Church of Saint Sulpice in Paris, France
Over the years many authors have written about ‘les filles du roi, otherwise known as the King’s (Louis XIV’s) daughter’s. Eight hundred young women were part of a settlement scheme from 1663 -1674 in New France, now Quebec, Canada.
Much less was written and noted about a group of women who ventured into the new world. Prior to the King’s daughter’s arrival, the Company of One Hundred Associates between the years 1634 and 1662 recruited tradesmen, labourers and 262 young women. The purpose was to create a French settlement.
Elisabeth Radisson, my seventh great grandmother, along with her sister, Francoise and her half-sister Marguerite all signed contracts. What prompted them to sign these contracts, particularly when they were so young?
Elisabeth Radisson was born in about 1637 in St. Sulpice, Paris, Ile de France, France.
Pierre Esprit Radisson Sr, their father was a well-to do bourgeois. He owned a clothing store in Paris. He married Madeleine Henault, the widow of Sebastien Hayet, who died leaving his young wife with a year-old daughter, Marguerite, born in 1632. Several documents have indicated that the marriage of Pierre and Madeleine took place in 1635. Together the couple had 3 children, Francoise about (1636) and Elisabeth about (1637) and Pierre, the famous explorer. The dates of his birth vary. There are discrepancies indicating that it was sometime between (1636 -1640)
There are several dates given for the passing of Pierre Senior. There is a document explaining an inventory upon his death dated 1641.3. The year of his demise seems most likely to be is 1646. Most documents give his date of birth as 1590 and it appears he died at the age of fifty-six, on November 25, 1646, in Paris leaving Madeleine to care for four young people between the ages of 15 and 9. 4.
In 1646 these three young girls, Elisabeth, age 9, Francoise about 10 years old and Marguerite at 15 each signed a contract as ‘filles à marier’. They set sail for New France. 5. After a lengthy crossing they arrived and settled in Trois- Rivières. Pierre may have come with them although a document indicates “he immigrated from France to Canada on the 24th of May, in 1651”.6.
After her arrival little is written about Elisabeth settling in her new home. We do know Elisabeth was able to sign her name. During a ten-year period in Trois-Rivières very little is known about where she lived as a young girl. One might presume that she was with her siblings. The first record other than her arrival in Canada is 8-7-1657 in Trois Rivières when she was the godmother of Marie-Anne Chouard or Chouart. This child might have been the daughter of Elisabeth Radisson’s half-sister. Marguerite.
Later that year there was a notarial contract signing on October 8, 1657, before her marriage to Claude Jutras. At that point she would have been 19 years old.7.
Her husband to be, Claude Jutras dit Lavallée was also born in Paris about 1627 and he arrived in Trois-Rivières 1656 as a soldier. He was stationed at the garrison in Trois Rivières. 8.
Elisabeth Radisson and Claude Jutras dit Lavallée were married on November 05, 1657, 9. at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Trois-Rivières.10.
Within the first year of their marriage Elisabeth gave birth to a daughter, Madeleine. Over a period of twenty years, the couple had nine children, 6 girls and 3 boys. Most of the children lived to adulthood. Sadly, Marguerite died at the age of nineteen giving birth to twin boys. Young Claude was sixteen at the time of his death.11.
Five of the daughters married and Marie Joseph chose to enter the Ursuline convent. Pierre became a voyageur and acquired a seigneury.
The census of 1671 noted that Claude Jutras was no longer a soldier, but rather had become a habitant or settler. Life appears to have been kind to the family. By the year 1679 after a number of land transactions the Jutras had acquired wealth and were now considered members of the bourgeoisie, among the well to do families.12.
The above document is only one indication of the many financial contributions Elisabeth’s made to the Jutras family wealth.13.
Claude Jutras dit Lavallée died the 28th of November 1710 and was buried that same day in Trois-Rivières, Québec, Canada.14.
Elisabeth Radisson lived for nearly twelve years after Claude’s passing. She died on the 11th of May 1722 and is also buried in Trois-Rivières.15.
Below is the church record of Elisabeth’s burial.
2.https://www.worldcat.org/title/before-the-kings-daughters-the-filles-a-marier-1634- 1662/oclc/50411950?referer=di&ht=editionGAGNE, PETER J. Before the King’s Daughters: The Filles a Marier, 1634-1662. Pawtucket, RI: Quintin Publications, 2002. Pages 303-316.