From Quebec to St. Louis, MO with 700 sterling pounds
In Quebec, Canada my 6th Great Grandmother, Charlotte, was born on 24 February 1752. She would arrive on the banks of the Mississippi River in newly established St. Louis, Missouri 15 years later. The life of Charlotte D’Amours de Louviere was quite the journey.
How did she get to st. louis?
Charlotte was born into an affluent French family. Her parents, Louis D’Amours de Louvière and Josephè Tonty were married on 26 Apr 1745. Her father, widowed two years prior with small children, had two more children with Josephe. Just shy of Charlotte’s third birthday, Louis died.
Widowed women in French society were able to control half of the combined assets. The other half of the estate was to be set aside for any children born of the union.
It’s Amazing that women had any type of control over their estate during this time period.
Daughters understood that their part of the estate was to be set aside and used for a marriage dowry. Dowry’s would become invested into a marriage contract. This would typically occur through their fathers. In Charlotte’s case her widowed mother is now the legal party responsible for her daughters future marriage dealings.
Most women of marriageable age in New France were married—early and often—and so were under male authority for most of their lives. Yet women maintained a right to thehttp://npshistory.com/publications/women-of-new-france.pdf
property and goods they brought to the marriage. French law
recognized marriage as creating a community of goods that
were equally shared between a husband and wife, though the
husband exercised ultimate managerial control over the disposition of the goods. The most important aspect of this legal situation came upon the death of the husband because it entitled
the woman to half of the marriage estate, not just what she
brought into the marriage, and the rest went to the heirs.
The waterways from Canada into the Americas was a natural passage for men to forge and enter a new world with opportunity in trade.
Josephe remarried within two years to Pierre Tremblay. They decided to follow new opportunities down the American waterways to Detroit. Here, in this french Canadian developed town, Josephe had close relatives living. Charlotte had a grandfather, aunts and uncles residing. Unfortunately, Charlottes step dad Pierre died here in 1763.
At 11 years old, Charlottes mother decided to pack up and try their luck in Prairie du Rocher, IL where her first husband, Charlottes father, has a significant amount of living relatives. Here, Charlotte is within a few miles of several french powerhouse towns like Kaskaskia, IL. In Kaskaskia, Charlotte’s future husband, Jean Baptiste De’Gamache, was living. Did Charlotte and Jean Baptiste meet here? In 1764, Kaskaskia, IL fell to the British during the French and Indian War.
the French kaskaskia inhabitants left. The wealthiest went upriver and founded St. Louis and others settled in St. Genevieve. Here is a more detailed post about this event!
By the age of 15, Charlotte, and her mother left Prairie du Rocher, IL. They had followed the river to the newly formed St. Louis. Josephe accepted a marriage proposal for her daughter to wed Jean Baptiste De’Gamache. He was born in Quebec, was living in Kaskaska, IL near Charlotte and somehow their paths aligned to this point. They married on 03 May 1767.
3 years after the founding of St. Louis, 32 year old Jean Baptiste De’Gamache married 15 year old Charlotte D’Amours de Louvière.
This was the first wedding to be held inside the St. Louis Catholic CHurch.
Going through the transcripts you will see how Charlottes mother Josephe represented her daughter, as a widow, and providing a dowry of 700 sterling pounds.
In todays money that amounts to $134,066.55.
Charlotte gave birth to 5 children over the next 14 years. Only 3 of them survived to adulthood. She survived to see her 29th year and passed away. Her remains, along with all her family members, were later lost for many years. Recently, they have been found. You can read about that here.
Did Charlotte have a say on who she was going to marry? I wonder what she looked like and if she was a good mother. I’m curious how she died. Was she happy? I have a strong desire to connect with the life of Charlotte D’Amours de Louviere. Have you ever felt this way with one of your ancestors?