American Family of Blais

Our Ancestor, Pierre Blais

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Translated from French to English by Christine Blais


L'Ancêtre Pierre Blais

Traduit de français-anglais par Christine Blais


in English
en francais





English Translation of
"Our Ancestor, Pierre Blais"
from an article appearing in Sainte Anne de Beaupré, November 1975
Gerard Lebel, C.Ss.R.


In France, the family name Blais has many variations: Ble, Blay, Bled, Belet and Blet. Blais is the most popular form of the original Blaise, a physician who lived at Sebastia in Armenia, became a bishop and was martyred in the year 316. The wool-carding guild chose him as patron saint because his executioners cut him to ribbons with iron combs before beheading him. It is this Saint Blaise whose protection is still invoked against sore throats.

But let us discuss Our ancestor, Pierre Blaise, colonist on the Ile D'Orleans in the Saint Lawrence River.

DEPARTURE

Pierre Blais probably left France from the port of La Rochelle in the Province of Aunis in 1664; destination Canada. The Dutch ship ''Noir", under the command of Captain Pierre Filly of Dieppe, had at least fifty men aboard. The 24-year-old Pierre is mentioned on the crew manifest as coming from Chef-Boutonne, capital of the Canton of Deux-Sevres.

Pierre was the son of Mathurin Blais and Francoise Penigaud. Mathurin had a wife previous to Pierre's mother. She was Marie Auchier whom he married on November 9, 1630, at Melleran, which used to be in the province of Angouleme, but today is found in the Department of Deux-Sevres. In his second marriage on April 30, 1634, Mathurin conquered the heart of Francoise Penigaud. The witnesses to the marriage were Jean Carrier, Denis Richard, Nicolas Blanchard and the "Procureur Fiscale" Pierre Alix. Moreover, and this is a rarity, we find the grandfather of Pierre at the ceremony: Jacques, also married to a Penigaud, one Louise, buried at Melleran on December 2, 1629.

Our ancester, Pierre Blais, was raised in the Parish of Hanc nearby Melleran, also in Angouleme. The records of this town do not go back beyond 1684; therefore, it is not possible to find his baptismal certificate.

In the census of 1667 in New France, Pierre Blais is mentioned for the first time as living on the Ile D'Orleans (on the St Lawrence River, near Quebec) and having been born about 1640, occupation laborer.

Among his bachelor friends living on Island, we might note Jacques Tardif, Martin Poisson, and Francois Marceau.

HIS FARM

On June 22, 1667, before the Notary Paul Vachon, Pierre Blais received a concession of land within the limits of the future parish of St Jean on Ile Orlean. His neighbours were Antoine Poisson and Hypolyte Thivierge. In 1681, the census taker notes that Pierre owned four head of cattle and 15 arpents of cleared land. It was on this farm that he would live for the remainder of his life - 33 more years.

HIS FAMILY

Pierre Blais married Anne Perrot on October 12, 1669, at the church of Ste Famille on the Island. Anne Perrot, originally from Saint Sulpice in Paris, was the daughter of Jean Perrot and Jeanne Valta. She was a King's Daughter and brought a dowry into the family estimated at 300 livres.

From this union, ten children were born: 8 boys and 2 girls, of whom 4 died at an early age. These four boys founded the family line: Pierre, Antoine, Jacques, and Jean.

Anne, the mother, died in childbirth on June 29, 1688 and was buried the next day in the cemetary at Saint Jean, at about 45 years of age.

Pierre remained a widower with two young infants, especially the poignant little Marguerite, born on June 29th, on her mother's deathbed. It was she who would marry Etienne Lamy in 1714.

Pierre sought to reorganize his life, so on April 18, 1689, before Notary Paul Vachon, he nominated a guardian for his children, and had an inventory made of his possessions. On the following 5th of June, he married Elizabeth Royer at St Jean; she was the daughter of Jean and Marie Targer. From this union, five children were shown the light of day: a daughter, Anne, and four boys: Francois, Alexis, Louis-Charles, and Gabriel. The last Gabriel, was born in March 1699, and adopted by Pierre Cloquet and his wife, Marie Chaperon. Gabriel married at Boucherville on May 31, 1718.

Pierre Blais died suddenly on February 16, 1700, at the age of 60. His widow, Elizabeth Royer, married eight months later, on the 16th of November, to Robert Pepin at St-Jean. She followed her husband to Montreal where she lived out the rest of her days. This couple put seven children into the world, then Elizabeth died and was buried on June 22, 1715 at Montreal.

MUCH PROSPERITY

Pierre left behind fifteen children of whom eleven were alive at the time of his death. Alexis, born April 8, 1693, went exploring down the Mississippi but alas he was killed, along with his companion, Laurent Bransard, by the Chicahas and buried on March 3, 1722 at Kaskasia, where Pere Marquette had founded a mission and where the french built a fort in 1736.

The first descendant of Pierre Blais to enter the clergy was Francois-Xavier-Ludger; born November 16, 1832 at St-Pierre-de-Montmagny, son of Louis Blais, Colonel, and Marie Genest. After his ordination at Quebec on May 10, 1857, he became Vicar of La Riviere au Renard, professor at Notre Dame du Maon Carmel and Cure at Riviere du Loup, where his dynamism and devotion accomplished important works, which still exist. We also take note of Monseigneur Andre-Albert Blais, born at Saint Vallier on August 26, 1842. He was consecrated a Bishop on May 18, 1890, and directed the Diocese of Rimouski for 28 years.

Many Canadian descendants of our ancestor, Pierre Blais, became Blaise, which family had two branches: Des Bergeres de Rigauville and Sanscartier.






Version franÁaise de
"L'ancÍtre, Pierre Blais"
d'un article paraissant en Sainte Anne de Beaupre, novembre 1975
Gerard Lebel, C.Ss.R.


Le nom de famille Blais possédait en Frànce plusieurs variantes: Blé, Blay, Bled, Belet, et Blet. Blais est la forme populaire de Blaise, médecin à Sébaste en Arménie; devenu évêque, il fut martyrisè en 316. Les cardeurs le choisirent comme patron parce que ses bourreaux l'auraient dépecé avec es peignes de fer avant de le décapiter. C'est ce saint Blaise qui parfois est encore invoqué contre les maux de gorge. Parlons, ce mois-ci, de l'ancétre Pierre Blais, colon à l'île d'Orleans.

DÉPART

Pierre Blet quitta probablement le port de La Rochelle, en Aunis, à destination du Canada en 1664. Le navire hollandais le NOIR, commandé par le capitaine Pierre Filly, de Dieppe, avait à son bord au moins 50 hommes. Pierre, agé de 24 ans, est mentionné dans la liste des engagés comme venant de Chef-Boutonne, chef-lieu de canton des Deux-Sévres.

Ce meme Pierre, né vers 1640; fils de Mathurin et de Francoise Pénigaud de Hanc au diocèse d,Angouleme, est signalé comme habitant à I'île d'Orleans, au recensement de 1667.

SA FERME

Le 22 juin 1666, Pierre Blais obtenait, selon les termes du notaire Paul Vachon, une concession dans les limites de la future paroisse de St-Jean, I.O., Ses voisins se nommaient Antoine Poisson et Hippolythe Thivierge. En 1681, le recenseur note qu'il possède 4 betes à cornes et 15 arpents en valeur. C'est sur cette ferme que Pierre Blais ècoula le reste de ses jours pendant 33 ans.

SA FAMILLE

Pierre Blais se maria à Ste-Famille, I.O., à Anne Perrot, le 12 octobre 1669 (contrat du notaire Duquet, 23 septembre). Anne Perrot, originaire de St-Sulpice de paris, était fille de Jean Perrot et de Jeanne Valta. De cette première union naquirent 10 enfants: 8 garcones et 2 filles, dont 4 moururent en bas age. Quatre garcons firent souche: Pierre, Antoine, Jacques et Jean. Anne Perrot mourut de ses couches, le 29 juin 1688, et fut inhumée le lendemain à St-Jean, I.O. Elle avait 45 ans environ.

Pierre restait veuf avec de jeunes enfants, en particulier, la petite Marguerite née le 29 juin, celle qui épousera Etienne Lamy en 1714. Il chercha donc à réorganiser son foyer. Le 18 avril 1689, devant le notaire Paul Vachon, eurent lieu la nomination d'un tuteur à ses enfants et l'inventaire de ses biens. Le 5 juin suivant (contrat Genapie, le 1er juin), à St-Jean, I.O., Pierre convolait avec Elizabeth Royer, fille de Jean et de Marie Targer. De l'union de Pierre et dè Elizabeth Royer veront le jour une fille, Anne, et 4, garcons: Francois, Alexis, Louis-Charles et Gabriel. Ce dernier, Gabriel, né en mars 1699, fut adopté par Pierre Coquet et Marie Chaperon; il se maria à Boucherville, le 31 mai 1718. En effet, Pierre Blais mourut subitement le 16 février 1700, agé de 60 ans environ. Sa veuve, Elizabeth Royer, épousa 8 mois plus tard, soit le 16 novembre, Robert Pépin, à St-Jean, I.O. Elle suivit son mari à Montréal où elle vécut le reste de ses jours. Le nouveau couple mit au monde 7 enfants. Elizabeth fut inhumée le 22 juin 1715, à Montréal.

UNE POSTÉRITÉ

Pierre Blais laissait derrière lui une postérité de 15 enfants dont 11 bien vivants. Alexis, né le 8 avril 1693, tenta l'aventure vers le Mississippi. Hélas! il fut tué avec son compagnon, Laurent Bransard, par les Chicahas et inhumé le 3 mars 1722, à Kaskakia, là où le père Marquette avait fondé une mission en 1675 et où, en 1736, les Francais élèveront un fort. Il avait 28 ans.

Le premier descendant de Pierre Blais à s'engager dans la cléricature fut Francois-Xavier Ludger, né le 16 novembre 1832 à St-Pierre de Montmagny, fils de Louis Blais, colonel, et de Marie Genest. Après son ordination à Québec le 10 mai 1857, il fut Rivière-au-Renard, de Notre-Dame-du-Loup. A Rivière-du-Loup, son dynamisme et son dévouement accomplirent des oeuvres importantes qui subsistent encore. Signalons aussi Mgr. André-Albert Blais, né à St-Vallier le 26 aout 1842. Il fut sacré évêque le 18 mai 1890 et dirigea le diocèse de Rimouski pendant 28 ans.

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Updated 31 August, 2002
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