Pierre Desportes- First History
Samuel de Champlain sent Recollet priest Georges le Baillif to France as his delegate to King Louis XIII, on September 7, 1621. He was carrying a request to his Majesty from the principal residents of the country. This appeal is said to have been composed by Pierre Desportes, August 18, 1621, and signed by many others.
Pierre Desportes was literate, so he was better educated than most of the men of his era. He came from the diocese of Lisieux in Normandy. Before leaving France he married Francoise Langlois, the sister of Marguerite Langlois wife of Abraham Martin, who is also an ancestor in this genealogy. Pierre and Francoise arrived in Quebec in 1619.
Francoise was delivered of a daughter on July 7, 1620. This daughter, Helene, was born in l’Habitation of Samuel de Champlain. Champlain’s wife, Helene Boulle served as the godmother of little Helene. Helene was the first white child born in New France.
Champlain’s wife lived in l’Habitation from 1620 to 1624, when she returned to a gentler environment in France. The Langlois sisters were her main feminine companions in this little settlement at Quebec.
The company of 100 Associates had the franchise for trade in New France at this time. Champlain was one of its principals as was Pierre Desportes. The cost of a share was 3000 livres. This would indicate he was a man of means. While in Quebec he was in charge of the warehouse and fur trading. He was also the baker for the small village.
Francoise Desportes was a godmother twice in Quebec, in 1627, and again in May 18, 1629, only months before the conquest of Quebec by the Kirk brothers. The Kirk brothers sent Champlain and most of the colonists to France by way of England. The Desportes family and all or most of the Martin family were in the group repatriated.
Jane Goodrich’s source: “One Hundred French Canadian Family Histories” by Phillip J. Moore, 1994.
- Wikipedia article on Company of 100 Associates
Who Was Pierre Des Portes?
Who exactly was Francoise’s husband Pierre Des Portes, and what was his capacity in the Colony of New France?
His name does appear on the list of directors for The Company of One Hundred Associates or “Compagnie des Cent Associes”; run by Cardinal Richeleu; so we might assume that he held that position. He certainly did handle correspondence and filed reports to France on the condition of the settlement as early as 1621.
We know that he and Francoise were deported to France in 1629, by the Kirke Brothers, and most believe that they either died enroute or soon after in France; since only their daughter Helene returned later to Quebec, with her aunt Marguerite and Uncle Abraham Martin, as her guardians.
But herein lies the problem. There is a marriage contract registered in Paris that reads, in part:
“Pierre DesPortes, son of Louis DesPortes, attorney at the Parliament of Paris, and of Anne duPoteau, formally signed his marriage contract on 13 June 1599 with Genevieve duPuy, daughter of Jean-Baptiste duPuy and of Genevieve LeCuyer. He is to be one of the members of the future Company of the One Hundred Associates”. (14359.FTW Your Ancient Canadian Family Ties – Page 95)
So was this the same Pierre Des Portes who would marry Francoise Langlois almost twenty years later? Remember, she was only born in 1599.
Another piece to the puzzle is in The Beginnings of New France 1524-1663; Marcel Trudel, Page 195-196; where he states ” On Cape Breton, Captain Charles Daniel had withdrawn from his Fort Ste. Anne in the Grand Cibou, but on February 26, 1633; The Hundred Associates conceded the whole island to a new company formed by Pierre Desportes and Jean Belleteste, members of the Hundred Associates, who at once sent a shipment worth 6,200 livres to Fort Ste. Anne. Late in 1633, Desportes and Belleteste formed another new company with a capital of 45,000 livres; this company obtained the Cape Breton trade monopoly for a period of four years….”
And on page 203: “Cape Breton had been conceded by the Hundred Associates in February 1633; to two of their members; Pierre Desportes and Jeanne Belleteste, together with a trade monopoly for a four-year period. Desportes continued to maintain Fort Ste Anne in Grand Cibou Bay and entered into partnership with two members of the Hundred Associates, Charles Daniels and Nicolas Libert Le Jeune.”
It would certainly appear that on the surface, they were the same person. However, this Pierre Desportes went by the name Pierre Des Portes de Liguere.
It’s quite possible that Francoise’s husband was born about 1580, not 1599, as stated in many geneologies, and that he had been married before to a Genevieve Dupuis. It is also possible that only Francoise died while exiled in France, and her husband returned to the New World, shifting his interest to Capte Breton.
However, I have another hypothesis. What if her husband was the son of Pierre Desportes, Senior, and Genevieve Dupuis; and that Louis Desportes and Anne Dipideu, were actually his grandparents? There is certainly enough of a time frame to allow for the addition of a generation.