Monday, March 19, 2012

First European Born in Canada – Hélène Desportes

B. 1620 in Quebec City, New France
M. (1) 1 Oct 1634 in Quebec City, New France
Husband: Guillaume Hébert
M. (2) 9 Jan 1640 in Quebec City, New France
Husband: Noël Morin
D. 24 Jun 1675 in Quebec City, New France

When the first settlers arrived in Quebec, among them were a few young women. The earliest birth to take place there was that of Hélène Desportes, born on July 7, 1620 to Pierre Desportes and Françoise Langlois. Hélène was named for her godmother, Hélène Boullé, the wife of Samuel de Champlain. It's believed that she had no siblings. When Champlain died in 1635, he left young Hélène 300 livres in his will, although since the will was overturned, she probably never received the money.

After Quebec was taken over by Englishman David Kirke in 1629, Hélène returned to France with her parents. They moved to the town of Dieppe in Normandy, and within five years, both of her parents died. Hélène returned to Quebec when the French reclaimed it and on October 1, 1634, married Guillaume Hébert at the age of 14. The marriage contract lists her aunt and uncle, Abraham Martin and Marguerite Langlois, as witnesses. Hélène's husband Guillaume was the son of Louis Hébert, who had remained in Quebec during the English occupation. Hélène and Guillaume had three children before he died in 1639.

On January 9, 1640, Hélène married Noël Morin, a wheelwright, in Quebec City. She received a dowry of 200 livres from her new husband. She herself owned a house which measured 24 by 18 feet "near the church of Notre-Dame, with 2 arpents of land near Mont-Carmel and a garden measuring 40 perches." Between 1641 and 1656, Hélène and Noël had 12 children. Hélène became a midwife in the colony, likely because she had so much experience with childbirth herself.

Hélène died June 24, 1675 at age 55. Her husband Noël died five years later in 1680.

Famous descendants of Hélène Desportes include Céline Dion.

Children by Guillaume Hébert:1. Joseph Hébert – B. about Nov 1636, Quebec City, New France; D. 1661, New France; M. Marie-Charlotte Depoitiers (1641-1718), 12 Oct 1660, New France

2. Marie-Françoise Hébert — B. about Jan 1638, Quebec City, New France; D.16 Mar 1716, Montmagny, New France; M. Guillaume Fournier (~1620-1699), 20 Nov 1651, Quebec City, New France

3. Angélique Hébert — B. about Aug 1639, Quebec City, New France; D. young

Children by Noël Morin:

1. Agnes Morin – B. about Jan 1641, Quebec City, New France; D. 30 Aug 1687, Quebec City, New France; M. (1) Nicolas Gaudry dit Bourbonniere (1621-1669), 17 Nov 1653, Quebec City, New France; (2) Ignace dit Beaupre Bonhomme (1647-1711)

2. Germain Morin – B. about Jan 1642, Quebec City, New France; D. 20 Aug 1702, Quebec City, New France

3. Louise Morin – B. about Apr 1643, Quebec City, New France; D. 28 Apr 1713, Quebec City, New France; M. Charles Cloutier (1629-1709), 20 Apr 1659, New France

4. Nicolas Morin – B. about Apr 1644, Quebec City, New France; D. about 1667, Quebec City, New France

5. Jean-Baptiste Morin Rochebelle – B. about May 1645, Quebec City, New France; D. 12 Dec 1694, Quebec City, New France; M. Catherine de Belleau (1639-?), 22 Nov 1667, Quebec City, New France

6. Marguerite Morin – B. about Sep 1646, Quebec City, New France; D.  Oct 1646, Quebec City, New France

7. Hélène Morin – B. about Sep 1647, Quebec City, New France; D. 10 May 1661, New France

8. Marie Morin – B. 19 Mar 1649, Quebec City, New France; D. 8 Apr 1730, Montreal, New France

9. Alphonse Morin Valcourt – B. 12 Dec 1650, Quebec City, New France; D. 30 Aug 1711, St-Thomas, New France; M. (1) Marie-Madeleine Normand (1651-1690), 10 Feb 1670, Quebec City, New France; (2) Angelique Destroismaisons (1670-1744), 1700

10. Noël Morin – B. about Oct 1652, Quebec City, New France; D. young

11. Charles Morin – B. 29 Aug 1654, Quebec City, New France; D. 4 Oct 1671, Quebec City, New France

12. Marie-Madeleine Morin – B. 28 Dec 1656, Quebec City, New France; D. 22 Jul 1720, Quebec City, New France; M. Gilles Rageot (1642-1692), 29 May 1673, Quebec City, New France

A Point in History [website]
One-hundred French-Canadian Family Histories, Philip J. Moore, 1994
Our French-Canadian Ancestors, Gerard Lebel (translated by Thomas J. Laforest), 1990
Hélène’s World: Hélène Desportes of Seventeenth Century Quebec, Susan McNelley, 2014
GeneaStar: Famous Family Tree and Genealogy [website]

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