|Life on the Beaupre Coast|
|Marie Magdeliene Guyon
|Marie-Magdeliene Robin Guyon was born on March 18, 1624 at St-Jean, Mortagne, Perche, France; the daughter of Jean Francois Huet Guyon and Mathurine Avard Robin. Her father was a stone mason, who earned a reputation for his craft during the restoration work following the Religious Wars in France. This brought him to the attention of Robert Giffard, who recruited him for his new seigneury at Beauport, Quebec. The ten year old Marie, left with her family from Dieppe in May of 1634, and arrived in Quebec on August 8.
Her first impression of what was to become her new home, must have been one of disbelief. This 'Colony of New France', was still little more than a trading post, and though it's affairs were directed from home; there was a strong Canadian Government in place, and the new settlers lived by their rules. Not that this was a bad thing. She would have the freedom to enjoy many activities not allowed her before, and any formalities were cast aside, while she became acclimatized to her new surroundings.
The 'New World' that everyone spoke of, was more 'Old World' than she first thought; and though the French investors fought diligently to introduce the old feudal system to their small corner of North America, these first emigrants had an opportunity to carve their own destinies. Tradesmen were crucial, and as such, commanded a high degree of respect.
However, Marie-Magdeliene was herself a valuable human commodity to the embryo of 'New France', since as a young French woman, her services were required to add to the small French population. As a result, she was married at the age of only thirteen; to another Giffard recruit; Francois Belanger. The marriage took place on July 12, 1637; performed by Father Charles Lallemant, at Notre-Dame-des-Anges. The other bride was eleven year old, Anne Cloutier who was wed to Robert Drouin.
|Francois Horlays Belanger was born on October 02, 1612; at Touque, Normandy, Orne, France; the son of Francois Lisieux Belanger and Francoise Belanger Horlays. According to the church records he was baptized five days later: "On the seventh day of October (1612) was baptized Francois Bellanger, son of Francois Bellanger and Francoise Horlays and was named after the honorable Francois Dumesnil, Squire of St-Teny, and by the honorable Nicolas Bougis, Sieur de Fosses, and mademoisel Loyse Gurou, wife of Squire Guillaume Lepaulnier, Sieur de la Chapelle."
Like Marie's father, he was a mason by trade and signed on with Robert Giffard, eventually working a concession with Mace Gravel, on the Beaupre Coast. On September 7, 1647; an agreement is drawn up by Claude Lecoustre, whereby he agreed to pay Pierre Legardeur de Repentigny the sum of one hundred livres for the purchase of some wheat. To guarantee the loan, Francois put up all of his property as security. On August 9, 1653, the Journal of the Jesuits reported that Francois was chosen for the office of mayor of the citizens of the Quebec region who lived at the Longue Pointe, (the future parish of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre), and the council under him were Thomas Hayot, Charles Legardeur de Tilly, Christophe Crevier dit Lameslee, Guillaume Peltier, Pierre Picard and Francois Bissot.
By all accounts, a respectable man. However, Francois Belanger was authoritative, demanding and often violent, a reputation that would remain with him throughout his life. When he wasn't suing someone, he was threatening suit, and life for poor Marie and her children would be anything but tranquil.
|Despite his disagreeable nature, he was considered honest and hard-working; and earned the respect of those in power. In 1662, he was named trustee of the affairs and guardian of the children of the late Olivier Le Tardif, then co-seigneur and justice of the peace at Beaupre. In 1663, when the Sovereign Council was founded, he was referred to by Msgr David Gosselin, as "one of the principal inhabitants of the region and he had the confidence of the authorities and the colonists." However, this same Sovereign Council would have to decide the affairs of Marie's father's estate in 1669, after five years of haggling by his survivors.
In 1669, when the militia was established in the colony, Francois, as municipal chief, was named captain of the Beaupre coast, which meant that he must "carry out the governors' ordinances, as well as supervise the construction and maintenance of the roads."
On 1 July 1677, for services rendered, the Belanger family received a vast concession from Governor Frontenac; "a league in frontage by two leages in depth on the south bank of the river", and Francois became the Seigneur of Bonsecours (L'Islet). This concession was placed on record by the Sovereign Council on October 24, 1680; and was later described by engineer Gedeon de Catalogne: "The land there is rather level, sprinkled with plowed up stones, and marginally produces all sorts of grains, vegetables and pasturage. The fruit trees produce abundantly, and the natural woods are a mixture of all species."
By the Census of 1681, the Belanger family were listed in the seigneury of Bellechasse, (of which their fief of Bonsecours was a part) They had five arpents of cleared land and four servants: Jean de la
Voye, Barthelemy Gobeil, Pierre Lafaye and Pierre Mataule. The move had been made but recently because Francois had only cleared five arpents.
|Francois Belanger died on October 25, 1685; leaving all of his remaining property to his son Jacques, "in return for good and loyal service". This included his lands at Bonsecours, a house, a barn, a mill, a mare, three oxen, three cows, wagons, etc. This was approved by Marie on April 25, 1687.
Marie-Magdeliene Guyon Belanger died on August 29, 1696; at Cap-Saint-Ignace. She was 78.
|The Next Generation|
|Charles (1640-1692), was married in 1663 to Barbe Cloutier, the daughter of Zacharie Cloutier, Jr., and Madeleine Emard. They had 4 boys and 5 girls. Charles inherited a half of the Bonsecours fief.
Marie-Madeleine (1643-1670), married Seigneur Bertrand Chesnay de la Garenne in 1656. They had 2 boys.
Marguerite (1645-1703), married Antoine Berson dit Chatillon in 1663. They had 2 girls. Marguerite remarried in 1666 to Louis Levasseur and they had 5 boys and 6 girls.
Jean-Francois (1648-1699), was married in 1671 to Marie Cloutier and settled at L'Islet. They had 3 boys and 2 girls. It was Jean-Francois who succeeded his father as a captain of militia.
Francoise-Charlotte (1650-1707?), was married in 1665 to Jean Langlois dit Boisverdun. They had 11 children, 6 of whom were boys. She remarried in 1691 to Thomas Rousseau and they had one son.
Mathurine (1652-1698), had three husbands: Jean Maheu in 1673, Antoine Deserre in 1674 and Francois Gregoire in 1688. She had a total of 10 children by her second and third husbands.
Louis (1655-1724), married in 1682 to Marguerite Lefrancois, was the first Seigneur of L'Islet. They had 13 children, of whom 5 were boys.
Louis (1657-1726), was married in 1679 to Jean Cloutier. They had 12 children.
Genevieve (1659-?), was married in 1682 to Guillaume Ferte. This family settled in L'Islet and had 3 children.
Guillaume, was born and died in 1661
Jacques (1662-1699), was married in 1691 to Elisabeth Thibault, also a pioneer at L'Islet. They had 4 children, 3 of whom were boys.
Anne (1664-1665) lived only a little more than a year.
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