Jacques was born in Marennes, France in 1661, and he was a French Marine from 1684 until 1694 when he received a 100 arpent concession of land at La Tortue near the La Tortue River, from the Sulpician Fathers who owned the Seigneury of La Prairie de le Madeleine. Jacques married Marguerite Besset about 1698 or 1699 and they raised 9 children. He farmed this land for 44 years and died in 1734.
As was typical for farms on Seigneuries in New France at that time, his farm extended from the St. Lawrence River where it was 2 arpents (an arpent is about .8 of an acre) wide (about 384 feet) and 50 arpents long (about 9,600 feet or 1.8 miles deep). In 1714 the Sulpician Fathers reduced the size of many of the farms to a depth of 30 arpents or 5,760 feet or about 1.1 miles deep. Later in 1719 Jacques received another concession of land of 3 arpents wide and 20 arpents deep at St Joseph, a couple miles south.
In the 1735 Inventory of Goods, which was done in 1735, a year after Jacques died, both pieces of land were mentioned and they matched exactly the original concessions. It also mentioned the actual concession documents being in their possession. I therefore conclude that Jacques and Marguerite lived on the original concession throughout their lives. The Inventory mentioned that, of Jacques 60 arpents of land, 34 arpents were workable farmland and the remainder was burned stumps and forested. Every year the farmers would cut about 30-40 cords of wood for heating the house in the winter, and they would burn the stumps and then develop it into more workable farmland. This was a continual process. In the 1733 Census of LaPrairie they noted that there was 16 working arpents/acres on his initial land, and 3 arpents/acres of field on his second piece of land, but in the Inventory they mentioned 2 arpents/acres of land “to the cart”. The guidelines for the census may have had a stricter requirement for defining workable land.
According to the Inventory, their house was on the front of the land, on the North side, which was on the St Lawrence River. It was built “piece on piece” like a log cabin but was covered with vertical planks or siding from top to bottom. The house was 34 feet wide and 25 feet deep. They had a door with iron hinges and one without iron hinges, probably wooden hinges. The house had a stone foundation. Their house was estimated to be worth 400 Livres in 1735. Nearby was the square shell of an old house, without a roof. This must have been the original house that Jacques built before his family grew so large.
On the southwest side of their land was an old barn of standing posts, with a straw roof with a stable abutted to it, made “piece on piece” like a log cabin with a straw roof. It was called a ‘menacing ruin”. You have to remember that Jacques was 74 when he died and was probably not healthy enough at the end of his life to keep his buildings in good shape.
The 1735 Inventory of animals was as follows:
In the barn was:
At the time of Jacques death in 1734, his son Jacques and his daughter Marguerite had both been married for 4-5 years, and presumably they had their own land and houses. His son Jean Baptiste was on a voyager trip to the Post at the Wabash River southeast of Chicago and his son Pierre (my direct ancestor) was on a voyager trip to the Bay de la Puants, or Stinking Bay, now Green Bay, Wisconsin. We also see that Claude and Francois worked on the farm for their parents, and they may have also worked their own farms, because they had all received land concessions or had bought land.
The following items were mentioned in the Inventory and also in the “Last Will and Testament” which was done 4 days before his death.
Who inherited the farm and farmhouse?
There has always been a question of who inherited the farm. By examining the notary documents we can see that the farm did not change hands immediately. But, in 1739, their daughter Agathe was married at age 17 to Jean Monet. In 1740 we see many transactions of land and of “rights to succeed”, that is, “Inheritance Rights”; and it appears that Jean Baptiste bought most of them. It may be that Marguerite was allowed to keep the farm until after her minor children were married or reached majority. It will take more examination of these numerous contracts to find the truth, assuming the documents are readable.