People of Purpose

My 6th great-uncle Jacques Beauchamp and his family came to Canada on the St. Andre to help Gabriel Souart, physician turned priest, set up the Sulpician seminary in Montreal and farm a land grant. On board were the great founding mothers,  Jeanne Mance and Marguerite Bourgeoys. Jeanne Mance is known as a co- founder of Montreal and the Hopital Dieu and Marguerite Bourgeouys as founder of the Congregation de Notre Dame de Montreal. The company had set out in 1657 to find further support for the colony and it’s religious aims. Also involved was Paul de Chomeday de Maisonneuve a gentlemen/soldier who was hired to lead and protect the colonists. He became the first governor of Montreal. It is interesting to note that all of these people had actual letters from Louis XIII giving permission to do what they had to do.

In 1653, Maisonneuve set sail for France determined to bring back enough soldiers to combat the Iroquois. With a donation from Jeanne Mance which had formerly been intended for the Hopital Deu, he was able to return with what would become known as the “Grand Recru”. Later in 1655, Maisonneuve made another trip to France to seek out the first parish clergy for the colony. He returned in 1657 with Abbe Queylus and 3 Sulpician priests.

That same year, Jeanne Mance had fallen and fractured her wrist which was not healing well. After a year she set out with Marguerite Bourgeoys, Judith Moreau and Catherine Mace to bring back 3 nursing sisters known as the Hospitallers de Saint Joseph.  While she was there, she hoped to obtain more funding from Angelique de Bullion, whose husband was Finance Minister under Cardinal Richelieu. The Sisters were able to recruit workers for the Seminary as well.  Among them we find Jacques Beauchamp and his wife, Marie Dardeyne. Note at the bottom, the line stating these passengers were “pour Monsieur Souart”.

passenger-list-for-the-st-andre-pdrh

The following are some census returns for Jacques.

Jacques 1666 Census cap.JPG

Jacques 1667 census cap.JPG

Jacques 1681 Census.JPG

Here you get some notion of their early life in Canada. You can see that Marie was kept fairly busy!  The change of occupation from “chapelier” (hat maker” to “charpentier” is interesting. I am not sure what use a hat maker would have been to Monsieur Souart. By the next year he is a farmer and carpenter.  I would tend to think that there was an error there. It is a coincidence that my own grandfather,  Alfred Beauchamp was a carpenter.

By 1659, the Iroquois had effectively blocked the economy of New France. Their war parties patrolled along the banks of the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers, intercepting shipments of furs from Algonquins to the west. When they resumed their bloody ambushes at Ville-Marie in 1663, Maisonneuve created the militia of the Sainte-Famille in order to meet the danger. The 139 settlers,  who remained mostly inside the fort walls, were divided into 20 squads. Each squad had a corporal elected by the majority. Jacques Beauchamp was drafted into the eighteenth squadron as found in the Memoirs and Documents of the  Montreal Historical Society published in 1859:

Jacques in the Militia 1663.JPG

The force provided additional guards for workers in the fields and relieved the Montreal militia for nightly guard duty on the walls of the town. In 1666, following the arrival of French regular troops,  Maisonneuve disbanded the Soldats de la Sainte-Famille. In three years, the unit lost only eight men to Iroquois war parties. Ironically, 1666 is the year that my 5th great-grandfather,  Jean Beauchamp and brother to Jacques arrived in Montreal.

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