Suzanne Aubineau,
the mother of Pierre and André Auclair

uzanne Aubineau was born in France at Angoulins, a village situated about ten kilometers from La Rochelle. We do not have a copy of her birth certificate. At an unknown date she married Pierre Auclair, with whom she lived at Saint-Vivien, situated about five kilometers farther south. According to a few they would have lived at Saint-Sauveur in Aunis, which is incorrect. Saint-Sauveur is located much further inland.

The couple had three children : Pierre, baptized on February 7, 1655, Anne, deceased in August 1661, and André, baptized on April 23, 1662. The father died prematurely at the age of 36 and was buried in the parochial cemetery on February 25, 1663.

Three years after her husband died, Suzanne Aubineau, taking advantage of a governmental program known under the name of Daughters of the King, left for Canada where she was expected to remarry. Her transportation and her trousseau were to be paid by the king. She embarked with her sons, Pierre, 11 years old, and André, 4 years old.

The date of her arrival in Québec is unknown, but we do know she was there on August 11, 1666. On that day, she was present at the marriage contract of a friend of hers as a witness. Thirteen days later, she herself signed a marriage contract with a certain Jacques Michel, who came from Rouen. However, before getting married in the church, she annulled this contract. One must realize that 15% of the Daughters of the King have annulled their first marriage contracts, because they had to sign them too hastily.

Suzanne Aubineau did not sign a new contract immediately, she waited until the following spring. She probably spent the winter in Lower Town Québec, where a few acquainted lived, namely Guillaume Feniou, a merchant from La Rochelle, who lived on Sous-le-Fort Street. On the opposite side of the street, Charles Gauthier lived. He owned a farm on lîle dOrléans. Mathias Campagna worked on that farm. He was a native of Angoulins, which was also the birth village of Suzanne Aubineau. He was the man she was to marry.

For the time being, Mathias was not free, because in 1664 he signed a three-year contract as a worker. Meanwhile, he did not have the right to marry. That is why Suzanne Aubineau had to wait until spring. On April 25, 1667, she signed a marriage contract with him. This time, it was for good.

The contract, which favored the meeting of parents and friends, took place at merchant Fenious residence. Today, at this house, on number 25, Sous-le-Fort Street, it is called « Maison Chavigny ». It was destroyed by a major fire in 1682, and rebuilt in 1683, then restored in 1960.

Regarding the two boys, the contract specifies that they will be lodged and fed until the age of 15 years. The notary public had written « going to school » at first, but Mathias Campagna had the words crossed out and had rather written « working at home ». Thus, Pierre and André Auclair never knew how to sign their names.

We do not know where or when the wedding took place. However, we do know that Mathias Campagna installed his family on the farm on lîle dOrléans where he had worked for three years. He no longer was just a laborer but also a farmer, thus he was entitled to his share of the profits. This farm was located in the Sainte-Famille parish, 2 kilometers east of the church. That was where Suzanne Aubineau gave birth to four children : three girls who died before attaining adulthood, and a boy, Charles, who was to become a prosperous contractor. 

In 1675, Mathias Campagna succeeded in obtaining a grant of two lands in the seigniory of Argentenay, today known as the parish Saint-François de lîle dOrléans : one for himself and one for his step-son Pierre Auclair. That is where he moved, but Pierre Auclair left after one year. Rumor had it that both men could not get along with the other very well.

When Suzanne Aubineau reached the age of 55, she experienced health problems. In the spring of 1690, she was a patient at lHôtel-Dieu for two stays totaling thirty-seven days. She died on March 10, 1694, at the age of 59, and was buried in the parish cemetery.  Mathias Campagna outlived her by twenty years, and died at the respectable age of 89.

Today, if you go to Saint-François de lîle dOrléans, coming from Saint-Jean, you will see, 2.4 kilometers west of the church, a monument dedicated to the memory of Mathias Campagna and Suzanne Aubineau. It was erected by the Association of the Campagna families in 1964 to underline the tri-centenary of the coming to Canada of Mathias Campagna. This monument is located on the ancestral land. On the opposite side of the route, at the very end of a dirt road, you will see the house built by Charles Campagna, their son.

© Association des Auclair d'Amérique