Jeanne remained single for 18 months after Robert died. On April 5, 1701, she married Jean-Baptiste François Deschamps, Seigneur of la Bouteillerie. There was no contract of marriage. No documents have been found to explain why they decided to marry or why he had waited 20 years to marry again, longer than just about all the other men of his class.
After they married, Jean Baptiste moved into the house where Jeanne had lived with Robert, as evidenced by later documents that mentioned his residence there. She was now “Madame de la Bouteillerie,” a title reserved for commoners who married into nobility. As a commoner, however, she could not assume the title of “la Seigneuresse,” as his first wife had.
I have tried to imagine what her new life was like? Their home became the manor house of the seigneurie where tax payments were made and justice administered for his estate. How did this move change her life? Or had Descamps lost any pretense of nobility and become more like just any other upscale habitant?
There is no record of how their families reacted. Jean Baptiste still had sisters and brothers in France. Did he write them and let them know? How did they respond? And what about his sons? By 1701 his son Charles-Joseph was 27 years old and well established as a priest in Quebec. His second surviving son was in the military in France. His third son Henri-Louis, who would eventually inherit the estate, was 22 years old and was also building a successful career in the military.
And what about Jeanne’s sons? How did they feel about their mother marrying a nobleman? There is some evidence that there were problems with at least one of her sons, although the cause cannot be tied exactly to her remarriage.
Inventory, Agreements and Arrangements
As was the custom in New France upon a spouse’s remarriage, an inventory of Jeanne and Robert’s community property was drawn up and executed in March, 1702. It took two days to complete the inventory, which included a very detailed listing of their household furnishings and furniture, property, and livestock, with a total value of more than 8000 livres. This sum did not include the two pieces of land that Jeanne had inherited from her Lecanteur sons because they belonged solely to her.
At the time of the inventory, Jeanne’s three sons wanted to come to some arrangement about the property since they were getting older and presumably pursuing the possibility of marriage. In fact, in November, 1701, seven months after his mother married Deschamps, Francois-Robert had married Marie-Charlotte Aubert, the daughter of a well-situated family on the Beaupre coast, along the northern shore of the St. Lawrence.
Thus, three days after the inventory was completed, Jeanne made agreements with her sons for a temporary division of the property, including her share. The arrangements also included leases to her two oldest sons. The two pieces of land that were her personal property again were not included in either lease.
A week later, Pierre Joachim, her second son, requested and received emancipation from having a tutor. It is not clear what precipitated this decision. The move could have been related to the lease Jeanne made with him to manage the properties her share of the community property. Or possibly there was friction with his older brother, who was trying to assert his role as “head of household.
It is also not clear who was running Deschamps’ estate at this time, whether Deschamps was still active or whether he had brought in a manager. In April, 1702, he did sell his share of the Pelerin Isles to a merchant from Quebec City. He may indeed have been ill or at least starting to slow down, although he was only around 57 years old!
Socially, the new couple was quite active. On November 29, 1702, Jeanne’s first grandchild was born to Francois-Robert and Charlotte Aubert. Marie-Angelique Jeanne was baptized the next day. Jeanne and her new husband were named as the baby’s godparents. Notarial records indicate they were also attending baptisms, in Riviere Ouelle and Quebec City, and serving as godparents to other children as well.
And in New France, the peace of Montreal on June 25, 1701 had concluded hostilities between the French and the First Nation peoples.
Life seemed settled for them all, in Riviere Ouelle and beyond, but only for a short time.