PIERRE COUC - Mémoires


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Page 35, Mémoires No. 139. (1)

Pierre Couc under the Iroquois terror

In spring of 1652, the palissade of the new fort had only been completed since the month of March when the Iroquois returned. They abducted the young Radisson, who came a few months earlier to his sister Marguerite Chouart. On April 4, Father Buteux left for the Attikamègue country like he did the preceeding year, but this time his expedition was destined to failure. Intercepted by a band of Mohawks, he and his companion were killed on the spot.

At the end of the same month of April, it was now up to Pierre Couc to distinguish himself. During the siege, the people within were not allowed to leave the interior of the fort, only the soldiers who were in charge of getting food were allowed to leave. Then on May 21, in the morning, Pierre and an Algonquin went fishing along the river when a discharge of firearms brought them back, with the Algonquin dying and Pierre being wounded lightly. The latter would eventually claim martyrdom in Canada.

The Iroquois assaults were carried out throughout the summer; the new governor of Trois-Rivières, Duplessis-Kerbodot, not knowing Indian tactics and anxious to show his zeal, dragged his garrison into a suicide operation. Luckily, Pierre Couc was among the survivors: maybe he stayed behind in the fort with his friend Pierre Boucher, having used common sense? In any case, he was safe and sound.

The terrible year, 1653; the colony tottered. Montréal was at bay, Québec was ready to pack up. It was not for lack of courage, but the harvest had been burned, the livestock massacred and commerce was reduced to zero, no one had food. It was the small trading post at Trois-Rivières that would save the situation; despite the fact that the population there was living in terror; luckily the Governor-General Lauson gave the command of this post to Pierre Boucher at the beginning of August; an unexpected stroke of luck because a few days later more than six hundred Iroquois launched an attack and it was necessary to have a commander-in-chief who was intelligent, brave and trained in Indian warfare to be able to resist such an attack. Boucher and his forty-six men, by sheer courage, were able to force the Indians to surrender and a peace treaty was signed. From then on, the Five Nations were free to trade with Montreal. In exchange, the Jesuits were invited to Iroquois country. New-France had a short respite.

Pierre Couc married an Indian

These experiences did not seem to bother Pierre Couc who could have returned to France after his three years of service with the Company. Fours years later, he planned a wedding. On April 16 1657, Father Ragueneau celebrated the marriage of Pierre with Marie Meti8ameg8k8e (2) of the Algonguin nation. Witnesses were: Charles Pachiniri, the Indian chief, and ...
(2)The symbol 8 is the equivalent of the sound "oue" or "w" in the algonguin language. Marie's name is pronounced: mee-tee-wa-mee-gou-kwee. Ed. note.

       

(1) MÉMOIRES de la Société généalogique canadienne-française, No. 139, Vol. XXX, No. 1, Jan-Fév-Mars 1979, p. 35.

Translated by Norm Léveillée, December 2000.

Reprinted with permission:

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Email 12/18/2000
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