Jean Besset / Bessette dit Brisetout

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Jean Besset / Bessette dit Brisetout

Also Known As: "Jean Besset", "Jean Bessette dit Brisetout"
Birthplace: Cahors, Lot, Midi-Pyrénées, France
Death: Died in Chambly, La Vallée-du-Richelieu Regional County Municipality, Quebec, Canada
Immediate Family:

Son of Jean Bessin (Bessette) (Bessede) and No Parents Listed
Husband of Anne Le Seigneur
Father of Marie-Jeanne Bessette; Marie-Madeleine Bessette; Jacqueline-Marguerite Bessette; Jean Bessette; Marie-Anne Besset / Bessette and 6 others
Brother of Phillipe Plamondon

Occupation: Soldat de Carignan, compagnie Latour, Soldier in the La Tour Company of the Carignan Regiment
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Jean Besset / Bessette dit Brisetout

Most Besset/Bessette's in North America today descend from this Jean and Anne. Little is known about the French origins of Jean, although from his marriage contract we know that he was from the town of Cahors. Located about 100 miles east of Bordeaux, Cahors today is the head town of the arrondissement of the department Lot, in the Midi-Pyrenees, in Guyenne.

Cahors is in the region known as Aquataine that was colonized by the Romans during the period beginning around 40 B.C. A fortified town, Cahors quickly became the prey of invaders. Italian bankers from Lombardy established the first banks there. King Henri IV abolished the privileges of the wine warehouses, which the town enjoyed, ending the source of its prosperity. By the time of Jean Besset's youth, Cahors was in full decline. Perhaps because of this, he decided to leave the region and joined the army. His enlistment, probably in the early 1660's, placed him in the Carignan Regiment assigned to the Cie. de la Tour inthe Loire Valley about 100 miles north of Cahors.

Jean Besset came to New France with the Carignan-Salieres Regiment, sent in 1665 to protect the French settlers from the Iroquois Indians. Between June and September of that year, some 1,200 soldiers arrived in Québec, under the leadership of Lt. General Alexander de Prouville.Four, fifty-man companies left the port of LaRochelle, France. The first official mention of Jean Besset in Canadian history was in the spring of 1688. On May 20, Msgr de Laval appeared at Fort Chambly to meetthe soldiers. He administered the sacrament of confirmation to 66 people, all men, including Jean Besset.

Jean Besset spent the winter of 1668/1669 guarding army property at Fort Saint-Louis, which was used primarily as a warehouse for supplies and munitions. After the breakup of the Carignan Regiment, Jean took to farming land, and on October 14, 1673 he received title to his landin Chambly. On July 29, 1674 Jean bought a concession from François Prudhomme, consisting of 80 arpents of land in Sault St-Louis. The landbordered on one side by Pierre Godin dit Chatillon, and on the other side by Jean Roy dit LaPensee, all of it in the district of the islandofMontreal. He bought this at the price of 80 silver livres.

By 1681, the Besset's were living in Chambly again, between Étienne Raimbault and Louis Bariteau. They owned: a gun, 3 head of cattle and had 6 arpents under cultivation. Jean was buried at Chambly, in the parish of St-Joseph on January 7, 1707, in the presence of the Recollet missionary Pierre Dublaron. Anne died 26 years later on July 4, 1733 at the age of 84 years.

"dit" names were not necessarily what a person chose for himself, butwhat he was called by others as a distinguishing name. "Brise-tout" isFrench for a rough, clumsy fellow -- literally, a "break everything"- equivalent to "a bull in a china shop." Perhaps that was Jean Besset's manner and the name stuck.The "dit Brisetout" name was limited to Jean and not associated with his descendants.


1. Marie, the eldest confirmed by Msgr de Laval on 31 May 1676, promised at Chambly on 26 November 1690,to be the faithful wife of Laurent Perrier dit Olivier, a Breton by origin from Brest. The contract drawnup under a private agreement mentions that at that time Jean Besset was a PRISONER of the Iroquois. How was our ancestor able to break awayfrom the grasp of these savages? Obviously he was not called Brisetout(break everything) for no reason. The home of Marie and Laurent increased by eight. On 19 May 1714, Marie was buried at Laprairie, leaving behind her a wanting and disconsolate home.

2. Jacqueline, known by the alternate first name of Marguerite had her baptismal act recorded in the registry of Boucherville, on 18 February 1671. Captain Jacques de Chambly was her honorable godfather. A former soldier in the Noyan Company, from Saintonge, Jacques Poissant dit Lasaline, a Huguenot converted to Catholicism after his arrival in Canada, won Jacqueline's heart, at Chambly about 1699. Nine children, including two twin girls, enriched the lives of this good couple.

3. Jean arrived 27 December 1672, on the feast of the apostle by the same name. On the following first of January, Jean Dupuis served as his godfather, accompanied by Marie Vara, wife of Louis Bariteau. Jean grew up and worked mostly in the vicinity of Montreal. It was there in1691 at St-Lambert that he was surprised by Iroquois, scalped and lived to ten the tale. Marie-Anne Benoit, widow of Jean Bourdon, mother of three children, daughter of Paul dit Livernois and twin sister of Barbs, caused his heart to spin. His father vigorously opposed this marriage and showed his "dit Brisetout" character. He didn't even want toexplain himself to the grand-vicar Dollier de Casson. In order to avoid "the threats" of Brisetout the local priest Onophre Godfroy, a Recollet "went to the church of Ville-Marie at six o?clock in the morning"to perform the marriage on 16 May 1695, according to the registry of Laprairie. Jean and Marie Anne had a daughter, buried on 25 May 1697. In August of the same year, the Iroquois tried to take Marie-Anne Benoit captive. She succumbed to her wounds and was buried on 9 August 1697. Jean was remarried a year later to Madeleine Phamondon, daughter ofPhilippe and of Marguerite Clement. She gave him seven children. Jeanand Madeleine were buried at Saint Mathias, she on 5 May 1750; he on 18May 1751.

4. Simon, who became the godson of Simon Gulllory and Jeanne-Cecile Closse at Montreal, disappeared after the census of 1681.

5. Marie-Anne, born about 1679, was married on 15 September 1708 at Chambly to cabinetmaker Louis Haguenier, widower of Therese Martin father of two children. Four sons and five daughters blossomed in this home.

6. Pierre, born at Chambly on 9 July 1682, was buried on 17 November 1687, according to the registry of Sorel.

7.Francois saw the light of day on the feast day of Ste-Anne in 1685,and was married at Chambly on 9 February 1716 to Marie-Claude Dubois,daughter of Antoine and of Marie-Marthe Moral. They had at least eight children. Francois bought the "rights to succession" from the Besset family on 3 August 1712.

8. The youngest, Therese-Charlotte Besset, was baptized at the churchof Notre-Dame in Montreal on 1 February 1690. This seventeen year oldgirl drowned on 3 April 1707. Discovered on 10 May at Sorel, she was buried at Chambly the next day.

Soldat Régiment De Carignan Cie Latour

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Jean Besset / Bessette dit Brisetout's Timeline

Cahors, Lot, Midi-Pyrénées, France
Age 27
Chambly, Que., Canada
Age 27
Quebec, Canada
February 15, 1671
Age 29
Chambly, QC, Canada
December 27, 1672
Age 30
Chambly, Quebec, Canada
Age 30
January 13, 1676
Age 34
Age 37
Chambly, Que., Canada
Age 39
Quebec, Canada