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Family of D’Ailleboust

Prominent French Canadian family of the 1600s

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Ailleboust, D’, FAMILY OF.—(1) AILLEBOUST, Louts D’, Sieur de Coulanges, third Governor of Canada, date of birth unknown; d. in Montreal May 31, 1660. He came to Canada in 1643. He was an associate of the Compagnie de Montreal, aided Maisonneuve in founding Montreal, building the first fortifications, and was commandant of the city from October, 1646, to May, 1647. Sent to France, he obtained help and important reforms in favor of the colonists. He succeeded Montmagny as Governor General, arriving at Quebec August 20, 1648. He formed a flying camp of forty soldiers to guard the communications between the capital and Montreal. During his term of office the Huron missions of Ontario were destroyed by the Iroquois, and the Jesuits, Brebeuf, Lalemant, Daniel, Garnier, and Chabanel, suffered martyrdom (1648-49). He settled the Huron refugees on the Island of Orleans, and tried to establish an alliance and commercial relations with New England. The Jesuit Druillettes has left an account of the embassy sent on this occasion. On the 21st of October, 1651, Jean Lauzon succeeded d’Ailleboust as governor, and the latter was not sorry to resign a post in which he had been left without support. In reward of his services, several important seigniories were granted him (Argentenaye, Coulanges, Saint-Villemer). He retired to Montreal, where he took to farming, and was the first to sow French grain in Canada. In 1665 he accompanied Maisonneuve to France, where he induced the Sulpicians to assume possession of the Island of Montreal, and to send missionaries thither. He also persuaded the Sisters of l’Institut Saint Joseph, of Lafleche, to take charge of the Hotel-Dieu. Returning to Canada with four Sulpicians, d’Ailleboust was entrusted with the interior administration of the colony (September 18, 1657; July 4, 1658) until the arrival of d’Argenson. He laid (March 23, 1658) the first stone of the church of Sainte Anne de Beaupre, the place of pilgrimage which has since become so famous. He died leaving a name as a good Christian, a man of judicious and impartial mind.

(2) AILLEBOUST, BARBE D’ (nee de Boulogne), date of birth unknown; d. 1685. Wife of the foregoing; followed her husband to Canada in order to devote her life to the instruction of the Indians. She learned the Algonquin language, which she taught to the Sulpicians. Jeanne Mance, Sister Bourgeois, and Barbe d’Ailleboust, rivals in virtue, have given Canada examples worthy of the great ages of the Church. After the death of her husband, with whom she had lived in continence, in order to fulfil a vow made in early life, she withdrew to the Hotel-Dieu at Montreal, where she divided her time between prayer and good works. In 1663, with the assistance of the Jesuit Father Chaumonot, she founded the Confraternity of the Holy Family, a devotion which spread all over Canada and did much to preserve good morals. Msgr. de Laval subsequently invited her to Quebec, and gave her the general management of this pious confraternity, which was canonically erected March 14, 1664, and still exists. In 1675, the Bishop had a little book printed in Paris, instructing the members of the confraternity as to the virtues which they should practice, and the rules they should follow (La solide devotion a la Sainte Famille). He also established the feast of the Holy Family, and caused a mass and office to be drawn up which are proper to the Diocese of Quebec. Madame d’Ailleboust, who was endowed with great talents, with charms of mind and person, was sought in marriage by the Governor, de Courcelles, and by the Intendant, Talon, but she was faithful to her vow. She died at the Hotel-Dieu, in Quebec, whither she had retired, to which she had given her fortune, and where she is held in veneration.

(3) AILLEBOUST, CHARLES JOSEPH D’, Sieur des Musseaux, nephew of the foregoing; b. 1624; d. 1700; came to Canada in 1650, where he commanded the flying column organized to protect the settlements against Iroquois attacks, and was Commandant of Montreal from October, 1651, to September, 1653, during the absence of Maisonneuve, whom he accompanied to France (1653-56). Argenson, the Governor, who had confidence in d’Ailleboust’s worth, suggested him to the King as his lieutenant in 1658. He was made civil and criminal judge of Montreal, a position which he held until 1693. A good soldier, a prudent administrator, an upright judge, d’Ailleboust at his death left, by his marriage with Catherine le Gardeur de Tilly, several children who took service, and distinguished themselves, in the colonial army. They founded the families of d’Argenteuil, de Cussy, de Perigny, and de Manthet; names borrowed from Champagne, and still found in France, near Auxerre (Yonne). The d’Ailleboust family was confirmed in its rank of nobility by a decree of the King of France, registered at Quebec in 1720. Some of its descendants still live at the village of Caughnawaga, near Montreal.


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