Jean-Baptiste François Deschamps de la Bouteillerie was buried on December 16, 1703 beneath the seigneurial pew in the church in Rivière-Ouelle. Today, the gravestone in his honor marks the location in the current cemetery of that special pew or somewhere close to it, based on recent archeological findings. It is close to the stone that indicates the actual site of the first church. Deschamps’ gravestone does not date from his death. The stone marker replaced a wooden cross that was set there in August 1896 by “his descendants, F. D. Monk, Esquire (a member of Parliament), and Jean de Boishebert.” I’ve not yet been able to find any record for markers prior to 1896 or a date for the placement of the current gravestone.
His death is said to have been grieved throughout the seigneurie, in apparent testimony to his involvement in the community. As one of only two dozen French noblemen in 17th century Canada, he may have arrived with a noble’s presence and may have kept some of the vestiges of that status. He did, after all, have a seigneurial pew in the church, did receive payment of taxes and rents owed him, and was feted every year with a Maypole in front of his home. He also did pay annual homage to the King’s representative in Quebec. However, unlike many other nobles in Quebec at the time, many of whom apparently wasted their land grants and remained in their homes in Quebec City, Jean Baptiste preferred to live alongside his habitants.
Rivière Ouelle had been his home for over thirty years, and he built a community there of friends, farmers and relatives of his deceased wife. Since his wife’s death, his sons had been living either in Quebec or in France, where Jean-Baptiste’s siblings still lived. During his lifetime, Jean-Baptiste had witnessed the entry into the priesthood of his oldest surviving son, Charles Joseph, and seen the progress of his other two sons in the military.
He did not live long enough to learn that one son died in 1706 in France, to see another son become Canon of the cathedral in Quebec City in 1712, or to witness the marriage of his youngest son. In 1721, 18 years after his father’s death, Henri-Louis married Louise Genevieve deRamezay, the daughter of the Governor of Montreal. The deRamezay family could trace its roots in France back to 1532 and was a quite prominent family in early Quebec.
Henri-Louis, who at some point assumed the name of his French de Boishebert family, and Louise had one son who died less than a year after birth, and at least three daughters. Charles Deschamps de Boishebert, their fourth child, was born February 7, 1727 and entered the military at the age of 15, as did many noble sons.
Charles, the only surviving grandson of Jean-Baptiste Francois Deschamps, went on to distinguish himself in a number of campaigns in Canada against the Iroquois and the English. After the fall of Quebec to England in 1760, he moved to France where he first married his very distant cousin and then ended up spending 18 months in the Bastille because of his association with Canada’s scandal-ridden Intendant Bigot.
Upon acquittal of the charges, he purchased an estate in Raffetot, not far from the family’s ancestral home in Cliponville, and became its mayor for a short time. He died there on January 9, 1797. A marker in his memory sits in front of the town hall, next to the church.
The cousins had one son, born on June 18, 1762. This son married and had 2 children, a daughter and a son who died without children.
So, unlike Jeanne and Robert who went on to leave thousands of descendants, with the male line continuing for more than 11 generations, Jean-Baptiste’s male line died out after only four. His granddaughters in Canada either joined the convent or married into the distinguished Lanaudiere and St. Ours families. Family members with the Deschamps de Boishebert name live in France and are descendants of Jean-Baptiste’s brother Adrien.
And what about the seigneurie that Deschamps had worked so hard to build? Charles Joseph, occupied with his work as a priest in Quebec City, gave up his rights to inherit the seigneurie for the sum of 4000 livres in 1706. His brother Jean-Baptiste, who had emigrated to France, gave up his rights at the same time, and then died shortly thereafter without ever marrying or having progeny.
Their brother Henri-Louis who had also risen through the ranks in Quebec’s military forces from Aide-Major at Quebec, to Captain in the Marine Corps, and then to Commandant at Detroit and Arcadia, thus inherited the estate. Henri Louis did not play much of a role in Rivière-Ouelle, other than collecting rents, after his father’s death, until 1719. In that year, he petitioned for rights to establish a fishery along the St. Lawrence River. In his testimony in defense of his petition, he claimed that his father had spent 50,000 livres of his own money on the estate but that the estate was generating only 300 livres in annual revenue. The case was resolved in a compromise between De Boishebert and other interested inhabitants of Rivière -Ouelle.
While Rivière- Ouelle did not continue to grow as it had under his father’s watch since Louis-Henri issued only a limited number of new land grants, he did replace the seigneurial manor and finally did build the mill required of seigneurs. He also filed the required inventory of the estate, listing the inhabitants, their holdings and financial commitments. Generally, however, he was more occupied with his military career, which apparently paid him significantly more than the revenues from the estate.
When Henri-Louis died in 1736, at the age of 57, his widow inherited one-half of the estate and was “guardian of the minor children” for the other half of the estate, since they were all under the age of majority. Louise deRamezay did manage to have a large piece of land added to the Rivière-Ouelle estate in 1750, but decided to sell it fifteen years later. When she died in 1769, it was still not sold. Finally, nine years after it was put up for sale, the estate was sold for 36,000 livres by her son Charles who, according to one source, never set foot on the property. He argued that it was not making any money which is perhaps one reason why it took so long to sell.