The people best fitted for this country are those who can work with their own hands.Pierre Boucher
After selling his farm and leaving behind the pastoral fields and the stunning forests of Mortagne-au-Perche, France, Gaspard Boucher, Nicole Lemaire and five of their children, Pierre, Nicolas, Marie, Marguerite, and Madeleine sailed to New France in 1634 or 1635 and settled on the untamed lands to make this new country their home. Their lives blended together with the native people and the colonists, and their descendants spread across the lands of North America.
Gaspard Boucher, the son of Jacques Boucher and Francoise Paigne, was born about 1599 in the Notre-Dame parish of Mortagne-au-Perche, France. Following in his father’s footsteps, Gaspard was a carpenter.
Nicole Lemaire was the daughter of Nicolas Lemaire and Marie Gastrie, and she was the godchild of Alexandre Vauloger and Nicolle Pichon, the wife of Guill Herisson. As an infant, she was baptized in France on March 10, 1595, in Mamers’s Notre-Dame Church in the Le Mans district in the Maine Province.
The couple married on December 12, 1619, in Mamers, and records mention that Nicole’s mother, gave them a farm located in, France, which they sold on February 1, 1634. The couple had eight children, seven of whom were baptized in Mortagne, in the province of Perche in France. Baptismal records for their youngest child, Madeliene, could not be found. Many speculate that his child was born during the voyage to New France, or she was born after the family’s arrival in this new country.
Many of Gaspard’s countrymen followed the call of Robert Giffard; his message to these men was to help settle in New France. About eighty families migrated to the lands near the Saint Lawrence River. While some returned their old country, the majority settled in this new nation, following Giffard’s invitation to the spirit of adventure.
Gaspard, the carpenter, was hired by the Jesuits in the seigneury of Notre-Dame-des-Anges. He helped the men of faith work their farm, and in return, the Jesuits educated his children.
In time, Gaspard and Nicole settled in Trois-Rivieres, for Gaspard received a twenty-four-acre land grant from the governor on March 21, 1646. During this time, the Iroquois frequently attacked the settlement.
On June 6, 1651, their son Pierre received the position as the post captain for the settlement, and although many objected to his rule, he contended that the settlers needed to live within the stockades for greater protection, and he ordered the concentration of the farms in order to protect each colonist better. The captain also demanded that each person learn to handle a weapon.
At that time, the governor, Du Plessis-Kerbodet (Guillaume Guillemot) wanted to defend the post and organized a team of men called the Flying Column. Although he had no training as a soldier and while he did not understand the tactics of the Native Americans, he decided to lead his band on a mission to seek out his enemies. On August 19, 1652, against the warning of Captain Pierre Boucher, the governor and his group of sixty men and twelve native men followed him to the St. Lawrence River. The Iroquois watched the men, and once they began traveling in their sloops, the natives ambushed the men. Twenty-two Frenchmen and the governor were killed or taken as prisoners in this trap, just outside their village. Only a few men remained of the first original settlers.
Gaspard and Nicole continued to live in the area after the uprisings. On May 20, 1662, it appeared that Gaspard and Nicole died in a house fire. The couple was buried in Trois-Rivieres.
Life in this wilderness was not an easy task for the settlers in Trois Rivieres. Gaspard Boucher, his wife, Nicole Lemaire, and their children provided a lasting legacy of their pioneering spirit, dedication, and hard work, and their lives provided historical details of the settlers that conquered the vast wilderness of New France.
Children of Gaspard Boucher and Nicole Lemaire
Charles Boucher (1620-1620)
Their infant son was born on April 7, 1620, and died on April 17, 1620, in Mortagne, in the province of Perche in France.
Antoinette Boucher (1622-1691)
Their daughter, Antoinette, was born on August 6, 1621. Conflicting information surrounded her death. One source, Web: Netherlands, Genealogie Online Trees Index, claimed the girl died on September 4, 1691, in Montreal. Another source, Our French Canadian Ancestors, documented that she died in France, but did not list what year.
Pierre Boucher (1622-1717)
The couple’s oldest living son, Pierre Boucher at fourteen years of age, traveled for four years with the Jesuits on their mission trips and learned the Huron language. Once he returned to Quebec, he became an interpreter for Governor Huault de Montmagny.
On January 17, 1449, in his parent’s home, he married Marie Ouebadinskoue, a Huron that lived with the Ursulines of Quebec, the oldest institution of learning for young girls in North America. The young woman was given a French name, Marie-Madeleine Chrestienne. The couple had a son, Jacquez, born on December 11, 1649, in Trois-Rivieres. After his baptism, no other records were found about Pierre’s wife and son. Many believed that the infant and mother died shortly after his birth.
About three years later on July 9, 1652, Pierre remarries Jeanne Crevier in the Notre-Dame de Quebec church. Through this union, the couple had fifteen children.
In his lifetime, Pierre defended Trois-Rivieres from Iroquois attacks, and was later appointed the captain and interim governor and helped bridge peace between the settlers and the Iroquois people. In 1657, he was elected as the king’s counselor but soon retired. In 1661, he served as a delegate to France and spoke to King Louis VIV about the needs of the colony. The king ennobled Pierre, the second colonist to receive this honor.
In 1662, he returned to Trois-Rivieres as governor and maintained his position until 1667. Later, he settled on his lands Iles-Percees, renamed Boucherville. He died in his home on April 19, 1717, at the age of ninety-five.
Nicolas Boucher (1629-1649)
Nicolas arrived on September 9, 1625, in his native land. He was buried on March 23, 1649, at the age of twenty-three in Trois-Rivieres.
Marie Boucher (1629-1706)
In her homeland, Marie was baptized on January 22, 1629. The woman married Etienne de Lafond, and the couple had eight children. She died on November 29, 1706, in Batiscan.
Marie Marguerite Boucher (1634-1666/1669)
On July 28, 1631, Marie Marguerite was baptized on July 28, 1631. The young woman married Toussaint Toupin about 1645 in Quebec. The couple had six children. She died sometime between 1666 and 1669.
Madeleine Boucher (about 1633-1691)
Since records were never located about her baptismal, historians believed she was born around 1633. She might have been born during the voyage to New France or born in the colonies shortly after the family’s arrival. A marriage contract was signed with Sarthe Urbain Baudry dit Lamarche on Noevember 18, 1647 in Quebec. The couple had eleven children. Madeleine died on September 13, 1691.
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