I am Canadian – the French Connection – Part 2

A Tribute to Nicholas Marsolet  (My 8th great grandfather)  The Man in the Muddle

 

After Jacques Cartier the next major player for exploration of the St. Lawrence River was Samuel de Champlain. The first trading post set up in Quebec was Tadoussac. The explorers had contact with the Montagnais, Alongquin, Micmac and Malecite people. One of the first settlements to be attempted was at Port Royal in Nova Scotia, but later the focus for settlement moved to Quebec. Samuel de Champlain was the man who was instrumental in starting the settlements in Quebec. In 1608 he erected the first building in Quebec City. That was the beginning of the French colonization of New France.

Champlains voyages
Champlains voyages

champlains voyages

 

 

It is believed that Nicolas Marsolet arrived in New France sometime in 1613 on one of Champlain’s visits to New France. Nicolas, my great grandfather,  was born in Rouen, Normandy, France as were many of the first French settlers in New France.

 

 

He and Etienne Brule accompanied Champlain on one of his voyages as deck hands. They were selected by the King to become interpreters for the Indians and to live among them.

 

Etienne Brule with the gun and Champlain to the left
Etienne Brule with the gun and Champlain to the left
Eastern Canada First Nations tribes
Eastern Canada First Nations tribes

 

First Nations of Canada
First Nations of Canada

 

Nicolas was to be interpreter for the Algonquins and Etienne was interpreter for the Hurons.

In those days there was a milieu of several competing factors. There were  the French who wanted to colonize New France, and the missionaries who wanted to convert the native population. There were the fur traders who didn’t want colonization to interfere with their business and then there was the English who wanted to take everything the French had. Champlain accused Nicolas of being in cahoots with the English when they came to New France. He was the only one who knew the language of the natives and Nicolas seemed to want to play a go between for them. While most of the French returned to France during this time, Nicolas stayed put with the Montagnais. Champlain wanted to take two Indian girls back to France, but Nicolas frustrated these plans. Champlain was very angry and accused Nicolas of wanting to debauch these girls.  It seems to me more likely that Nicolas was trying to protect those girls. After having lived with the Indians for many years, it is more probable that he wanted to protect them.

 

Early trade
Early trade
voyageurs canoe
voyageurs canoe
Fur traders
Fur traders

 

In 1622, when he reached age of majority,  he received the estate of St. Aignan (Gentilly) as a reward for his services.  The Compagnie des Cent-Associés (Compagnie de la Nouvelle France) was founded 29 April 1627 by Cardinal Richelieu, chief minister of Louis XIII, to establish the French empire in North America. It was given New France from Florida to the Arctic and from the Atlantic to unknown west. However, the English captured all of France’s land in the Quebec area in 1629. They returned it in 1632. While many French people returned to France at that time, Nicolas stayed in Quebec. He was accused of helping the English, but when the English left he remained in the employ of the Compagnie des Cent-Associes as a clerk.  The Compagnie des Cent-Associes folded after the English incident and then handed over their rights to the Communauté des habitants (Compagnie des habitants)in 1645. This community consisted of the colonial merchants who were involved in the Fur Trade. However, the Community was not very successful either and folded  in 1663.

In 1636 Champlain died. Here’s what was recorded from that year in Cyprien Tanguay’s Dictionnaire Genealogique des Familles Canadiennes  :

December 25: Kebec, death (I)-Samuel Champlain, b-1567, died December 25, 1635,

 December 25: Stricken with a paralytic stroke, (I)-Samuel de Champlain (1567-1635), Lieutenant of Fort Kebec, died on Christmas day, one hundred years after the discovery of Hochelaga. He left no known relatives. Some historians believe he suffered from senility, as he dictated a will leaving his possessions to the Virgin Mary. Dates of his death vary from 1635 to 1637. Some believe his grave is in Mountain Hill cemetery which adjoins the Chapel of Notre Dame de la Recouvrance. It is noteworthy that Champlain had crossed the ocean more than 20 times to support his colony in New France.

 

After Champlain died Nicolas made a move to a permanent home in Quebec City. He married Marie LeBarbier in 1637 and they had their first child in 1638, a daughter. They settled in Bellechasse or Bethiers in Quebec city area. He was given many other tracts of land, mostly on the eastern side of the St. Laurence River, but he never farmed or developed any of it. He was a trader and a ship’s master.  Farming was not his thing. He had ten children with Marie who was about half his age. His second daughter, Louise, is my 7th great grandmother. When he started his family he seemed to change his mind about the settlements. I guess he figured if you can’t beat join them. Apparently he operated a store as his source of income.

Nicholas Marsolet's descendants
Nicholas Marsolet’s descendants

 

 

Nicolas passed away in 1677 and was one of the last witnesses of the early years of Quebec. He had gone from living in France, to living with the Native population in New France, to living among the French population in Quebec city.

Some notations for Nicolas Marsolet from Cyprien Tanguay’s Dictionnaire Genealogique des Familles Canadiennes include:

(I)-Nicolas Marsolet de Saint-Aignan (1587-1677) arrived Kebec having spent (1608-1677) as chief interpreter at Tadoussac, (Quebec). He would spend 1635 to 1677 in Kebec and 2nd married 1636 Marie Lebarbier, b-1620, epouse May 8, 1681, Quebec Denis Lemagire. No mention is made of his first wife in Tadoussac or his Metis children. He did however frequently visit them looking after their welfare.

1636

  • (I)-Nicolas Marsolet (Marsollet) De St. Agnan (1587-1677) aka “The Little King of Tadoussac” has been in Canada since 1608 spending most of his time at Tadoussac married for the fourth time to Marie La Barbide, b-1619 epouse May 8, 1681, Kebec, Denis Lemaitre. His first three wives were at Tadoussac and likely relocated to Kebec. Marsolet was not subordinate to Champlain and it is presumed he still reported directly to France.
  • (I)-Nicolas Marsole(Marsollet) (1587-1677) the Little King of Tadoussac (1608-1635) upon hearing of the death of (I)-Samuel de Champlain (1567-1635) departed Tadoussac for Quebec where he spent his remaining years. Some suggest he arrived Kebec 1635. This year he married 4th (I)-Marie Le Bardier (1620-1688), likely a savage or Metis. He had three savage girls previously by country style. He was a 50 year old man who married a 16 year old girl and they had 10 children. After his death Marie married 1680 Quebec, Denis Gabriel. It is noteworthy that there is no mention of his Montagnais Metis children fathered over the 27 years that he lived among them. He did however visit Tadoussac frequently over his life time. He went over to the English during the occupation.

1637

  • Kebec or Tadoussac, birth (II)-Marie Marsolet, Metis daughter (I)-Nicolas Marsolet (Marsollet) De St. Agnan (1587-1677) and Marie La Barbide, savage or Metis, (1620-1688) epouse May 8, 1681, Quebec, Denis Lemaitre: married April 30, 1652 Mathieu D’Amours. This is likely the daughter of one of his 1st three wives?

1638

  • February 22: Kebec, birth (II)-Marie Marsolet, Metis daughter (I)-Nicolas Marsolet (Marsollet) De St. Agnan (1587-1677) and Marie La Barbide, savage or Metis, (1620-1688), epouse May 8, 1681, Quebec, Denis Lemaitre:

1639

  •  May 17: Kebec, birth (II)-Louise Marsolet, Metis, died April 19, 1712, Kebec, daughter (I)-Nicolas Marsolet De St. Agnan (1587-1677) and Marie La Barbide, savage or Metis, (1620-1688) epouse May 8, 1681, Quebec, Denis Lemaitre: married October 20, 1653, Kebec, Jean Lemire

1641

  • May 31: Kebec, birth (II)-Joseph Marsolet, Metis, son (I)-Nicolas Marsolet De St. Agnan (1587-1677) and Marie La Barbide, savage or Metis, epouse May 8, 1681, Quebec, Denis Lemaitre

1644

  • August 10: Kebec, birth (II)-Genevieve Marsolet, Metis, daughter (I)-Nicolas Marsolet De St. Agnan (1601-1677) and Marie La Barbide, savage or Metis (1620-1688), epouse May 8, 1681, Quebec, Denis Lemaitre: married September 4, 1662, Quebec, Michel Guyon

 

References:

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/exploration/

http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/marsolet_de_saint_aignan_nicolas_1E.html

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/compagnie-des-cent-associes/

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/30257/30257-h/30257-h.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Company_of_One_Hundred_Associates

A History of French Canada 1635 to 1649

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43 thoughts on “I am Canadian – the French Connection – Part 2

  1. Thank you for this historical walk and your incredible research into your genealogy. Having the maps really is an asset to the reader’s understanding, or at least mine. 🙂

    1. Hey thank Sue! I love maps and wanted to find more of Nicolas’ property, but wasn’t successful. I have to enlist Pierre Legace’s help. He’s really into genealogy and lives in Quebec! Have a great day Sue!

  2. Pierre Lagacé

    I had forgotten all about your first post that got me all excited in the first place.
    You are such an exciting blogger.

    You know this is not a spam comment.

    Pierre

    1. Hi Pierre! Thanks for reblogging and for all of your help with the proofing. I knew I was having difficulty being consistent with some of the spellings. I get frustrated with not being able to adequately express what I want to about the people and situations in my family past. There is so much to get to know and I want to say it all. It’s hard for me to know what to include and what not to. After reading more about Nicolas, I’m realizing that he probably did have much more ‘intimate’ contact with the First Nations people than I first supposed. Now I have more research to do! I’m going to comment separately to your geographical corrections which were very helpful as well.

      1. Pierre Lagacé

        I really enjoyed this post.

        This is a great overview even if there is so much to discover when you start digging more about that period.

        Having read this from a descendant of an ancestor who confronted Champlain who gave his name to a lot of places in Quebec, namely a bridge which is falling down, really made my day.

        I always cringe when I see what some famous people did and have their names all over the place to immortalize them…

        Check Christopher Columbus just for fun and read what someone wrote about how he feels about Columbus Day…

        http://theoatmeal.com/comics/columbus_day

        I think I will have some oatmeal for breakfast.

      2. Pierre Lagacé

        I did not know C.C. was such a wonderful person deep inside.
        I am glad he was not my youth hero or that I am not a Knight of Columbus.

      3. Yes, I never paid much attention to him while growing up, as he was not talked about so much in our Canadian schools. It’s so interesting to see who we zero in on as our historical heroes.

  3. Pierre Lagacé

    If you want I can proof read your post…
    No need of course to approve all this…

    First correction in CAPITAL LETTERS…
    After Jacques Cartier the next major player for exploration of the St. Lawrence River was Samuel de Champlain. The first trading post set up in Quebec was Tadoussac. The explorers had contact with the Montagnais, ALGONQUIN, Micmac and Malecite people. One of the first settlements to be attempted was at Port Royal in Nova Scotia, but later the focus for settlement moved to Quebec. Samuel de Champlain was the man who was instrumental in starting the settlements in Quebec. In 1608 he erected the first building in Quebec City. That was the beginning of the French colonization of New France.

    1. Pierre Lagacé

      I can see that once I have been approved all the other comments can be seen by all others.
      Do you want me to proceed further.

      1. Pierre Lagacé

        Do you want me to proceed further?

        ?…see what I mean by proof reading…

        The proof is the pudding.

      2. Yes, once your first comments were approved, the system seems to go on approving them with the option of not approving. Of course I approve 🙂

      3. Pierre Lagacé

        You can go in your dashboard and choose to always approve comments before they are posted. It’s the discussion section.

        This way you can read them before anyone else.

        This is why I was commenting like I did.
        I did not want people to think you were my teacher’s pet…

    1. Yes, this biography is very helpful and now I’ve found the Many Roads website with Cyprien Tanguay’s the Genealogical Dictionary for Canadian Families. Do you know this website? It seems really great. I’m going to read it more thoroughly to try to catch the names of ancestors for more details on their lives. I have to admit I haven’t done much research into the Quebec ancestry as it seems so well documented by others that I’m a little overwhelmed by it.

  4. Pierre Lagacé

    The anecdote about the two Indian girls…

    Champlain had another reason to complain of Marsolet. The interpreter wrecked his plan to take back to France Charité and Espérance, two Indian girls whom the founder of Quebec had adopted. Perhaps with the intention of keeping the young girls near him, because, as Champlain wrote, he “wished to debauch” them, or in order to punish Espérance for having repulsed his advances, the “rascal” misled Kirke – who was very anxious to keep the Indians’ goodwill – into thinking that they would look with disapproval upon the girls’ departure. Despite Champlain’s indignant denials and his offer to appease the Indians by a valuable gift, David Kirke did not authorize him to take his two protégées with him. Champlain and Espérance heaped bitter reproaches upon Marsolet for such double-dealing.

    1. 🙂 Yes, I had read this. Sounds like there was a lot of interesting dynamics between all the various factions in the grand beginnings of New France. It’s fascinating. I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like to come to a land where there had been no other people like yourself. Everything was totally new and every individuals’ weaknesses and strengths came out in the dealings.

      1. Pierre Lagacé

        Fascinating…

        It’s like a time machine.

        People are missing a lot when they don’t know their roots. History isn’t boring anymore.

        I found out just last year about Jean Nicolet.

        I don’t boast about it… just inside.
        He died when he tried saving Iroquois who had been captured.

      2. Pierre Lagacé

        Nicolet has done some pretty good things in his life. In fact his name is immortalized here in Quebec and elsewhere.

  5. Pierre Lagacé

    About Bellechasse and Bethiers…in this section:

    After Champlain died Nicholas made a move to a permanent home in Quebec City. He married Marie LeBarbier in 1637 and they had their first child in 1638, a daughter. They settled in Bellechasse or Bethiers in Quebec city area.

    Bethiers is not a place but a person.

    http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/bertier_michel_2E.html

    Bellechasse is a county east of Quebec City on the south side of the St. Lawrence.

    1. Ok, thank you for this information. I knew Berthiers was a family name, but I thought maybe the place had been named after that family. I wonder if you can help me with old maps of Quebec. I wanted to find all of the land grants that were given to Nicolas. I bet you know where I could find some. 😉

      1. Pierre Lagacé

        I can try.

        I will dig further into it and write about it on the blog so everyone will benefit.

        My blog is all about sharing.

      2. Thank you. I agree that we should share what we know for others to learn as well. That’s what genealogy is all about. 🙂

  6. Well! It seems that your Nicolas Marsolet St. Aignan is the same NIcolas dit Saint Aignan Marsolet who is my spouse’s 9th great grandfather.
    NIcolas – 9th great grandfather, father of Louise, 8th great grandmother, mother of Joseph Lemire, 7th great grandfather, father of Marie Louise Marguerite Lemire, 6th great grandmother, mother of Marie Josephte Brien Derochers, 5th great grandmother, mother of Charles Chevaudier Lepine, 4th great grandfather, father of Jean-Baptiste Chevaudier-Chevoyer Lepine, 3rd great grandfather, father of Vanase Chebaudier Lepine, 2nd great grandfather, father of Adeline Lepine, great grandmother, mother of Lawrence Joseph Howard, grandfather, father of Raphael Louis Howard, father of my spouse. I have a lot more research to do, however, it seems you’ve given me a bit of help with it. Thank you.

    1. That’s great! I knew it was just a matter of time before I connected with other descendants of Nicolas. He has a huge tribe/clan which he created. I see that we are connected at Louise Marsolet married to Jean Lemire. My ancestor is Jean Francois Lemire and yours is his brother Joseph. So probably 9th cousins or something like that. Very cool. I am finding my research into Nicolas’ life fascinating. If you look at the links in my post, you will find tons of information. Thanks for your comment. Are you living in Canada?

      1. Pierre Lagacé

        Rosh, I believe you are related to my sister’s natural mother.
        That I never wrote on my blog. This is a very sad story of women having a child out of wedlock.

        Nowadays things are different just like we don’t do to others what C.C. did with the Indians he met. In fact they were not Indians, but does it matter. He would have done the same to the real Indians in India if he had discovered India.

        To think of it, some people do such things but in different ways nowadays.

      2. No, I don’t live in Canada, I’m in the States. You’re my spouse’s cousin. His ex also has some Canadian connections – Loyalists that left the rebellious colonies for the safety of Canada. Some came back years later, some stayed. But my spouse’s great grandmother was the French Canadian who came with her father to Wisconsin, met and married his great grandfather and had a family.

    2. Pierre Lagacé

      We are all related somehow when we have some French-Canadian roots.
      This is what makes it such fun to write about Our Ancestors.
      I can’t resist the temptation.

  7. Pierre Lagacé

    I am not checking on you, but I was reading again your post…which I still find fascinating.

    You still have Nicholas written all over instead of Nicolas.
    Not that I mind since my son’s first name is Nicholas instead of Nicolas which it is supposed to be written in French.

    Pierre

      1. Pierre Lagacé

        Not that it was that important but since you and my sister (who was adopted) are distant cousins, we are now somewhat more closer than ever.

      2. That’s right. We’re family now! You’ll be happy to see I corrected the spelling for Nicolas 🙂
        Oh I have to correct Algonquin too. I’m off.

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