Borrowing an idea from a friend, I am writing vignettes of some of my ancestors. Topics we study in history books affected our ancestors in ways we may never realize. For most of my ancestors, I know little about them, but they are my history.
Honoré Martell, My 8th Great-Grandfather
c 1632 • Saint-Eustache, Paris, France
In 1663, New France, the present Quebec, was home to 2,500 French people. They were under threat from the Iroquois and the English colonies further south on the Atlantic coast. On 30 June 1665, the Carignan Regiment arrived. One of four companies was quartered at Quebec. One of the soldiers was Honoré Martell.
When the company returned to France in October of 1667, Honoré elected to remain. The following year, he signed a commitment to work for a resident of Gaudarville, seeding an arpent of land and clearing felled trees from two other arpents. (Arpents were long narrow parcels of land of about .845 acres, usually along navigable streams.)
On 26 Nov 1668, he married Marguerite Lamirault in the Church of Notre Dame in Quebec. Marguerite was from Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois, a parish very near Saint-Eustache. If they hadn’t known each other in Paris, and she was thirteen years younger, they were familiar with the same neighborhoods.
She had arrived in Quebec that year as a Fille du Roi, daughter of the king. Louis XIV, the Sun King, sponsored the emigration of marriageable girls to Quebec to keep young men from leaving.
Honoré did not make a good farmer. He had to appear before the provost numerous times. Problems included the death of a rented ox, boundary lines, quarrels with neighbors, neglecting to pay debts.
After twenty years, he finally began a new career as a longsawyer in 1688, providing planking and satisfactorily fulfilling contracts.
Marguerite died on 17 Oct 1706 at the age of 62. She’d borne fourteen children, nine of them still living and five not yet married. A year later, Honoré married Marie Marchand, but he had health problems. Four times he was hospitalized. He died between June 1712, when he attended his son Jean’s marriage, and September 1714, when his youngest, Marie-Thérèse married with both parents deceased.