Somerset, Wisconsin: 125 pioneer families and Canadian connection: 125th year
The great recruit of 1653, pp. 89-92 PDF (1.9 MB)
THE GREAT RECRUIT OF 1653 It was in the year 1653 that Monsieur de Maisonneuve brought to Montreal a very interesting group of settlers including the illustrious Marguerite Bourgeois, founder of the Congregation of Notre-Dame. The historian Faillon related these facts as follows.- "The strategy of Monsieur de Maisonneuve being to push back the Iroquois and firmly establish the Colony of Ville- marie, he wanted only young, robust and courageous men, every one well trained in the use of arms, each one profi- cient in some profession or trade necessary or useful to the new establishment, and all sincere Catholics. Moreover, he insisted that they should have good breeding and irre- proachable morals for fear of corruption among the group. In the latter, reports Sister Morin, he was extremely suc- cessful. Monsieur de la Dauversiere helped him in the selection of these men; between them they picked candidates from the districts of Picardy, Champagne, Normandy, Isle de France, Touraine, Bourgogne, but principally from Maine and Anjou, mostly from around la Fleche where Monsieur de la Dauversiere found the greater number. During the months of MarchApril and May 1653, in the presence of a Notary these men officially became members of La Campagnie de Montreal: a total of 118 men who joined in this manner came from la Fleche. The origional pledges are still intact today and can be found in the minutes of Notary de Lafousse,who wrote them at the time. Thirtysix more drew up similar contracts at other points so that the entire number of enlisted men totalled 154, every one ready to bear arms.. However a few withdrew, others died in the crossing so that according to the testimony of M.de Belmont only 105 arrived at Villemarie. .....The "Compagnie de Montreal" contracted to provide transportation to its private islandmaintain food and lodg- ing for five years and furnish tools and effects necessary to each profession or trade. There was no clothing allowance, but the Company guaranteed wages to every one in proportion to the importance of professional service or work rendered. One hundred and three of the members who didn't own suitable togs and objects which could be more easily obtained in France,,received an advance on wages before embarking, in excess of eleven thousand pounds even though the wages of the recipients would not amount to 7000 pounds per year. ...The recruitment sailed June 20th, on the ship named Saint-Nicolas-de-Nantes under the command of Captain de Besson. They noted very early in the voyage that the boat was rotted and taking in water at various places. However with over a hundred men on board as well as the usual crew, they hoped that all that strength would keep the boat dry. Unfortunately, even though the men were at the pumps day and night, it was evident that provisions were becoming damaged and therefore after covering 350 leagues at sea, they were forced to return to Saint Nazaire, their original point of departure."
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