A Dream of America


                                   JULIEN AND CATHERINE : A PROFILE IN COURAGE

The Beaubien family is one of the oldest families in this country. It shares the same origins as the Trottier family which settled on the continent over 350 years. After struggling to gain a foothold in New France, the Beaubien-Trottiers contributed to the growth of the colony and then to Canada's prosperity. Most of their descendants have remained in the shadows, but some have distinguished themselves even beyond our borders.

Our family name originates with the couple Catherine Loyseau and Julien Trottier. We know neither the date nor the place of the birth of Julien, who either carried the name of Gilles or Jules, but he would have been born around 1591, in the old province of Perche, which is now part of Normandy. Catherine Loyseau  was born about 1603. We do not know the date of their marriage. All that is known for certain is that Sainte, the first of their six children, was born around 1628.

The initial project for New France took shape in early 1646 while the couple lived in the village of Chemillé. Julien was a laborer, aged 55 and Catherine 43. When they decided to leave Catherine was an expectant mother and had a baby and four sons of 18, 10 ,6 and 2 years. Sainte, the eldest child and only daughter of the couple was likely married and remained in France. No where is she mentioned later. The decision of the Trottiers, was about to follow the example of dozens of other families from Perche and settle in New France. The decision was not an easy one as they would have to leave everything behind and start from zero on another continent. Rumours circulated in France about the dangers to the emigrants in the new colony of New France. The Trottiers were well aware of the rigours of winter and the Iroquois attacks. They knew they would need to adapt to a new environment, clearing land and building a house. The prospect of a wage earner for the father and jobs for his sons swayed any fears and anxieties. In North America, there was hope.

Before leaving Perche, the Trottiers sold their home and property and took what they could. On the day of departure, a carter loaded their luggage, which included a few pieces of furniture, one or two large trunks containing canned fruits, provisions, clothing, dishes and utensils. After the farewell to relatives and friends, they walked to the crossroads where they were joined by other emigrants who followed the tradition and entered the chapel where a priest awaited. The thanksgiving mass and general blessing was followed by a procession. The first segment of the voyage would take the future colonists to the port of La Rochelle, France.  
                                                                      TO QUEBEC

Julien Trottier and his family arrived in La Rochelle in early July 1646. On the fourth of July, around midday, Julien entered the office of the royal notary Pierre Teuleron. He was joined buy Pierre Le Gardeur de Repentigny, the Director General for departures to New France. The latter, acting on behalf of his brother-inlaw, Jacques Leneuf de la Poterie, Seigneur of Portneuf and Governor of Trois- Rivieres, dictated and signed Julien Trottier's work contract. This document states that with the  commitment of Leneuf, Julien will spend the next seven years clearing land and working on a farm and saw mill in Portneuf. His wages would be equal to half the revenue earned from his work. He received 46 Pounds for new clothes. Towards the end of the same month, the colonists boarded the ship Cardinal with Pierre Legardeur de Repentigny as captain. The small flotilla which also included the Notre Dame and the New Navaire made anchor on September 23, 1646. . When Catherine Loyseau set foot on land she was holding her newborn son Jean-Baptiste. On September 26 1646 , Jean-Baptiste was baptised in Quebec City.  The stay of the Trottiers in Quebec City was short lived. After a few weeks, they settled in Portneuf.                                                                                              

                                                         PORTNEUF TO THREE RIVERS

Granted to Jacques Leneuf  in 1636, the Seigneury of Portneuf is located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River between Quebec City and Trois Rivieres. It was a small outpost which the owner neglected to develop and populate, and consequently risked losing.  That was the reason Julien Trottier was hired.  Leneuf hoped that the peace negotiations would help keep life calm for the new immigrants.  Sadly peace did not last long. After a few months in Portneuf the Trottiers and the other settlers had to escape the looting and harassment by the Iroquios that threatened their safely and livelihood. They found temporary refuge in Quebec City. One thing was certain, the agreement signed in La Rochelle would never be executed.

Two years later, Julien Trottier was living in Trois- Rivières which was better protected and defended. On the 7 June 1650, he undertook to clear the first piece of land granted to him and build a house. Unfortunately, the Iroquois wars forced the colonists to devote more time to the defense of the village than to tending to their own land. In 1652, Julien sold half of his land to Jacques Leneuf de La Poterie and the other half he left fallow. Julien was now working on various construction sites in the hamlet of Trois Rivieres.      
In the month of November 1652, Julien Trottier bought land at Cap-de -la- Madeleine, where it was believed, the security situation had improved. This is the last leg of the voyage that began a few years earlier. He was buried on the 10 May 1655 at the age of 64 years. Catherine Loyseau died January 28 of the following year.

                                                                     THE LEGACY

At first glance, it would appear that the adventure that Julien and Catherine embarked on in Canada was a failure. They experienced fear and anxiety, and they were forced to resettle several times. They did not accumulate any wealth and they left very little as an inheritance : only a small piece of land in Cap-de-la -Madeleine. Their heirs lost the rights to the land in Three Rivers because their father had not built anything on it.

In order to survive,the couple's children worked the land and relied on aid from the small Cap-de-la-Madeliene community. Gilles worked as an interpreter in Montreal,19 year old Julien became responsible for his brothers who were 15, 11 and 9 respectively. Within ten years of their parents death, the four Trottier brothers were married. They worked the land that was jointly granted to them in 1666 by the Jesuits,seigneurs of Cap-de-la-Madeleine. They finally set solid roots in New France and found what France could not have given them : independance and the means to establish themselves and prosper.

                                                                  THE FUR TRADE

Initiated to the fur trade in their youth, the four Trottier brothers were employed as canoers or coureurs des bois by people or organizations having trade permits issued by the governor or intendant of the colony. They were the only ones authorized to equip trading canoes and hire coureur des bois. Antoine, seemingly more entrepreneurial than his brothers, obtained the right to equip canoes on his own. Taking full advantage of the business relations he had established, around 1685 he became a trader and began reaping the benefits of his efforts. His success was also due to his brothers support and solidarity. Eventuallly, his daughters, sons and some nephews would carry on his legacy.

                                             THE FATE OF THE TROTTIER SONS


The fate of Gilles, born in France around 1628, is linked to the wars that raged in New France at the time of his arrival. Dozens of French of all ages were being killed or kidnapped. He earned his living as an interpreter which indicates that he was familiiar with aboriginal languages and probably accompanied missionaries and coureur des bois on expeditions of exploration, evangelization and trade. After being kidnapped by the Iroquois in early 1655, he and the other captives were returned to Ville-Marie, thanks to negotiations undertaken by Charles Le Moyne de Longueuil and Paul de Chomedy de Maisonneuve,founder of Montreal. Gilles died in the City of Ville Marie in February 1658. Single, he bequeathed all of his property to the Church of Ville-Marie.

The second son of Julien Trottier and Catherine Loyseau was baptized in Ige, in Perche on March 30, 1636. He married Marie Sédilot in Quebec City on August 16, 1660. She gave him three children. Upon their marriage, they built a house on paternal land on  Cap-de -la- Madeleine and all indications are that they hosted many of Julien's brothers until they were married. Julien died suddenly around 1669. His two daughters Elizabeth and Catherine married into the prosperous Rivard family. It is not known what was the fate of their only son, Antoine.


A labourer and farmer, Pierre was the fifth child of Julien and Catherine. He was born in 1644. He had an uneventful existence. He farmed in Cap-de-la-Madeleine and later Batiscan. Ten children were born of his marriage with Suzanne Migaud. She was a fille a marier when she left France. She was the daughter of Antoine Migaude & Marie Lorrain. Pierre & Suzanne were married  Jan. 18, 1663. The couple settled in Cap-de -la-Madeleine, but their eldest, Benjamin Joseph, settled in the Montreal region. Pierre like his brother Antoine is our direct ancestor. Pierre's daughter was Madeleine Trottier. She married Louis Joseph Hubert. Their daughter Suzanne Hubert married Pierre Reaume. Their daughter Suzanne Hubert La Croix Reaume married Jacques Duperron Baby. Their daughter Therese Baby married Thomas Allison. Their daughter was Suzanne Allison-de Gaspé

                                                                   JEAN- BAPTISTE

He was born on the ship Naivre in 1646 during the transport of his parents and brothers to New France. Jean- Baptiste married on June 24, 1667, to Geneniéve Lafond or La Fond, daughter of Marie Boucher, sister of the famous Pierre Boucher. From this union were born thirteen children,ten girls and three boys.  They lived their lives in the Trois-Rivières region, mainly in Champlain, Batiscan and Saint- Anne -de -la-Perade.


Born in Ige in the month of January 1640, our ancestor Antoine was the second son of Julien and Catherine to have received the name of Gilles, but he was known by his Godfathers name, Antoine Vausse. In 1660 Antoine was one of a small group of coureur de bois who accompanied Father Rene Menard into what is now Wisconsin. They were gone for 3 years. He was a leader among the traders and later settled in Batiscan. In 1663, he married Catherine Lefebvre. She gave him twelve children, ten boys and two girls. He changed his family name from Trottier to Desruisseaux.

Yielding to the custom spread in New France, Antoine Trottier and most of his sons adopted different surnames, which allowed their contemporaries not to confuse them. In the case of landed families, nicknames are usually inspired by the characteristics of the ancestral lands or land acquired in early adulthood. This is why to we must seek the descendants of Antoine Trottier among the Beaubien, Belcourt, Desruisseaux, Desaulniers, Desrivières, LaBisonnière, Pombert and Cuillerier dit Beaubien families.


Une grand merci à ceux qui ont aimablement contribué à notre histoire en photo. Si vous souhaitez contribuér une photo numérique,s'il vous plait envoyer à : lawbeau@hotmail.com.
Many thanks to those who have kindly contributed to our family photo history. If you would like to contribute a digital photo,please send to : lawbeau@hotmail.com