Rene’ left his home and traveled across the ocean in 1659 looking for adventure. He was prepared for the hard work that would be needed to help build up the untamed lands, what he was not prepared for was the constant threat of attack by the Iroquois Nation. Two years after arriving, out with a group of men to cut stone for a new chapel, they are ambushed by the Mohawk and Oneida. Rene’ is one of the lucky ones, after being beaten and tortured, he is adopted into the tribe. It would take him two years to return to Montreal, but the experience would forever leave him distrustful of the any tribe of the Iroquois Nation. Later in life, while running his fur trading post, the safety measures he put into place would not only save his life, but those of his large family.
Etienne’ had a dream to own land of his own. To make his dream a reality, he took a chance and signed a contract to work as an indentured servant for three years in New France. Although there were many challenges, such as the voyage across the ocean and later the constant attacks by the tribes of the Iroquois Nation upon the settlement of Montreal, he worked hard and eventually accepted an offer of free land. He moved onto land that was unbroken with six other men to create a safe zone between their land and the settlement of Montreal. Not all of them would survive the first summer. Etienne and his wife would work together and raise a large family as they increased their land holdings while always watching for signs of the Iroquois threat.
At the age of thirteen, Barbe’ Poisson’s parents sent her away to New France with her brother and sister. They were hoping to give her a chance at a better life. Before she is even eighteen, she will find herself married, a mother, a widow and married again. Life in New France was anything but easy, but Barbe’ was determined to make it the best life she could. For over sixty years she will live in Montreal and endure multiple hardships, including losing many members of her family to attacks by the Iroquois Nation, smallpox epidemics and a large earthquake. Through it all she never loses her faith in God or her will to not only live, but love and thrive in the untamed lands as one of the very early settlers to both Trois Rivieres and Montreal.
Nicolas Pelletier signed a contract to become a master carpenter in 1612, he was just fifteen at the time. For the next four years he learned his craft, always thinking about the new settlement he had heard about far across the ocean, in a place called New France. For twenty years he would work hard and save before he was finally able to make the journey, along with his wife and two young sons. He arrived at Fort Quebec at a time when less than one hundred people lived there, having a skilled trade made him an asset to the struggling community. For the next forty years he and his wife Jeanne would live in and help build some of the oldest cities in what is now called Canada. Living first in Quebec, then Sillery and finally moving on to Sorel as each settlement was founded and evolved. They would face difficulties along the way, such as court disputes with the neighboring Indians at the mission their land bordered, and skirmishes with the Iroquois Nation. They were two of the lucky few, who were able to be part of New France, as it grew and began to prosper.