|Devout and Modest Little Servant of God|
|Jeanne de Reux de Motin
|History has all but forgotten the other woman in this chapter of Acadian History, but her actions in the aftermath of the battles, helped to ensure the continuity of the growing French settlement. Her name was Jeanne de Reux de Motin, daughter of Louis Motin, director of the Razilly-Condonnier company to which Charles de Menou díAulnay was a member.|
|Her father Louis was supervisor of the salt stores at Mont-Saint-Vincent (Saone et Loire) in Charolais and one of the stockholders of the Razilly-Condonnier Company. He was appointed director on January 25, 1635. His parents and Jeanneís grandparents were Nicholas Motin and Francosie Devesvres. After his motherís death, his father married Claudia Thomasset on April 8, 1637.|
|Jeanne came to Acadia in 1636, with her sister Ann and brother-in-law, Nicolas Le Creux du Breuil, aboard the ship Saint-Jehan as the intended bride of Charles d' Aulnay. She was 21 years old; well past her prime by the standards of the day, so we can assume that she was no raving beauty.
D'Aulnay and Jeanne Motin, appeared to be a good match and their relationship was described as cordial. She may not have been as adventurous and daring as Lady La Tour, but adjusted well to her life on the frontier, assuming a traditional position as was prescribed at the time, in a French Catholic family, and her husband would refer to her as a "devout and modest little servant of God."
|But it did not take her long to realize that her husband was a cruel and vindictive man, and though outwardly pious and self-righteous, behind the mask was a tyrant with the soul of a devil.
The settlers in the small community treated her with kindness, but she knew that they pitied her for the lot she was having to bear.
Amoung other things, her husband was a womanizer; constantly making improper advances toward the ladies, and it was even rumoured that he had entered into a "country marriage" (name given to unions between Native women and European men) in New England.
As a matter of fact, there is a Doney family in Maine, who claim to be his descendants, the name a derivitive of 'Monsiuer Donny', as he was known to the Puritan settlers.
|Throughout their marriage, her husband had one thing on his mind: to destroy his arch rival; Charles de La Tour, and the fact that he was the cousin of none other than Cardinal Richelieu himself, usually gave him the upper hand. The incident that went down in French history as the Devils of Loudun, gives us some indication of just what kind of family D'Aulnay came from, and I suppose the embarrasment once the scandal was made public, did little to improve his already mean disposition.|
|Fortunately for Jeanne, her husband was away a lot, tending to buisness in France or New England, and she was able to pass her time in the relative quiet of Port Royal, with it's neat fields and woodlots and beautiful view of the Bay.
Watching the men and women in the fields, and the never ending catch of codfish drying on the roofs, was comforting, and the sound of a rooster, the bells of the oxen, or laughter of the small children, was in direct contrast to the constant bloodshed and endless rantings, as a result of the ongoing feud between D'Aulnay and his nemesis La Tour.
She would spend a great deal of time in the chapel, taking spiritual guidance from the resident priests, and since she and Charles would have eight children; four boys and four girls, she was never without something to do. Even with hired help, they were a handful, and since their father was a strict disciplinarian, no doubt she gave them a freer rein when he wasn't about.
|Entrance Way Jean's Port Royal Home|
|But her husbands armed conflicts with Charles La Tour, would be expensive, and he was constantly borrowing to pay for ammunition and armies, which did not come cheap. When he blockaded the La Tours' fort in the summer of 1643; he all but bankrupted them; but worse than that; he almost destroyed the settlement, placing them in the line of fire, when his enemy, with the support of English soldiers, launched an attack. They would lose three men, their millhouse and a corn field; but it could have been much worse.|
|However, when she learned of the massacre at Jemseg and the fate of poor Lady La Tour and her young son, she must have been devastated. This was low even for Charles, but he finally got what he wanted, and sailed victoriously back to France. The following spring, he brought families over from his mother's seigneury, and they would form the nucleus of the French-Acadian population.
He would maintian a monopoly for the next five years, until on May 24, 1650; he drowned while inspecting some property. The story goes that he had fallen from his canoe after standing to get a closer look, and the local Mi'kmaq nearby, turned their back and refused to help (they did rescue his servant however, obviously the better man). Seems fair.
|Jeanne took the news stoically and set to work picking up the pieces of her life and filling in for her husband as best she could. She still had a family raise, her children ranging in age from infancy to about 11 years old.
However, more bad news would soon follow when she realized that his estate owed more than 300,000 livres to several creditors. One of them, Emmanuel Le Borgne, went so far as raiding and looting her property to collect his debt, while others , took advantage of the situation and occupied posts at Cape Breton, on land that supposedly belonged to the D'Aulnay estate. (Probably only because he said so)
In a desperate effort she sent her steward to France in the summer of 1651, to act on her behalf. He was able to make arrangements with the Duc de Vendome, under which Vendome assumed half the debt in return for half the D'Aulnay properties and a share of the fur trade. This was of little help since she still had eight young children to raise and a French colony that needed leadership.
With this in mind, she presented an offer to Charles de La Tour, that Iím sure both amused and intriqued him greatly, but would give them both something they wanted. After D'Aulnay's untimely death, La Tour had sought and won royal absolution from France, and was once again named Governor of French interests in Acadia; so she would get the money required to maintain her children, in exchange for her share of the land and trading rights that he had long coveted.
So, in a marriage of convenience, she wed Charles de Saint-Etienne De Latour in July, 1653 for the "peace and tranquillity of the country, and concord and union between the two families." They would have five children; Jacques (m. Anne Melanson), Charles, Marie (m. Alexandre LeBorgne), Marguerite (m. Abraham Mius de Plemazais), and Anne (m. Jacques Mius of Pubnico).
|However, the following year, Robert Sedgwick of New England captured the French-Acadia posts and persuaded La Tour to finally accept the English barony that his father had proposed, twenty-four years earlier. He would retire to Cape Sable where he spent the remainder of his life with his wife, Jeanne de Reux de La Tour
Jeanne died on March 2, 1663; and Charles followed three years later. As for her children from her marriage with D'Aulnay: Their four sons; Joseph, Charles, Rene and Paul, joined the Royal Navy, like their father, and all were killed at the Siege of Luxembourg. As for the girls; Anne, Renee, Marie and Jeanne; they all went back to France where they became Ursuline nuns, so fortunately there were no descendants.
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