Interpreting Sources, Primary & Secondary
Suzanne Boivin Sommerville
One web site reads:
1706 Detroit, country marriage Veniard (Venyard) de Bourgmont (1680-1730) who went Coureurs [sic] de Bois to madame La Chenette aka Techenet alias Elisabeth Couc, they moved into Indian Country. Elisabeth later joined her brother Louis Couc dit Montour died 1709 in English colony and she took the name Madame Montour. She had a third marriage to Robert Hunter alias chief Onneiout Carlindawana died 1729. . . January Etienne Venyard, sieur de Bourgmont (1680-1730) arrived Detroit (maybe Michillimakinac?) taking command of the fort from Tonty. This is a conflict as Cadillac was in command from 1704 to 1710?2 Later Etienne deserted his post to become a Coureurs de Bois with other deserters and according to sieur d'Aigremont lived in the woods like a savage with a woman named La Chenette (Tichenet). Cadillac sent soldiers after the deserters, but they escaped, going farther west.. ." [as copied and pasted]3
I am sure this researcher did the best he could with the sources he had, but this excerpt presents several errors and misunderstandings, including a failure to mention that d'Aigremont, one source for Bourgmont living with "La Chenette", simply recounted what the Natives (or Cadillac) told him at least a year after the events reported had taken place. Note no citation of sources.
Others either state outright that she married Bourgmont or repeat the allegations she was his mistress. Another web site says, with my additions in brackets:
Elisabeth/Isabelle COUC b. c. 1667, Three Rivers [sic], Que,
m. (1) 26 Apr 1684, in contract- Notary Adhemar/, 30 Apr 1684, Sorel, Richelieu, Qc., CAN, separated, Pierre-Joachim [He is called Pierre only on son Michel's marriage record but Joachim on the marriage contract. He had been deceased since at least 1700, when Michel would have been about five years old.] GERMANO/GERMANEAU, b. 1636/56 [sic], St Maxim, Limoges, France, (son of Joachim GERMANEAU and Catherine CHOUFY [more probably CHOURY] ) occupation Carignan reg. soldier, d. bef. 5 Apr 1717, Louisville [sic], Qc., CAN, [Deceased by 1700. His place of death is unknown, and Louisville (actually Louiseville) did not exist in 1717, still being known then as Rivière-du-Loup until into the 19th century.]
m. (2) unknown, [??? I assume this "unknown" is to account for the child Marie-Anne, to be considered later.]
m. (3) separated, Jean LeBLANC, occupation Chippewa chief, [If the word separated suggests Germaneau was still alive when this alleged marriage took place, that is not necessarily true. Besides, only Cadillac says she "married" Jean Leblanc, who was an Ottawa du Sable, not a Chippewa. The French called the Chippewas Sauteurs.]
m. (4) separated, Pierre TECHENET/LaCHENETTE, [Tichenet died in 1706.]
and unknown, [possibly referring to the father of Andrew's "brother Lewis"]
and Etienne de VENIARD-de-BOURGMOND, occupation Commandant of Detroit [only for eight months, and then as Cadillac's temporary replacement],
m. Robert HUNTER-CARONDOWANNA.
Now, as I count them, that's a total of seven, "husbands" or paramours.
This researcher is unaware that Germaneau was certified dead by 1700 when his property was sold (10 December 1700 "Concession LeChasseur - De Lamirande, Normandin, notary, ANQ, photocopy); Isabelle did not necessarily "separate" from him when she married Tichenet. He seems equally unaware that the father of Isabelle's daughter, Marie-Anne Montour, is given as Jean-Baptiste Montour on her marriage contract and as "le nommé La Motte" - the man named La Motte - on the church record at Québec in 1730, at least 28 to 35 years after Marie-Anne's birth. We'll never know the reasons for the differences in her parents' names on her marriage records and on her brother's records. The reference to "le nommé La Motte" led Jetté to suggest that "peut-être", possibly, Antoine Laumet dit de Lamothe Cadillac, husband of Thérèse Guyon, fathered Marie-Anne Montour, an interesting speculation, but, nonetheless, speculation, one that I will explore subsequently. The "Lewis" of the English colonial records is said to be a brother of Andrew, definitely the child of Madame Montour and Carandowanna, but no identification survives for the "father" of "Lewis", whom Andrew did not meet until they were both adults.
As for Isabelle becoming the "wife" of Bourgmont, no original record or even report claims la femme de Tichenet "married" Bourgmont, only that she allegedly defected with him from Fort Pontchartrain, and together they joined her brother Montour and lived like sauvages, Indians, the best way to live in the wilds, it seems to me, although the English version translates the word sauvages as "savages". Only secondary sources speak of a "marriage" or an affair.
The MPHC English translation unfortunately also says Bourgmont "kept" her. This translation, commissioned by Clarence Burton more than one hundred years ago, interprets the French phrase "y entretient" as "whom he kept". The passage, in context, reads:
But M. de Tonty said to them [the Indians]: "the world must be turned upside down, they send me a private soldier [Bourgmont, just named an enseigne] to command me." These words redoubled their [the Indians'] uneasiness, of which the Sr. De Bourgmont was warned by a woman named Le [sic] Chenette whom he kept.4
In its modern sense, the word "kept" can suggest nothing less than that she is his mistress, and this is how writers in English have interpreted the phrase; but this is not the exclusive meaning in either eighteenth-century or modern French. The basic meaning, then and now, is to take care of, to see to the needs of someone, or to employ. Could it be Bourgmont was only "keeping" La Tichenet as his employee? Could he have hired her? Was she simply his interpreter? In another passage, she is said to have "warned" Bourgmont about the "uneasiness" of the Indians. She would have been the one who understood the Ottawa and Miami (both Algonkin) and the Huron (Iroquois) languages, having lived among them all her life.
I am sure Intendant Talon and Governor Frontenac would be amazed to learn that they "kept" - in the modern sense - young female Indians. A book published in 1863 but referring to events in the late seventeenth century reports:
M. Talon take[s] care of the little girl . . . as well as other Indian girls whom he looks after to be instructed in the faith [M. Talon . . . prendre soin de la petite fille . . . parmi d'autres filles sauvages qu'il y entretient pour êtes instruites en la foi]
M. le Comte de Frontenac has for some time taken care of little Indian girls [M. le Comte de Frontenac y entretient depuis quelque temps de petite filles sauvages]5
A faulty translation can certainly slant the meaning of a passage. What is more, it appears to be the Indians who informed D'Aigremont that Bourgmont "entretenoit" Lachenets.6 I have to wonder whether the Indians would have used the term "keeping" a mistress. Even the document about Native American mores attributed to Cadillac7 explains that unmarried Native women were mistresses of their own bodies and could engage in sexual relations at will. The concept of a "kept" woman seems to have been foreign to them.
The next sentence in the passage reads: "On the basis [of Lachenet's information] the said sieur Bourgmont called an assembly of these Indians [the Ottawa] and told them 'I have learned that you have talked with Mr. de Tonty about going to make war with the Sioux.' "8 Clearly, La Chenette was serving as an interpreter of the Indians' speeches and their mood, and Bourgmont acted as a result of her knowledge.
It is thus true that both Isabelle and Bourgmont can be documented in the same place at the same time, Fort Pontchartrain between 1704 and 1706. Bourgmont was hired as a voyageur in 1702 and then as a hunter to go to the fort in 1703, so he did not arrive there for the first time in January of 1706.9 Then he acted as temporary commandant at Détroit from January to August 1706 during Cadillac's absence, leaving the mother colony late in 1705 and having to travel part of the way over land because of the lateness of his departure. Bourgmont and Grandmesnil were commissioned to take an inventory at the fort in the presence of Tonty and Father Constantin "delhalle" (as he signed his name), missionaire, including all the "merchandise, fixtures, houses, stores, lands cleared, and generally everything which is at Détroit".10 Isabelle appears under the names Isabelle Couc, recorded as "Coup"11 when she served as godmother, and also as Élisabeth "Couk"12 when she was questioned in September of 1704 about events that had taken place at the fort earlier in the year. This interrogation, referenced earlier, in connection with a procès, or legal investigation about Cadillac's behaviour at the fort, had been commissioned by the intendent of New France, François de Beauharnois. It is from Fort Pontchartrain in 1707 that la femme de Tichenet, her brother Montour, and Bourgmont are alleged to have deserted, after which she and her brother are said to be planning to go to live among the English that summer.13
Note: the version reported by the soldier being interrogated in 1707, Pichon dit Larose, does not say they are going to live like sauvages, Indians. It is d'Aigremont's 1708 account that makes this allegation, one which has been distorted out of all proportion, particularly since the English word "savages" carries definite connotations not conveyed by the word Indians. The diverse attempts to merge the various accounts without considering the sources has led only to confusion and, I believe, fabrications in recording this incident.
Montour is cited in Albany by 1708, speaking with Lord Cornbury; and his sister, "Montours sister" [sic], is there along with Montour's wife by 1709 (sources for which will be considered in Part 7). Whether this "wife" was Jeanne, the Algonquinne, said to be thirty-two in 1688, or another woman cannot be determined, but a 29 August 1723 letter says:
Montour an Ind[ian]being sent by order of the Late Lord Viscount Cornbury when Gov[ernor] of this Province of N York in August 1708 to treat with the Ind[ian] affairs at Albany brought his Son Michell [sic] to ye Reverend Mr. Thomas Barclay Minister of ye [the] Church of England there & during his [Michell's] abode with the Rev Mr Barclay which was about five years and a half he has been taken care of as to his Dyet [sic] & Clothing but Especially in his Schooling and well Instructed in ye [the] principals of Christianity & good Morality for which Rev Mr. Barclay has disbursed the Sum of fifty five pounds as may appear by the Rec[eipts] & Vouchers ready to be produced and it is but Just that he should be Reimbursed by this Province out of some publick money in the Treasury Wherefore we humbly hope your Exc[ellency] will be pleased to take ye [the] Case of this Gentleman into your wise and personal Consideration . . . .14
Who "Michell's" mother is cannot be determined, nor is it stated how old he was in 1708. The other English records call him Michael. As I understand this passage, he stayed with Rev. Barclay for five and a half years, but the petition for payment was not written until 1723. I find it interesting that this "son" of Louis and the son of Isabelle and Joachim, Michel Germaneau, share the same first name, which just happens to be the name of their uncle, Michel Massé, but I am, of course, speculating.
Louis Montour's other sisters are accounted for elsewhere at this time, Angélique in Trois-Rivières;15 Marguerite in Détroit;16 and Madeleine in Boucherville.17 Bourgmont simply disappears from the records for several years.18 Whatever their relationship, no evidence of any marriage is now known to exist between Bourgmont and Isabelle.
When he appears again, Bourgmont is farther south in Illinois territory by 1713, well-after Madame Montour is cited as wife of the Oneida, and in Missouri country by 1714, although legend has it he was in Détroit in 1712 during the Fox War.19 Between 1712 and 1714, Bourgmont's appearances in the Jesuit Missions aroused "an avalanche of denunciations." There was "never a question of treason", however. According to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography: "The minister of the Marine appeased the critics by giving Lamothe [then in Louisiane] secret orders to have Bourgmond [sic] arrested, but it does not seem that the governor of Louisiane followed the orders.20 By 1713, Cadillac was at Fort Louis, Mobile, in Louisiane (actually modern-day Alabama), although he traveled to Kaskaskia on the Mississippi River in the summer of 1715 to check out a mine21 and left one of his sons there and some other men to work it.22 Bourgmont resumed exploration on the Missouri River in 1722. He returned to France in 1725 and was ennobled that same year.23
In 1714, though, Bourgmont was associated with Michel Bisaillon in Illinois Indian territory, Bisaillon having married Marguerite Fafard dite Delorme at Fort Pontchartrain in June of 1710.24 Marguerite is the niece-by-marriage of Marguerite Couc, her first husband, Jean, being the brother of François Fafard dit Delorme, this Marguerite Fafard's father. Claude Ramezay, then serving as governor of New France during Vaudreuil's absence in France, writes:
I have learned, through Sieur de Liette, who commands among the Illinois, that Sieur de bourmont, and two men named bisaillon and bourdon, lead a life not only scandalous but even Criminal in many ways. In the first place they have opposed the project of Sieurs de Liette and de Vinsenne, which was to make peace between the illinois and the myamy [Miamis]. These gentlemen state that they would have succeeded in this but for the obstacles raised by these seditious men, who have fomented dissension between these two nations." 25
Jesuits Pierre-Gabriel Marest and Jean Marie de Villes had also reported these men caused disorder among the Illinois and that they had attempted to introduce the English from Carolina into the territory.
Michel Bisaillon himself, who had by then served seventeen years in the pays-d'en-haut, gives another version in "Justification de Michel Bizaillon",26 placing some of the blame for the "disorders" among the Natives on de Liette27 himself, although, regrettably, he does not mention Bourgmont.
Much of the standard history ignores the comments of "little" people like Michel Bisaillon, preferring to accept the word of the "leaders" of the colony. Ramezay was definitely not an eye-witness, simply recording the messages he had received. It is crucial to ask these questions: Who were his sources? What were their motivations? And what happened next? According the Michel Bisaillon:
Mr. Desliettes [sic] then arrived at the Illinois to bring them presents from Mr. le General [the governor-general of New France] but Mr. Desliettes, instead of attracting the sauvages to him, alienated them, first because he delayed 10 or 12 days to give them the presents from Mr le general; second, because he had no respect [f.100v] for the principal chiefs; third because he spoke to the Illinois against Bizaillon, being jealous of the affection these sauvages have for him. Bizaillon kept silent and let Mr. Desliettes do as he wished. If Mr. Desliettes had asked him to help him in the Service of the King, he would have done so with pleasure as he has always done and even without "interest" [expecting any gain or compensation in return] considering it a pleasure to serve his prince. The way Mr. Desliettes governed caused a division in the village of the Sauvages, who, not being happy, separated a year after Mr. Desliettes had arrived.
The English sent an envoy with a message and presents by means of Sauvages to the Illinois. Their presents were accepted and the principal chiefs, having left the council, asked Bizaillon what they should do. He replied that they could not accept two "words" [parolles, or statements of policy] from two opposing crowns, that they should uphold the first "parolle" [that received from the French] and that the English would finish by destroying them [the Illinois]. The Illinois chiefs told Bizaillon that they would be true to their first "parolle".28
Another letter from Ramezay, 28 October 1715, one year later, explains, first, why Ramezay had originally approved the proposition made by Charles Lemoyne, sieur de Longueuil (an emissary to the Iroquois) and Jesuit Father Vaillant (present at Le Détroit in 1701 and a missionary to the Iroquois) to send Bisaillon to the Illinois and then says Bisaillon is to obtain the pardon of de Liette and Father de Villes, two of his accusers (see above). This letter also mentions a reply from Hunter at Albany, and, of course, Madame Montour was interpreting for Hunter at this time.
In 1715, Ramezay's son Monnoir wrote that he stayed with Bisaillon at les Illinois du Rocher long enough to assemble 450 men, arriving at Chicago on 17 August and composing his letter from there 28 August.29 It is this Ramezay son who was killed in 1716 on a mission with d'Adoucourt, also killed, the son of Charles Lemoyne, sieur de Longueuil, these men having been sent to prevent the Illinois from accepting the offers of the English after the failed mission against the Fox (Renards / Mesquakie).
I would love to trace a strange message from a "French woman at Orange" (Madame Montour is consistently identified as a French woman) who speaks of these men to Charles Ruette d'Auteuil, sieur de Monceau. The two young men were then known only to be missing. This French woman does not wish to be identified as a source.30 Madame Montour used the identical language in speaking to James Letort, which I will cite from the United States colonial records in a later section. She later told Letort that she said what she did only in the hope that it would be reported. D'Auteuil, sieur de Monceaux, in 1722, was convicted of illegal trading in Orange more than once, although he had, in fact, been given permission to do so.31 He married Thérèse Catin,32 widow of Simon Réaume, interpreter for the governor, all of them very much involved in the fur trade, including the governor, according to some testimony. But I must end this digression.
Bisaillon was pardoned. Bourgmont was granted nobility. To cite only the complaints against them is just part of the story. I must add that Bourgmont returned to France with his son, born of a Native woman in Missouri about 1714, although this illegitimate child did not get in the way of his ennoblement. Bisaillon fathered two illegitimate children in Illinois country, one in 1704, well-before his marriage, and the other in 1712,33 which may have been enough to arouse the ire of the missionaries, although both children were baptized at Kaskaskia. Bisaillon's "Justification" nevertheless includes an interesting detail at the end of the document:
Bizaillon having stayed a year at the Illinois with Mr. Desliettes without saying the slightest thing [against him], speaking only good about him to the sauvages, returned to Michilimakina and took with him 50 Illinois because of the danger [of traveling at the time].
Bizaillon having arrived at Michili maKina, Mr. Du[????] wanting to establish himself at 8abache [Wabash], asked him whether he wished to accompany him since the French told him that he would be needed; but because he wished to go to see his wife, he [Bisaillon] told him he could not, unless Mr. le general [the governor-general, Vaudreuil] wished it for the service of the King. [end]
Once again, the "story" is not as unambiguously clear as some declare it to be. The same is true of the commonly accepted, published biography of Étienne Véniard, sieur de Bourgmont, and that of Madame Montour.
Her first name used to be the stumbling block, as writer after writer insisted that she was named either Madeleine, after the presumed name of her "father's" (Montour's) wife; or Catherine, this assumption because a "granddaughter" was said to be named Catherine, so she must have been named after her grandmother! Beliefs about naming systems created more misidentifications because English language writers of the past also always assumed Madame Montour carried her father's or husband's name. (Can you see the traps one can fall into by applying customs used by one group to another?) Yet in New France, although a woman used her birth name throughout her life, it was not unusual for her to adopt a totally new dite name, sometimes one not related to her father's or husband's name(s).34 Married women were also called Dame or La Femme de, followed by their husband's surname or dit name.
The issue of the first name of Madame Montour "interpretress" should have been resolved recently by Alison Duncan Hirsch, who allowed me to refer to her find in my October 1999 article.35 Hirsch was able to consult documents I requested in the spring of 1999 but which, I was informed by the New York Historical Society, could not be accessed, unfortunately, without my going to see them in person, documents which give Madame Montour a first name, and the first name recorded is "Eysabelle". The payments for wampum belts are all made to "Mrs." or "Madame Montour," while the name of the "interpretress" is always listed as "EYSABELLE Montour."36
Those who reject Isabelle as Madame Montour are most often the ones who have never heard of her under the name of "la femme de Tichenet"; nor do they know the crucial role played by the events at Fort Pontchartrain when Lamothe Cadillac was commandant there. These political events definitely affected her and her brother's decision to go to New York. Those who do know that she and Cadillac were in the same places at the same times take his words37 about her as absolute truth, even though Cadillac is an acknowledged and documented liar.38 Here is the relevant passage from Cadillac's 1704 Mémoire, in my translation:
The wife of Tichenet is the daughter of a Frenchman and a female Indian ["Sauvagesse"]; after she was married with the blessings of the Church,39 at the end of a year, she left her husband and fled to English territory, where she married to a "sauvage" [male Indian] of the "Loups" [Wolf tribe or Mahicans], with whom she lived twelve years, having several children by him; during the last war, this woman was taken in English territory by our Iroquois of the Sault [Sault-St.-Louis, near Montréal]; she was ransomed by one of her brothers-in-law, a Frenchman named Maurice Ménard, who brought her to the Ottawas, where her first husband was, to whom she no longer wished to return; at Michilimackinac she lived a licentious life; as her brother-in-law wished to change her behavior, she accused him of wanting to seduce her in return for taking her back to the English; she complained to me and, having filed the charges, she was discovered to be lying; she then convinced two Canadians to change their allegiance to desert to the English and when she escaped with them, I had her followed; she was apprehended with these two young men, who confessed their deed. I sent her under escort to the chevalier de Callière [then at Montréal, not named governor until 1699, and deceased before 1704], who had her go down to Québec [City] to have her sent to France. Because no precautions were taken, the man named Jean Le Blanc [Outoutagan] . . . rescued her and returned her to Missilimakinak [sic] and married the woman, who left him to take another, and she had more than a hundred "mariages de Jean de Vignes" [illicit relationships].40
The MPHC published its English language translation of this passage in 1903. That translation has influenced those who have written about "La Tichenet" in English. Writers choosing to cite this passage seemingly enjoyed calling attention to the "scandalous" allegations made by Cadillac.41
Governor Callière was deceased when Cadillac wrote this mémoire and could not dispute it. No surviving records found as of this writing support the allegations. Isabelle could not have spent twelve years married to a Loup by whom she had several children after abandoning her first husband at the end of a year, as Cadillac alleges. Twelve years from April 1685 is April 1697, giving Cadillac only a few months to send her down to Callière, then Intendent in Montréal. Cadillac himself left Michilimackinac by the summer of 1697. In that same time span she was allegedly rescued by and "married" Jean Leblanc, deserted him for another, and had 100 lovers. Her son by Germaneau, Michel, is said to be twenty-two years old at his marriage in 1717, thus born about 1695-94.42 The math just does not compute. Perhaps the "twelve" years and "100" lovers were simply Cadillac's characteristic Gascon exaggeration (!), but many commentators have taken his word as gospel.
More seriously, though, I believe the point must be made that Cadillac's accusations against Isabelle, la femme de Tichenet, sister-in-law to Maurice Ménard, were made in 1704 when he himself was undergoing a legal trial, procès, that accused him of mismanagement at Fort Pontchartrain. His characterization of la femme de Tichenet as a "loose woman" (or what Moogk calls "a slut"; see my Part 5) is not an isolated ploy. In his own defense in his mémoire to Pontchartrain, he was slandering or accusing almost everyone involved, calling people bastards and lower class workers, even professing that the governor and intendant were incompetent to judge him. Jean Delanglez comments: "Perhaps the document should be turned over to psychologists or dramatists"; and, he adds, "one wonders about his [Cadillac's] sanity."43 Delanglez certainly demonstrates, without a doubt, Cadillac's other liberties with the truth.
In September of 1704, testimony concerning Cadillac's behavior at the fort earlier in the year was taken from several people at Fort Pontchartrain, as I have mentioned more than once earlier. The summary of the trial activities cite several persons, including "Élisabeth Couk [Couc], Chateleraud, Demeules [and, added above the line] Jacques Croquelois dit Laviolette, sworn witnesses deposed at the said Détroit by the said Sieur de Vincelotte in his said function". These men and "Élisabeth Couk" were "recused", their testimony considered inadmissible. That is to say a challenge was made, claiming these individuals were in some way biased or legally unable to testify. Which party recused them, Cadillac or the Company of the Colony, is not indicated. However, the document continues:
we declare inadmissable and badly founded the challenges and pretensions made against Pierre and Michel Leméé [Lemay]; Louis Juilliet; and Pierre Rivet; witnesses deposed by us [Beauharnois and the Superior Council], as well as those made against Sieur de Tonty; Father Chasle [Delhalle], Récollet missionary at Détroit; [several words crossed out] Claude Riviere [Rivard44 ] Lorangé; Jean Baptiste Morisseau; Jean Richard; and Pierre Gauvreau, [who] although they are employed by the said Company, [they are] witnesses necessary to this case [affaire]; and, having consideration for their depositions and that of Piere [sic] Tichenet, [who is] not recused [neither party, the Company nor Cadillac, attempted to have his testimony rejected], we will proceed to a final judgment of the suit in eight days [huitaine]45
I have found no further documents connected with this procès, although I would dearly love to read Isabelle's and Tichenet's testimony.
I believe I am the first to cite this document in connection with Madame Montour. It is a very interesting summary of the workings of the justice system in New France and refutes claims that Cadillac was treated unfairly or held "against his will" from returning to Detroit.46 His "will" had nothing to do with it. Cadillac was legitimately charged with a complaint by the Company of the Colony, at that time Cadillac's employer and responsible for all matters at the fort. The legal process was followed; and Cadillac was cleared of the charges after a year, in June of 1705, mainly because it became too much of a problem to try to convict him. He would have demanded to go to France to appeal, as he had planned to do in the Moreau and Durand case in 1698, to have the case judged there. Given the protection he was at that time receiving from Pontchartrain, the Minister of the Marine, he would have taken his case to France. Instead, he received word in 1705, one year after the fact, that the king had granted him full control of trade at Fort Pontchartrain, the order arriving a year late because the 1704 message was lost when the English pirated the ship La Seine carrying the original decree.47
In the fall of 1705, then, Cadillac planned for his return to the fort as "absolute Master". Violence between the Ottawas (Odawas) and Miamis at Fort Pontchartrain, joined by the Detroit Hurons (Wendat-Petuns), broke out at the fort about twenty days before he departed from Lachine in June with the large convoy of 1706. It seems Isabelle was at the fort through the winter of 1705-06, serving as godmother in April of 1706, and, although not documented in the registers of Sainte-Anne, her brother, Louis Montour, may have been there. Cadillac arrived with his convoy of soldiers and potential settlers on 8 August, among whom, most probably, were Marguerite Couc, her Fafard and Massé children, and her second husband, Michel Massé.48 Bourgmont and Isabelle / La Tichenette are reported to have left the fort to join her brother Montour sometime late in 1706 or in 1707; no precise date survives, but Isabelle was still at the fort on 26 September 1706, when she served as godmother for Louis, son of "Pierre Taoun [ink blot] rony" and of "Martine, Hurons de nation".49 The priest did not reject her as a godmother because of any "scandalous" sexual behavoir. "Scandalous" behavior can, after all, be something other than sexual. Montour appears in New York by 1707, perhaps earlier, and again in 1708, his sister by 1709 at the latest, and the rest of the story shifts for awhile to the surviving United States colonial records.
The colonial documents and other records I have cited leave little doubt as to the identity of Montour and Madame Montour. Other surviving documents reinforce their identity. As will be seen, some of them have not previously been cited in any works I have read.
My articles in Michigan's Habitant Heritage of 1999 and 2000 presented an account of Madame Montour's life based on some of my preliminary research and on Madame Montour et son temps, the work of Simone Vincens, to whom I am indebted for introducing me to Isabelle's story. My intent then was to reach an audience that cannot read French. I have since consulted almost every primary source cited in the secondary sources I used in writing these articles and my follow-up ones about translations of key documents. I could not have done this research without the excellent indexes, Internet sources, and mail service from the National Archives of Canada and Les Archives Nationales du Québec. I am grateful to all of those who assisted me in my quest. As a result, I have found some of my secondary sources to be less precise than they could have been in interpreting the primary sources. I have also located new primary source documents. Although I am acutely aware that there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of documents still waiting to be mined for the gold (and fool's gold!) they might contain, I have nevertheless already located sources no one else, to my knowledge, has found, and these documents reinforce the identity of Isabelle Couc of New France as Madame Montour of the colonies of New York and Pennsylvania.