Notes for Pierre CHAUVIN: When some of the first French people went to Nova Scotia it was under French rule. Many left France for a better place to live or for new land, who knows all the reasons. When they first came to Canada it was not because of religion. The first recorded confirmation of French fishing vessel was in 1504 off the Banks of New Foundland. King Francis I in 1515 pulled a strategic marriage, incorporating the independent duchy of Britain into metropolitan France. By the 1550s the St. Lawrence River as far as Tadoussac was visited by French fur Traders. Maps that were publish in 1548 identified the peninsula of Nova Scotia as "L'Arcadie". Forty-nine fishing ships from La Rochelle, France were fishing the Grand Banks by the year 1560. In the 1525 to 1598 the religious and political cultural conflict suggest the motivation for more French immigration to the new world. The wars that were going on in France strained the economy and it is very hard to say which person left for what reason.
--------------------------------------------------- In 1603 King Henri IV of France sent expeditions to set up a permanent fishing and trading post at Tadoussac. Most of the French settlers came to Canada at that time. In 1603 the first permanent fishing and trading base was started on the Grand Banks. King Heri IV of France granted colonization rights between the 40th and 46th parallels, what we now know as New England and Nova Scotia. In 1605 the colonist, supplies and two building were move to a more protected area of the Annapolis Basin. They drew up plans for a fort like wooden buildings surrounding a courtyard. The settlement was named Port Royal, one of the first permanent settlements in North American. Now Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Those first French people became known as ACADIANS.
--------------------------------------------------- King Henri IV was assassinated in 1610. By than French claims on Acadia lands were not recognized by England. The colonies were continually contested by both the French and the English. In late 1613 Port Royal was destroyed by a English military expedition from Virginia led by Samuel Argall, a Virginia pirate. The colonists fled into the hills, those who survived lived with the indians continuing a haphazard fur trade with France. You might note that it was not till 1620 the Pilgrims arrive at Plymouth Rock.
--------------------------------------------------- In 1632 it was then given back to the French by King Charles I of England. The Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye was signed and a renewed period of French colonization followed. In 1681, La Salle, a former Jesuit from Quebec set sail down the Mississippi River to the Gulf looking for new land. He named the new land he found Louisiana in honor of his king. Sir William Phips in 1690 led an expedition that sacked Port Royal. Prisoners were taken and brought to Boston. In 1699 Iberville and Bienville Exploring along the Gulf Coast entered Louisiana's Lake Pontchartain and went inland as far north as Baton Rouge. They brought the first Jesuit (member of the men's Roman Catholic Society of Jesus) with them.
--------------------------------------------------- In 1713 the French government sold out the Acadians to the British by giving Nova Scotia (Acadia) back to Great Britain. The British took the Acadians lands by force, harassing and persecution the Acadians in many ways. They tried to force them to bear arms against France and renounce their Catholic faith. The Acadians refused to do so, and many left and journeyed to the Louisiana Territory.
--------------------------------------------------- In 1727 King George I of England died and was succeeded by King George II who passionately hated both the French and the Catholics. To understand why the English hated the Catholics and French so much you have to know a little history of The Church. In the year 1532 King Henry VII had broken away from the Roman Catholic Church because the Pope would not approve the divorce he wanted. At that time the King started his own church the "Church of England". In 1534, the Act of Supremacy made the king head of the Church of England
--------------------------------------------------- In 1754 some people fled Canada and Nova Scotia and traveled overland and down the Mississippi River to Louisiana. May and June of 1755 Lieutenant Governor Charles Lawrence secretly plotted the details of the cruel deportation of the Cajuns. On October 8 to the 27 in the year of 1755 the British began a cruel and systematic program of deportation. In 1758 Louisbourg fell, refugees found along the St. John River and Cape Sable were also rounded up for deportation. In 1759 Quebec fell. As many as 5,000 were deported to the 13 original British Colonies, which had laws outlawing all Catholics within their borders. (it was 1776 before they adopted the Declaration of Independence)
The refugees being French, Catholic and penniless found nothing but hatred awaiting them there. They were not even allowed to get off the ship. Some did manage to get off the ship and made their way back to Acadia. Others found safety in the French Islands of Martinque, Guadaloupe and St. Dominque. Some Acadians found refuge and evaded capture by living among the friendly Indians. The other Cajuns captured were brought to England as prisoners of war and put in concentration camps. Some 1,500 Cajuns that were not sent to England were sent to Virginia instead as prisoners of war, then later expelled. 652 were imprisoned in Halifax, out of the 652, there were only 216 survivors.
On May 18, 1756 the Seven Year War began and the English were forced to dump many refugees in Maryland, The Carolinas and Georgia. Most of these refugees set out for Louisiana. Some of the Acadians were sent out to sea where they set sail for Louisiana stopping where they could to get supplies. As many as 1/4 of the deportees died on the way, either from shipwreck, epidemic or starvation. In the Treaty of 1763 France ceded all their Canadian lands and territories east of the Mississippi to Great Britain. All French military and most civilians move west of the Mississippi to French Louisiana. By the end of 1763 some 2,342 Acadian refugees were scattered among ten French port cities.
The 1764 census showed that that were still 1,762 Acadians in Nova Scota. 1,076 of them were imprisoned in Halifax, and many of them eventually set sail for the French West Indies. They later migrated to Louisiana. With the end of the war the prisoners that were held in concentration camps in England were liberated on May 16, 1763. Starting on May 16, 1763, refugees were shipped out to different places. May 16, 1763 340 shipped, 218 survivors May 26, 1763 341 shipped, 160 survivors May 26, 1763 (??) shipped, 138 survivors June 8, 1763 (??) shipped, 217 survivors On December 29, 1763 Maryland refugees wrote of slavery and such hardship, that out of the 2,000 that had made it to Maryland there were only 810 left. Most of these survivors went to St. Gabriel, which was south of Baton Rouge.
--------------------------------------------------- The Acadian refugees in Pennsylvania and Georgia wrote how, many of their children were kidnapped or sold outright to slavery.That they had not been allowed confession or any other religious rights for as long as eight years. The Acadians that made it to South Louisiana, found much of the best land was already owned by the French and Spanish settlers who came earlier. The great majority of them were given traveling direction only and ordered to leave the New Orleans area. These Acadians made their way to the less accessible back country of the Opelousas and Attakapas Indians Here the Acadians lived relatively isolated and undisturbed for years. By 1790 over 4,000 Acadian refugees had relocated in Louisiana. In 1810 another 6,000 Acadian refugees arrived, fleeing the West Indies' political turmoil. Over the years those areas where most of them settled became known as Acadiana Parishes. Today there are 22 Acadian Parishes which are Acadia, Ascensions, Assumption, Avoyelles, Calcasieu, Cameron, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jeferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche. Point Coupee, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. James, St. John The Baptist, St. Charles, St. Mary, Terrebonne, Vermilion and West Baton Rouge.
......Sick in bed, he (Grand Pierre) in the poor room of the Montréal Hospital, he dictated his testament to the notary Adhémar, the 28-07-1699. He gave a horse to his son Louis and assured his son Jacques that he would receive the first horse born of this one. He gave 100 ? to the Recollets to have Masses said for the repose of his soul and 100? to the Fabrique of notre-Dame with the same goal. He died and was buried in montréal, the 04-08-1699.
The estate which Pierre Chauvin dit Grand Pierre left was modest, but not meager by contemporary standards. The $4,000 estate consisted of two concessions appraised together at $2,000, animals, household goods and farm equipment worth $1,500, and a dwelling house and barn valued at $500.
The family home was typical of its era, being twenty-two feet in length by eighteen of breadth, two-storied, and constructed of logs.
The widow Chauvin remained in this home for several years before retiring to the Parish of St. Francois on the Ile de Jesus where she was buried February 25, 1714.
Of the ten children left by Grand Pierre and Marthe, three were daughters. All married in Canada, at least once each, and all left numerous descendants:
Marie Marthe, the eldest daughter, was only fourteen when she married at Montreal (November 16, 1676) to a master-butcher named Nicolas Barron dit Lupien. The Lupiens settled at Point-aux-Trimbles. Descendants of the couple were widely known by the dits of La Freniere and Belair. Upon the death of Barron, Marie Marthe remarried (about 1700) to one André Frier; the marriage was a brief one and produced only one daughter. On April 27, 1706, the Widow Frier, already forty-four years of age, married for the third time. This last husband, Jean Fleury, was twenty-two years her junior. By Fleury, Marie Marthe also bore one child.
Barbe Therese, the second daughter of Grand Pierre was twenty-two years of age when she married at Boucherville, May 20, 1687, to Ignace Hubert dit La Croix. The Huberts were among the French-Canadians who settled the Gulf Coast after the establishment of a colony there by d'Iberville and Bienville, and their grandchildren numbered among the political, economic, and social leaders of the Louisiana colony throughout the French regime.
Michelle, the youngest daughter of Pierre and Marthe, was married at Montreal on October 24, 1695, to a merchant and Indian trader named Jacques Neveu. Michelle and Jacques enjoyed some twenty-seven years of marriage, a lengthy union in a society so pregnant with danger and disease. But in 1722 their relatively stable life was shattered by a not uncommon tragedy. Michelle, and her oldest son Michel, had been granted permission by Governor General Vaudreuil to leave Canada "in a canoe equipped with three men to go to the post of the Miamis to rejoin her husband." Apparently Michelle took several, if not all, of her other eight children with her as well; but the reunion of the family was a brief one. The fate of the Neveu family was chronicled on the twenty-second of July 1722 by the missionary priest of the Post of Kaskaskia who noted in his registrar that he had celebrated."......a solemn service for the repose of the soul of Mme. Michelle Chauvin, wife of Jacgues Neveu, aged about forty-five years, and of Jean Michel Neveu, aged about twenty years, and Elizebeth Neveu, aged about thirteen years, and Suzanne Neveu, aged about eight years, her children. They were slain by the savages five to seven leagues from the wabash. It is believed that Jacques Neveu was taken prisoner and carried away with a young boy about nine years named Prever and a young slave girl not yet baptized."
Three Neveu daughters were not with their parents at the time of the massacre. It was these three whose descendants frequent the pages of Louisiana history. One daughter, Marie Catherine Neveu, became the wife of Etienne Roy de Villere; their son Joseph was among the Louisiana Patriots condemned to death by the Spanish after the New Orleans rebellion of 1768. By her second marriage, to her first cousin Jacques Hubert de Bellar, Marie Catherine was the mother of Marguerite Hubert, wife of the celebrated Nicolas Chauvin de La Franiere, Jr., Attorney General of Louisiana and leader of the ill-fated rebellion. Other descendants of Michelle and Jacques Neveu have born such old and prominent names Girardeau, Pellerin, Du Tisne, Bienvenu, Gelpi, LaPlace, and Dart.
The six sons who survived Pierre and Marthe Chauvin, like most first generation Canadians, were a special breed of men.
Nurtured by deprivation and schooled by danger, they grew up as fierce and independent as the savages themselves; but their aggressiveness was moderated by the loyalty and responsibility that characterized most frontiersmen who banded together for protection.
According to one biographer: "These first generation Canadians were...fired with the dreams of bold parents who had abandoned everything for the alluring promises of a new world, yet tempered by the reality of the stark savagery of the untamed land."
One of the realities faced by the young Canadians of the late 1600s was the sobering truth that economic conditions of New France were not appreciably different from those which their parents had fled in the old country. In both regions, the mountain of governmental regulations was slanted in the favor of those who possessed power and capital. In early Canada, colonists were allowed to carry on their businesses as long as these did not interfere with the interests of the rich fur-trading companies. Young and adventuresome youths who had no desire to farm were taken into the companies, as voyageurs, to go out into the Indian countries, trap, trade, and bring back the pelts of beavers to cover the backs of the rich Frenchmen and line the pockets of the fur company officials. The share of peltry proceeds allotted to the voyageurs was hardly enough to cover their bare necessities. Consequently, the majority of the youth chose to ignore the regulations and to fur trade for their own profits.
The problem of black marketers was so acute, in fact, that Governor Denonville complained in one report: "The sons of the councilor D'Amours have been arrested as coureurs de bois, or outlaws in the bush, and…..if the minister does not do something to help them, there is danger that all of the sons of the noblesse, real or pretend, will turn bandits, since they have no other means of living."
The notarial records of this period contain several permits granted to the older Chauvin brothers to voyage into the Great Lakes region for fur- trading purposes. Whether or not they made more clandestine voyages for their own profits is a matter of speculation.
Gilles Chauvin, the eldest of the five brothers was only twenty years of age when he turned voyageur. On July 20, 1688, Gilles appeared before the notary Adhemar at Montreal and engaged his services to one Ignace Hebert for the purpose of conducting a fur-trading expedition. Loading the supplies furnished by Hebert into the lightweight scull that he would have previously carved from hardwood, Gilles left Montreal for the Indian country known as 8ta8ats (Illinois).
No evidence exists to the identities of his fellow voyageurs or coureurs de bois, but it may be assumed that he went in the company of others.
This was not an adventure that a man undertook alone. Voyages to the Illinois region normally required two months of travel time, one way.
A canoe manned by three sinewy oarsmen could mark no more than fifteen leagues a day under the best conditions, and distances were reckoned by the number of pipes smoked between stops.
No description exists of young Gilles Chauvin, but it is obvious that he inherited the same physical characteristics that had earned for his father the dit of Grand Pierre.
The voyageurs and coureurs de bois of seventeenth century Canada were described as "men of iron," and such they had to be since every aspect of their enterprise was a test of endurance.
Numerous falls and rapids dotted their watery obstacle course, and only one means of passage over them existed. The voyageurs unloaded their baggage, covered their heads with spongy birch leaves for protection, packed their goods on their backs and their canoes on their heads, and crossed the rocks or falls on foot to calmer waters.
No less an observer than governor-general Frontenac was awed by the strength of the voyageurs. "One cannot believe," he wrote, "the exhaustion of these men, dragging the boats (in water) up to their armpits and balancing on rocks so sharp that some of them had legs and feet running with blood, yet their gaiety was undiminished."
Passage in winter presented even more hazards, as one voyageur described it:
"The route… led through continual and torrential rapids, and among waterfalls which fell from the top of precipices, producing treacherous ice, very dangerous and irksome because we were forced to walk in the water while still wearing snowshoes, which….became slippery when we had to climb over the icy rocks under the waterfalls and cliffs."
Only by repeated exposure could the voyageurs and coureurs de bois ensure themselves to the torture. Most learned to strip to the waist while paddling their canoes; with time, their skins became baked from the sun and wind and less sensitive to pain.
Few personal supplies accompanied the voyageurs in their canoes. All available space was needed for trade goods. A rifle, a blanket, and a bare supply of bread and salt meat was the maximum allowed. For protection from rain, the men slept under their canoes. In the winter they dug themselves into the snow and lined their frozen beds with spruce or cedar branches. Saving their food supply for emergencies, they often subsisted on nothing but lichen and bark. When famine prevailed in the lands into which they voyaged, the starving coureurs chewed the leather of their moccasins and their jackets and pushed onward into the interior, driven by the stronger hunger for adventure and thirst for unrestrained freedom that only the wilderness could offer.
The records do not indicate the length of time that Gilles Chauvin spent on his first voyage---whether he traded his goods for pelts and promptly returned to claim his share of the profits, or whether he dallied among friendly and accommodating Indian tribes as countless voyageurs and coureurs de bois were inclined to do.
No record of him exists between the time of his 1688 departure for Illinois and his almost fatal adventure on the Cote de Repentigny some three years later.
In May 1691 Indian tribes began to ravage Montreal and surrounding settlements. The young ensign, Francois Le Moyne de Bienville (brother of Bienville and D'Iberville of Louisiana fame) called for volunteers to help him repel the marauders.
Among the one hundred youth who joined him was Gilles Chauvin.
At the beginning of June 1691 they left Montreal, pursuing a band of Oneidas, until they ultimately cornered the natives in a house on the Cote de Repentigny. The French-Canadians attacked at night before the Indians became aware of their presence. Fifteen or so Oneidas who lounged outside the cabin were slaughtered, but those who had taken shelter indoors savagely fought the Frenchmen to their deaths. No Indians survived the battle. "Seven or eight" of the French-Canadians, including Bienville, were killed. Among those who were first reported dead was Gilles Chauvin; but the report was in error. Whether Gilles was severely wounded but recovered, or whether he was initially mistaken for another compatriot who was mortally injured is not known.
By April 1692, Gilles was back in Montreal, planning another fur-trading expedition into 8ta8ats region. On this voyage he was to be the agent of one Joseph Guillet, Sieur de Bellefeuille. On the day following Gilles' commitment, his younger brother Jacques, who had just turned twenty, engaged his own services to René LeGardeur de Beauvais. Together, in all probability, the brothers left Montreal for the Unites States.
The voyage into Illinois which Gilles made in 1692 is the last one for which he contracted his services. Apparently his two trading expeditions had convinced him of that which countless other young Canadians had already realized: voyageurs who operated within the framework of the law risked their lives to enrich their employers, not themselves. Staking himself, in all probability, with the small proceeds from his previous expedition, Gilles apparently turned coureur de bois, silently paddling his supply laden canoe out from Montreal without official permission or an authorized sponsor. From April 1692 until January 1697 there is no record of his presence in Canada, no indication that he farmed with his father or engaged his services to anyone else. Yet within ten years he was to enjoy a substantial increase in fortune.
Gilles was almost twenty-nine years old before he traded wanderlust for a wife and settled at Montreal on his father's concession. On January 21, 1697, he married in that village to the twenty-one year old Marie Cabassier, daughter of thelate Sergeant Pierre Cabassier, who had also served at Montreal as a substitute procureur de roi or "King's Attorney." Within a year, Marie bore their first son, who was given the name both of his grandfathers had borne, Pierre. Fifteen months later little Louise Daniele was born. Within two months of her birth an epidemic appears to have struck the community. Gilles' father died on August 4, and on August 9 Marie succumbed also.
At the time of his father's death, Gilles was the only married son, and he was simultaneously left a widower with two small infants.
It was this circumstance undoubtedly which prompted him to purchase his father'' estate -–land, buildings, and animals – when Grand Pierre's succession was settled in September 1700.
Two months after the purchase, Gilles took a second wife. On November 24, 1700, he and Angelique Guyon, the seventeen year old daughter of Michel Guyon, a ship's carpenter of Quebec, were wed in the parish church at Montreal. Mlle. Guyon was the granddaughter of two of the earliest and prominent settlers of Canada: Jean Guyon, Sieur du Bui
The first years of the Biloxi colony were trying ones. The Gulf Coast heat rapidly exhausted the colonists who had never known anything other than the cool climates of Canada and France. Fresh water was often difficult to obtain. The French government refused to send adequate medicine and provisions, and the French colonists, who had come to the coast with dreams of finding furs and jewels, refused just as adamantly to become farmers. The Canadian coureurs were content to roam the southern woods in search of food, as well as furs, and their familiarity with Indian life and customs made them excellent ambassadors to the savage nations. Yet the native-born French who remained within the post condemned the woodsmen for indulging in a lifestyle which many of them considered immoral.
In 1702 D'Iberville moved the site of the French fort from Biloxi to Mobile in hopes that the more abundant natural resources of the Mobile area would boost the lagging colony. There was little that the brothers could do, though, to change the attitudes of their men, and there were periods when the colony was forced to subsist on acorns and the soldiers clad themselves in skins.
By 1706 the Chauvins were joined at Mobile by their brother Louis, who descended the Mississippi River after a brief stay in Detroit earlier that year. It was during this period at Mobile that the younger three brothers adopted the dit names by which they were to be known throughout the colonial era. Joseph called himself de Lery, Nicolas became la Freniere, and Louis took the dit Beaulieu. Only Jacques Chauvin, the eldest of the four brothers in Louisiana, continued to use the family name exclusively. Contrary to statements that have been made by early historians and genealogists, it must be noted that Jacques used no dit at all, and the assignment of a dit to him is an error of extreme significance to those who bear the Charleville name.
In certain writings Jacques Chauvin has been routinely referred to as Jacques Chauvin dit Charleville. He is occasionally credited with founding the Charleville family in Illinois and Missouri, and is frequently lauded for exploits that were actually the accomplishments of one or more other intrepid Frenchmen.
About 1700 a certain M. Charleville, a relative of the Le Moynes, left Biloxi Bay with the le Seur expedition to explore the upper Mississippi. In 1714, another Charleville, variously identified as Jean and Charles, and described by one historian as being only fourteen years of age, assisted in the founding of a trading post on the Cumberland River near the present site of Nashville, Tennessee. In 1721, one M. Charleville assisted Bernard la Harpe in the Matagorda Bay Campain. Contemporary accounts of these adventures never identified the Charleville involved as Jacques Chauvin, Similarly, no contemporary account of Jacques ever assigned to him the dit of Charleville. Indeed, the extant records of colonial Louisiana plainly prove it impossible for Jacques Chauvin to be the man called Charleville. The first census of the Biloxi post, taken on May 26, 1700, established Jacques' presence on the Gulf Coast at that time. Yet the le Seur expedition, of which Charleville was a member, departed from the mouth of the Mississippi some three months earlier and did not return until 1702. Moreover, the map of Fort Louis de la Mobile, which was drafted approximately 1706, indicates that Jacques Chauvin (i.e.: Chauvin, L'aine—"Chauvin, the elder") resided on Le Marche Square, while M. Charleville was a resident of St. Joseph Street.
Still further proof that Jacques was not the man known as Charleville is provided by the 1708 impeachment trial of Bienville at Mobile. Eight witnesses were called to testify, and as each were sworn in, they identified themselves by name and by dit. Both Jacques and his brother Joseph were among these witnesses. Taking the stand, Joseph testified that he was "Joseph Chauvin, called de Lery, thirty-three years of age." Jacques identified himself only as "Jacques Chauvin, thirty-six years of age," and gave no dit at all. The identity (or identities) of the other Charleville(s) who explored the southern United States in the early 1700s has not been determined. It is definite fact, however, that he was not a member of this Chauvin family of the Charleville family of Illinois and Missouri.
There were few women at the Mobile post from whom the four bachelor brothers could choose brides. A boatload of girls arrived in the colony in 1704 and were enthusiastically welcomed by the colonists. However, the Chauvins showed no inclination to marry at this time or else found none of the girls to their liking. In 1708 several shiploads of settlers arrived in the colony, not merely brides but families to stabilize and expand the settlement more rapidly. It was apparently the daughter of one of these, Demoiselle Marie Anne de la Vergne, whom Jacques took as his wife. About this time, his brother Joseph was married to Mme. Hypolite Mercier, widow of the recently deceased surgeon-major of the colony, Valentin Barreau. Neither marriage record is extant, but the Mobile parish registers recorded the births of three children to each Chauvin couple. Nicolas and Louis remained bachelors.
The ecclesiastical records of the settlement also indicate that Joseph was a merchant of Fort St. Louis de la Mobile in 1709. Apparently he was assisted in this enterprise by his brothers, since in 1716, when the French colonial government made its second attempt to initiate trade relations with Mexico, the three younger Chauvins were chosen to participate in the six-man expedition.
With 60,000 livres of merchandise, Joseph, Nicolas, and Louis Chauvin left for Fort St. Louis in October 1716. Completing their small entourage was the intrepid Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, the wily Canadian Baudreau de Graveline, and the garde magazin du roy of the post, Francois Guyon dit Dion Depres D'Herbanne (a first cousin of Mme. Gilles Chauvin). The expedition was bound for the Spanish Presidio del Norte on the Rio Grande, a journey which was to include four months of travel on foot through the hostile Indian nations of the Texas region. Yet no protective troops were assigned to accompany them. Several brushes with the Indians were recorded, but the party reached its destination safely.
On the whole, however, the expedition failed. The portion of goods held by St. Denis was confiscated by the Spaniards. When St. Denis journeyed to Mexico City to plead for their return, he was imprisoned. The Chauvins, D'Herbanne, and Graveline quickly placed their goods in the hands of the Recollet fathers for safekeeping and sold them lot by lot, but they were forced to extend credit to the purchasers. Before securing their payments, they learned of St. Denis' arrest. Foreseeing the same fate and believing that nothing beneficial would result from it, they left the Spanish Presidio empty-handed and returned to Mobile.
The expedition had taken exactly one year. No positive results had been achieved, but their endeavor did serve a negative purpose: it convinced the French government that friendly trade relations with the Spanish colonies could never be established
More About Pierre CHAUVIN: Burial: Aug 1699, Parish Cemetery, Montreal, Canada. Record Change: 02 Jun 2004