The Story of Louis Tetreau
Louis Tetreau was ancestor of Elmina “Sister” Pelletier. Louis was 6th great-grandparent of Elmina.
The Atlantic Crossing In 1659: Our 24-year-old ancestor made the Atlantic crossing in 1659, a time when this adventure was uncertain, frightful and a long ordeal. The East-West crossing was against the prevailing winds. The ship was small and therefore more easily tossed about by the smallest storm. Worse than the storms was the calm, when the ship could not move. While most crossings were made in about a month, some took as long as three months, mainly because of the calm. The longer the crossing took, the greater the danger that the ship's water and food supplies would be depleted or even spoiled. Living quarters aboard ship were extremely crowded and any shipboard illness was quickly transmitted to other passengers.
Our young ancestor knew of these dangers before boarding ship in 1659, but he did anyway indicating a certain determination and bravery.
Indentured Servant: Louis Tetreau contracted to become an indentured servant for the Jesuits for a period of 36 months. This contract most likely gave Louis the wherewithal to cross the Atlantic and support himself until he got settled. It was very surprising to learn that Louis, unlike the vast majority of indentured servants, broke his contract with the Jesuits by leaving their employ before the thirty-six-month term was completed. As a result, Louis was prosecuted in the Court and severely fined.
The precise outcome of this suit is not known but Louis fought his conviction in the Court and did not return to the Jesuits to complete his term. Louis, who had prominent friends in Trois Rivieres, probably received help to avoid the full punishment due him. We do know that the Jesuits rented one of their farms to Louis for four years shortly after this incident. Also, some years later, Louis paid the Jesuits 200 livres for an unknown debt. This debt may have been part or the entire fine he received for breaking his contract.
Married A Young Widow: Louis arrived in Trois Rivieres in 1659. In late 1662, Louis rented a farm from the Jesuits for four years. Meanwhile, Noelle Landeau, Louis' future wife, married Jean Beaudoin in Trois Rivieres in 1659. This young couple begot a first child in 1661 and a second, in 1662. However, in 1662 both Noelle's husband and their first child died from unknown causes.
In the course of 1662, Louis and Noelle must have met and got to know each other fairly well because on 20 Jan 1663, they wrote a marriage contract together in which Louis promised to marry Noelle 'as soon as they judge proper" and to raise Noelle's daughter, Madeleine Beaudoin, as his own child and with equal rights as his own children. Noelle brought to the marriage the property left by her deceased husband. Probably out of respect for her recently deceased husband, Noelle waited until June 9 to marry Louis, almost six months after the marriage contract.
The Children of Louis And Noelle: Besides her daughter by Jean Beaudoin, Noelle gave her husband, Louis, nine children. Large families are not surprising amongst French-Canadians but out of ten children only one died at a young age, Michel, who died at 3 years old. An Iroquois killed the oldest son, Claude, who was 29 and unmarried. Claude worked as a voyageur transporting furs and supplies between Montreal and the wilderness.
Louis moved his growing family from Trois Rivieres to Cap-de-la-Madeleine to Champlain to Arbre-ei-la-CroLx and finally to Marsolet. The latter two fiefs were in the parish of Champlain. In 1674, Louis and Noelle made their home in Marsolet and stayed there for 16 years. The young children must have attended the nuns' school in Champlain because six of their children could sign their names.
Louis, the son named after his father, died in the Montreal hospital of a mysterious illness at 30 years old. Louis was married but childless and a voyageur by trade but not very successful. He's the 'black sheep" of the family. All the other children married and produced large families. Marie, the oldest daughter of Louis and Noelle, married a sickly husband and had continual financial problems but she can be considered a strong woman. The youngest child, Jean Baptiste" studied for the priesthood but left sometime after his tonsure by Bishop Laval, the first bishop in New France. He became a schoolteacher and then a Royal Notary. He married and had four children. He died suddenly at 45 while traveling to Louisbourg. Another son, Joseph-Marie, married twice and begot a total of 21 children of whom seven were sons who survived to marry and have large families. As a result, this son gave us the very prolific Tetreault line known as Ducharme.
Stepdaughter Married At Twelve: One of the more surprising events in the life of Louis Tetreau is his giving his stepdaughter's hand in marriage to a neighbor when she was only 12 years old! This neighbor, Martin Foisy, was a 31 year-old wealthy widower without children of his own.
The canonical minimum age for girls to marry was 12 and the State gave financial incentives for girls to marry young and produce offspring. On the other hand, there were penalties for not marrying. So, young marriages were not uncommon at this time. For one other example, Louis' son, Daniel, married a widow who was married at 12.
This stepdaughter, Madeleine Beaudoin, gave birth to 11 children by her 4lst birthday. Her 1lth child was stillborn in 1703 and the mother died two months later at 41 years old. Life was hard for women on the frontier.
Small Land Baron: After farming, Louis Tetreau's principal occupation was land clearing - taking the land back from the forest by cutting down trees, uprooting the stumps and burning brush. Louis was so adept at this work that he was able to accumulate a nice nest egg to leave to his children. He got his prosperity by getting land cheaply from the lord of a fief and clearing part of this land then selling the improved land for a profit. Between 1661 and 1699, our ancestor made three land rentals, eight land purchases and obtained five land concessions from a lord.
In the fief of Marsolet, the location of the family home, Louis acquired an amazing 609 acres of land. Even though only a small fraction of this land was cleared, this is still quite a feat when the average settler made do with only 75 acres.
Home In Montreal: After 16 years on the family farm in Marsolet, Louis moved his family to Montreal. On 15 Jan 1690, he rented a 31'x 96'lot on St. Vincent Street and contracted to have a house built on this lot.
While his house was being built, the family rented a farm in Longueuil, just across the St Lawrence River from Montreal.
It is very likely that the design of this house included a composite of all his experiences over a 55-year period. This house was covered with overlapping boards so that the house had, in fact, a double covering, two basement rooms and a cellar, attic, yard and garden. This house had a masonry chimney and a brick stove in the bedroom (Noelle was probably sensitive to nighttime cold). The lot, which was fenced with posts, contained a stable built of wood, in addition to the house.
Eventually, Louis' wooden house was demolished and a stone structure was built in its place. Building with stone became a requirement in Montreal because of the devastating effect of a house fire on the other buildings standing in close proximity. The stone structure built on our ancestor's home site is still standing today and houses a sophisticated restaurant: Le Pere St. Vincent.
Return To The Family Farm To Die: After spending nine years in the Montreal area and six of those years in his new home on St. Vincent Street, Louis decided to sell this property and return to his beloved farm in Marsolet. Louis sold his Montreal home on 7 Jan 1699, but a clause in the sale contract allowed him to remain in his home until the feast of St. Jean-Baptiste (June 24).
Louis was still in Montreal on 7 Mar 1699 because on this day he was a witness at a marriage in Notre Dame Church in Montreal. Louis died on 22 Jun 1699 in Ma.rsolet. So sometime between March and June, Louis, Noelle and their son, Joseph-Marie, moved back to the family farm.
Louis must have had a deep attachment for his old farmhouse and for the land that he cleared and then farmed for all those years. It must have been this familiarity that compelled him to return to his roots to take his last breath.
Noelle's Devotion: Noelle Landeau exemplifies the strong woman of the Bible who does her good deeds in the shadow of her husband. The fact that she raised ten children on the harsh frontier in Canada tells us volumes about what kind of woman she was.
It is only after the death of her husband in 1699 that her work and personality could shine. Her health was never great but she did her duties. She became seriously ill in January 1700 and, thinking she was about to die, wrote a perfunctory Last Will in which she left money to the Church in Champlain, to the Recollet Fathers and for Requiem Masses. At the end of 1700, she had recovered enough to make changes in her life. Her close brush with death highlighted her mortality and she decided to focus on her death for the rest of her days.
First, she made a new Last Will that shows her deep devotion. She asked to be buried in the brown cassock of the Third Order of St Francis and she left 200 francs to her youngest son, who was studying for the priesthood. Second, she helped her daughter, Marie, who was in financial straights. Third, she was lenient toward the buyer of her Montreal home, who was late in his mortgage payment. Fourth, she sold the family farm in Marsolet and moved back to Montreal.
In 1706, Noelle became very ill again and passed away on 24 Sept 1706. She left a small estate to her six surviving children and the seven children of her deceased daughter, Madeleine Beaudoin.
Descendants of Louis Tetreau
1 Louis Tetreau b: Abt. 1634 in Arrived in Trois Rivieres in 1659 d: January 22, 1698/99 in Marsolet
... +Noelle dit Nathalie Landreau b: Abt. 1642 m: June 9, 1663 in Trois-Rivieres d: September 24, 1706 in Montreal
2 Daniel Tetreau b: Abt. 1670
.... +Catherine Charon b: Abt. 1671 m: January 26, 1694/95
3 Marguerite Tetreau b: Abt. 1701
.... +Louis Guillet b: Abt. 1700 m: 1718 in St-Ours
4 M-Angelique Guillet b: Abt. 1725 in Varennes, Quebec
..... +Francois Savignac b: Abt. 1723 in Varennes, Quebec m: February 12, 1747/48 in Varennes, Quebec
5 Josephte Savignac b: Abt. 1744
...... +Louis Cassavant b: Abt. 1731 m: October 10, 1768 in Vercheres
6 Marie-Angelique Cassavant-Ladebauche b: Abt. 1773 in Vercheres, Canada (?)
...... +Loussaint Coderre-Lacaillade b: Abt. 1773 in Vercheres, Canada (?) m: September 20, 1790 in Vercheres, Canada
. 7 Loussaint Coderre-Lacaillade b: Abt. 1791 in Vercheres, Canada (?)
....... +Marie Apolline Dansereau b: Abt. 1790 in Vercheres, Canada (?) m: February 12, 1816 in VERCHERES, CANADA
. 8 Narcissa "Frank" Coderre-LaCaillade b: August 18, 1830 in ? d: July 17, 1892 in Williston, VT
....... +Adiline LaPorte b: January 15, 1831 in ? m: December 25, 1853 in Burlington, VT d: October 10, 1904 in Stowe, VT
.. 9 Salina Lackyard b: November 1854 in Yorkshire, Ireland d: April 25, 1859 in Richmond, VT
.. 9 Harriet Lackyard b: March 2, 1856 in Richmond, VT d: May 7, 1956 in Burlington, VT
........ +Felix Levasseur dit Sister b: October 12, 1850 in Richmond, VT m: December 27, 1871 in Williamsburg, MA d: May 7, 1908 in Richmond, VT
.. 10 William Sister b: December 17, 1872 in Haydenville, MA d: October 3, 1949 in Laconia, NH
........ +Helen Mitchell b: Abt. 1875 m: May 15, 1895 in Keeseville, NY
.. 10 Marie Elmina Sister b: May 1, 1875 in Richmond, VT d: August 23, 1948 in Lynn, MA, St Jean's, Lynn, SEC D,LOT 163
........ +Cleophas Carrier b: Abt. 1873 in CANADA m: May 7, 1894 in RICHMOND, VT d: in CANADA
... 11 Marie Elmina "Eva" Carrier b: February 13, 1895 in Williston, VT d: May 18, 1961 in Levis, Quebec
......... +Wilfred Levesque b: July 26, 1895 in Notre Dame Du Portage, Quebec m: August 5, 1919 in St Andre, Quebec d: June 20, 1978 in Levis, Quebec
... 11 Franklin Samual "Frank" Carrier b: August 13, 1896 in Williston, VT d: December 24, 1971 in Levis, Quebec
......... +Odile Rageot De Beaurivage b: July 29, 1895 in St Nicolas, Levis, Quebec m: June 30, 1919 in St Nicolas, Levis, Quebec d: October 6, 1983 in LEVIS, QUEBEC
... 12 Fernand Carrier b: April 5, 1920 in Quebec City, Quebec d: March 3, 1935 in Levis, Quebec
... 12 Rolande Carrier b: December 26, 1923 in Quebec City, Quebec
... 11 Joseph Clarence Carrier b: June 11, 1898 d: January 11, 1900
... 11 David N. Carrier b: July 20, 1899 d: March 2, 1900
.. *2nd Husband of Marie Elmina Sister:
........ +Cyrias Pelletier b: December 18, 1868 in St Epiphane, Riviere de Loup, Quebec m: October 21, 1901 in Salem, MA d: February 3, 1956 in Lynn, MA