Tuesday, March 6, 2012

One of the First Settlers in Quebec – Pierre Desportes

B. about 1594 in France
M. in France
Wife: Françoise Langlois
D. before 1634 in (probably) Dieppe, France
Emigrated: before 1620

Nothing is known of the origins of Pierre Desportes other than he was born in about 1594 somewhere in France. We do know he was educated because was literate. There was a man named Pierre Desportes a generation older who was a prominent investor in the Canadian colonies, but no records exist to give a connection to the Pierre Desportes of this biography. It's unlikely they were the same person, but there may be a father/son relationship.

What is known is that Pierre married Françoise Langlois before migrating to Quebec sometime between 1617 and 1620. The couple arrived with Françoise's sister Marguerite and husband Abraham Martin. The settlement was tiny and by 1625, there were only seven families living there. Pierre managed a warehouse dealing in the fur trade, as well as serving as the town baker, meaning he probably tended a public oven.

Pierre's wife gave birth to the first European child in what is now Canada, a girl named Hélène, born on July 7, 1620. It is not known that they had any other children. The family was expelled from Quebec in 1629 when David Kirke of England invaded and took over the colony. Most of the French colonists were forcibly taken back to France by way of England, and Pierre did not return later when Quebec was reclaimed. It is believed he died in Dieppe, France sometime between 1629 and 1634.

Famous descendants of Pierre Desportes include Céline Dion.

Children:
1. Hélène Desportes – B. 7 Jul 1620, Quebec City, Quebec; D. 24 Jun 1675, Quebec City, Quebec; M. (1) Guillaume Hébert (~1614-1639), 1 Oct 1634, Quebec City, Quebec; M. (2) Noël Morin (~1609-1680 ), 9 Jan 1640, Quebec City, Quebec

Sources:
A point in history [website], Marjorie Lizotte, 2009
One-hundred French-Canadian Family Histories, Philip J. Moore, 1994
Hélène’s World: Hélène Desportes of Seventeenth Century Quebec, Susan McNelley, 2014
GeneaStar: Famous Family Tree and Genealogy [website]

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