SIMARD History



                "I, Suzanne Durant, widow of Pierre Simard, being from this town of Angoulesme, with the grace of God, being of a whole  mind and with understanding, considering  that there is nothing more certain than death  nor nothing more uncertain than the hour of its coming, have caused this my last will and  testament to be made in the form and manner which ensues."

        Taken from the Registry of Micheau, 
        at the Archives, 
        Department of the Charente, 
        dated 27 October 1666. 


At the end of 16th century times were difficult in France. The 17th Century started with a stable France under Henry IV. His victory in the French Wars of Religion gave him the authority that had eluded the likes of Charles IX and Henry III. Henri IV gave the kingdom a twelve year respite of peace after the war. Now Henri IV was planning to immediately mount a campaign making war on Holland for various political grievances including, what was considered a mistake for this period, the retaining of the new princess of Condé as the irresistible object of royal love.  

During the spring of 1610 a citizen of Angoulême named Ravaillac, a druggist by profession, was moved by a somber plan and left his town in the direction of Paris. His purpose was more than to vainly solicit an audience with the king to advise him renounce further war. When he arrived during the first days of May, all Paris was in a festive mood. The population was preparing for the coronation of the Queen at Saint-Denis with a solemn procession into the capital. The coronation was set for the 13th. However, the following day, as Henri IV was riding his coach to the Arsenal along crowded Ferronnerie street, in front of a boutique sign which said "The crowned heart has been pierced by an arrow", Ravaillac first shot at the King and then proceeded to kill him by stabbing him twice with a knife. Two weeks later the murderer died for his crime, believing that he had saved France from the major misfortune of yet another war.

Some historians say Ravaillac could not have been a sane man. However, it seemed completely fitting that he had come from Angoulême. Since a Count from Angoulême had become the King of France, under the name of Francois Ist, the province of Angoumois had become an area of special interest for those interested in the crown. Additionally, Henri IV, who was the grandson of the famous sister of Francois Ist, Marguerite, was also born in Angoulême

This was an era that, in wanting to avoid another foul military expedition, a dubiously enlightened druggist could plunge the regency of France into the political instability contained in a palace of intrigues. Richelieu arrived about fifteen years later to subdue the elements of turmoil, but there would immediately be new struggles in which France would be launched. In 1625 he declared the interior of the kingdom to be at war with the Huguenots and ten years later he intervened with a full war lasting 30 years. From then on France would not know peace until after bringing down the powerful House of Austria in 1659. Once again there would be a very short respite before the exhausting campaigns of Louis XIV.

The simple recall of these major events is sufficient to evoke the deep warlike and uneasy character of this era. It was in this ambiance, across the always shocking and sudden changes of fortune, or misfortune, that the people of France during the 16th and 17th centuries found the means to establishing a New France.

The previous ages had been scarcely quieter. The Wars of Religion, to which Henri IV had put end by the edict of Nantes in 1598, had lasted for forty years. The peace of Cateau-Cambrésis, that ended the long wars with Italy that had raged since 1492, had just been signed in 1559. Through unceasing resistance, royalty had finished consolidating its domination over the feudal princes and repaired the disasters accumulated over the course the One Hundred Years War (1339-1439). These wars had so completely dominated the existence of the poor French people, that they could not be self sufficient in cultivating the soil. They had also destroyed much of the forests and swamps by the requirements of constructing castle fortresses. Because such feudalism hindered the progress of the kingdom, through its struggles and establishments, a proverb of the era stated  "In Europe, too many castles."

Gabriel Hanoteaux, in inspiring specialized works, gives a rather engaging description of 1614 France after the good efforts of Henri IV:  "This France, smaller, was also rougher. To the soaring bird, it appears -- like it is shown in the naive maps of the time -- again covered with thick forests, bristling with bell-towers, crenels and mills. Life was perched higher than it is today. It clung to the slopes of the mountains, hills and steep coasts. In the plains region it was settled on some "clods" elevated by the hand of man."

For some centuries the already struggling descendants of the Gaulle, Celts, Roman and Visigoth invaders, feeling the pain of these exploited regions, sought the more lenient earth and homelands that they soon adopted. However, the shaky Church of the long middle ages, with all diligence, had not finished providing a comfortable and restful establishment for these people.

It was, however, only after the course of these difficult centuries that France founded a New France for herself on the banks of the Saint Lawrence. While Francois Ist fought against the emperor Charles-Quint, it was in his name that Jacques Cartier disembarked at Gaspé and took possession of Canada. Additionally, it was Henri IV who sustained Samuel of Champlain in the founding of Arcadia and Quebec. But it was necessary to wait for Richelieu and the diligent Colbert in order to see the French colonization of America take on the importance that it deserved.

In the Western provinces, along the Atlantic coast, interest and curiosity had been awakened about the new lands the kingdom of France had acquired beyond the seas. While Brittany and Normandy heard of and echoed the discoveries of Cartier, it was at Saintonge, Aunis, Angoumois and the Poitou where they waited for the return of Champlain. Then a swarming movement started. Everywhere they were starting to speak of the new country. The young listened and dreamed of far away emigration. Starting with Champlain, recruiters sought colonists. Then, throughout the Western regions, departures left from the ports of La Rochelle, Saint-Malo and Honfleur and farewell scenes became familiar.

Nearly every Saintonge, Angevine or Normandy family had its history of departure, which filled lengthy evening discussions. Without receiving more news about a son, cousin or friend over there, they looked to the establishment. Were they doing well after their departure? Who was right, those who stayed in the country or those who went off and left it if far behind to begin a new life? Certainly, it was a rough life, but was it worse in the forests of the New World? What verdict would the future render on the risks assumed by the stout hearted colonists?

One thing was for sure. From the perspective of this New France mystery, which loomed like an aurora on the line of the maritime horizon, the lives, dreams and longings of the poor people had already been transformed. This migration caused a great deal of unrest. A new type of man emerged from the peasant spirit of the kingdom, based on his decision to leave for New France. Between the ones who left and the ones who stayed at home, there could be no common measurement, for they no longer lived in the same universe. Indeed, it was like a new race had been born.


There is scarcely a family in French Canada that doesn't hold some fragments of history about its background. Several possess long and complete genealogies that reattach them to France. Without too much effort, one can discover from which province and town their ancestors came. That perspective quickly changes, however, if one looks to present day France for some trace of the modest peasant living among the people of the 16th and 17th centuries.

In France while rivers are modest they are also more numerous. That makes them so powerful, that one refers to them in the masculine. The one that comes from the Alpine glaciers and crosses lakes, mountains and vast regions is the Rhine. Others, providing more grace than strength, are the Seine, Loire and Gironde. The one in the east is called the Charente. Its source is a high muddy plateau, the nearly full Massif central. It flows like the Loire, but more to the North and, like the Gironde, but more to the South, until it reaches the Atlantic after covering 200 miles on a course through its namesake region called the Charentes. Numerous towns border its banks, like Charroux, Civray, Ruffec, Mansle, Saint-Armand-de-Boixe and Angoulême, the seat of the Charente government. Additionally, there are Châteauneuf, Jarnac, Congnac, Saintes and Rochefort. After reaching the full Atlantic, two islands extend the estuary of the Charente by elongating its mouth. To the south lies the island of Oléron and to the north the island of Ré, behind which squats the always active harbor of La Rochelle. This is also the primary location for the Charente Department of the Interior.

Once, La Rochelle was the capital of the Aunis, Saintes, Saintonge, Angoulême and Angoumois. In turning toward the North, one finds the old provinces of Poitou, Anjou, Touraine, Maine, Brittany and Normandy. These were the provinces that provided New France with its most generous contingent of colonists.

This entire region was peopled during the prehistoric ages and numerous artifacts, as interesting as the men who lived in the stone and bronze ages, have been discovered here. It is indeed in these regions that we find the underground caves of the Cro-Magnon, Moustier and the Madeleine which gave their names to the prehistoric races where their bones were discovered. Around Angoulême, one can visit the underground cave of Chaffaud and throughout Périgord, a little more to the South, Eysies, the one that the paleontologists readily call "the capital of prehistoric times."

Before the Roman conquest of Gaule by Caesar, the Charentes was the territory of a Celtic tribe called the Santons. Saintonge was the collective region of these provinces known as Aunis, Saintonge and Angoumois. Rome, in dominating these populations, did not greatly transform them. As Rome found, they had already been settled for several centuries as farmlands that had been cultivated and managed according to Celtic ways and customs.

At the same time that the Roman civilization established its settlements, some of the Latin elements mixed with that of the natives. The language of the conquered was absorbed little by little with Gallic. Christianity, in its time, came to definitively mark the life of the people. This part of the Gallic-Roman province carried the name of Aquitaine, a name which was given after the invasions of the barbarians under the Mêrovingiens and the Carolingians. With the Visigoths to the North and Sarrasins in the middle, the Normands and English successively conquered the country until the kings of France finally succeeded in integrating its natural frontiers. The regions of the Aunis and Saintonge were not made a part the kingdom, by the sword of Joan of Arc, until after three centuries of English occupation (1154-1429). It was then, however, that England fell under the influence of France.

The town of Angoulême, along with Saintes, is of Gallic foundation. Its name was once Iculisma and later became Engolisma. Built on a promontory completely surrounded by ramparts, that modern town planners have transformed into terraces and walks, it spontaneously brings to mind the familiar Canadian view of the silhouette of Quebec. Champlain, to whom the town of Angoulême was surely known, could not have failed to be impressed by the imposing mass of the Diamant headland. Probably without thinking, or in his dreams, the founder revealed to himself the advance aspects of the town to be established on the rocks of Quebec, even more splendidly than the one of Angoulême. It is worthy of note that this is a monument to that which seems to represent the heart of Quebec. Illuminated from behind a low promontory, it is not a brave prairie or the pretty Charente; but it is the complete country that it opened and the imposing Saint Lawrence that leads to the world.

Angouleme underwent multiple vandalizations during to the course of its long history by the Barbarians, the Sarrasins and the Normands; it was also occupied by the English during the course of the Hundred Years War, when they held all of Southwest France, otherwise called the Guyenne. However, it was the wars of religion that caused most of the devastation in Angouleme. Wars that had hardly ended during the period when our story begins.

This town paid dearly for its attachment to the Catholic religion due to its neighbors, like La Rochelle, where there were strong positions of Protestantism. During some terrible years in the aftermath, it had a decimated population, ruined establishments and uncontrolled pestilence that was nearly endemic. In 1613, historians say the town was pursued for debts and it didn't have the necessary money to buy an open cart to remove garbage. But one report, however, states that during the same time, "the middle class supports a proud people of good spirit, holding their reputations high, good with their hands and willingly giving of themselves. With little else to offer in trade, for the most part their living is returned by providing pheasants for gentlemen. They like literature, are hospitable, polite and enjoy new things."

Today Angoulême is proud once again. Proud of its cathedral of Saint Peter, the monument most representative of Roman style, restored with taste by Abadie. Proud of its terraces that run along the ramparts and the industrious activity in the trade of luxury stationery, earthenware and stone cutting. All of the surrounding country is devoted to the cultivation of grains and grapevines. The land yields much, even though it is rather poor and stony. The wine that is produced does not include any with a bad reputation. Rather, there are some white wines that are burned and transformed into spirits that are famous everywhere. They are of the finest in Champagnes, Congnac and Barbezieux.

Hidden by forest, Angoulême cannot be seen for hundreds of miles, but remember that in the 15th century the area was only brush woods, bogs and wetlands. Leaving from the location of the cathedral, one departs Angouleme by a street that descends toward the South in order to take a road in direction of Bordeaux. But hardly a mile away, on a road that climbs a mildly small hill, we arrive in Puymoyen. This is a small village of several hundred inhabitants, with low houses, lying white beneath the sunshine and covered with rough red tiles. It is from here, from times immemorial, that the Simard family had lived and left in order to propagate in America.

Here, in the very middle of this agglomeration, is a small church of stone that dominates a place near some shady lindens. The front is indicative of a Roman porch. There is not a resident priest for Puymoyen. The nave can accommodate a hundred people and does not possess much luxury with its whitened walls and an apse that is not covered with a pretty dome. A stem of iron goes from one wall to the other, above the choir, to maintain them in position and mars the simplicity of the whole place with its indiscreet utility. The baptismal stand is in the shape of an octagon and is covered with geometric drawings. This is as a result of, like so many other monuments of the era and region, a Moorish influence. They are from the 17th century and confirm the traditions used in the construction of the church itself until the 16th century. A restoration took place in 1598, at the end of the religious wars, and in 1676 when they installed the bell that still rings today.

It was in this modest church that generations of Simards came to receive the sacraments and accomplish their religious duties for perhaps eight centuries. Once, the cemetery where they were interred, was surrounded by the church. Today there is a new cemetery, at the corner of the road, containing their remains.

The former Simard family household is only a short distance further to the left. As described in the 1950s, it was indistinctive amongst the group of buildings and, moreover, well hidden behind a courtyard wall. A dwelling without a second floor, made of limestone and mortar. It had greenery trailing a short grapevine on the front of two doors entering a well kept lodging. The common exterior of the building was shared with barns and a stable, as this was routinely the case when working in such agriculturally dry regions. A small garden of flowers decorates the front window of the dwelling and the entire area is surrounded by a thick wall the height of a man.

It was the master of the house himself who greatly knew how to honor the place with those he again calls his cousins from Canada. In providing several previous tours, Mr. René Simard had conducting other Simards to all corners of his dear native village. First to the ancestral house, from which he detached a piece of stone and offered it to them like a centennial relic. He then proceeded to the church, cemetery and communal wash-house. Everything happened so genially in 1951 when he displayed everything for the several different visitors he received at the old family sanctuary, welcoming them as he would relatives. He created the emotion in a way that the visitor had the impression of coming from the same place, with the same domestic lineage.

To others, Mr. Simard shows some additional pieces of old furniture, a china cabinet for example, that was nearly gleaming in his Angouleme residence and which also dates back to the 12th century. He also expresses his desire that this house definitely remain in the hands of the Simard family, as a meeting place for domestic pilgrimages, a sanctuary, as he enjoys saying, to where descendants will be drawn for the spiritual source of continuity that makes races strong.  

Unfortunately, when I, in the company of 2 brothers, tried to visit this home in the mid 1990s, we found it was now occupied by new owners that were in no way related to the Simard lineage. They advised us that they had purchased the home and completely had renovated it for their personal use. It would, according to them, in no way resemble the house previously occupied by Mr. René Simard. They had no desire to allow anybody to view the house or lands behind the wall. We were not the first Simard visitors to come there in an attempt to view the property. They expressed the desire that we be the last.

We also visited the cemetery and found the final resting place of Mr. René Simard. To the best of my knowledge, Mr. René Simard was probably the last of the Simard line that had remained in that area after almost 350 years. 

Puymoyen, Angouleme and the Charente are a part of the old France which still exists like a testimony across the centuries. It was from there, during the uneventfully modest and discrete spring of 1657, a young man of twenty years, in the company of his father, left these familiar places forever and went off toward the great mystery of America. Like the patriarchs of the Old Testament who held out great promise for their posterity, after nearly three and a half centuries, these are a people who have emerged, by thousands, as sons aligned behind the former peasant of Puymoyen.


The antiquity of the ancestral house of the Simards in Puymoyen confirms the traditions which recognize the honest native origin of the family. Steadily established in Charente since the Middle Ages, it belongs to the oldest foundations of the former Gaule and Celtic races.

Indeed, this dwelling consisting of a number of city buildings, constituted the very body of the little hamlet of Puymoyen. It is therefore all the less probable that they date from the same era as the church, for a parochial church always supposes the existence of a parish already organized by a group of established Christians in the area. This is also affirmed elsewhere, in that the parochial church belonged to the high medieval era and was constructed from the first through the last years of the 13th century. This additionally makes it appear even more likely, since the baptismal stand was finished in the 12th century. Thus, it is not unsound to affirm that, based on the age of the church, Puymoyen existed with rustic houses during the 10th and 11th centuries. A single roof covered the family house, the barns and stables. In the kitchen the old fireplace was beaten into the soil, stood at the center of all activity, sometimes being functional other times sacred. Its fire cooking the meals at the same time that it radiated on the monogram of Christ.

It well appears that the Simard family had always lived in Puymoyen. The name itself testifies to a deep rooting in this area. All research to discover its origin and convergent significance indeed leads toward an explanatory hypothesis that makes its character highly regional.

It is probably the more works of linguist Albert Dauzat can best serve as a guide in this study. Although one may point out that there are scarcely any decisive enlightenments, to properly explain the source of the primitive roots of the word SIMARD, it is necessary to consider a large amount of general data he provided to discern the evolution of the family name. He sufficiently raises points that could suggest a plausible explanation to the history of the word SIMARD, first by reattaching its roots in the Visigoth language:

 SEV_, sea, lake (or See), rare enough. Composed: SEV_HARD_ Sevard, Sivard. SIG_, victory (or Sieg), well represented at the beginning of compounds: SIGI_BALD_, Sébaud, _aux; SIGI_BERHT, Sibert, Sébert: SIG_HARD_, Sicard; SIG_HART_, Séguier; SIG_HRAMM_, Sigrand; SIG_WALD_, Sigaud; SIG_WIN_, Séquin; for mostly southern names (this formation is very much in favor of the Visigoths).

The name Simard seems well suited to this last root, even though the author does not mention it among those linkings; indeed, in a subsequent work one does finds this precision:

SIMAR, generally changed to SIMARD; variations: SEMARD, SEYMARD, southern names: name of Germanic baptism. SIG_MAR, (sig_, victory; mar_, famous).

If one observes that the first spelling of the word was CYMARD and that the hermit Cybard, who would have been the first to have carried this baptism name from which we would later derive SIMARD, lived the era of the Visigoth invasions and apparently belonged to a family of Germanic origin, one finds the various elements that allow the same stroke of satisfying certainty to establish the genesis of the family name of SIMARD.

Additionally, the same scholar indicates that family names were not written in any official documents and consequently take on any official character with definitive spelling until the XVth century. It was following a synod held in 1406 that, on the orders of the bishops, the vicars of France began to maintain some registry of baptisms. The first known register was only started in 1411 and one can only guess at the large number of these first registers that were destroyed, especially during the era of the Revolution. In 1539, king Francois 1st, by an order called Villiers-Cotteret, imposed the custom of registering all the civilian inhabitants of his kingdom. Starting from this era, one notes that family names became fixed and established.

The first public record in which one finds a Simard goes back to 1556, less than twenty years after the royal order. It reports that Leonard CYMARD, ploughman, buys, for the total price of ten pounds , from Jeanne CYMARD, wife of Pierre Desrhues, stationer staying at Puymoyen, a quarter of a journal of land to be held as an annuity for a subject cathedral in Angouleme.

Therefore, the name has existed into the present era, but more often under a different form than the one in use today and moreover continues, with some adaptations, into the next century. Certainly, one can say it existed in its present oral form for a long time, although Dauzat is careful to warn that "the most ancient family names did not last into this era," speaking of the 11th and 12th centuries.

In effect, "the family names, lost during the attacks of large invasions, were themselves restored through another basis when the feudal system found its place, to definitively fix them after royal power had been securely established." And he also adds: "The triumph of Christianity had the result of upsetting the anthropogeny of pagan Rome. "

These observations regarding the general history of family names and the spelling of Simard in particular, orientates the research toward some additionally more inviting tracks.

Dauzat assigns family names four possible backgrounds: they are former baptism names wherein the origin of the name is evoked from the original family location, the race in which some names are of professions, state or relationship and finally some were nicknames. The impossibility of recovering a name of place in the Simard word, of profession or simply a nickname imposes attention to the first hypotheses: Simard would come from a baptism name. Moreover, this is the most current process of forming new designations for some families, the process which remains the convention in our time. Dauzat stated that the individual first name of an ancestor is often thus linked to his descendants with a like family name and he provides a concrete observation as an example for this:

"I said that heredity of an individual nickname is explained by the fact that this name is characterized by the house and that the sons are normally designated by the name of the father. I saw a case in my childhood wherein one individual's recumbent nickname was given to the wife and children in the domestic circle. A person had abridged the husband's first name, Victor, to Vic. This had hypothetically pleased the individual and soon the man's wife was familiarly known as Mary Vic and the children as the Vic kids, and the whole family as the Vics."

Who does not know of similar phenomenon, especially in old Canadian parishes, like that of Charlevoix in particular, where large numbers of descendants carrying the same family name can spontaneously reveal their ancestral habitat by the father's name. Likewise take Tremblay, from which comes Mathias, Jacomac, Baptiste and Kessis (Alexis).

Similarly, could not there have been someone with an ancestor from the Puymoyen area who answered to the name of Cymard as did his children after him, the next Cymard being Pierre of Cymard, Jacques of Cymard?

This hypothesis is apparently not free of negatives when one notes that such a surname does not contain anything extraordinary regarding the area of Charente and that it is only formed on the basis of a very popular name, Cybard. For Cybard was the name of one of the country's holiest leaders. The memory of Saint Cybard, still through this day, remains vivacious in the entire region of Angoulême where he is honored in many ways. At the famous church at Angoulême, on the first of July each year, the feast of this leader shares honors of a regional following with Saint Ausone. A complete district of the town has always been named Saint-Cybard Suburb, as has a bridge crossing the Charente at this location. On the side of the town sign one can still find the underground cave where, at the beginning of the Christian era, the holy hermit who was named Cybard lived. Within twenty kilometers of Angoulême toward the west, a township can be found named Saint-Cybardeaux, after the apparent transformation of Saint-Cybard. One can but only think similarly of the name of an other township of the region, La Simarde? Additionally, Dauzat in explains precisely the same practice: "The cult of the saints, later than one might more commonly believe, is not itself reflected in forenames similar to the names of localities that started during the capétienne era," that is after 987.

Although Saint Cybard lived in the 6th century, one understands without difficulty that his followers spontaneously suggested his name when the custom originated, around the 11th century, of giving children the name of a saint and preferably the patron of the area. Cybard, through a slip, quickly became Cymard. When the registering of names was required, one first wrote Cymard, then Cimard, and finally Simard. This is why today in the same district of Saint-Cybard, in Angoulême, we find a street that carries the name of Simard. It is the definitive form that is known in France as well as Canada. One may also question the spelling Simart, but it is rarer and moreover does not have any different origin.

The good regionalistic character of the family name, in addition to formerly established lineage material, therefore, allows us to believe that Simards descend from some of the oldest races of France. Without doubt, they most probably come from ancient Gallic foundations that held the land in that part of populated Gaule during prehistoric ages: Celts, who Romans preferred to call Gallic, and the tribes which shared the territory that spread between the Rhine, Pyrenees and Alps. As previously noted, the tribe that lived on the banks of the Charente was called the Santons, their country was named the Saintonge, with Saintes and Angoulême already the main centers.

Roman conquest brought Latin blood to these people, but it penetrated urban populations far more than the peasant sphere. During the 4th century, when the barbarians surged over the Gallic-Roman province, the Visigoths settled in all territories South of the Loire as far as Gibraltar. The Aquitaine, however, already converted to Christianity by Saint Ausone, better resisted infiltration of their race by the dominant Arians. The Visigoths, however, occupied some parts of the Santons until 507, the year when Clovis, the king of France, having recently been baptized only a few years earlier, beat them at Vouillé and jostled them beyond the Pyrenees before annexing the Aquitaine to his kingdom.

In the 8th century, it was Sarrasin expeditions that invaded the western Gallic country where, however, they did not succeed in establishing themselves due to being cornered in Spain by Charles Martel, following his great victory at Poitiers in 732. A century later the Norman conquerors emerged from the North Sea. They, however, had few establishments South of the Loire, especially after the king of France had granted them the region watered by the Seine which, during that time (911), was known as Normandy. Finally it was Eléonore de Aquitaine who became queen of England in 1154 and opened all the western area to English infiltration. The provinces of Aunis, Saintonge and Angoumois were returned to the French crown two and a half centuries later, thanks to Joan of Arc. However, we know that during this time France really dominated England through the Princes of Normandy and French provincial populations were scarcely affected by English influence, excepting only those that underwent the devastations of the Hundred Years War. It stands that neither the Visigoths, Sarrasins, Normands or English modified the character, customs or populate blood of the Charente people who stayed on the Celtic race lands throughout the up and downs of its tinted Gallo-Roman history. Farming populations, more so than others, were sheltered from all infiltration and this causes an affirmation that old families of Puymoyen are true natives and have mostly Gallic and Latin blood in their veins..

It is thus that we find access to the Simard family's first full day of history, in about the year 1500. In fact we know very little of anything about the generation that then lived in the already old home. The father was named Antoine and during a first marriage with Marguerite Soulot they had a son who they named Pierre. After the death of his wife Marguerite, Antoine soon remarried to Françoise Berton. He then counted five or more children in his family: Marsault, Vincent, Raymond, Jeanne, and Marguerite.

This is revealed in a notary act, dated 22 February 1588, drafted on the occasion of the division of the father's estate after his death . As of this date, all the children were adults, since Vincent, their third son, was himself already a husband and father of a son and daughter. If one takes into account that last two, Simon and Marguerite, were married in the years 1605 and 1606, it may be deduced that their parents had scarcely contracted marriage themselves until after 1585, which would put the birth date of Vincent Simard at about 1565. Marsault would have been born then in about 1563 and Pierre before 1560, since it is necessary to place these two dates around the death of Antoine's first wife, Marguerite Soulot, and the last marriage to Françoise Berton. These approximate calculations enable us to put between 1520 and 1540 the birth date of Antoine, the first Simard whose name is known.


Antoine's final resting place would have been in the small cemetery surrounding the parish church; It was not an easy life for this first ancestor named Antoine. Since the country had a great number of the protestant Huguenots, who made La Rochelle their center of resistance, the League raised ever larger armies from the Catholic population to counter them. The peasants saw their sons leave to go to war and undergo the depredations of the barracks. Angoulême was left in ruins and on the other side of the hill, Puymoyen, didn't escape the misery of the times. as proof, one only need look no further than her half demolished church.

They still speak of the disaster of Brouage. Indeed, it was in 1586 that Henri de Navarre, during the fury of war, blocked this most beautiful sea harbor of the Saintonge by sinking twenty building loads of stone into the channel entrance. For a period of twenty years the town, where the future founder of Quebec, Samuel de Champlain, grew up, was placed under siege five times. It would not recover from this last one.

Pierre, Marsault, Vincent and Raymond, the sons of Antoine Simard of Puymoyen, participated in these struggles between Catholics and Protestants. Under this guise, they also fought in order to prevent the king of Navarre from becoming the king of France. But in 1593, when Henri de Bourbon renounced his heresy and made a profession to the Catholic faith, they caught sight of the aura of peace. It then took him five additional years of effort in order to pacify the entire kingdom, but in the countryside, normal life had already resumed its course and the Simards heard the command of good king Henri to "Plow and pasture."

By 1588, it was Marsault, the eldest of the second family, who had become the head of the Simard house. It appears that Pierre, the true eldest, found a place of his own after the death of his mother or at least spent less time there after the father got remarried. The new mistress of the house was Marsault's wife, Léonarde Berthoulde, and we know that in the household there was a son who had the name of the father, Marsault or Martial. It is possible that the other children of Antoine, excepting those who had contracted marriage, still lived in the old house. But this house was just a part of the world and it faired very poorly during those years of civil war.

The chroniclers of the era say that the travelers who crossed the provinces of low Bas-Poitou, Angoumois and Périgord returned with some impressions of horror and pity. "The inhabitants are of an extraordinary sobriety, gluttonous only of bread and ignorant of all other delights. In their affairs they appear quite skillful, reflective and very stubborn.

They are squalid in their food and clothing." Hanoteaux evokes an unpalatable picture of their misery:  "If one penetrates the horrible thatched cottage made of straw that serves as their home, one finds naked children on the straw, shivering before a cow dung fire." And mentioning a chronicle of the era:  "They live off chestnuts, which they even export afar. One sees a countryside of oaks and chestnuts. The earth is covered with stones, that the peasants are too lazy to remove, otherwise it would not be bad. However, the barrenness comes especially from the barbarism of the inhabitants. There are few villages, some rare thatched cottages and, in the rocky fields, sheep and few cows."

One could impeach the judgment that attributes, to the laziness of the peasants, the negligence of the land on which these poor people suffered through the wars of the grand Lords; their staying makes that clear enough. When Etienne Pasquier crossed Agoumois, on his way to Cognac, he spoke of "such a great borough in which there were only four or five poor households" at which he could find nothing to eat. It is easy then to comprehend why Henri IV was able to impose a program, as soon as peace was restored, which permitting every family a weekly "hen in the pot."

The second Marsault was married at the beginning of 17th century to Ozanne Soulot who he soon left a widowed mother of four children; Marsault the third, Pierre, Antoinette and Marguerite. In 1625, on the occasion of the marriage of her daughter Antoinette, Ozanne was herself remarried to a merchant from Puymoyen, Gaultier Leuraud. In 1631, when Pierre was in turn married, she was no longer alive.

The childhood and the youth of the second son of the third Marsault, Pierre, unfolded under more serene circumstances, during the peaceful but too short reign of the Vert-galant. Puymoyen, like Angoulême and the rest of the Charente areas, returned to their previous lifestyles as the Huguenots were maintaining a calm in their stronghold of La Rochelle.

It was then that they started to speak, into the evenings, of adventures and a new country. A man from the region, a Saintongeois originally from Brouage, returned in 1601 from an expedition in America where the Spaniards were carving an empire. The old father of Champlain, himself a coastal fisherman, was very proud of his son; the vicar of Brouage had taught the boy Latin so that he had become "a nobleman," but the call of the sea carried him away. What could some fishing nets do to hold this very spirited young man. He had taken his leave during the epic struggles of the last war during which the League battled to save his town of Brouage. This had led to peace in 1598 followed by twenty years of peace. He had the blood of a sailor in his veins, this Samuel, and now, thanks to his uncle, he could succeed in the first crossing overseas. Like the commander of the Spanish ship, the young Champlain already felt like a great explorer;. He had conducted exercises to Cadix to prepare maps, explored Havana and already saw that, in piercing the isthmus of Panama, one could pass from the Atlantic into the Pacific and from there to the Indies.

In 1603 Samuel de Champlain departed on a new voyage, but this time he was part of a totally French expedition on which he accompanied the commander on the dangerous deck, with the title of geographer for the king, to explore the New Lands, Gaspé and into the Saint Lawrence river. He was there as an envoy of Mr. Aymar des Chaste, who the king had just designated, to exploit the fur trading processes. When Champlain arrived during the first gleamings of fall, he had other reasons to be pleased with a liking for this setting. He had recently succeeded on a magnificent exploration as far as the high regions of the Saint Lawrence and had been received by the king who bestowed his greatest consideration. Rumors of this occurrence quickly overflowed the area surrounding Brouage, continued through the Saitonge and were carried up the Charente until reaching Angoulême.

Townsmen and peasants were already well aware of daring fishermen who had gone from there to the New Lands in order to bring back stocks of codfishes. The Basques from the South, Britons from the North and Normands did not fear undertaking long travel on frail craft and they profited from trading furs then sold in France. The inhabitants of Saint-Malo attempt for years to ensure a commerce monopoly under the pretext that it was left to them by their compatriot Jacques Cartier?  

The peasants of Angoumois could only dream during the telling of these adventures; their fate was stable, well riveted to the earth. But on the entire Atlantic coast, they spoke only of America and New Lands. Men on land felt moved by the daring exploits of men at sea. For thirty years, the periodic returns of Champlain to Saintonge served to nourish the curiosity of these sedentary populations and one is not surprised to later see them provide many the colonists needed by Quebec.

Pierre Simard was born in 1602 or 1603. He grew up on the farm in Puymoyen, but could not see making his life there, since the title of the property had to remain with his eldest brother Marsault. He also dreamed of taking up a profession: he would become a mason.

His work brought him to live to Angoulême around the same time when the queen mother, Marie of Médicis, in a quarrel with her son, came to install her court in the town, thus giving the future Richelieu his first chance to intervene in public affairs. During the years 1616-1620, Angoulême had yet to finish repairing damages of the war; it was necessary to demolish and reconstruct. Masons, stone cutters, carpenters and casters were not unemployed.

These were the social surroundings of Pierre. Working between two sites in progress, he was able to follow his nearby family events; his being close enough to travel from Angoulême to Puymoyen in an hour. His father was the first to pass away, leaving the house to Marsault, who apparently did not remarry because his two daughters Antoinette and Marguerite were already grown. The most surprising event was probably his mother's decision to marry a second time to the merchant Gaultier Leuraud. We can deduce very little which would reveal the character, a singular spirit or similar system of morals, because there are too many factors concerning these elements to judge them with relevance.

May 4 1625, Pierre "Cymard" witnessed the marriage contract of his sister Antoinette to Pierre Texier, an inhabitant of Puymoyen. As for Marsault and Marguerite, it does not seem possible to specify dates for their marriages; the first was married to Catherine Marot, with whom he had two children, Jacques and Jeanne, and the second became the wife of another cattle farmer from Puymoyen, Pierre Gellibert.

A daughter of these last two, Antoinette, married a Simard who was probably her cousin in 1656. This alliance allows us to note at that time there existed in Puymoyen, and the surrounding region, several families named Simard. According to records alone, we can identify Jean Simard and Léonarde Fallot, god parents of Antoinette Gellibert, around 1650 and two Antoine Simards, one husband to Jeanne Panisseau, the other to Marie Pertuze. For some painful years Hélyot Cymard, husband of Mathurine Mornicas and father of widowed Denis Garnauld, disappeared; on the other hand, we see living in Nersac, a hamlet situated kilometers from Puymoyen, in the "village" of Chez-Roby, cloth merchant named of Simon Simard. Finally, as part of records dated 21 November 1654 Colas Symard confirmed the authenticity of signatures for Marsault and Pierre Symard, the last working in the "escardeur" profession.

Pierre was 28 years old when he got married at Angoulême in the month of May 1631. For his wife he had chosen a young woman of the town, who was orphaned without father or mother; named Catherine Boudier who lived at the base of the ramparts, not far from the Saint Pierre cathedral, but was a parishioner of the Saint Ausone church. As the marriage contract was passed before Vachier, notary of Angoulême, Pierre was accompanied by his brother-in-law Pierre Texier and his two cousins, Hélie Delavaud and Etienne Texier, the last being a master stonecutter.

The household must have know only a few months of wedded bliss. Catherine Boudier died during her first pregnancy, without leaving her husband any posterity.

It is during this period of mourning that we find it necessary close this chapter, for the life of Pierre belongs to the future along with other perspectives. One cannot ignore the direction in which we must go from here by becoming overwhelmed and perplexed by the isolation he incurred during this period. Alas, the train of human affairs must continue to move toward the light.

During the years after 1624, a great minister took the affairs of the kingdom in hand. The Huguenots had already succumbed to the pitiless siege that cardinal de Richelieu had mounted against the town of La Rochelle. In this year of 1628 strong memories remain in the mind and one often recalls His Eminence riding, along with the tireless Capuchin missionary friar who followed him like a shadow and whom they began to call the Grey Eminence.


A man, if he is only thirty years old, does not let himself be collapsed by a hardship. After a few years of widowhood, Pierre Simard decided to rebuild his home. He incidentally knew through lady Benjamin Boquet of Angoulême, a modest orphan who worked for her as a live in servant. Her name was Suzanne Durand and she seemed to belong in the workman surroundings that one associates with Pierre Simard; along with her only relative, cousin Nicolas Belan who worked as a professional carpenter and the widow Boquet as her protector, she received assistance from the notary Gilbault in forming a marriage contract.

As for the spouse, this being no different than his first marriage, on this occasion he was not accompanied by his brother Marsault who remained at the paternal farm in Puymoyen; it was his brother-in-law, Pierre Gellibert, husband of Marguerite, and his cousins Etienne Texier and Nicolas Rozier who surround him. For witness, they required another man of the construction profession, Armand Delacroix, stonecutter, and two persons that the notary Gibault himself found in his setting, the clerk Michel Martin and Pierre Chantecaille, a competing practitioner.

It was December 1635. During this same period, in his regained town of Quebec, Samuel de Champlain was preparing to die; after a short reprieve, the paralysis that he turned back in October had already returned for another assault. But the old Saintongeois carried with him the gleaming assurance that his work would survive him. It was he who had provided for the establishment of the first contingent of colonists that came from Perche with Robert Giffard. And others were soon to come from Poitou, Aunis, Saintonge and Angoumois. Cardinal de Richelieu had expressly promised it.

For some years reports, which the Jesuit missionaries wrote to describe New France to the motherland, provided an abundance of information that quickly went through Paris and into the old provinces to become the current topic. But it was the especially the good news of restoring the colony to France from England that allowed finishing the conquest work of Champlain by the sympathetic inhabitants of the Atlantic coast.

A renewal of optimism burst throughout the kingdom, including the restored home of Pierre Simard. The same hopes, slow to ripen and always threatening to fade were, however, made to languish between a married couple who had nothing in common. Here was a modest workman, husband to an orphan who only knew domestic service; over there, in the Louvre palace, was a king whose subjects demanded an heir and who had little love for the beautiful Anne of Austria. The shadow of the most discreet in waiting enveloped the banks of the Charente, while a crowd of courtiers, on the banks of the Seine, were on the lookout for gossip about the conjugal encounters of Louis XIIIth. One knows that after twenty years in a sterile marriage, the king of France made a vow at Notre Dame to consecrate his kingdom if Heaven gave him a son.

Pierre Simard was not a father for more than a few months when the astonishing news sounded across the entire kingdom: a dauphin was going to be born. And in fact, a royal birth took place on September 5 1638 which granted France the greatest of her kings; in order to proclaim their gratitude to Heaven, the parents gave to this son, who would later carry the name of Louis XIV, the one God given religion.

There was also a son born to Pierre Simard and to Suzanne Durand and in their joy the parents could not find or give him a name more beautiful: they named him Noel.

So that the parallel between the child of the Bourbons and the one of the Simards does not appear too bold and fanciful, let it be sufficient here to say that after a life of equal length, although dissimilar in their celebrity, both would die in 1715 and when that takes place one may ask which of the two careers, however varied in their radiance, had been the most fertile in works regarding the foundation of posterity.

The birth of Nöel Simard marks a fundamental date in the history of the Simard family, since the stock of this man in America will thereafter result in one of the most numerous and enterprising families on which the destinies of Canada will rest.

Some cradles contain more promise for the future than others and more often it is the parents themselves who cannot see it. The same mystery hovers over all children. Nöel Simard appeared to have no disposition that distinguished him from any other children in his setting and the rearing that he received from his parents was aimed only to make him a man of the plainest condition.

Perhaps he learned some elements of writing through catechism lessons; he would sign his name NOEL SIMAR, which he often abridged into the simple initials NS.

From Noel's own testimony, he declared their marriage took place in Puymoyen and the family had remained there in the small borough rather than in Angoulême proper. A few years later a daughter was born and called by the name of her mother, Suzanne.

Already during this era, among the other Simards of the region, one was able to distinguishes Pierre and his family members by the nickname of Lombrette which later nearly came to replace the family name itself. It is necessary to renounce preconceptions of such a word in order to establish its exact sense, origin and meaning in a positive manner; almost anything is possible through default by consigning facts and generating a few hypotheses to deduce the word itself. Here are three of them which are particularly interesting.

The R.P. Archange Godbout, famous genealogist, suggests this: "The nickname of Lombrette (little shade) that he carried to Canada and that was passed to some of his descendants made have alluded to the small size of a place recalled such as Puymoyen."

As may be seen in "lombrette," a diminutive of the word "shade," there is a certain advantage in going for the simplest explanation. On the other hand, the double application suggested does not impose anything. Since as ingenious an allusion could also be made as to size or shortness of character, rather than to one which would project the place where one is shaded as an ombrette, keeping simplicity in mind the former seems a little more subtle. The origin of a place is said to offer more feasibility, in that one already knows that Puymoyen existed rather than places that were named Le Vergier or Le Lion. According to the still retained custom, if there was a group of about two or three houses, sometimes built from a part of the same dwelling, it would be called a village. So we can find, in an area of less than a mile, inhabitants of several villages each having their own name. Was there close to Puymoyen, at the time of Pierre Simard, a place named Lombrette where, precisely, the Lombrettes would have lived? It does not exist nor is there any trace of it in memory.

Old French, on the other hand, provides a very familiar word that could painlessly fit in the composition of Lombrette. It was "brette," by which one referred to a sword or sometimes an axe. In this case, the prefix "lom" would not be more than the corruption of the epithet "long" and "long brette" would have given way to "lombrette." We only know that the word "bretter" passed from France to Canada where it took on a very particular meaning. The Glossary says: Bretter: idle, losing time to something and also "hang" or "pry" It uses the expression in examples:  "To pass the day's work in bretter" and "Why are you brettes?  I have waited an hour for you." And it also notes that in France one finds equivalent conventions: in Bourgone, "bretter" is used to say "turn"; in Anjou, "brêter" means "go on vacation" and in Berry, "breter" means "beg." But elsewhere, it is necessary to add, that one in the masonry profession uses an instrument to measure the size of stone which is called the "bretture" and it also applies to the work executed by this instrument. Literally used to the word "bretture" three meanings: 1) to work on a roughened sculpture, 2) the stripe formed on wood or stone by tools with teeth, 3) the teeth of an instrument used to scribe the brettures: the word "bretter" more precisely specifies: 1) in art terms: beginning a work of sculpture  with a roughed out notched figure in clay or wax, 2) the practice using a hammer like instrument tipped with small teeth. And today we can  read it in a French newspaper, in a description of the restoration work on the cathedral of Rouen, in the following sentence: "They work as they would have in the Middle Ages: except for the cement and the iron, they employ the same means that were used in the fifth or sixth centuries, with the same stone from the Vernon stonecutters, with ancestral gestures they handle the laye, bretture and right-taillant, which makes a noise that sounds like screeching."

If one considers that Pierre Simard worked as a professional mason and that he to lived more than forty years in a middle of stonecutters, casters and carpenters, one might be inclined to believe that the nickname of Lombrette would have come from his profession and would have been given to him by his workmates; he would want them to say that the mason Simard had worked with "the long brette," that the stroke of his arm on the stone was energetic and healthy; in brief, it would be necessary to see a manly feature for this to work here. We confess that we prefer this interpretation to all others.

Unless one fails to invoke the sense that the rather clearly defined words "brette," "bretter" and "bretteux" have in Canada, others could insinuate that the Lombrette was slow with work, preferring to be an idle slacker. That character trait does not fail to sting, but it is necessary to note that Pierre Simard brought this nickname from his native village and didn't acquire it in this country.

There exists other explanations from those who know how to present ancestors with the least number of disparaging insinuations. One amateur genealogist, of recent memory, being greatly pleased with some research to standardize the interpretation of names used to produced the Tanguay Dictionary and in order to discover, whenever possible, the origin of these old names, believes there should be an etymological hypothesis. She did not enjoy any additional positive and peremptory corroboration of the facts, but does not fail of interest:  "I want to finish, she writes in a letter, closing as a little part of the "big brette" or large axe of Pierre Simard Lombrette and of his son, in that I am at "chip" of it, two times by the Desbiens and once by Bouchard.

It is ingenious to resort to the "long brette" rather that to "the ombrette" in explaining that the nickname of the Simards came of Puymoyen. But I have become accustomed to believing that Lombrette was just other distortion of a place denoting some anterior background with the staying of some Simards at Puymoyen. This place would be Ambérac, named for the district of Saint-Amand-de-Boixe (of which you speak), on the Charente it descends toward Angoulême and Puymoyen is hardly ten miles north of the capital of Angoumoise.

"One knows that there are thousand of names with "ac" within confines of the Old Provincial languages that are pronounced in more than a single way. One says "ac," but it is often "ar"; and especially "a," but just as frequently "att."

There are many regions in the country where they pronounce "bratte" when they write "bérac." The initial syllable is rather "amm," as dully as if it was "omn." To go from of Ambérac to "of Ombrette" does not present many shades of difference. I believed the Simards from Puymoyen had been some people from Ambérac, to the anterior generations, and that wherever they went one would say they were the Simards of Ambérac. One cannot guarantee which way it was pronounced back then, nor for how many generations it was said; but assuredly the Angoumoisins, as well that the Canadians, could change into Ombrette anything which sounded like Ombrette. By putting an "l" and an apostrophe there, is all that remains to do to that ombrette."

Although he is from there, with the nickname, Lombrette manages to be better off at Puymoyen, while vague news of misery abates throughout the kingdom. The war mostly affects the rich but soon invasion by imperial armies in 1638, whose campaigns inflict dismay, brings on the intensive recruitment for soldiers. And when the great Richelieu died in 1642, he had already lost a lot of his popularity. But he deserves merit for development of New France by organizing the Company of One Hundred Associates and his imposing leadership in providing many colonists.

The death of Louis XIIIth in 1643, well attended by regency and its unavoidable troubles, finished breaking down the peasants in complete misery.  "A historian could write a complete book, replete with monotonously touching testimonies, about the destitution in the time of the Catapult. In all the testimonies, one would find the same awful details on the odious excesses of some soldiers, the pestilence and the famine. " It was in this era that Providence caused Saint Vincent de Paul to appear.

So much calamity pushed some families to attempt the great adventure of emigration. In truth, we are not surprised that there was not more; during the fifty years that followed the foundation of Quebec, hardly a hundred emigrants passed into Canada. For this purpose alone, the Company of One Hundred Associates was hired to recruit four thousand colonists from 1620 to 1643.

One wonders how it was that only such a small handful of emigrants, notes the cannon Groulx, came to Canada in a quarter of a century. France was, at that time, the most populous country in Europe. Should not the astonishment at this point have been the opposite, where they would have come in greater numbers than a thousand? The truth was that the men who would attempt this adventure were not lacking in the kingdom of Louis XIIIth. Razilly estimated there were 200,000 French husbands who, at that time, served abroad in order to be not treated as "fools and hypochondriacs." In 1635 Father LeJeune asked if it was not better "to unload Old France in the New by colonization instead of populating foreign countries." About 1660, did not Pierre Boucher demand of Colbert "discharges from Old France which was so abundant in men that the kingdoms and their foreign colonies could be populated from there, day in and day out." But why unleash these considerable migrations when they would only serve those conspiring against this type of departure? We had to be part of oceanic migrations, it was said, in the XVIIth century: the six to eight weeks of being tossed from side to side on a fragile wash basin, which was less comfortable for the passengers than the liners of today, was beastly, with price being the biggest obstacle to the crossing enterprise: risks of epidemic and death came from the pestilential holds and, during some years, the risk of falling into the hands of the English privateers and Dunkirkers. There was nothing to persuade the masses to act in any other manner, such the gold fever of Spain, the religious and political persecutions of England; but in opposition, there was all the frightening and insidiously dangerous propaganda; the colonist were depicted in epigrams as the trouble makers of the alleyways and courts, representing semi foolish second class adventurers; and of Canada itself, one called it the Mother of the Incarnation, describing it like "a place of horror," on the "outskirts of hell."

In fact, life in New France did not offer anything in the way of comfort during the period from 1635 to 1665 for, in addition of all the inherent rigors of the beginning regime of colonization, one added the constant insecurity of a war sustained against the cruel Iroquois. Causing the population to constantly bend under the weight of the overwhelming menace of a prospective massacre. This was an era when a poor colonist had to work with a rifle within hand reach. Ferland wrote: "The French families scattered on the banks of the Saint Lawrence were exposed to continual dangers. During the day, men were attacked in the corners of a field, the edge of the woods or on the waters of a big stream; in order to surprise their victims, the marauding Iroquois would remained hidden behind fallen trees, in swamps or in the middle of the rushes on the beach; during the night, they prowled about the houses, seeking to surprise some defenseless family. "

Their numbers were too few in New France; in France, on the contrary, there were too many paupers. So many of the French adventurers, who were then running the world, were desirable of practicing an intensive policy of emigration and the beneficial results that could be obtained from it: Relief for the population, fortifying the French empire in America before those of England, Spain or Holland, increased prestige for France, and the process of fortifying the colony in order to dominate the savage tribes and repulse English incursions. But the kingdom was no more than an enclosed field where the Great Ones argued.

Similar to so many of other households of this era, the Simards began working on an idea that first causes fear, then returns to thread its way through the heart of men.  "There is over there, say the Relations, some lands undeveloped since the birth of world"; they await a master. Here in France, there is nothing more than misery on top of misery and war after war.

Noel was eighteen years old and his sister, Suzanne, sixteen; as for their parents, they were twice that at about fifty. In 1653 there was a big event happening in the Charentes: at La Rochelle, before a notary, one hundred and fifty candidates were hired to leave for New France in order to settle at Montreal. But, in a very revealing sign of the times, at the time of departure, nearly fifty of them failed to show up. Hesitation kept away a number of people who wanted to go, but did not dare to embark, for Canada.

From time to time after winter, on the departure of ships, they heard about those who had committed, that a son was also preparing to do the same: it was Pierre Couc Lafleur, of Cognac, or Jean Abaillargeon, of Londigny, or Nicolas Durand, of Cheremmet. Nöel Simard returned home with this news, which caused some less than approving comments.

During the twenty-five year period, from 1642 to 1667, recruitment of colonists in the provinces of the Charente was revealed as slight in intensity, since there were hardly more than 60 departures that had taken place: 21 from Saintonge, 27 from Aunis and 11 from Angoumois. Up through 1655, could we possibly count very many more than about 30? Moreover, it is necessary to know that, during this era, the total population in the Canadian colony didn't reach 700 people. It was only through Colbert, under the personal reign of Louis XIVth, there came the establishment of a real emigration movement from France to Canada.

When fall brought back family members dispersed by work during the good season, the subject around the fireplace concerned the misery of the time and the eventual advantages of establishment in the colonies. In the Simard home, the mother tried to understand her twenty year old son who insistently returned to this topic. In the beginning, Lombrette was slow to answer the overtures of his son; silent, he rather let his wife abound in reasons of opposition and disapproval. But, little by little, his tacit resistance crumbled; at first he tried to attenuate the mother's rigorous refusals, demonstrating an additional opinion more in line with the views of Noel, even taking to defending him with the causes of emigrant. Often Suzanne mixed into the discussion on the side of her mother. Mealtimes provided the opportunity for decisive intentional confrontations between the women, anxious about their security, and the men, attracted by the adventure.

Winter passed with these discussion, as the parties affirmed their positions and, come springtime, the Simards found themselves faced with the decision of which option to take.

Noel decided to leave for New France. He met with the colonial recruited and gave his promise to be present for first departure of the season. Then a true drama exploded in the house. The father facing this fact was more encouraged in his resolve, hoping the complete family would follow Nöel to the colony. There Suzanne could quickly find a husband and the parents, in addition to the satisfaction of living with their children, still had enough work years and energy remaining to help establish them.

But alas! during this entire process, the mother provided only opposition and a categorical no. And her daughter supported her.

Well if Simard history did not fall back into common obscurity during this time of rejection, it was because of the way the two men faced it, one being overtaken by events. It is necessary to replace the domestic problems with concrete circumstances to understand the attitude of the two women: very natural fear, caused by the prospect of a new life of nearly heroic requirements, seized them by the heart. It was the firmness of the colonial candidates that causes greater astonishment.

Was it at this moment that the father became the party who followed his son? Or was he himself the instigator of the departure? It is impossible to clarify such questions, but there well was a consummate drama. The family split itself into two pieces; Pierre Simard and his son would leave for Canada in the spring of 1657, with one leaving the old country, his wife and daughter, the other his mother and sister.

Their departure must have occurred during the last days of May. Some very explicit documents show that Lombrette worked at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré on July 24 1657 and that on May 28, they had not yet left Puymoyen.

Indeed, at the end of May we can place him at the old house for the marriage of the son of Pierre's brother Marsault. It appears that on this occasion he was no longer in charge of the house, since it was the uncle Pierre who was requested to be a witness to the marriage contract. This Jacques was surely passed thirty; when he married a widow, Madeleine David, before lady Genis Brun.

They were allowed a get together, at which the two Lombrettes participated, before their embarkation. Whereupon seeing all the relations reunited, it was hoped they would understand the conditions of the voyage and the establishment promises that attracted them overseas. To their family, the father and son did not represent hero figures. Even in the departures that were approved of, one wonders about the resolve and staying convinced that those who remained behind were not better off. For even more so than today, it is easy to presume, the peasants of that time were themselves fixed to the soil and by a desire to stay at home.

The period during which the crossing was completed was less than three months. It was the movements of shipping during that spring which easily allows us to precisely establish when this was achieved by the Lombrettes. Indeed the Jesuit missionaries of Quebec had for several years already kept a Journal in which, without fail, they recorded the arrival of French ships and from where they had departed; because, for the small colony of five hundred inhabitants clinging to the rock of Quebec, it contained all of the important developments. Therein one finds recorded, during the 1657 season, the arrival of four ships of the distant past: first, on 21 May, was the appearance of a Basque ship under the command of a captain Marot and having previously arrived in Tadoussac; exactly one month later, on 21 June, there came another ship, the "Le Taureau," with a captain Tardourneau, who arrived from La Rochelle after a particularly easy crossing; on 29 July, after a rough crossing, a boat finally brought Mr. de Maisonneuve, governor of Montreal, and Mr. de Queylus, along with several other priests, who started from Nantes two month earlier; finally in September, the only ship to arrive was the one on which a new governor, the Viscount of Argenson,

Chart of the coast of St Francis Xavier, from Cape Maillard, listing land concessions made by the Seminary of Quebec (From Seminary archives)

Partial photo of Noel Simard’s marriage contract starting at the beginning and finishing with the ancestral signatures (taken from the authentic document in the Quebec Archives) had embarked but, due to being discouraged by excessive storms, had returned to France from Ireland and did not resume his journey until 1658.

Pierre Simard and his son came, therefore, to La Rochelle to embark on the "Taureau" departing for Quebec on the last day of May. One report states that "on 10 April 1657 there appeared before master Abel Cherbonnier, notary at La Rochelle, the ship owner Francois Perron and captain Elie Tadourneau, a merchant co-owner of "Taureau." He was hired to provide passage and services to Quebec, for fifteen persons, of which six were girls." The ship entered in the roadsteads of Quebec on 21 June and did not depart for La Rochelle until the following 26 September.

The one way journey from Puymoyen to La Rochelle, totaling more than eighty miles, was made with all diligence after 28 May. As for the two Suzannes, their silhouettes dim in a gesture of definitive farewell. What part of a relationship can be maintained with the other part on the ocean? Mail was practically non existent and these poor people did not know how to write. During this era, to leave was to do little more than die...

In 1661, when Pierre Simard donated his possessions to his son on the occasion of his marriage, he still had not given up on seeing his daughter Suzanne in New France, for he obliged his son to reserve a dowry: "obligating however his son Nöel Simard, declares the contract, in case that his sister Suzanne who is in France comes to live in this country, that he will give to his said sister the sum of three hundred pounds in order to provide a fair payment for her to marry."

Suzanne never came to this country. None the less, it is safe to assume, she did not know of this donation, whose terms betray the desires of the father to gather all of his family with him. Was she even alive as of this date? Five years later, we found her mother withdrawn to Angoulême, at the home of Madame Marie Baurye, wife of the tailor Mr. Pierre Panisseau. She had lived alone there for a period of time and planned to die there, since before the notary Guyot, on 27 October 1666, she assigns all her possessions in favor of this woman who harbors her.

Here, in its eloquent conciseness, is the will of this abandoned woman, who considers herself widowed:

"In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. I, Suzanne Durant, widow of Pierre Simard, being from this town of Angoulesme, with the grace of God, being of a whole mind and with understanding, considering that there is nothing more certain than death nor nothing more uncertain than the hour of its coming, have caused this my last will and testament to be made in the form and manner which ensues. First I commend my soul to God, my creator, and to the glorious Virgin Mary, praying they will pardon the faults and sins that I committed in this mortal world and that after my soul is separated from my body allow it conversation with the blessed in Paradise; my said body is to be buried in the cemetery of Our Lady of Beaulieu in this town of Angoulesme, wherein Marie Baurye, wife of Pierre Panisseau, tailor of clothes, will take the pains and care of praying to God for my soul. I hereby give, at this place by my present testimony and in case of death, all pieces of our common property furniture and conquests and a third of all my patrimonial possessions of whatever nature they may be and in whatever location they may be situated and seated, for the good and agreeable services that the said Baurye has rendered and (that) I further hope to receive from her, of which I have her [reluiée] (Sic) by these presents to enjoy after my death as (her) own complete property as their other things, domains and inheritances, revoking all other wills, donations, codicils and other similar things, (in a manner) that they will be null and without effect: but I well want understood here and then that my said present last will and testament was voluntarily made and properly executed, after having it read three distinct times I agree before the undersigned notary, of whom I thus requested, stipulated and recognized, and to whom I am submissive in his jurisdiction, obligate and hypothecate all and each of my present and future possessions.

"Made and passed in the house of the said Baurye, where the said testatrix makes her abode in this town, the twenty seventh day of October gbjc (one thousand six hundred) sixty six, in the presence of Francois Guyot, merchant, and Pierre Mousnier, clerk, residents of this said village of Angoulesme as required witnesses, and to the said testatrix declaring not to require further inquiry and explanation.


     (Signed;)     F. Guyot (with initials) pnt

                        P. Mousnier (with initials) pnt

                        Micheau (as) notary and

                                           royal recorder


     (Registry of Micheau, from the departmental Archives of the Charente at Angoulême)





  "In our chests we brought the heart of our countrymen, valiant and vivacious, as prompt with pity as with laughter, the heart most human of all human hearts:  it has not changed."

                     Louis Hemon, Maria Chapdelaine,

                                          Nelson, 1934, 195.



 Only the determination of facing the risks of an overseas voyage during this era tempered such will power and prepared them for the most demanding careers. Yet these were no more than poor peasants absorbed in the routine of a sedentary life taking place on a frail vessel: where a few men decided for all, these men had quit everything and were going forward to another world to commence a new life.

They all knew from the outset that during four to six weeks they would undergo "the perils of death." They also confessed, took communion and most even dictated a last will and testament before embarkation. At sea, death had many ways of taking victims: wrecks, drownings, attack by privateers, scurvy, typhus, fevers. We can say that the ship carrying the new governor, after its departure in the year 1657, had suffered in similar storms and after two attempts at resumption, released Mr. de Argenson in Ireland who, for his part, had renounced the crossing. A ship in 1653, shared by Mr. de Maisonneuce, Marguerite Bourgeoys and a hundred colonists, was afflicted with an epidemic at sea that cost the lives of ten passengers. According to the historian Salone, we can deduce the mean number of deaths during crossings at a third. It is very certain that in 1662, a contingent of colonists conducted by Pierre Boucher lost forty people.

It is necessary to represent the spirit of arduous conditions on such a trip in order to evaluate the difficulties and, likewise, we cannot fail to recall the account of a very pertinent observation on a voyager in 1639: "It is something else to experience inconveniences of the sea than to only hear talk. When one sees the two fingers of death, one is found very astonished."

In a very suggestive study, an author reconstructs for us the various elements which allow imagining an oceanic crossing like ones the colonists of the XVIIth century must have known: a description of the ship, embarking of travelers, regimen of life on board, sudden voyage changes.

"The meals, about which one reads, were generally taken in groups of five or six gathered around a common dish placed on the floor."  "The biscuit, basis of the meal, was made in part with a half pound of plain flour (coquerelles), kneaded into a ball with sea water, to which one had added a half quart of fresh water. These biscuits, stored in a hot storeroom combined with humidity, spoiled, however, less than the other stores. Not having a choice, one ate with appetite, but preferred the night, in order not to see the green and sense less of the spoilage."  (J.- B. Charcot.)

The trip of Pierre and Nöel Simard, even if they escaped storms, was not exempt from concerns and continuous deprivations. Dragging the length of days between two infinites, the travelers had time to wonder. What feelings were born in them? Did they already know some sadness and nostalgia? or was hope alone enough to fill their souls? Were the two Lombrettes also enthusiasts whereby they must have constantly encourage one another? Was it the father dragging the son to the colony or the son who caused his father to accompany him?

Noel’s case does not contain anything extraordinary. A twenty year old young man going off to establish himself, even with the definitive price of separation, looking only at what he believed to be prudent evidence of the future. It is harder to discover reasons that moved the father, this professional man who had passed fifty and who left the old country, a wife and a daughter. Did he really want to permanently break with so many of his obligations and attachments or did he only go over there to settle his son and viewed this as an occasion to see a little of this country before he died? Was it his intention to return to France or to begin another life over there? Did he abandon his family in confusion or did he leave just in order to subsist?

Life recommenced with the appearance of the Canadian coast, at the approaches to the New-Land. Normally ships made a stopover at Ile de Anticosti or Gaspé in order to renew stores of fresh water and meat. The colonists disembarked to land, the new party trampled through the virgin soil and breathed in the grand features of pure Canadian spring air. It was mid June and nature was deployed in resplendence.

Then the voyagers, having returned on board, waited impatiently for revelations of the country. First they skirted the south banks until the vicinity of Isle Verte, and from there, head toward Tadoussac and the mouth of Saguenay. Stopping again, first there were some natives camped at the fur stretching post; then the arrivals found there were also a number of their compatriots, curious for recent news from the old country.

Then came the Laurentides that align with their superb capes, the foot of which bathes in the waters of this river that again becomes a sea. The ship skirts the Ilse of Coudres, twice as fast the Cape Tourmente and commits smoothly between the Island of Orléans and the coast of Beaupré. Finally there is Quebec, settled on its promontory, already superb in its welcome. Those arriving can hardly believe their eyes: the country is unsurpassed in beauty and fertility and all that one could hope for. In this season, greening forest were on all shores, covering some log cabins here and there.

While the ship was between roadsteads, the travelers examine the dwellings of Quebec with great interest. Up there, was the residence of the Governor, the Château Saint-Louis and the Fort; all about were the buildings of the hospital, the Jesuits College, the barely completed future cathedral, the Ursulines Monastery and, located at the base of the Chateau, an encampment of Hurons who had taken refuge near the Frenchmen. The peculiar houses of the residents, barely seventy, were constructed at the base of the promontory, closer to the river, on Sault-aux-Matelots street.

Pierre Simard and his Nöel son suddenly felt comforted, like the other colonists, in viewing the appearance of these hospitable places, despite their simplicity, where some of their valorous compatriots were awaiting them. But an irresistible emotion swelled in their throats when they put foot on the soil of Quebec.

The settlement of the newcomers posed no lengthy problems for their needs, during the course of this difficult period, all doors were opened to the men without hesitation and the women who came assumed their share of the common burden. And soon it was the new arrivals who were noted for reassurance they themselves brought to the inhabitants of Quebec. It was on upon them, during the summer of 1657 and the greatest war against the Iroquois, that the colony depended day and night in order to stay alive. The Iroquois prowled constantly around Quebec dwellings, camping in the midst of the colonists and circulating off the Ile de Orleans coast, under the pretext of negotiating a peace with the Hurons and Frenchmen.

At this time, the colony had as an interim governor the son of former governor Lauzon, who had resigned the previous year and departed immediately for France, discouraged by the failures of his administration. Charles de Lauzon Charny, too young and inexperienced, scarcely succeeded better at maintaining command and security amid the sudden changes of fortune caused by this war that undermined the strength of life in the colony. It was before him, however, that the new colonists were presented in order to ratify their admission into the country.

It was at the end of July, having departing from Nantes on the preceding 17 May, that Mr. Ailleboust returned from France; Mr. de Lauzon hardly gave him time to get settled in Montreal with Mr. de Maisonneuve when, in September, he called upon him to remove from his hands the too difficult charge of governing the colony until the following year, when Mr. de Argenson would finally arrive.

As soon as the essential processes were over and the most pressing problems of settling resolved, Pierre Simard found work as a mason on the coast of Beaupré.1 He was about to undertake the masonry of a chimney and gable on a house for the account of its inhabitant, Etienne de Lessard. This Lessard was already a well settled farmer at Petit Cap, owner of one of the great domains and first Lord of the island of Courdres, which he would later sell to Monsignor de Laval in 1687. He had been the husband of Marguerite Sevestre for five years and was presently constructing a secure home for his family.

Pierre Simard was welcomed in this family, with whom he would establish lasting relationships. Nöel, working near his father; spoke with Lessard regarding establishment projects.

For his part, Etienne de Lessard gladly volunteered that he intended to grant of a vast tract of his property for raising a church devoted to Sainte Anne. For several years already, navigators and sailors had vowed to raise a chapel at this place on the coast where the dangers of navigating the water are finished. And it was to the venerable grandmother of Christ that they have always assigned the celestial protection obtained for their voyages. Now their vows were going to be achieved, for a piece of land two acres on the front and a mile and a half deep were staked out in such a manner for disposition to the missionaries. Mr. de Queylus came to reconnoiter the area himself and determine the exact location of construction that would begin next spring.

The Lombrettes also worked, in the summer of 1657, after the Lessard site, on the construction of a stronghold on the coast to better assure the defense of the colonists against any surprise attack by the Iroquois. The island of Orleans, in not providing much in the way of security for the poor Hurons who were settled there, had also necessitated their establishment in a fortified camp like Quebec.

Between times, the colonists looked for land to acquire. Their professional dealings facilitated the task and soon a work mate, a mason like Pierre Simard, by the name of Pierre Gibouin, reported that the land neighboring his own, in Beaupré, would offer all the desirable advantages. This land was, in the lordship of Beaupré, on the section that today corresponds to the very parish of Sainte Anne, not far from the domain of Etienne de Lessard, also next to the one of Robert Paré. On the other side neighboring Pierre Gibouin, spread the land of Etienne Racine, another inhabitant since the first hour of New France.

We know that the immense lordship that went from the Montmorency river to the one at Gouffre was conceded, on the day following the death of Champlain, to the Secretary of the Company of One Hundred Partners, in order to be shared immediately between eight shareholders. Between all of them, the only who had come to Canada, was specifically the last governor in charge, Mr. de Lauzon. It was from him that Pierre Gibouin and Robert Paré had obtained their concession of lands, and now his son had also replaced him in the office of distributor of lots in the name of the Lords of Beaupré.

At the time, Mr. Charles de Lauzon Charny was preparing himself to leave the colony in order to rejoin his elderly father in France; he would embark on September 12. The Lombrettes hastened to obtain from him, before he left, a concession for the plot of land situated between the one of Gibouin and Paré. It was therefore after the end of August, having fulfilled their usage bond in the first days of September, that they obtained the like measured title of possession from the lordship of Beaupré.

They had visited this land before, they had seen its entire width while coming from Quebec to Petit Cap: now they were returning there as masters to take possession. All that remained was to take it: reclamation of a plot to put under culture, construction of buildings with one for dwelling. But they were not only the tasks which were of concern to these vigorous men who had resolved where to live. They were there with regards to the terms of an otherwise most arduous and painful enterprise, the one concerning their departure from France and entry into Canada.

They also had souls full of hope, despite the difficult conditions in which they found themselves, necessary to become established. The terrifying danger that was maintained by the presence of Iroquois in the area rendered life for the poor colonists nearly untenable. The people spoke only of horrors committed by these savages and of perpetrated massacres.

At the end of October, they heard of a new atrocity perpetrated by a party of Onneyouts at Point Saint-Charles. Nicolas Godé was constructing the entry to his house with his sons-in-law, Jean de Saint-Père and Jacques Noël when they received a visit from troublesome friends. After giving them food and drink, and sacrificing several hours, they believed they could again go back to work and went up on the roof of the house, without bringing their weapons. The Iroquois then took hold of the portable flintlock guns and, choosing their victims, killed all three of them at one time.

"Also as barbarous as treacherous, relates one historian, these savages hastened to take the scalps of Nicolas Godé and Jacques Noël; then they cut off the head of Jean de Saint-Père, in order not to break his lovely hair, which they wanted to triumphantly exhibit in their village. The authors of this triple murder took flight immediately, carrying with them the bloody trophies testifying to their atrocity. This then produced a strange phenomenon of which several authors speak and which appears to be a case of hearing hallucinations. The venerable Sister Marguerite Bourgeoys makes mention of it in these terms:  "The savages having carried away the head of Saint-Père in order to have his lovely hair, one reported some days later that his head spoke to them. Mr. Cuillerier (who, having been taken, was in their area) attested that it was true; others had also assured that the head spoke and that the savages heard it several times."

It was under the continual apprehensions caused by perilous incidents that the Simards organized in order to winter on their land at Petit Cap. In a barely completed tumbledown cottage, scarcely supplied with any comforts of elementary furnishings, alone to do their own cooking, they looked at the fall nights closing in more quickly on their work, the cold weather, then the snow covering the entire area and the isolation was able to circumscribe their hearts until their home was firmly assured.

During this first winter for the Canadian colonists, they proved the excellence of their valor! Did the Simards compare their present situations to Puymoyen, the old church, the relatives? Did they especially think of the two women, whose presence if close to them would be so precious? Given their experience, it was rendered that they would have found life here too difficult: they voluntarily conceded it was better that they had stayed in the Charente area. But their absence was the sole shadow on their satisfaction.

They were established on good land, in a totally new country, with a beautiful future before them. In summary, they were satisfied. If their women had been there, a wife, a daughter, a mother a sister, these would have been some happy men.

But happiness is not of this earth. And the times were not for soft idealists!


Winter passed and the fifty Iroquois that had found it necessary to suffer in the encampment at the entrance to Quebec were hardly concerned with the presence of the inhabitants around them, without protection from robbery and in an isolation that left them defenseless. A party of Frenchman, that stayed the winter in the Onnontagués district, found themselves exposed to greater reprisals if they tried harder to counter these depredations.

The colonists were protected by their neighbors. Those of the Simard's were a single man on one side, living by himself, Pierre Gibouin who controlled their land, and on the other side were the spouses Robert Pare and Françoise Lehoux, married since 1653 and about to have a third child who they would call Noël, after the valiant young man of Lombrette.

Spring brought the inhabitants of the coast great joy. During the first beautiful days of March (the 13th), Etienne de Lessard arrived quickly from the home of the Governor himself, Mr. de Ailleboust, accompanied by the abbot Vignal, delegate of the Vicar General, Mr. de Quelus. They came to officially recognize the terrain ceded by Lessard for the raising of a church devoted to Sainte Anne. A large number of colonists from the coast came to the lands with them, all close to the river, where a branch chapel had already been constructed by some sailors. Mr. de Ailleboust approved the site choice, Mr. de Vignal proceeded with his blessing and everybody immediately went to work on the foundations: the Governor in charge, others digging and bringing stone. Included in the workmen was a poor invalid who attempted to provide assistance. Then, a moment after he had put down a stone, he straightened up and felt new life resuscitating in his half paralyzed limbs. It was a miracle, a sign that Heaven had recognized the holiness of this place and the first of an unremitting set of marvels that spilled over Canadian land through the intercession of Sainte Anne. The person receiving this miracle was named Louis Guimond; three years later, he fell into the hands of Iroquois who made him undergo the cruelest of torments and was, in a manner similar to the priest who blessed the works, Mr. de Vignal, massacred and eaten by the barbarians.

The chapel they were constructing could not serve as a church; they soon realized that the soil there was too wet to sustain a permanent building and decided to transfer the sailor's chapel closer to a small hill and change the construction to make it larger and more solid.

For the moment, colonists saw reason to rejoice, for the promise of erecting a chapel had been made and the blessings of God descended upon them. Mr. de Ailleboust, while returning to Quebec, visited some of the strongholds raised for defense of the coast against Iroquois incursions and hurried along the task of their completion: the Simards took part in all these activities.

It was only in July that the interim governor could be relieved by Mr. de Argenson from the responsibility of managing the country. The new Governor was welcomed with deference and great satisfaction by the entire population: the Jesuits gave a public reception at their college where, in a scenic play, interpreted by pupils, Frenchman, Hurons and Algonquins welcomed the viceroy in their respective languages. But as soon as the day after his arrival, during the course of a banquet, Mr. de Argenson had a flagrant demonstration of Iroquois fierceness: before his eyes, they murdered three Algonquin women. A struggle to the death would follow.

About the same date a year later, a ship arrived at Quebec carrying Monsignor de Laval. This was a particularly historic date for the Lombrettes. Without a doubt they were among the crowd that cheered the prelate and prostrated themselves when he touched everybody with his blessed hand. Noël, that evening after having attended the reception at the harbor, and in the procession at the church, must have felt a mysterious joy in himself: for here had come someone who would be more than a father to him.

He now felt very settled in this country: He was a young man with a future who maintained friendly relations with all inhabitants of the coast; during the course of the summer of 1659, Madame de Lessard herself requested him to become titled as godfather during the baptism of a baby at the home of the Meuniers.

So while the Governor pursued a war against the Iroquois, Monsignor de Laval made a tour of the institutions and families of his town; while in Montreal, he encountered heroic prodigies who built an efficient gate against invasion from the always menacing barbarians, during which time Dollard des Ormeaux along with seventeen others, brave like himself, sacrificed their lives; inhabitants sowed their fields across the stumps of trees, increased their herds and constructed their homes. Soon Nöel Simard could think of bringing a wife to his home. Not only was he twenty three years old, but he had the land under his feet and a future before him.

If we can believe the Narrations of the Jesuits, the establishment of the inhabitants became very busy in spite of the Iroquois. Here we read about them in 1660:

"It is necessary to confess that on its face a stay at our French colonies would be agreeable, if the dread of the Iroquois did not render it dangerous: the land is one of happy relationships and, providing the farmer works carefully at cultivating it, in few years he will see it, not only out necessity, but as an easier life for himself, his wife and his children. We have seen several who, having had a concession that does not cost anything here but their asking, in less than five or six years collect wheat abundantly enough to feed their entire family and with some to sell. They have all the commodities of a farm; they see some riches in the beastly times, providing a life exempt of bitterness and full of joy."

"In a few years the families multiply, for the air of this country is very wholesome, one sees few children die in the cradle. Although the winters are long and snow covers the earth for five whole months, to a depth of three, four and five feet, the cold weather, however, appears to be more bearable than in France, because the winters here are not rainy, which is reasonable for those with the woods at their door.... Often one is seen carrying fish before him in abundance, principally eel which in this country is very excellent, not being mushy like those in France. In the months of September and October, fishing for eels is so wonderful, that they will bring in forty, fifty, sixty or seventy thousand. And it is good that one finds the means to conveniently salt them and, through this method, preserve their goodness. During the winter, one encounters rabbits on the snow and our Frenchmen may kill thirty and forty as their share, their meat being easily preserved by the frost and serving as a provision during the winter; the skins being even more precious. This hunting once appeared impossible to our Frenchmen and now serves them as recreation. They are also setting traps to catch beaver, which are one of the great wealths of this country."

It was time for Nöel to think of marriage: the one that he discerned to be in his future was now at the age and development to make him a good wife. This was surely not settled, since she belonged to one of the oldest families of New France and her mother was the very first of all the Canadians born in the country, daughter of the celebrated Abraham Martin dit l'Ecossais that everybody from Quebec personally knew. That Nöel Simard would even look for a wife there at the home of Etienne Racine, already testifies to the consideration given to where one would place him in his surroundings.

Madeleine Racine had just turned fifteen years old (26 July) and her brother, who was eighteen, was also named Nöel like the Lombrette; she also had a sister who, already a bride of five years to Mr. Simon Guyon, was a model wife. And the Racines were neighbors; hardly two plots separated theirs from the Simards on the Quebec side.

The betrothal did not present any difficulties and Nöel, since the beginning of fall, had been going over the possible terms of a marriage contract with his father. Then Pierre Simard judged the moment had come to transfer the property he possessed to his son. At Toussaint, Nöel presented himself at the home of the Racines to ask for their daughter Madeleine in marriage, agreeing on all future steps, including those of the parents, to be taken; they spoke of the establishment of a new household and fixed the date of the nuptials.

It was thus that on the 13 of the same month, we found these good people united around Master Andouart, notary of Quebec, who came expressly to write a marriage contract. This document deserves to be reproduced "in extenso," because of the interesting information which it discloses:

"By and before Guillaume Andouart, secretary of Counsel established in Quebec by the King, notary of New France, and the undersigned witnesses, personally appeared Etienne Racine, inhabitant dwelling on the coast of Beaupré, Marguerite Martin, his wife, sufficiently authorized to effect these presents as a party, in whose name likewise stipulate for Marie-Madeleine Racine, their daughter, in acceptance of these presents, aged fifteen to sixteen years or thereabout, for her and in her name as a party; and Nöel Simard, son of Pierre Simard, inhabitant also dwelling on the aforesaid coast of Beaupré, and of Suzanne Durand, his father and mother as the other party; of which parties, and in the presence of and asking consent from their parents and friends gathered for the topic that follows, with knowledge, on the part of the aforesaid Marie-Madeleine Racine, of Etienne Racine and Marguerite Martin, her father and mother, Nöel Racine, brother, Abraham Martin and Marguerite Langlois, inhabitants dwelling near Quebec, grandfather and grandmother of the aforesaid Marie-Madeleine Racine, Jean Cloutier and Marie Martin, uncle and aunt of the aforesaid Marie-Madeleine Racine; and before the party of said Nöel Simard, of Pierre Simard, father of said Nöel Simard, Pierre Gibouin, Claude Poulin, Robert Paré, all inhabitants from the said coast of Beaupré, friends and neighbors of said Nöel Simard; Recognizing and confessing to have made the settlements of marriage, agreements, grants, donations and conventions which follow for reasons of said marriage which, at the pleasure of God, will be celebrated before our Holy Mother Catholic Church, Apostolic and Roman, as soon as they are so advised and deliberate between themselves and their said parents and friends, if God and our said Holy Mother Church agree to and so grant, it is with the knowledge: that the aforesaid Etienne Racine and Marguerite Martin, father and mother of the aforesaid Marie-Madeleine Racine, have promised to give unto said Nöel Simard, who promises to take by name and law of marriage as his wife and legitimate spouse, likewise the aforesaid Marie-Madeleine Racine also promises to take him as her legitimate spouse,  the aforesaid future spouses will not be held to the debts made by the other and created before the future marriage and for which nothing will be paid and fulfilled for the benefit of the one for whom they were created; the aforesaid future spouses will be one and in common possession of all furnishings and buildings, common property and acquisitions as of the day of the nuptials; and in favor of said future marriage, Pierre Simard, father, having considered that his son Nöel Simard helped him with own sound work to make and put his concession in a habitable state and that he spent all his youth there, he gives to him as a present at least half of the foundation, house and barn, along with the animals and furniture or other like things encountered there as compensation for said sound work, and regarding the other half of the said house, the aforesaid Pierre Simard declares that he is in favor of said marriage and gives the foundation to him as a donation reserving the rights of use and enjoyment during his life, however, obligating his said son Nöel Simard in the case that his sister Suzanne Simard who is in France comes to live in this country that he will provide the total sum of three hundred pounds to his said sister as a one time payment in order to help her get married; endowing the future spouse of the aforesaid future wife with the total sum of five hundred pounds and providing over all and individually for this one time payment; should death come to said future spouse before the aforesaid future wife, the aforesaid future wife will take that which she has brought into the marriage with her like dowry, along with her clothes and serving linen for her usage; and in order to arrive unto said marriage, the aforesaid Etienne Racine and Marguerite Martin, father and mother of the future wife, promise and must provide and deliver before said marriage in favor of and unto said future spouse by the eve of the nuptials, the quantity of eighteen mills of French wheat, together with two large bulls two to three years old, one cow, a mattress, a blanket, four drapes, two tablecloths and twelve napkins, two platters, four plates and a trunk, the total amounting to the sum of five hundred twenty six pounds, which will be kept at the proper place of the aforesaid future wife, besides her clothes and linen and other serving things for her usage and that she brings to the pnt (sic) aforesaid community, knowingly: two dress coats at sixty six pounds, a dozen of handkerchiefs and a dozen hats, a half dozen pairs of cuffs and an apron, all estimated... eight aulnes of canvas at four pounds per aulne for the amount of thirty two pounds, six shirts valued at three pounds six sols [tournois], which when totaled together herein adds up to one hundred nineteen pounds ten sols, the entire agreement between the parties, parents and undersigned friends, in promising each right and renouncement, made and passed in the house of said Mr. Racine situated on the coast of Beaupré, in the year one thousand six hundred sixty-one, November thirteenth in the presence of Jean Bourdon, Mr. de Romainville, and François Canto, undersigned witnesses, and the aforesaid future spouses have declared they do not know how to write either to sign or interpret the following ordinance, likewise so do Pierre Simard, father, Robert Paré, Abraham Martin, Marguerite Langlois, his wife.

   Nöel Simar              Simon Guyon               Mark of Pierre Simard X

Etienne Racine                Foucault

  Marguerite Martin      Canto       J. Bourdon               Androuart, not.

The signature of Nöel which appears well at the bottom of this text and the apparent usage declaration on his inability to sign it was of no concern; however, he would often arrive at some analogous circumstances where he abstained completely or is satisfied with only affixing his initials NS. But it is indeed necessary to recognize that a signing was not sufficient to prove that the author had instruction regarding or likewise knew how to read. This is not what is important to observe here, instead it is rather the lovely ease with which these inhabitants provided for their children with property, furnishings and buildings. Pierre Simard had not been in the country but four years and already he has given his son a piece of land, a house, some farm buildings and the necessary utensils for a farm household. The Racines permit their daughter to take with her all of her lingerie and personal estate articles. From this text there goes up a perfume of simple pride, an air of dignity.

Helping with the contract was the grandfather of Madeleine, Abraham Martin dit l'Ecossais, who was now seventy two years old. Patriarch of all, he sees a population growing with his innumerable offspring. One knows that he was a companion of Champlain, saw Kirke occupy Quebec and that he would lend his name to the plains where, more than a century later, the armies of Wolfe and Montcalm would meet. It could be that he and his aged wife especially preferred, of all  their descendants, this small number of Racines because they were the children of this Marguerite who forever remains the first Canadian born in the country.

The marriage took place the following week, 22 November, in the modest church of the Château-Richer in presence of Mr. Thomas Morel. After the wedding, the Lombrettes reintegrate their house by therein installing, like queen and mistress, a young woman of fifteen years. From there life was really to bloom in the home of the young pioneers. Their excellent work was resumed, while concerns remained high regarding the Iroquois and the struggle of Monsignor de Laval against their trading in brandy had hit its peak.

Seventeen months passed before their first birth. It was a boy and he was called Pierre, after his grandfather. A year and a half later, another son would carry the name of his father Noël.

Some sons. Already the Lombrettes think that it will be necessary to better establish themselves and begin to look for new lands to acquire. They look for godsends. Well then at the beginning of 1666, a neighbor, Etienne Bellinier decided to return to France. He was a young man of twenty years, original from Poitou, and maybe it was nostalgia that made him raise the foot. Additionally, he did not know if he would return; in any case, he left his land at Petits-Ruisseaux under the conditional control of Pierre Simard.

But he did return, for he could not find anything, in such a return to the old country, that would immunize an emigrant against regret. One finds him settled in the country during 1669, at Sainte-Family on the island of Orleans, married to a "daughter of the king" originally from the Saint-Sévérin parish in Paris. He had to take his land on the coast and sell it, and it was to the Simards that he gave it up.

The year 1666, however, brought great relief to all the colonists, for the menace of the Iroquois dissipated. Indeed, during the previous year, the much anticipated reinforcements had finally arrived at the colony. There was a summer of rejoicing in the arrivals of this joyous season: first one of four companies of soldiers on June 19th, including the Marquis de Tracy and then another of the four companies on the 30th, then one of colonists and girls July 16th and then, as a supplemental surprise, the landing of twelve lively horses. On August 19th, there was Mr. de Salières, colonel of the regiment of Carignan, who brought another of the four companies, being well attended the following day, by the final of the four. Finally, on 12 September, there were the ships Saint-Sébastien carrying intendant Talon and the Jardin de Hollande carrying Mr. de Courcelles, the new governor.

"In summary, the colony saw fortification by four or five hundred colonists, craftsmen and journeymen. Its magazines were overflowing with commodities and munitions. A small army of twelve to thirteen hundred elite men promised them a security unknown for twenty years. The presence of the three eminent officials, Misters de Tracy, Courcelles and Talon, completed their general happiness."

While New France adapted to an era of peace and prosperity, the children were growing at the Simard house and a girl was born who they named after her mother, Marie-Madeleine.

It was in October 1667 that a new opportunity to enlarging their domain was presented. Their neighbor Gibouin told the Simards that he was leaving; he was not married and if the Simards were interested in acquiring it, he offered his land for the sales price of fifteen hundred pounds. It was a plot three acres wide, cultivated to a depth of twelve acres, with buildings, animals and pieces of furniture.

For the fifteen hundred pounds, however, much of which they were unsure, the Lombrettes were well resolved to take advantage of this godsend. The grandfather already seeing the first of his grand children reach five years, carrying his name, had well succeeded. Another boy followed and others would also come, making it necessary that they also be established. Then in the house of the Lombrettes they started to think of ways to resolve this problem and find an acceptable solution.

Every fall, in honoring annual requirements, they went to Quebec to render faith and homage to their Lord and pay him the land rents of convention. This march brought the inhabitants from the coast of Beaupré to the same feet of Monsignor de Laval. For in 1664 indeed, the bishop of Quebec was already the acknowledged owner some three quarters of the lordship of Beaupré which he had acquired in sections from Julien Fortin dit Bellefontaine and Charles-Aubert de la Chesnaye.

This surely was not the first meeting of the Lombrettes with the eminent prelate with whom they were sure to find needed counsel and support. Monsignor de Laval, who knew how to judge men and discern their qualities and merits, had already seen in the Simards what he knew to be honest workers; in fact he felt that they deserved special consideration, which rendered him even more accessible.

It was not that he was particularly inclined to seek the confidences of the colonists who came from the southwest of the kingdom; he more preferred the people of Perche and Normandy, more laborious, in his opinion. Of this he had explained thusly to the great Colbert, during a 1662 trip to the court of Versailles:  "During your last stay here, responding thusly, you testified before me that the people from the vicinities of La Rochelle were lazy. The king made a resolution, following your opinion, to raise three hundred men from Normandy and the neighboring provinces."

But on this date, Monsignor de Laval did not yet know the Lombrettes; the confidence that the Bishop would gain in Nöel Simard during the coming years testifies that he did not confuse him with some compatriots less ardent to tasks. The Lombrettes, after having paid their yearly land rents, spoke to their Lord of their desire to buy the land of Pierre Gibouin their neighbor; they also said that money difficulties were keeping them from doing it: they asked him for fifteen hundred pounds, with the right to three remittances of five hundred pounds each every five years.

Monsignor de Laval preferred this kind of colonist to others who abandoned their lands and he approved of the Simards desire to enlarge. He removed all fear from them by promising help, when they need it, with his own money.

On the following October 16th, we find Nöel Simard and his father before the notary Aubert in order to effect the purchase of the land of Pierre Gibouin on terms fixed by the latter: a first remittance of five hundred pounds would be made in five years, the second in ten years and the third, in the case where the seller would have died, will be resolved... by prayers.1

Now work is restarted with greater enthusiasm. While the conditions of the last purchase did not cause anything pressing, it was now necessary to foresee the accumulation of savings, this was necessary in order to provide for two lands and feed a family that increased with the rhythm of each successive birth. March 4 1669, a boy came into the world, the Racine grandparents called him Etienne and would soon have the pleasure of seeing him see grow up near them:  "Their last descendant was already five years old."

September 4, 1671, it was a girl, Françoise; February 4, 1674, another boy, Joseph, April 3, 1676, again a boy, Augustin. The mother was only thirty years old and the household already counted eleven people. Happily the eldest began to help: here Pierre was now thirteen years old and Nöel twelve.

And all was going to get even better in the future. Monsignor de Laval had just returned from a stay in France, which lasted four years, and declared that he had decided to put his immense lordship into full exploitation, the entire rights of which had been ceded by the Company of Occidental Indies.


The stay in Canada of the intendant Talon, from 1665 to 1672, provoked a number of new activities and made an era of development know to the colony that was as intensive as it was brief. It was thanks to the initiative of this diligent royal official that Baie-Saint-Paul acceded to the order of current events. One enjoys underlining, not unlike a cask for the savoring of paradox, that this large and restful village, again completely engaged in its farming routine, was nevertheless born under the promising sign of industry.

During 1666, a French engineer sent in exploration of the region, by Talon, made the discovery of iron ore, the discovery of which the intendant speaks in his first annual report to Colbert. In 1667, there was seen, in the terrain upset by the tremors of 1663, the existence of saltpeter that gave hope of flourishing exploitations "providing there is sulfur," noted the prudent Talon. And later, from 1675 to 1682, and again around 1730, there were announcements of some silver and lead mines along the Gouffre river, at Cape-aux-Corbeaux and Cap-à-la-Raye. The inhabitants of these regions still await the day they will find many of the legendary riches.

Another industry resulted from intendant Talon that gave the area at Baie-Saint-Paul some establishments and provided work on a large scale for some years. Louis XIV had in effect recommended to the intendant, in his commission, that he find in the country that which could be used to keep him from resorting to Holland in order to supply tar and woods required for his naval shipyards. Talon believed he could produce both products at Baie-Saint-Paul, where he had found "a quantity of pines and firs."

It was not however until the fall of 1670 that he could make a report to Colbert about the first works undertaken by the "leaders of the workshops" which the king had well stocked especially toward this end. A Mr. Arnoulf Alix, tar maker, had indeed come to inform him that fifteen hundred feet of trees had been cut down and debarked and that he had now settled in with his workmen to wintering over in the area; with optimism, "he promises to find the material for work of thirty years duration." In fact, he succeeded in manufacturing such excellent tar, according to reports of the tests made, that the following year he sent some samples to La Rochelle and Dieppe.

So Talon remained preoccupied with the spirit of launching this industry, so precious to the king. He had to leave the colony in the fall of 1672, but before leaving he was careful to organize the Baie-Saint-Paul tar-shed on a firm footing; to this end, in the name of the king, with his right of export as Lord, he concedes vast domains at Baie-Saint-Paul to two entrepreneurs, the same as the lordship of Beaupré, bordering the Gouffre river. Mr. Arnoulf Alix, His Majesty's envoy in the area to show the people how to make tar, considers his task ended and leaves the area; a house had been constructed in addition to a furnace, about eight thousand pines were presently stripped, workmen and instruments were working. The new directors of the site were named Léonard Pitoin and Pierre Dupré and their contract dates were 25 August, 17 September and 13 October.

Unfortunately these very good efforts would barely succeed at these dubious installations as they were a cover to the traffic of fur trading with the savages, to the detriment of trading of Tadoussac, and the beginning of illegal reclamation. Everybody suddenly became suspicious of the enterprise. Talon left, Pitoin and Dupré extorted a new concession from Governor Frontenac of three acres of land, in the same lordship of Beaupré, along the Gouffre river, and they found a third partner in the person of Bernard Gontier.

At the same time, a more ambiguous person arrived in the area, Jean Serreau, esquire, Mr. de Saint-Aubin, according to his notarized transactions. Accused of murdering Jean Terne, then rehabilitated, then pursued for trading alcohol to the savages and expelled from the Island of Orleans, he declared, on July 4 1672, he would leave "in order to live at Cadie or Baie-Saint-Paul." In this last place he quickly rejoined people with as little honor as himself.

Well all these goings-on happened in the absence and without the knowledge of the definitive owner of the lordship of Beaupré, Monsignor de Laval, who left for France in the fall of 1671, from where he could not return until four years later, in September 1675. While he was occupied in Paris obtaining the letters of license from the Company of the Occidental Indies confirming his property, Governor Frontenac took a malignant pleasure in creating troubles for him on his return. Then in 1676, Monsignor de Laval attempted to bring order to these irregular exploitations, and on March 27 of that year, the abbot Mr. Dudouyt, his procurator, would place a request of eviction against Pitoin, Dupré and Saint-Aubin. They did succeed, before fall, in expelling the "squatter" Saint-Aubin, by compensating him extensively for all the work accomplished during his four years. But Saint-Aubin, at the instigation of his protector, the count of Frontenac, was hurrying to return to France in order to present himself, to the Court, as an agent of bad press against Monsignor de Laval on the topic of the quarrel over brandy.

As for Misters Pitoin and Dupré, they were already removed, but it would take three years of discussions in order to obtain their renunciation of all property rights at Baie-Saint-Paul. Before the tribunal of the intendant, the claims of Monsignor de Laval, carried by Mr. Dudouyt, went before the king, close by was Frontenac himself sustaining the resistance against the intendant Duchesneau. It was only under the article of death, that Pitoin came to recant, at La Rochelle on July 9 1679, and that Dupré then ratified his renouncement in Quebec during October of the same year.

Then Monsignor de Laval decided to provide the early exploitation of his lordship for the benefit of his seminary; he assumed charge of the tar-shed, but ceded the immediate rights and eventual benefits to Mr. Philippe Gauthier de la Comporté. This last man was not interested in the enterprise which had lasted two years and, during the fall of 1677, having been appointed as provost marshal and in receipt of Sovereign Counsel, he asked that the intendant Duchesneau let him be discharged from the tar-shed, which then stayed unoccupied.

But finally, with the industry in jeopardy, the land was liberated and no longer awaited the veritable colonists. Mr. Dudouyt, the procurator of the Seminary, who was charged by Monsignor de Laval with organizing the new firm, permitted, in the year 1676, an inhabitant of Cape Tourmente to attempt an establishment at Petite Rivière Saint-François, about five miles from his home; this colonist was named Claude Bouchard, but he was known only by the nickname of "Petit Claude." It was he who resorted, that fall, to putting the buildings in order and rounding up the animals of Baie-Saint-Paul at Cape Tourmente before the winter. He stayed there eight days.

The land put under culture by Pitoin and Dupré covered three acres and did not have any buildings; that of Saint-Aubin, going alongside the mountain on the Gouffre river, along the northwest leg, seeming to be more extensively reclaimed, was already supplied with buildings and he found six horned animals there. After rendering an account of his work to the procurator, Claude Bouchard agreed to rent it, for the following year, in order to reap sixty mills of wheat from the Saint-Aubin land. But he especially depended on a concession by Monsignor de Laval, at Petite Rivière, of a large plot of land twelve acres wide with a length of a mile and a half deep. He was more interested in his own domain than the interests of his Lord and, although, in 1677, he occupied the construction at Baie-Saint-Paul and provided butter for the tar workmen, he did not renew his contract in the fall of 1677.

However the new procurator of the Seminary replacing Mr. Dudouyt, delegated by Monsignor de Laval in France, received an order from the Bishop to push the exploitation of the lands at Baie-Saint-Paul. It was at this moment that Nöel Simard dit Lombrette appeared.

That fall he came with his wife by his side to Monsignor de Laval, first to render faith and homage like all good servants must toward their Lord, but especially to expose a problem had with his affairs; in particular his inability to satisfy the obligation contracted ten years earlier in buying the land of Pierre Gibouin. It seems that he is still owed a sum of seven hundred fifty pounds, and Pierre Gibouin is impatient to receive it, he had stayed in the country as a mason since quitting the land, but now he was preparing to return indefinitely to France.

Monsignor de Laval did not have any great trouble in understand the difficulty of the poor colonist in assuming the responsibilities of a family; he also sees him as justly preoccupied with establishing the five boys that he now counts in his household. Additionally, he volunteers to study the problem with the Lombrettes themselves.

Well, was he not at this moment thinking of opening the most distant lands in his lordship, on the Saint-François-Xavier coast and at Baie-Saint-Paul, and was he not looking for someone in whom to entrust the responsibility, since Petit Claude was not the necessary man? At forty years old, Nöel Simard appeared to be in shape to undertake a task of this magnitude. Monsignor de Laval knew him as a rough worker, a man of integrity, in whom he would not fear putting his confidence. He knows from other things that Nöel could leave his land at Sainte-Anne without too many inconveniences: his father, despite his seventy five years, is still robust and he has two sons presently of an age to work the land.

The Bishop would, therefore, advance Lombrette the money he needed to settle his debt with Pierre Gibouin and give him a letter of credit against the reserves that he possessed in Paris; in return, the inhabitant would recognize this credit by a mortgage on his present possessions. Then the Lombrettes, by taking charge of the farm work at Baie-Saint-Paul, could find the means to fulfill this new liability while assuring himself, in large amount, of new lands for the establishment of his sons.

According to the terms of this understanding, we find Nöel Simard before the notary Duquet on October 22, 1677, happy to definitively settle up with Pierre Gibouin, thanks to the letter of good credit from Monsignor the Bishop. And a little later, the abbot Pierre de Francheville, new procurator of the Seminary, came to Lombrette show him a lease plan that he prepared with a view of enrolling him as a collaborator of Monsignor de Laval in the exploitation of the domain at Baie-Saint-Paul. Noël, conscious of the advantages that he could obtain from it, accepted the proposition and the lease was signed on November 29 before the notary Becquet.

He enlists for five years, commencing the following 10th of April; he was asked to work on rendering usable the lands that are located from the Saint-François-Xavier coast of the Petite Rivière to those that spread along of the Gouffre river, with the exception of those already exploited by Petit Claude. He would keep half of the harvest and the half of the animals to be born of the herd for himself, the remaining amount would be turned over to the Seminary for the account of Monsignor de Laval. He would have to construct some buildings, the first to begin were the wood and flour mills, get some workmen to supervise, and effect some transportation. In order to begin, he was generously provided everything necessary for a farm: six large beef cattle, six cows with their calves, three bulls, six pigs, nine hens and a rooster, eighteen earthenware pots for butter, one hundred twenty bales of hay, twenty-four mills of wheat, four mills of oats, three mills of barley and six of peas; of these last quantities, half represented the seed grains that he would need, before providing for himself with the other half.

At the beginning of April the farmer started out, probably in company of Claude Bouchard having spent the winter at his house at Cape Tourmente.

How could one not be touched by evoking this departure in 1678, of Nöel Simard, as the culminating point of his entire career as a pioneer, and for the region of which Baie-Saint-Paul is the center, as its veritable point of origin? In what measure Lombrette was conscious of the destiny that he carried, it is unnecessary to know. This hero moreover especially underpins the very simple and concrete realities of lives that scarcely left them leisure time to think about what anybody would later say of them. The valiant colonist well knew that to work with the Monsignor of Quebec, was to collaborate in great undertakings; but it was necessary at the same time to get his household in order, assuring himself that each will generously accomplish their task and that the family would want for nothing; he was prepared to live there a complete season, practically in a forest, practically alone, exposed to a thousand dangers; it was especially difficult for him to complete the necessary journey over forty miles of shoreline that separated him from the Gouffre river, while conducting a herd and with heavy luggage. The trip, at this time of the year, must have been particularly rough, across the last ice, the abundant waterfalls of the headlands and all of the surprises of an unknown journey. Nöel went around the foot of these crushing mountains, passed by the natural prairies of Petite Rivière, a great deal longer then than today and, when Petit Claude let him stay in his domain, with great strength he entered this stopover at the bay where he had been sent by his Lord.

He was certainly not the first to come here; especially during the fifteen years when they explored this region to cut pine and manufacture tar. But he, more than all others, in settling this land, was pleased to look upon the flanks of these gracious mountains, at the wealth of this farmable valley. Maybe, he had a feeling that he had found a worthy cradle for the race who would follow him.

There were tasks to complete. Reclaiming, erecting, constructing, hunting and fishing occupied Lombrette for the entire season. The building already started by Claude Bouchard, in particular, required some work on the frame and bricks over which Simard lead the efforts of workmen helping him; he was concerned about a mill in addition to a manor that would provide a dwelling for the vicar of the parish to come. He took a somewhat painfully quick trip to Sainte-Anne; before the autumn birth of a sixth son that the father hastened to call François, the of name his venerated patron, Monsignor de Laval.

 He then returned to Baie-Saint-Paul to work with Claude Bouchard all winter. At his request, however, the Seminary approved, in the fall of 1678, to give him a helper and, through a lease a little like the one of Lombrette's, they engaged a colonist from Ange-Gardien, Pierre Tremblay, in a work contract which would begin at Easter in 1679.

That year the Seminary gave Nöel Simard, probably on the passage by Mr. de Maizerets on the coast, some lands that he could leave in total property to his sons by inheritance; he chose them at Petite Rivière, on the coast of Baie-Saint-Paul, in that part that was already named Cape Maillard. Several concessions had already been made at this place: two to Claude Bouchard in 1676, three in 1677 to Tremblay, Racine and Lacroix, also another in 1678 to a Laforest.

For some years, he lived in the same buildings as the Seminary, so that he could work on finishing them and readily house his family in 1680, rather than repairing those left by Mr. de Saint-Aubin.

During the fall of 1678, Monsignor de Laval went to France to personally discuss the thorny question of brandy; it was during the course of this trip that, in January 1680, he made a grant of all his possessions to the Seminary and that the lordship of Beaupré fell definitively under the administration of this admirable house. Nothing at all changed for the family members and housing of Nöel Simard, which he had occupied, since that spring, when he brought his family to Baie-Saint-Paul.

The boys, some almost men, returned to Sainte Anne in order to cultivate the already extensively reclaimed lands under the direction of their grandfather, while the mother installed her nest as best she could in this dwelling with poor amenities. It was a harsh season for this mother of the family who was going to bring a girl into the world, in November. The customary joy of all births would then be overcast by a regret: the season would be late and all the missionaries would have returned to Sainte Anne, thus necessitating a wait until spring in order to baptize the child.

During the first days of spring the long awaited priest appears. Oh what happiness! it was Minister Gagnon, young Canadian priest that Monsignor de Laval ordained in 1677. And he brought some completely new registers that begins thus:

"The second of May 1681, by we undersigned priests in performing the parish functions at Baie-Saint-Paul, being that of baptizing Rosalie, daughter of Nöel Simard."

It was during the course of the year 1681 that a new census took place in the colony:1 Nöel Simard, whose name was figured on top of the census taker's list for the lordship of Beaupré2 because he was the most distant, declared that he possessed thirty acres of earth under culture, twenty horned beasts and three rifles; he was evidently then unconcerned about his lands at Sainte Anne, for at the moment he was giving all of his time to the Seminary. The grandfather counted eighty years complete and now lived with the family at Baie-Saint-Paul where he would die a short lime later.

The census also shows other inhabitants, in the vicinity, Pierre Tremblay who was ceded lands not far from those of Nöel Simard at Cape Maillard, Claude Bouchard who possessed two plots of land and six acres under culture, Ignace Gagné and Pierre Laforest, workmen at the Seminary. One also finds, in this census, Mr. Pierre Dupré at Baie-Saint-Paul, owner of four acres under culture; after much discussion, this is acknowledged to be a piece of land on the other shore of the Gouffre river and it was there that he lived until 1680, when he then married the widow of Jacques Dodier, Catherine Caron, who brought him the love of two girls and a boy. During the following year, he considerable enlarged his property through a concession by the Governor, Mr. de la Barre, a true lordship that spread his domain inland four miles deep and a half mile fronting on the stream leaving the Gouffre river.

It was in 1683 that the lease expired between Nöel Simard and the Seminary of Quebec. Even if Lombrette found that to be of some advantage, he still had not completely eliminated his debt with Monsignor de Laval, which consisted, in 1678, of 346 pounds. The first harvest returned very little: barely 85 mills of wheat in 1679, and construction absorbed more time than farming. However, at the express will of Monsignor de Laval, the Seminary of Quebec would only maintain this exclusive property at Baie-Saint-Paul until 1716.

During the first days of November in the year 1683, at Sainte-Anne, Minister Gagnon was invited to bless the marriage of the eldest son of Pierre Tremblay, a Pierre himself, who takes as his wife the first of Nöel Simard's daughters, Marie-Madeleine, who was only sixteen years old.

It was happiness that finally seemed to settle in these stronger positions of those isolated regions; this sprang from wholesome and lively sources: the work, family and religion. In January 1684, a fourth girl was born into the home of Nöel and at this time, they had no greater wait than that of her baptism in the spring, then in February, the missionary appeared, attracted by a more and more pressing ministry.

The spring of 1684 was particularly full of rejoicing. Pierre Trembley and his young wife were awaiting a child; everybody was prospering and Lombrette rejoiced at the thought of soon seeing the first face of this new generation, the first of his one hundred and twenty two grandchildren.

Some concerns well arise about the young wife, but the concern and experience of the mother remained vigilant in order to avoid all danger. Finally on 20 August, a child appeared, he was immediately baptized under the name of Pierre: Pierre, son of Pierre and grandson of Pierre.

Alas! the joy was short lived and then followed by alarm. For some days, the young mother was failing and died in the midst of her impotent and aghast family. Every concourse of circumstance came with the burden of this sudden hardship: the isolation, a destroyed home, the first visit of death, the obligation of going to Sainte-Anne to have a burial. On August 24, in a canoe, a sad cortege left the Saint-François-Xavier coast: it was Nöel Simard and his son-in-law, Pierre Tremblay, who moved away with the body of the young woman in order to render her, across the headlands, unto Sainte-Anne.

The baby was staying in the care of Pierre's mother.


Work provides a good diversion after such a cross and the men went heartily back to the completion of the mill at Baie-Saint-Paul. At the end of fall in 1684, they would inform the Seminary of Quebec that the mill would be ready to function the following spring and that the apartments developed in an adjacent part could be inhabited.

Then the Bishop of Quebec judged the moment had come to organized this distant mission in a controlled manner and immediately names Minister Gagnon as the missionary of the coast with a residence at Baie-Saint-Paul. The young vicar came to move into the mill apartments and there he organized a domestic chapel that would serve as a place of worship for thirteen years. From there, his ministry went out as far as Tadoussac, like Monsignor de Laval had projected, at that time, establishing a sedentary mission for the savages at Baie-Saint-Paul, in order to protect them against the trading of brandy. He exposed his project in a long letter in which he manifested great understanding of the area, without doubt from the precise information of Nöel Simard.

The year 1686 brought the pioneers new joys. Pierre Tremblay remodeled a home in order to get remarried at a second wedding to Marie Roussin, a daughter of some family neighbors, at Ange-Guardien, and Nöel Simard had baptized the eighth of his sons, Jean, born on the 27th of May. Thus the family continued to increase. The boys worked the farm at their establishment, while the second of the girls reached, in her turn, her seventeenth year. That was, in this era, the age when young girls got married. Jean Alaire, an inhabitant of the coast, presented himself in order to obtain the hand of Françoise; the marriage itself was celebrated in April 1688, at Baie-Saint-Paul, and the spouses went to become established at Beaupré.

In January 1689, there was a girl born in the home of Nöel Simard to whom he gave the name of the dearly departed, Marie-Madeleine. Then in the month of April another marriage took place at Baie-Saint-Paul: Nöel, the second son of Lombrette, married Anne Dodier, who was one of the two daughters of lady Pierre Dupré, the wife of the Lord of Rivière du Gouffre. Her first husband in dying, left an inheritance of land at Beaupré, that had to be retained for the last of the Dodiers, Ange, still a minor boy. At a good price, the young household made a purchase of this land and hurried off to settle there; they would only be there about eight years, for the brother-in-law, as soon as he gained his majority, would obtain restitution of his domain by decision of the Superior Counsel of Quebec.

Eighteen months after his younger brother, Pierre Simard came in his turn to the Dupré family to look for a wife; her name was Claire Dodier. With title as eldest of the family, Pierre inherited the first Simard lands, at Sainte- Anne, and definitively settled there with his young wife.

The time had come for the second generation. Time after time, children swarmed around the pioneer. At the paternal house at Maillard where he was living, a last child was born in May 1692, the 14th for this beautiful family; a girl they named Catherine.

In 1695, Etienne, who was raised by his Racine grandparents, got married; he took a girl from the Saint-François-Xavier coast as his wife, Rose, the child of Claude Bouchard, their neighbor, and Lombrette established him on a lot on the southwest border of his at Maillard. The following year, it was a daughter that someone came looking for at Nöel Simard's home, his Rosalie who was born sixteen years earlier at Baie-Saint-Paul. She married Jean Caron, inhabitant of Beaupré and nephew of lady Pierre Dupré.

The parents watched their children leave one after the other and could not keep from expressing their satisfaction at seeing them happily settled. There was pride in the Simard home; they knew the anguish that the father had gone through to provide his sons with pieces of land. Five sons still lived at home, of which the oldest was only twenty three years old, and three daughters. In 1697, Lombrette felt the time had come for new establishments on those domains that he still possessed on the coast of Beaupré: lands acquired from Pierre Gibouin at Sainte-Anne and the smaller one at Château-Richer.

This is why, on October 27 1697, he went to Quebec, before the notary Chambalon, with his wife and two sons Joseph and Augustin; this act of donation deserves to be quoted:

"By and Before the undersigned royal Notary in the provostship of Quebec came a resident, and the following appointed witnesses, present was Nöel Simard, inhabitant of Petite Rivière near Cape Maillard, and Marie-Madeleine Racine, his wife, that he authorizes for effecting these presents, to be present in this village; who in considering his already advanced age and the large number of children that he has, being numbered at thirteen still living, which of that number five are not married and for which they have the duty as veritable father and mother to provide for their advancement by their marriage and, as they do not want to provide less means to those who have not yet been provided for, that they are resolved that they contribute as much as they can from which their means and their health will permit of them, have of their good will ceded, quit, forsaken and transferred by these presents now and forever through the form of this donation as an advanced endowment to their future succession with the promise of "gariment" (sic) to Joseph and Augustin Simard, their minor children of about1 twenty two and twenty-four years, by their presence and acceptance, their said father and mother authorize them through this effect, to know: unto said Joseph, the land and dwelling sited and situated in the coast and lordship of Beaupré, parish of Sainte-Anne, containing three acres of frontage on the Saint Lawrence river with a mile and half of depth inland, joined on one side to the habitat of his brother Pierre Simard, the other side on the one of François Paré, and facing the aforesaid river; and unto said Augustin, nine perches of land fronting on the aforesaid river, likewise being of a depth of one and a half miles inland, joined on one side to the habitat of Jean Paré, the other side on the one of Etienne Racine, being situated in the Château-Richer parish; also that each of the said lands pursuant to and including, for their enjoyment and disposition, the knowledge that the three acres of frontage to the aforesaid Joseph and those nine perches, also of frontage, to the aforesaid Augustin, separately, is their inheritance and having cost to each their consideration in all property; and to this effect they promises to place on each the titles and contracts that will preserve the property; this advanced dowry donation and assignment thus made, with the responsibility of the aforesaid Joseph and Augustin, their children, each paying their consideration, in the future, for the requirements and land rents that the lands herein given are charged by the Lordship of Beaupré, in the census of which they are nevertheless released of all past due through this date, and of the surplus because it is the will of said Simard and his said wife, their father and mother, for procuring their advancement and facilitating their means of providing comfort and ease of marriage, if such is their intention, with the responsibility, however, that the aforesaid Joseph Simard, in the later case that he wants to come and share in future successions of the said father and mother with his other brothers and sisters, his co-heirs, by returning the lesser of it or the sum of six hundred pounds to them, the value of which the above-mentioned habitat with three acres of land frontage was given and relinquished to him by his said father and mother, having with him been their common accord of estimated value; the aforesaid Augustin Simard, by likewise returning it or the lesser sum of three hundred pounds due to their said succession, for which sum the above-mentioned nine perches of frontage land he was also given equaled in priced, being considered the present value of the lands by each other for the aforesaid lands; and to this effect, the aforesaid Simard and his said wife, father and mother, and saying both jointly and severally, cede and transfer to their said children, each of which they regard completely and rightly dismissed and consenting; and in order to complete signatures on these presents before the provostship in this village, and other places where needed, with such date of presentation in four months, they make and constituted their procurator as the holder, before whom they can give and make this a required act: for being thus obliged, and having renounced, made and passed at Quebec, into the survey before said notary, after noon, on the twenty seventh day of October sixteen hundred ninety seven, in the presence of Mr. Dupont, counselor for the Sovereign Counsel of this country, and François Aubert, witnesses all being residents of said Quebec, who have signed with the aforesaid notary, the said parties having declared they do not know how to sign this inquiry.




                                 Chambalon, notary


In the spring of the year 1698, Noël, the second of the children, husband to a Dodier and settled at Sainte-Anne on the lands of his brother-in-law, finally had to return the domain that he had reclaimed by order of the Superior Counsel.1 He then acquired a piece of land at Petite Rivière and came to settle near his father, at Maillard, on a lot situated to the northwest. That year an even greater consolation was granted to the entire population of the region. Monsignor de Saint-Vallier, who had succeed Monsignor de Laval, finally agreed that a church would be constructed at Baie-Saint-Paul. This was the realization of desires that already dated more than ten years. In 1689, indeed, with money provided to Monsignor de Laval by the King, they had even begun the raising of a chapel; but the strong willed and fickle new Bishop had suspended the work and compelled transporting the parts of this precarious chapel to Petite Rivière. Now, it was a real church that they were raising. A lot bordering on the Gouffre river was conceded by the Seminary; Nöel Simard supervised the work and Minister Gagnon, in the fall, tasted the happiness of dispensing his ministry in a modest but appropriate temple.

Then, in June 1699 they celebrated a beautiful marriage: that of Marguerite, daughter of Lombrette, to François Bouchard, captain of the militia and son of Petit Claude. In April 1700, Joseph Simard married a girl from the coast of Beaupré, Gertrude Caron; unfortunately his young wife would die the following year while bringing twins into the world and Joseph would hasten to reestablish his home by marrying Marie Blouin in October 1702.

In 1700 the Simards had yet to reach the end of their time, however, since the father was 63 and the mother 54; prudence inspired them to definitively put their family affairs in order by effectively giving away all of their possessions to the last of their children, the remaining five who were still living at the paternal house. He wanted to share two pieces of land between the three boys, François who was twenty two years old, Paul who was nineteen and Jean, hardly fourteen years old; it was also necessary to assure the two little girls, Madeleine and Catherine, respectively aged eleven and eight years, a dowry for their future marriage. This is why in July we see the Lombrettes go down the coast of Beaupré, accompanied by their oldest son, François, and present themselves before the notary Jacob in order to execute a donation of these terms:

"By and Before Etienne Jacob, notary in the lordship of Beaupré, and witness hereafter appointed, was present Nöel Simard and Madeleine Racine, his wife, that he allows as a party, inhabitants from the Saint-François-Xavier parish of Baie-Saint-Paul, who in again considering the same kindness that they have received from God during the course of their lives, having provided the grace of His divine providence for them to feed and raise the children that He had given to their marriage and in giving them the found means of providing for an establishment conforming to their conditions, for the reservation of François, Paul and Jean Simard, and for the two other daughters who live with them, not provided for by marriage or otherwise, for which good services they have received and receive daily from François, Paul and Jean Simard; in recognition of the aforesaid services and reliefs, they agree between themselves to give to their said aforementioned children, on the condition, however, that they will be held and obligated to them and maintain them, in sickness and in health, for their remaining days and, after their death, pray to God for the rest of their souls, for these reasons, the aforesaid Nöel Simard and Madeleine Racine, well and duly authorized by her said husband, of their good pleasure, pure, straightforward and free will, recognized and admitted, and by these said presents recognize and admit to have given, ceded, quit, transferred and forsaken, gives, cedes, quits, transports and forsakes, now and for always by pure, simple and irrevocable donation, eagerly entered into under the best conditions and manner that can be made and that the donation could be worth, without hope of either wanting to revoke or affect it in any way or manner that is contrary and for the greatest validity hereby promise to warrant it against all troubles, debts and mortgages and other ordinary general defects; to the said François, Paul and Jean Simard, brothers and their children, aforesaid Françoise who is present and accepting as required and aforesaid notary accepting also for them, the said Paul and Jean Simard, still in their minority, land and a dwelling sited and situated in the aforesaid Saint-François-Xavier parish near Baie-Saint-Paul, which consists of about .... (blank) .... acres of land in width on the edge of the Saint Lawrence River and on the back end, toward lands not conceded, on which there is land of little value, with the building constructed thereon, bordering on one side to Etienne Simard, and on the other side to the lands of the widowed Vigny, with each and all of the plowable, meadow and grazing lands, without anything reserved by the aforesaid donors other than the use of the aforesaid lands which they reserve only during their lives, to this end this constituent holds and possess it in the name aforesaid donators, their children, of precarious title only during their lives, the desires of the aforesaid donors that, as of the day of their death, the aforesaid use becomes and remains returned and consolidated with full foundation and property rights of the aforesaid lands wherever given and belonging to said donors by title of concession which they received from the lords of said Beaupré, and similarly charged back to the domain for required land rents, customary manorial rights, and those pieces of furniture for which the said parties could not presently say belong to the said donors, and about which they were questioned by the aforesaid notary, along with their other possessions which consist and amount to those of which they can, from whom comes fair enjoyment and disposition of the land by the aforesaid donors, their heirs are caused, with their good understanding, that in addition to their proper inheritance on the day of the death of the aforesaid donors, now and forever, this donation thus makes the charges, conditions and reservations before said use, in addition the charge that the aforesaid François, Paul and Jean Simard will be held and obligated to feed, maintain, house, heat and harbor the aforesaid Nöel Simard and Madeleine Racine, their father and mother and donors, in sickness and in health, and in case of illness, take care of them and doctor them for their remaining days in places that they will want and wish to stay, and after their death bury, inter, them and pray to God for the rest of their souls in a way that is customary and for which all children are held and obligated to perform, and also that for Madeleine and Catherine, the sisters of the aforesaid heirs, will live with their said father and mother until such time that they are provided for by marriage or where they are otherwise equally fed and kept according to their condition until such time of their marriage, and then the aforesaid heirs will give and pay to each of them the sum of two hundred pounds, reserving to the aforesaid Nöel Simard the liberty of conducting the management of the family as father, thus in the manner he did before, and with only the smallest remuneration and compensation from the aforesaid François, Paul and Jean Simard of the goods, useful help and friendship that they have always and continue to render and carry, and through the expectation they shall continue them in the future, proof of which is dispensed absolutely through these said presents, and as much as it is their will and intention they make the present grant, transferring all property rights by these said donations, subject to the before said use reservations, foundations, depths, named reasons, actions, foreclosures, possessions and any other general thing that they could have, pretend or demand of the said things herein given over, which by these said presents are released, dismissed and disallowed to and for the profit of the aforesaid heirs, their children, volunteering and consenting that they are and will remain seized and bound having received by sufficiently good possessions and holdings of which and they will thus be entitled, to this end by virtue of their procurator the aforesaid presents constituent holder, giving unto him the same power required to seal these presents and bind these insinuations through the provostship of Quebec and at all places where they belong during the four months of the order, they make and constitute their procurator the same holder, giving unto him authority to so execute this act. Promising, obligating, renouncing, making and passing said survey before said notary, this twenty-fourth of July afternoon, in the year seventeen hundred, in the presence of Charles Goulet and Joseph Lespine, witnesses both from said Beaupré, who signed and with the aforesaid Nöel Simard, and said Madeleine Racine and François Simard who have declared they do not know how to sign this inquiry .

Charles Goulet, Joseph Lespine and Jacob, notary

The Simard family binds very close to the principal families of the region, thanks to some frequent double marriages. Those of the Dodiers, Carons, Bouchards and soon those of the Parés each have two children allied to the Simards. Soon a third Bouchard comes to look for a wife at the Lombrettes; it is Antoine who marries the second Marie-Madeleine, a young of girl fifteen years destined to raise a family of eleven children.

In the spring of 1707, a son-in-law, Jean Alaire of Beaupré, died leaving a widowed Françoise with two children. As for the sons of Lombrette, they came of age and had not married: Was not Augustin thirty four years old and Francois thirty two? However they looked to the home of the Parés, their neighbors at Sainte-Anne, for good girls who knew the sons of Lombrette well. It was finally Augustin that chose a spouse in the person of Marguerite, and two years later, François, in his turn, came there to look for Ursule.

With 1714 there came a period charged with trials for the Simards. First in July, it was Rosalie who died, barely thirty four years of age, leaving her spouse Jean Caron with a family of eight children. One month later, Françoise who was remarried to Nöel Bouchard since the spring, died in her turn after bringing a third child into the world; she was only thirty six years old.

Noel and his wife held up well despite these difficult crosses; they had the heart to establish all their children and heaven seemed to want them to leave with that assurance. Of their fourteen children, only three were not married: Paul would soon be thirty four years old, but he planned to get married, in the summer, to Geneviève Gagnon; Jean counts, he was also thirty years of age. As for the last of the girls, she would soon be twenty three years old; this was nearly an old maid, staying close by her parents who were burdened by age. The father counted seventy eight years, the mother reaches her seventieth year.

The summer of 1715 came with some bad omens. An epidemic spilled across the coast claiming numerous victims, especially from the savages. Minister Leblond, the missionary vicar, had to leave to help with the stricken poor and stayed in their midst at Tadoussac. Happily Mr. de Grandelet, canon-dean of the cathedral of Quebec, came to Baie-Saint-Paul to replace him.

It was during this crucial period that Nöel Simard, the old Lombrette, was struck down by his last illness. He died on July 24th, in the arms of his faithful wife, surrounded by his children. His funeral ceremony and burial took place at Baie-Saint-Paul and the entire parish attended his funeral, presided over by Mr. de Grandelet, surrounded by several priests from the Seminary.

It was only on the following day that vicar Leblond arrived, exhausted from stress and at the end of his strength. The epidemic had attached itself to his poor body and surely undermined it; as soon he returned home he expired, achieving to prolong the already deep mourning affecting all the inhabitants. July 29th, Mr. de Grandelet celebrated the funeral service of the prematurely dead missionary, a victim of his goodwill.

As destiny had decreed in 1637, the modest birth of Lombrette had been well accompanied by the more illustrious birth of the Sun-King, the future Louis XIV. Why did it again want the no less modest death of the pioneer to also be as well attended as the royal death of the same Louis XIV? At the moment when Nöel Simard died, the king returned to Marly, decrepit, legs already affected by gangrene. He went quickly to Versailles, where he languished for a month. Then, in September 1715, the entire kingdom of France mourned the great king, while in New France, a patriarch no less respected, in his own way also as famous, disappears without sound in the middle of the lands that he reclaimed and the numerous posterity who would immortalize his name. If one recalls that Louis XIV, after having seen a son and grandson die mysteriously, did not leave a successor or one faint descendant and that, on the other hand, the abuses, militarily or worldly, that had burdened the end of his reign, rendered him so unpopular that it had been necessary to clandestinely carry his remains to Saint-Denis, there is well a place to again ask which of the two men, Louis Dieudonne or Noël, was the most grand....

Alas! the trials themselves did not stop with the death of father. Jean, who's marriage had been set for the end of July, without rejoicing, celebrated his wedding with Geneviève Graval at Saint-Anne; but in November of the same year, death in its turn took him, in an unknown way, at his full flowering age. The young wife, then pregnant, posthumously gave birth to a child in January, a son who she named Jean. The child, although born before term, lived and assured the posterity of this family branch.

Finally, in the summer of 1716, the final destiny of this grand family was achieved. The young daughter, Catherine, found a spouse in the person of a twenty eight year old widower, Nöel Guay, grandson of Lord Gaston-Guay de Saint-François from the island of Orleans. Paul, himself the last of the boys, was also married in June to Geneviève Gagnon.

The elderly mother then wanted a final adjustment of succession affairs, for her young daughter-in-law Geneviève Gravel, widow of Jean, who had expressed a desire to see the position of her minor son clarified regarding the one third share he stands to receive, along with his uncles François and Paul. They convened a family gathering and proceeded to inventory, then distribute domestic possessions. Although it is rather long, it is unknown how a text of this act could be replaced by summary:

The year seventeen hundred sixteen, July sixth before noon, at the request of François and Paul Simard, inhabitants from Baie-Saint-Paul, and Joseph Simard, inhabitant of Beaupré, parish of Sainte-Anne, in the name of and as guardian to Jean Simard, son of deceased Jean Simard and of Geneviève Gravel elected by act in this jurisdiction on the date of ________, and also in the presence of François Laberge, also an inhabitant of before said Beaupré, also elected by aforesaid act, and also at the request of the aforesaid Geneviève Gravel, widow of the said late Jean Simard and with rights of common possessions in accordance with her contract of marriage with the aforesaid Jean Simard, who was an heir with the aforesaid François and Paul Simard, each for a third of all the possessions of deceased Nöel Simard and Madeleine Racine, their father and mother, by contract passed by and before Mr. Jacob, notary in this lordship, and also by other acts passed by and before master Louis Chambalon, royal notary of Quebec, one on the date of 24 July 1700 and the other on October 15 1706, and authenticated by monsignor Rodot, intendant of this area, dated on 25 April 1711; the aforesaid Geneviève Gravel reserves forever the right to accept the aforesaid community property of said deceased Jean Simard, her husband, or to renounce it, in that hereafter she will be advised by the following counsel of what she is accorded by her marriage contract; the aforesaid inventory was made with the approval and consent of the aforesaid Madeleine Racine, their mother and donator, who declares before said notary that she agrees that all the said possessions are contained in the aforesaid donation being shared between these said heirs as if she had died: to this effect, being before the undersigned notary of said Beaupré as a good and faithful inventory describing all property, furnishings, buildings, house keeping utensils, grains, beasts, gold and money, monetary and non monetary, titles, papers and other things, and homes, that were found belonging to the forenamed by means of donation by the deceased aforesaid Nöel Simard, donor, with the consent of the aforesaid Madeleine Racine, and found in said donor's house August 4 1715, where the aforesaid Simard died, conducted and signed by aforesaid François and Paul Simard and Ursule Paré and Geneviève Gagnon, their wives, and the aforesaid Geneviève Gravel, after swearing prior to said agreement before said notary that all the said property was declared and shown without diversion, hiding any, under penalty requirements as were given to them by the aforesaid notary, which was taken and estimated by Godar, bailiff for said Beaupré, juror, caller, furniture seller, aided by René de Lavoi, inhabitant of said Beaupré, who appraised them in his soul and conscience, having considered their age, in the final sum that follows, and the aforesaid Godar and Laberge having signed and the others declaring they do not know how to either write or sign, this inquiry following the order.



                                              René of Lavoie

"Having at this time appeared François and Antoine Bouchard and Etienne Simard, the foresaid Bouchards married to Marguerite and Marie-Madeleine Simard, their wives, declare they oppose the inventory and share possessions abandoned by the said deceased Nöel Simard, their father, and father-in-law, who gave them to said François, Jean, Paul Simard, his said children, who want and claim they were provided as part of the aforesaid donation, after much litigation with the aforesaid François and Paul Simard, the aforesaid compliants agree that the said François and Paul Simard and before mentioned others only have to redo said inventory, sharing said possessions, reserving only assurance that the aforesaid François and Bouchard Antoine Bouchard and Etienne Simard do not prejudice or harm their receipt of donation of the aforesaid if they have such rights, and to which the said François and Antoine Bouchard have signed and declared, and the said Etienne Simard declared he does not know how to sign, this inquiry following the order.


                                     F. Bouchard

                                     A. Bouchard


That which follows, we have inventoried:

Two pot racks _____
_______________ 3000 
A fire shovel __________________
___ 1800 
A large pot with its lid ___________
__ 2500 
Another large pot without lid, dirty_
Another medium pot without lid ____
Two small cooking pots, new ______
_ 2500 
Another small pot ________________
_ 800 
A small yellow copper kettle, round __
_ 800 
Another yellow kettle _____________
_ 700 
Two other small yellow kettles for liquid  800 
A frying pan _____________________ 1600 
Another frying pan ________________1400 

A pot spoon __________
____________ 400 
Another pot spoon ________
________ 500 
Two iron lamps ________________
__ 400 
A broiler ____________
___________ 1000 
A big kettle____________
_________ 1000 
A big tin basin __________________ 3000 
Another medium basin ____
_______ 2300 
Another medium basin. _____
______ 2000 
Another medium basin ________
___ 2000 
About twelve pounds of old tin, of 4 
pounds the [liv] __________________ 4800 
Four old plates ___________________ 200 
Two plates ______________________ 1200 
A small dish _____________________ 800 
A [demiard] of tin ________________ 400 
Three glass bottles ___________
_____ 900 
Three firewood axe _______________ 6000 
An old axe in poor condition _______ 200 
An axe to shoulder sheep ___________ 2500 
Two picks _______________________ 2000 
An old bill-hook and a broken level __ 200 
Two pounds of old tin ______________ 800 
An old grill ______________________ 400 
An old pick and a small [tille] axe ___ 2100 
Five freight wheels _______________ 1600 
An old casserole __________________ 300 
A kettle shackle ___________________ 100 
A handgun, with an old stock _______ 3000 
Another gun, with a carbine ________ 3000 

Another gun, with another old stock _ 3000 
An old scythe _______________
______ 200 
An old vitiated burrow _________
____ 300 
Four sickles ____________________
__ 200 
Four horse irons _____________
_____ 800 
A long file saw, with a chisel _____
___ 300 
Two old axes _________________
____ 300 
A chisel _______________________
__ 300 
An old sabot maker spoon, with a 
carpenter chisel ________________
__ 700 
An old axe broken in the middle ____
_ 200 
A [coste] of small chain mesh _______  300 
A green crock ________________
____ 200 
Another green crock, small _________ 100 
Fourteen earthenware pots ________ 2100 
Three small barrels of two pound pieces 600 
Three buckets of one pound pieces _
__ 300 
Being the noon hour, will return for the continuation of said inventory after noon. 
It being the same aforesaid risen day, we continue aforesaid inventory: 

A big crock in which there is about three 
 pots of oil ________________________ 1200 
A medium crock with three pots of oil _ 1100 
A small vitiated crock, with two pots of oil 500 

A round pine wood table with legs _
___ 400 
A paltry pine plank cupboard ____
___ 1000 
A beef hide __________________
____ 3000 
Cow hide _____________________
__ 2000 
Seventy pine wood boards ________
__ 4000 
A half meter of finished canvas _____ 2000 
A finished plough for plowshare, blade, 
 plough chain and round fronts _
____ 2500 
Three freight wheels ___________
___ 1200 
A small [verlope] _______________
___ 300 
A big burrow _______________
______ 300 
A medium burrow ____________
_____ 300 
A till broken at the head ___________ 400 
A scythe complete with handle ______ 700 
Another paltry scythe ______________ 200 
A pitchfork for muck ______________ 300 
A long saw _____________________ 1800 
A wide saw ______________________ 800 
An old pick ___________________
___ 100 
A wheelbarrow for muck ________
___  300 
Fifty planks _____________________ 8000 
A good winnowing sieve ___________ 3000 
Two salting tubs _________________ 1200 
Another salting tub _______________ 400 
A sifter _____________________
____ 800 
Three veal skins _________________ 4100 
Two old sickles __________________ 100 
A [tinet] _____________________
___ 200 
A small vat ____________________
__ 300 
Another big vat ___________
______ 1000 
A cask for salting eel ________
_____ 400 
A half mill of salt _______________ 1100 
Eight tablecloths ________________ 2400 
Ten pouches _________________
___ 3000 
Another round table with legs ______ 400 
An old [justaucorps] _____________ 1100 
A brown freezing cloth hood with a 
red jacket ______________________ 7000 
Another old grey hood ___________ 2000 
Two pairs of brown fabric pants ___ 1600 
A pair of very dirty mittens ________ 400 
An old [tapabor] ________________ 1000 
Six mans shirts _________________ 5000 
Six other vitiated shirts, at four 
pounds apiece __________________ 2400 
A canvas belt ___________________ 200 
A striped canvas necktie with 
a handkerchief __________________ 100 
A pair of leather belts ____________ 500 
Following are personal items of deceased Jean Simard 
A red [tapabor] ________________
___ 800 
Another red [tapabor] _____________ 800 
A hat __________________________ 1000 
Another hat _____________________ 2000 
A pair of simple light shoes ________ 1000 
A pair of men's white socks _______ 1200 
A pair of wild goat shoes ________
__ 200 
An inexpensive old belt ___________ 600 
An old neck scarf of striped canvas _
_ 100 
A canvas hood _________________
_ 1000 
Some soiled canvas ______________
_ 400 
A canvas belt ____________
________ 200 
Three mans shirts _______________ 1800 
A pair of soiled [masamet]s ________ 1000 
A red shirt ______________________ 1000 
A pair of red mittens ______________1100 
A pair of half worn out white pants __ 600 
An old blue hood __________
_______ 800 
A brown [masamet] hood _____
_____ 6000 
A new [masamet] hood and jacket __ 15000 
A jug hood with jacket ___________ 15000 
A [tirtaine] hood with jacket _______ 8000 
A pair of red pants _______________ 2000 
Two pairs of pants _______________ 2500 
A new pair of canvas pants _________ 600 
Two pairs of socks ________________3000 
An old pair of socks and of bad mittens 400 
Eight men's shirts ________________ 6000 
A white canvas shirt _______________ 2000 
A pair of [granade] garters and a leather 
 one with buckle __________________ 1000 
A striped belt _____________________ 1600 
A cheap red belt __________________ 1600 
Three pairs of gloves _______________ 600 
Item Price 
A [fillosel] tie _______________
______ 800 
A baptism tie and another of striped 
 canvas with a handkerchief ______
___ 200 
Two pairs of [fresset]s _______
_______ 400 
A pair of wool garters __________
____ 200 
Two knives _____________________
__ 100 
A cask fermentation lock __________
_ 1200 
An old shirt and vest ___________
____ 300 
An old leather hood ___________
_____ 600 
A pair of leather pants _______
______ 1000 
A jumper of leather ___________
_____ 200 
Canvas underpants ____________
____ 300 
A canvas belt ___________________
__ 100 
An old canvas hood ______
__________ 400 
A pair of snowshoes _______
_________ 300 
A pair of French shoes _______
______ 300 
A money box lock _____________
_____ 400 
Two old pairs of shoes _______
_______ 200 
An otter-sack of tobacco _______
_____ 200 
40 mills of wheat were found, much wheat flour was found in the attic, that we gave it to Paul Simard in order to feed the aforesaid Madeleine Racine, following their march together, the aforesaid wheat was not estimated. 
Follow: the animals 
An eight year old mare, with an old 
harness ____________________
____ 10000 
A large beef cow ____________
____ 20000 
Two other young four year old beef cows, 
with a two year old bull __________ 40000 
A red three year old cow and a two year 
 with white nose [taure] ___________ 15000 
A large ten year old black with white nose 
cow a one year old black and white __ 5000 
Another large ten year old red and brown 
cow, with a black one year old [taure] and 
a veal of this year ____________
_____ 15000 
A pig _______________________
_____ 2000 
Another [verat] ________________
____ 4000 
Another pig ____________________
___ 4000

    "The aforesaid parties declare they personally owe nothing and that nothing is due to them.


Follow: the titles and papers


Item: a donation contract, made by the deceased Nöel Simard  and Marie-Madeleine Racine to François, Paul and Jean Simard, their children of land and a dwelling at Baie- Saint-Paul, the aforesaid contract passed by Mr. Etienne Jacob, the before notary of Beaupré, on the date of

25 July 1700 _________________  Enclosure: (A)

" another contract, passed by Mr. Louis Chambalon,  royal notary of Quebec, the aforesaid contract order  nullified a clause in before said donation contract and confirms the aforesaid donation, aforesaid contract dated  15 October 1706 ________________________  Enclosure: (B)

" an endorsement by Monsignor Rodot, intendant  of this area, for the aforesaid donation, dated  24 July 1700 __________  Enclosure: (C)

" a sheaf of receipts of the manorial land rents

that we have ________________ Enclosure: (D)


 Follow: the real property of said succession

" a dwelling and land ten acres wide and mile and a half  deep, sited and situated at Baie-Saint-Paul, located on the  southwest side of  the land of Etienne Simard and on the  northeast side of the land belonging to Jean Vigny, on  which there is a house of pieces over pieces of covered  board, twenty eight feet long and eighteen wide.

" another old house, thirty feet long and fifteen wide, of  very old covered boards.

" a barn thirty two feet long, including a stall which is at the end of the aforesaid barn, of enclosed boards and  covered with straw.

" half of another barn, forty feet long and twenty five wide, enclosed also by boards and covered with straw, and also  half of an old stall of pieces over pieces, twenty-four feet  long and sixteen feet wide, of covered boards.

" an old bakehouse of pieces over pieces, ten feet long and  eight wide, of covered boards.

" another dwelling and land also ten acres wide with the same depth, located to the southwest of the dwelling herein previously inventoried and on the northeast side of the land of Jacques Lavoie, on which habitation he has no building.

"In that this is all of the property found to inventory, we finished and stopped the present inventory and have the aforesaid Godar and François Laberge with us, notarized, signed and the aforenamed others declaring they do not know how to either write or sign, this following inquiry to the order.



                           René de Lavoie


"By and Before the notary, in the lordship of Beaupré, those undersigned residents and hereafter appointed witnesses, were present and personally appeared François and Paul Simard, inhabitants of Baie-Saint-Paul, Saint-François parish, and living there, and Joseph Simard, in the name of and likewise guardian of the minor child of the deceased Jean Simard, and also in the presence of François Laberge, inhabitant of Chateau Richer, and subrogated guardian of said minor, and also in the presence of Geneviève Gravel, widow of the before said deceased Jean Simard and mother of the before said minor, the aforesaid parties saying that the aforesaid François and Paul and aforesaid deceased Jean Simard are the heirs of the deceased Nöel Simard and Marie-Madeleine Racine, their father and mother, of all their possessions, furnishings and buildings, they want to divide the said possessions of the aforesaid donation into three parts and of this, the aforesaid Marie-Madeleine Racine, their mother, thus consents in having so declared in her presence before said notary and witnesses; their asking to share a dwelling and land ten acres wide and a mile and a half deep, sited and situated at Baie-Saint-Paul, Saint-François parish, portal to Cape Maillard, located northeast of land acquired from and, before being divided, belonging to the gentlemen from the Seminary of Quebec, and which border the southwest side of the land of Etienne Simard on one side and by and before the edge of the St- Lawrence River on the other side and behind which the lands are not conceded, which were transferred before the appointed René de Lavoie and Godard, inhabitants of said Beaupré, and with the consent of the aforesaid parties have found it of equal value, asking they divide it into three parts of equal length, "the first lot will have, belonging to it ", the three acres, three perches, six feet, along the southwest side of the lands of Etienne Simard, and the second standing next to the first lot will have a like amount of land, the third will also have a like number of three acres, three perches, six feet of land in width standing next to the second on one side and on the other to the aforesaid habitat that they acquired from the aforesaid gentlemen of Seminary, and all with the said depth of one and a half miles, which lots also made the said parties content and asking which one be left to fate and to this effect we have made three tickets, each of equal rolled up size as the other, on one was written "first lot" on the "second" and on the other "third lot," which after they were moved at length in the hat of René de Lavoie taken by the parties and consenting the aforesaid parties would have them distributed one after the other as they said and by the opened aforesaid tickets, it was found that the first share fell to the minor child of Jean Simard, the second to Paul Simard and the third to François, of which the aforesaid were content and asking of their share of the aforesaid habitat that they acquired from the aforesaid gentlemen of the Seminary, also containing ten acres in width at the same depth, to be divided into three parts as before, having made three equal tickets as before, the first lot will be joining the part to be given over to François Simard which will be a like number of three acres, three perches, six feet, as are the other parts, and after they put the tickets back into the before said Lavoie hat and after having removed them, consenting the aforesaid parties would have them distributed one after the other, by the opened aforesaid tickets it was found that the first lot again fell unto said minor child, the second unto said Paul, the third to François, also causing the aforesaid parties to be found content because this was just and likewise with the respective lots thereon to be enjoyed by themselves, their heirs and always having reason to be peacefully, to begin the aforesaid enjoyment in advance of this day, to be responsible for the requirements and land rents that the aforesaid inheritances may owe the lords of the aforesaid Beaupré on the conditions that they would have during their ordinary course, providing, transferring by each of the aforesaid parties to the others all property rights in essence, depth, name, reason and action that they could have and intend that on the aforesaid things shared and discharge which are reciprocally restrained, dismissed and divested from each for the profit of the other and consenting about those things thus shared are and remain guaranteed by each to the others between all the divisions following custom promise to cede from one to the other and furnish the just pieces of property for the things that are allowed to them by the present sharing, which they respectively quit and promise to help one another in case of recourse to the aforesaid guaranty, the aforesaid shares are made without and understood that all the buildings that are constructed thereon, will remain  in common between the three divisions, and also without prejudice several pieces of furniture, such as beds or other pieces of furniture, that remain in the hands of the aforesaid Madeleine Racine, their mother, that the aforesaid Paul Simard, her son, is obligated to represent her after her death, expecting that she is going to stay with him. Made and passed the aforesaid divisions unto said place at Cape Maillard, July eighth, seventeen hundred sixteen, in the presence of Etienne Godard and René de Lavoie, witnesses who have with the aforesaid François Laberge and myself, notary, signed, and all the others aforementioned declared that they do not know how to either write or sign the order following this inquiry.


                            René de Lavoie



                            Verreau, notary

Then tranquility returns to install itself within this family that more resembled a tribe of the Old Testament. The younger generation growing up, numerous, valiant, full of enterprise. It takes hold of the land little by little.

The old grandmother, Madeleine Racine, does however again see, before reposing in her own last sound sleep, the disappearance of her two eldest sons. First it was Pierre who died on his land at Sainte-Anne, November 17 1724. He was sixty-one years old and left a family of six children, of which three were boys. Then in April 1726, Noël died, son, who occupied land neighboring the paternal land at Maillard. He counted sixty two years and left a family of thirteen children, of which ten were boys.

Both had amassed wealth; Nöel in particular had inherited through his wife one half of the lordship on the Gouffre river that came from Pierre Dupré, and his son, in 1735, who would buy the other half from his uncle, Ignace Gagné. But during 1728, the mother, Anne Dodier, would die in her turn, some months after having made a donation of her possessions to her son Pierre, which was given under procedures similar to the act which we have just read: before the Superior Counsel, inventory, sharing.

But too many separations burdened the shoulders of the poor grandmother; she saw five of her children and her spouse die, she was now more than eighty years old. She could depart in peace and go on to receive the just reward of her works. Her career was very replete. She died during the course of the summer of 1726.


It is the fate of all generations to successively be born, grow old and disappear. Likewise, the years in their flight carried away all the children of Lombrette. In 1732, it was the turn of François, who died at fifty four years old, father of nine children, of which two were sons. In 1733, it was Paul, at fifty-one years of age, father of seven children, of which four were sons; the last, François, was born three month after the death of his father. In 1735, Augustin disappeared, at the age of fifty nine years, at the head of a family of nine children, of which two were sons. In 1738, Joseph died, at the age of sixty four years, father of fifteen children, of which ten were boys. In 1748, Catherine disappeared, the youngest of the girls, wife of Nöel Guay; she was fifty six years old and left nine children. In 1750, Etienne died at the beautiful age of eighty one years; he left twelve children, of which four were boys. Finally in 1756, Marguerite died, at the age of seventy four years, leaving a family of eighteen children and, in 1760, Marie-Madeleine with eighty years completed, mother of eleven children.

The country would change allegiance. The European nations would tear it to shreds. In viewing the four generations that had, during a one and a half century interval (1600-1760), established a most beautiful lineage, we render an accounting as to the vitality of a race and put our finger on the secret of its survival across the worse difficulties.

When, in 1660, Nöel Simard dit Lombrette reclaimed his first land at Sainte-Anne, he was by himself. One century later he was forever asleep in a land bathed with his sweat and very faraway from the one which had seen him born. Here, however, we see, in his survivors, the fourteen children who he had trained, of which eight were boys, fathers of families like himself, and behind this first host, another of even greater advances. It was composed of his grand children, numbering a hundred twenty two, of which there were thirty-five boys, likewise themselves, also the fathers of families, carrying on the name of Lombrette, the name of Simard.

Nöel Simard, dit Lombrette, a patriarch of grand style, pioneer of high stature, reclaimer of lands, conqueror of domains and finally constructor of buildings, houses, mills and churches; founder of parishes, a model for those valiant and equally modest workmen that edified the entire place with one heritage.

Is it possible, after three centuries, to discern the type of physical features in which one would recognize the progeny of Lombrette? He would clearly enough belong to a race from near the south of the ancient Gaelic-Roman Aquitaine. Among the Simards, there are very few blonds, the great majority of individuals even have jet black hair. Their eyes are also dark brown and their looks shine with radiance. Their rather mat complexion again points to the Latin temperament; the lines of the face most often marry the bony contours, but there seems to exist, however, a secondary type of round and full face. The slim size individuals dominate over large stout ones, but they do not reach the height of six feet which makes a really tall person.

One can find the Simards, through quite a long period of time, in all spheres of human activity. A large number of them still cultivate the countryside lands all along the Saint Lawrence. Baie-Saint-Paul in particular, among its eight hundred families, counts more than a hundred and ten who carry the Simard name. But we see them spring up everywhere new spaces are opened to the conquering energy of pioneers. There were two of them, among the twenty-one, who opened the Saguenay, in 1838; they colonized the Abitibi, Témiscamingue and Rivière La Paix. Great enterprises attracted them, from among all the first French Canadians, and there they knew successes that distinguished them throughout the country. The prelature and judiciary have both already welcomed descendants of Nöel Simard and the teaching universities have offered their most serious chairs to professors who carry this name. Finally this name, not so amazingly, is found on the forewords of the most serious Canadian edition writings of science or politics.

It is a name that does not have less radiance in France, even though it appears there a little less frequently. We know as early as the XVIIth century of a Pierre Simard, or Symars, born at Besançon (1620-1680) who, entering through the Dominicans, first occupied a chair of theology and was then appointed Inquisitor General of France, famous for his zeal in pursuit of suspected heretics and magicians, and as an author of works of piety: The Treasure of the Rosary of the Most Blessed Virgin, Advise for priests and pastors. We know even better the French sculptor, Pierre Charles Simart, who was born at Troyes in 1806 and died in Paris in 1857. His works decorate the facade of the Hôtel-de-ville in Paris, the tomb of Napoléon at Invalides and the palace of Luxembourg. A student of Dupaty, he was the toast of Rome in 1833, member of the Institute, and always a fervent disciple of ancient classicism, belonging to the Ingres school.1

The present owner of the ancestral house at Puymoyen, Mr. René Simard, is himself a very reputed geometer in his region of Angoulême and a notable personality in France.  At the end of the last war, in 1945, his fellow citizens designated him to represent them at the Palace of Luxembourg as a member of Counsel of the Republic. In the scientific world, we again find the name of Simard, for here we note, in the Amiot-Dumont Editions, the publication of a work that won its author, Mr. Colin Simard, the Grand Prize in history for 1956, Archaeological Discoveries of France. It should not come as a surprise that a Simard, whose family comes from one of the richest regions in prehistory, is devoted to the science of archaeology so important in the present era. Finally, French broadcasting counts among its best known speakers a Miss Jacqueline Simard, who is only one of numerous persons with this name actually living in Paris.

This presence on all planes of social activity, as much in France as in Canada, already constitutes an eloquent testimony in favor of this grand family carrying the name of Simard; there is a sign of distinction that honors it and in which one could be as proud of her rich heritage. For a heritage is a set of spiritual securities, more so than a sum of material possessions.

It is, however, important to notice, as an integral and slightly neglected part of the Simard heritage, the centuries-old house in Puymoyen which achieves all its value from being so rare to Canadian families that are able to identify their precise place of origin. It is without doubt that all the descendants of Nöel Simard would unanimously desire that such a monument, according to the same vow of the present master of the domain, be converted into a veritable family sanctuary and thus insure it remains with the Simards.

It would also be necessary to attach a special consideration to the lands reclaimed by Lombrette in Canada: three at Sainte-Anne, four at Petite-Rivière Saint-François-Xavier and the vast domains that Monsignor of Laval put under his charge in organizing Baie-Saint-Paul. These lands that Nöel Simard acquired, conquered and bequeathed, all transformed by his noble labor, by his sons, they are still easy to identify, even if they are no longer entirely in Simard hands.

Finally, it is important to note that Nöel Simard has already merited the raising of a monument in order to immortalize his memory. In effect, there was a celebration held in 1948 at Baie-Saint-Paul for the 250th anniversary of the raising of its first church and on this occasion, there was at this location unveiled a magnificent monument of granite and bronze to honor its pioneers. It shows five persons who are, after Monsignor of Laval, the true founders of Baie-Saint-Paul: in the center, Minister Pierre Paul Gagnon, the first vicar; on the right, Nöel Simard and his wife, Madeleine Racine, having at their feet the Rosalie whose name opened the parish registers; on the left, the two Pierre Tremblays.

This monument, sculpted by the great Canadian artist, Emile Brunet, will probably attract a large number of Simards at Baie-Saint-Paul during the summer of 1957, in order to celebrate the principal work of Lombrette in a more solemn way: the opening of the entire region controlled by Baie-Saint-Paul.

In this way the sons venerate and conserve the memory of their human roots and this affiliated piety demonstrates the most fertile promise for the future.

 This presented biography of Nöel Simard attempts to be complete, in all its modesty, the most explicit homage that his progeny could award him on the occasion of the tricentennial anniversary of his arrival at Quebec.


The Biography of Saint Cybard

The Tricentenary of the Simards


Recluse of Angoulême (+ 581)

Cybard or Eparchius was born at Trémolat in Périgord. His parents, Felix, surnamed Oriolus, and Principia, were rich nobles. When their son was seven years old, they sent him to Périgueux, where he was instructed. His grandfather, the count Felicissimus, made him a chancellor when he was still very young,  less than  fifteen years old, and he ran away to the monastery of "Sedaciacum." This monastery disappeared early; he then went either to Seyssac, the community of Saint-Aquiline, or to Saint-Cybard de Mouleydier (Dordogne). The abbot Martin chastened the young man by him sending to take care of grapevines, plow lands and accomplish all sorts of services. He obeyed faithfully, fasted, stayed up and prayed assiduously. Already he had healed a sick person and delivered the possessed; one recounts the marvels: at Limeuil, a deer was racing ahead of him to lick his hands and left only after received his blessing; at Sonocella, probably Saint-Avit, he had caressed baby birds in their nest along with their mother.

In order to escape to the obtrusiveness of the faithful who venerated him like a saint, Cybard quit his monastery and browsed the diocese of Bordeaux, then the one of Angoulême. The bishop Aphtone received him very well and invited him to remain nearby. He did not want to commit without authorization from his abbot and of the bishop of Périgueux, Sebaudis. The messengers sent by Aphtone returned with this permission and he prepared a cell. One night, while everyone slept, he went to look, pray and rest. He then heard the voice of Christ say:  "Cybard, stay here and do not continue to journey for a long time." In returning, he passed before the jail and prayed; immediately the chains fell, doors opened and all the prisoners ran to take refuge in the church while the people applauded this prodigy.

The bishop Aphtone bishop ordained Cybard as a priest and presided over his entrance into the cell where he had to remain for thirty nine years. Some disciples joined him, he received them and allowed them to share his life. That is why he is sometimes given the title of abbot. He passed all of his time in prayers and him did not permit to his monks to work or even cook their own bread; likewise all the gold and money that passed between his hands was immediately redistributed to the poor or prisoner employees of acquisition, sometimes he reassured his companions citing the words of saint Jérôme to them: "Faith is not afraid of hunger." And the faithful were brought to eat. Cybard gladly received those who came for his consultation and to assist at his mass.

Better still, on a curious day he performed miracles that enlightened the mentality of the era. One day, a thief was arrested and accused by the crowd of all sorts of thefts and crimes. The count Ranulfe condemned him to be hanged, despite the intervention of a monk who, with sorrow, came to tell his master all about it:  "Return there, he said to him, and observe from afar." and then prostrated himself in tearful prayer. The gallows collapsed, the chains broke and the monk brought back the convict. Cybard declared to the count:  "You didn't want to listen me, but God heard me and he rendered the life of the one that you had sentenced to the death." It was not the alone occasion where Cybard helped an unfortunate escape a punishment which, during this barbaric era, often befell someone innocent or hit the guilty too brutally when they were without defense.

Still more interesting is the story of Arthemius. Of a noble family, he had wanted to be in the service of Lord and, without being cleric or consulting anyone, he shut himself up in a hermitage at Saintonge. He stayed there for a good number of years during which time he let his hair grow and, on a beautiful day, he left declaring that he wanted to go see the king of Childéric. His parents planned to accompany him and diverted him from his path. In arriving at Saint-Denis-d'Hiersac, Arthemius saw that he was approaching Angoulême and declared that he did not want to see Cybard.

He remained solidly tied on his horse and continued down the road. On arrival, his horse started to bristle and all its senses were agitated, during which time he declared that there was no semblance of saint in him. Cybard then calmed it with a simple sign of cross. The following day, despite some resistance, he made him cut his hair and some days later, took him into the priesthood. Much later, he was even promoted to the deaconry and lunacy never reclaimed him.

Many other miracles increased the renown of Cybard's holiness: curing sick people, providentially recovering stolen items, deliverance of prisoners... His austerity drew admiration from the masses: he never drank either wine or any other drink and was so chaste that no one had ever seen him eat. He died quietly on the first of July 581.

The miracles continued after his death, and an abbey was founded on the site of his hermitage. Served by canons, then by Benedictines starting in 950, it was submissive to Saint-Jean-d'Angely in 1096 and suppressed during the Revolution. The relics of the saint were burned by the Huguenots in 1568.

The dioceses of Angoulême, Périgueux and La Rochelle celebrate his feast day.

Bibliography. Cybard Saint is a privileged of the [hagiographie mérovingienne]: his Life was written by a contemporary; it was edited in the Acta sanct., 1st of July, I., pp. 112-115, and better in the Mon. Germ. Hist., Script. Rer. Merov., t. III, pp. 553-560, with a preface by B. Krusch, justly critiqued by Monsignor Duchesne in the Bulletin critique, 2nd series, t. III, (1897), pp. 471-473. Grégoire de Tours also mentions saint Cybard in his Historia

Francorum, t. VI, c. VIII, and in the De gloria Confessorum where at c. CI, he contradicts the history of the hanging, in this second work, he places this scene after the death of saint Cybard, while in the first, it took place during his lifetime, which must be the truth. For posthumous miracles, see Acta Sanct., 1st July, t. I., pp. 109-118, and Mon. Germ. Histor., Script. Rev Merov., t. III, pp. 560-564.



Dear cousin,

It appears established that the ancestor of all the Simards living in America arrived at Quebec on 21 June 1657. Many reasons render it desirable that on the 300th anniversary this event is noted and celebrated by the large Simard family: the personality of the first ancestor, his admirable work and the important positions that his progeny occupy in Canadian life. It is necessary to add that the Simard family is one of a very rare Canadian lineage that still remain at the ancestral home in France, always in the hands of a Simard, Mister René Simard, geometer, former Counselor of the Republic and faithful curator of this family sanctuary.

A group of organizers have therefore taken charge of the Simard tricentenary celebration. It includes an honors Committee, whose members are:

Monseignor Ovide-Dolor Simard, vicar of Alma, Lac Saint-Jean,

Mr. René Simard, geometer, from Angoulême, France,

Mr. Joseph Simard, industrialist from Sorel,

Mr. Fridolin Simard, mayor of Amos.

An executive committee was likewise formed with four members: two priests, a law student and a professor on the Faculty of Philosophy from Laval University, which was designated to assure the success of the great family anniversary. Two events of which will occur there by next spring:

a) the publication of a book containing the biography of the ancestor Nöel Simard, to appear at the beginning of 1957 under the auspices of the historic Company of Saguenay;

b) the organization of a family pilgrimage to its place of origin and the Simard ancestral house, at Puymoyen, near Angoulême, France; this group trip to Europe will take place in 1957 from June through August.

There is no doubt that all the Simards will want to know about the celebration developments and to participate in them according to their means. We will attempt to increase attendance by reaching the largest number of them: but it will not be possible without the communications of those contacted with the Executive, by reading the enclosed leaflets and returning a response to them as soon as possible in the enclosed addressed envelope they find.

All assembled, the Simards of America and France, in a just homage to their common ancestors.


Emile Simard,

secretary of the executive Committee.

The Simard tricentenary

Postal rack 1251



 The realization of the two projects disclosed in the Communication to the Simards: publication of a biography and organizing a family pilgrimage to France, will without doubt be marked in as vivid a manner as the original anniversary we are about to celebrate. The promoters also foresee, in addition to the religious manifestation at the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, a series of conferences in Canada, conducted by Mr. René Simard, of Angoulême (text appended to the communiqué).

We hope that the large Simard family will desire, during the occasion of this anniversary, to constitute a permanent Committee, whose goals will be to maintain and develop ties that will keep members of the Lombrette lineage united in spite of their unavoidable dispersion, and to maintain conservation of the family heritage. The Committee would assure retention, except the land, that the ancestral House in Puymoyen which it guards, with the collaboration of its present master, in order to either make it a family museum or a place of pilgrimage.

The Simard family could also, on the occasion of this anniversary, in a thought of social service, provide the foundation work for an aid to education: a modest capital contribution by subscription could thus provide scholarships for study by several young people, eager for instruction.

There is also a place to presume that other researchers in the future will devote works on the passage of the Simards, the grace of which, little by little, would constitute a Book of knowledge worthy of such a family. In this respect, the complete collection of all public acts relative to the Simards, resting in those parish registers and notary libraries, would in themselves be works of value. And could they not be exploited, from the sociological point of view, in a domain all so rich in the human elements that have been a great family, during the course of three centuries of history? Let those who have the eyes to see open them wide!


The preceding was excerpted from a document that was translated into English from the original French publication authored by Paul Médéric. The content but not the substance of the text has been altered to fit the style and beliefs of the translator. It is and was not intended to be a perfect translation, as the translator is not a professional in such matters or even a native French speaker.

This translation was not meant to violate any copyright laws or otherwise infringe on legal rights that may held by any third party. This document may not be reproduced for profit. It is, however, anticipated that it may and will be circulated to as many of the English speaking descendants of Nöel Simard as possible so that they will be able to enjoy the text contained herein to learn more about our common ancestry.



Paul Simard 
Zephyrhills, Florida