Blogiversary: 10/2/2013

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Biographie de Jules-Gilles Trottier

I wanted to write a biography for my 10th great-grandfather, Gilles Trottier, and began doing research on him by "Googling" his name.  Lo and behold, there was an excellent biography already typed up.  I copied and pasted it here, as there really is nothing I can add to it.  Jane Goodrich told it better than I could!

Notes by Jane Goodrich:
From ancestor Gilles to the present generations, the Trottiers show proof of a continuous ability in the worlds of industry and commerce. One could even say that they have a gift for business. At the time of his arrival in New France in 1646, Gilles was sent to manage the farm at Portneuf, then belonging to Jacques Le Neuf de la Poterie. This "providential man of many talents" as Father Archange Godbout referred to him, must have packed up and returned to Trois-Rivieres to avoid getting himself killed by the Iroquois Indians.

His son, Antoine Trottier dit Desruisseaux was one of the most important merchants of his time in the colony; his granddaughter Marguerite, a religious of the Congregation of Notre Dame, was the mother superior of her community; great-grandaughter Marie, was the first superior of the Ursulines of Trois-Rivieres; two sons of Giles-Antoine were seigneurs; one on Ile-Perrot, the other on Riviere-du-Loup ( Louisville); a great-grandson, Pierre dit Desaultniers, was a leader in the merchants association of Quebec and a pioneer in naval construction in Canada; Joseph Beaubien was the founder of the town of Outremont; and Jean-Baptiste Beaubien, who settled at Chicago, may be considered as one of the founders of that city.

We know very little about ancestor Gilles, who was sometimes called Jules or even Julien. Father Godbout, historian, states that " It was at La Rochelle, in the study of notary Teuleron, that on July 4, 1646, the destiny of the Trottiers of America was determined. The document written that day can be summarized thus: On the morning of July 4, two people met with Master Teuleron at his home: Pierre Legardeur, Sieur de Repentigny , in charge of finding new recruits for New France, and Gilles Trottier, master carpenter and cattle breeder, living in the parish of Chemilli, in Perche. With no fixed domicile, Giles Trottier, artisan and farmer was until then an itinerant who went where work was at his trades. In 1633, we find him at Mamers ( Sarthe) in 1636 and in 1640 at Ige (Orne) and now we find him presently living at Chemilli. Clever and resourceful, although without property--it was necessary to advance him 46 livres at the time of his departure to clothe himself- Trottier was the man for whom Msgr de Repentigny was searching on behalf of his brother-in-law, Jacques LaNeuf, Sieur de la Poterie"

This contract made by Teuleron tells us that the tenant farm at Portneuf, with its appurtenances, houses, arable land, meadows and woods, all located near Quebec in New France, was to be worked by Trottier for seven consecutive years and "gather and raise fruits which will begin at the time of the arrival of said Trottier in the said country." He was obliged to work, to sow, to hoe, to cut, to thresh the wheat, and clean, "all wisely". On his part, the employer would provide four cows and two bulls as well as an experienced hired hand to help him. The two men must make planks directly from pines cut on the land. Proprietor and tenant farmer would profit from this in equal parts. In addition, Gilles would clear an arpent and a half of woods and deliver to his employer twelve chickens, six capons, and twenty pounds of butter from each of the four cows.

Although the contract makes no reference to the family of the new farmer they are sure to have embarked with him. They all left La Rochelle by July 24, because the last arrangements for the departure of the small fleet destined for Canada, comprised of the ships "Cardinal" "Notre-Dame" and "Navire Neuf", were made at the Admiralty of La Rochelle four days earlier, On July 18, 1646.

Pierre Legardeur de Repentigny himself commanded the "Cardinal" a spacious ship of 300 tons, in which the Trottier family must have made the crossing. The three vessels arrived almost simultaneously at Quebec. The one carrying Maisonneuve arrived three days ahead of that in which the Sieur de Repentigny was embarked. On September 27, four days after debarking, the Trottiers brought little Jean-Baptiste to the baptismal font at Quebec. He was born during the crossing.

Giles worked the farm at Portneuf only for a short time. As if warned of their presence, the Iroquois were not slow to pick up a tomahawk and chase the settlers from their homes. In all probability the Trottier family took refuge at Trois-Rivieres by 1647 at the latest. In the following year, Gilles was called upon to vote in the election for mayor. He became a land holder on June 7, 1650, accepting from Governor Louis d'Ailleboust a sit neighboring that of Guillaume Pepin, in the town of Trois-Rivieres. It was a lot with ten toises in frontage and twenty toises in depth, running along the rue St Michel. Unable to construct a house there, as he was obliged to do, he sold off the southwest half which was re-ceded to Baptiste Bourgery in 1655. As for the other half, his heirs abandoned it to Jacques Fournier dit Laville and Pierre Couc dit Fleur-de-Coignac's benefit.

In August 1652, Mathurin Guillet dit Laroche, brother of Pierre Guillet dit Lajeunesse, fell into the hands of the Iroquois, at the same time as several other Frenchmen. Mathurin had acquired, On June 1, 1649, a piece of land with two arpents frontage by twenty deep in the seigneurie of Cap-de-la-Madeleine, a few arpents below the Faverel brook. On November 24, 1642, his heirs sold it to Gilles Trottier for 200 livres. Gilles went on to settle there with his family. Our ancestor also owned another homestead in the neighborhood of Trois-Rivieres, on the second range bordering the northwest edge of town. Jacques La Neuf de la Poterie took it over after the death of Gilles, his former tenant farmer.

Gilles stay at Cap-de-la-Madeleine was rather brief. He died there after two and a half years in residence. His death was recorded in the registry at Trois-Rivieres on May 10, 1655.

The stated age of our ancestor at death leads us to believe that he must have been born about 1590. His wife, Catherine survived him only by a few months, being buried January 28, 1656 at the age of 60.
Gilles and Catherine did not live ten years in New France, but their descendants form one of the most vigorous and dynamic lines of Percheron roots to populate North America.

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