Pachirini, Mite8meg8kwe, Couc, Lafleur and their offspring

Pachirini, an Algonquin appears as a young warrior wounded who was cared for by Jeanne Mance at the Hôtel-Dieu in Montréal in March of 1643.

He was baptized on April 2, 1643 in Montréal by Father Imbert Duperon. He was given the Christian name of Charles. One of the witnesses was Jeanne Mance.

His fellow tribesmen left for Trois-Rivières. Charles lived here for some time with the two Jesuits of the post and led them to explore the shore that was later to become Laprairie (a Jesuit mission). He rejoined his people at Trois-Rivières and, prior to 1648, became the captain of the Christian Algonquins, even during the life-time of TESSOUEHAT.

Sachem Pachirini was Chief of the Weskarini Band of the Algonkin Tribe. He was given a Fiefdom in Trois-Rivières. Governeur-general Montmagny had actually given him, for the use of the Algonquins, a plot with a frontage of four perches and a depth of eight, next to that of the Jesuits where the church was to be built. Governeur-general D’Ailleboust enlarged it and the land was called Pachirini’s fief, which is now the Place d’Armes.

Weskarini was an Algonquian tribe that lived on the north side of Ottawa river below Allumettes Island (Morrisson’s Island), Québec, with the people of which they appear to be closely associated in the Jesuit Relations.

They were known as Petite Nation des Algonquins, Little Nation of the Algonkin.”

The Weskarini Band also known Algonkin Proper, La Petite Nation, Little Nation, Ouaouechkairini, Ouassouarini, Ouescharini, Ouionontateronon (Huron word), Petite Nation were originally localed on the north side of the Ottawa River along the Lièvre and the Rouge Rivers in Québec.

Known variously as: Algoumequins de l’Isle, Allumette, Big River People, Gens de l’Isle, Honkeronon (Huron word), Island Algonkin, Island Indians, Island Nation, Kichesippiriniwek, Nation de l’Isle, Nation of the Isle, and Savages de l’Isle. Main village was on Morrison’s (Allumette) Island.”

It appears from PRDH documents that Pachirini had two wives. In any case, he fathered several children with two Algonquin women: Marie 8KI8TIABAN8K8E (Oukioutiabanoukoue – French spelling) and SEHAM8 (Sehamou).

One of my ancestors, Marie Mite8meg8kwe, aka MITOUAMEGOUKOUE (French spelling (pronounced: mee-tee-wa-mee-gou-kwee) was born around 1631-1632 in the “Nations des Ouionontateronon”(Huron word for Weskarini Band of the Algonkin Tribe), in the area between the Ottawa and the St-Maurice rivers in Québec.

She was baptized on November 6th, 1650 in Montréal.

Latin transcription  Anno D[omini] 1650 ego ide[m] baptizavi Mariam Mite8ameg8k8e nunc Kakesik8k8e dictam uxore[m] Asababich. Matrina fuit Maria uxor Lepine. 6 Novemb[ris]  Traduction française  En l'an du Seigneur 1650, moi, le même (Claude Pijart de la Société de Jésus, desservant de cette paroisse), j'ai baptisé Marie Mite8ameg8k8e maintenant dite Kakesik8k8e, épouse d'Asababich. La marraine fut Marie, épouse de Lepine. (Fait) le 6 novembre.  English Translation

Latin transcription Anno D[omini] 1650 ego ide[m] baptizavi Mariam Mite8ameg8k8e nunc Kakesik8k8e dictam uxore[m] Asababich. Matrina fuit Maria uxor Lepine. 6 Novemb[ris] Traduction française En l’an du Seigneur 1650, moi, le même (Claude Pijart de la Société de Jésus, desservant de cette paroisse), j’ai baptisé Marie Mite8ameg8k8e maintenant dite Kakesik8k8e, épouse d’Asababich. La marraine fut Marie, épouse de Lepine. (Fait) le 6 novembre. English Translation “In the year of Our Lord 1650, I, the same [Claude Pijart of the Society of Jesus], have baptized Marie Mite8ameg8k8e, now named Kakesik8k8e, the wife of Asababich. The godmother was Marie, wife of Lepine. [Executed] the 6 of November.

She, along with other members of the Weskarini tribe, lived in the Fiefdom Pachirini (today called Place d’Armes), in Trois-Rivieres.

She, along with other members of the Weskarini tribe, lived in the Fiefdom Pachirini (today called Place d’Armes), in Trois-Rivieres.

Marie caught the eye of the soldier-farmer, Pierre Couc dit Lafleur, who had purchased land and had established a farm in Trois-Rivieres.

Pierre had learned the Algonquin language and frequently served as an interpreter between the colonists and the Native Americans. Marie Mite8ameg8kwe had taken an interest and enjoyed his frequent visits to her village.

Pierre was 30 years old; Marie was an orphan and a widow who had lost two children. They married five winters (16 April 1657) after her family had been taken from her by the Agniers (Mohawks). The Jesuit priest, Father Paul Ragueneau officiated at this Christian-Algonquin marriage.
Their 1st child, Jeanne was born and baptized that year (1657). Pierre had purchased land from the Trottier brothers, enough to build a house and a small garden. He hired himself our as a laborer for Barthelemy Bertaux, ironsmith. Pierre and Marie had problems during those first years. Loans were reclaimed. Pierre injured himself and had enormous medical costs. He lost his employment as an ironsmith.

Two years after their marriage (15 Oct 1659), Pierre commissioned his friend Notary Severin Ameau to draw up a Marriage Contract to insure that his wife and children would be rightful heirs to his property.

That same year, Marie was pregnant with their 2nd child. Their son was born in the fall of the year and baptized as Louis.

The Agniers began their attacks once more. Pierre decided, two years later (1661) to move his family to Cap-de-la Madeleine where he had bought 4 arpents (acres) of land on the west bank of the river. This was an agricultural community where crops grew well and family life was better than at a trading post like Trois-Rivieres. Pierre built his house near the windmill and erected a palisade around it.

Marie Angelique, 3rd child of Pierre and Marie was born the year after the Couc family had moved to their new community (1662).

Two years later (1664), the 3rd daughter, Marguerite was born and baptized.
The quiet peace was again disturbed by Agniers raids. Over the next 5 years, the new governor convinced France to send soldiers, the Carignan Regiment, to finally quell the Iroquois attacks. Finally, a peace treaty was signed in the summer (1667) For the next 16 years, it was an era of calm and prosperity for everyone.

Elizabeth, the 5th child, was born and baptized that summer of the peace treaty, when the Iroquois finally renounced their domination of the Saint Lawrence valley.

Marie continued instructing her brood in the Algonquian language and culture; Pierre taught his children French and his heritage; and the Jesuits taught the children to read and write.

Over the next 6 years, two more children were born in the Couc family: Marie Madeleine and a son, Jean Baptiste.

During this time, the atmosphere in Cap-de-la Madeleine had begun to change dramatically. With the departure of the Jesuits in 1666, the Cap became contaminated by the illegal traffic of alcohol. On 10 Nov 1668, the sovereign Council granted permission for the legal sale of alcohol, even to the Natives.

The change in atmosphere undoubtedly prompted Pierre and Marie to move their family to the seigniory of Jean Crevier, in the Ile-de-Fort, which would eventually be known as St. Francois-du-Lac.

Jean Crevier had begun to distribute land grants in the fall of 1673. Marie must have been very proud of her husband, as one of the first five signers of a contract. Crevier had begun to clear the land, had built a village mill and had established justice for this seigniory. There was a poll tax system where a person paid for a right to farm and obtain 3 to 5 arpents (acres) in frontage by 30 to 40 in depth. The only charge was to leave the fourteenth milling as grinding costs.

There is no doubt that these favorable conditions prompted Pierre and Marie to decide to move their home to the other side of the river. Because of his revenues from land at Trois-Rivieres and Cap-de-la-Madeleine, the former soldier-peasant became a well-to-do land owner at St. Francois-du-Lac.

By the work of his hands during 15 years, Pierre Couc had the right to show justifiable pride in his home and land.

Life at St. Francois-du-Lac was very different than that at Trois-Rivieres and the Cap. The first 3 children had learned to read and write because the Jesuits took charge of teaching the basics. In St Francois there was total isolation. There were only traveling missionaries who came sporadically to administer the sacraments.

Marie Mite8meg8kwe’s quiet life was shattered in the fall of 1679 by the assault and death of her daughter, Jeanne. Marie’s husband had been wounded in coming to the rescue of his daughter. Jeanne’s assailant, Jean Rattier, was sentenced as a murderer. For the Couc family, life was not the same after the tragic loss of their daughter and the lengthy justice process. Pierre was a man of character, he respected the law and expected others to do so also. Justice had been carried out, but not to his satisfaction.

For the Couc family, life was not the same after the tragic loss of their daughter and the lengthy justice process. Pierre was a man of character, he respected the law and expected others to do so also. Justice had been carried out, but not to his satisfaction.

Marie and Pierre continued to see their family grow and become adults with a succession of marriages.

Angelique married Francois Delpee St.Cerny dit Belcourt. He was 35 years old and she was 20 years old. In the summer (30 Aug) 1682, they married and established a home on 12 arpents (acres) of land in St-Francois-du-Lac. They had 5 children.

Louis first married according to the Indigenous culture, a young woman from the Sokoki Nation named Madeleine (1681). This marriage was not recognized by the Catholic Church.

His first son, Francois, was listed as a natural child on baptismal certificate. Louis later married Jeanne Quiquetig8k8e in the winter of 1684.

Marie Madeleine married Maurice Menard dit Fontaine, the son of wheelwright Jacques Menard, They were married before the end of the year 1684.

Elizabeth married Joachim Germanau/Germano in the spring of 1684, at the same time as her brother Louis. She was also known as Isabelle. She was 17 and Joachim, who had arrived in 1665 with the Carignan Regiment, was in his forties. Germano had been a trader with the Indians for pelts, loading them on canoes to transport back to the colony.

During the winter of 1687, the French invaded the Seneca territory (one of the Iroquois Five Nations). A mediocre victory by the French only incited the summer raids of vengeance ravaging the banks of the Saint Lawrence. There was not one single fortified place to resist the enemy. Each seigniory was ordered to build a fort. Crevier received the help of the troops to build his fort. The village of Saint Francois was secure the following winter; the villagers followed their normal life. The summer of 1688, smallpox created havoc; the Mohawks forced themselves into Sorel, Saint Francois and Riviere-du-Loup (Louiseville). there were not many massacres, but the raids were enough to put fear in the inhabitants.

Elizabeth/Isabelle had been given land in Trois-Rivieres and settled there with a generous dowry from her father. Marie never learned to read and write. When she served as a witness to her daughter Isabelle/Elizabeth’s wedding, her mother simply affixed her mark-a totem of a bird to the marriage contract.
Marguerite married three times:

  1. Jean Gauthier dit Delisle, (b. 1632) who died in L’Assomption in 1683, shortly after their marriage
  2. Jean Fafard, (1657- Detroit 1702) Married in the winter of 1688 in Sorel, because there still was not a chapel at St.Francois-du-Lac.
  3. Michel Massé, (1671-1730)

Louis adoped the surname Montour. He had hired himself out to become a beaver hunter. He joined his two brothers-in-law Germano and Fafard who were experts in this field. The three men were on their return home during the following summer of 1689 when the massacre of Lachine, near Montreal spread its terror among the families. In November, St. Francois was attacked; the Iroquois did not attack the fort, but they killed two inhabitants and with flaming arrows burned the newly constrected chapel.

In 1690 Pierre died. Marie and Pierre had been married for 37 years and had combined two cultures into one unique way of life. Pierre Couc, one of the hard working founders of French Canada, in the presence of his family and a large friendly crowd, was buried at the age of 63 years, beneath the ruins of the chapel of St. Francois where he would stay while the rest of his family took refuge in the Trois-Riviere fort.
Jean Baptiste, the youngest child, married an Indigenous woman named Anne around 1705 in Lachine. She was either Algonquin, Sokoki or Abenaki.

Marie Mitew8meg8kwe is remembered in history by a simple Christian record, written by Elisee Crey, Recollet Priest, Pastor of Trois-Rivieres, on her burial certificate as a “Sauvagesse”-“a female Native or Savage.”

The year 1699, the eighth of January was buried in the cemetery of the parish of Notre Dame of Trois-Rivieres Madame Lafleur, native widow of Mister Lafleur after having received all the sacrements in the manner of a true Christian-by my hand, a Recolet priest having carried out the pastoral duties, Father Elisee Crey, Recolet.

Many thanks to Norm Leveillée (www.leveillee.net), Suzanne Boivin Sommerville, Mindy Ruffin for this research.

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