Top Menu

Filles du Roi / Daughters of the King: Marthe Quittel Comes for a Husband

In Canada in 1665, June had turned into July, bringing maturing crops and an abundance of wild berries. In the fields, men worked with oxen, pulling up stumps, harrowing new land. Their wives guarded them with muskets at the ready. The days were hot and long. In Québec, people adjusted to the influx from France—mostly young men. Mothers and fathers kept a close eye on their daughters. More ships were expected.

On July 16, the Marie-Thérèse, having left Le Havre on May 10, sailed into port. It was captained be the Sieur Poullet (Puet[1]) a frequent visitor to the colony who, in addition to bringing supplies, had two welcome cargos—twelve horses[2] sent the new Intendant, Jean Talon, who was yet to arrive and eight filles du roi.

Don’t Miss Out on Saving Your Franco Stories

If you don’t write about your mémère or your mother and father, how will people know about your Franco past?

You can write a memoir—with time, patience and expert guidance from a writing coach.

Read these excerpts from We Were Not Spoiled / A Franco-American Memoir. Then email us for a free consultation about saving your Franco stories from oblivion.

Among the eight filles du roi aboard the Marie-Thérèse who were coming to find husbands was a normande, Marthe Quittel, a Protestant from Rouen. Jean Bourdon was from Rouen and so it was understandable that his wife Madame Bourdon would have recruited girls there. It may have been she who was responsible for bringing the rouennaise Marthe Quittel. As chaperone, Madame Bourdon had likely taken it upon herself to instruct Marthe in the tenets of Catholicism. Although Marthe had been baptized at the church of St. Maclou in Rouen in 1638, she had converted to Calvinism. Because Protestants could not stay openly in New France, this impoverished fille du roi, on the day after her arrival in New France, knowing that a return to Rouen held no promise for her, “abjured” Calvinism and “accepted the one, true faith” before Father Ango des Maizerets, the representative of Bishop François de Montmagny Laval [1].

In the next excerpt of Here to Stay, a book-length account of Denis’s 17 century ancestors, we read how Marthe met her future husband.

[1] One is tempted to paraphrase Henri IV by writing: “A better life in Canada is worth a Mass.”

, , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

A gift for you...
...because you need to get your memoir written. This little book will focus you to complete your memoir.
  • Your memoir deserves to be written. We help people get their story down—right!
  • Writing a memoir or want to improve one you're working on? Download Memoir Writing 101: How to Craft a Compelling Memoir or Lifestory / 10 Steps and a Bonus.
  • Memoir Writing 101 comes with The Lifewriter's Guides, a biweekly "workshop in an email.".
  • If you are already a member of The Memoir Network, this e-book and others are available to you free in Member Resources.