Pierre Ouimet, 1683-1757, one of our ancestor's three sons who had descendants
By Yvon Ouimet (1)
Translated by Marc Ouimet (155)
This is the story of our ancestor Pierre Ouimet, the youngest child of the first generation of our family to be born in North America, even though our research gave limited results, and we were short of time.
From his birth to his migration in the Montreal region (1683-1717/1720)
Pierre is the last and ninth child of Jean Houymet and Renée Gagnon, our first ancestors in New France. He was born on the 18th June 1683 and was baptized on the following day in the church of Sainte-Famille de l’Île d’Orléans. His parents were happy that he was healthy, because a fourth son named Gabriel had been born and died on the 17th February 1675 and a fifth son, also named Pierre, had been born on the 3rd November 1681 but died on the 16th November of the same year.
Pierre is the youngest child of a family of six, namely three brothers : Jean (21 years old), Louis (19) and Jacques (5); three sisters : Marguerite (16 years old), Marie-Madeleine (11) and Jeanne (4). Thus Pierre, along with his brothers and sisters, is of the first generation Ouimet born on Canadian soil, since his father, Jean, born in France, probably in Virginy (probably Évigny) near Reims, arrived in Québec City in 1659, married Renée Gagnon, lived, first with her family in Château-Richer, then definitely on the territory of the parish of Sainte-Famille on the Isle of Orléans after the purchase of his land in 1662.
The first major event of his young existence is the premature death of his father on the 18th November 1687 at 53 years of age. Orphaned at four years old, Pierre inherited like his brothers and sisters, one seventh of half his father’s land, which amounted to one seventh of one arpent and a half wide by the depth, which was from the northern passage on the St. Lawrence River to the line separating the island from point to point. Like Marie-Madeleine in 1701 and Jean and Louis in 1702, Pierre and his brother Jacques and sister Jeanne sell their share of the paternal land to their sister, Marguerite Ouimet, and their brother-in-law François Turcot.
From 1687 to his marriage in 1716, many events probably influenced forever his life, one way or another. As early as 1688, his sister Marguerite marries François Turcot. They will be the tutors of the minor children of Jean Houymet and Renée Gagnon, of which Pierre is the youngest. In 1695, Renée Gagnon his mother, in two donation contracts, makes known of disrespectful actions from her children, who force her to leave the family home and take shelter, as a last recourse and in sickness, in the Québec General Hospital, till her death in 1702. In return, she gives, to the hospital, her inheritance from the late Jean Houymet, which is half of the paternal land, consisting of a width of one and a half arpent by the existing depth between the St. Lawrence river, at the northern passage, and the line separating in two, from point to point, the Isle of Orléans. At that moment, Pierre is only 12 years old.
Then, his brother Jean buys land in the Seigniory of La Durantaye, in 1702, and gets married and leaves the family home that same year. His sister Marie-Madeleine dies on the 4th December 1702. His brother Jacques, who is single, signs a sailor’s engagement in 1714. His brother Louis, who is married since 1693, acquires a grant of land in the parish of Saint-Jean de l’Île d’Orléans in 1704 and leaves the family home with his own family. He will die prematurely on the 7th February 1716, at the age of 42, leaving a wife and many children. Also, his sister Jeanne dies prematurely on the 7th May 1716, at the age of 36. We’ll never know how much those events influenced his life.
Since he sold his share of the paternal land, Pierre probably left the family home to work as a journeyman for other farmers, to save some money, to get married someday. Nothing in writing proves this assumption. Nonetheless, when he signs his marriage contract with Marguerite Pomainville on the 4th January 1716, Pierre mentions that he is living in Beaupré. We cannot find a thing about the church wedding (2). Hypothetically, Pierre and Marguerite would have gotten married in Lauzon, and the religious document should be in the registry of Saint-Joseph in Lévis. For some obscure reason, the registry in Lévis shows no entries between December 1715 and November 1716. Moreover, Marguerite’s family seems to have been living in the Lévis area at that particular time.
Hence, Pierre gets married at the age of 33 with Marguerite Brault dit Pomainville, daughter of Henri and Marie-Ursule Bolduc, who, born on the 15th July 1697 and baptized the following day in the church of Saint-Joseph-de-la-Pointe de Lévy, is not yet 19 years old.
Their first child, a son born on the 4th October 1717 and baptized on the same day in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, will be named Louis, probably in memory of his uncle of the same name, who passed away prematurely on the 7th February 1716 at 42 years of age.
Between the years 1717 and 1720, Pierre will migrate to the Montréal area with his wife and child. He is in his mid-thirties and has just started a family. How can such an upsetting turn of life be explained?
Of his brothers and sisters, there was Jean settled down with his family in Saint-Michel-de-la-Durantaye, Marguerite, his second mother (3) who had to look after her own family, and Jacques his single sailor brother. The death of Marie-Madeleine in 1702 and especially the deaths of Louis and Jeanne probably affected him. Was he part of a close-knit family? Did he want to cut the family ties? At that time, the possibilities of owning land in the Québec City area were likely less than in the Montréal area. Maybe he was influenced by friends or acquaintances. Could it be the influence of Marguerite, his wife, whose mother and father-in-law, Richard Taylor or Tallar, are also, around the same time, in the Montréal area? The promise of a well-paying job could have been a reason, the yearning to change air...Search me!
After more than 30 years in the Québec City area, Pierre moves to the Montréal area to settle down definitely with his family.
His arrival in the Montréal area until he settles down definitely in Sault-au-Récollet (1717/1720 to 1725)
The first proof of his presence in the Montréal area consists of a contract signed on the 31st May 1720 in front of Notary Jacques David, between Paul Bouchard, traveling salesman from Ville-Marie, and Pierre Ouimet from Pointe-Saint-Charles : «Paul Bouchard gives to be farmed this year only to the said Ouimet land which he has already sowed where he resides in the said Pointe-Saint-Charles» under certain conditions.
On the 1st October 1721, in front of Notary C.-F. Coron, Pierre purchases some land on Île-Jésus, in the Côte Saint-François area, from Charles Labelle and Marguerite Éthier, his wife. This piece of land is 4 arpents wide by a depth of 30 arpents, «its facade being 32 arpents from the riverside of Rivière-des-Prairies and its back end against the non-granted lands, adjacent on one side to Pierre Labelle and on the other side to a certain Chabot, without any buildings». That piece of land had been granted to the sellers by the Lords on the 11th January of the same year, and was sold for the sum of 100 pounds plus the quit-rents and rents and all other seigniorial rights. On the 14th February 1724, in front of Notary J.-B. Adhémar dit Saint-Martin, Pierre and Marguerite Brault, his wife, will sell this same piece of land for the same amount of money, to Charles Périllard from Île-Jésus. This brief inroad onto Île-Jésus was without any consequences since Pierre didn’t build «hearth and home». This land was recovered by the Lords of the island since Charles Périllard never met his obligations. I haven’t been able to locate precisely this land, and I presume it to be at the extreme eastern edge of the Côte Saint-François, shown on the 1749 map of Île-Jésus.
On the 9th September 1723, in front of Notary Pierre Raimbault, Pierre and Marguerite Pomainville purchase a piece of land on the Côte (hill) Saint-Michel (Metropolitan Boulevard/Jarry Street of today) on the island of Montréal, from Pierre de Lestage, merchant from Ville-Marie. The contract stipulates that Pierre lives in the vicinity of Ville-Marie. That 30 arpents lot has a frontage of 1 1/2 arpent by a depth of 20 arpents «the front end against the lands destined by the commune for the inhabitants of the said hill, and the back end against the non-granted lands, adjacent on one side to Charles Rose and on the other side to a certain Quenville without any buildings». Over and above all quit-rent and rents and every other seigniorial rights, that land was acquired for the sum of 500 pounds. Pierre makes his first foray on the territory of Sault-au-Récollet. On the 9th December 1729, in front of Notary P. Raimbault, Pierre and Marguerite Pomainville, his wife, will sell this same land for 650 pounds to Barthélémy Lemay of the Côte Saint-Michel.
On the 18th October 1723, in front of Notary Jacques David, Pierre and Marguerite sign a commitment with the Lords of the island of Montréal, to improve their farm located in Sault-au-Récollet, during one whole year starting on the 1st April 1724. The contract stipulates that Pierre lives in Sault-au-Récollet and that Marguerite, his wife, lives in Ville-Marie. Pierre had probably started to work full time on the farm at Sault-au-Récollet before the 18th October 1723. He continues to get involved on the territory of Sault-au-Récollet.
On the 14th February 1725, during his engagement with the Lords of the island of Montréal on their farm of Sault-au-Récollet which will end on the next April 1st, in front of Notary P. Raimbault, Pierre gets a grant of land from the same Lords, located on the Rivière-des-Prairies on the island of Montréal, under the Domaine de Lorette. This piece of land has «a frontage of three arpents by a depth of 40 arpents from the riverside to the lands of the Côte Saint-Michel, adjacent on one side to the land of Roy Lapensée and on the other side to Jean Sicard». Like all concessions in New France, Pierre will have to, among other things, «clear the land, make hearth and home and build during the first year starting today». Pierre will settle down definitely on this land.
Pierre and Marguerite have up until now begotten four children. Besides Louis, their first son, Marie-Josèphe, their first daughter, is born on the 4th June 1721 and baptized the same day in the Notre-Dame church of MontrÉal. Unfortunately, she dies five days later. Oddly, there was a span of four years between the first and second child. Is it possible that Marguerite practiced birth control because of her young family’s financial instability or the foolhardiness of migrating towards the unknown? We’ll never know. Pierre (Joseph on the baptismal certificate) is born on the 5th October 1722 and baptized on the same day in the Saint-Laurent church in MontrÉal.
During the first years in the MontrÉal area (1717/1720 to April 1724), we don’t have much information as to where Pierre and his family were living and how he managed to earn a living. After going through the abovementioned notarized contracts, we know that Pierre was living either in Pointe-Saint-Charles or in the vicinity of Montréal. We found out that Marie-Josèphe and Pierre (son) were born during those years and were baptized in the Notre-Dame church in Montréal. From the 1st April 1724, we know that Pierre and Marguerite start their engagement at the farm in Sault-au-Récollet. We notice that Marie-Louise, born on the 25th August 1724, was baptized in the Saint-Laurent church. This can be explained by the fact that the parish of Saint-Laurent is the closest parish to Sault-au-Récollet, which will be without a church for many more years (4). Since his arrival in the Montréal area between the years 1717 and 1720 and up until his engagement on the farm in Sault-au-Récollet in 1724, I presume that for lack of finding anything better, he worked as a journeyman for other landowners, as shown by the aforementioned convention of the 31st May 1720 with Paul Bouchard, travelling salesman from Ville-Marie, in front of Notary J. David.
In 1725, at the respectable age of 42 years old, Pierre definitely takes root on his own land in Sault-au-Récollet, with his family. He will build his house with his own hands. From the 1st April 1725, when his engagement is over on the farm in Sault-au-Récollet, Pierre, for the first time in his life, works for himself, on his own land and concession of Sault-au-Récollet. He’ll raise his family there, and will never again work for others.
Brief history of Sault-au-Récollet
With Mr. Louis de Kinder’s authorization, I quote here some large excerpts from his precious study of the «History of Sault-au-Récollet», of which the 3rd edition was published in 1998, along with maps and charts reproduced in the following pages from his book.
The parish of Sault-au-Récollet was founded in 1736 and its limits, along the Rivière-des-Prairies, were so vast that they comprised no less than 28 parishes of today. The history of its territory starts well before the foundation of the parish. It’s possible that the first white man to set foot in Sault-au-Récollet was Jacques Cartier in 1535. Many people think that Father Joseph Le Caron, in the presence of Champlain, celebrated the first mass on the island of Montréal, on the 24th June 1615, in the vicinity of the island of the Visitation. In 1625, Father Nicolas Viel, a Récollet missionary and his French acolyte, Ahuntsic, perished in the Rivière-des-Prairies, at the last waterfall or rapids. The name Sault-au-Récollet originates from this unfortunate event.
Note: we have chosen not to reproduce the cadastral plans of Mr. Ouimet’s article because we found clearer copies of Sault-au-Récollet for the years 1696, 1721, 1736 and 1751 in Mr. De Kinder’s work.