LaRochelle was founded during the 10th century, and became an important harbour from the 12th until the 15th century, dealing mainly in wine, salt and cheese.
In the early 16th century, a small percentage of LaRochelle's population took up the Protestant ways of John Calvin, and became known as Huguenots. Although small in numbers, they were disproportionately powerful in the affairs of France. They had the wealth and the savy to make alliances. The French Wars of Religion which went on from 1562 to 1598 was as much, if not more, a political struggle for power as it was about religion. Siege after siege. Attacks and counter attacks. Massacres: Vassy in 1562 where about 90 Huguenots are killed, and the St. Bartholemew Massacre ten years later which triggered an estimated 10,000 people to be killed throughout the land. Then a respite, a brief period of freedom and prosperity under Henry IV until 1620. Then it starts all over again culminating in La Grand Siege de LaRochelle (1627-1628). The Catholics prevailed. Louis XIII won. The residents of LaRochelle, a Huguenot stronghold, had resisted for 14 months. During this time, the population had decreased from 27,000 to 5,000 due to casualties, famine and disease. It is at this point that many settlers, Catholics and those willing to become Catholics, made plans to emigrate from the area to New France.
Among my ancestors there are four Huguenot families who renounced their faith in order to be allowed to emigrate to New France.
For the stuff of genealogy and how the descendents of these families work themselves into today's Lizotte or Cameron lines, click here. These are straight line family lists.
Source for much of the information on the following settlers is le Programme de recherche sur l'émigration des Français en Nouvelle France (PRÉFEN). Link: www.unicaen.fr/mrsh/prefen/formPion.php
Marguerite ARDION... arrived in New France in 1663 as a widow with her year old son, Laurent Beaudet. Her first marriage was to the boy's father, Laurent Beaudet around 1659. Apparently, by 1663 Beaudet was deceased. First mention of her in Canada is 10-28-1663 at the occasion of her marriage to Jean Rabouin. Rabouin was from LaRochelle as well, but he was Catholic. Unmarried, he had arrived in Canada in June of 1656 as an indentured laborer for a period of three years. Two of the daughters of Marguerite Ardion and Jean Rabouin, Marie born in 1664 and Suzanne born in 1665 are ancestors in the Lizotte line (Marie), and Cameron line (Suzanne).
Marguerite was baptized at the temple of Villeneuve, LaRochelle, in a Calvinist ceremony. In France, Marguerite's father was a master mason and stone paver. This was a Huguenot family.
An interesting aside is information from her father (Pierre Ardion) and mother's (Suzanne Sonet or Soret) marriage contract... (translated) Pierre Ardion and his wife agreed to marriage in a contract prepared on the fifth of January 1623 in the presence of Marie L'abbé, mother of the future groom, Jean Ardion, master cooper (barrel maker), uncle, Abraham Millet, merchant, husband of Anne Ardion, aunt, and Pierre Charpentier, master stone paver. They made a collective gift on the 30th of January 1624.
Knowing that the infamous siege of LaRochelle began in the summer of 1627, one cannot help but wonder how some of these people fared. Marguerite Ardion's parents obviously survived and remained Huguenots. Father, Pierre died in 1641 and mother, Suzanne Sonet in 1650. Both were buried from the temple in Villeneuve with Calvinist rites.
Marguerite Ardion died in Canada in around 1677.
Issac BÉDARD... left LaRochelle for Canada in 1660 with his son Jacques. Isaac Bédard was 44 at the time, Jacques was 16. Isaac was a master carpenter. This was a time when New France/Canada was under the control of religious orders and was self-governed. It was a dangerous place and recruits were hard to come by.
Isaac's wife, Marie GIRARD, joined him in New France in 1663 with an 8-year-old son, Louis. Isaac and Marie had had seven children in LaRochelle, all baptized at the temple in Villeneuve. Sadly, five were to die before their first birthday between the years 1647 and 1658, the last being Anne who was buried in France in October of 1658. With that, the family appears to have made a life-changing decision. In April of 1660, Isaac, his wife Marie, and their oldest son, Jacques stood before a priest at the Oratory in LaRochelle and renounced Calvinism for Catholicism. Shortly after, in the same year, Isaac and his son, Jacques set sail for New France. The couple would have another child, Marie born in May 1664 who lived to marry two times.
First mention of Isaac Bédard in Canada was 3-5-1662 in Québec at the sale of property.
In 1665 Isaac Bedard set up his family in St. Jerome, Charlesbourg, PQ, Canada.
In 1666, the Talon Census listed him as living in the Québec area. He did not sign his name.
Although Isaac was a builder of houses, in May 1666 he filled an order for 100 oars commissioned by Jean Talon. Talon was the Intendant of Québec. By now, Canada had become a royal province under King Louis XIV.
The 1681 census shows Isaac as an inhabitant of Petite Auvergne. He had a gun, 4 head of cattle and nearly 12 acres of land under cultivation.
Isaac Bédard and Marie Girard died in Canada in 1689 and c. 1688, respectively.
The Bédard family is an ancestor through son, Jacques, in the Cameron line.
Paul CHALIFOU... was born and baptized in a Calvinist temple in December 1612. He would have witnessed the siege of LaRochelle first hand as a boy of 15. In April of 1644 he married Marie JEANNOT in a Catholic church. The following year, in June, they had a daughter, also named Marie. They were from the town of Périgny which is about a little less than three miles from the port of LaRochelle. Paul was a master carpenter.
Chalifou arrived as a widower in Canada in 1647, without his young daughter. First mention of Paul in New France is in September of that year at a sale of construction items.
In September 1648, Paul Chalifou married Jacquette ARCHAMBAULT in Québec. They went on to have 14 children. One of the younger ones, Anne, is an ancestor in the Cameron line.
Jeanne PERRIN... was born in May 1615, and baptized at the temple in Saint Yon two weeks later. Sometime in 1638, she married a widower, Jean-Pierre DUTOST (Doutteau, Duteau). He had a five-year old son from his previous marriage. This son, Pierre, died in October 1645.
Jeanne and Jean-Pierre, together had five children, all baptized at the temple in Villeneuve:
- Marie, born in August of 1639
- Charles, born in December of 1641
- Pierre, born in March of 1644 and died in 1652 in LaRochelle
- Nicolas, born in 1646 and died in 1647
Madeleine, born in July 1649.
In April of 1658, Jeanne Perrin and her three surviving children set sail for a new life in North America. See the circumstances of their departure in the translation below.
A glimpse of history relative to the Perrin-Dutost family... translated from the PREFEN site:
The situation for Protestants became more and more difficult in LaRochelle, particularly after the attempted take over of the city by the rebellious Earl of Daugnon. Daugnon, at the arrival of royal troops, fled the city leaving his second in command, Besse, in charge of several soldiers. After an explosion in a section of a tower nearby, the men left. This episode transpired in November 1651 very close to the Dutost family home. The children, Marie and Charles were 12 and 10 years old.
From this moment, the city was not safe for the Huguenots.
Pierre Dutost was concerned for his family. In 1658, probably feeling the end was approaching (he died at the end of the year), he decided to find a way to keep his family safe. For years, he unloaded the cargoes that came from Canada. Without doubt, he had contacts with the captains and sailors who sailed to the new world.
In the afternoon of April 16, 1658, Pierre Dutost arrived at Notary Pierre Teuleron's office on the street of Three Merchants. He is accompanied by his wife, Jeanne Perrin and their children. The first contract indentured Jeanne Perrin and 8-year old Madeleine as servants in the household of the gentleman, Jacques de La Poterie, a landowner living in Québec. The contract was set up for a duration of five years, during which the mother and daughter would be fed by the said landowner who would pay them wages of 50 livres per year, for the two. A section of the contract states that Pierre Dutost authorizes his wife to engage in the indenture. The next contract indentures son Charles (17 years-old) to this same Jacques de La Poterie to do 'everything he would be asked to do' during a period of three years. At the end of the term, Charles would receive 30 livres.
The contracts were signed by Pierre Denys, settler of Québec, representing Jacques de La Poterie, his father-in-law.
The next morning, on the 17th of April, it is 19-year old Marie who signs a contract to work as a servant for the above Pierre Denys in Québec for the duration of three years, for the average pay of 30 livres per year.
During all these transactions, Pierre Denys took up residence at the Gallion Inn, located across the street from the notary's house, managed by Ozée Jourdain, a master pastry cook.
A while later, Jeanne Perrin and her children, Marie, Charles and Madeleine, embarked aboard the ship "Le Prince Guillaume" (The Prince William), leaving Pierre Dutost on the shores of the Huguenot city. On the 12th of December of the same year, Pierre was buried in the temple of Villeneuve.
Without doubt, the entire endeavor for Pierre Dutost was to get his family away from the rigor of the Catholic ways. Actually, the conditions of servitude drawn up for his family were quite simple. We sense that the primary purpose was to move his family to the other side of the Atlantic.
A note: The Jacques de la Poterie (actually, Jacques LeNeuf de la Poterie) mentioned in the above article is the brother of Michel LeNeuf du Herisson, an ancestor in the Cameron line. This was a family of merchants and of small nobility in Normandy. They could very well have been undeclared Huguenots, themselves.
Getting back to the Dutost family, daughter, Marie married a year after her arrival in Canada. In June, 1659 she married Michel LeMay in Trois Rivières... so much for the three-year contract, it was probably never meant to be binding, anyway.
Marie Dutost and Michel Lemay are ancestors in the both the Lizotte and Cameron lines.
Daniel-François PERRON (Peron)... dit Suire was born in November 1638 in LaRochelle. He was the illegitimate son of François Peron, a merchant and shipowner who during his career recruited/sponsored and transported 87 workers for Canada during the 1650's. He also transported furs and goods to and from Canada.
Daniel-François sailed often on his father's ships, first in 1657 to acquaint himself with the job of clerk and overseer for his father's interests in the fur trade. In 1659, he returned to LaRochelle. In 1662, he sailed again to Canada, arriving in June... this time to become a settler. In April of 1662 he had received power of attorney to represent his father in Canada.
On the 6th of December 1663, Daniel Perron abjured the religion of his ancestors, Calvinism. That summer a fille-du-roi from Thairé, Aunis, Louise Gargotinne, had arrived from LaRochelle. In February of 1664, they were married in Chateau Richer, PQ.
Daniel Perron died 2-22-1678 at 39 years old leaving at least 5 young children, the eldest 14, the youngest 2, among them, an ancestor in the Lizotte family, Marie-Madeleine Peron, born in 1670. His widow, Louise Gargotinne remarried in January of 1679.
One of Daniel-François Perron's descendants, Guy Perron, has done much research on this family and has written a couple of books on them.
Isabelle (or Élisabeth) TARGÉ (Target or Targer)... was from a Huguenot family in LaRochelle when she decided in 1659 to emigrate to Canada. She was about 22 years old.
Her father, Daniel Targé was a marinier (mariner or bargeman) whose many children with his wife, Louise Martin, were baptized at the temple in Villeneuve. Among them, a younger sister, Marie Targé who arrived in Canada in 1663 as a fille-du-roi.
Isabelle Targé was the widow of Simon Piat. She appeared to not have any children at the time she made the trip to Canada.
Sometime along the way she renounced Calvinism for Catholism and in August of 1659 she married Mathurin Gerbert in a Catholic ceremony in Québec. He was from the parish of St. Sulpice-des-Langes in Brittany. First mention of him in Canada was 7-12-1659 in Québec at the lease of a farm.
On the census of 1666, the Gerbert family is listed as living in the Québec area where Mathurin Gerbert is a settler.
Together, they had 7 children, three of which (all boys) had died quite young. There appears to have been an epidemic that took two sons, aged 5 and 3 in February and May of 1672. Isabelle herself had died sometime in 1670, leaving 6 children, aged 10 to infant. Her husband, Mathurin Gerbert remarried in January 1671.
Pierre Teuleron was the most important notary of LaRochelle in the 17th century. His study, located in the above building in the Flemish quarter, was near the port where daily could be found a collection of merchants, ship owners and ship captains.