleine Berthiaume on November 27, 1721 at Notre-Dame-de-Foy. She was born in Sillery about 1686, the daughter of Jacques Berthiaume and Catherine Bonhomme. She had previously been married to Charles Danet, widower of Cathenne Brassard, and father of two children. They added six more. The widow Danet therefore had eight children when she married Pierre, and her last marriage provided two more.
  • Jean, who was born in 1687, married Marguerite Meunier, daughter of Mathunn Meunier and Marie Madeleine Meneux on January 26, 1717 at L'Ancienne-Lorette. They had 11 children, six of whom— three boys and three girls—were later married. It was Jean who stayed in the family home. He was buried at L'Ancienne-Lorette on November 13, 1748 at the age of 71. His widow later married Antoine Ouvrard, widower of Angélique Vézina, on July 19, 1751 in L'Ancienne-Lorette. She was buried at L'Ancienne-Lorette on April 18, 1774 at the age of 89.
  • Marie-Agnès was born in 1689 and marned Eustache Liénard Mondor Dubois on November 4, 1715 in L'Ancienne-Lorette. He was the son of Sébastien Dubois and Françoise Pelletier and widower of Marie Madeleine Maufay. They had six children. Eustache Dobois was buned September 26, 1749 at the age of 60, and Marie-Agnès on December 28, 1759 at the age of 79: both in L'Ancienne-Lorette.
  • Joseph was born on October 25, 1693 and baptized on October 27. He married Catherine Drolet, daughter of Pierre Drolet and Catherine Routier on January 21, 1722 al L'Ancienne-Lorette. They had 12 children. Joseph was buried on March 3, 1756 at the age of 63 and Catherine on December l7, 1782 at the age of 86, both in L'Ancienne-Lorette.
  • Romain was born and baptized on July 26, 1696. He married Marie Françoise Lemarié, daughter of Chailes Lemarié and Françoise Sédilot on October 10, 1723 at Notre-Dame-de-Foy. They had seven children. Romain was buried on December 3, 1749 ai the age of 53 and Marie Françoise on April 8, 1774 at the age of 75, both in Ancienne Lorette.

Pierre Robitaille was courageous and enterprising. In the 1681 census, he was 30 years old and Marie was 18. They had two children. André, four years old and Marie, one. They owned a gun, six heads of cattle, and six arpents of land. In April 1683, Pierre undertook to clear one arpent of land belonging to his brother-in-law, Pierre Maufay.

He agreed " to remove all of the wood and burn it; leaving no more than 12 stumps ”. He was paid 60 pounds ("livres") for this work.

In 1693, after 20 years of work, at a time when the family already had seven children, Pierre acquired the lands owned by his two brothers, Jean and Nicolas. Jean’s farm included, in addition to the land, a house " made of pieces of wood laid on top of one another ” and a shed "surrounded with stones and covered with straw ” Nicolas had yielded his concession verbally to his brothers, before returning to France.

Pierre was involved with the justice system only once when he was sued by Pierre Soullani, the husband of Louise Prou. We will never know what actually happened because the documents of the prefecture of Quebec were partly destroyed and all we can tell is that Pierre was ordered to pay half the price of a cow. This he did before notary Genaple on March 7, 1702, paying 24 pounds in paper money.

On January 18, 1710 the intendant Raudot, ordered an official survey of the lands belonging to Pierre Robitaille and his neighbour, Pierre Drolet. On January 20 of that year, the nobleman Dustiné gave 16 arpents of land to Pierre Robitaille in the Seigneury of Saint-Gabriel. Our ancestor, therefore, owned three concessions in the Selgneury of Gaudarville and two in the Seigneury of Saint-Gabriel. That meant he was the largest landowner in L'Ancienne-Lorette.

By 1715, Pierre was 60 years old and likely very ill, because he signed a contract to sell part of his land to his son, Jean, and died eight days later. He bequeathed to his son "a farm with a house for the sum of 800 pounds ”. It was also stipulated in the contract that Jean was to pay his parents 75 bushels of wheat to compensate for three years of unpaid pension. Pierre Robitaille was buried on May 8, and the funeral was conducted by Father François Dupré.

At the time only André and Marie-Suzanne were married.

The other six adult children were all living at home.

On April 29,1716, as required by law, the notary Bernard de la Rivière undertook an audit of Pierre Robitaille's assets. It is very interesting to learn from this inventory all that had been accomplished by this young French man and his wife in the 46 years they had been in Canada. They had raised nine children and they had cleared and cultivated 10 arpents of land. In addition, Marie probably made all of the family’s clothes since she owned a hand-loom and a spinning-wheel. The couple raised their own sheep and used the wool to make clothes. They owned three cows, five sheep, four lambs, four bulls, two mares, and three pigs. They also had some debts:

  • 20 pounds to the surgeon Gaspart Emery;
  • 40 pounds to the nuns at the Hôtel-Dieu hospital (probably to cover the cost of Marie-Suzanne hospitalisation on April 6, 1699 for a period of 16 days);
  • 133 pounds to the merchant Pierre Haimard;
  • 40 pounds to a Mr. Pelletier from Côte Saint-Michel;
  • 20 pounds for 20 masses requested by the children for the rest of their father 's soul.

Pierre Robitaille certainly had the family spirit. He signed the parish registry of L'Ancienne-Lorette 13 times as a godfather, six times as a witness for baptisms, eight times as a witness for marriages, and twice for burials.

Marie outlived her husband by 15 years. She died on December 21, 1730 at the age of 73. The parish registry indicates that she died of an attack of apoplexy. She had the joy of seeing seven of her children married and she had many grandchildren. Only François remained unmarried, and he died three years after his mother.

It is important to recognise the very special contribution made by our ancestor, Marie Maufait. Can we imagine how a little girl of 14 could get married and settle in a log cabin, in the middle of a forest by the banks of a creek? This young woman had to enjoy good health in order to raise her family in such difficult conditions. She is, for us, a model of extraordinary courage and she deserves our admiration.

Jean Robitaille and Marguerite Buletez

<Translation by David Robitaille of Vancouver>

Jean was the oldest of the four brothers who emigrated to New France. He arrived when he was 27 years old. On November 16, 1670, he signed a marriage contract with Marguerite Buletez before the notary Romain Becquet. Two days later, in the presence of the notary Gllles Rageot and Jean Baptiste Peuvret, Seigneur of Mesnu, he signed a contract for a concession of land in the Seigneury of Gaudarville in Ancienne-Lorette. His land included "three arpents (trans. note: an arpent is about an acre) of land between the Champigny road and Saint Michel creek, adjoining Pierre Robitaille’s land on one side and Nicolas Robitaille’s on the other. "

Since the first chapel in L'Ancienne-Lorette was not opened until November 4, 1674, Jean and Marguerite were married inthe church of Notre-Dame de Québec (Our Lady of Québec). Marguerite was 23 years old. She was one of the "King’s daughters " who had arrived in New France earlier that year. Jean and Marguerite had known each other for a long time since they were both from the same village of Auchy, in Artois. Since they arrived in New France in the same year, it is also possible that they crossed the Atlantic on board of the same ship.

Marguerite’s father, who lived in the Seigneury of Gaudarville, was present at the signing of the marriage contract. He had emigrated to New France in 1668 with his second wife, Jeanne Charron, and their daughter, Marie-Anne. Marguerite did not come with her family in 1668. She came to join them in 1670, taking full advantage of the rights and privileges given to the "King’s daughters ". She brought with her goods with a value of 200 livres (pounds) and she was entitled to receive a grant of 50 livres from the king, The intendant, Jean Talon, was present to the signing of the marriage contract and he presented her with the 50 livres on that occasion. We may assume that Jean and Marguerite were able to build their house in L'Ancienne-Lorette thanks to that money.

On February 19, 1672, before the notary Gilles Rageot, Jean signed another contract for a concession of land located in the Seigneury of Gaudarville, with Jean Baptiste Pevret de Mesnu. This contract concerned a piece of land "adjoining the houses on the Gaudarville road on one side and the Jesuit fathers on the other ". Jean and Marguerite had six children. Two boys ans a girl died young. The two boys died before the census of 1716; the girl, before the census of 1681 :

  • Jean-François was born and baptized on April 6, 1672 at the Sillery Mission,
  • Joseph-Martin was born and baptized August 3, 1676 in Anclenne-Lorette. He was confirmed on April 4, 1684 in Québec,
  • Marie-Marguerite was baptized March 9. 1680 in L'Ancienne-Lorette.

Two girls and one boy lived to become adults:

  • Marie-Madeleine was born in L'Ancienne-Lorette and baptized at the Sillery Mission on November 19, 1673. She was a witness at the wedding of her brother Charles-François in 1705, and her name appears in the Québec census of 1716 as living with her parents. She died at the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital on December 20, 1740 and she was buried in the cemetery for the poor the next day. According to the hospital records she was "an unmarried woman, 70 years old ".
  • Marie-Thérèse was baptized on March 22, 1678 in L'Ancienne-Lorette. On December 19, 1717 at Notre-Dame de Québec church at the age of 39, she married Joseph Fauconnet, a wig maker and the son of Pierre and Marie Marisi He was from Notre-Dame de Saint-Disier in the diocese of Chalons in the Champagne region of France. Marie-Thérèse and Joseph had one son, Joseph-François, born on June 18, 1721 who died two days later. Marle-Thérèse died two days after her son, on June 22, at the age of 42 and was buried from Notre-Dame de Québec church.
  • Charles-François was born and baptized on March 21, 1681 in L'Ancienne-Lorette. He signed a marriage contract with Marie-Louise Delisle, a twin and daughter of Louis and Louise Desgranges from Neuville, before the notary Francois Genaple on October 19, 1705. Charles-François was 24 years old, and Marie-Louise was 21. In addition to her parents, her sisters Marie-Madeleine and Marie-Thérèse acted as witnesses. The marriage was celebrated at the church in Neuville the following week, on October 26, 1705.

Charles-Francois and Marie-Louise had five daughters and a son, Charles-Francois, all baptized in Neuville. These Robitailles certainly took root in that parish since Charles-François’ son and three of his daughters were married there. For several generations, all of their descendants were married in Neuville.

Charles-François signed a contract for a concession of land in Neuville with Nicolas Dupont before the notary Bernard de la Rivière on August 7, 1711. He also signed many leases before the notary Louis Chambalon, permitting him to use the water mills and windmills in Neuvile. He died in Neuville on March 11, 1727 at the age of 46.

In 1693, the year that his brother Philippe came to New France, Jean Robitaille signed a sales contract before the notary Francois Genaple on March 23. He ceded his land concession to his brother, Pierre, and went to live in the city of Québec. The contract stipulated that, in addition to the land, a "one-storey house made of stacked logs, 27 feet long and 17 wide, furnished with a floor and covered with straw, with a shed (angard) surrounded by stones and also covered with straw ". Jean also gave to his brother Pierre his portion of the concession which Nicolas had given him by means of "a simple understanding between them when he left for France ".

On his son Charles-François’ marriage contract, we read "in the presence of Mr. Jean Robitaille, innkeeper, in this town on Sault au Matelot Street and Margaret Bulte his wife ". In 1693, Jean was 50 years old, and three of his children were still living at home: Marie-Madeleine 20 years old, Marie-Thérèse 15, and Charles-Francois 12. When the youngest turned 13, on October 31, 1694, his father signed a contract before the notary Louis Chambalon, making him an apprentice to Louis Mercier, a locksmith, for a period of three years. Later, in his marriage contract, Charles-François described himself as a toolmaker (taillandier). These craftsmen made tools such as axes and spades used by farmers. They also worked as blacksmiths.

Jean Robitaille died on March 22,1715, at the age of 73. He was buried the next day at Notre-Dame de Québec. The funeral mass was celebrated by Canon Goulen / Calvarin, vicar of the cathedral, in the presence of Canon Lepicart and the cantor Desmaizerets. In the parish registry for the funeral, his name was given as Jean-Baptiste, probably his baptismal name.

In the journal of the Society of Sainte-Anne for the period from 1657 to 1723, we read that, "Marie Bulte, wife of Jean Robitaille, joined the Society of Saint-Anne on April 4, 1710 ". In the Québec census of 1716, she is listed as "a 66-year-old innkeeper '. She died on June 25, 1732, at the highly respectable age of 85 and was buried the next day at Notre-Dame de Québec. The parish registry indicates that she was "the 95-year-old wife of Jean-Baptiste Robitaille ".

That was almost certainly an error since she was born in 1647. The funeral mass was celebrated by the Father Bouillard, the parish priest, and Fathers Desgly and Noel signed as witnesses. She left behind her daughter, Marie-Madeleine, who would die eight years later, and his son Charles-François both of whom were living in Neuville.

Marguerite Buletez and Jean Robitaille laid the cornerstone for the establishment of the Robitaille brothers in L'Ancienne-Lorette. They had few descendants . They had only one son and he had only one son himself. For the next several generations, there were many daughters but only one or two sons. It is until the fourth generation that we really begin to see the descendants of Jean Robitaille.

Philippe Robitaille and Marie-Madeleine Warren

<Translation by David Robitaille of Vancouver>

Jean Robitaille and Martine Cormont must have had many children in France, because there were 20 years' difference between their sons Jean and Philippe. When the three brothers —Jean, Pierre, and Nicolas— left for Nouvelle-France in 1670, Philippe was only seven years old. Nicolas returned to France after spending several years in North America, and it was likely listening to his brother's stories about his adventures that helped Philippe decide to join his two brothers in Nouvelle-France some 23 years later. Philippe set up his family in Montreal, and they loved adventure as much as his brothers' families in Ancienne Lorette loved home life.

On October 14, 1693, Philippe and Madeleine Warren (transliterated as Houarine) signed a marriage contract before Notary Benigne Basset in Montréal. He was 30 years old and listed his occupation as barrel maker. On October 15, 1693, in Notre-Dame church, he and Madeleine, who was the widow of Richard Labosse, were married. She is described as "an English-speaking woman from Annord near Boston, in New England, now living in Ville-Marie."

Madeleine Warren, who had been known as Grizel, was 31 years old at the time of their marriage. She was born in Berwick, New England, on February 24, 1662, the daughter of James and Margaret Warren. She was the third wife of Richard Otis, a blacksmith who had several children. Richard and Madeleine had two daughters, Hanna and Christine. Richard, who was quite elderly, was killed, probably by Indians, as was Hanna, age two.

Madeleine, her three-month old daughter, Christine, and three other children of Richard's were abducted by Indians. The rest of the family, including three of Richard's other daughters, were rescued near the city of Conway by a group who pursued the attackers. Grizel and her daughter Christine were likely purchased from the Indians by French Canadians who brought them to Montréal.

Grizel learned French and was baptized a Catholic on May 9, 1693. She was christened Marie-Madeleine, after her godmother, Mrs. Marie-Madeleine Dupont, wife of the captain of the naval detachment. Her godfather was Jacques Leber, a merchant. She was confirmed four months later, on September 8, 1693, and she married Philippe Robitaille on October 15 of the same year. Her godmother and godfather attended the wedding. In the marriage contract, Philippe agreed to adopt Christine as his daughter. Marie-Madeleine became a citizen in May of 1710. In the official register of recovered captives, she is referred to as Mrs. Grizalem. She apparently tried to help her fellow prisoners, and she also worked with Father Meriel in his work with them.

Philippe and Marie-Madeleine had five children :

  • Georges, born on April 18, 1701 and baptized the following day at Notre-Dame in Montréal, died February 19, 1703 at the age of two.

Three other sons – Philippe, Jacques, and Jean – worked in the fur trade. They signed employment contracts as voyageurs before the notary Antoine Adhémar which required them to "go through the north woods as far as Lake Erie with a canoe loaded with merchandise, and to return the following year with a canoe loaded with furs." There were two kinds of voyageurs:

  1. The bacon eaters, so called because bacon was the staple of their daily food ration. They transported trading merchandise to Fort Williams, and brought back to Montréal the furs collected in the north by the winterers.
  2. The winterers hired themselves out for at least one, usually three, and sometimes five years. Jacks of all trades, they worked as canoers, interpreters, clerks, guides, artisans, explorers, hunters, fishers, builders, and certainly as traders. Many of them took women in lieu of payment, and these marriages were the origin of the Métis.

We believe that Philippe Robitaille's sons were winterers.

  • Philippe, baptized on February 5, 1695 at Notre-Dame in Montréal. He signed a contract as a voyageur on August 29, 1715. He died in Montréal on September 17, 1720 at the age of twenty-six. He was unmarried.
  • Jacques was baptized on January 29, 1697 at Notre-Dame in Montréal. He was a voyageur from September 9, 1715 until September 9, 1728. On August 26, 1719 at Michillimakinac, he signed a note for 1953 livres in favor of Paul Marin who deposited this document in Montréal with the notary Gaudron de Chèvremont on August 11, 1736. Michillimakinac, a French fort, was located north of Lake Michigan.
  • Jean was baptized on March 10, 1699 at Notre-Dame in Montréal. He signed on as a voyageur from March 28, 1718 until September 9, 1728.

What happened to Jacques and Jean? Unfortunately we have no trace of these two sons of Philippe and Marie-Madeleine.

Finally, the Robitailles had a daughter.

  • Marguerite was born and baptized on April 2, 1703 at Notre-Dame. She was married at Notre-Dame in Montréal at the age of 19 on April 13, 1722 to Jean-Baptiste Biron, the twenty-year-old son of Pierre and Marie-Jeanne Dumouchel. Jean-Baptiste was a merchant, and the couple moved to the Sainte-Marie district, in Ville-Marie. Some years later they moved the length of the Richelieu River to Saint-Ours and then to Chambly. They had no children.

There are no known descendants of Philippe Robitaille and Marie-Madeleine Warren.

Christine, the daughter of Marie-Madeleine Warren and Richard Othys and the step-daughter of Philippe Robitaille, was baptized on March 15, 1689 and educated by the nuns. At the age of eighteen, she became the second wife of Louis LeBeau. Their marriage was celebrated in Ville Marie on June 14, 1707. LeBeau was twenty-nine years old and a cabinet maker. The couple had two daughters, Marie-Anne and Madeleine. Christine became a Canadian citizen at the same time as her mother in 1710. Her husband died in February 1713.

In 1714, Captain Thomas Baker came to Canada as an interpreter for the Stoddard and Williams Company. He fell in love with Christine and tried to persuade the young widow to return to New England with him. The Church, the government and her mother all opposed the move. The Church threatened to keep her children and the governor said that her eldest daughter would have to be sent to the Ursulines. Stoddard replied that Mrs. LeBeau could place her child wherever she wished and added that "for as long as she looked after her daughter, no prince could in justice remove her from her mother by force." The Intendant ordered that all her goods be sold and that "the proceeds be placed in the hands of a guardian." Christine, demanded that the money be given to her because she was in need. She was told that, by order of the king, anyone who planned to leave the country would have their money seized and that, since Christine had been a prisoner during the preceding war, she was not covered by the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht.

Her mother told her that there were no bakeries in New England and that she didn't know how to bake bread.

Neither the Church, nor the state, nor her mother were able to keep her in Canada. With the grudging consent of the governor, Christine departed by ship, leaving her daughers Marie-Anne (age 4) and Madeleine (age 2) in the care of Philippe Robitaille and Madeleine Warren, her step-father and mother. Christine married Thomas Baker and they moved to Brookfield where their children were baptized. Her step-father, Philippe Robitaille, came to visit her in New England. Christine missed the two daughters she had left in Canada. On March 2, 1721 Thomas and Christine sent a brief to the General Court requesting permission to travel to New France to find them.

Permission was granted on condition that Thomas Baker accompany his wife to Canada. However, Christine returned from this journey without her children, for whom she had become a stranger. As a result, Philippe Robitaille and Madeleine Warren raised Christine's daughters from her first marriage, to LeBeau. Christine died on February 23, 1773, twenty years after the death of her second husband. She was buried in the Pine Hill Cemetery in Dover.

Philippe Robitaille died at the age of 77 on October 3, 1740 at 10:30 in the evening. He was buried in the cemetery located not far from Notre-Dame Church in Montréal.

Marie-Madeleine Warren died on October 26, 1750 "at the age of 89, having been bedridden for nine or ten years." She was buried on October 27, also at Notre-Dame.