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Departure to New France

Historians have been unable to set a date of arrival of the Messiers in New France. Lucien Campeau believes that the couple Primot happened in 1641 in Quebec City with Mr. de Maisonneuve. Sulte mentions the year 1648 as the arrival of Jacques Messier. Claude Perreault, in the biographical dictionary of Canada, believes that Michel arrived in Montreal in 1653. As for Marcel Trudel, author of several books on Canadian history, he does not dare to say.

The uncertainty of historians is that the Messiers did not sign a commitment to come to Ville-Marie. No document comes to certify their departure. Therefore, we must gather all the informations on them to identify a date of their departure.

In 1605, to LaHaye, Michel Fossart is a witness to the marriage contract of his sister Marie with François Ansoult. The act states that Michel Fossart returns from distant countries, where he left eight years ago. During a long time, the stories of this man fueled conversations throughout the region. They made the conversation of many LeMessiers up to Vascoeuil. With the misery that prevailed, some have been tempted to emigrate to the New World. A riot even broke in Rouen in 1639, triggered by people seeking bread. The poor were hungry.

Jacques LeMessier, David's brother, decided to learn a little more about these distant countries. What better than a visit to the port where boats leave for this destination! In 1642, Therefore, Jacques leaves Vascoeuil for a visit to Dieppe, a port of embarkation for New France. He hopes to gather enough information to satisfy his curiosity.

In Dieppe, he probably lodged at the inn of Pierre LeMoyne, the father of the bride of Michel. It was the best place to be well informed. In 1641, the son of Pierre Lemoyne, Charles left bringing a party of agreement with the Jesuits for the New World. At that time, Pierre Lemoyne could not inform Jacques about on his son. However, many sailors who commuted between Dieppe and Quebec were staying at the hostel.

In 1642, it was the year of the founding of Ville-Marie. In 1646, Charles Lemoyne settled permanently in Ville-Marie after a stay in Trois-Rivières. With the information received from his son, Pierre Lemoyne was better able to inform Jacques on the Laurentian colony.

At that time, we cannot arrive at Ville-Marie without notifying the authorities in place. In the preparation of the trip, Pierre Lemoyne is possibly the intermediary between his son Charles, Mr. de Maisonneuve and Jacques. He received information from New France he passed to Jacques. With the help of a person, Jacques Messier passed the intentions of Pierre Lemoyne, which were then shipped to the authorities of Ville-Marie. It is possible that Jacques has made more than one trip to Dieppe before his departure.

In 1649, the arrangements made, five citizens of Vascoeuil and St-Denis-le-Thiboult namely Jacques Messier, Antoine Primot Martine Messier and his wife, Catherine Thierry, adopted daughter and niece of the couple Primot and Michel Messier choose to go to Ville-Marie via the port of Dieppe. The influence of Pierre Lemoyne had probably something to do with the decision to Jacques Messier and Antoine Primot to prefer Ville-Marie instead of Quebec.

The Messiers did not arrive in Dieppe a few hours before the ship's departure, a favorable wind being necessary to cast off. The group probably makes a stay at the Inn of Pierre Lemoyne. During those few days, Michel has certainly met the children of Pierre Lemoyne. Unknowingly, he saw his future wife Anne Lemoyne. At nine, a boy has something else to think that marriage. To leave Dieppe, men are on board the boat off and wait for a favorable wind. When it arrives, aboard women and fewer children and it is the departure to Quebec, with final destination, Ville-Marie. Unconsciously, Michel will end nine years later, at the foot of the altar with the little girl of eleven he met in Dieppe.

I chose 1649 as the date of their departure. They came on their own initiative. Of course, Mr. de Maisonneuve was very happy to see the population of Montrééal increase of 10%. At that time, historians estimate the population of Ville-Marie about fifty people. To determine the date, you must go through deductions.

On September 11, 1694, before the notary Claude Maugue Michel says he was in Ville-Marie in 1650. On February 5, 1651, in Ville-Marie, in the inventory of the property of Michel Chauvin, Jacques is mentioned as his debtor. Always in the same place, Catherine Primot is godmother on April 20, 1650. On the other hand, Antoine Primot and Jacques are present on March 25, 1643 in St-Denis-le-Thiboult. With these four pieces of information, let me explain why I chose 1649 as the starting date.

A journey of no return at this time requires a minimum of care. For this reason, three adults are not too many with two children aged nine. It is a journey that can last more than two months. In Ville-Marie, they are fifty people in over one hundred and forty kilometers from the nearest location to find help. They will be surrounded by a hostile world. For this reason, I think they all left together.

Catherine Primot was in Ville-Marie on April 20, 1650. To be there, she must have left at least in 1649 with Antoine Primot who was in St-Denis-le-Thiboult in 1643. The group left between 1644 and 1649 . This is certainly not when Michel and Catherine Primot were under six years that these people have left their hometown. Also, if Pierre Lemoyne influences the Messiers, their destination is when his son Charles can talk to him about this place, that is to say, after 1644, when he returned to Trois-Rivières after spending three years with the Hurons.

For these reasons, 1649 is a logical choice as the year of their departure. Ships, left Dieppe, arriving in Quebec City on August 23. When Michael says he is in Ville-Marie since 1650, in a certain sense, he is not wrong. Time to arrive at Ville-Marie and to acclimatize to this new country, allow him to be present on the date mentioned in the notarial deed.

Text comes from the volume of Gilles Messier :  Les Messier et leurs ancêtres, 700 ans d'histoire.

Last update : 

November 3, 2014

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