The monument to honour Louis Hébert by the reknown artist Alfred Laliberté is located in "Parc Montmorency" behind the Notre-Dame de Québec basilica and next to the street "Côte de la Montagne" where the Prescott gate used to stand. It is about 300 yards north of the Château Frontenac Hotel.
Louis Hébert had his concession of about 30 acres in this general area of the upper town. The monument is not there to mark the burial site of Hébert or anybody in else.
The monument combines three sculptures. The central one on the high pedestal represents Louis Hébert, the first permanent European settler north of the Mexican border, who settled here with his family in the spring of 1617, four years before the arrival of the Mayflower in the future Massachusetts. The right side sculpture represents Marie Rollet and her three children, Guillaume, Guillemette and Anne. The sculpture on the left represents Guillaume Couillard who married Guillemette in 1621 at Québec, probably the first registered marriage of Europeans celebrated north of the Mexican border. A plaque has been added on the back of the monument to honour the first settlers of Québec City (not of Canada or Nouvelle-France).
Regarding who was first depends on one's criteria. Hébert is the first head of a family to settle with his family in 1617. But he had been in North America, on and off since 1603 with Champlain. Couillard settled at Québec with many others in 1613 but was single at the time.Some, like Étienne Brûlé had been in North America permanently since 1608 but he was also officially single.The names on the plaque are reproduced below.
You will notice that some names are repeated. This is because of remarriage of widows/widowers, as the plaque commemorates the first families settling in Québec city, although it does not say so specifically. For instance, Champlain who settled here in 1608 and died here in 1635, is not mentioned as he did not have any known descendant here.There are also two very noticeable errors: the name of Nicole Lemaire (feminine form) which is spelled Nicolas Lemaire (masculine form) and the settling family date (marriage ?) of Guillaume Couillard given as 1619 when Jetté gives the marriage date as1621. There might be other errors. The plaque was put in many years ago and we know more today.Click here to see five pictures of the monument including the plaque. Like for most French-Canadians, about a third of the people on the list are my ancestors, including good ole Louis himself.
Note to Franco-Americans: most of you have ancestors that arrived here before the Mayflower Pilgrims so keep on searching your French-Canadian roots !
LES PREMIERS COLONS DE QUÉBEC.
ILS ONT ÉTÉ À LA PEINE : QU'ILS SOIENT À L'HONNEUR !