The Wars of Religion between the Catholic Guise family and the Protestant Bourbons were fought in the late 1500's. Battlefields in the region had only begun to heal from the Hundred Years' War. Vendee, part of Poitou, was by and large controlled by Protestants putting the territory in the thick of the action once again. The 300 hundred year old Catholic church in Saint-Michel-le-Cloucq was among the casualties of the conflict.
Pierre Roy, son of Charles Roy and Jeanne Boyer [spelled Janne Bouhier in his baptism record] was born in Saint-Michel-le-Clouq on 23 August 1643. His parents had had another son named Pierre born two years before on 7 February; presumably this child did not survive and so the name passed to our ancestor. The births of two daughters followed, both named Marie, one on 31 December 1647 and the other 14 June 1650. The Vendée River runs through the little town that is surrounded by wheat fields and forests. Growing up, his mother may have served him hearty dishes of jambon-mogettes, ham and white beans, for which the area is known.
At the age of 23 Pierre made his way to Montréal where he contracted for five years with the wealthy merchant Jacques LeBer. Three LeBer siblings came to the New World, our ancestor François, Jacques, and Marie, who took vows to become an Ursuline nun. Jacques dabbled in a number of enterprises including the fur trade, cod fishing and even attempted to grow European fruit trees in the new world. He married well, to Jeanne LeMoyne, the sister of Charles LeMoyne, who became his business partner.
Pierre Roy appears in the 1666 census in the LeBer home working as a domestique, or house servant, for the family. He was one of six so employed by LeBer. Indentured servants were usually obliged to work between three to seven years to pay off the debt of passage covered by the contract holder. Often they would learn a trade, but they were bound by the contract and could not leave until the conditions were met. In some cases, they were mistreated, beaten, separated from family members and even killed, but there is no evidence of that fate for Pierre.
Once his term of service was completed Pierre anxiously awaited the arrival of the filles du roi from France in hopes of finding a bride. Arriving aboard the le Saint-Jean-Baptiste on 15 August 1671 was the lovely Catherine Ducharme from Paris. Her uncle Fiacre had moved to Montréal 16 years before and was there to see her through the process of choosing her life mate.
- FichierOrigine: ROY / LEROY, Pierre 243674
- By Dessin : François Dollier de Casson - Numérisation d'une image du livre : Pour le Christ et le Roi, Yves Landry, Libre Expression & Art global, p. 137., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5162682
- 1666 Canada Recensements, page 117, http://collectionscanada.gc.ca/pam_archives/index.php?fuseaction=genitem.displayEcopies&lang=eng&rec_nbr=2