Joseph Ossany Nadeau
    by Ken Roy

    This article written by Ken Roy, was initially published in the St John Valley Times in 1998 as part of the Nadeau Family Reunion..

All the Nadeau names that I ran across while doing genealogical research in the Madawaska Territory are descendants of Joseph Ossany Nadeau. The following information is from my notes on my maternal ancestral line, the Joseph Ossany Nadeau family. Some of the historical information was extracted from the Canuck Odyssey by Bernard Nadeau.

Joseph Ossany Nadeau, son of Marc Nadeau (Macia Nadot) and Jeanne Despins (Janne Despiera), was born in 1637 in Genouillac, in the ancient province of Angoumois, France which today has become the Department of Charente and Charente Maritime, located some 440 km southwest of Paris.

Genouillac, the government seat of the ancient province of Angoumois, presently known as Charente in central western France, has a population of 1016 with an area of 1459 hectares. St Martial, the village church dates back to 564 A.D. It was rebuilt in 1481 on its original foundation. Joseph was born in 1637 and baptized at St Martial.

Joseph was in his early 20's when he decided to come to New France. We can only speculate on what motivated him to leave France for the New World. However, we do know that he had to hike 80 miles from Genouillac to the port of La Rochelle. This probably would have taken him several days with minimal baggage. Once at La Rochelle, he most likely signed on as an engagé, a contract laborer, for a term of 2 to 3 years. According to Bernard Nadeau, Joseph was a builder of wagons and a wheelwright when he came to Quebec. He became a farmer a few years after his arrival.

It is not known exactly when Joseph arrived but quite possibly he might have come on the Le Sacrifice d'Abraham, a 200-ton vessel in 1659. After a brief stay in Quebec, Joseph went to the hamlet of Chateau Richer on the North shore of the St Lawrence, some 12 miles east on the road to St Anne de Beaupre. On 11 April 1662, Joseph was confirmed at Chateau Richer, Province of Québec, by Bishop Laval of Quebec. Joseph may have enlisted in the militia at Chateau Richer for the defense of the colony against the Iroquois Indians at that time. In all likelihood his period of indenture servitude was over.

Joseph made friends with Sir Charles de Lauzon Charny, the third son of Sir Charles de Lauzon, Lord of Charny and Lirec, the Governor of Canada since the 14th of October 1651. Young Lord Charny arrived in 1652 and was made grand master of the Waters and Forest of New France. He received land fiefs of Charny and Lirec on the Island of Orleans. On 3 Feb 1663, Lord Charny granted a concession of land of 3 acres to Joseph. His neighbors were Jean Moreau dit LaGrange and Robert Laberge. The first Nadeau land holding in North America was located at lot numbers 224 and 226 on the present survey map on the north side to the west of the church of Ste Famille.

Ste Famille was the first parish established on the island in 1661. There were fewer than 100 people living on the island at that time. After arriving on the island, Joseph cleared land and built a 20 feet by 15 feet cabin. One can read Willa Cather’s Shadow on the Rock for a flavor of what life might have been like in those early Quebec days.

Marguerite Abraham was born in Paris on 3 Jan 1647, the daughter of Godgrand Abraham and Denise Fleury of the Parish of St Eustache where she was christened on 5 Jan 1647. She was likely a poor city-bred girl born of working class people in less than elegant quarters. According to Bernard Nadeau, she was a talented seamstress, healthy and a good housekeeper prior to departure from France.

Marguerite was one of the filles du roi, or King's daughters who were women recruited in France to emigrate to New France. She departed from Dieppe in Normandy on the Saint Jean Baptiste de Dieppe in June 1665, a merchant ship carrying 130 soldiers and 81 future brides. This ship commanded by Captain Pierre Fillye arrived in Quebec, on 2 Oct 1665, where bachelors and others were there to greet them. The filles du roi were given a 100 pounds, ten as a recruitment fee, 30 for wearing apparel and 60 for the crossing the Atlantic.

Within weeks of her arrival, Marguerite married Joseph and became the fountainhead of the majority of the Nadeau's in North America. On 6 Nov 1665, Joseph Ozanny Nadot and Marguerite Abraham signed a marriage contract in front of Pierre Duquet, the Royal Notary. Marguerite brought the 100 pounds she received from the king as the dowry to her marriage. Joseph brought 200 pounds to the community property. Several important witnesses are listed on the marriage contract -- Alexandre de Prouville, Marquis de Tracy, commander in chief of the troops; Daniel Remy, Sieur de Courcelle, Governor; Jean Tallon, Intendant of New France; Marie-Barbe de Boullongne, widow of Louis d’Ailleboust, chaperon of the daughters of the king; Jacques Leprou, weaver; Boismorice; Nicolas Durand; Estienne Banchaud and Louis Levasseur, resident of Château-Richer.

Newly married, they received livestock and staples from the royal government. In mid November 1665, they traveled to Ste Famille on the Ile d'Orleans, labeled as the cradle of French Canadian civilization in North America.

In 1667, the first Nadeau family in the New World, moved to the parish of St Paul, which later became St Laurent in 1698, at the request of Seigneur François Berthelot. On 2 Jun 1667, Joseph received 7 acres on the river by 40 acres deep on the south shore of the island from Monseigneur de Laval, the Bishop of Quebec. Joseph sold the Ste Famille land on 18 October 1675 to Antoine Dionne. The Nadeau property had 15 or 16 arpents and a shed, the document in notary Pierre Duquet’s files does not mention the existence of a house and a barn.

Joseph Ossany died on 10 February 1677 and was buried at St Paul, l’Ile d’Orleans, Province of Quebec, Canada on 12 February 1677. The parish records for St Paul at the time of Joseph Ossany’s death were maintained at Ste Famille, l’Ile d’Orleans.

Marguerite Abraham remarried after Joseph Osanny's death. On 26 January 1678, she entered into a marriage contract with Guillaume Chartier, son of Oliver Chartier and Marie Cornet. Guillaume was originally from Sainte Marie de La Haie-Fouassiere, in the Diocese of Nantes. It is not known when Marguerite died, however it would have been after her son Denis Nadeau’s marriage in 1695.

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