|Linda Sue McKeown|
| This is my Johndrow family which goes back to Pierre Gendreau. |
Saint Denis is a very old hamlet set in the northern end of Oleron, across from the channel of Antioche and the Isle de Re'.A church, seven or eight centuries old, hangs over the beaches bordered with pine forests; three kilometers to the northwest, the lighthouse Chassiron scans the sea with its luminous beam.
It was from here that a young man and a girl, almost the same age, depart at a year's interval. Destiny would reunite them a few years later, after a strange journey. In order to reach the port of LaRochelle, which was located on the other side of the channel, they must have crossed the same dunes, waded through the same marshes and rowed the same boats.
Did Pierre Gendreau dit Lapoussiere and Jeanne Garnier know each other at St. Denis? Quite likely. A community which numbers but a few hundred inhabitants is like a big manor house of an extended family.It would, therefore, be very astonishing if these two young people had never met or spoken to each other.
Anyhow, Pierre was the first to leave his homeland. On March 30, 1656, he showed up at LaRochelle, in the study of the Notary Pierre Moreau.On that day, the merchant Jaques Pepin received the commitments of a few young men wishing to try their luck in Canada.Gillaume Allebert and Jean Chauvet accompanied Gendreau. The latter was hired for three years and received an advance of 86 livres and 3 sols. His annual salary was settled at 84 livres. *
Pierre Gendreau and his companions embarked on a small ship named "La Fortune 100", with a displacement of only one hundred tons.The plucky little ship hoisted anchor at LaRochelle onApril 8.The frail craft, owned by the merchant Isaac Auboyneau, was commanded by Captain E Raymond and outfitted by Jacques Pepin
and Pierre Theuenin.In spite of her size, "La Fottune" took barely more than a month to arive safely at Quebec, as noted by Marie de L'Incarnation and Jesuit journals.
From his arrival on Quebec soil until the year of his marriage, Pierre Gendreau lived in genteel obscurity.We know nothing about him except that on March 25, 1662, he collected a debt from Maurice Arrive'.By that time, this ancestor of Poitevin origin had lived at St. Famille, Ile d' Orleans for several years.We also know that in the house of Mathurin Meunier and Francoise Fafart, at St. Anne de Beaupre, on April 12, 1670, the notary Paul Vachon, drew up a marriage agreement between Elisabeth Meunier and Isaac Pasquier dit Lavallee, son of Mathurin and of Marie Fremillon.The bride's parents gave their dughter a 100 livre dowry.Among the witnesses we may distinguish Lavid Letourneau, Barthelmy Verreau, Nicholas Quentin dit Lafontaine, Pierre Gendreau dit Lapoussiere, brother in law Charles Pouliot, and neighbors Pierre Simard dit Lombrette and Pierre Boivin.The wedding took place on June 30, 1670 before witnesses Lafontaine, Lapoussiere and Lombrette. Father Fillon recorded the event in the register of Chateau-Richer.
*livre:The basic unit of money which did not exist in coin form, not to be translated as "pound", worth about $3.00 US(1982) dollars.
*sol:There were 20 sols to a livre.
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