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Somerset, Wisconsin: 125 pioneer families and Canadian connection: 125th year
(1990?)

The great recruit of 1653,   pp. 89-92 PDF (1.9 MB)


Page 89

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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