Monday, March 16, 2015

Jacques Archambault

Jacques Archambault

The week 6 theme for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge is farthest away.  I decided to interpret that as farthest back in time. For me, at least at this moment, that is my 11th great grandfather Jacques Archambault (1604-1688). Lucky for me there is a LOT of information out there about this ancestor; in fact there is an entire genealogical society devoted to him, his legacy, and connecting his descendants: Les Archambault d'Amerique, to which I have just mailed my membership form and fee. If you are interested I recommend you check them out.

Jacques Archambault was born in France in 1604, in a small village called L'Ardilliere, his baptism took place at what is now called Dompierre-sur-Mer.
Presumably the house of Jacques Archambault's birth
Photo by Gerard Archambault 

In France, it appears that Jacques was a wine grower, based on a contract found that shows him selling three barrels of white wine to a local wine merchant. 1  I have not found strong evidence as to why Jacques Archambault left France with his entire family, I thought it was unusual for whole families to make the move to New France. In most accounts of the family history it is suggested that he was recruited by Pierre le Gardeur de Repentigny, a man that was from Jacques' region of France, and while there were many ways to be recruited at the time I think the following passage lines up exactly with the circumstances of the Archambault family and the man that recruited them:

Those who wished to settle people on a seigneurie, had to recruit on a larger scale. However, although they didn’t dismiss the large ports, the first seigneurs of Acadia and Canada often took a more local approach. Their own regions of origin supplied a considerable number of recruits. Because they needed to develop their land, they tried to enroll whole families and country folk from their home regions. For this reason, the seigneurs, including religious communities, were responsible for recruiting a large proportion of the founding immigrants.2

It seems likely that this scenario applied to the Archambaults and Repentigny as they held a lease for settling some of his land. Some accounts also suggested that perhaps religious tensions in the area made the idea of starting anew in the colonies more appealing.

So much has been written about Jacques Archambault and his family that it feels like I'd be reinventing the wheel to try to recreate it all. I'm going to jot down a few highlights and include links to resources I found help for or interesting for those who are interested in more info.

Jacques and his wife, Francoise, had seven children, Denys, Anne, Jacquette, Marie, Louise, Laurent, and Marie-Anne, Louise died in France, but the rest of the family made the journey. I am descended from Laurent Archambault. He and his wife Catherine had 12 children.

About 1654 Jacques moves from Quebec to Montreal, it is here that he makes a name for himself by digging the first well in Montreal. There are contracts of other wells he built in the community after this first one.
Near Here, on La Place D'Armes, Jacques Archambault, only Ancestor of the
 Archambault's of America, dug in 1658 the first well on the Island of 
Montreal at the request of the Governor, Monsieur de Maisonneuve. 

Here are some articles that give more detail about his life: 

There are even more resources than this. These are the ones that I find the most interesting.  In February of 1688 Jacques Archambault passed away. He had spent 22 years of his life helping to build the colony of New France; he was 84 years old and had 52 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren at the time of his death.

Common Drawing said to be the likeness of Jacques Archambault. 
Source:Laforest, Thomas J. Our French Canadian Ancestors.

1. Laforest, Thomas J. Our French Canadian Ancestors.
2. Choquette, Leslie Ph.D., Assumption College (MA)