Antoine Roy-Desjardins and Marie Major were 5th Great Grandparents of Cyrias Pelletier
Their son Pierre and his 2nd wife Angelique Autin were 4th Great Grandparents
THE STORY OF ANTOINE ROY-DESJARDINS
Starting in 1635 with birth of Antoine and
ending in 1734 with death of Pierre
Click here to view the descendant tree showing the Pelletier/Roy-Desjardins connection.
This article is being presented with permission of the author:
Aurore Dionne Eaton
(Copyright 1989 and 1995 by the author)
Aurore DIONNE-EATON is a freelance writer and Coordinator of Public Affairs for the Manchester (N.H.) Historic Association. She thanks Richard J. GAGNON, for providing her with much of the research materials used for this article, which appeared in an earlier version of The Roy Family, Vol. 1. Mr. Gagnon was the editor of this book which was published in 1992.
Notes on the text: The French names for places and parishes are used in most cases. Where appropriate, the English translation is provided in parentheses, usually at the first mention of the name. In seventeenth century France and New France, a surname would often have several different spellings. Variations on surname spellings for a particular person are indicated in parentheses, generally at the first mention of the name. For "dit" names, the term "dit" is indicated the first time a person is mentioned, then the "dit" is dropped, or indicated with a hyphen (-).
The story of Antoine ROY dit DES-JARDINS is an intriguing one for two reasons. The first is that he is the ancestor of many people of French-Canadian origin living today. He and his wife, Marie Major, had only one son, Pierre, but Pierre was to be married three times and would father 19 children, 17 of whom would reach adulthood.
Another reason that Antoine's story is so fascinating is that he met his end in a dramatic fashion. Antoine was murdered, and the events leading up to and following his demise are as fascinating today as any modem murder mystery. The story of Antoine and his family provide insights into what life was like in New France in the seventeenth century, including the workings of the colony's judicial system.
Antoine's Origins in France
Antoine ROY-DESJARDINS came from the Roman Catholic parish of St-Jean (St-John) in the town of Joigny in Bourgogne (Burgundy), France. Joigny is located approximately 60 miles southeast of Paris on the Yonne River. St-Jean is part of the archdiocese of Sens.
ROY translated into English means "king," and des jardins means "of the gardens." The origins of the usages of these surnames is uncertain. Antoine's father was Olivier ROY, and his mother was Catherine BAULDARD (BAUDARD, BALTDART, BODERGE, BODARD, BOUDARD). Olivier earned his family's living as a "maitre tonnelier," a master cooper. A cooper is a craftsperson who makes and repairs wooden casks, tubs and barrels.
Antoine was baptized by the parish priest of St-Jean, Father Paul LERY, on 23 March 1635. His godparents were Antoine BAULARD and Marie COLLAR. Olivier ROY and Catherine BAULDARD may have been married in 1625 or 1626, as it is recorded in the church records of St-Jean that their first child, a girl named Catherine, was baptized in 1627. These same records indicate that Antoine had seven sisters and two brothers, and that he was the sixth child born in the family.
Antoine's mother, Catherine BAULDARD, died on 20 December 1659. Olivier ROY died 6 December 1661. Their birth dates are unknown.
Antoine's First Marriage?
The archives at Joigny yield some curious information which may or may not have a bearing on this story. A man named Antoine ROY, and a woman named Catherine GYOT, had two sons, Jacques born on 5 November 1658, and Edme born on 3 March 1660. The record of their marriage contract has been lost.
The baptismal records of the two sons indicate that their father, Antoine, was a cooper. The subject of this story, Antoine ROY-DESJARDINS, and his father, Olivier ROY, were both coopers, making this an interesting coincidence. Could Antoine ROY-DESJARDINS be the same Antoine ROY married to Catherine GYOT? He would have been the right age, having been born in 1635. Also, the only time the name Antoine ROY is mentioned in the Joigny baptismal records from 1627 to 1681 was as the son of Olivier baptized in 1635, and as the father of Jacques and Edme in 1658 and 1660. This seems to give weight to the possibility that there was only one Antoine ROY living in Joigny. But, if Antoine, the son of Olivier ROY, had a wife and two sons, why did he leave for the New World.
Perhaps his family had died from the effects of one of the epidemics which took the lives of many people in France during these times. Unfortunately, the burial records at Joigny are missing from 1662 to 168 1, so this is difficult to verify. If this were true, the fact that Antoine was a widower should have been mentioned in his marriage records in Quebec City in 1668, but it is not. From the evidence available, only two conclusions can logically be reached: that the Antoine ROY-DESJARDINS in New France was not the Antoine ROY, father of two, in Joigny, or that he was, and he had abandoned his family in France to come to the New World.
If the second possibility is true, then this is perhaps a suitable beginning for a story which will be filled with many other personal troubles.
The Carignan-Salieres Regiment
It is likely that Antoine ROY-DESJARDINS was a member of King Louis XIV's Carignan-Salieres Regiment. This has not been conclusively proven, but the supporting evidence is strong.
King Louis XIV assigned a contingent of royal troops to protect the growing colony of New France against attack by the Iroquois. These troops, the members of the Carignan-Salieres Regiment, arrived gradually in the settlement of Quebec from June to September, 1665. Arriving in June to join the Carignan-Salieres were four additional companies of soldiers who had been sent to the French settlements in the West Indies during the previous year.
The Carignan-Salieres was the first trained group of soldiers to come to Canada. The Regiment was composed of 20 companies each containing 3 officers and about 50 enlisted volunteers. With the companies transferred from the West Indies, there would be a total of' about 1,200-1,300 infantrymen and officers stationed in New France.
The Regiment was led by Colonel Henri de Chastelard, Sieur de Salieres. He served under the Marquis de Tracy, the lieutenant general of the French dominions the New World. Tracy's responsibility was to take charge of all French military activity in North America.
The Carignan-Salieres soldiers built a string of forts along the Richelieu River between August and October, 1665. This and other military actions led to the desired result: the general cessation of hostilities between the Iroquois and the French. In 1666 began a time of peace in New France which would last for 17 years. This period of tranquility would encourage a wave of immigration to the colony. The Regiment was important to the colony not only for building forts and fighting Indians, but also because many of its members chose to remain in New France to join the colony. When it was decided that the Regiment would be recalled to France in 1668, the soldiers were encouraged to stay on as settlers and at least 450 of them are known to have remained in Canada. In fact, the first marriages between members of the Regiment and local women took place in 1667. In general, the officers who remained in New France were given seigneuries and the regular soldiers were ceded land for farming.
A full roll of the members of the Carignan-Salieres Regiment has not been found. According to the records available, we may conclude that it is possible that Antoine ROY-DESJARDINS was a member of the FROMENT Company. The FROMENT company arrived in Qu6bec on 18 or 19 June 1665. There is a record of a soldier with the "dit" name of "DES-JARDINS" in this company, who settled in New France in 1668.
There was at least one other man known as "DESJARDINS" in the Regiment. This was Antoine COMBELLE (COMBETTE) who was a soldier in the DES POR'I'ES Company (formerly the DU PRAT Company). This man also settled in Canada in 1668.
Evidence supporting the belief that Antoine was a soldier in the Regiment include the fact that he was granted land in the Trois-Rivieres region in 1667. Many of the soldiers discharged from service chose to establish themselves in the region to which they had been assigned during the course of service. The FROMENT Company, along with the LAFOUILLE Company and the LOUBIAS Company, had been stationed at Trois-Rivieres.
Another supporting factor is that several men who would become associated with Antoine in later years had been soldiers in the Regiment. These included Jean GELY dit LAVERDURE,- (LA VERDURE), Jacques BABIE (BABY) DE RANVILLE, Laurent CAMBIN (CAMBAIN) dit LA RIVIERE, Antoine ADHEMAR DE SAINT MARTIN and Michel ROY dit CHATELLEREAU (CHASTELLERAUD).
Another important piece of evidence is the amount of community property that he brought to his marriage in 1668. This 100 livres was the exact allocation given by the King to each soldier of the Carignan-Salieres Regiment who chose to establish himself in Canada.
Antoine Acquires Land
Antoine obtained from the Jesuits of Cap-de-la-Madeleine a concession (or "habitation") of land located in their seigneury of Batiscan. This transaction was recorded on 20 October 1667, by the notary Guillaume DE LA RUE.
Under the feudal system in use in France and New France at this time, the "habitant" (settlers farmer), did not own his land outright. He was required to pay certain fees to the seigneur each year for the use of the land. However, the property holder did possess considerable rights under the law. He could lease or sell his land, and could pass it down to his children. The land would always remain a part of the seigneury, and the obligations as specified in the original land grant contract, such as payment of the seigneurial fees, would remain as specified.
The seigneuries of Batiscan and nearby Cap-de-la-Madeleine were granted to the Jesuits by the King in 1636. The abbot of the Jesuits at that time was Father Jacques de LA FERTE. Of the 8 million acres of land which were eventually granted by the King in New France, 6 million were granted to 400 seigneurs, and 2 million to the Catholic church.
Antoine's property totalled 80 arpents, made up of 2 arpents frontage by 40 arpents in depth. For this land he had to pay yearly "cens et rentes." The "cens" was a small tribute to the seigneur in recognition of the habitant's subjection. The "rentes" provided a more substantial income for the seigneurs, This was a payment made in cash or in kind by the habitant. For Antoine, the yearly "rentes" to the Jesuits was 4 livres in silver and the "cens" was 2 live capons (castrated male chickens) per year. Antoine was also subject to "lods et ventes" which meant that, when selling real estate, he had to remit a portion of the payment he received to the seigneur. This "lods et ventes" was normally 1/12 of the selling price.
Antoine's property bordered the St-Lawrence River in a section of Batiscan then called St-Eloy.
At this time, the three major settled areas in New France were Montreal, Trois-Rivieres and Quebec. These cities on the upper bank of the St-Lawrence River were fortified against Indian attacks, and were important centers for trade and shipping. Trois-Rivieres lies approximately halfway between Montréal and Quebec, about 78 miles from Montreal and 81 miles from Québec. Batiscan was about 16 miles northeast of Trois-Rivieres.
Daughters of the King
Marie MAJOR (MAZOL), the future wife of Antoine ROY-DESJARDINS was a "Fille du Roi." The "Filles du Roi," in English "Daughters of the King", were single women who were given a dowry from the King if they agreed to come to the French settlements in the New World and marry.
Between 1663 and 1673 about 800 of these women took the approximately 6-week trip across the Atlantic to start new lives in Canada. The largest number of the women were from Ile de France, the region of France which contains Paris and the surrounding countryside. The second largest group was from Normandy, the home region of Marie MAJOR.
For many of the women, one or both of the parents were deceased. Most had no dowries, which meant that they could not marry well, or at all, if they stayed in France. For these women, the voyage to New France represented their only real chance for a meaningful future.
Each woman was given a "gift of the King," a dowry payable at the time of marriage. Each was also given some money for expenses and supplies. A document surviving from the period lists the provisions of one of the "Daughters of the King" as including a coffer, a cap, a taffeta handkerchief, a shoe ribbon, a hundred needles, a comb , a pair of stockings, a pair of gloves, a pair of scissors, two knives, a thousand pins, a bonnet, and 4 laces.
Marie MAJOR may have arrived in Canada in the summer of 1669 as part of the contingent of 97 Daughters of the King who came that summer. She did not come before this as she was not mentioned in the colonial censuses of 1666 or 1667.
After her arrival, Marie stayed at the home of Jean LEVASSEUR dit LAVIGNE in Quebec City. LEVASSEUR-I.AVIGNE, was the bailiff of the royal provostship of Québec. Following the example of other good houses in Quebec, his home lodged some of the Daughters of the King until they could find husbands and. start their new lives.
LEVASSEUR-LAVIGNE's house was in the neighborhood of the Ursuline convent in Upper Town Quebec. The Ursuline nuns were the guardians of the Daughters of the King and helped them to become accommodated to their lives in the new world.
It must have been soon after her arrival in Quebec that Marie met Antoine ROY-DESJARDINS and agreed to marry him, because on 6 September 1668, they entered into a marriage contract. The contract, which was the legal document required before the church ceremony could be performed, was signed and witnessed in the home of LEVASSEUR-LAVIGNE.
The contract was signed in front of the notary Jear LECONTE. One of the principal witnesses at the signing of the marriage contract and at the marriage itself was Laurent CAMBIN dit LA REVIERE. CAMBIN-LA REVIERE had been a sergeant of the DU GUE Company (sometimes called the BOISBRIAND Company) of the Carignan-Salieres Regiment. Another witness was Charles PALANTIN dit LAPOINTE, a cobbler. Also present was Pierre FOURNIER dit DES FORGES, and Francoise BAISLA (BAISELAT, BIZELON), wife of CAMBIN, and herself a Daughter of the King. The witness, Jean BOURDON, mentioned in the marriage contract may have been Jean BOURDON dit ROMAINVILLE, the royal bailiff of the Sovereign Council.
Marie MAJOR brought a dowry of 300 livres to the marriage agreement. As mentioned above, Antoine brought with him 100 livres.
The religious ceremony celebrating the union of Antoine and Marie took place on II September in the church of Notre Dame of Québec. It was a small wedding, with only a few people present. The parish priest, H. DE BERNIERES, gave the nuptial benediction, and wrote up the marriage certificate. In addition to CAMBIN and FOURNIER DES FORGES, the certificate also mentions Jean DE LORME as a witness, "and others."
At the time of their marriage, Antoine ROY-DESJARDINS was 33 years old, Marie MAJOR was 31.
Marie MAJOR was born in the parish of Saint Thomas in the town of Touques in Normandy. She was the daughter of Jean MAJOR and Marguerite LE PELE. She was baptized on 26 February 1637. Her godparents were Pierre MICHAULT and Marie MARAIS.
Touques is a small port at the bottom of the Touques estuary in the Calvados region, district of Lisieux.
On the marriage contract Marie's home city in France is listed as Havre-de-Grace in Normandy. The name of this port city at the mouth of the Seine River was eventually changed to its present name of Le Havre. It is speculated that Havre-de-Grace is mentioned because that is where Marie may have stayed before she came to New France. Records from Touques appear to indicate that she remained in her home town until some time in 1663.
Her father, Jean MAJOR, had been a tax collector for the barony of Heuqueville-en-Vexin and Aubeuf-en-Vexin. Because of his position, it can be assumed that Marie's family had a higher social standing and more education than the family of Antoine ROY-DESJARDINS.
Marie's mother's name of LE PELL- (or LEPELLE, pronounced "Le Ple") was a version of LEPELLEY, a name which was widespread in Normandy.
It is uncertain when Marie's parents died, but it was prior to the marriage of their daughter.
Earning a Living
Soon after their wedding, Antoine and Marie began their new life in Batiscan. On 15 April 1669, Antoine leased farmland in Batiscan from Elie Bourbeaux of St-Eloy. Bourbeaux was acting on behalf of Francois BIBAUX, the owner of the property. Marie received the sacrament of confirmation at Batiscan on 25 May 1669. Antoine and Marie were farmers, but there is no evidence that they were particularly successful in this endeavor. The information provided for the census of 1681 indicated that their possessions were meager and they had made little progress in their agricultural endeavors. Instead of farming, it appears from the census and through other records that Antoine had chosen to earn his living the same way his father had, as a cooper. An example of his work in this trade comes from a document dated 19 April 1675, which indicates that he was to deliver 2,000 barrel hoops to Monsieur 'Thomas LEFEBVRE.
The Birth of Pierre
Marie and Antoine had one child, Pierre. The exact date of his birth is uncertain and the baptismal record is lost. In the census of 1681 his age was given as 12, which would indicate that he was born some time in 1669. At his marriage in 1691 he gave his age as 22, which confirms the 1669 date.
Antoine bought and resold several plots of land in the Batiscan area, apparently as an effort to make money through land speculation. The only piece of land he would hold onto until his death was the plot originally ceded to him by the Jesuits in 1667.
On 22 December 1669, as witnessed by the notary Michel ROY-CHATELLEREAU, Francois FAFARD and his wife sold to Antoine, for 500 livres, a plot of land 4 arpents frontage by 40 in depth. This land was situated at Sainte-Anne-de-La-Perade and had been bought by Jean GELY dit LAVFERDURE on 27 July 1669, then transferred that same day to Claude SAUVAGEAU who appeared only to be an intermediary for FAFARD. (Jean GELY-LAVERDURE had been a soldier in the BERT'HIER Company of the Carignan-Salieres Regiment. Michel ROY- CHAT'ELLEREAU had been a soldier in the La Noraye Company of the Carignan-Salieres Regiment. Both men settled in Canada in 1668.)
On 8 August 1671, the Jesuits ceded to Antoine a piece of land with 3 arpents frontage on the side of the Batiscan River and 40 arpents in depth. Five months later, Antoine sold this property to François SAUGER (LAUGER).
On 30 December 1671, Antoine bought for his son Pierre, then 2 years old, at a price of 20 livres, a piece of land which belonged to Pierre BOURBEAU on the shore of the St-Lawrence in the St-Eloy area. He sold it three years later to Pierre CAILLOS (CAILLAS, CAYAS) for 120 livres. This is the only recorded example of Antoine making a profit on a land deal.
Antoine gradually developed financial troubles as a result of his land purchases and his buying of provisions on credit. By 1677 Antoine's difficulties were becoming apparent. On March 3 he became indebted to Jacques MARCHAND (LEMARCHANT), a neighbor, by mortgaging his land for a sum of 104 livres, 12 sols and 6 deniers. This contract was made in front of the notary, Antoine ADHEMAR DE SAINT-MARTIN. (ADHEMAR had been a soldier in the SALTREL Company of the Carignan-Salieres Regiment, who had married in New France in 1667, and had decided to settle there in 1668. He was the bailiff and notary for 4 seigneuries.)
On March 13, 10 days later, he incurred a debt of 66 livres to Etienne PEZARD DE LA TOUCHE CHAMPLAIN, seigneur of Champlain. ROY-DESJARDINS couldn't meet this obligation, and also got in trouble again on 6 March 1679 when he incurred an additional debt to Marchand. Antoine mortgaged his land for a second time to MARCHAND for the sum of 46 livres, 12 sols and 6 deniers.
By 1682 Antoine not only had a serious debt to MARCHAND, but he was also indebted to his seigneurs, the Jesuits, for the sum of 240 livres. On 10 December, MARCHAND obtained a ruling before the Judge of Batiscan, the former notary LA RUE who had been appointed judge and provost of Batiscan and Champlain in 1676. The next day LA RUE ordered Antoine to pay the debt owed to MARCHAND.
The result was that Antoine mortgaged his property a third time to Marchand on December 14, this time jointly with his wife, Marie Major. Marchand agreed, as part of the deal, to assume Antoine's debt to the Jesuits. Marchand now held a triple letter of credit on the ROY-DESJARDINS property.
The consolidated debt now owed to MARCHAND was upwards of 412 livres, 9 sols and 6 deniers according to Adhemar's records. This new debt with the above as total was made up of the following, plus expenses me incurred by MARCHAND:
-- 240 livres owed to the Jesuits by Antoine which was paid by MARCHAND, who now held the claim;
-- 104 livres, 12 sols, 6 deniers, the obligation of 3 March 1677;
-- 46 livres, 12 sols, 6 deniers, the obligation of 6 March 1679;
-- and 12 livres, 10 sols and one minot of wheat.
Antoine also engaged in other financial dealings which contributed to the bad state of affairs of his family. On 31 January 1682, he incurred a debt to Monsieur NEGNIER of Québec of 32 livres, 3 sols, and 4 deniers, again in front of the notary ADHEMAR.
On 25 March 1692, he became indebted to Jacques BABIE DE RANVILLE, a merchant of Champlain, for 19 livres, 4 minots of wheat and 1 minot of peas. (Babie had been a sergeant in the SAINT-OURS Company of the Carignan-Salieres Regiment. After leaving the Regiment he bought land near Lake Champlain and became a trader.)
Problems with Lecourt
The amount owed to Marchand was not to be ignored, and the other debts were bothersome, but one debt in particular would lead to the downfall of the beleaguered Antoine. This obligation was made 29 April 1674, in front of the notary LA RUE. ROY-DESJARDINS bought on credit from Michel LECOURT (LECOURS), merchant and master butcher of Montréal, a supply of 15 minots each of wheat and of green peas.
On 14 February 1680, Michel LECOURT had a summons served to Antoine by the bailiff, concerning the credit extended on 29 April 1674. As events will show, this would be the start of terrible trouble for Antoine and Marie.
Antoine did not pay up and on 24 March 1682, the bailiff Louis DEMEROMONT summoned him to appear in front of the King's prosecutor at Trois-Rivieres. Antoine was to respond to a complaint filed by Lecourt, who was represented in court by Jean CUSSON of Cap-de-la-Madeleine.
On 7 April 1682, Elie BOURBEAUX, now the deputy prosecutor of the King for Trois-Rivieres, determined that the amount owed to LECOURT for the wheat and peas was 82 livres, 10 sols. On 16 April 1682, Bourbeaux condemned Antoine for failure to appear and pay Lecourt. In addition to the amount mentioned above, Antoine now also owed interest and court expenses to LECOURT.
LECOURT was determined to collect and decided to deal with his debtor in person. He arrived from Montréal and stayed at Cap-de-la-Madeleine at the home of Jean CUSSON. On April 27 he urged execution of the order of 16 April. DEMEROMONT went to Batiscan to inform Antoine of this and handed him the formal notice.
On 24 July 1682, another creditor, a neighbor of Antoine, Nicolas RIVARD dit LAVIGNE, obtained a judgment against Marie Major for a hearth he had built for the ROY-DESJARDINS family. Marie appealed this judgment on August, 14. The matter was eventually settled out of court on 12 June 1683, by an agreement by Antoine that he would pay 52 livres for the hearth.
It appears that Antoine did nothing to address the court order carried against him by BOURBEAUX and the formal notice served on 27 April 1682, by DEMEROMONT. On 31 May 1683, DEMEROMONT carried a new summons to Antoine's house. This time, Antoine was gone. DEMEROMONT informed Marie MAJOR of the details of the summons.
The May 31 summons produced one effect, however, as either Antoine or Marie MAJOR paid to LECOURT 8 livres as an installment on the amount due. But LECOURT was not satisfied. On June 21, Gilles BOYVINET, the lieutenant-general of Trois-Rivieres, ordered Antoine to settle with Lecourt for the amount due of 74 livres, 16 sols, 8 deniers.
Antoine Leaves Bastican
Antoine did not comply with this judgment. Instead, he left Batiscan. His departure occurred some time after June 12, after the agreement was made with RIVARD-LAVIGNE.
The first assumption which may logically be made is that Antoine left so that he could escape his creditors. It appears from available sources, however, that instead of taking refuge in some remote area, he made his way to the city of Montreal. Evidence in the later legal proceeding of May, 1684, will indicate that he was in the Montreal area as of some time in the summer of 1683.
If ROY-DESJARDINS wanted to escape, Montréal was certainly not the best place to go, as his most unrelenting creditor, LECOURT, was there and could easily track him down. It is likely that Antoine went to Montreal to earn money to pay his debts, as he worked as a cooper while living there.
LECOURT was relentless in his pursuit of ROY-DESJARDINS. Through Monsieur BASSET, his prosecutor, he demanded the judge of Montreal, Jean-Baptiste MIGEON DE BRANSATT, to deal severely with Antoine, whom he accused of having shown bad faith and having gone under cover in order to make a profit at his trade as a cooper.
On 8 May 1684, LECOURT obtained a court order against ROY-DESJARDINS and arranged for Julien TALUA dit VENDAMONT to capture him. Antoine was boarding at TALUA-VENDAMONT's farm in Lachine, a town near the city of Montréal, on the Ile de (Island of) Montreal. Antoine had unfortunately added his landlord to his long list of creditors by not paying his rent. On May 8 TALUA-VENDAMONT turned Antoine over to Sergeant Pierre CABAZIE (CABAZIER) who arrested him.
On 17 May 1684, in accordance with LECOURT's petition, BRANSATT pronounced judgment against Antoine, ordering him to provide LECOURT with good and sufficient guarantee of payment. If be failed to do so, he would be ordered to work for LECOURT until the debt and related expenses were paid.
Antoine failed to furnish the guarantee, and neither did he go to work for Lecourt. So, some time in early June, Bransatt sentenced him to be locked up in the Montréal prison. At this time, the prison of Montréal was located on the north side of Rue Notre-Dame, a short distance west of Rue Saint-Laurent.
Antoine didn't stay in the jail for long. BRANSATT released him on June 15, with the order that he would be put back in prison in 2 days, if he did not conform to the judgment of May 17.
On a judgment dated 19 June 1684, it is indicated that the 52 livres that ROY-DESJARDINS promised to pay to Nicolas RIVARD-LAVIGNE was put in the hands of the clerk of the royal court at Trois-Rivieres. It is not certain if this was done through Antoine or Marie. The court decided that the money should be used to pay LECOURT, and not RIVARD-LAVIGNE. But somehow, other creditors, of ROY-DESJARDINS were paid from the sum, and the money never reached LECOURT.
That same day in Montréal, BRANSATT again ordered the incarceration of ROY-DESJARDINS, but it appears that this order was not actually carried out.
On June 21, LECOURT petitioned to BRANSATT to reincarcerate Antoine, because he suspected that his debtor was on the verge of leaving town. It is speculated that Lecourt had a spy in the form of Talua-Vendamont, who had reported this information.
On this day, BRANSATT declared that ROY-DESJARDINS had to pay up or come to some agreement with Lecourt. If he refused, he would be sent to prison again, this time until total payment was made. As Antoine had no substantial personal assets, this was a futile move.
On 30 June, Antoine was imprisoned again, but was let out the next day. Finally, on 1 July 1684, the notary, Claude MAUGUE, drafted an agreement between LECOURT and ROY-DESJARDINS to settle their differences.
Julien Talua-Vandamont & Anne Godeby
On 24 September 1669, in Quebec the notary Pierre DUGUET drew up and notarized the marriage contract between Julien TALUA-VENDAMONT and Anne GODEBY. They received the nuptial benediction on October 7. Julien was a Breton, the son of Brice TALUA and Jeanne BESNEE of St-Pierre, diocese of Nantes in Haute-Bretagne.
Anne GODEBY was a Norman, daughter of Laurent GODEBY and Marie MORIN. She was from the parish of St-Jacques, village of Dieppe, diocese of Rouen. The name GODEBU is a version of GODEBIN, a name which was common in Normandy. Anne was a "Daughter of the King," arriving in New France in 1669. She brought to her marriage goods valued at 50 livres, and a "gift of the King" of 50 livres.
After living in Boucherville and Longueuil, the couple moved to Lachine in April, 1677. Talua-Vendamont leased land from Jean FAGRET (FAGRE) dit PETIBOIS, and also obtained other property in the area.
Julien was a farmer. He was the first bedeau or caretaker of the church in Lachine. He was also the tax collector for St Sulpice, and a deputy bailiff when needed.
According to information provided in the census of 1681, it is likely that Julien was born in 1643 and Anne in 1641. They had no children.
It is obvious that there was some conflict between ROY-DESJARDINS and his landlord, Talua-Vendamont, and that somehow TALUA-VENDAMONT was mixed up in the business between LECOURT and ROY-DESJARDINS.
On the morning of Tuesday, 10 July 1684, Julien TALUA-VENDAMONT arrived in Montr6al at the home of judge BRANSATT and confessed to having killed Antoine ROY-DESJARDINS. According to Talua-Vendamont, he had been enraged to find Antoine, at 6:00 that morning, in bed with his wife Anne and so had killed him. TALUA-VENDAMONT also claimed that the adulterous relationship between Antoine and Anne had been going on for some time.
After the declaration of TALUA-VENDAMONT, BRANSATT, accompanied by police and the surgeon Jean MARTINET-FONTBLANCHE, went to the scene of the crime. They found the body of ROY-DESJARDINS, and the fact that a murder had taken place was confirmed. MARTINET-FONTBLANCHE, performed the autopsy of the body, while the others searched the house and interrogated neighbors. BRANSATT ordered the immediate arrest of TALUA-VENDAMONT.
An inventory was taken of the effects of ROY-DESJARDINS and TALUA-VENDAMONT. A neighbor in Lachine, Pierre GAUTHIER (GAULTIER) dit SAGOINGOIRA (SAGUINGOUARA, CHIGOUINGOURA) was given custody of these possessions. LECOURT tried unsuccessfully to obtain Antoine's property from GAUTHIER-SAGOINGOIRA.
The documents remaining concerning this affair do not list the specific cause of death of ROY-DESJARDINS. Any detailed report which may have been written concerning the condition of the body has been lost but some evidence does exist leading to the conclusion that TALUA-VENDAMONT shot ROY-DESJARDINS.
In the effects of TALUA-VENDAMONT was found a gun and bullets. This gun, which had been listed among his possessions in the census of 1681, may have been the murder weapon. Also found were two small bed covers which were pierced and bloody and a bloody animal skin. These may have been from his and Anne's bed.
Eight days after the murder, Jean FAGRET-PETTBOIS, from whom TALUA-VENDAMONT had leased farmland in Lachine, took his property back. He then gave the land as a gift to his godchild, the daughter of GAUTHIER-SAGOINGOIRA, 7-year-old Anne.
It is interesting to note the ages of the principal people involved in this drama. In 1684 Antoine ROY-DESJARDINS was 49 years old, his wife Marie MAJOR was 47.The likely age of Julien TALUA-VENDAMONT was 41, and of his wife, Anne GODEBY, 43.
After his arrest, TALUA-VENDAMONT was incarcerated in the Montréal prison, which only a short time before had held his victim, Antoine ROY-DESJARDINS.
On the day of the crime, 10 July 1684, and also at the preliminary inquest into the murder conducted on July 11 through 13, at least 6 of the habitants of Lachine were questioned concerning what they knew of the relationship between ROY-DESJARDINS and GODEBY. From their testimony BRANSATT concluded that the arrest of Anne GODEBY was justified. She was brought to the Montréal prison.
On August 29, an ordinance by Jean GERVAISE, deputy fiscal prosecutor, forbade Pierre GAUTHIER-SAGOINGOIRA from furnishing provisions or anything else to Anne GODEBY while she was in prison.
Marie and Pierre Arrive
On July 13, Marie MAJOR arrived from Batiscan with her son, Pierre, to ask that justice be dealt to the murderer of her husband. It is remarkable that they could arrive in Montreal only three days after the death of Antoine. In this short time a messenger had to travel to Batiscan from Montréal to tell them of the tragedy, and Marie and her son had to travel down to Montréal, a distance of about 94 Miles.
The trip could only have been made by oar or paddle on the St-Lawrence River, by the footpaths of' the shore, or on horseback, as there did not yet exist a route suitable for vehicles between Montréal and Quebec. No road would be built until 1737.
Antoine ROY-DESJARDINS' clothing and other personal articles were turned over to Marie and Pierre by the bailiff. Pierre received his father's cooper's tools, including one item called a "chien de tonnelier" or literally, the cooper's dog. Could this have been an implement used to hold down the pieces of wood while the cooper worked on them?
Also included among Antoine's belongings were 2 planes, a handsaw, a small gun, a jerkin (sleeveless jacket), a pair of almost new shoes, a new shirt, cow pelts, 6 barrels and an old red hat trimmed with cat fur.
It is not known what Marie and Pierre did with Antoine's body. There is no evidence in Lachine, Montreal or Batiscan that he was given a Christian burial.
On July 21, 11 days after the murder, 3 habitants of Batiscan, at the request of Marie Major, arrived in Montréal to give testimony. Jean-Baptiste LARIOU, Jean-Baptiste CREVIER and Françoise FORTIN were probably asked by Marie to testify as to the moral reputation of Antoine. She may have felt that their testimony on the virtuous behavior of the murdered man while living in Batiscan would help deflect the accusation of adultery.
The trial of TALUA-VENDAMONT and his wife was conducted at the end of September. This proceeding lasted around 15 days, and ended on October 14. Julien TALUA-VENDAMONT was found guilty of murder. He was, by the sentence of the judge BRANSATT, condemned to death for his crime.
TALUA-VENDAMONT maintained throughout the trial that he had surprised ROY-DESJARDINS in bed with his wife, and that this "infamous commerce" had been taking place for some time. The testimony of the obvious murderer, by itself, was worth very little, but the testimony of the neighbors in Lachine provided the necessary evidence to back him up.
Anne GODEBY was convicted of adultery. She was condemned to perpetual banishment from the Ile de Mont". If she violated the sentence, she would be put in shackles and flogged. Banishment was often used in New France as a punishment for adultery, incest, rape, prostitution, sodomy and even for attempted suicide. It was also sometimes used as a sentence for robbery.
After the trial, the belongings of VENDAMONT continued to be entrusted to the care of Gauthier-Sagoingoira.
Lecourt as Nemesis
It is impossible to tell to what extent LECOURT influenced TALUA-VENDAMONT against ROY-DESJARDINS, and whether or not he may have had a hand in actually inciting the murder. There exists, however, some convincing evidence that LECOURT's character may have been less than sterling:
In February and March of 1679, LECOURT was brought before the courts and found guilty of slander, offensive insults, and death threats against the notary and bailiff Claude MAUGUE. He avoided prison by pleading guilty to the charges and paying a fine.
-- One year later, on 14 September 1680, he was condemned again for having insulted Mathurine THIBAULT, the wife of Sieur MILLOT.
-- Then, on 13 August 1681, he was found guilty of having insulted and slandered the merchant Etienne LANDRON.
Justice in New France
From 1663, the three major settlements of New France were: Montreal, Trois-Rivieres and Quebec. These settlements formed the centers of the colony's three judicial districts. Each had its own court and law enforcement hierarchy.
The "Conseil Souverain" or Sovereign Council was established in 1663 as the highest court in New France. It was the court of appeal and last resort for the colony. After 1675 the Council consisted of 12 people: the governor, the bishop, the intendant seven councilors, a public prosecutor, and a clerk of the court. The Council was seated in Quebec, the capital of the royal colony of New France.
In New France as in France, all justice emanated from the King, who was believed to have been given this power through divine right. The judges exercised their authority only by the tacit delegation of the King's power. In theory, all offenses were to be punished without regard to the reasons for the crime, whether it be the miserable state of the criminal, passion, imbecility, or foolishness. No excuses from the convicted person were to be allowed to influence the punishment.
A person convicted of murder was condemned to death, and there were several methods of execution used in New France. In many cases, the guilty party was punished by paying a fine. He or she was then brought to the door of the church where he or she would confess to the crime committed, ask forgiveness of God and request from the King's representatives the punishment deserved. The criminal would then be hung in a public place, and his or her body dismembered in one fashion or another, and then the body displayed.
In general, though punishments were harsh, the application of justice was often more flexible and softer in New France than it was in France.
In New France, in cases where there was a sentence of corporal punishment or capital punishment, the judgment was subject to an automatic review by the Sovereign Council in Québec. Soon after his sentencing, TALUA-VENDAMONT appealed his case to the Council. On 27 October 1684, 13 days after the end of the trial, the Council studied his request, accepted it, and ordered his transfer to the prison of Québec, as well as the transfer to Quebec of the records relating to the case.
On November 2 and 3, the Council heard the lawyers, witnesses and TALUA-VENDAMONT himself. On November 28, the Council suspended the sentence given by BRANSATT and ordered that a trial of revision be held. This was to be done in Québec in front of the tribunal of the Council, to be presided over by councilor Jean-Baptiste DEPEIRAS. The date was set for some time in March, 1685.
On Tuesday, December 5, 7 days later, TALUA-VENDAMONT made another request to the Council. He complained that his health was suffering because of his long incarceration in the Montréal jail, followed by the unbearable cold of the Québec prison. As he had a fever and death was threatening him, he asked to be released.
The Québec prison was notorious for its bad conditions which included constant humidity and extremes of temperature, leading to the spread of disease. The Council permitted TALUA-VENDAMONT to lodge at the home of Monsieur JOURNIET, a cobbler, on the Rue Saint Louis in Upper Town. The prisoner was instructed not to travel more than 3 leagues away from there.
On December 18, the Council acceded to a new and extraordinary request from TALUA:-VENDAMONT. On condition that he return to Québec on March 18, the date now set for the opening of his second trial, Talua-Vendamont could, without escort and in all liberty, go back to Montréal. One reason he gave for returning to the city was to settle his accounts with the ecclesiastics in the seminary of Montréal, as he had been farming on part of their land. He also wanted to see if Pierre GAUTHIER-SAGOINGOIRA was taking good care of his belongings.
TALUA-VENDAMONT did go to Montréal. It is known that, on 7 February 1685, he received a report from GAUTHIER-SAGOINGOIRA concerning the condition of his possessions. He was still there on February 20 when he was paid 50 livres by Mathurin THIBAUDEAU in settlement of a debt.
At its meeting of 19 February 1685, the Council decided that TALUA-VENDAMONT's case should be pled not in Québec, but in Montreal. The reasons for this were that DEPEIRAS had business to conduct there, and that TALUA-VENDAMONT was already in the area.
On March 18 the court, presided over by DEPEIRAS, was scheduled to be seated in Montréal to retry TALUA-VENDAMONT. But no mention has been found in the archives of Montréal and Québec that TALUA-VENDAMONT's hearing ever took place.
Also, no documents have been found anywhere which gave any clues as to TALUA-VENDAMONT's whereabouts after 20 February 1685. He seems to have disappeared, and much can be speculated about whether or not the convicted murderer had been allowed to escape justice.
There are 3 hypotheses as to what may have happened to TALUA-VENDAMONT:
-- He may have become a "coureur de bois" and worked in the fur trade.
-- He may have returned to France or relocated to a southern French colony such as the Antilles.
-- He may simply have continued his life as a farmer or other type of worker in the St-Lawrence Valley, under an assumed name.
The only evidence which exists indicates that TALUA-VENDAMONT was not around. On 14 September 1687, an ordinance was passed ordering TALUA-VENDAMONT and other inhabitants of Lachine who had abandoned their property to clear their land and clean out their woods. The conflicts with the Iroquois had started anew in 1683 after a 17 year peace, and unkept land could provide convenient places for the Iroquois to hide when attacking the settlers. TALUA-VENDAMONT did not return to clear off his land, and records ten years later indicate that his property was still vacant.
The Fate of Marie Major
Marie MAJOR was now ruined because of the scandal of her husband's adultery and murder, and because of continued problems with creditors. She could no longer live in Batiscan. She and Pierre left their farm and went to live in Québec in poverty. They were sustained from the small income which the young Pierre, only 15 years old in 1684, could derive from his work as a cooper, the trade of his father.
Nothing more is known of Marie MAJOR until she entered the Hotel Dieu, the Quebec hospital, on 16 November 1689, where she would die on December 8. She was 52 years old.
Following the custom of the time, it is likely that she was buried the next day, December 9, in the Cimetiere des Pauvres (Cemetery of the Poor). Despite its name, the cemetery held the remains of some of the rich and illustrious citizens of Quebec. Marie, buried in an unmarked tomb, was not one of these.
The Fate of Anne Godeby
After the trial, Anne GODEBY appears to have eventually gone to Québec or its environs to live under her maiden fine. There are records which indicate that she was hospitalized in the Hotel Dieu 3 times in 1689 and 1690. The hospital registers have her name spelled as GABIT, GODEBIS and GODEBIE. Her last stay at the hospital ended on 29 March 1690. Her age in these records was indicated as being 50. No death or burial record has been found for her.
Disputes over Antoine's Estate
Even after Antoine's death, LECOURT continued to pursue the unfortunate man, and he continued to have no success in collecting the money owed to him. LECOURT passed away, and on 2 November 1685, the notary Adhemar working on behalf of his widow, Louise LEBLANC, commissioned Jean CUSSON of Cap-de-la-Madeleine, to act as her prosecutor. CUSSON was to take all legal action possible against the estate of Antoine ROY-DESJARDINS in order to receive payment for the long-time debt.
But Jacques MARCHAND had a much larger claim on the estate than LEBLANC, and he prevailed in achieving control over the ROY-DESJARDINS property. MARCHAND auctioned off the land, the house, and the out buildings, livestock, and ploughing implements on 6 December 1687.
Another creditor, Jacques BABIE, contested the legality of MARCHAND's appropriation of the ROY-DESJARDINS property. BABIE died on 28 July 1688, and his widow, Jeanne DANDONNEAU, made an appeal to the lieutenant general of the jurisdiction of Trois-Rivieres, Gilles BOYVINET. On 10 November 1692 Boyvinet ruled in favor of Marchand, maintaining MARCHAND's control.
DANDONNEAU appealed her case again, this time to the Sovereign Council on 6 April 1693. There are no records of the outcome. She may have withdrawn her appeal or reached an accord with Marchand out-of-court.
The Fate of Pierre
Pierre ROY-DESJARDINS, the son of Antoine, went to visit his old neighbor Jacques MARCHAND in Batiscan in June, 1691, to claim his inheritance as the sole heir of Antoine ROY-DESJARDINS and Marie MAJOR. At that time he was living at St-Pierre, Ile d'Orleans, with his new wife, Marie-Anne MARTIN.
When considering the poor financial record of Antoine ROY-DESJARDINS, it is hard to imagine that Pierre had any claim, but he did. Antoine and Marie MAJOR had been married under the communal estate settlement system. Under this system, the dowry that Marie brought to the marriage was not subject to the debts incurred during the marriage. Pierre, as sole heir, therefore had a legal claim to this dowry of 300 livres.
Pierre was not to receive this full amount, but an amicable agreement was reached with Marchand. On 18 June 1691, Father RAFFEIX, S.J. of Cap-de-la-Madeleine, in the name of Jacques MARCHAND, gave to Pierre the sum of 165 livres. This agreement was contested by BABIE's widow, Jeanne DANDONNEAU, but in vain.
Pierre was married at the age of 22 on 12 February 1691, to Marie-Anne MARTIN in the church of St-Pierre on the Ile d'Orleans, northeast of Québec. Standing up for him at the signing of the marriage contract on January 29 was his godfather, Pierre CONSTANT (CONTANT, COMPTANT), a former neighbor and a habitant of Batiscan since 1667. CONSTANT was also a witness to the wedding.
Pierre and Marie-Anne would have 10 children, 1 who died at the age of 15. Marie-Anne would die in 1709 and on 25 November 1710, Pierre would marry Angelique HAUTIN (AUTIN) at Rivitre-Ouelle. Angelique would have 6 children. She died sometime between 1721 and 1726. On 30 October 1727, Pierre would marry Marie DELUGRE (DELEUGRE) at Repentigny. Marie would bear three children, one who died at the age of two.
In total Pierre would father 19 children, 17 of whom reached adulthood. The descendants of Antoine through his son, Pierre, would bear the names ROY, ROY-DESJARDINS, DESJARDINS, ROY-LAIJZIER, ROY-LAUZON and ROY-DESJARDINS-VOISINE. During his life, Pierre worked as a farmer, a cooper and a master carpenter. He died on 29 April 1734, in Repentigny, and was buried there on the next day. He was 65 years old.
SOURCES & CITATIONS
Memoires de la Societe Genealogique Canadienne-Francaise,
Vol. VI, No. 2, April 1954, "Antoine Roy dit Desjardins (1636-1684) Sa lamentable histoire - Son fils unique, Pierre," by Georges Desjardins, S.J.
Vol. VII, No. 1, January 1956, "Etudes genealogiques: Notes supplementaires sur Antoine Roy-Desjardins" and "La descendance d'Antoinc Roy-Desjardins." by Georges Desjardins, S.J.
Vol. VII, No. 3, July 1956, "Etudes Genealogiques : La descendance d'Antoine Roy-Desjardins," by Georges Desjardim, S.J.
Vol. VIII, No. 3, July 1957, "La faimille Roy dit Desjardins, corrections et additions," by Georges
July, August, September 1966, "Notules: Genealogiques Jouiniens venus au Canada"
Vol. XXII - No. 3, July-August-September 1971, "Publications recentes," by Raoul Raymond
Antoine Roy dit Desjardins (1635-1684) et ses descendants by Georges Desjardins, S.J., Editions du Bien Public, 1971
"Les Roy-Desjardins, une Lignee Familiale Remarquable, Mais Issue D'Un
Ancetre Singulier," by Paul Genest, L'Ancitre, Bulletin de la Societi de
Genealogie de Quebec, Quebec, P.Q., 1981
The Good Regiment, by Jack Verney, McGill-Queen's University Press.
Montreal, P.Q., 1991
The King's Daughters, Revised Edition, by Joy Reisinger, C.G.R.S., and Elmer Courteau, printed by Thomson-Shore, Dexter, Michigan, 1988
Les Filles du Roi en Nouvelle-France, by Silvio Dumas, La Societe Historique de Quebec, Quebec. P.Q., 1972
Les Filles du Roi au XVIIe Siecle, by Yves Landry, Lemeac Editeur Inc., Montreal, P.Q., 1992