Anne Pastourel 

 The depiction of a canoe encampment by Frances Hopkins.

Unusual circumstances sometimes bring unlikely people together.  Thus was the case of Anne Pastourel and Antoine de LaMothe Cadillac, the founder of Detroit aka Fort Pontchartrain.    


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 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.  But, 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 Mauriceau 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 of them, the sons of Vincent Mauriceau who had emigrated from Bordeaux to New France around 1668.  Cadillac, himself, was from the southern part of France.

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.

An added bonus for Madame de Lamothe was that Anne was a midwife.   

The employment must have seemed a godsend for Anne Pastourel, a mother of two children, a son born in 1701 and an infant daughter born in May 1703.  Yet, it is hard to imagine a woman with the responsibility of two young children travelling in a cramped open canoe and hiking over long portages from Montréal to Detroit.  Even harder to estimate the time it took--six weeks, two months, maybe--of nightly bivouacs sleeping under the protection of an upturned canoe, listening for the crack of a twig that might signify an animal or Indians on the prowl.

They all arrived safely, and Anne Pastourel and the young Mauriceau children wintered over at the fort, undoubtedly staying in the Madame de Lamothe household because there wouldn't have been much else in the way of shelter from the biting cold.            


In July 1704, Anne Pastourel, her children, and her employer, Madame de Lamothe along with the months-old baby, Marie-Thérèse de Lamothe, she cared for, left Fort Pontchartrain for Montréal.  Considering the contract would not expire until August 1705, she must have remained near or with the Cadillac household.


In March 1707, André Chauvet dit Camirand took the initiative to acquire a lot within the fort from Cadillac.  This was a rental rather than outright ownership, and Camirand was expected to improve the lot by clearing the land and building a house.  Not too much of a challenge since the lots measured only 20 x 20.  

In July 1707, Anne Pastourel married the 37-year old sergeant of the troops, André Chauvet dit Camirand, and returned with him to the fort as part of a contingent of settlers that year.  Camirand, like Cadillac and Mauriceau's father, were all from the southern region of France known at that time as Gascogne.  Although Cadillac was not an easy man to deal with, one can imagine there might have been a rapport between the two. 


After the wedding, the couple remained in Montréal for a month.  There is evidence that Camirand was buying supplies and furnishings in August 1707.  One would like to think it was for their life back in Fort Pontchartrain, but it wasn't the first time Camirand bought supplies for the fort.  He had made trips to Montréal on other occasions.  

Did Anne Pastourel meet her future husband at Fort Pontchartrain?  It would depend on when he arrived at the fort in 1704.  If he arrived before July, then I believe she would have been introduced to him. 

Anne Pastourel was the daughter of a Carignan soldier, Claude Pastourel, who had arrived in Canada with the regiment in 1665.  He was from Auvergne, France.  Anne, herself, was born in March 1677 in Boucherville, PQ.  Her mother was Marie LeClerc who probably emigrated from France in 1668... not much is known of her.     

Anne Pastourel was about 21 when she married Jean Mauriceau with whom she had three children:
            Vincent,    b.4-5-1699 in Repentigny, PQ and died 9-27-1701
            Jacques, b.2-18-1701.  He became a fur trader and received permission to travel to the Great Lakes in the spring of 1725 and 1726.
           Marie-Catherine, b.5-5-1703.  She married Francois Delpé in 1728. 


When she married André Chauvet dit Camirand, she was 30.  With him she had six children:

           André, b. 5-1-1710 and d. c. 1745 without ever having children

           ancestor Pierre, b. 5-2-1710 and d. 9-7-1792

           Marie-Josephte, b.c. 1712 and d. 10-8-1714

           Marie-Madeleine, b. 7-27-1714.  She married Antoine Clair

           Thérèse, b. 10-9-1716.  She married Pierre Villain

           Marguerite, b. 9-3-1719.  She married Nicolas Morin


Madame de Lamothe was Marie-Thérèse Dion (Guyon).  She was the daughter of Denis Dion (Guyon), who was the son of ancestors, Jean Guyon-Dion and Mathurine Madeleine Robin.  Denis Dion was the brother of ancestors, Barbe, Simon, Marie and Claude Dion-Guyon.


The colony was small in those days, and it seems everyone was related to everyone else.


Marie-Thérèse Dion's daughter, also named Marie-Thérèse, the little girl who brought the families together in 1703 thrived, and has descendents living in France to this day. 


In the summer of 1711, the Camirand family resettled in the Pointe-du-lac region of Trois Rivières where they lived the rest of their lives.




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