Our ancestor's land
By Yvon Ouimet (1)
Translated by Marc Ouimet (155)
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Richard Ouimet, my older brother and president of our association, whose collaboration, support and help, made this research possible.
For a number of years, and especially last year, we have worked hard in order to pinpoint the exact location of our ancestor’s piece of land. We had to double our efforts, in the last few months, to meet our 2009 deadline for the installation of a plaque commemorating the 350th anniversary (1659-2009) of his arrival in New France.
In a last minute rush, we managed to find enough evidence to confirm exactly the eastern limit of our ancestor’s land, designated at the time as lot #51 of the parish of Sainte-Famille. Our discovery led us to locate precisely the whole piece of ancestral land. It’s only since April or May that we have been able to take the necessary steps to allow our president, upon his visit to the Isle of Orléans last June, to announce the impending installation of a commemorative plaque on a chosen site on the land of Mr. Laval Gagnon, whose family has been occupying this land for many generations since 1783.
The better part of our ancestor’s piece of land is located on present day lot # 189. It was 3 arpents wide starting at the St. Lawrence river, at the northern pass, going south as far as the line separating the island in the middle from the eastern to the western point. In order to clarify, the eastern limit of the land corresponds to the following points:
1. It corresponds exactly to the eastern wall of Mr. Plumpton’s workshop which is to the east of his beautiful ancestral house (2209, Chemin Royal, Sainte-Famille, Isle of Orléans);
2. It is 7 perches going west from the eastern limit of today’s lot # 189. Since our ancestor’s land was 3 arpents wide and lot # 189 is 3 arpents and 5 perches wide, we arrive at the conclusion that our ancestor’s land is located as follows :
From east to west
- It starts at 7 perches, going west, from the eastern limit of lot # 189
- If we keep going west, it covers 2 arpents of the remaining 8 perches left on lot # 189
- If we keep on going west, it completes its width of 3 arpents by adding 2 perches west of the western limit of lot # 189
1. See diagram #1 below : «Our ancestor’s land versus today’s lot # 189»
2. Measures : 1 arpent = 192 english feet = 10 perches
Diagram # 1
DIAGRAM # 1
Our ancestor’s land versus today’s lot # 189
3 arpents wide North
Our ancestor’s land 7 perches
Mr. Plumpton’s house Chemin Royal
2 perches Mr. Plumpton’s workshop
Today’s lot # 189 3 arpents and 5 perches wide
Unfortunately, following our research, we can assert without a doubt that Mr. Plumpton’s magnificent home has nothing to do with our ancestor’s house, except that it was built on the eastern limit of a lot that used to be his.
For those who are fond of our family’s history and love details, you will find hereafter a brief account and a list of title-deeds that we have found to this day , describing the destiny of this ancestral land and the families who occupied it from our ancestor’s time to the beginning of the 1900’s.
Briefly, since it was granted to Jean Houymet in 1662 and up until today, it was mainly owned by three (3) families, as follows :
From 1662 to 1695/1710 by the Ouimet family
(We can stretch the Ouimet family period up until 1743, when Marguerite Ouimet passed away. Wasn’t she owner « by marriage» since she was François Turcot’s wife?)
From 1695/1710 to 1770/1774, by the Turcot family
From 1783 to this day by the Gagnon family
Henceforth, members of our family at large, or anyone interested can tread knowingly our ancestor’s land, whose agricultural vocation and physical appearance have been kept even after three and a half centuries. If we let our imaginations wander, temporarily forgetting the buildings, we can still admire, in this day and age, the beautiful panorama probably well appreciated by Jean Houymet in times past.
If you happen to pass by the Quebec City area, take some time to visit our ancestor’s land on the Isle of Orleans, to read the inscription on the plaque installed in his memory and take the time to feast your eyes on the panorama around you. The force and quality of your emotions will probably surprise you if you let yourself be overwhelmed by this privileged moment. Weak hearts, please abstain!!
Those are my sincere wishes.
Meanwhile, thank you for your interest and attention, till next time.
Brief account and list of title-deeds
It has been impossible to reconstitute, at least to this day, the complete list of title-deeds throughout the years, and for the whole area covered by the ancestral land. Nonetheless, we have been able to reconstitute its destiny across the ages, up until today, enabling us to locate precisely its physical boundaries on the Isle of Orleans.
DURING OUR ANCESTOR’S LIFETIME (1662-1687)
Arrival of our ancestor on the island (1662)
On January 15th, 1636, the company of New-France grants the Isle of Orleans to Jacques Castillon, one of its members and a commoner from Paris. On the same day, Antoine Cheffault, Sieur de Regnardière was granted the Seigniory of Beaupré by the same company. On February 29th, the two proprietors declare that these acquisitions are also the property of six (6) other individuals so as to form a group of eight (8) shareholders. Here is the list of these six other individuals :
-Sieur François Fouquet, state councillor
-Charles de Lauzon, state councillor and future governor of New-France
-Jacques Juchereau, Sieur de Châtelets
-Jean Rosée, merchant from Rouen
-Jacques Duhamel, merchant from Rouen
The year 1648 saw the start of a European settlement when two or three families took abode on the southwest point of the island ( today’s Ste Pétronille ) On March 29th, 1649, Olivier Letardif, the owners’ attorney, grants François de Chavigny and Éléonore de Grandmaison, in the name of the Lords, a back-fief that will later on take the name of «Beaulieu». In 1650, Gabriel Gosselin, a plain censitaire, settles down on the Beaulieu fief. On March 29th, 1651, approximately 300 Hurons ( Max Gros-Louis’ Huron-Wendat ), led by the Jesuits, settle down on part of the land belonging to Éléonore de Grandmaison. On May 20th, 1656, the Mohawks attack the island and kill 71 Hurons. The Hurons leave the island on the following 4th of July, disappointed with the lack of protection they had been promised, and install their encampment near the Château Saint-Louis on the heights of Quebec City. This is the start of a period of wandering for them, until they settle down definitely in Lorette in 1697.
1656 is also the start of the true occupation of the territory, since fourteen families of colonists settle down on the back-fief of Charny-Lorier, the Sainte-Famille parish, under the care of Charles de Lauzon. These settlements are a few arpents from the boundaries of today’s parishes of Sainte-Famille and Saint-Pierre.
On June 18th, 1661, the Iroquois raid the island and kill seven people in the French population. Also in 1661, the Lord Bishop of Laval, the first bishop of Quebec City, founded the parish of Sainte-Famille, the first parish of the island. The registers of the parish opened in 1666, five years later.
First grant of land
1. April 10th, 1662, Charles de Lauzon grants a tract of land to Jean Houymet, in front of Notary Vachon.
This land is two arpents wide starting at the riverside at the northern passage, going south as far as the line separating the island from point to point (this deed not to be found, is referred to in the inventory of the late Jean Houymet and Renée Gagnon taken in front of Notary Vachon October 26th, 1688 and Notary Jacob on March 17th, 1695). At that moment, Jean Houymet settles down definitely on his estate.
Second grant of land
In 1662, Lord Bishop de Laval initiates the purchase of the seigniory of the Isle of Orleans from the eight original owners or their heirs. Six years later, in 1668, the transaction will be completed. At that moment, Lord Bishop de Laval holds the title of Lord of a Seigniory ( in 1675, all the back-fiefs granted earlier also become his property).
2. On January 26th, 1668, in front of Notary Vachon, Lord Bishop de Laval grants a tract of land to Jean Houymet
(The same land he had been granted by Charles de Lauzon on April 10th, 1662, while adding one arpent to the width of the land, for a total of three arpents wide along the whole length of the land beginning at the riverside, at the northern passage, and ending at the line that separates the island from point to point, adjacent to Jean Allaire’s land to the northeast and Pierre Paillerau’s land to the southwest).
The birth of his children (1661 – 1683 )
The marriage certificate, in Jean Houymet and Renée Gagnon’s church, still remains to be found. Nevertheless, we know that they signed a marriage contract at Château-Richer, in front of Notary Aubert, on October 3rd, 1660. They will have nine children who, except the first, were all born on the Isle of Orleans.
Jean, the oldest, was born in Château-Richer on November 18th, 1661, and was baptized there. This is the period when Jean Houymet was working on Guillaume Thibault’s land in Château-Richer (1659 -1662 ). Louis was born in Sainte-Famille on September 17th, 1663, but was baptized in Château-Richer because the registers of the parish of Sainte-Famille didn’t open until 1666. All the other children were born and baptized in Sainte-Famille.
Context of the period (1662-1687)
On August 8th, 1664, Charles de Lauzon, Lord of Charny, signs a contract for the construction of a windmill in Sainte-Famille.
In 1669, many island settlers marry young women sent by the king (Filles du Roy = King’s Girls ). This practice lasted until 1671.
On April 24th, 1675, Lord Bishop de Laval trades his Isle of Orleans to François Berthelot for Jesus Island and a sum of 5000 pounds.
On April 6th, 1676, Lord Berthelot obtains from Louis XIV that his seigniory be elevated to county under the name Saint-Laurent. In 1679, foundation and opening of the registers of four new parishes on the island, namely Saint-Pierre, Saint-Paul later changed to Saint-Laurent, Saint-François-de-Sales and Saint-Jean-Baptiste.
Small shipyards appear in the outskirts of Quebec City as early as 1680. In 1681, Jean Langlois dit Boisverdun builds barges in Saint-Pierre.
In 1685,Marie Barbier and Anne Meyrand, sisters of the Congregation of Notre-Dame de Marguerite Bourgeois, open a convent in the parish of Sainte-Famille.
Death of our ancestor
Finally, Jean Houymet dies in Sainte-Famille on November 18th, 1687. He will be buried the next day.
OUR ANCESTOR’S ESTATE (1687-1743)
Inventory to share the land
Following the death of Jean Houymet and in conformity with the custom, an inventory is made of the assets of the joint estate of Renée Gagnon and the late Jean Houymet. This will be done twice, as follows :
3. Inventory of the joint estate of Renée Gagnon and the late Jean Houymet
a) on October 26th, 1688, in front of Notary Vachon
b) on March 3rd, 1695, in front of Notary Jacob
The land is divided in two. The northeast half, namely one arpent and a half wide by its full length, is divided in seven equal parts for the following children : Jean, Louis, Marguerite, Marie-Madeleine, Jacques, Jeanne et Pierre. The southeast half goes to the widow Renée Gagnon.
Jean Houymet’s widow, Renée Gagnon, sells her share
In an unusual move, pretending an unspeakable behaviour of her children towards her, Renée Gagnon gives her share of the land to strangers.
4. First, she gives her share of the land to Pierre Courtaut on February 14th, 1695, in front of Notary Chambellon. This deed being nul and void, she definitely gives her share of the land to the Quebec City General Hospital on April 13th, 1695, in front of the same notary.
This apparent head butt of the mother will definitely have considerable consequences on our ancestor’s family. Effectively, especially since the father died prematurely, according to the custom of the time, the widow would have normally kept the land in the family by giving or reserving her share of the land for one of her children, which in any case, would have assured her security and prosperity for the rest of her life, and also for her unmarried children still living at home. Strangely enough, Renée Gagnon bought her lodging, her keep and her security, for the rest of her life, from the Quebec City General Hospital. Renée Gagnon deprived her offsprings from inheriting the paternal land.
At that moment, everyone of her children, especially the boys, was condemned to sell his or her respective share to the highest bidder and find other available land when the time came to settle down and have a family. This is exactly what happened.
Since the ancestral land became the property of their brother-in-law, François Turcot, and of their sister Marguerite Ouimet, the remaining children of Jean Houymet and Renée Gagnon probably took advantage of their generosity saving themselves many hardships. François Turcot and Marguerite Ouimet already owned a property on the northeast side of Jean Ouimet’s land, which had been inherited from François’ parents. We believe that François and Marguerite probably let her brothers work their father’s land, until they were old enough to settle down on their own properties or until they could depend on ther own selves, either by marriage or otherwise. Marguerite probably took care of the youngest children following their father’s death in 1687 and especially since their mother abandonned them in 1695. Thank you Marguerite.
Here is what happened to the sons of the family :
Jean acquires a plot of land in the Seigniory de la Durantaye, from Jean Guillemet in front of Notary Lepailleur on April 19th,1702, with a view to marry Marie-Josephe Juin on November 22nd, 1702.
Louis married Marie-Anne Genest on January 13th, 1693 and kept on cultivating his father’s land in the following years. One month prior to selling his share to the General Hospital, he signed a three year lease with his mother to cultivate the whole of his father’s farm, in front of Notary Jacob, on march 17th, 1695. Louis will be granted a plot of land on the southern pass, in the parish of Saint-Jean-Baptiste on the Isle of Orleans on March 5th, 1704, in front of Notary Jacob.
Jacques signs a sailor’s contract with Pierre de Niort dit Lamotierie on April 7th, 1714, in front of Notary De Lacetière. He remained single throughout his life and died in 1744.
Pierre, the youngest of the family, is only 12 years old when his mother abandons him in 1695. We suppose that his sister Marguerite took care of him. On January 4th, 1716, in Saint-Joachim in front of Notary Verreau, he signs a marriage contract with Marguerite Brault dit Pomainville. In 1720, we have proof that he is definitely in the Montreal area. Pierre and his family settle down definitely in Sault-au-Récollet on the north shore of the island of Montreal, following a grant of land signed in front of Notary Raimbault, on February 14th, 1725. Pierre was already a full forty-two years of age.
(Note : Jeanne dies at 37 years of age. Marie-Madeleine dies at thirty years of age. They were respectively 17 and 23 years old when their mother left in 1695. We know very little of their lives.)
Acquisitions by François Turcot and Marguerite Ouimet, his wife (1695 – 1710)
Since Jean Ouimet passed away in 1687, François Turcot and Marguerite Ouimet, his wife, are not idle. They make the following purchases :
5. On September 26th, 1695, in front of Notary Chambalon, they acquire from Marguerite Dubé (Doiron widow and Panneton widow), one arpent in width adjacent to the ancestor’s land, on the northwest side;
6. On May 15th, 1696, in front of Notary Chambalon, they purchase from the General Hospital, the share sold by Renée Gagnon, namely the southwest portion of our ancestor’s land;
7. Everyone of the children will sell his or her share (one seventh of the northeastern half of their father’s land) to François Turcot and Marguerite Ouimet, brother-in-law and sister, as follows :
a) Marie-Madeleine on March 23rd, 1701, in front of Notary Lepailleur de Laferté;
b) Jean and Louis on April 19th, 1702, in front of Notary Lepailleur de Laferté;
c) Pierre, Jeanne and Jacques on February 21st, 1710, in front of Notary Jacob.
In 1710, François Turcot and Marguerite Ouimet are the happy owners of a plot of land four arpents wide of which three arpents are the ancestor’s land.
Diagram # 2
DIAGRAM # 2
François Turcot’s and Marguerite Ouimet’s land
versus our ancestor’s land in 1710
(3 arpents wide) (1 arpent wide)
Ancestor’s land Land acquired by François Turcot in 1695
The joint estate of the late François Turcot and his wife, Marguerite Ouimet (1715 -1743)
Of François Turcot’s and Marguerite Ouimet’s land which was four arpents wide, we have so far been able to find the list of deeds for three arpents and eight perches only. We have lost track of two perches at the western extremity of their land. These three arpents and eight perches wide are made up of, from east to west, one arpent acquired by François Turcot in 1695 and, going west , two arpents and eight perches from our ancestor’s land.
In order to set you straight, this land is equivalent today to the following : From east to west
The arpent acquired by François Turcot in 1695, is comprised of 3 perches on today’s lot # 187 and, going west , 7 perches on today’s lot # 189;
If we keep on going west, the following 2 arpents and 8 perches are part of our ancestor’s land and cover the rest of today’s lot # 189, as far as its western boundary.
Diagram # 3 NORTH
DIAGRAM # 3 A DIAGRAM # 3 B
François Turcot’s and Marguerite Ouimet’s land François Turcot’s and Marguerite Ouimet’s land
Versus today’s lots # 187 and 189 which we will be tracking
(The two perches sliced off the western extremity of our
ancestor’s land. We will track only 3 arpents and
8 perches in width.
Ancestor’s land Ancestor’s land Land acquired
by François Turcot
François Turcot’s and
Marguerite Ouimet’s land The two sliced-off
lot # 189 lot # 187
3 arpents and 5 perches in width 3 arpents and 2 perches in width 3 arpents and 8 perches in width
François Turcot dies in 1715 and his widow, Marguerite Ouimet, will outlive him till 1743. Even if the ancestral land was owned by François Turcot since 1710, it was in the Ouimet family «by marriage» since it also belonged to Marguerite Ouimet, his wife. When Marguerite Ouimet, deserving daughter of Jean Houymet and Renée Gagnon, dies in 1743, the ancestral land escapes definitely from our family and marks the end of our ancestor’s estate.
8. Up until now, we have found very little information concerning that estate. Their land, it seems, became the exclusive property of Simon Turcot, their son.
PROPERTY OF THE TURCOT FAMILY (1695 – 1770/1774)
9. Following various and numerous notarized deeds and for the most part, practically illegible by amateurs, we arrive at the conclusion that by a donation deed from their father and mother, Simon Turcot and Marie Vaillancourt, signed on July 11th, 1750, in front of Notary Louis Pichet, and by subsequent barters, transactions and dealings amongst the brothers and sisters, the three arpents and eight perches wide (38 perches of frontage) were divided in two equal parts of one arpent and nine perches wide (19 perches of frontage) and fell to Jean-Baptiste and Augustin Turcot, two of their sons.
To Augustin Turcot : one half on the northeastern side (1 arpent and 9 perches or 19 perches); the arpent acquired by François Turcot in 1665 plus 9 perches from the ancestor’s land – 3 perches on lot # 187 and 16 perches on lot # 189.
To Jean-Baptiste Turcot : one half on the southeastern side (1 arpent and 9 perches or 19 perches). Those 19 perches are entirely on the ancestor’s land – 19 perches on lot # 189.
DIAGRAM # 4
Diagram # 4
The land of François Turcot and Marguerite Ouimet under new ownership
Southwestern half Northeastern half
(19 perches or (19 perches or
1 arpent and 9 perches) 1 arpent and 9 perches)
DIAGRAM # 5
Genealogy of the Turcot family
The end of the Turcot family’s reign (1770 – 1774) Northeastern half (19 perches)
Augustin Turcot and Marie Vaillancourt sell their northeastern half to Pierre Verreau on March 1st, 1774, in front of Notary Boileau (1 arpent and 9 perches or 19 perches – one arpent or 10 perches which corresponds to the arpent acquired by François Turcot in 1695, and the other 9 perches on the ancestor’s land – three perches on lot # 187 and 16 perches on lot # 189).
Southeastern half (19 perches)
10. On March 3rd, 1770, in front of Notary Crespin, Jean-Baptiste Turcot sells his southwestern half to Pierre Turcot, proxy for the minor children of François Godbout and Angélique Gendron, his wife (1 arpent and 9 perches or 19 perches – those 19 perches are all part of our ancestor’s land – 19 perches on lot # 189).
11. On February 6th, 1785, in front of Notary Crespin, the children of François Godbout and Angélique Gendron, namely Marie, Isabelle, Louise and Dorothée Godbout, sell their respective share of three perches of frontage to their brother, Joseph Godbout ( at that moment, Joseph Godbout owns : 1 arpent and 9 perches or 19 perches – those 19 perches are all part of our ancestor’s land – 19 perches on lot # 189). See diagram #4 above : «the land of François Turcot and Marguerite Ouimet under new ownership»
PROPERTY OF THE GAGNON FAMILY ( 1783/1798 TO THIS DAY)
Purchase by the Gagnon family – Charles-François Gagnon (1793/1798)
Northeastern half ( 19 perches )
12. On March 26th, 1783, in front of Notary Crespin, Pierre Verreau and Geneviève Cloutier, his wife, sell their land to Charles- François Gagnon ( 1 arpent and 9 perches or 19 perches – one arpent or 10 perches which corresponds to the arpent acquired by François Turcot in 1695, and the other 9 perches on the ancestor’s land – three perches on lot # 187 and 16 perches on lot # 189).
Southwestern half ( 19 perches )
13. On May 28th, 1798, in front of Notary Crespin, Joseph Godbout sells his land to Charles-François Gagnon ( 1 arpent and 9 perches or 19 perches – those 19 perches are all part of our ancestor’s land – 19 perches on lot # 189 ).
DIAGRAM # 6 Property of the gagnon family throughout the generations
Southwestern half Northeastern half
Grand total : 3 arpents and 8 perches
Estate to second generation of Gagnon – François Gagnon
14. On February 4th, 1810, in front of Notary Martineau, Charles-François Gagnon, widower of Marie-Charlotte Deblois, bequeaths all of his personal estate and real estate to his son, François Gagnon.
15. On February 22nd, 1810, Marie-Thècle Asselin, second wife and widow of Charles-François Gagnon, gives all her belongings (personal estate and real estate) to François Gagnon, her stepson.
Estate to third generation Gagnon – Pierre Gagnon
16. On January 14th, 1845, in front of Notary Plante, François Gagnon and Marie-Anne Gosselin give part of their vast land to Pierre Gagnon, their son.
The lands given as a whole, include for the most part, lot # 189 which is comprised of three arpents and five perches of frontage, and two arpents and eight perches of the ancestor’s land. See diagram # 6 above.
Estate to fourth generation Gagnon – Elzéar Gagnon
17. On July 4th, 1899, in front of Notary Larue, Pierre Gagnon and Adéline Martel, his wife, give their land ( lots #189 and 194 ) to Elzéar Gagnon, their son. ( Lot # 189 is comprised of three arpents and five perches of frontage plus two arpents and eight perches from the ancestor’s land on the northeast side ).
DIAGRAM # 7 Genealogy of the Gagnon family
( Lot # 194 contains 1 arpent and 2 perches of frontage by a certain depth. The 2 perches from the ancestor’s land on the southwest side are partially a part of the 2 perches located northeast of that lot ). See diagram # 6 above.
The ensuing inheritances have not been verified and are given to you with reserve.
Estate to fifth generation Gagnon – Richard Gagnon ( see Quebec land registry – lot # 189 and 194 ).
Donation of part of his land by Elzéar Gagnon to Richard Gagnon, his son (April 26th, 1940 – Registry «B», Volume # 18, Page # 04, Number 9624 ).
Donation of part of his land by Elzéar Gagnon to Richard Gagnon, his son ( December 10th, 1945, Registry «B», Volume # ??, Page # 647, Number 10502 ).
Estate to sixth generation Gagnon – Laval and Irénée Gagnon
See Quebec land registry- Lot # 189 and 194...Probably from Richard Gagnon to Laval Gagnon, his son.