Auclairís story is inseparable from his brotherís. Together they crossed
the Atlantic when they were young and together they lived the remarriage
of their mother with a man who could not afford to have them educated and
was not loved by them. When the time came for them to emancipate themselves,
they did not reside close to their mother, but rather in Charlesbourg.
settled in the rural district of Saint-Bernard in 1678 and André
bought a land there the following year, also. This purchase made him his
brotherís fourth neighbor. At the age of 17, he claimed that he was a Québec
resident. We do not know whether he immediately went to his farm to resume
the clearing of the land. What we know is that twenty months later, he
married a young widow, Marie Bédard, who lived at Petite-Auvergne,
south of Charlesbourg.
was the girl of Isaac Bédard and Marie Girard, from La Rochelle.
She had two brothers : Jacques and Louis. She married Nicolas Huppé.
On February 2, 1681, she gave birth to a boy, baptized under the name of
Charles, but at that moment her husband had passed away five months and
a half before.
after having given birth, the young widow signed a marriage contract with
André Auclair. He was only 19 years old. That was exceptional, because
normally a farmer must have established himself before getting married.
What permitted him to depart from custom was that his wife was a widow
and was already established. When Nicolas Huppé died, three arpents
of land had already been cleared.
contract was signed at the mill on the seigniory of Notre-Dame-des-Anges.
It was not the present-day Moulin des Jésuites du Trait-Carré
(square) in Charlesbourg, because that mill was not built until forty years
later. It was rather a windmill on the south shore of the Saint-Charles
river. The contract provided for the upkeep of Charles Huppé, then
only 15 days old, by the new couple.
took place the next day, Monday February 17, 1681, in Québec rather
than in Charlesbourg. It is likely, as on the previous day, that it was
the Jesuits rather than the spouseís family that acted as hosts at the
André Auclair took over his wifeís possessions. There were scant
personal property and heavy debts. One bill in the amount of 19 pounds
was to be paid to líHôtel-Dieu, which leads us to believe that Nicolas
Huppé spent some time in hospital before he passed away. On the
other hand, Michel Huppé, the father-in-law, still owed Marie Bédard
153 pounds, the remainder of 300 pounds he had promised her to pay when
his son signed his marriage contract. When the father-in-law attempted
not to honor his obligations, André Auclair forced him by submitting
the case to a court of arbitration.
Auclair was a Charlesbourg parishioner. In the wooden chapel covered with
straw, he occupied the seventh bench on the epistle side, that is, the
right side. To be exact, there were only nine benches on that side. When
his first two children were baptized, he declared himself a resident of
Saint-Bernard, but when his third child was baptized, he claimed he lived
in Petite-Auvergne. One is led to believe that he had a hard time making
up his mind as to where lived.
1689, his father-in-law Isaac Bédard passed away. His possessions
in France that he bequeathed to his children had to be recovered. Instead
of his sons Jacques and Louis, his son-in-law André Auclair had
to go. Not able to leave his wife alone with five children, he asked Louis
Bédard to live with her. Louis replaced him as ferryman on the Saint-Charles
realize that at least between 1689 and 1692, André Auclair did not
live on his farm at Petite-Auvergne, but on the land associated with the
ferry, at the far end of the road which leads from Charlesbourg to Québec.
That land belonged to the Jesuits, who ran a ferry service. They rented
the service, the farm and the house to a farmer. The farmer provided the
rowboats, the cables, the oars, and paid himself with the rights of passage.
During the absence of André Auclair, Louis Bédard would do
the job. On days when the latter would be occupied by some other work,
Marie would substitute. All that was specified in a contract.
to France did not take much time. Having left in the spring of 1690, André
Auclair returned in the month of August. Two months later, on October 16,
at sunrise, a fleet of thirty-four anglo-american boats appeared, under
the command of Admiral Phips. The four largest boats anchored in front
of Québec, whereas the others, that carried the troups, anchored
near Beauport. The plan of the aggressor was to disembark at la Canardière
and then proceed toward the city by crossing the Saint-Charles river. This
crossing could only be made through fording the river, because the army
was too large to use the rowboats.
on October 18, 20 and 21, in the afternoon, the British disembarked at
la Canardière. Each time, a group of two hundred militiamen, trappers
and American Indians barred their way. The farthest they could reach was
André Auclairís third neighbor. Finally, on October 23, the cold
having become threatening, the fleet withdrew. The Québécois
1695, Marie Bédard gave birth to a seventh son, in addition to two
girls. Looking forward to establishing these boys, André Auclair
increased his domain. In Saint-Bernard, he acquired a new land next to
those already owned there. In 1698, he was the churchwarden in charge in
his parish. Suddenly, the following year, death prevented him from realizing
his many projects.
May 14, 1699, in the Charlesbourg cemetery, André Auclair, at the
age of 37, was buried. Four years later, Marie Bédard joined him
at the age of 38, a victim of the smallpox epidemic that also claimed eighty-five
lives in Charlesbourg.
of the widow left nine orphans, all younger than 22 years old. They are,
from the first marriage : Charles Huppé. From the second marriage
: Étienne, Paul, André, François, Marie, Pierre, Louis
and Marie-Catherine. A family meeting designated the guardians. For Charles
Huppé, it will be Jacques Huppé, his uncle on the fatherís
side. For the Auclair children, it will be Pierre Auclair, their uncle
on the fatherís side.
the inventory after death describes a house 32 feet long and wide. The
walls are made of squared trunks, one part of which is about to fall. The
roof is covered with straw, and is about to fall also. As for Saint-Bernard,
the inventory does not mention the existence of a house but only a shed.
The inventory reveals quite an important agricultural enterprise, but the
buildings do not reflect being well off. In fact, the financial situation
was deplorable. When she died, the widow left behind seventeen accounts
in the red, totaling 225 pounds, that is, the value of a farm.
We do not
know how the sharing of the assets amoung the children took place when
they had attained their majority. Finally, the land in Petite-Auvergne
would be occupied by Charles Huppé. Today, this land is situated
near the Bédard monument, at the corner of Isaac-Bédard Street
and First Avenue in Charlesbourg. The three lands of Saint-Bernard would
be occupied by the three boys who married, that is, François, Pierre
and Louis. These lands are found today in the center of Saint-André
de Neufchâtel, near Village des Hurons.
of the sons who get married had children and their descendants are not
numerous. That is why, today, only 20% of the Auclairs of America descend
from André Auclair, whereas 80% descend from his brother Pierre.
© Association des Auclair d'Amérique