Early Life

Jean Ricard (born Riquart) was born in France in 1647. Little is known about his early life, including who his parents were and where he was born.

All that is known for sure is that he left France when he was 17 to settle in New France.

The Crossing to New France

Jean Ricard crossed the Atlantic aboard a ship called “Le Noir d’Hollande”. The ship left the port of La Rochelle which suggests (though it does not prove) that he lived in the region. The ship was a fishing vessel (commanded by Pierre Fillye) but in order to make a better return on their investment, they also carried passengers to New France. On this trip, the ship carried 51 passengers, including one fille du roy (Jeanne Benart). You can find a scan of the passenger list here and more about the ship here.

The trip started on the 24th of march 1664 and lasted 61 days. They finally arrived in Quebec on May 24th 1664.

Life in New France

Jean was one of 300 men sent by the king of France to live in New France and develop the country. 150 of these colonists settled in Quebec, 50 in Montreal, 75 in Trois-Rivières and 25 in Cap-de-la-Madeleine. Jean was probably part of one of the later two groups.

Upon his arrival, Jean was hired as a servant by Michel Gamelin, a very influential doctor and business owner. Jean must have been hired almost immediately as he had already been working for him for a while by September 10th 1664. During the 1667 census, he was still working for Michel Gamelin and living in Cap-de-la-Madeleine.

In 1667 Michel Gamelin was given the seigneurie of Sainte-Anne by the governor of Trois-Rivières who just happened to be his brother-in-law. The seigneurie included Saint-Ignace Island and Sainte-Marguerite Island. With the help of his employees, including Jean, he established a trading post on the tip of Saint-Ignace Island. He then started distributing the lands under his control to be cleared and worked. Jean received his first lands (2 acres by 2 acres) in the south part of Saint-Ignace Island on March 11th 1667. Three other colonists also received lands: Jean Boullar, Jean Bonneau, Jean Moufflet. But Jean Ricard was the only one of the four to stay in the area. For this reason, the Ricard family is known as the eldest family of the Sainte-Anne-de-Peraude parish and Jean as the first colonist.

There is a map of the seigneurie here from 1667-1670; Jean’s first lands are identified on the south-east corner of Saint-Ignace. This suggests that by 1670 he had not yet expanded his holdings. But by 1681 he owns 6 acres of land in Sainte-Anne and 3 cattle. The details of how obtained this land are a bit fuzzy. His profession is listed as a baker.

More details about the lives of the early settlers of Sainte-Anne can be found in a book by Raymond Douville, available online and entitled Les premiers seigneurs et colons de Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, 1667-1681.

The Ricard Legacy

He married Madeleine Pineau between 1675 and 1680. Though the marriage act does not survive, the birth dates of their children (2 of which are before 1680) suggests that they were married closer to 1675. They had ten children together: Jean [Baptiste] (1676- ), Charles-Simon (1679-1750), Catherine (1681- ), Marie-Renée (1686- ), Marie-Anne (1689-1692), Thomas (1691- ), Marguerite Josèphe (1693-1759), Angélique (1697- ), François (1699- ) and Marie-Anne (1702- ). Two of his sons, Jean and Charles-Simon, briefly became coureurs des bois (fur traders) for the Compagnie de la Colonie. All his daughters married colonists and his sons helped him work the land.

On the 21st of July 1723, Jean passed his land and work to his youngest son, François who still lived with him and his wife. Jean died three years later on the 8th of July 1726 in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade and was buried the next day in the parish cemetery. The cause of death is not indicated, but at 79 years old, it is fair to assume that simple old age was the cause.

More than two hundred years later, members of the Ricard family still lived in Sainte-Anne. On May 24 1942, the parishioners of Sainte-Anne commemorated Jean as their first pioneer.

My link to Jean Ricard

Jean Ricard is the eldest relative I could find that shares the Ricard last name with me.

  1. Jean Ricard (1647-1726) m. Madeleine Pineau (1660-1734)
  2. Charles-Simon Ricard (1679-1750) m. Marguerite Richer (1691-1761)
  3. Michel Ricard (1727-1795) m. Françoise Boisvert (1732-1803)
  4. François Ricard (1764-1831) m. Marie Ursule Baril dite Ducheny (1761-1838)
  5. André Ricard (1803-1876) m. Euphrosine Vaillancourt (1798- ?)
  6. Uldéric-Israel Ricard (1834-1915) m. Delphine Héroux (1836- ?)
  7. Gédéon Ricard (1858-1926) m. Marie Grenier (1860-1900)
  8. Ulric Ricard (1896-1988) m. Maria Chainé (1896-1947)

(note: the most recent three generations have been omitted for the sake of privacy.)