Jacques Messier

Jacques was born in 1649 at Vascoeuil in France, like his brothers and sisters. When his uncle Jacques returned to France, he gave family news to his brother David. For uncle Jacques’s return to Ville-Marie (Montreal) on 1660, David decides to entrust his son Jacques to go and join his brother Michel.

 

Leaving from Dieppe, they disembarqued in Quebec city on Saturday June 12, 1660. Their arrival coincides with the battle of Dollard des Ormeaux at Long-Sault. After crossing the ocean for a long period of time, it was normal for them to get back in shape before taking the road to Montreal. Did Jacques leave for Montreal on August 17th with Monsignor de Laval? It's very doubtfull. He most likely left in a canoe with a group of travelers. The Monsignor arrives in Montreal on August 21st to confirm children. Jacques was confirmed on August 24, 1660. It's Jacques first presence in Ville-Marie. On the 1666 Census, he is living at his brother Michel’s place, and it declares that he is 17 years old. Between his arrival and his death in 1697, Jacques passed thirty seven years in New France. When we think that Michel has spent seventy-five years in this country, is twice his brother. His life was short and had much less action than Michel.

 

On Febuary 1, 1670, Jacques's presence is announced. He became godfather of Anne Messier in Montreal. Later on April 9, 1673, for the first time he is at a notary named Jacques Boismorel. He affims living in Varennes in Jacques LeMoyne's Seigneurial, adjacent to his brother Michel. His contract was to rent a cow. It mentioned that the rental started last year at All Saints Day. The cost was twelve pounds of butter. Also, after three years both Jacques were sharing their veals. So, at twenty four years old he went into business. History does not mention how they shared and how many calves were even or odd numbers.

 

On July 1, 1678, he received a concession of land from Jacques LeMoyne , on his Seigneurial de la Trinité in Varennes. The land is neighbor to Michel's land of Cap St-Michel. Soon after it's acquisition, he decides to accompany Cavalier de Lasalle in one of his expeditions. Foreseeing the dangers, Jacques in an Act dated on October 13, 1678 legging his land to his niece Anne Messier, if he does not come back from the expedition.

 

On October 1678, he leaves Ville-Marie with thirty men under the command of Cavalier de Lasalle. On November 18, 1678, he leaves for Catarakouy. On the 26th, the group are in Humber, near a small river a little west of the futur city of Toronto. On December 6, they are well received by twenty workers at the mouth of Niagara River. Persuing their route, on December 11, a mass is celebrated at a place where eventually will become Niagara. On the 15, the group stops south of the Niagara River, to build Fort Conti where the group will spend the winter there.

 

In the Spring of 1679, a little over the Niagara Falls, they build a Tall Ship, called le Griffon. With thirty men, Lasalle leaves the place on August 7. On the 21st, the ship arrives at Michillimakinac. They load the Griffon with pelts and leave with some of the men for Niagara.One of Lasalle's men Tonty will separate from the group with twenty men. Jacques seems to accompany Tonty. Lasalle continues his run with fourteen men by canoes and rowing boats. He has an appointment on the south of Lake Michigan to join Tonty.

 

In mid November, they build the Fort Miamis. Four men will be left there. The group continues in a south west direction of Lake Michigan. On the Illinois River, on January 15, they build another Fort named Crevecoeur (today Pedria). Not having any news from the Griffon, Lasalle decides to come on his trail accompanied by five men.

 

On his way, he notices that Fort Conti is abandonned and learns about the lost of the Griffon and his men.

 

Lasalle arrives at Catarakouy on May 6. On July 22, three men, Jacques Messier, Nicolas Crevel and Nicolas Laurent, sent by Tonty, to bring him the news. Part of his men where deserters. They took with them pelts, sabotaged the pallissades of Fort Crevecoeur and fled into the woods. Lasalle goes after the deserters accompanied with Jacques and a few men. On August 16, he is on Lake Ontario. On September 16, he is at Sault-Saint-Marie. He finds part of the pelts. Afterwards, he then leaves in the direction of Fort Crevecoeur that he finds half demolished.

 

Lasalle searches for Tonty and his men. He returns to Fort Miamis and arrives on January 6, 1681. Then he leaves for towards Michillimakinac where he finds them at the end of May. After he goes back to Niagara to rebuild Fort Conti. The group then returns to Catarakouy and later, their presence is announced in Ville-Marie on August 11. On Jacques's return he establishes himself at Varennes. On the 1681 Census, he declares being 30 years old, owns two bulls, a gun and eight acres of land.

 

In 1684, the Governor de la Barre decides to attack the Iroquois. For his campaign he calls upon 400 militians from Montreal that will be part of the expedition. On July 16, 1684, he is in Montreal to rally his troups. Jacques is part of the militia for this expedition. On July 30, they leave Montreal in the direction of Katarakoui (Kingston). On August 15, his presence is noted there. The confrontation with the Iroquois will not happen. In the beginning of September the expedition returns to Montreal.

 

Jacques mariage date with Marie-Renée Couillard is unknown. It is possible to fix an approximative date. Jacques's presence is noted in Boucherville on August 26 and September 11, 1687. On this last date, it is certain that he is married. In Boucherville, is wife is a godmother and is identified has being Jacques Messier's wife. Also, it is mentionned that she lives in Varennes. Where and when was their marriage. Many articles in our publication on three different articles of two pages each by Jean Jacques Messier comes to a probable conclusion. Marie-Renée Couillard was at Fort Frontenac with her parents and Jacques was present there. It is possible that it's where they got married, explaining possibly why we cannot find any documents in Montreal, Boucherville or elsewhere.

 

Marie-Renée Couillard is born on July 4, 1670 from the marriage of Francois Couillard and Anne Dannezé. She is baptised on September 2, of the same year in Quebec city. Why such a long period between being born and baptised. Her father was living in Portneuf at the time where Marie-Renée was born.The Couillard family waited for the coming of a priest to his home to have her baptised. Due to the absence of a church between Trois Rivière and Quebec, the baptism is registered in Quebec city.

 

Always without a child, Jacques and Marie-Renée Couilllard decides on December 5, 1690 to do their wills. They give to each other what they own. Less than two years later, on November 4, 1692, in Boucherville the couple baptises their only child . He will be named Jacques like his father. From this child, between 20 % to 25 % of all Messier descendants of America. On June 17, 1695, in Boucherville we assist to the deseased of Marie-Renée Couillard. She preceded her husband.

 

An information stipulates that on August 31, 1695, three citizens of Cap St Michel are captured by the Iroquois at Vercheres. There is no mention of who they are. Did the Iroquois kill them or made them prisonners, who knows. An Act dated January 26, 1697 mentionned that Jacques was killed or made prisonner by the Iroquois; however the notary has substrated this mention.

 

 

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

Last update: July 17, 2014

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