Aunt of Michel and Jacques, our ancestors and sister of Jacques, Martine Messier, wife of Antoine Primot; born at Saint-Denis-le-Thiboult (or le Petit-Bourg), in the diocese of Rouen, in 1607; dead at Montreal some time after 1672.
Primot and his wife were married in France and are mentioned for the first time in 1650 as being at Montreal, although Abbé Faillon maintains that they had been there since 1642.
Martine is the adoptive mother of Catherine Thierry, daughter of Isabeau/Elisabeth Messier (sister of Martine) and Guillaume Thierry. On the 28th day of May 1654, at Montreal, Catherine married Charles Le Moyne, Sieur of Longueuil.. They have 14 childreen. Martine Messier seems to have imparted to the famous Le Moyne brothers, her grandsons, the courage and sangfroid which she exhibited on at least one occasion.
On 29 July 1652, at twice the distance of a gun shot from the fort of Montreal, Martine was attacked by three Iroquois. Although she was unarmed, she defended herself “like a lioness.” Having suffered several hatchet wounds, she finally fainted; but just as one of the Iroquois grasped her by the head to scalp her, “our Amazon” recovered consciousness, “rose more furious than ever and seized the brute so violently in a place which modesty forbids mentioning, that he was barely able to escape.” Her strength failed her and she fainted again, but her assailants fled at the approach of the defenders of the fort who had been aroused by the victim’s cries.
Martine was not dead, as was quickly realized. In a gesture of compassion, one of the settlers who had come to her rescue took it into his head to embrace her. Recovering consciousness, Martine immediately “dealt him a lusty box on the ear.” She explained to the astonished witnesses in her patois: “Parmanda, I thought he wanted to kiss me.” This retort caused great laughter, and subsequently Martine was never called by anything but the nickname "la bonne femme Parmanda".
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Text comes from the volume of Gilles Messier: Les Messier et leurs ancêtres, 700 ans d'histoire.
Last update: September 11, 2014