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Pilot

Français : Iroquois du Monument à Maisonneuve,...

Iroquois du Monument à Maisonneuve, Place d’Armes, Montréal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, discussed in this post, was the Island of Montreal’s first Governor.

There is disagreement among historians as to whether the following incident took place on March 13 or March 30, 1644.  Maisonneuve’s settlers who had founded Montreal in 1642 were spending their second winter there.  Their activities were restricted because the Iroquois often waited in the woods outside the stockade ready to kill anyone who ventured out.

Maisonneuve’s men usually knew when the Iroquois were there because in the garrison was a dog called “Pilot,” who would howl the moment she scented the Indians.  She had six puppies who learned the same trick.

On March 13 or 30, as the case may be, Pilot and her puppies began to howl.  Maisonneuve’s men clamoured to be allowed to go out and attack the Indians.  Maisonneuve realized the danger but agreed to lead the assault.

It was a mistake.  No sooner had they entered the woods, than they realized that there were a great many Native Indians there.  Furthermore, they had guns as well as bows and arrows.  The Iroquois, greatly outnumbering the French, spread out in an encircling movement.  Maisonneuve knew then that he was trapped.  The only hope for survival was to retreat along a path in the snow that had been made by hauling logs into the stockade.  The Native Indians came racing out of the woods, leaping over snowbanks and firing their guns and arrows at the retreating French.  It was only by the narrowest of margins that the survivors got back into the stockade and closed the gate.  Maisonneuve was the last to enter.  Three of his men had been killed, and others were wounded.

Pilot has been commemorated as one of a group of figures in a statue in Montreal.  Perhaps Walt Disney’s organization will produce a film about her as it did for “Greyfriar’s Bobbie,” of whom there is a statue in Scotland.

Quite a story, I feel.  Want to read more about Pilot (Pilote) and de Maisonneuve?  You can begin your search at Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online; another really good place to go is Travels and Explorations of the Jesuit Missionaries in New France; and yet another new (new to me) website to visit would be Historion.net.

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The Queen Said I Could Go

English: Jeanne Mance, part of Maisonneuve Mon...

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While Madeleine de Verchères and Laura Secord are generally regarded as the outstanding heroines of Canada, there were many others whose bravery and devotion to duty equalled that of any man.

Among them was Jeanne Mance, who came to Canada with Maisonneuve.  She called on a Jesuit father in Paris and told him she had a divine call to serve in Canada.  After she had been questioned by the Queen, Anne of Austria, and other women of the court, money was provided for her to go with Maisonneuve and found a hospital, the Hôtel Dieu Hospital, which was opened on October 8, 1642.

As was expected, the Iroquois were bitterly opposed to the building of a settlement at Montreal, and they attacked mail and supply boats going between Montreal and Quebec.  It was not even safe to go outside the palisade to cut wood.  On one occasion three men were killed and three others were carried off and tortured to death.  Louis XIII sent out a ship, Notre Dame de Montréal, with supplies and a number of expert workmen to reinforce the settlement.  One of the workmen was  a leading engineer, Louis d’Ailleboust, who was accompanied by an unwilling wife.  Madame d’Ailleboust was soon so impressed by Jeanne Mance that she became one of her most faithful helpers.

D’Ailleboust  strengthened the defence of the settlement and then turned his attention to building the hospital, for which he had brought an extra gift of money.  The worst problem was lack of room inside the palisade, and so the hospital had to be built on the other side of the St. Pierre River, a small stream that flowed through Montreal.  D’Ailleboust chose high ground to protect the hospital from the spring floods.  The ground was easier to defend than the settlement itself, and Maisonneuve would have been the wiser if he had built there at the outset.

In 1653, the hospital was attacked by 200 Iroquois when Jeanne Mance was there alone with her patients.  A brave soldier, Lambert Close, went to the rescue with 16 men, fought the Iroquois for twelve hours, and managed to drive them away.  There were many such adventures ahead for Jeanne Mance.

If you would like to read more about Jeanne Mance, I suggest the Library and Archives Canada, and the Catholic Encyclopedia, and Gates of Hell, and finally, the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

 

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Montreal Founded On A Vision!

English: Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal...

Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal. Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The beginning of Montreal was based on a vision.  Do you know the story?

In 1635, Jerome de la Dauversière, a tax collector in Anjou, had a vision of an island called Montreal.  He felt inspired to found an order of nuns who would set up a hospital there.  Dauversière had never heard of Montreal, so he went to Paris to learn something about it.  On the way, he met a priest, Jacques Olier, and together they founded the Sulpician order, which secured a grant of the island.  A distinguished crusader and warrior, the Sieur de Maisonneuve, agreed to go as governor.

The party arrived at Quebec in August 1641, but Governor Montmagny was opposed to their going farther up the river, knowing the danger from the Iroquois.  He tried to get them to set up a mission on the Island of Orleans, below Quebec.

Maisonneuve said, “Were all the trees on the island of Montreal to be changed into so many Iroquois, it is a point of duty and honour for me to go there and establish a colony.”  The winter was spent building boats and they began their journey on May 8, Montmagny going with them.

The morning of May 18 was clear, with sunshine touching the top of Mount Royal and lighting up the forests.  Maisonneuve went on shore first and dropped to his knees in prayer.  The twenty other members of the party followed.  The actual place was where a small stream they named St. Pierre flowed into the St. Lawrence.  Now it is an area of tall buildings.

An altar was built, and Father Vimont conducted the first Mass while soldiers with muskets stood guard.  At the Mass, Father Vimont uttered some prophetic words: “That which you see is only a grain of mustard seed.  But it is cast by hands so pious and so animated by faith and religion that it must be that God has great designs for it.  He makes use of such instruments for His work.  I doubt not that this little grain may produce a great tree, that it will make wonderful progress some day, that it will multiply itself and stretch out on  every side.”

Quite an interesting story, I thought. If you want to learn even more about this, I’ve found a few places to go for that. I suggest reading St. Joseph’s Continuring Care Centre; and Canada History.com is very interesting; and another good read is at the Encyclopedia of French Cultural Heritage in North America; and lastly, the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.

 

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A Dog Called Pilot

Français : Iroquois du Monument à Maisonneuve,...

Iroquois du Monument à Maisonneuve, Place d’Armes, Montréal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is disagreement among historians as to whether the following incident took place on March 13 or March 30, 1644.  Maisonneuve’s settlers who had founded Montreal in 1642 were spending their second winter there.  Their activities were restricted because the Iroquois often waited in the woods outside the stockade ready to kill anyone who ventured out.

Maisonneuve’s men usually knew when the Iroquois were there because in the garrison was a dog called “Pilot,” who would howl the moment she scented the Indians.  She had six puppies who learned the same trick.

On March 13 or 30, as the case may be, Pilot and her puppies began to howl.  Maisonneuve’s men clamoured to be allowed to go out and attack the Indians.  Maisonneuve realized the danger but agreed to lead the assault.

It was a mistake.  No sooner had they entered the woods, than they realized that there were a great many Native Indians there.  Furthermore, they had guns as well as bows and arrows.  The Iroquois, greatly outnumbering the French, spread out in an encircling movement.  Maisonneuve knew then that he was trapped.  The only hope for survival was to retreat along a path in the snow that had been made by hauling logs into the stockade.  The Native Indians came racing out of the woods, leaping over snowbanks and firing their guns and arrows at the retreating French.  It was only by the narrowest of margins that the survivors got back into the stockade and closed the gate.  Maisonneuve was the last to enter.  Three of his men had been killed, and others were wounded.

Pilot has been commemorated as one of a group of figures in a statue in Montreal.  Perhaps Walt Disney’s organization will produce a film about her as it did for “Greyfriar’s Bobbie,” of whom there is a statue in Scotland.

Quite a story, I feel.  Want to read more about Pilot (Pilote) and de Maisonneuve?  You can begin your search at Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online; another really good place to go is Travels and Explorations of the Jesuit Missionaries in New France; and yet another new (new to me) website to visit would be Historion.net.

 

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