Jeanne LeMarchand Leneuf du Herrisson

Text by Gary Edwards

My Greatx 11 Grandmother, Jeanne LeMarchand de La Celloniere et La Rocque arrived in New France in 1636 with her sons, Michel and Jacques LeNeuf. The Le Neuf family was the first noble family to settle permanently in New France. Her eldest son, Michel became the Sieur du Herrisson and a Judge; the younger, Jacques was Sieur de La Potterie and was the Governor of Trois Riveres. The LeNeufs, along with their LeGardeur de Repentigny in-laws, were the most illustrious family in the French colony.

Jeanne was married in St. Thury-Harcourt, Caen, Normandy, France by contract on December 1599 to Mathieu LeNeuf du Herrisson. The contract shows her parents as being Lt. Gervais Le Marchand, Sieur de La Celloniere et La Rocque and Venote de St-Germain.

The LeNeufs du Herrisson were given the opportunity in the 1630s to revitalize their dwindling fortunes (the seigneurie of Herrisson was not as prosperous as it was before the bourgeoise). They would be sent to New France to establish themselves (and the feudal aristocracy) in the name of the King.

The LeNeuf brothers were very fair (the judgements passed down by Michel were very liberal) but rather hot-tempered. One day, Michel and Jacques were fighting with the habitants of Trois-Riveres. Jeanne, hearing the commotion, stepped out of the Governor's mansion. She too got into the brawl and was punched in the stomache by Guillaume Isabel (he was not a habitant). Despite her noble upbringing, Jeanne apparently loved a fight.

Twenty years later, her daughter-in-law, Marguerite LeNeuf de La Potterie nee LeGardeur de Repentigny was found to have been the leader of the liqour trade with the Indians. The Le Neuf family was very much involved in the liquor and fur trade, both of which made them fabulously wealthy by 17th century standards.

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