Camirand ~ Cameron
Harbor at Bordeaux by Edouard Monet 1871
André CHAUVET (or Choet) dit CAMIRAND... arrived in New France around 1704 as a sergeant in the French Army. He was about 34 years old. He appears to have been a career soldier, achieving the highest rank of his social class. Once in Canada, he was assigned to Fort Pontchartrain on the straits (le détroit), a new fur-trading depot built in 1701. Today, the area is known as Detroit, Michigan. He served under Detroit's founder, the flamboyant Antoine de Lamothe dit Cadillac. Lamothe-Cadillac came from the same Aquitaine (Guyenne) region of France... probably within 50 miles of Bazas.
Depiction of an 18th century French soldier.
Was André hand-picked by Cadilac? Probably not. Did Cadillac seek soldiers from his own region feeling a better rapport with them? Quite likely.
André Chauvet dit Camirand was born around 1670 in the parish of St. Pierre de Camiran in Bazas in the old province of Guyenne in southern France about 35 miles southeast of Bordeaux, the son of Jean Chauvet and Françoise Touzet. As dit names are applied to soldiers, André Chauvet seems to have been designated by the village he came from... Camiran. Hence, he was a Camirand, a soldier from Camiran.
In July 1707, he married a 30-year old widow and a midwife, Anne PASTOUREL, in Repentigny. She brought two young children to the marriage, a 6-year boy and a 3-year old girl.
Born in Canada in 1677, she was the daughter of Marie LeClerc and Claude Pastourel, a soldier from the famed Carignan Regiment.
Anne Pastourel was living in Repentigny, in the area now known as Montréal, when her husband, Jean Mauriceau (Morisseau) was killed by Indians early in 1703. He was an interpreter and voyageur, a transporter of goods, a sometime fur trader who plied the waters between the Great Lakes and Montréal. At the time of his death, Anne had a two-year old son, Jacques and was expecting another child in May.
Hundreds of miles away in the new Fort Pontchartrain, Madame de Lamothe, the wife of Cadillac, was grieving over the loss of a third child, dead for the lack of sufficient milk, and worried about the chances for survival of the child she was carrying. Since there were no domestic animals at the fort at that time, it would seem the only solution would be a wet nurse. However, there were few women at the fort and no one suitable.
It is likely that Cadillac knew Jean Mauriceau, and was no doubt aware of the circumstances of his death. Jean and his brothers, Pierre, Jean-Baptiste and Louis were all voyageurs attached to the many convoys who were given contracts to transport supplies to and pelts from the forts along the Great Lakes. All the brothers were the sons of Vincent Mauriceau who had emigrated from Bordeaux to New France around 1668.
How Cadillac hooked up with Anne Pastourel is not exactly known, but in August 1703, a hiring contract between Anne Pastourel and Madame de Lamothe was drawn up by Notary Adhemar of Montréal. The gist of the document suggests that Cadillac's wife, Madame de Lamothe, was to hire Anne Pastourel to serve for two years as wet nurse for her child expected to be born in February. Anne Pastourel was to go to Fort Pontchartrain on the next convoy travelling there. It was stipulated that she and her children be fed from the day of their departure to the day of their return. For this she would receive 450 livres a year (a handsome sum), beginning at the time of the birth. She was also to be given a dressing gown. In fairness, the Cadillacs promised to pay her one-half her pay if the child was stillborn or died within the first six months.
So, Anne made the trip with her own three-month old child to nurse and the hopes of being able to feed a second infant. It is difficult to imagine a young mother with children travelling in an open canoe and over long portages from Montréal to Detroit. Even harder considering the time it took... six weeks, maybe two months of nightly bivouacs sleeping under the protection of an upturned canoe, listening for the crack of a twig that might signal the approach of an animal or Indians on the prowl.
In July 1704, Anne Pastourel and her employer, Madame de Lamothe along with the thriving months-old-baby she cared for, left Fort Pontchartrain for Montréal. To this day, the child, Marie-Thérèse de Lamothe, has descendants living in France.
It is highly likely that André Chauvet dit Camirand and Anne Pastourel knew one another during her year-long stay at the fort, but that would depend on the exact date of his deployment to the fort. History says he arrived in 1704. If it was before July, then there would have been numerous occasions for them to greet one another, stop to chat on the way to attending fort's church, Ste. Anne, or in the daily comings and goings of the fort. Anne's young son (if she travelled with him), Jacques Mauriceau, certainly would have attracted attention. All conjecture, however Camirand did take the initiative to acquire a lot from Cadillac in March 1707. And in August 1707 after they had married, Chauvet dit Camirand was still in Montréal buying supplies and furnishings. One would like to think it was for their life back at Fort Pontchartrain.
The young Chauvet-Camirand family returned to Fort Ponchartrain where the first two of their children, sons André and Pierre, were born in May 1708 and May 1710, respectively. There they remained until around 1711.
When the family left the fort, they settled in the Trois-Rivières region in and around a hamlet known as Pointe-du-Lac where four more children, all daughters, were born.
A glimpse of their lives in a contract taken from the National Archives of Trois-Rivières. Recorded by Notary Pierre Petit: Vente d'une terre de 2 arpents de front, à Pointe du Lac, par André Chauvet-Camirand et Anne Pastourelle, sa femme, de Trois Rivières, à Pierre Chauvet, leur fils (2 janvier 1735).
Translation: The sale of a piece of land with a frontage of 2 acres, at Pointe du Lac, by André Chauvet-Camirand and Anne Pastourelle, his wife, of Trois Rivières, to Pierre Chauvet, their son (January 2, 1735).
Another contract taken from the National Archives of Trois-Rivières, again recorded by Notary Pierre Petit: Vente du'un emplacement de 1/2 arpent, au Marquisat du Sablé, par André Chauvet et Anne Pastourelle, sa femme, de Trois-Rivières, à Pierre Chauvet, leur fils, sieur Camirand (4 fevrier 1735).
Translation: The sale of an 1/2 acre lot at Marquisat du Sablé (a location), by André Chauvet and Anne Pastourelle, his wife, of Trois-Rivières, to Pierre Chauvet, their son, Squire (in the sense of landowner) Camirand (February 4, 1735).
Anne Pastourel died in April 1746 at the age of 69; André Chauvet-Camirand died in March 1755 at the age of about 75 . Their eldest son, André, died around 1745 leaving no descendants. The line continues through the second son, Pierre Chauvet dit Camirand, who in time dropped the name Chauvet in favor of Camirand.
In 1760, one of their daughters, Thérèse Chauvet-Camirand returned to France with her husband, Pierre Villain, whom she had married in November 1738.
A special thanks to Gail Moreau of Michigan's French-Canadian Heritage Society for sending me a copy of the August 1704 contract between Madame Lamothe and Anne Pastourel, and for her help in deciphering it.
Source for Detroit data: History of Wayne County and the City of Detroit, Michigan by C.M. and M.A. Burton.
The direct line to my parents is as follows:
André CHAUVET dit CAMIRAND and Anne PASTOUREL m. 7-11-1707 in Montréal, PQ
Pierre CHAUVET dit CAMIRAND and Madeleine MORISSEAU m. 5-3-1735 in Repentigny, PQ
Jean-Baptiste André CAMIRAND and Marie LORD m. Jan. or Feb. 1777 in Pointe-du-Lac, PQ
Pierre CAMIRAND and Madeleine PANNETON m. 2-6-1815 in Trois-Rivières, PQ
Charles CAMIRAND and Marie Zélie POTHIER m. 2-9-1847 in Trois Rivières, PQ
Ernest CAMIRAND/CAMERON and Mathilde FOURNIER m. 11-24-1885 in Attleboro, MA
Wilfred CAMERON and Delia DARGIE m. 10-11-1910 in Attleboro, MA
Rhea CAMERON and Edward LIZOTTE m. 6-20-1936 in Attleboro, MA