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Jean-Michel Messier

Jean-Michel is the son the least known from Michel and Anne Lemoyne’s family.  Following a decision of his father to move to Varennes, he is born there on May 31st, 1674;  his birth is registered in Boucherville. He is the eighth child of the couple and their first boy. Two years later, his sister Marguerite is born in Montreal, further to a return of his parents in that place. In 1679, they return to Varennes where he spends his childhood.

Up to the age of 28 years, his life passes by calmly in the seigneury of his parents. The period from 1689 to 1695 is the theater of several skirmishes in the neighborhood of Varennes, but Cap St-Michel is saved from the Iroquois threat.

On June 20th, 1702, Jean-Michel is in Quebec to give a discharge to Jean Delesraige, special director of the « compagnie de la Baie du Nord ».  The company owed him five hundred and forty three pounds fifteen sols. This sum represented his salary for a period of fourteen and a half months. Jean-Michel declares not to know how to sign. This receipt lets believe that he spent this period in the North, probably in the Hudson Bay. Unfortunately, I found no document on this commitment. Had Jean-Michel several commitment with this company?


After this date, he does not seem to have lived for a long time at his parent's.  Less than a month after his passage in Quebec, he makes a commitment to go to Detroit. On July 16th, 1702, he is in Lachine to sign. He is not alone for this travel. They are about twenty men to be hired by the company of Canada; they have to go to carry goods in Detroit in rowing boat. These men will be under the orders of a man named Bertrand Arnaud.  From there, they will return with furs that they will carry to the store of the company. The company makes a commitment to feed them and to give them a salary of 500 pounds. The travelers have the right to go hunting during the journey; however, they have to put back half of the furs collected to the company. They can have the other half for their own profit.  

His stay in Detroit is not very long. On December 13th of the same year, he is in Montreal at the notary Adhémar. His father gives him a concession of six acres frontally onto the depth of Cap St-Michel on which there are already nine opened up acres.


Jean-Michel does not seem to be ready to cultivate the concession received from his father. On July 10th, 1703, he decides to return in Detroit.  He is in Montreal, with about forty people, to sign his commitment with the same company. At this time, the compagny hires them for one year. The contract stipulates that they do not have right to make the furs trade with the Indians. Every rowing boat will be supplied by four jars of brandy for their use.  Furthermore, it will be allowed eachone to bring, at his expenses, two jars of brandy.  It is well specified that it is forbidden to exchange it with the Indians. The travelers will have to bring with them, an axe and a gun. Any breach of this discipline can result in a dismissal.

The journey lasts less than one year. He is in Montreal on May 2nd, 1704, ready to leave for another long journey. His sister Marguerite wants to join her husband in La Mobile, in Louisiana. A few days earlier, she hired some travelers. Jean-Michel thus signs a contract with his sister to escort her in Louisiana. The act mentions that he is living in Sorel.

The journey is planned for one year. The group is going to join the Mississippi before reaching the fort Louis de La Mobile.  At this place, Jean-Michel dies at thirty one years old.  The history does not say if he died by disease or following wounds.

Jean-Michel was also known under the name of St-Michel.

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

Last update : 

August 11, 2014

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