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Nos Ancestres

by Gérard Lebel
Translated by Thomas J. Leforest


Jacques Billaudeau
   By Jacques Saintonge Sainte-Anne De Beaupré QC.

On 23 June 1652, "The small boat of the first ship from France arrived, commanded by Master Jean Poitel, the ship landed on the Isle aux Coudres".  On the following 1 July "arrived M. de Charny & the men from this first ship".  Among these men who were not named, was there a passenger by the name of Jacques Billaudeau, originally from Poitou?  We do not know!  What is certain is that the family of this M. de Charny was of Poitevin lineage and that his Parisian roots were rather recent.  

Charles de Lauson and his Fief

Charles de Lauson, the last son of the governor of New France to settle on this side of the Atlantic, made unusual progress.  Six weeks after his arrival, he married the thirteen year old daughter of the Seigneur de Beauport, Louise Giffard.  In 1656, the year of the death of his young bride, he replaced his father as administrator and commandant of the country; he then called himself "Chevalier, Seigneur de Charny, Governor and Lieutenant-General for the King in New France".  

Charles returned to France in 1657, studied for the priesthood and was ordained less than two years later.  In 1659, he returned to Canada in the company of Msgr. François de Laval.  Father Charny was immediately named Vicar-General, and accompanied the newly appointed Bishop de Laval on his pastoral visit to Trois-Rivières and Montréal.  Charles became head clergyman of the Hotel-Dieu at Québec.  He then took over the duties of his brother Jean, the Grand Senechal, killed by the Iroquois in 1661.  He then succeeded his father who died in Paris in 1666.  Five years later, he returned to France and never came back.  He spent the rest of his days at the Jesuit college at La-Rochelle.  

To go backward in time for a moment, let us note that on 24 July 1652, Charles received from his father the most important land grant ever made on the Ile d'Orléans.  The fief of Charny-Lirec included the whole north side of the island, the arc of the present parishes of Sainte-Famille and Saint-Pierre.  The deed mentions that persons must be chosen "who have the will and the ability to clear and cultivate the wild lands of this country of New France in order to fill it with inhabitants".  

On 20 July 1656, Charles "Seigneur of Charny and of Lirecq", pledged faith and homage to Olivier Le Tardif, Provost judge of Beaupré, "On 26 April 1661, wrote Raymond Gariepy, he completed the Paveu et denombrement (local census) of his fief, which he gave to the administrator of the seigneurie the next day.  According to this document, the fief of Lirec was almost completely inhabited in the parish of Sainte-Famille, but very little in that of Saint-Pierre".  

Jacques Billaudeau's land was then situated between that of the associates Antoine Pepin dit Lachance and Jacques Asselin, and that of Claude Charlan dit Francoeur.  

The Billaudeau family was listed in the census twice in 1666 on the Ile d'Orléans.  First they were noted as being between the lands of Nicolas Godeboust and Gabriel Gausselin, then between these of Jean Charpentier and Jacques Meneux.  We note other slight variations (errors) in the ages and names between the two recordings.  At that time two servants helped our pioneer who undoubtedly had great need of them:  Jean Le Vasseur and Claude Febvre.  

The census of 1667, which replaced that of 1666, was more explicit and undoubtedly more accurate.  Therein it says that Jacques was 35 years old and Geneviève 28; their children were Louise, 11; Jacques, 10; Jean, 9; Antoine, 8; Simon, 5; and Gabriel, 3.  The stable sheltered six animals, and 25 arpents were under cultivation.  This time their immediate neighbors were Abel Turquot and Antoine Pepin dit Lachance.  The Billaudeau family was listed again in the census of 1681 in the county of Saint-Laurent (the new name given to the Ile d'Orléans).  Jacques was now 50 years old and his wife 42.  Still living in the paternal home were: Jean, 29; Antoine, 22; Simon, 18; and Gabriel, 17.  Again two servants:  Mathurin Labreque, 17, and a child of 9 named Robert.  The family owned a gun, 30 head of cattle and now worked 40 arpents of land.  Between 1666 and 1708, the name of Jacques Billaudeau was mentioned several times in the records of a few notaries of this time:  Robert Becquet, Gilles Rageot, Paul Vachon and Louis Chambalon were those who recorded for him.  The nine or ten years when the children were being born and raised were completely silent in the notaries' records.  

On 23 July 1666, Jacques Billaudeau was at Québec.  He had been summoned to the bishop's residence to conclude an agreement on passage rights of the animals and maintenance of his part of the lane leading to the mill on the island. It was Messire Jean Dudouyt who welcomed him in the name of Msgr. de Laval, who was the Seigneur of Beaupré and the Ile d'Orléans.  Besides the Abbot Dudouyt, Salomon Allais and Pierre Fauvre signed the act as witnesses, with the notary Becquet.  As usual, Billaudeau stated that he could not write nor sign his name.

A Concession from the Nursing Sisters to his Young Son

On 18 July 1677, our ancestor was again at Québec, this time in the parlour of the convent of the Hotel-Dieu de la Misericorde de Jesus.  He was accompanied by his nine year old son Jean.  He and his brother Antoine were each to be given a piece of land "on the Ile de Saint-Laurent formerly called Ile d'Orléans".  These concessions consisted of three arpents of frontage on the river, with a depth extending to the center of the island.  The lands were adjacent.  The neighbors were, on one side, Jean Guyon du Buisson, and on the other side, Jean I Premont.  The transaction was concluded in each case for an annual rent of 60 sols in silver and three capons.  Jeanne-Agnes de Saint-Paul, the mother superior, and Jeanne-Françoise de Saint-Ignace, the treasurer, signed the deeds for the Nursing Sisters; Jean "Billodaux" signed for himself (which is astonishing, because his parents could not write); the bailiff Guillaume Roger and the notary Becquet placed their signatures.  

The Concessions of 2 April 1656

On 2 April 1656, notary François Badeau recorded fourteen land grants made at Beauport by Charles de Lauson in a fief of Lirec.  The new concessionaires were Robert Gagnon, Jacques Billaudeau, Simon Lerreau, Louis Coté, Guillaume Baucher dit Morency, Michel Guyon, Jacques Perrot dit Vildaigre, Pierre Loignon, François Guyon, Charles (Claude) Guyon, René Mezie (Mezeray), Pierre Nolin dit Lafougere, Guillaume Landry and Maurice Arrive.  All of these early pioneers of the Ile d'Orléans count numerous descendants today.  

Of course, other lands had been distributed on the island before these, but very few.  The island was practically deserted and it would still be necessary for the habitants to wait more than ten years to finally obtain their first church.  According to Leon Roy, all of these inhabitants had already occupied their lands for several years.  The acts of Badeau had simply served to ratify a situation of fact.  The homestead that Jacques Billaudeau occupied at that time was the last on the west side, between that Denis Guyon (which was sold in 1659 to the partners Jacques Asselin and Antoine Pepin dit Lachance) and the lands of the domain not ceded.  

This property had four arpents (1 arpent = 192 feet) of frontage on the north side of the river and was about 72 arpents in depth.  It was directly across from the boundary between the parishes of Château-Richer and Saint-Anne.  It was later divided between Jacques' two sons:  Simon and Antoine.  They were already settled there in1709, as indicated by the map drawn up by Jean-Baptiste de Couagne the surveyor associated with Gedeon de Catalogne.  

Marriage and Family

Jacques Billaudeau had been married for almost two years when he received his concession from Charles de Lauson Charny.  The marriage was registered at Québec on 28 October 1654, but the ceremony took place in the house of the Sieur de la Ferte.  It was there we learn that Jacques was the son of Pierre Billaudeau and of Jeanne Fleurie, and that the bride, Geneviève Longschamps (sometimes spelled Deslongschamps), was the daughter of Pierre and of Marie Desanter.  The document does not indicate the couple's place of origin, but the list of those confirmed at Château-Richer, says that Jacques, before coming to Canada, had lived in the region of Poitiers, but gave no further details.  It seems that all the Billaudeau-Longschamps children were born, on the Ile d'Orléans, between 1656 and 1664.  The baptismal record for Simon in1662, has been found at Château-Richer, as for the others, it is necessary to reply on the approximate age mentioned in the various censuses.  On this subject, let us note the local census of the arriere-fief of Charny-Lirec which Charles de Lauson produced on 26 April 1661.  

This list counts forty arpents settled:

"from the boundary of Louis D'ailleboust Sr de Coulonges going step by step Towards Québec.  Until the lands of Damlle Eleonore de grandmaison and her Children except for what was given to the RR MM Hospitalieres and Ursulines & to Sr. René Mabeu.  And the depth from the north bank Including the sandbanks and the Islets As far as the Road or line which must cut the said Isle from Point to point". (sic)

Nearly four years later, on 27 February 1681, Jacques Billaudeau acquired another piece of land with three arpents of frontage from Jean Premont.  It was in the neighboring seigneurie of Saint-François de Sales d'Argentenay, towards the south side of the river, between the property of his son Jean and that of Claude Lefebvre, his former servant.  The said land had been ceded by the Hospitalieres to François Daneau in 1675, and it was finally Simon, Jacques' youngest son who inherited.  

Fisherman and Hunter

The founder of the Canadian Billaudeau families had a particular weakness: he liked to hunt and fish.  This distracted him from the work on his farm and from clearing his land, which he willingly entrusted to his servants.  This also gave him a small additional income which was greatly appreciated.  

Therefore, on 9 February 1664, a judgment from the Sovereign Council of New France mentions a lawsuit by Louis Couillard de L'Espinay against Jacques Billaudeau and his neighbor Antoine Pepin dit Lachance.  The plaintiff asked that the defendants be ordered to return to him a moose which they had "taken" and that Claude Guyon, his partner, had actually killed.  According to Couillard, Billaudeau and Pepin had taken and removed the carcass.  Jacques admitted that he had indeed "taken" a moose in the woods; he drove it down to the bank where Guyon got a shot at it.  As for himself, he was content with the head, but he did not understand what the plaintiff meant when he stated that he only made his accusation the next day.  In the end, the Council decided to send the parties out of court and to settle the suit without costs.  

Ah, those quarrelsome ancestors!  Much ado about nothing, as Shakespeare said.  

On 20 October 1681, Jacques formed a partnership with Jean Langlois and Antoine Cadde, merchant of Québec, to go fishing and hunting in the seigneurie of La Riviere de la Madeleine, territory that Cadde had obtained from Frontenac on 31 May 1679.  The Seigneur requested Langlois and Billaudeau buy or build themselves a suitable barge for the purpose of a long journey, for which he would pay each of them ten livres per year.  However, a judgment by the Sovereign Council dated Monday 23 December 1686 informs us that difficulties occurred in this Partnership.  

The contract of 1681 had been declared null (for not having been executed in time) by the bailiff judge of Saint-Laurent on 6 July 1683.  Judgment confirmed on the following 17 November by the Provost of Québec, and on the subject of which Cadde had brought an appeal to the higher court.  The Council denied this appeal, ordering that the judgment be carried out according to its terms and conditions.  The Council denied this appeal, ordering that the judgment be carried out according to its terms and conditions.  Billaudeau was authorized to break his contract, while Cadde and Langlois would continue it, if they so desired.  

Several years later, more precisely on 7 June 1694, the notes of Louis Chambalon mention another contract, this time between the navigator François Frichet and the Sieurs Baudouin and Labonte.  All three were associated with Jacques Billaudeau and Jean Moricet in an agreement to fish during the present year.  

A Pied-A-Terre at Québec

On 5 November 1686, in the absence of her husband, Geneviève Longschamps appeared at the home of the notary Gilles Rageot in order to rent a small house, ten feet by twenty, on the Rue du Sault au Matelot in the lower town of Québec.  This was a transaction between women since the owner, Andre Parant, was minor and was represented by his mother, Jeanne Badault, wife of Pierre Badault.  The house was comprised of two rooms, a small cellar and a small attic, adjoining on one side a man named Lafebvre dit Grand Ville, and on the other, Andre Parant himself.  The rent was 75 livres which Geneviève promised to pay in two payments:  half in March, and the other half at the end of the lease.  Louis Bidet, Nicolas Metru and Guillaume Roger signed as witnesses.  

Another document drawn up by Louis Chambalon and dated 15 February 1696 reveals that Jacques Billaudeau and his neighbor Jacques Asselin had been the farmers for François Berthelot.  This was indicated in a farm lease signed between Louis Rouer de Villerary (acting for Berthelot) and Claude Charlan dit Francoeur and his wife.  François Berthelot had been the first and only legitimate Count de Saint-Laurent (hence the name of the county which is often applied to the island at the end of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth).  He was commissioner-general of the artillery of France.  His domain on the island had four arpents in frontage, and depth three Steps above the crest of the hill, which forms a type of crescent beneath the place where a water mill has begun to be built.  

Geneviève is Involved in a Story of Murder

The action took place between 1675 and 1677.  On 29 December 1675, Gabriel Hervet, farmer for his brother-in-law Hippolyte Thibierge, was buried at Sainte-Famille.  He had been found dead in the snow.  Originally from Sainte-Solemme de Blois, diocese of Chartres, in Orlanais, Hervet lived at the Thibierge home for several years.  He was a bachelor.  

On this subject Raymond Boyer wrote:

"Another hanging in effigy (because they could not get their hands on him) was ordered by the Sovereign Council in 1676.  It was that of the imprisoned vagabond Simon Du Verger, a resident of the Ill Saint-Laurent, who had been found guilty of the murder of his neighbor Hervet and who had escaped from prison at Québec a week after he was incarcerated and placed in irons.  In addition, Du Verger had been sentenced to a fine of ten livres (due the King's Court, to pay expenses) and to have all his property confiscated."  This lead to a curious ruling:  The Council ordered that the brother-in-law of the victim, before taking possession of the decease's property, pay a fine incurred by the murder.  Another consequence of this litigation was a fine of 100 livres levied on François Cenaple, the warden of the prison of Québec; at the same time, the Council ordered him to guard the prisoners more carefully. 

How was Geneviève Longschamps involved in this story?  Don't know, But We Do Know, that this case was brought before the Council on the 6th, 7th, and 10th of March 1676.  Geneviève was questioned in March 1677 and charged.  On the following 31 August, it was ordered that Billaudeau and his wife appear so that Geneviève in the presence of her husband, might be admonished to live a better life, and not to be the cause of a scandal in the future.  The court also directed Jacques to:

"D'y tenir la main sur peine d'en répondre en son propre et privé nom, a eux permis de se Retirer ou bon leur semblera."

On Tuesday, 29 May 1671, the Provost of Québec also heard a case brought by Pierre Richer against Jacques Billaudeau.  Billaudeau failed to appear, and the expert testimony of Romain Becquet was heard; Jacques was ordered to pay a fine of nine livres plus court costs. 

The Last Years

Early in the eighteenth century, Jacques and Geneviève knew that they did not have many more years to live.  Therefore they decided to give their sons Simon and Antoine the four arpents ceded at Sainte-Famille in 1656 by Charles de Lausons-Charny.  The act of donation was signed by notary Etienne Jacob on 7 August 1708. 

This was the last document which mentions Jacques Billaudeau during this life time.  According to Leon Roy, the Billaudeau couple was then probably living at Saint-François at the home of their son Simon.  It was in this parish that they were both buried; he on 8 February 1712, nearly 80 years old; she on 28 March 1718 at the age of 88, according to the burial records.  She had died the day before.  A few months after Jacques' death, Geneviève settled some family business at the home of the notary Chambalon. 

Six or Seven Children

Jacques Billaudeau and Geneviève Longschamps had six or seven children.  The number is uncertain because of the loss of the majority of their baptismal acts.  Godbout and Jette mention seven of them, while Leon Roy is satisfied with five.  There were at least six of them: the census takers of 1666 and 1667 agree with the above; the existence of five sons is incontestable; the existence of one of the two Louise's is less certain.  This Louise would be the eldest daughter.  She was eight years old when first mentioned in the census of 1666 and ten months in the second (it should read ten years).  In 1667, she got back her right as the eldest with eleven years of age.  We are unaware of anything more about her, even what became of her.  She was not mentioned in 1681.  

Jacques, born on 24 December and baptized at Québec on 31 December 1656; was buried at Montréal on 27 August 1713.  His name appears in the censuses of 1666 and 1667.  He was not mentioned in 1681: Perhaps he was a coureur des bois that year? 

Jean, born at Sainte-Famille about 1658 and buried at Saint-François on 3 September 1699.  Married at Sainte-Famille on 26 October 1682 (contract Vachon, 31 August), to Elisabeth Leboux (1665-1683), daughter of Jean and of Elisabeth Drugeon, remarried in the same place on 20 November 1684 (contract Vachon, 21 October) to Marie Jahan dit Laviolette (1667-1719), daughter of Jacques and of Marie Ferra (four sons and three daughters).  This family settled at Saint-François.

Antoine, born at Sainte-Famille about 1659 and buried at Saint-François on 1 December 1732.  Married at Sainte-Famille on 13 November 1685 (contract Vachon, 23 October), to Geneviève Turcot (1666-1724), daughter of Abel and of Marie Girou (five sons and six daughters).  This family also lived at Saint-François.  Antoine, who was a militia officer, owned several pieces of land, all of which had a house, team and stable.  In his father's presence in 1693 as witness, he made business contracts with Gervais Baudouin, Gilles Couturier, François Frichet and Claude Guyon. 

Simon, born on the first of May at Sainte-Famille and baptized at Château-Richer on 5 May 1662; buried at Saint-François on 26 November 1742.  Married at Sainte-Famille on 6 June 1689 (contract Vachon, 22 April) to Anne Turcot (1670-1716), daughter of Abel and Marie Girou (two sons and seven daughters).  The family lived at Saint-François.  Simon had been a captain, second in command in the militia from 1721 to 1726.  In the local census of 1725, his land at Sainte-Famille (which he had inherited from his father) had a house, barn, stable and 50 arpents under cultivation.  His land at Saint-François was still larger.  In 1726, Simon gave an arpent to his son-in-law François Langelier on the condition that the latter keep it until his death.  He also gave the Church one hundred livres to have prayers said to God for the repose of his soul. 

Gabriel, born about 1664; died and was buried at Sainte-Famille on 6 January 1685, at the age of twenty.


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