La Rochelle is a seaport town in the Poitou-Charentes region of France. The city has a long history of fishing and shipbuilding. It is from La Rochelle that my Mom’s Cormier family left France in 1644.
About 1634, Robert married Marie Peraude (Perreau) at La Rochelle. They had two sons, Thomas born in 1636 and Jean in 1643. Like most migrants from France to New France and Acadia, Robert arrived in Acadia as part of an employment contract for a term of three years.
“Robert Cormier’s contract signed in La Rochelle on January 8, 1644 and by which Robert Cormier, vessel’s carpenter, Marie Perraude, his wife and Thomas Cormier, elder son, dwelling in this city, shall be compelled as they are promising, to get on the first day upon the first request, aboard the ship le Petit Saint Pierre, of which Pierre Boileau is the master and to go in Cape Breton Island, New France Country and to work for Sieurs Tuffet, Duchanin and deChevery as vessel carpenter and to do other things which could be ordered by Sieur Louis Tuffet, commander of Fort Saint Pierre in the said island and to this end, they shall be compelled to obey and carry the orders during the three next and consecutive years., commencing on the day of their embarkation and ending on the day they will re-embark for their return, the said three years done and over. And this for and on condition that for each year they will receive the sum of one hundred and twenty Tour’s pounds, having already received in advance the payment of the first year made by the said Sieurs Tuffet, Duchanin and deChevery and the balance will be paid or made to their order five months after the return of said ship, deducting for what they will have received in the said island and it is understood that in case the said Cormier and his spouse do not obey or revolt against the said Sieur Tuffet and/or other governor’s clerks, they shall be deprived of their wages in whole and kept responsible for all damages and interests. The said parties for the accomplishment of these agreements, having assigned one and other all their present and future belongings, and real estate, made in LaRochelle, this Eight day of January 1644. Attorney Francois Marcoux and clerical secretary Martin deHarrabilague, both residing in this city.”
Martin Family, you must read this…
…this is the city from which the Martins originated in France.
The story is as follows…Robert Martin was born in 1600 in Nantes, Bretagne (Brittany), which is now part of France. He died in 1666 in Port Royal, Acadia (which is modern day Nova Scotia). In 1634, when he was 33 or 34 years old, he was married to 14 year-old Marguerite Landry (daughter of Jean Claude Landry and Marie Salle). Marguerite was born in 1617, also in Nantes. They are the couple that left Brittany (from La Rochelle) to settle in New France, which was Acadia (now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Northern Maine). It is estimated that they came from France in 1632. From there, three generations lived in Acadia, followed by Quebec, New Brunswick and then finally Maine (Frenchville, St. Agatha, and then Van Buren).
So, in case you have ever wondered what France looks like in the region that they come from, I give you some photos of Nantes. It was a really beautiful place…some have called it the Venice of the West because it had beautiful waterways. Nantes was the historic capital of Brittany during the city’s golden age in the 15th century. The town’s wealth came from shipbuilding and commerce and was once the busiest port in France.
The pictures I took are mostly from the Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne. This was the home to the Dukes of Brittany during the golden age of Francois II and his daughter Anne. Henri IV’s Edict of Nantes, which gave freedom of worship to the Huguenots was signed here in 1598.
The rest of the pictures are mostly from the cathedral of St. Peter in Nantes, where Francois II and Marguerite de Foix are buried. On September 9, 1488, Duke Francois II died, leaving the duchy of Brittany to his 10 year old daughter Anne. Three years later, Charles VIII, king of France, forced the young heiress to marry him. When he died three years later, she returned to Nantes and commissioned the tomb. She remarried the new King of France=, Louis XII in the Chateau de Nantes.
Some people are beautiful inside and out. Age makes them wiser, and daily events cause the world around them to look very different. They realize that even when things don’t work out the way they “should”, sometimes that is why they work out better.
While I can hardly believe that Mom has already lived 70 years, it comes as no surprise to me that she is still learning to enjoy life a little more each day. She is surrounded by a family that loves her, and even when we can’t be there in person, she is always on our minds.
Her chuckle or her grin can make me smile from ear to ear. Her excitement is contagious. She is giving with what she has, and takes little without endless appreciation.
I open the cards she sends me in the mail with the same anticipation as a college acceptance letter. When I read them, I feel even more convinced how much love she has to give.
Happy 70th birthday to my beautiful mother, Dorothy! Thanks for being such a great person and for loving all of us the way that you do.