Taming of America



Transplanted to New France at the age of 6 years, our ancestor Antoine was 23 years old when on September 2, 1663, he married Catherine Lefebvre. She was 15 years of age. She was the daughter of Pierre Lefebvre, one of the richest landowners in Trois Rivieres area. At the time of their marriage Lefebvre owned the seignuery of Gentilly, an island on the Saint Maurice River and several lands bordered on Saint Pierre Lake. After the death of Pierre Lefebvre, some of these properties were bequeathed to Catherine .

Antoine and Catherine lived first at Cap de la Madeleine and then about 1675 settled in Batiscan where the most daring coureur des bois lived. Antoine opened a trading house and during his daily activities, was already known as using the name of Desruisseaux. By 1683 Antoine was well established as a mechant in Batiscan. His sense of values was demonstrated in his hiring of Pierre Bertrand, a graduate of the University of Paris in 1683 to teach his children. At his home the children were taught reading, writing and mathematics, skills which were denied most children in France and New France.  

Increasingly, Antoine hired young people who, on his behalf, bought beaver, otter and moose skins from the Native hunters. In a deed written in 1700, he referred himself as " a bourgeois merchant of Batiscan." He employed labourers and he continued to trade and to buy wheat. He found his clients in all levels of society,including in the entourage of the governor of the colony. He was on the path of prosperity. Being a business man and having representatives in his fur trading activiities was not enough for Antoine Trottier, also known as Desruisseaux. His goal was to be involved in the entire commerical process which supplied France with beaver pelts. To achieve this, he relied on his many children. He found a role for all his children, including his daughters. Two girls and ten boys were born from his marriage. Nine boys reached adulthood. He guided his eldest first,who after his death on December 5, 1706 traded furs along the chain of forts which cross into the current eastern US territory. Freely or not, his daughters Marie- Catherine and Marie- Anne supported their father by marrying men capable of increasing their business in the fur trade. Marie- Catherine married the coureur des bois, Jean Cuillerier on May 2, 1696. Their son Jean- Baptiste Cuillerier dit Beaubien was a founder of Detroit and their Great Grandson, Jean- Baptiste Beaubien a pioneer of Chicago. Jean Cuillerier was the son of René Cuillerier a wealthy fur trader very active in Montreal and on the continent.

                                                                  THE SOURCE OF FURS

A large portion of the furs entering New France were purchased at trading posts on Hudson Bay, on the the Great Lakes or along the Mississippi River. They were the areas where the coureurs des bois knew the best furs could be found and purchased directly from the hunters. Four of Antoine Trottier dit Desruiseaux's sons, Francois, Julien, Noel and Paul Trottier travelled with hired hands to these locations to buy furs. They travelled the breadth of the North American territory to ensure a continious supply of furs for the warehouses owned by their father. As a hiring agent for the fur trade, Antoine's son Julien followed in his fathers footsteps and began to live the life of a wealthy bourgeois merchant with a residence on Saint-Paul Street in Montreal. His descendants would be amoung the richest landowners in Montreal.


The Merchant of Batiscan coveted l'ile aux Herons and the adjacent isles, which belonged to the Congregation of Notre Dame, founded by Marguerite Bourgeoys. Antoine was able to get the agreement of the Congregation of Notre Dame to sell and the transaction was completed on July 1st, 1698 by René Cuillerier on behalf of Antoine Trottier and his son Pierre. Pierre became the beneficiary of the operation of Heron Island which earned him the title and rights of Seigneur. He built a house and barn out of stone. He hired some coureur de bois and established a commercial network of trading furs between fort Detroit {fort Pontchartrain} and Montreal. As with his brother Julien, he acquired the status of merchant. Appointed as the legal guardian of his brothers and sisters-in-laws, heirs to the seigneury of Lauzon, he ensured their rights were protected as well as those of his wife, Catherine Charet herself heiress to a part of it.


Possession of the stategic Heron Island was not enough for our ancestor Antoine Trottier dit Desruisseaux, he also wanted Perrot Island, located at the junction of Lake of Two Mountains and Lake St. Louis. On their way back from the Pays d"En-Haut  "the back country", the voyageurs inevitabaly travelled to the island, which at the time belonged to the sons of Charles Le Moyne de Longueuil, The island was sold on April 27,1703, to Antoine's oldest son. Joseph Trottier dit Desruisseaux thus became seigneur of Ile Perrot. Being a seigneur brought neither a noble title or wealth and therefore Joseph Trottier dit Desruisseaux continued his activities as a voyageur and coureur des bois. After the death of his father, he administered his father's estate and acted as legal guardian of his minor brother an sisters.. In 1700, four years after the wedding of his sister Marie-Catherine to Jean Cuillerier he married Françoise Cuillerier. She was the daughter of René Cuillerier and sister of Jean Cuillerier. The ties between the Cuilleriers and the Trottiers families were so tightly knit that one could refer to them as a clan..


Our ancestor Michel Trottier dit Desruisseaux & Beaubien, now the third generation in New France was the seigneur of the Rivière du Loup en-Haut { Louiseville} , a territory bordered by Lake St. Pierre. Purchased on June 13, 1701 the transaction was orchestrated by Antoine Trottier dit Desruisseaux who wanted to add to his uninterrupted passageway of furs. Antoine vouched for the 4000 pounds required for the purchase of the seigneury by his son. Michel Trottier dit Desruisseaux et Beaubien had been married for one year to Agnes Godefroy de Linctot, who's family had been ennobled in 1668. Michel became the owner of one of the richest lands in the Trois Rivieres region. A year after the death of his wife Agnes Godefroy de Linctot in the month of October 1714, Michel married Thérèse Mouet, a daughter of an officer of the regiment of Carignan, whose dowry included a third of the island of Moras, on the Nicolet River.

Antoine Trottier dit Desruisseaux died in Batiscan on December 5, 1706 a little less than a year after the death of his wife Catherine Lefebvre. In his will he
entrusted his son Joseph the task of administering the estate with equity. He left valuables, a considerable number of properties, but he provided his children with the tools that allowed them to carve out an enviable position in society as successful pioneers and entrepreneurs in New France.


At the beginning of the X1X century furs no longer ran the economics of Quebec which had changed to logging. Many of the Trottier dit Beaubien, Desruisseaux and Desrivières continued their trade in furs but also realized the changes that were needed. Some fortunes were big,others modest, but all were stable, their owners had the wisdom to invest in agricultural land and in urban areas.


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