The Carpenters and Masons of the Isle of Orleans
By Denis Ouimet (3)
Translated by Marc Ouimet (155)
Mr. Arthur Plumpton, the present owner of the ancestral house located on our ancestor’s land in Sainte-Famille de L’Île d’Orléans, has spent many years trying to find which carpenter has built the house at the end of the 17th century. Another question: which master-mason might have built the fireplace and the chimney, probably at the same time as the construction of the eastern part of the house?
On the 26th October 1688, the inventory of the late Jean Ouimet, resident of the parish of Sainte-Famille de l’Île d’Orléans in the Seigniory of Liret, reads «a house with a framework of planks covered with boards, appraised and estimated at one hundred and seventy pounds» (sic).
Recently, I visited the Québec National Archives in Gatineau, where I had the pleasure of consulting a small publication titled «The different trades of our ancestors» (1). I found an inventory of trades in the territories of the three colonial governments (Montréal, Trois-Rivières and Québec City). Fourteen master-carpenters are listed for the Québec City area, of which Jean Lehoux and Jacques Raté were inhabitants of the parish of Sainte-Famille on the Isle of Orléans. Ten master-masons are also enumerated and two of them have inhabited the territory of the parish of Sainte-Famille de l’Île d’Orléans.
Picture : Craftsmen at work, construction in New France (circa 1608)
Illustration by Francis Back, from the work For Christ and the King, (online),
«http :historymuseum.ca/cmc/vmnf/champlain/images/img0018.jpg» (page consulted on the 24th October 2017).
Jacques Raté (1630-1699) (2), master carpenter, occupied a property in the territory of the parish of Sainte-Famille-de-l’Île d’Orléans starting in 1667 and then in the territory of the parish of Saint-Pierre-de-l’Île d’Orléans from 1694 on, where he was described as being «too old and crippled». He passed away on the 8th April 1699 in the same parish. Jean Lehoux (1633-1698) (3), master carpenter, arrived around 1650 and resided in the territory of the parish of Sainte-Famille, starting in 1667, with his wife Élisabeth Drugeon and their children. He died there on the 3rd April 1698. Jean Arrivé (1639-1707) (4), master mason, in the country since 1663, lived on the Isle of Orléans from 1666 to 1677 and from 1681 to his death in 1707. Maurice Arrivé (1611-1687) (5), a relative of Jean Arrivé, also a master mason, arrived in the country around 1649 and lived in the territory of the parish of Sainte-Famille-de-l’Île d’Orléans from 1656 to 1671.
Two carpenters and two master masons were then present in the newly founded parish in 1661. In fact, Sainte-Famille is the senior parish on the Isle of Orléans.
Is the consulted list complete? The genealogical dictionary of Québec families would have to be reviewed in order to consult all descriptions and tradesmen’s notarized contracts of that time, and other sources would have to be consulted also to see if other carpenters and masons were available at the time our ancestor was alive. He might have hired them to build a more spacious and comfortable home. More research is required, in order to answer with more precision Mr. Plumpton’s questions.
1) Ollu, Yvon (1982-1983). Our ancestors different trades, Loisirs St-Édouard, Montréal, 30 pages.
2) Langlois, Michel (2001). Biographical Dictionary of our Québec Ancestors, Tome IV, Éd. Du Mitan, Sillery, 501 pages.
3) Langlois, Michel (2001). Biographical Dictionary of our Québec Ancestors, Tome III, Éd. Du Mitan, Sillery, 501 pages.
4) Langlois, Michel (2001). Biographical Dictionary of our Québec Ancestors, Tome I, Éd. Du Mitan, Sillery, 501 pages.
5) ibid 4
6) Jetté, René (1983). Québec Families Genealogical Dictionary, PUM, Montréal, 1176 pages.