François Bélanger


François Bélanger, who was one of the pioneers of the Beaupré coast, was to become later the first lord of the seigniory of Bonsecours at L'Islet. He is one of your most remarkable ancestors. Born in 1612 in the Lisieux diocese, in the former Normandy province, he joined a group of pioneers coming from Perche in the company of Robert Giffard: the families of Gasnier, Maheu, Boucher, Guyon, Drouin,Cloutier, Gagnon etc.

On 12 July 1637, François Bélanger married Marie Guyon. Father Charles Lallemant, uncle of Saint Gabriel Lallemant blessed their union.

Even though he had united himself in a certain manner to the Lord of Beauport, your ancestor preferred to inhabit the neighboring territory which would eventually form the parish of Château-Richer in the Seigniory of Beaupré. With hard work, François Bélanger soon became one of the more prosperous farmers on the Beaupré coast. He census of 1667 tell us that he had 50 arpents in value and that he had 13 animals in his stable. These figures were extraordinary for this time.

When the system of Militia Captaine was established, François Bélanger was designated to hold this office in the Seigniory of Beaupré. In 1677, in order to recognize the service given to his country, Mr. de Frontenac and Mr. Duchesneau, governor and steward of New France respectively, gave to François Bélanger, Militia Captain of the Beaupré coast, with title to fief and seigniory, the land a long the St. Lawrence river, on the south side between that land owned b;y Miss Geneviève Couillard and moving up this river to land of Miss Amiot, widow, containing about a league and a half by two leagues in depth. This land became known as the seigniory or domain Bélanger or Bonsecours, which forms actually a part of the parish of L'Islet.

Your ancestor was sixty-four years old. All his daughters, except one, have already married. Two sons were still living with him and they left home shortly thereafter. The first, Louis, to inhabite land where the actual church of L'Islet is at present; the second son to prepare a small domain more to the west. In 1681, the census tells us that the Lord of Bonsecours, François Bélanger had four servants: Jean de Lavoye, Barthélémy Gobeil, Pierre of La Faye, Pierre Massard. This seems to indicate that François Bélanger was quite well to do.

He Lord of Bonsecours, François Bélanger, died during the winter of 1690-1691. He was probably buried in the cemetery at Cap-Saint-Ignace. However, his burial record has not been found. François Bélanger had an ambitious plan - to provide a nice inheritance for his sons.

Claude Drouin, DNCF Dictionnaire national des canadiens français,
Vol 3, p. 1386-1388.