All posts by Claire Lindell

Claire Lindell is a retired school teacher with an interest in French-Canadian and Finnish genealogy.

Fur Trading in Northern Canada – Part 2

The History of the Hudson Bay Company (continued)

In the previous blog: Part 1 Fur Trading in Northern Canada.1 the origins of the Hudson Bay company (HBC), its creation in 1670.  Today it is considered the “oldest merchandising company in the English-speaking world.

Canada’s 1870 purchase of Rupert’s Land ended a large portion of the HBC story and brought in a new era for the company.2

The transfer of Rupert’s Land from the British Crown to the newly created Dominion of Canada occurred in 1868 (Confederation occurred in 1867 uniting Upper and Lower Canada).

The Deed of Surrender outlined the details of the compensation to HBC from the Canadian Government. The deed was signed in November of 1869 with the transfer to Canada July 15th, 1870.3.

Deed of Surrender

Conflicts arose among the colony of farmers and hunters, many of them Métis living and working in the area of Rupert’s Land and they feared their religion, culture and land rights would be controlled by Canada..

Until the time of the purchase, HBC had considerable authority where it operated The Métis under the leadership of Louis Riel mounted the Red River Rebellion. They resisted and declared a provisional government to negotiate on behalf of the Metis. These negotiations ultimately led to the creation of the province of Manitoba.4

Hudson Bay Company continued to operate and is still in operation today. 5             

HBC Development, Acquisitions and Timeline:6, 7 & 9

1670 The Hudson’s Bay Company, a fur-trading enterprise head-quartered in London, opened trading posts on Hudson Bay.

1870 Canadian Government’s purchase of Rupert’s land brought in a new era for the Hudson Bay Company which led to the Metis resistance.

1869-1870 Red River Rebellion.

1881 The first catalogue was introduced and ceased publishing 1913.

1913-1960’s HBC operated retail stores solely in the west.

1960 HBC expanded their operations and acquired the Henry Morgan’s department store in Montreal.

1965 HBC unveiled a historic coat of arms bearing its traditional mottopro pelle  cutem (“a pelt for a skin”).7.                                   

1970 300th anniversary of HBC Queen Elizabeth II, granted a new charter which removed previous provisions of the original charter and the company chose Winnipeg, Manitoba as the new Headquarters.8.

I1974 HBC opened its first Toronto store and several years later acquired Simpson’s Department stores.

1974 HBC records were held in London office headquarters until that year.

1994 27th, January of that year the company’s archives were formally donated to the Archives of Manitoba.

1998 K-Mart Canada’s stores were acquired and brought into the Zellers fold.

2000 Online shopping was initiated.

2006 Gerry Zucker, an American acquired HBC for over C$1.1 billion.  

2008 the New York-based private equity firm and parent company of Lord & Taylor were acquired.

2012 Hudson’s Bay Trading Company, dissolved

2008 to 2012, the HBC was run through a holding company of NRDC, Hudson’s Bay Trading Company, which was dissolved in early 2012.12.

2020 February, at a special meeting shareholders of the company voted in favour of a plan to become a private company.

2020 Currently HBC includes Hudson’s Bay, Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks OFF 5TH in Canada and the United States.

2020 + HBC operates nearly 250 stores and employs about 30,000 people.












Fur Trading in Northern Canada – Part 1

Royal Charter 1.

“Have you in the past ever shopped at Morgan’s Department store in downtown Montreal or at a major department store in downtown Toronto? Maybe you ventured to New York City and made a purchase at Saks Fifth Avenue or Lord and Taylor? “

“Did you know that all these stores have a distinct connection? One company that has been in existence for many years owns these stores. Have you any idea what company that might be?”

“If you ventured a guess and came up with The Hudson Bay Company, you would be right-on.”

The famous fur traders, Medard Chouart Des Groseilliers and Pierre Esprit Radisson, my eighth great uncle, were both born in France and arrived in New France in the mid- 1600’s. Fate brought them together and their explorations were instrumental in developing the fur trade in the young colony. Through their efforts they were the driving force leading to the creation of the Hudson Bay Company more than 350 years ago.

The Early Beginnings of the Company

In 1660, Prince Rupert introduced Pierre-Esprit Radisson and Médard Chouart Des Groseilliers to his cousin, King Charles II of England who eventually received them in his court. They informed him of the “great store of beaver” in an area far north of the St. Lawrence River 2.

The explorers proposed a trading company where they would be able to access the northern interior of the continent by sailing into the waters of Hudson Bay and James Bay. Prince Rupert financed a trip for Des Groseilliers and Radisson to sail to Hudson Bay. Radisson’s ship was forced to turn back off the coast of Ireland. He managed to return to London,3 while Des Groseilliers continued to Hudson Bay and into James Bay where he traded furs with Cree hunters. He returned with a boatload filled with beaver pelts and  noted that “Beaver is plenty”.3.

A map of Hudson Bay

The Charter:

Desgroseilliers’ successful voyage led Prince Rupert to urge the King to grant a royal charter to the Hudson’s Bay Company. (HBC) 4.

The Royal Charter of the Hudson’s Bay Company

 granted by King Charles II of England – May 2, 1670

To this day HBC is the oldest merchandising company in the English-speaking world.

“Under the charter establishing The Hudson’s Bay Company, the company was required to give two elk skins and two black beaver pelts to the English king, then Charles II, or his heirs, whenever the monarch visited Rupert’s Land.

The exact text from the 1670 Charter reads:5. 6.

“Yielding and paying yearly to us and our heirs and successors for the same two Elks and two Black beavers whensoever and as often as We, our heirs and successors shall happen to enter into the said Countries, Territories and Regions hereby granted.”

With the royal charter a legal commercial monopoly was established, prohibiting others from availing themselves of the eight million square kilometres including the 1.5 million square kilometres, lands of the Inuit and First Nations.

Today, the original Royal Charter is preserved in HBC’s Corporate Head Office in Toronto and is both the premier artifact and primary record of the Company.7

The land granted in the charter became known as Rupert’s Land, the name given to an exclusive HBC trapping area, a large expanse of northern wilderness roughly a third of today’s Canada. From 1670 to 1870, it became the exclusive commercial domain of HBC.

 For 250 years from the 17th century to the 19th century the demand for beaver pelts was most profitable for HBC. The pelts were used to make felt hats. European elite sought these hats. 8.

The Hudson Bay company established trading posts staffed predominately by British and Scottish personnel, while traders bartered with Indigenous trappers for manufactured goods, such as knives, tools, guns, blankets and foodstuffs. 9.

“The English-made wool point blanket — cream, with thick coloured stripes — harkens back to the 18th century, when it was the company’s most popular traded good”. 10.

Hudson’s Bay Company hired labourers, voyageurs, tradespeople, and professionals such as accountants, clerks and surgeons who were under contract to HBC. These people were called “servants” of the company. They were mostly men from England, Scotland and also French-Canadian voyageurs from New France who were skilled in the fur trade, along with contracts for a few women who served as cooks.11.

The contracts were usually between I and 5 years beginning June 1 and ending May 31. Free return passage was often in the contract. Those who chose to remain in the north were given 25 acres of land from the Hudson’s Bay Company.

The company rules banned men from marrying indigenous women, until it became apparent that local officers and governors of the company had taken indigenous women as their wives. The company revoked the ban while noting that these marriage ties with indigenous communities were beneficial. The indigenous people played a distinct role teaching the employees how to adapt to life in the north. 11.

The marriage of an employee with an indigenous woman was known as the “custom of the country” rather than the traditional European marriage custom.12.

“Until the early 19th century and the founding of Manitoba’s Red River Colony, HBC had strict policies for employees. They prevented employees from remaining in Rupert’s Land once they were no longer working for HBC.

When the employee’s contract was over many of the men returned to their homelands. The indigenous family members remained behind in their communities.


In a recent blog for Genealogy Ensemble, ( wrote a biographical sketch  “Allegiances”. It describes the exploits of my eighth great uncle Pierre Esprit Radisson. He was an explorer involved in the fur trade in New France. His accounts are a main source of the explorations he undertook in partnership with his brother-in-law, Medard Chouart des Groseilliers who was married to Pierre’s half sister Marguerite.

In the process of researching his story my curiosity was piqued by the partnership of these explorers and their contributions which influenced King Charles II of England’s decision to grant a royal charter creating The Hudson’s Bay Company.

“Fur Trading in Northern Canada”, is the result of the research that has answered the questions arising from “Allegiances”.


  1. 7%27s%20Bay%20Company%20(HBC,and%20the%20development%20of%20Canada
  2. Ibid
  4. .
  5. . 7%27s%20Bay%20Company%20(HBC,and%20the%20development%20of%20Canada
  6. . UH_enCA1032CA1032&oq=beaver+hats&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0i512l2j0i20i263i512j0i512l6.8034j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#imgrc=AMzUgiB_WH6tTM
  7. .
  8. Ibid
  9. .
  10. .
  11. .,women%20who%20served%20as%20cooks
  12. .

An Early Settler in New France

Monument of Samuel de Champlain on the boardwalk

On my parent’s wedding anniversary, September 6, 1948, when the colors of autumn were at their finest, our family visited Quebec City and walked along the famous boardwalk. There, as a youngster I gazed upward at the monument of Samuel de Champlain.1. and wondered about this impressive statue. Who was this man?  Little did I know then just how much he contributed to the development of New France. What made my ancestors choose to settle here?

In the early years many men and women settled in places like Chateau Richer near Quebec City, Ile d ’Orleans, in Trois Rivieres during the mid 1600s and, Montreal around 1666.

 As time went on, these new inhabitants, skilled pioneers, explorers, and settlers scattered across this vast country. Today you will find my ancestors including the  Fortins who arrived in 1651, Jodouins – 1666, along with Jutras – 1646, Cholets and Pilons 1700.

Quebec City was the very first settlement of New France. At the request of Samuel de Champlain, during the winter of 1634, Trois Rivieres, the second settlement was chosen. Champlain realized that the delta of the St. Maurice River, had already known to be a strategic point and a meeting place for fur traders along the St. Lawrence.  Later Montreal was founded by Paul de Maisonneuve in 1642. 

During that first summer, Champlain sought the assistance of Monsieur de Laviolette who arrived in Trois Rivieres in July with the responsibility to oversee the construction of a trading post that would also provide protection for the inhabitants

By 1646 Trois Rivières welcomed Pierre Esprit Radisson, the explorer and his two sisters,

Elizabeth and Francoise and his half- sister, Marguerite Hayet. They all settled, married and raised their families in this fledgling settlement.

In the story “A Woman of Courage”4, very little was noted about Marguerite Hayet’s first husband, Jean Veron de Grandmesnil, born Jan 26, 1620 5.. in Saint Martin de Mesnil-Oury, (today: Saint Martin des Noyes in the diocese of Lisieux, Normandy, France) and there is a commune named Grandmesnil in the arrondisment of Lisieux. His parents are unknown.

Jean Veron, a soldier arrived in 1644, one of the few who knew how to sign. He was one of the fourteen settlers to receive a concession at Cap De La Madeleine. In addition, he owned land in Trois-Rivières, and had at least 7 concessions granted over his brief lifetime.6.

Jean  Veron de Grandmesnil and Marguerite Hayet were married on 25th of November 1646 .7.

Acknowledgement of a marriage contract between 

Marguerite Hayet and Jean Veron de Grandmesnil.8.


Marguerite and Jean’s three children.9.

 Jean Véron de Grandmesnil , François Marguerie and Claude David were granted on June 2, 1647  by the governor of New France, Charles-Jacques Huault de Montmagny, acting   on behalf of the Compagnie des Cent-Associés, to clear Saint-Quentin Island (then called Pigs Island), in the delta of the St. Maurice River.10.

The Governor of New France  land grant June 2, 1647:

The map showing the mouth  of the St. Maurice River and Saint Quentin Island

During an expedition against the Iroquois on August 19, 1652 11.. led by Governor Guillaume Duplessis Kerbonot, Jean de Grandmesnil was killed at the young age of 32 and buried the same day. His widow, Marguerite had three young children, Marguerite 4, Etienne 3, and Guillaume 1 year old.10.

A year later, on August 23, Marguerite married Medard Chouart des Groseilliers 12.. who partnered with her half-brother Pierre Esprit Radisson and together they founded the Hudson Bay Company.


1.      /9/92/ Statue_de_Samuel De_Champlain%2C_Qu%C3%A9bec.jpg

2.Family photograph by Karl Victor Lindell


4.  \


6. Numerous Notarial Acts




10 .map of St. Maurice River

11 .

Research Sources:

Results for Jean Veron de Grandmesnil

A Woman of Courage

Marguerite, a young teenager along with her three siblings boarded the ship. She could only fathom in her wildest imagination what lay ahead. Her head and heart were filled with sorrow and sadness leaving behind everything she had ever known. The one thing that brought her solace and comfort: knowing she would soon become a marriageable young woman and had signed a contract to marry Jean Veron de Grandmesnil when she arrived in New France.

Excerpt: definition of filles a marier – marriageable young women  

“Filles a Marier (1634 to 1662) One of the first organizations formed to settle New France was a group called the Company of 100 Associates. They recruited young single men to come to Quebec under a three-year contract. This organization soon realized it was in their best interest to encourage these men to stay at the end of their indenture period, but they needed women in New France to encourage these men to stay. Thus, they began recruiting “marriageable young girls” who would sign a contract in France and then given a dowry to become the wife of a settlor in Quebec. Some were sponsored by their church; a company associate or merchant. Others were of minor noble families, cousins, or sisters of men already in the colony. ….. Later, critics of the plan tried to say that all the girls were prostitutes taken off the streets of Paris, but this was rarely, if ever, the case. Most settled down, raised families, and formed the roots of many French-Canadian families.”1.

Sebastien Hayet,3. Marguerite’s father had married her mother, Madeleine Henault around 1628 and she was born around 1630. Some historians note that her birth took place in Paris, Saint Paul, Ile de France, while others place her birth in St. Malo. Perhaps, St. Malo would most likely be correct. Both Sebastien and Madeleine were from there. Not long into their marriage Sebastien died leaving Madeleine, a young widow and young Marguerite.

Madeleine, Marguerites’ mother was now a widow. At the age of 25 she married a second time in Paris in 1635 to Pierre Esprit Radisson, 44 years old.4. They had three children, Francoise, Elisabeth, and Pierre Esprit, the famous explorer. Their father, a merchant in Paris and owned a prosperous clothing store. The marriage lasted only several years. Pierre died in 1641.

On the 16th of September 1641 Court records in the Chatelet de Paris indicate that Madeleine requested an inventory of Pierre’s possessions.5 A six-page inventory was prepared which she signed. Now a widow for the second time and mother of four young children, no doubt she must have been overwhelmed. She wondered about her future. Life had taken another abrupt turn. How would she cope with another changing event?

Little is known about Madeleine’s life with her children after Pierre’s death. Within five years she too died leaving behind four children. Perhaps that is when the three girls, despite their young ages signed contracts with promises of marriage once they arrived in New France.

After a long and arduous journey crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the Radisson siblings arrived most probably in Quebec City during the summer of 1646. There is no doubt Marguerite was living in the home of Jean Godfrey de Linctot in service to his family and it seems possible that the three siblings were also living there. In the meantime, her future husband, Jean Veron, a soldier, had arrived in Three Rivers several years earlier in 1644.

Jean Veron de Grandmesnil and Marguerite Hayet were married November 25th, 1646. Marguerite received a wedding gift of 50 acres of land from Jean Godefroy on the Lintot concession. 6.

Jean Godefroy’s wedding gift of 50 acres parcel of land to Marguerite.

In 1649 Jean Veron was one of fourteen soldiers to receive a concession at Cap de la Madeleine. The couple settled into their home, and it is speculated that the Radisson siblings lived with the young couple.

Marguerite gave birth to a daughter named Marguerite, followed by a son, Etienne, followed by another son, Guillaume.7.

Jean Veron and Marguerite”s children

It was a rough and dangerous period filled with tensions in New France between the settlers and the Iroquois. In less than a year after giving birth to Guillaume, Jean Veron was killed by the Iroquois in a skirmish on August 19,1652 and was buried the same day.8. This was a shocking blow for the young mother now responsible for three very young children. Once more her courage and resilience were being tested.

Less than a year after Jean’s untimely death Marguerite married widow Medard Chouart DesGroseilliers 9. whose wife, Hélène Martin, the daughter of Abraham Martin had died while giving birth. Marguerite and Medard were joined in Holy Matrimony on August 24th, 1653 in Quebec City and settled in Three Rivers. 10. Their first son was born in 1654, a daughter in 1657, another daughter in 1659 and a third daughter in 1661. Marguerite now had seven young children under her care, the eldest being an eleven-year-old.

Marguerite”s marriages

Medard Chouart Des Groseillers was an explorer who partnered with Pierre Esprit Radisson, Marguerite’s half-brother. They were often on very long journeys. She often wondered if, and when they would return home safely. While Medard was away for extended periods of time she assumed all the responsibilities of caring for the children, managing their several business ventures and those of Pierre. Over the years she became a very astute businesswoman. Many notarial records indicate a plethora of transactions made in her name. However, there came a time in her life when all the family assets and property were seized while Medard was on one of his lengthy journeys.

“On January 27, 1663, Arnaud Perré had her assets and property seized. He then asks for the auction of these. Marguerite opposes this on February 7, stating that she had to protect the rights of her children. On March 6, Perré demanded that the seizure of the property and assets be carried out, or that she pays him 1952 “livres” in the name of her husband. Also, he demanded that she make an inventory of her property. Marguerite tried to negotiate and even offers her share of an inheritance. On April 6, the property was seized.” 11.

Marguerite overcame these hurdles; just as she had done throughout her life.

Many of Marguerite’s children’s lives were cut short. In 1664 Marie Anne Chouart died at the age of seven. On the census of 1666 the names of Marguerite Veron and Marguerite Chouart do not appear, having died prior to 1666. The following year Guillaume also succumbed and in 1678 Jean-Baptiste died. Five of the seven children died in the span of a dozen years. These were trying times for Marguerite often finding herself alone to cope while Medard on an expedition. There were times of joy when the two surviving children, Etienne and Marie Antoinette were both married in 1677.

Médard returned from all his explorations in 1684 and settled in Québec City highly indebted. In 1698 Medard Chouart Des Groseilliers passed away in Sorel.

Marguerite return to Three Rivers where she lived a remarkable life for another 27 years. During that time on May 19, 1701, she contracted an obligation to her son Étienne Véron and died on the 22 of June 1711 at the age of 81 leaving behind her two surviving children and her sister Élisabeth Radisson, wife of Jutras, who died in 1722. 12.

Marguerite’s burial record.

Marguerite Hayet-Radisson-Veron-Chouart became an orphan in her teens, married twice, had seven children, buried five of them during her lifetime. She took care of business while Medard explored the Great Lakes and along with his partner founders of the Hudson Bay Company.

The young “fille à marier” lived a life filled with adventures, hardships, and deep sorrows, along with sprinkles of joy along the way. My seventh great aunt proved to be a resilient woman throughout her life, one who possessed an overabundance of courage.

13. A brief summary of Marguerite’s life,


  7.   Robert Berube
  10.   Robert Berube
  11.   Robert Berube

Happy Canada Day

Recently the Governor-General of Canada appointed Nancy Karetak LIndell, Membership in the Order of Canada in recognition of her contribution to Canadians in the far north. She is the wife of my nephew, Jon Lindell, who passed away shortly after she became a member of Parliament. Nancy Karetak Lindell served for more than a decade as a member of Parliament and now lives in Arviat, Nunavut close to family members.

Her activities, contributions and dedication to the people of the north continues to this day.

It is with great pride as a Canadian that I share this news having learned of it through this week’s Nunatsiaq News that featured the article below.

A former Nunavut politician, Nancy Uqquujuq Karetak-Lindell is one of 85 Canadians to be appointed to the Order of Canada this year. She is seen wearing a traditional tuilik made by her mother Rhoda Karetak. (Photo courtesy of Hinaani Design)

NEWS  JUN 29, 2022 – 9:30 AM EDT

Nancy Karetak-Lindell appointed to Order of Canada

Click on the link below : Nunatsiaq News to open the article in a new window.

Motherhood in New France

A Short Life of Dedication

In the waning years of the 16th century, Pierre Esprit Radisson, my eighth great grandfather was born in France. He was a cloth merchant of modest means living in the parish of Saint Nicolas des Champ, Paris Frances.

In the year 1633, he married Madeleine Henault, the widow of Sebastien Hayet. She brought to the marriage her young toddler, Marguerite. Together they had three more children, Francoise (1636), Elisabeth (1638), and Pierre Esprit, the famous fur trader and explorer (1640).

Recently the following biographical sketches about members of the Radisson family were added to our blog.    Elisabeth Radisson    Claude Jutras, Elisabeth’s husband     Pierre Esprit Radisson, Elisabeth’s brother

Pierre Senior died in 1641 at the age of 51 leaving Madeleine to care for the four children. Within five years she also passed away. (1646) What was going to happen to the youngsters? Marguerite was now 15 years of age, while Francoise, Elisabeth, and Pierre were still very young.

The three sisters, despite their young age, became “marriageable young girls”. They arrived in New France during the summer of 1646 and were welcomed into the community of Three Rivers (Trois Rivieres) that had been settled in 1634 by Samuel de Champlain. The location was ideal, the midpoint between Quebec City and the burgeoning Ville Marie (Montreal1642).

Very little information is known about the early years of Francoise Radisson, other than in 1649 the record shows that she became her nephew Etienne’s godmother. He was the son of her half-sister, Marguerite.

In 1653 at the age of seventeen, Francoise married Claude Volant de Saint Claude, a soldier from France, also 17. No records of their marriage contract nor written records of their marriage have been found.

A typical document containing information about the Volant Family

The young couple set out to have a family and before long they were blessed with a set of twin boys, Pierre, and Claude, born November 8, 1654. Two and half years later, on July 28th, 1657, a daughter, Francoise saw the light of day, but at the age of five and a half, she died. There is no indication of what caused her death, but, typhoid and smallpox were common diseases causing the loss of life.

In November of 1659 another daughter, Marguerite and was welcomed after the pain of losing their first daughter. Four years later in July of 1663, another daughter also named Francoise was born. Her life came to an abrupt end, having lived only three months. In the fall of 1664, the family rejoiced when their healthy young son Etienne joined the family. Almost five years later Jean Francois was born, followed by Nicolas in 1671 and then young fellow Charles Ignace rounded out the family on November 7, 1673.

For nearly twenty years Francoise bore nine children having given birth to three daughters and six sons. No doubt there were moments of deep grief, along with times of jubilation for the family. The childbearing years took a heavy toll on Francoise.

In the last years of her life, she became ill and Claude soon realized the need for help and hired a housekeeper to care for her and the five young children still living at home. When the leaves of autumn are at their finest, most splendid colors, Francoise died October 3rd, 1677at the young age of forty-one.

During her lifetime, she lived to see her two eldest sons become priests, but not long enough to see them ordained, nor to witness their many accomplishments. She must have been quite ill when her daughter Marguerite was married in the summer of 1675 and perhaps unable to attend the celebrations. She may have rejoiced seeing her first granddaughter when Marguerite gave birth before her mother’s passing, but she died before seeing the second granddaughter and was spared knowing that Marguerite died shortly thereafter.

Francoise’s will above was prepared on the 12th of August 1677 prior to her death in October of the same year.

A soldier

Francoise’s steadfast husband, Claude Volant became a prominent member of the Three Rivers community. He was granted a Seigneury along the St. Lawrence river also named a churchwarden. Numerous interesting notarial records may be found in his name. Perhaps the most important one consisted of his being named tutor of his children still living at home.

 Request from Claude Vollant (Volant), Sieur de Saint-Claude, for the election of a tutor to property and persons at the meeting of May 11, 1678 by Gilles Boyvinet (Boivinet), King’s adviser… (04T, TL3,S11,P1681)1)

Above is a small section of a four-page notarial document naming Claude Volant, the father of the five children as the tutor for his children living at home.

Below are several notarial land transactions by Claude Volant, Sieur de Saint Claude.

Claude Jutras dit Lavallée

Soldier – Farmer – Bourgeois

Samuel de Champlain was a man with a plan; actually, many plans. His explorations of New France began in the early 1600s. Along the way he set his sites on Trois Rivieres, given its strategic location at the mouth of the St. Maurice River where it flows into the St. Lawrence River.1.

Samuel de Champlain
An early view of Trois Rivières

Trois Rivières derived its name from the delta at the mouth of the river where there are two islands that separate the river into three branches as it flows into the St. Lawrence. “… the Three Rivers name is used for the first time in 1599 by Sieur François Gravé Du Pont, a geographer under Champlain, whose records confirmed the name in 1603”.  2.

             Map of Trois Rivieres

The area was settled by a small group of colonists on July 4th, 1634. At the time it was the second largest New France settlement, the first being Quebec City in 1608. Montreal would follow about 8 years after Trois Rivières in 1642. 3.

The young colony of Trois Rivières was constantly under attack by the Iroquois.4.

“Under the orders of Champlain, LaViolette, (a commander) travels to the mouth of the Saint-Maurice River to found a fur trading post and build a fort on ‘le Platon’, a plateau situated on a hillock of land along the St. Lawrence River.  The fort would enclose a few homes and shops, and the settlement would become known as Trois-Rivières. For a long time, this site will be one of the most advantageous for the activities of fur traders.” 5.

In 1656, Claude Jutras dit Lavallée, a young 29-year-old soldier arrived in Trois Rivières and was stationed at the garrison. One of his first transactions was to purchase land. This was the first of many transactions he would be involved in over the years.


What is a ‘dit/dite’ name?  When the first settlers came to Québec from France it was a custom to add a ‘dit’ nickname to the surname. The English translation of ‘dit’ is ‘said’. The Colonists of Nouvelle France added ‘dit’ names as distinguishers. A settler might have wanted to differentiate their family from their siblings by taking a ‘dit’ name that described the locale to which they had relocated. The Colonists of Nouvelle France added ‘dit’ names as distinguishers6.

Within a year of his arrival Claude married Elisabeth Radisson, my 7th great-grandmother, the sister of Pierre Esprit Radisson, the famous explorer and coureur de bois. (see previous blogs:   A Very Marriageable Young Girl and Allegiances) 7. 8.

Nos origines

Claude was born in  the parish of Saint Severin, Paris, Ile de France, France in about 1627. He was the son of Pierre Jutras dit Lavallee Desrosiers and Marie Claude Boucher d’Avancon. They were married in Paris and there are questions about the date of the marriage. Little is known or written about the family or about Claude’s early years.

We do know that  Claude Jutras dit LaVallée owns five cattle and sixteen arpents of land in value in 1667. 10. Élisabeth Radisson and Claude Jutras dit LaVallée residing in Trois-Rivières in 1681 3 . Claude Jutras dit LaVallée owns a gun, four horned animals and thirty arpents of land in value in 1681. 10. 

Claude Jutras dit LaVallée is a bourgeois in 1699. This fact is noted frequently in the many BanQ NUmerique records shown in the documents below.11.

Eventually, the King of France realized that the young colony needed better protection if they truly wanted to establish a permanent settlement. The Carignan-Salieres Regiment consisting of 1,500 regular soldiers arrived in New France in 1663. 12.

Claude did not remain in the garrison for very long. The Talon census of 1666 indicated that he was living in Trois Rivières and had become a settler, a habitant, with a growing family.13.

After serving time as a soldier, he became a farmer. The family settled in the community and prospered and was recognized in 1679 as a member of the ‘bourgeoisie’. This is also noted in many of the court records and that both Claude and Elisabeth could sign their names.

Above is a sample of Claude’s signature and that
of Medard Chouart DesGroseilleurs, a brother-in-law.

Claude died on the 28th of November 1710 and was laid to rest in the cemetery in Trois Rivières. Elisabeth lived another twelve years surrounded by her extended family

While researching records at BanQ Numerique for information on Claude Jutras, it was interesting to note that Claude and Elisabeth had many irons in the fire. He had a variety of requests both as a plaintiff and a defendant.

One can glean glimpses into the insights of these settlers, how they lived, and the issues that were important to them:  land purchases, settling of accounts, being dismissed from duties, gambling issues, and damages to property. Example: one’s ox, just to name a few. In the case of the Jutras family there are 195 records during a period of nearly fifty years.14.

Below are three records of transactions by Claude Jutras dit Lavallée.

Results of the research

  1. results   Keyword : Claude Jutras dit Lavallée  – Quebec heritage– Judgment referring Claude Jutras dit Lavallée, elected tutor of the minor children of Marguerite Hayot, widow of sieur Grandmesnil, now wife of Medard Chouart DesGroseilliers before the judge of Trois-Rivières, to be discharged from the guardianship. Quebec heritage. New France. Sovereign Council. September 3, 1664

Transcription of the text with modernized spelling: “On what was represented by the Attorney General of the King. Translated by DeepL

  • Marguerite Hayet Des Groseilliers was the half-sister of Elisabeth Radisson.

2.      Request from Claude Jutras (Jutrat) dit Lavallée (La Vallée), plaintiff, to be compensated by master Guillaume Pépin for an ox which was mistreated by his people who would have inflicted a wound on his hip by blows. Said Pépin is ordered to dress and medicate the beef in order to cure it. Quebec heritage -New France. Royal jurisdiction of Trois-Rivières. August 31, 1669 . Translated by DeepL


Translated by Google










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12. heritage/popular-books/aboriginal-people-canadian-military/arrival-europeans-17th-century-wars.html

13.  16 Jul  2015



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.

  • Sources:

1. Bilingual_Biographies

2. 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. 

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