The Story of Honore Martel







From 1627 to 1663, the Canadian population increased from 100 to more than 2,500 people. It
Claimed to have rights to the whole North American continent. In the face of other Atlantic colonies
which already numbered 80,000 inhabitants, what audacity. It would be an impossible mission without an
important military force.

     The arrival of the Carignan Regiment in 1665 was going to completely change the situation.
Until then, the few soldiers supported by the One Hundred Associates were only pawns in a game of
chess. The inhabitants had to defend themselves and several were massacred shamelessly.

     We can date the arrival of our ancestor HONORÉ MARTEL in Canada at 30 June 1665. This is
the date of the arrival in Québec City of his company, the Berthier Company of the Allier Regiment,
which was one of four companies that accompanied Alexandre de Prouville de Tracy. Tracy was the
Lieutenant general of Louis XIV for all of the Americas. Four companies in all set sail with Tracy from
La Rochelle, France on 26 February 1664 stopping at Antilles before arriving in Canada. They were the
Berthier Company of the Allier Regiment, the La Brisandiere Company of the Orleans Regiment, the La
Durantaye Company of the Chambelle Regiment, and the Monteil Company of the Poitou Regiment.
Tracy and his troops had sailed from France in two of the largest ships in the French fleet, the 800-ton
Brese and the slightly smaller Terron. It was on the Brese that the Berthier, La Brisandiere, La
Durantaye, and Monteil companies arrived in Canada. They were not, in the strictest sense, members of
the Carignan Regiment at all, but came to be considered part of it by virtue of their having served along
side that regiment from it's earliest moments in Canada.

     The reason for the delay of the Brese which remained at anchor off Perce at the easternmost tip
of the Gaspe Peninsula for nearly a month, was its great size. Being an 800-ton ship it was unable to
navigate the shallow and rocky sections of the St. Lawrence River.

     As soon as they debarked, the troops hurried to occupy strategic points along the Richelieu
River, the traditional route of the Mohawks when traveling north. A post was established at the mouth of
the river, another in the basin of Chambly (Saint-Louis) and a third, three leagues higher (Sainte-
Thérèse). With the arrival of the French, the warriors of the woods disappeared in the forest.

     We can be fairly certain that HONORÉ MARTEL remained near Tracy, along with the four
companies that had been like his personal retinue for more that a year and a half. According to notes from
his commanding officer, Isaac Berthier, Tracy was billeted with his men at Québec during the winter of

     Although we would like to know all of the names of members of the Regiment and particular of
the Berthier Company it just is not possible because so many papers are gone. Companies were almost
always named after their commanding officer. The following is a list of the members of the Berthier

Captain Alexandre Isaac Berthier, founder of a French-Canadian family.
Lt. Claude Sebastien LeBassier de Viliieu and Daudeville, founder of a French-Canadian family.
Lt. Seraphin Margan, sieur de La Valtrie, founder of a French-Canadian family.
Ensign Prudent Alexandre Taboureau de Verrone

Jacques Brin (Bron, Bouin) dit Lapensee
Louis Bureau dit Sansocy, founder of a French-Canadian family.
François Carcy dit La Violette, founder of a French-Canadian family.
Jean Catelan (Lecatealan), founder of a French-Canadian family.
François Couillard dit La Fontaine, founder of a French-Canadian family.
Jean Gely dit Laverdure, founder of a French-Canadian family.
Michel GortonlGauronlJoron dit Petit Bois, founder of a French-Canadian family.
HONORÉ MARTEL dit LAMONTAGNE, our premier ancestor.
André Mignier dit Lagassi: (Lagace), founder of a French-Canadian family.
Etienne Blanchard dit La Rose or La Rozee, founder of a French-Canadian family.

     The King, who desired that this new land be peopled, granted seigoellries, which were large
tracts of land, to officers who might wish to stay. Soldiers were given land within the seigneuries, many
of them staying with the officers of their units. After Honorés discharge he found himself in need of work
so on 30 November 1668 he signed a commitment to Jacques Larchevesque of Guadarville to seed and
clear land.

     For the second time Honoré finds himself in need of the notary services of Remain Becquet as
he is preparing to take a wife, namely Marguerite La Mirault.

     Her family was aware of the plan of the King to populate "New France" by inducing young
women from France to travel to what was to become Canada. The King offered a dowry of fifty pounds
if a woman married a soldier or common settler, and 100 pounds if she married an officer. In addition,
she was given a small hope chest, called a "cassette", which held the following items:
     one head dress
     one taffeta handkerchief
     one pair of shoe ribbons
     100 sewing needles
     one comb
     one spool of thread (white)
     one pair of stockings
     one pair of gloves
     one pair of scissors
     two knives
     1,000 pins
     one bonnet
     four lace braids
     ten pounds in silver money

     Since Marguerite had a dowry of 350 pounds at her marriage and since her parents were living
and in fact, attached to the Royal household, we can presume that it was not poverty which compelled her
toward this strange and dangerous land. The parish of her baptism and the location of her family home on
Rue Poullies front on the Louvre, which was the Royal residence at the time.

     More likely was the fact that she and Honoré had known one another in Paris. They lived within
five blocks of each other and their fathers were involved in professions which would have almost
undoubtedly brought them into contract; Honoré's father being a Horse Merchant and Marguerite's being
a Coachman for the Royal House. It seems most likely that it was an excellent opportunity to increase her
dowry and at the same time receive free passage to where her beloved was serving. The following is a
rough translation of their marriage contract.

     Affidavit before Becquet N.R. (Notary for his Majesty) November 17, 1668. Were present in
person before Remain Becquet, Notary; Honoré Martel, Sieur de Montagne, inhabitant of this country
residing in Guardarville, parish of St. Michel de Sillery, son of Jean Martel, horse merchant, residing in
Paris on Rue des Ursulines and of the deceased Marie Duchesne, his father and mother.

Marguerite La Mirault also inhabitant of this country, daughter of Francois La Mirault,
coachman for the Queen and of Jeanne Clause, her father and mother, residing on Rue des Poullies 
also in Paris, parish of St Germain Luxaurois, whom willingly without any force or restraint have with the 
advice and consent of their mutual friends here assembled, namely; Simon Plaust dit La Fleur, Jacques 
Formelhuys dit Belleville, Samuel Vignel, Jacques Larchevêsque, Étienne Pasquier and Etiennette Rousseau 
his wife, Simon Darme dir Jolicoeur, all inhabitants of this country, do recognize and confess they have 
made this agreement and promise of marriage which follows:
     Understanding that the named Sieur Martel has promised to take for his wife and lawful spouse the stated 
La Mirault as she also promises to take him for her husband and lawful spouse; and solemnize the marriage in 
Our Mother, the Holy Roman Catholic Apostolic Church, the earliest possible, if God and Our Mother, the Holy 
Church are willing and approve.
     That the said future spouses may be one and only in all possessions as furniture and purchased buildings 
on the day of their marriage, and in future as common law of the city and of Paris in use in this country; all debts 
made by one or the other, made or created before the marriage, will be paid and acquitted by whom will have 
created them on his possessions. And will provide the future wife the sum of 250 pounds to be paid at one time. 
And also, the future husband has recognized and declared that the future wife had brought and put in common, 
the sum of 350 pounds.
     And should there be dissolution of the future marriage without children, the two future spouses
having given in the best way of all and each of them, they could keep their personal property. And real estate 
acquired that will be theirs at the day of the first one who dies to dispose as he likes at the present moment etc., 
etc., and so promising and obliging has been made in Quebec in the house of Sieur Soullard in the year 1668 
forenoon on the 17th day of November in the presence of Jean Baptiste Cosset, clerk and of Giles Dutartre living 
in Québec, witnesses who have signed these presents with the future husband some of the friends, and notary, 
and the future wife and other friends which have declared not being able to sign.
     The young couple seems to have settled on the Sainte-Genevieve Coast, which at that time
linked the Upper Town with the seigneirie of Sillery. It was there that our ancestor was living on 7
October 1670 when he acquired from Cartes Aubert de La Chesnaye thirty arpents of land near the Saint-Charles River.
     Exactly two months later, Honoré decided to lease the homestead that he had occupied at the
time of his marriage, to Jean Lefebvre dit Champagne. This land was two arpents wide by thirty arpents 
deep and was between the lands of Ignace Bonhomme and Jean Guyon dit Du Buisson. The land was leased 
from 15 April 1671 until 15 April 1675 under the condition that the tenant clears six arpents of land for seeding.
     During the following year Honoré was to need the services of Notary Becqet two more times.
The first being on 5 July 1671 when he rented a milk cow from Charles Aubert do La Chesnaye. The second being 
on 2 November when Claude Lefebvre dit Laliberte agreed to pay one hundred livres which he owed to Honoré 
when the first ship arrived from France in the beginning of 1672.
     Being from a Merchant family and living in the heart of the great city of Paris, Honoré is not
suited to the life of a farmer. On September 1673, Martel asked to be released from the contract signed 
with La Chesnaye in 1670.
     Having already sold his land at Guardarville to Jean Dubost for 284 livres on 20 March 1673,
Honoré acquires land in the seigneur of Neuville on 16 October 1674. The property was purchased from fellow 
Parisian, Charles Delaurice dit Jambon for 200 livres tournois, which included the seven cleared arpents, a cabin 
and a shed. The neighbors were Jean de Lastre dit Lajeunesse and Michel Rognon.
     The census of 1681 at Neuville, PQ, shows the family listed as follows:
          House #4     
          Honoré Martel.......49 years married
          Marg. Lamirault.....36 years
          Jean..............11 years single son
          Joseph..........9 years single son
          Madeleine....7 years daughter
          Marguerite...5 years daughter
          Paul...............4 years son
          Antoine........1 years son
     Having tried farming for twenty years without any great success Honore decided to fall back on another trade, 
that of Longsawyer and carpenter. He leased for a one year, a house on Rue Saint-Louis in Upper-Town of Québec, 
for a rent of 17 livres and 10 sols every three months, from Pierre Menage, the King's Carpenter. The house contained 
a cellar, two rooms on one floor, one of which was furnished as a foyer, and an attic.
     For Honoré the job of Longsawyer and Carpenter proved to be more agreeable and profitable
because we see him in the year 1694 moving his family to a home on the Rue Cul-de-Sac. This house belonged to 
Mathiey Lagrange and Martel would pay 120 livres in four installments.
     Honore apparently developed some health problems which brought about several visits to the
Hotel-Dieu. Hospital records show the following for Honore:
     01 June 1690.......15 days......age 50
     06 April 1692...... 25 days......age 52
     12 June 1698......14 days.......age 60
     12 April 1699...... 07 days.......          
     The Hospital records also show the death, on 17 October 1706 of Marguerite Lamirault, age 62. One year after her 
death Honoré found a second mother for his children. On 3 November 1707, he married Marie Marchand in spite of his 70 years. 
The Hôtel-Dieu received Honoré at least three more times, the last being on 30 June 1710. His departure from the hospital 
was noted on 28 July. Was this last illness fatal? We believe so, since the records which subsequently mention him speak 
of him as having left for a better world.


The above has been compiled and rewritten from many sources, some have been translated from French.

This version was provided to me by my cousin Justin Martel of Ontario Canada on January 20, 2001. Recently I have been informed

that portions of this page were written by  Sharon Belongeay, (edited by Jean-Pierre Martel). The complete original article (in French)

is at Jean-Pierre's web site. Go to

The above data was inadvertently published for the past eight years without this knowledge. I apologize to the authors for this oversight.

Robert E. Martell Senior August 22, 2009