If Jeanne and Guillaume were typical of many other Filles du Roi couples, upon their marriage they would have had to collect Jeanne’s promised dowry of 50 livres, along with a pig, chickens, barrels of salted meat, and other staples. They then had to transport themselves and their provisions to the farm in the La Petite Auvergne section of Charlesbourg that Guilllaume had leased the day before their wedding. The farm, if the maps at La Société d’Histoire de Charlesbourg are correct, would have had a lovely view of Quebec City. Its perch on a hill at the northeast corner of that neighborhood might have generated a spirit of hope in Jeanne for her life ahead?
In spite of its possible setting, I wonder how Jeanne felt when she first saw the home the her new husband had readied for them. Was it a let-down from what she had known in France or was she just happy to be settled so that the dirt floor and tiny one room place didn’t bother her? It probably didn’t matter, since they apparently didn’t stay long in Petit Auvergne and must have found someone else to take over the lease.
Their first child Nicolas was born on September 7, 1672. While his baptism was registered in Chateau Richer, further east from Quebec City along the northern shore of the St. Lawrence, there is no evidence they had a home there. Instead, it appears that around the time of his son’s birth, Guillaume took out a lease on cleared land with some sort of home on it in L’Ange Gardien, nearby to Chateau Richer (where their son’s baptism was registered). The farm was apparently located next door to the LeTarte family who would eventually play a major role in Jeanne’s life. Although the notarial record of the lease is missing, there is reference to the lease in Guillaume’s subsequent purchase of that property two years later. How he got the money is unknown; evidently there were people ready to lend money in exchange for agreements to work the land.
Then, on November 11, 1672, two months after Nicolas was born, Guillaume purchased uncleared land in Berthier sur Mer, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence, on the other side of Ile d’Orleans. There is no evidence they moved across the river. Instead, Jeanne and Guilllaume were building a community with their neighbors in L’Ange Gardien. Registers recorded their attendance at baptisms and weddings in L’Ange Gardien. And in November, 1674, Guillaume bought the land he had been leasing in L’Ange Gardien. Their second son Charles was baptized there a year later in December.
In 1676 Guillaume was involved in a civil case. From what I’ve figured out so far, he defaulted on paying the taxes required at the time of the purchase of land in either L’Ange Gardien or Berthier and was being sued for repayment. Although I was able, almost miraculously, to sleuth out the record of the lawsuit, I’m still trying to sort out the facts in the case. He definitely lost the case but claimed he couldn’t pay the fine levied on him because he no longer had the land in question and had no means of paying the fine.
Interestingly, the judgment against him did not appear to have kept him from buying more land. On June 22, 1677 Guillaume bought land on Ile d’Orleans, across the St. Lawrence River from L’Ange Gardien. This time both his and Jeanne’s names appeared on the contract.
Just a little over a year later, on July 24, 1678, their third son was born in L’Ange Gardien. According to one record, Guillaume was listed as “present.” But the records are quite confusing. In one register the baby was listed as “unknown,” yet in another he was identified as “Guillaume.” That’s just one more mystery to be pursued, along with another even more perplexing one, that occurred around the same time.
When baby Guillaume was born, Jeanne also had Nicolas who was almost 6 and Charles who was almost 3 years old and was, I am quite certain, still living in L’Ange Gardien. Apparently she was on her own, however, because shortly after her third son’s birth, her husband disappeared.