(Courtesy of Ray Drouin)
Those who live in the Saint Lawrence River valley, in the United States or in the Canadian Provinces, under the name Drouin, Drouyn, Derouin, DeRouen, Droin, Darwin and even Drovin, and who can trace their ancestor to Quebec, are descended from one unique source, Robert Drouin and Marie Chappelier.
Our ancestor was born in the parish of Saint-Barthelemy, in a small town of no distinction, Pin-la-Garenne, a community in the Department of the Orne, District of Mortagne, Canton of Pervencheres, in the ancient and honorable Province of Perche. He was baptized on 6 August 1607, the son of Robert and Marie Dubois. He grew to manhood in the same house, which still exists: the “ Tuileries”. There is no relationship between this small modest stone house and the royal playhouse at Versailles, except the name, derived from the ornamental tile and brick used to decorate the walls and chimneys of homes of that period. It was there that Robert Drouin learned the abc's of his trade.
In 1634, Seigneur Robert Giffard recruited many Percherons for the unknown life in Canada. Among these were the families Cloutier, Boucher, Giroux and others. A year later, in 1635, Robert Drouin joined with Francois Aubert, Philippe Amyot, Jean Cote and Martin Grouvel, who left from the port of Dieppe in their turn, to go out to the colony. The conditions of employment which Robert accepted were undoubtedly established the year before by Robert Giffard and Zacharie Cloutier before their departure.
Robert Drouin disembarked at Quebec in the summer of 1635. According to the historian Benjamin Sulte, he was among the first to clear land in New France. Be that as it may, we find him living on the seigneurie of Giffard, in the home of Zacharie Cloutier, making bricks. He contributed materially to the building of the houses and out buildings of those first settlers who needed to expand and find accommodation elsewhere.
As the friendship between the 29-year old Robert and the Cloutier family grew stronger, he sought the hand in marriage of the 10-year-old daughter of his emplover. Anne Cloutier was born in Perche in January of 1626, the daughter of Zacharie and Xainte Dupont. Thus, did notary Jean Guvon come to prepare the first contract of marriage in Canada. It was done in the house of Seigneur Giffard before the principals concerned and a number of witnesses. The marriage was to take place as soon as possible; however, the newlyweds were to continue to live in the Cloutier home for a period of three years, and the bride, agreed to be "conseillee" by her parents. In this expression one may observe the prudence of the parents who indicated the desire that their child not be confronted with marital responsibilities too soon.
Their marriage was celebrated on 12 July 1637, in the church of Notre-Dame de Quebec, but their first child, Agnes, did not come into the world until January of 1641, after those three years of parental surveillance.
Robert knew the art of brickmaking. A contract from Notary Piraude, dated 25 March 1640, tells us that ancestor Drouin sold 7000 bricks to the nursing order of the Dames Hospitalieres. He contracted to deliver them about the 15th of the following June, "on the shore of the river near Beauport just opposite the workvard" for a price of "two poinsons of wheat." A poinson is a measure of volume, equivalent to 39 Canadian gallons.
On 14 October 1645, Robert promised to "lease to Grouvel 200 bricks." During this period our man was already busy with many other activities: He made planks, dry-docked the launch of Grouvel and sowed the fields of his friends. In spite of all this, Robert never abandoned his brickmaking. As proof, on 27 July 1682, on the occasion of the marriage of Etienne, the father invited the son to come around in his spare time to "make some bricks." The boy would get to keep half the profits.
A COLONIST AT CHATEAU-RICHER
In 1641, the surveyor Jean Bourdon drew up a map of the Beaupre Coast, on which we find the land of Robert Drouin. It was situated between the properties of Jacques Boissel and Claude Etienne, to the west of Riviere-aux-Chiens. By that tirne, Robert had cleared a plot of land and put a small cabin on it: The couple must have established a home at Beauport. In 1642, Robert and some people of Beauport were accused of having plotted to kill James Bourguignon, who sued them in the Criminal Court of Quebec. The affair was not prosecuted. On 17 April 1646, a land grant was made by Oliver Le Tardif in favor of Drouin and signed by the Notary Morel. This land was 6 arpents of frontage by 126 in depth.
The Drouin had three daughters: Agnes, who died in 1641, Genevieve and Jeanne. The former had Jean Gagnon for a godfather and had been privately baptized by Mathurin Gagnon, family friends who lived at Chateau-Richer. Jeanne was baptized on 5 February 1647 by Father Jean Le Sueur, "in the house of Robert Drouin" at Riviere-aux-Chpens.
A sad event occurred in 1648! Anne Cloutier died at la Chandeleur and was buried at Quebec on 4 February. The Jesuit Journal tells us about the arrival of the body at the Hospital of Quebec, where vespers were said before the interment. The question arises: How did they transport the body from Chateau-Richer to Quebec in the dead of winter? This Anne Cloutier a native of Perches had arrived in Canada on the 4th of June 1634, exactly l00 years to the day after Jacques Cartier.
Robert left the area. He gave his in-laws temporary custody of his two orphan daughters. Genevieve and Jeanne. He rented his land to Julien Perreault, who agreed to allow an arpent of land to return to nature each year, but to take good care of the two cows, the heifer, the ox and the four pigs.
A SECOND MARRIAGE
The next year, on 26 November 1649, Robert penned his mark to the bottom line of his second marriage contract. Marie Chappelier, widow of Pierre Petit, a native of Compte Robert-en-Brie, daughter of Jean and Marguerite Dodier, accepted him as her husband. Drouin promised to "take a residence close to Quebec." The following Monday, on 29 November, the religious ceremony took place at Quebec. The marriage contract, perhaps a bit complicated was adjusted on 25 July 1664.
Marie Chappelier had a cousin, one Robert Hache, a clerk in a store in Quebec in 1649 who was present at the signing of her marriage contract. This Jesuit layman had lived at Trois-Rivieres. Could it have been he who gave his cousin the idea of going to live at the Cap? The Drouin's had a little daughter, Marie, who was baptized at Trois-Rivieres in the autumn of 1650.
Old Zacharie Cloutier did not trust stepmother Chappelier. "He feared that the said children were mistreated by this new woman. '' He took custody of his two grandchildren during the time his son-in-law lived at Trois-Rivieres.
On 6 June 1651, the Jesuits granted a plot of land to the Drouin couple. This grant of 2 "arpents" in frontage on the river, to a depth of 20 arpents, was located on the clift, between the properties of Jean Lanqueteau and Jean Poisson. While Robert was busy brickmaking, the fur trade did not leave him indifferent. He was seen selling a certain quantity of pelts at the Trois-Rivieres market. He may have received them in payment for bricks. On 18 September 1650, Marie, their first child, was baptized at this second home of the Drouins; but by January of 1652, they were back in Quebec, where Nicholas was born. On 1 February 1652, son Nicholas was baptized in a private ceremony at Quebec. The boy had already been conditionally baptized on 8 January by Nicholas Giffard .
SUBURBS OF QUEBEC
On 24 March 1623, according to a contract made by Notary Audouart, we are told that the Drouins lived " on the farm of the Jesuit Fathers, called Notre-Dame de Bon Secours." Father Jean De Laplace, S.J., granted him a concession of land of 3 arpents in frontage by 20 deep. It was close by Jacques Badeau, at Notre-Dame-des-Anges, located between Beauport and Quebec. Reading between the line, we might assume that wife Marie had a holy horror of living in isolation in the country.
Father Paul Rageneau, S.J., on 27 December 1655, at the home of Etienne Racine, a resident of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre. baptized , Marguerite Drouin. Thus, we see that the family had returned to the Riviere-aux-Chiens, no doubt back to the land of 1641. But their return to Sainte-Anne was not all that happy. The Cloutier's did not like Marie Chappelier, so, out of concern for their granddaughters Genevieve and Jeanne, they were able to obtain permanent custody. These two daughters of Anne Cloutier would be, during the life of their father, and even after his death, the center of judicial litigation aimed at protecting their right to the community property due from their father and natural mother.
On 27 July 1656, according to notary Audouart, Robert was living on the Beaupre Coast; we see that he had to pay 150 livres to Marie Crevel, widow of Robert Caron. Two years later 25 October, Robert was living at Beaupre where he certified that he owed 24 livres to Simon Denis. The same year, he made another declaration of debt of 18 livres to Jean Juchereau.
Robert and Marie loved their children very much and did all they could to help them, especially on the occasions of their marriages. For instance, when daughter Marie married, they gave her a milk cow, some clothing, some linens and dishes plus 100 livres in cash. The Drouins also boarded Genevieve and Marguerite with the Ursuline nuns at Quebec.
In 1667, Robert owned 6 head of cattle and 10 arpents of cleared land. He sold a half arpent of his river frontage in 1668 to Francois Lacroix for 100 livres. The next year he granted a slice off the back section of his land, 2 arpents, 3.5 perches, to Francois Branliac. Enough land remained for his sons Nicholas and Etienne. In 1681, Robert Drouin was still cultivating 20 arpents of land. On 4 October of that year, he accepted the 14-year-old Charles Galarneau, for a 3-year indenture.
THE DROUIN FAMILY AND SAINTE-ANNE
The good Sainte-Anne did something special to recognize the faith of the founding family Drouin.
Nicolas, the 12-year-old son of Robert, "being afflicted by a falling sickness ) epilepsy) who was in danger of dying in the fire or in the water, often fell down as if dead wherever he found himself, vowed to Saint Anne and started a novena in her honor. . . and recovered his health on the feast day of Sainte-Anne, 26 July 1662. His recovery was complete. "He continued all the years with his parents to give thanks to Sainte-Anne on her feast day, at the church of the "petit cap."
Marie Chappelier had eight children. From various sources we now know that, of all these children, Nicholas and Etienne were the only ones to have perpetuated the name of their father. They married two sisters, Marie and Catherine Loignan, daughters of Pierre and Francoise Roussins originally from Tourouvre in Perche; therefore the Drouin family is doubly attached to this ancient province. The other children allied themselves as follows: Marie to Nicholas Lebel; Marguerite to Jean Gagnon and to Antoine Darde; Catherine to Michel Roulois and to Guillaume Simin.
In 1664, Madame Drouin made an offering of a livre to the church of Sainte-Anne. That same year an unfortunate event hit the farnily rather hard. Their daughter Marie, married in November 1662 to Nicholas Lebel, drowned at Riviere-aux-Chiens, coming to Sainte-Anne to hear the Holy mass... . and with the intention of making her devotions." She was buried at Chateau-Richer on 2 May 1664.
Robert Drouin at age 77, father of eleven children, died at the end of May 1685 " after having received the sacraments of penance, holy eucharist and extreme unction." Father Guillaume Gauthier presided at the funeral on the first of June, an inventory was made of his possessions by the Notary Etienne Jacob. It took three days, the 11th, 16th, and 17th, to complete.
His widow, Marie Chappelier, is without a doubt that wornan listed at the Hospital of Quebec under the name of Marie Chapeliez who died on 15 March 1697. She was buried three days later.
Genevieve and Jeanne, the children of the first marriage, married Romain Trepagny and Pierre Maheux. Etienne and Nicolas Drouin took care that there were many descendants.
This page Copyright ® 1998 Ray Drouin email@example.com