Louis Robert dit LaFontaine.


Military Service.

Louis lost his mother when he was eight and was 25 when his father died in 1663 in La Rochelle. He had trained to become a cordonnier or shoemaker, but is soon found aboard ship heading for Canada as part of the Régiment de Carignan-Salières.

King Louis XIV sent over 1200 soldiers to the colony in Québec in 1665 to secure the fur trading posts and protect the colonists from the British and hostile Indians.

Louis was part of Compagnie Laubia. They boarded Le Justice 24 May 1665. It traveled with Saint-Sébastien but that did not protect the two vessels from an overly long journey during which 20 died. When they made port in Québec September 14th over 100 men had to be helped to disembark due to an illness that swept through the ship.

Laubia's company wintered in Trois-Rivières where they billeted with the habitants. The settlement on a bluff along the Saint-Lawrence river is about half-way between Québec and Montréal. Their first campaign began within a few months. The show of force had the desired effect, and within a couple years the soldiers were redeployed to new fronts in other regions ot the world. However, men who wished to settle in the colony were encouraged to stay. Louis was one of about 400 who chose to do so.

Settler.

boot

Having learned a trade, Louis was well-positioned to transition to civilian life. The leather boots and shoes he crafted had squared toes. They were fastened with buckles or tied with ribbons. The soles may have been constructed from layers of leather or perhaps wood or cork. The tall boots used for riding came up to the thigh. The uppermost section could be loosened to roll down while walking.

Taking part in the community, Louis stood as witness to an ill-fated marriage contract of his widowed neighbor Marie Gendre on 12 November 1665. He may have had an eye on her daughter.

The daughter, Marie Bourgery, was only twelve when she and Louis, 28, were married on 25 January 1666 in Trois-Rivières. The village of 602 people was a young population where the average age was 13. Perhaps in consideration of Marie's youth it was several years before their first child was born.

Boucherville.

Pierre Boucher relocated upriver to establish a settlement in 1667. Like Antoine Daunay, Louis Robert moved his family to join him across the St-Lawrence. Thirty-seven tenants were granted the land they cleared in a ceremony held on 4 April 1673.

The 1681 census in Boucherville reveals Louis Robert, 39, continued to work as a cordonnier. He and his wife Marie Bourgery had four children: Pierre, 8, Joseph, 5, François, 3, and Marie, 1. They owned two cows.

Their 11 children were all born in Boucherville including our ancestor MARGUERITE. Born on the 9th of June 1683, she was baptized the following day. Her godparents were Pierre Larrive and Marie Charlotte Étienne. A set of twin boys, Jacques and Louis, were born in 1694.

Growing Family.

Their sons pursued opportunities in the fur trade in the years between 1694 and 1717. Often their names appear alongside other of our forbearers like Jacques Vermet in 1694, and Jacques Hubert and Joseph Saint-Yves in 1712. Our ancestor Marguerite married Pierre Daunay in 1702.

Louis Robert dit LaFontaine died on 1 January 1711 at age 72 and was buried in Boucherville the next day.

His wife Marie Bourgery, 65, met with the notaire Marien Taillandier on 10 September 1719 to finalize her will. To her granddaughter Angélique who had cared for her, she left a "bolster bed, horsehair blanket, two sheets, straw mattress, cotton-filled quilt and feather-stuffed bolster; also linen that Angélique had made and collected, and all the clothes and household linens; shoes in various stages of completion (likely those left from her husband's business), and that, for all the help she provided and that she promised to provide to her grandmother and also that she remember her in her prayers." Death came soon after on 19 September 1719 and Marie was buried on the 20th in Boucherville.