Seventeenth Century Single Mom Seeks Husband

To be single and raising two young kids is considered a disadvantage in today’s dating market, but it didn’t seem to hinder Anne Leodet’s ability to remarry in seventeenth century New France.  What made her a catch?

I like to think it was her easy personality and strong work ethic (I think you would need both for the life she led) – but I have no way to prove either.

I can see other factors though…

  1. She was a woman in a community in which there were two men for every woman.
  2. She was a proven fertile and capable mother.
  3. She owned the land that had belonged to Jean Nepveu.  (lot # 14 )
Nepveu land in Sillery, 1663.  Source: excerpt from a map found in Marcel Trudel's Le Terrier du Saint-Laurent.

Nepveu land in Sillery, 1663. Source: excerpt from a map found in Marcel Trudel’s Le Terrier du Saint-Laurent.

These factors (plus my imaginings of her easy personality and strong work ethic) would have made Anne a good catch.

I like to imagine that Anne was a savvy woman too.  She remarried in 1657 but the land remained in her name in 1663 (and probably remained in her name until they sold it and left for Neuville @1680.)  Also, she married a man who had land himself.  Gilles Pinel sold his plot to Jean Routhier (lot #16) two months before their marriage, perhaps to make himself more suitable to her, perhaps to consolidate resources, perhaps to work behind the fort which was still used to protect the community from hostile Iroquois attacks.

***

Information on land records came from Marcel Trudel’s  Le Terrier du Saint-Laurent en 1663, Ottawa, Éditions de l’Université d’Ottawa, 1973

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