Marie Deshayes: A Daughter of the King

Jean Talon, Bishop François de Laval and several settlers welcome the King’s Daughters upon their arrival. Painting by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale.

As the colonies grew in New France during the seventeenth century, the men outnumbered the women. As male settlers and soldiers moved to these new lands, they wanted to settle down, marry, and have children. To help alleviate this problem, the French monarch King Louis XIV sent about 800 women to New France between 1663 and 1673. Over the years, the women became known as the king’s daughters. He provided a dowry of money and items the women would require when setting up their new homes. As soon as the couples married, they often received livestock and chickens. In addition, they were given an annual pension after the pair began having children.

When the king’s daughters arrived in the colonies, they were given room and board until they found a suitable marriage partner. A formal education was often neglected since life’s demands kept even the children busy. When children turned twelve, they took classes at Sunday school to prepare for their First Communion. In the colonies, young women were also trained to become wives and mothers. They took classes on keeping a house, and they learned to cook, preserve food, sew, mend clothes, plan, save and keep accounts. They were also taught good manners. Although life in the colonies was not an easy life, the women flourished. They tended to outlive their female contemporaries that remained in the old country.

About 1652, Marie Deshayes was born in Rouen, Normandy, to Anne Fortin and Alexandre Deshayes. On July 3, 1668, when she was about sixteen, Marie sailed to New France on the ship, La Nouvelle France. On May 20, 1668, she was confirmed at Chambly. About 1668 or 1669, she married a former soldier, Adrien Betourne dit Laviolette in Sorrel, Quebec. The couple settled in Repentigny and had two children, Pierre (about 1669) and Marie-Anne (about 1684). Two years after she arrived in Canada, her sister Marguerite came to Canada. She married Pierre Menard dit Saintonge at Sorel. They moved to Saint-Ours. The sisters lived about 50 miles away from one another.

Confirmation – 20 May 1668 – Marie des Hayes of Rouen

On August 30, 1695, a formal separation of property was ordered between Marie and Adrien. On December 18, 1707, Marie died. She was buried at the Notre Dame Ancient Cemetery in Montreal, Quebec.

18 Decembre 1707 – Marie Deshays, age 58 years, wife of Adrien Betourne dit Laviolette, died at I’Hotel-Dieu at this village after receiving the sacraments of the church. Testimony – Mr. Antoine di Valens et Henry Meriel, priests.

The King’s Daughters

Family Tree

Marie Deshays 1649-1707
9th great-grandmother

Marie Anne Betourne 1684-1726
Daughter of Marie Deshays

Pierre Chicoine 1723-1781
Son of Marie Anne Betourne

Pierre Charles Chicoine Dozois 1744-1795
Son of Pierre Chicoine

Pierre Chicoine Dozois 1769-1835
Son of Pierre Charles Chicoine Dozois

Marie Eulalie Chicoine 1808-1839
Daughter of Pierre Chicoine Dozois

Joseph LaDuke 1827-1907
Son of Marie Eulalie Chicoine

Ellsie LaDuke 1862-1898
Daughter of Joseph LaDuke

Anna Strassburg 1892-1913
Daughter of Ellsie LaDuke

Elva Marie Allen 1908-1983
Daughter of Anna Strassburg


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