Life in France

Anne Lemaître was born in Saint-Rémi, Dieppe, France in 1617. Her parents are unknown.

She married Louis LeRoy (1610-1661) on april 27th 1638. Very little is known about her husband, even his birth and death dates are uncertain. They had one son, Nicholas, born in 1639.

After Louis’ death, Anne would have been dependent on her son for her livelihood. Thus when they moved to New France, they left together. The reason for the move is unclear but as Anne is listed as a fille du roi, it is probable that she was sent by the king and that her son and his family followed hoping for a better life in the new world.

Fille du Roi

Anne arrived in New France on August 22nd 1661 aboard a ship under the command of Capitain Laurent Poulet.

As I said, she was a “fille du roi” meaning that she received a dowry from the king to marry in New France (probably 50 livres in her case). Contrary to rumors that still circulate, filles du roi were not prostitutes; they were mostly orphans or widows like Anne who were sent to marry the overabundance of single men in New France. She would have stayed with one of the religious communities or with a family upon her arrival (perhaps with her son’s family) and been introduced to the single men of the colony.

Since they came without parents, the filles du roi had a remarkable amount of choice when it came to their husbands. Men looked for healthy, industrious women who could bear children and help with the work. Women sought men with with a home, land, money and a job. Life would be very hard for them otherwise, and they knew it. Upon marriage, the new couple received an ox, a cow, two chickens, two pigs, 2 barrels of salted meat and 11 crowns from the State.

Most of the girls married within months of arrival. Anne was 44 years old when she arrived, at the upper end of the age limit for filles du roy, and past her childbearing years. This is probably why it took her longer to find a husband.

Eventually she met and married Adrien Blanquet dit LaFougère (son of André Blanquet and Perette Caperon) a 59-year-old widower who had recently immigrated from France. Their marriage contract was signed on the 25th of October 1663 and witnessed by Jean Gloria, a notary who also financed her son’s trip across the Atlantic. The marriage  was celebrated on November 7th in Notre-Dame, Québec. Adrien had one daughter by his previous wife (Catherine Lafrenière), but Marie (1630-1709) was already 33 at the time of her father’s remarriage. She was married and living with her husband’s family.

A New Life in the New World

Anne and Adrien made a home on l’Île d’Orléan. Adrien worked as a saddler and farmer. In 1667, Adrien owned 5 animals and 12 acres of land. By then he was declared guardian of the fruits produced on the estate of the late Thomas Douaire (I’m uncertain as to the exact meaning of “Gardiataire” but he seemed to be managing these fruits for the Douaire widow). By 1681, their lands had diminished to 6 acres. The reason for this is unclear.

Adrien died before 1684, leaving Anne a widow once more. She did not marry a third time.

I have found little information about Anne’s life between her husband’s death and her own, a period which spanned 34 years. At least one source suggests that she worked as a midwife.

Anne died in 1718. She was 101 years old, which is incredible even by our standards. She was buried on October 1st of that year at Saint-Pierre, Île d’Orléan.

My link to Anne Lemaître

  1. Anne Lemaître (1617-1718) m. Louis Roy (1610-1661)
  2. Nicholas LeRoy (1639-1690) m. Jeanne Lelièvre (1640-1728)
  3. Jean LeRoy (1669- ?) m. Catherine Nadeau (1676-1746)
  4. Geneviève Roy (1701- ?) m. Ignace Ruel (1698-1770)
  5. Ignace Ruel (1723-1805) m. Elisabeth Paquet (1719- ?)
  6. Jean-Baptiste Ruel (1763- ?) m. Marie-Anne Asselin (1754- ?)
  7. Charles Ruel (1813- ?) m. Marguerite Royer (1815- ?)
  8. Cédulie Ruel (1841- ?) m. François Picard (1835- ?)
  9. Samuel Picard (1869- ?) m. Josephine Kelly (1873- ?)
  10. Joseph Picard (1895-1969) m. Marie-Anne Ruel (1906-1936)

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