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Medard CHOUART, Sieur Des Groseillers

Male 1618 - 1696  (77 years)


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  • Name Medard CHOUART 
    Suffix Sieur Des Groseillers 
    Relationshipwith Brian Mark BUSSIERE
    Born 31 Jul 1618  Charly-Sur-Marne, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Census information 1666  Trois-Rivières, Québec, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 1696 
    Person ID I2839  Bussiere Robinson | Brian's ancestors
    Last Modified 10 Apr 2004 

    Father Medard CHOUART,   b. Charly, St-Cyr, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Mother Marie POIRIER,   b. Charly, St-Cyr, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Family ID F895  Group Sheet

    Family 1 Helene MARTIN,   b. 21 Jun 1627,   d. 1651  (Age 23 years) 
    Married 3 Sep 1647  Québec, Québec Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Last Modified 28 Sep 2009 
    Family ID F894  Group Sheet

    Family 2 Marguerite HAYET,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married 24 Aug 1653  Québec, Québec Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Children 
     1. Jean-Baptiste CHOUART,   b. 5 Jul 1654, Trois-Rivières, Québec, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     2. Marie-Jeanne CHOUART,   b. Abt 1662, Trois-Rivières, Québec, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location
     3. Marie Antoinette CHOUART,   b. 7 Jun 1661, Trois-Rivières, Québec, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location
    Last Modified 28 Dec 2016 
    Family ID F899  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 31 Jul 1618 - Charly-Sur-Marne, France Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 3 Sep 1647 - Québec, Québec Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 24 Aug 1653 - Québec, Québec Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCensus information - 1666 - Trois-Rivières, Québec, Canada Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Maps
    Carte 36 - Cap de la Madeleine - close up
    Carte 36 - Cap de la Madeleine - close up
    Trudel
    Carte 36 - Cap de la Madeleine
    Carte 36 - Cap de la Madeleine
    Trudel
    Carte 39 - Trois Rivières
    Carte 39 - Trois Rivières
    Trudel
    Carte 40 - Trois Rivières
    Carte 40 - Trois Rivières
    Trudel

    Marriage Docs
    M Chouart - H Martin - Marriage 1647
    M Chouart - H Martin - Marriage 1647
    Medard Chouart - Helene Martin Marriage - transcribed
    Medard Chouart - Helene Martin Marriage - transcribed

    Census
    Quebec Census 1666
    Quebec Census 1666
    Trois-Rivières
    p. 151

  • Notes 
    • Medard, with his borther-in-law, Pierre Radisson, founded the Hudson Bay Company. They traveled the Mississippi, Lake Superior and Hudson Bay together.

      Médard Chouart Sieur des Groseilliers was born in France in 1618. He came to New France in 1642 to work with the Jesuit missionaries and the Huron Indians. He learned about the western wilderness from the natives he worked with. He decided he wanted to become a coureur de bois.

      Des Groseilliers and a friend, Forget, spent two years reopening the western trade routes which the Iroquois nation had almost closed off. He brought back fifty fur-loaded canoes and had traveled past the Great Lake of the Hurons to the Green Bay, on Lake Michigan.

      Des Groseilliers was anxious to venture west again. In 1660, he teamed up with his brother-in-law Pierre Radisson. Ignoring the edict from the government that said, "only men with a license could leave the colony to trade furs", they snuck out of the colony. Their trip began at the Ottawa River. Avoiding Iroquois attacks near Lake Huron, they traveled to Lake Superior and built a small fort near Chequamegon Bay. The men made friends with the natives there who had never met white men. That winter was harsh. They might well have starved had it not been for their native friends.

      With the help of the Cree, Sioux and Huron, des Groseilliers and Radisson returned to Montreal in August. They had 300 canoes full of beaver pelts. It was the largest cargo of furs ever brought into New France.

      The governor of New France jailed des Groseilliers for fur trading without a license and seized 90 percent of the furs as taxes and fines. Des Groseilliers and Radisson were furious at the governor. They left the colony as soon as des Groseilliers was freed.

      In their travels, des Groseilliers and Radisson heard stories about rich furs in the lands of the Cree nation which lay to the west of Lake Superior. They knew that one of the best ways to get fur to Europe was via the Hudson Bay. Angered by the restraints placed on their ambitions by the French Colonial Government, they moved to New England (northeastern United States). There they met Colonel George Cartwright. Sensing a potential bonanza in the fur trade, Cartwright took the two men back to England to seek royal sponsorship.

      It is not difficult to understand how these two interesting foreigners, with their daring and exciting proposal for a trade expedition to a far off wilderness could capture an eager audience among the courtiers of King Charles II. Eventually, in 1667, Prince Rupert took up the project.

      Prince Rupert was one of the King's cousins and also one of the brilliant Royalist figures of his time. A spectacular leader of cavalry in England's Civil War and an Admiral of the Fleet during the Dutch Wars, Rupert was a true nobleman of the Restoration Period.

      At long last, with this new support Radisson and Des Groseilliers were able to launch their great adventure.

      The Royal Navy was ordered by King Charles II to loan the ship Eaglet, while the private citizens associated with the project outfitted another ship, the trusty Nonsuch. On June 3, 1668, with Radisson on the Eaglet and Des Groseilliers on the Nonsuch, they sailed down the Thames River and headed back to the New World.

      Bad luck hit the expedition as the Eaglet was damaged in a storm and had to return to England. However, the sturdy Nonsuch arrived on the eastern shore of James Bay on September 29, 1668, three months and 26 days after leaving England.

      Before the onset of winter, the men built a fort named Charles Fort on the Nemiscau River (Rupert River). Provisions they brought were supplemented with local fish and game. Lemon juice from aboard ship and a concoction of spruce beer warded off the disease, scurvy. Under a thatched roof, the men huddled around their fires and waited for spring.

      A "League of Friendship" was established and the land was "formally purchased" from the James Bay natives. When the ice broke in the spring of 1669 the furs were piled on board and the Nonsuch headed home to England. There Radisson and Des Groseilliers told stories of success and showed off their rich bounty of furs. They became very popular at the English court.

      The phenomenal success of the Nonsuch served to further excite Prince Rupert and his group of courtier-investors and to consolidate their commitment to the fur trade in the New World. They applied to the King for a Royal Charter, which was granted on May 2, 1670.

  • Sources 
    1. [S37] Drouin.