Jean Guyon

source: “One Hundred French Canadian Family Histories” by Phillip J. Moore.

Jean grew up in the small community of Tourouvre with many of the people with whom he went to Canada. He attained a good education. He could read, write. and had some knowledge of law, could survey land and was a mason. In Canada he drew up the marriage contract for a daughter of his good friend, Zacharie Cloutier. It is the first such marriage contract to be conserved in the Archives of Quebec and the only one still existing that Guyon wrote and signed.

June 12, 1615 Jean Guyon married a girl from his home town, Mathurine Robin. Looking for more opportunity they moved to Mortagne, a larger city, not far from Tourouvre. There he plied his trade as a mason and started a family. He purchased a house in the parish of St-Jean from Marin Boucher , another mason, and another ancestor of this genealogy. The house had two rooms on the ground floor, an undivided upstairs, a garden, and a pigsty.

During the fall of 1615 his former fellow parishioners contracted with him and Jean Froger to build the stone steps up the bell tower of St. Aubin de Tourouvre. As you enter the church, they are through a small door on your left. The treads of the steps are worn smooth after all these years. The underside of the stairs still show the chisel marks of our ancestor.

After his father died in 1623, he sold the family home in Tourouvre and his mother came to live with him in Mortagne.

In 1625 he made contracts to repair the walls of the fortified city of Mortagne. Marie Huet, his mother, died in 1626. She was buried in St Jean de Mortagne. That same year he moved into a larger house on Rue de la Barberye in the parish of Notre Dame de Mortagne. It was in this house that his eldest daughter Barbe signed her marriage contract with Pierre Paradis. Her dowery shows that her father was prosperous.

In the spring of 1634 Jean Guyon, his wife and six of their eight children left for Canada with the first sizable group to colonize Quebec. Robert Giffard, a physician and a contemporary from Jean’s youth in Tourouvre recruited them. Why would a prosperous tradesman leave France with his family for a hazardous voyage to a new home in the wilderness? The answer lies in the contract Jean Guyon signed with Robert Giffard promising a large tract of land on completion of his three year service.

The first task of Jean Guyon and master carpenter Zacharie Cloutier, another ancestor in this genealogy, on arriving in Beauport was to build a house to shelter the two families. It was 35 feet by 16 feet, and six feet high. Then they worked on the home of Seigneur Robert Giffard, and helped clear his land.

On completion of their contracts, Jean Guyon and Zacharie Cloutier were each given about one thousand arpents of land. Then a controversy started with Robert Giffard. The way they read the contract they thought they were to have two thousand arpents each, not two thousand between them. The authorities decided in favor of the Seigneur and they had to pay him his due and render him homage. They did so very reluctantly.

Jean Guyon called his fief DuBuisson, a name he took as his dit name, or surname in the French sense of the word.

Nine of the ten children of Jean Guyon and Mathurine Robin lived to marry. They married into prominent early families of the colony.