About Marie-Charlotte Couet dite Lapierre
Translated (with some literary license) from MÉMOIRE DE FAMILLE, Carole Michau:
Charlotte Coy was born in Saint Nicolas de Paris, Ile de France, daughter of François Coy and Michelle Ouyer. The parents of Charlotte were still alive, in 1669, when she embarked in Dieppe, on one of the ships of the Company of the West Indies, as a "filles de roi", to move towards the colony of News-France. Thus, the cost of her voyage in addition to a small amount of money to defray cost was provided the king of France, Louis XIV, le Rois de Soleil. She was probably recruited through publicity campaigns, which encouraged the French women, to emigrate in Canada. Charlotte probably came from a poor medium, a humble girl, since she could not practically sign her name and was recruited with an aim of being married to an resident and not to a dignitary. The girls were separated by classes inside the boat, the social status being very significant for the French, never did they mix the social classes under any pretext. Thus, certain girls were reserved for residents, others from the noble class, for the middle-class men and to all the other dignitaries of the time. One took account of the social status which the family of each girl occupied to determine the category of husbands that it could hope to find in New-France.
Charlotte, like all the girls, who chose the solution of the emigration, expressed an exceptional determination and an independence for the time. While embarking for an unknown land, they posed a gesture of autonomy that neither the habit nor manners of the seventeenth century authorized in this time. The will that these girls had to escape misery, pushed them to choose this not very common solution. They wanted to be able to marry a good man in New-France since the men available to be married on native soil were increasingly rare for a girl without a dowry. Charlotte was precisely one of the daughters who did not have any dowry which would have enabled her to be well married in France.
Thus, in 1669, Charlotte made the crossing of the Atlantic on a ship to arrive at the port of Trois-Rivieres, at the end of the summer 1669, where she debarked in company of eight other girls, also arriving in the new land, with the aim of marrying there. On arrival at the port of Trois-Rivieres, a crowd of young men, extremely well built, awaited the women who had been promised to them. Unfortunately for them, there were not enough girls to fill the request.
Charlotte took very little time to choose her man since on November twelve, 1669, she was already in front of the notary Ameau a Trois-Rivieres to sign a marriage contract with Jean Bérard dit Réverdia, her first husband.
Charlotte was only twenty years old and she brought with her an amount of three hundred livres, which was considered at the time as being a small amount. This amount was composed mainly to establish the basics and rudimentary articles to needed in the colony. For spending money, she had between fifty and hundred livres.
According to their marriage, the Coy-Bérard couple were established Trois-Rivières du- loup, on a plot of land three arpents wide on the east of the large river. They lived in a small squared timber hut. In 1671, their have no neighbors other than Pierre Brunion.
Charlotte and Jean, like all the other couples of the time, worked the land with great gusto because this land was significant, even vital. In addition to helping her husband Jean to do the work of the land, Charlotte could not forsake her duties in the house. She had the responsibility to do everything with nothing. Moreover, as soon as possible, Charlotte had to learn how shoot the musket to defend herself if an Iroquoise attack would occur during the absences of Jean, out in the field or wood.
Charlotte was confined for her first child in 1670 in Trois-Rivières du- loup. The baby, a boy, was named Christophe.
She spent four years before giving birth to another child, a girl this time, which was born on July 20, 1674 and was named Marie-Charlotte.
Three years later, on May 14, 1677, she gave birth to her last child of Jean that they named Jean-Baptiste. He died May 31, 1677, only a month after his birth.
In July of this same year, after approximately eight years of marriage, Jean Bérard dit Réverdia died, leaving in mourning wife Charlotte and two children; Seven years old Christophe and three years old Marie-Charlotte. In September 1677, the notary Antoine Adhémar swore in Christophe Gerbaud dit Bellegrade as guardian of the two minors of the late Jean Bérard dit Réverdia. It is through an inventory, that we can see the heritage to which had Charlotte been left, with the death of her first husband. Here is an extract:
This inventory testifies to the great poverty of the Coy-Bérard couple at that time. Let us notice on the other hand that this poverty was by no means single with this couple, it was the same one for all the inhabitants of this time.
Put aside the land which could, despite everything, have a certain value, she did not have a great many possessions in this residence. Owning little, Charlotte and her two children could not at all hope for an easy future.
After approximately nine months of widowhood, Charlotte Coy remarried. This time, her choice went no further that her neighbor Pierre Brunion whom she had known since her arrival in New-France, as we saw above. Pierre was then old at 36 years. The ceremony took place on April 24, 1678 in Saint-Pierre de Sorel in front of several friends of the couple, including Jean Jacquet dit St-Lover and François Banhiac dit La Montagne.
Let us note that at this time, as the history of Quebec specifies, under the French model, it was common that the mourning of a spouse is of short duration since in these times, it was difficult for a woman to live without the support of a husband to provide for her needs and those of her children. The men, on the other hand, also had the need for woman, who was very few in this time. Therefore, as soon as a husband died, his widow was quickly coveted by the males of the surroundings. Moreover, a widow represented certain safety financially since she brought her family inheritance, which although little, when added to that of the husband, grew the richness of the couple.
According to his marriage with Charlotte, Pierre kept under his roof, the children of the first marriage, Christophe and Marie-Charlotte Bérard. They lived on the land of Pierre in Trois-Rivieres and together, they cultivated the ground, living in this virginal corner of the country.
Let us note that at that time, the interior of the houses of Quebec was simple and poor. The table and the bed were coarsely attached to the walls built in this small hut, the colonists were to put up with little space which this rudimentary shelter provided. When needed, one pulled down the table to eat there and following the meal put it back up on the wall. The same thing occurred for the bed. Only, the parents had a bed at that time. The children slept on the ground on straw mattresses and beds of ?? rolled up in covers of hairs of dog, skins of bear, original or ox to keep warm. We can imagine that the wood hut where Charlotte, Pierre and their children lived was about like that one.
Let us notice that at the time of her marriage, Charlotte was already pregnant from Pierre, since she was confined only six months after their marriage, that is to say on November 2, 1678.
April three, 1680, Charlotte gave birth to her first daughter with Pierre, and named her Marie.
[I'm sure this is a translation problem, but we can assume that Matie was the first child of Pierre and Marie]
With the census of 1681, Pierre was 39 years and Charlotte was 32. The assets of the couple, inter alia, included: a rifle, nine arpents of land in value and three animals with horns.
1682 was a very testing year for the couple Coy-Brunion since, on March22, 1682, Charlotte gave birth to twins. She named the first Pieere, after her husband, and other François as her father. François died in the days that followed his birth.
After this tragic year, Charlotte and Pierre live for four years before conceiving another child. Then March 13, 1686, this brought Jacques to join the family of Charlotte and Pierre. He was born in Trois Rivieres and baptized March 23, 1686 in the parish of St. Pierre de Sorel.
During the last pregnancy of Charlotte, Pierre died, leaving her alone to raise their children, the eldest only nine years and his baby not having been born yet. Pierre died on November 6, 1687, on his land in Trois-Rivieres de loup (Louiseville).
Pierre was only 45 years old when he died. He was thus still very young to disappear, but note that at that time the French and Indian War had begun again. Nothing states to us concretely that the death of Pierre was caused by the savages, but we believe it appropriate to suspect. Pierre could have been found dead at the hands of these Indians who again attacked the inhabitants at that time, at the provocation of the French authorities.
Thanks to the audacity of her two friends, François Bergeron and François Baillac, who faced the climate and the obstacles, so that Pierre was buried in Trois-Rivieres, November 8, 1687, two days following its death.
Thus, Charlotte had to mourn, while she carried her and Pierre's last baby, Louis, to whom she gave birth on May 20, 1688, six months after the death of Pierre.
After Pierre's death, the life of Charlotte and her children was surely not easy in these times, finding herself under great miseries and poverty.
We suppose that she moved in the parish of Our-Lady of Montreal, little time after the death of her second husband, Pierre Brunion. Thus, she tried to survive, downtown, with her children because the threat of the Iroquoise was too present at Trois Rivieres de loupo. Charlotte would have lived in Three-Rivers at least until the confinement for her last child, Louis. Thus, in the summer of 1688, the exodus of the censitaires (Charlotte and family) of the river of the wolf began.
After the death of her second husband, Charlotte dealt with her children only. The following year, 1689, Charlotte resigned herself to sign a contract of service for her son Pierre who was only six years old at the time. This contract engaged Pierre for ten years with the service of Nicolas Godé and his wife Marguerite Picardy. This couple would provide food, clothing and the general maintenance of the child throughout the term of his contract.
In 1697, Charlotte signed in front of the Adhémar notary, a contract of service for her junior son, Louis, to Jean Dasny, to work in the water mill of the Saint-Pierre river. This engagement would last three years. Louis would be nourished and maintained. He would also have a certain number of things useful for life like shirts, shoes, cap, with the termination of its contract of service. Thus, Charlotte ensured the survival of her minors for which she had the responsibility.
Charlotte lived a long and courageous life. She died on May 12, 1707, with the Hotel God of Montreal, the sixty years age. It thus survived more than twenty years its second husband, Pierre Brunion. Oddly none the children of Charlotte were present during its burial.
Marie-Charlotte Couet dite Lapierre's Timeline
November 12, 1669
April 24, 1678
November 2, 1678
Sorel-Tracy, QC, Canada
April 3, 1680
March 13, 1686
May 10, 1688
May 12, 1707
Montréal, QC, Canada