Homestead of Robert Giffard in Mortagne, Normandy

 Robert Giffard de Moncel (1587 - 1668) was a French surgeon and apothecary who, after being granted one of the first seigneuries, was instrumental in establishing the first viable colony in New France in 1634. 

Giffard's grant of a league of land along the Beauport and St. Lawrence rivers was in exchange for his commitment to bring other settlers. His recruitment efforts in Normandy yielded many sturdy pioneers from the Perche region of France... the Percheron immigration as it is sometimes called, a small group of families and some single men. 

The colonists were temporarily housed in the Habitation (Fort St-Louis), the fort and residence built by Samuel de Champlain at Quebec in 1608, before moving to their land concessions at Beauport, a short distance down river from Quebec.

In the space of about thirty years, some 146 adults in 80 families representing various trades, many of them building trades (masons, joiners, carpenters, brick makers, etc.) would embark on the long voyage.  They would replace the flimsy houses of the first habitation with stone buildings, churches, a hospital, a convent, a mill... whatever needed for a growing colony.

Granted, some of these workers would return return home to France, but the vast majority, despite the hardships, elected to become part of a new society taking shape New France. 

 Robert Giffard died in Beauport, PQ in 1668. 


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