PIERRE COUC - Mémoires

Version française

Page 33, Mémoires No. 139. (1)

PIERRE COUC, colonist in New France in the seventeenth century


In the small rustic chapel in Trois-Rivières (Québec, Canada), on August 27, 1651, a small Indian orphan, named Perrine was baptized. The godmother was Jeanne Lefebvre; the godfather, Pierre Couc aka La Fleur, of Cognac (France). Pierre Couc, young soldier recently arrived from France had no doubt that he was going to accomplish a symbolic act: european and christian, he was to become the adoptive father of a new Indian generation, the link between two races and two cultures. However, there were many other worries that day: his duty as soldier preoccupied his mind because the Iroquois had just annihilated their ennemy the Hurons and had the same intention for their allies and protectors, the inhabitants of New France.

The Company of the Hundred Associates which was exploiting the colony without much enthousiasm, finally warned by the missionairies, had decided to send troop reinforcements in 1651 and it is most likely that Pierre Couc was a member of this regiment. Son of lowly peasants from Cognac in Angoumois (France), Pierre had not surely regretted leaving his native country to try his luck at an adventure in the New World because France had been ravaged by civil war, misery and famine.

Alas, the situation was not much different in the colony: the preceeding year, a band of Mohawks had attacked Trois-Rivières which Pierre Boucher had valiantly defended; but the Iroquois had retaken the offisive in the following spring. The situation was in much better state because Pierre Boucher, having been named provisional governor of the town had contructed a new fort; in addition, Father Buteux and Thomas Godefroy had gone to get pelts in Attikamègie country, north of the St. Maurice river and had returned safe and sound, thereby saving the colony from famine.

However, a few days after the baptism of the little Perrine, the Mohawks again brutally attacked and abducted little François Hertel and massacred the Attikamègues in the area. The trading post was again plunged into dismay. Luckily, the winter months were going to bring...


(1) MÉMOIRES de la Société généalogique canadienne-française, No. 139, Vol. XXX, No. 1, Jan-Fév-Mars 1979, p. 33.

Translated by Norm Léveillée, December 2000.

Reprinted with permission:

"Bonjour M. Léveillée,
Vous avez la permission de traduire et d'utiliser l'article
en mentionnant la source et la référence.
Micheline Perreault
Directrice générale"
Email 12/18/2000