1.7.8 Les Papineau de Niort, aux U.S.A. et en Angleterre.
Date: Sat, 03 Feb 2001 22:14:36 -0400
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (PAPINEAU JEAN-YVES)
To: "Popenoe, Oliver" <email@example.com>
Subject: Jean Papineau of Niort, new documents
We have sent you friday by post about 20 pages comprised of
copies of original French manuscript documents together with
their transcription and a rough translation. This about
covers what we and Marguerite Morisson found on the paternal
line of Jean Papineau. We still have a few to do asap on the
maternal line of Guiet.
Here is by e-mail a copy of the covering letter.
Mr. Oliver Popenoe
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org web site: www.popenoe.com
Greetings to you Oliver,
As promised, Renée and I did some more deciphering of
both the archives we had found in Niort last fall and those
unearthed by our friend Marguerite Morisson.
First let me admit that I am quite jealous of this treasure
throve about your Jean and only wish that one day we can
find the like for my Samuel. As I tell in my site above, I
can only speculate and imagine the whereabouts of Samuel's
family in "upstate" Poitou-Vendée. My latest find is a
probable brother who obtained a coat of arms in 1696.
For both our ancestors, bear in mind that Deux-Sèvres
department was created at the French revolution in 1789,
therefore in the previous 17th century, Niort and Montigny
were in Poitou, so we are both "poitevin".
This explains why Marguerite Morisson had to go to Poitiers
to obtain copies of the notarial deeds herewith.
To properly understand the historical background of the days
in which our first known ancestors lived would require a
full fledge doctoral thesis, and even in our oecumenical
times, historians have difficulty explaining and even more
justifying the terrible fratricidal "wars of religion" that
devastated France in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The province of Poitou was particularly affected before,
during and after the Edict of Nantes of 1598 and its
Revocation in 1685. Niort was a Huguenot stronghold given
special status under the Edict and had developed a very
militant community that was a marked target for repression
after the Revocation. Campains to convert the Huguenots by
peaceful or coecitive tactics were carried out under the
supervision of a local governor for Poitou named Foucault
and for Niort named "president de Fontmort".
The latter is well known for having kept Madame De Maintenon
informed of his grossly exaggerated success in obtaining
their abjuration or renouncement. She was the mistress and
later wife of king Louis XIV and had been born in Niort, the
daughter of a famous poet, Agrippa D'Aubigné, himself a
Huguenot who had been jailed by the king. After converting,
she became a violent enemy of her former religion and thus
influenced the policies of the French court and
We must remember that the French royalty had been keen for
centuries to foster a national "Gallican" religion,
recognizing Rome, but at arms length.
France, especially after the demise of the catholic king of
England, James II, envied the powerfully unifying "Anglican"
national religion of England.
Unfortunately for Calviníst followers in France, they were an
obstacle to State security, especially in the western
provinces that had formerly been attached to England.
How could Louis XIV forget that Louis XIII and Cardinal
Richelieu had to lay siege in 1623 to the predominantly
Huguenot stronghold city of La Rochelle, which had asked
England to come to its rescue?
Of course the net result of those difficult times was the
emigration of an estimated two hundred thousand French
Calvinists, mostly to Holland and to England, from whence
many emigrated to New-England.
They were actively barred from entering New-France/Canada.
Only a few succeeded in the very early days. Those arrived later
under the French regime had a minor impact on Canadian history.
Of course French speaking Huguenots in England and Switzerland
were recruited for the conquest and administration of British
Canada after 1760.
Niort in the 17th century had been badly mauled by fanatics
of both religions but managed to remain quite prosperous,
thanks to the Huguenot entrepreneurial skills at craft and
trade and thanks to its sizeable trade with the world and
New-France in particular. The river called Sèvre Niortaise
linked its active port with that of La Rochelle, main
arrival point of the furs and skins of the New-World. Thus
through the years Niort developped the specialty craft of
producing "peau de chamois", or "chamois leather", a kind of
washable leather obtained by tanning the raw skins with fish
oil instead of the traditional wood bark extracts used for
Thus was established on the north side of the city, upriver
from the castle and its two ominous dungeons, a section of
industries devoted to this trade called la "Chamoiserie".
This place is still named today Quai de la Regratterie, the
French word "gratter" referring to the scraping off action
required to remove the hair from the skins of goats, deer
and other animals. Furthermore in the City museum located in
the dungeon, there is today a section devoted to this all
important historical craft, la chamoiserie.
When scrutinizing the many official documents of that time,
the many Papineau and their numerous friends and relatives
are always identified as "marchands", that is "merchants".
The only way to relate them to the dominant trade of
"chamoiseurs" in Niort is through the Jean Papineau who came
to New-England about 1698 at the age of 20 and was
identified by merchant Gabriel Bernon as his partner wih
Grignon in a "chamoiserie" in New-Oxford, Massachussett.
Indeed at age 20, Jean had had time to learn this craft.
Probably from his father Jean (le jeune), Merchant, and
Elder in his church, reported by President de Fontmort as having
renounced his faith on 16th of August 1685, but who was still quite
active, as witnessed by his being fined in 1699 for refusing
to send his younger children to the catholic church.
We have already faxed to you two documents, namely
1.- the birth certificate in 1678, at the Niort temple
(protestant church), of Jean IV, the one who came to
2.- the marriage certificate in 1674, at the temple, of his
father Jean III.
As to the direct paternal line, we now join a document,
presumed to be:
3.- The burial certficate in 1662, at the temple, of his
grand father Jean II, spelled as was quite common: Papinot.
4.- The burial certificate in 1650, at the temple, of Marie
Texier, wife of Jean II
5.- The marriage contract of 1674, before a notary, of Jean
III with Suzanne Guiet.
This is a most remarkable document. It states the various
obligations, the respective dowry, and also includes a
full page of most beautiful signatures that identify the
various parents and close friends of the Papineau family.
Follows the birth certificates of the ten children of Jean III and
Suzanne Guiet. Before 1685, at the Niort temple,
after 1685, date of their reported renouncement,
at Notre-Dame catholic church.
6.- 1676, Françoise. at the Niort temple.
7.- 1678, Jean IV (1.- above) " "
8.- 1679, Suzanne " "
9.- 1680, Pierre (lived 2 months) " "
10.-1681, Élizabeth " "
11.-1683, Jacob " "
12.-1686, Marie, baptized at Notre-Dame. see marriage at 16.-
13.-1688, Daniel, " " "
14.-1689, Michel, " " "
15.-1690+/- Louis, no birth certificate,
but on 30-12-1707, renouncement at Notre-Dame.
16.- 1713-05-27, Marie, Marriage certificate at Notre-Dame
with Charles Touailles, no renouncement required.
17.- 1678-12-31, Marie Papineau Brosseau, age 39.
Burial at Niort temple.
Were present, her father Jean II who signed Jan
and her brother Jean III who signed J Papineau le jeune
(the younger) as in the Bernon account books.
18.- Le President de Fontmort's List of Converts of 1685.
(as explained above, historians agree that this list was
falsely exaggerated to ingratiate the submitter at the
There appears for 16 September 1685, at the hands of a
priest named Ducloux;
Jean III, age 30, Merchant and Elder.
Françoise, " 9
Jean IV, " 7
Suzanne, " 6
Élizabeth, " 4
Jacob, " 2
Louis, " 1
Suzanne Guiet, wife of Papineau, Elder, age 32
also appears on that list the family of Jean III's brother:
Jacques, age 30 ???, Merchant and Elder.
Élizabeth, " 4
Marie, " 1
Françoise Guiet, wife of Jacques Papineau, Merchant and
Elder, age 28
Also appears the family of Élizabeth Papineau married to
Pierre Guiet (Élizabeth's name does not appear)
Pierre Guiet, Merchant of St-André parish, age 40
Louis, " 21 months
François, " 8 months
Guiet, ??? age 15
Guiet, ??? age 16
We also found more archives on the families of brother
Jacques Papineau and sister Élizabeth which we will similarly
transcribe and translate and send you later.
We will also try to decipher pasteur Rivière's monumental
surveys which include a few lines on the Papineau of Niort.
There are some references to records in London for a few of
them, like Jacob.
Since we read in Anthony Papineau's discussion group that
there are today other American and Canadian Papineau families
originating from England after the 17th. century,
that could suggest that the Popenoe family has distant cousins nearby.
Renée and Jean-Yves Papineau, Mont-Tremblant, Québec.