Not Once, But Twice
by Claire Lindell
In the mid 1600s and for nearly one hundred years there was great unrest between “Nouvelle France” and New England. Many inhabitants were caught in the crossfire of the Indians and Canadian soldiers. Anne, a young girl from Dover, New Hampshire witnessed it all first hand, not once, but twice.
Anne was born in 1681 in Cocheco, (Dover) New Hampshire where her father, Benjamin Heard ( born February 20, 1644) was a shoemaker. He had come from England and married Elizabeth Roberts. There were nine children. Anne was the sixth.
In September of 1690 Anne Heard, aged nine, was captured for the first time and soon recovered by a Captain Church and returned to her family. On Sunday, January 25th 1692, Abenaki Indians, numbering 150 and soldiers from Sillery, near Quebec City burned the homes and garrisons of the citizens near York and Dover. 73 citizens were taken prisoner and among them was Anne, captured for the second time. She spent a year living with the Indians and was eventually was brought to Montreal.
Between the years 1693 and 1700 Anne was raised by Pierre Prud’homme, a master gunsmith, and his wife, Anne Charles. It is thought that Pierre was able to purchase her freedom. She became a house servant. On April 10, 1694 she was baptized and confirmed in Notre Dame Basilica by the Bishop of Quebec City.
Several years passed and little is known about Anne during that time. Along the way she met Sebastien Cholet dit Laviolette, a young weaver from France. On the October 17th 1705, two days before their marriage the future spouses met with the Notary Adhemar to clarify and sign their wedding contract according to the custom of Paris. Anne being from another country there were legal issues that needed to be addressed.
October 19, 1705, Sebastien and Anne were married by a Sulpician priest, Henri-Antoine Meriel in Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal. The young couple moved in to a rented home on Saint Paul Street and within the year their first child, Marie Anne was born. Four more children were born while they lived in Montreal.
Sebastien had foresight and began buying property on the island outside the wall surrounding Montreal. In 1707 he purchased land bordering on Lake St. Louis in what is now know as Valois Bay ( Anse Sebastien Cholet between Point Charlebois and Point de Valois) in the city of Pointe-Claire. Although he owned the land he did not move with his family to the area until 1714. Once they settled in their new home, the family continued growing, but not without deep heartache for Anne. Between 1711 and 1720 she had witnessed the death of seven of her children. Her eleventh child Jacques was born in 1723. The first three children and the last survived to adulthood.
Saint Joachim Church Pointe-Claire
April 14th, 1728 Sebastien died at the age of 49 leaving Anne in good hands financially. Three years later on the August 1, 1730 she married a widower, Claude Sansart Le Petit Picard, in Saint Joachim Church in Pointe-Claire. He died December 25th 1739 and Anne spent her final days with her youngest son, Jacques. She died on January 2, 1750 and is buried in Pointe-Claire.
Anne experienced heartache and hardships throughout her lifetime. She was captured twice by Indians and lost seven of her eleven children. She possessed courage and perseverance. Many would have crumbled under the load.