Abraham Martin

There is a lot of confusion over the origins of Abraham.  He was born about 1589, probably at La Rochelle, but since his father Jean Galleran Martin, was known as “The Merchant of Metz”, he could have also been born at Metz, Lorraine, France. His mother was Isabel Cote.  Throughout his lifetime, Abraham Martin was referred to as the “Scotsman”, so many believe he was born in Scotland.
However, that nickname was often used at that time, as a derogatory term to describe a deserter or member of an illegal organization.  It may have also meant that in his capacity as ship’s pilot, he had made several voyages to Scotland in his youth, or assisted the Scottish settlers who began arriving at Port Royal (then called Port Charles) about 1628, under the direction of Sir William Alexander.  It seems highly unlikely that he was actually of Scottish descent.

There is also evidence that he had at one time been employed by Jean De Biencourt and Du Gua de Monts as navigator on the coast of Acadia, although he would have been very young at that time.  Charles La Tour was also on that voyage, and it is clear that these two men remained good friends.  When Abraham’s son, Charles-Amador, was born on March 7, 1648, his godfather was none other than  Charles de Saint-Étienne de La Tour, who was also the infant’s namesake.  This too could explain why Martin was called the “Scotsman”, since La Tour’s father had accepted a Scottish Barony after being captured by the Kirke Brothers in 1629.

When the British took control of Kebec for the first time, everyone was shipped back home,  where it is believed that her sister Francoise, and her husband Pierre, died so the Martin’s became guardians to little Helene, who was now almost nine.  When the family returned after the British left, they brought along Marguerite’s  brother Noel, who would marry Francoise Grenier and have ten children, ensuring that the Langlois name from this branch, would live on.

The Martins would become one of the first three families to be granted land in Quebec City, when they were presented with 12 acres by the Company of New France in 1635.  The additional 20 acres were a gift from Sieur Adrien du Chesney, ship’s surgeon to Pierre Legardeur.  Abraham and Marguerite’s  descendants later sold this parcel of land to the Ursuline nuns.

Marguerite and her husband pmerylayed a major role in the development of French Canada, and in a culture that likes it’s  ‘firsts’; a few can be added to their credit.  Besides their son Eustache being named the first French child born in Canda (this one is questionable), Abraham has been called Canada’s first pilot (though again only first French pilot since the Canadian people had been navigating the waters for thousands of years), since his occupation was listed as “King’s Pilot” (navigator); their youngest son, Charles-Amador;  was the first Canadian-born priest and Abraham drew up the first map of Quebec, even though he was illiterate.

The family also had to deal with a bit of scandal, when Marguerite’s husband was accused of  “improper conduct with regard to a young girl” (The girl was only 16, so it was detemined to be statuatory rape).  He was charged and imprisoned on February 15, 1649.

Abraham Martin died on September 08, 1664 in Quebec city, at the age of 75;  and Marguerite the following year on December 17, 1665, at the age of 63.  The couple had nine children.  Adrien joined the Jesuits and Charles became a priest, but daughter Marie would marry Jean Cloutier and they had fourteen children.  Helene married Claude Etienne and had one child before her death in 1653.  Marguerite married Etienne Racine and had ten children.  Madeliene married Nicolas Forget and had nine children.  Barbe married Pierre Biron and had one child before her death in 1660.  Anne married Jacques Ratte and had ten children.

Things would have been much different for these families had the seventeen year old French girl, Marguerite Genevieve Millette Langlois , not sought a husband and a little adventure, in the New World, almost four centuries ago.

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