|American Bisson Association
on the Bissons of North America.
Gervais BISSON, dit St-Côme,
is he the ancestor of all the Bissons of North America ?
It was around this year that Gervais
Bisson made the voyage to New France (Nouvelle-France). It was
however in 1652 that the spouse of Gervais, Marie l’Hérault
(Lereau), their two children : René-Gervais, age ten years,
and Antoine, age six year, as well as his brother Florent, his
spouse Jeanne-Yvon, all arrived at Québec on board the ship of
Pointel or that of Poulet. Florent and Jeanne are the parents of
Mathurine, age 14, and Michel, born in 1640.
Enthused by the conferences of Robert
Giffard at the hotel While House (l'Hôtel du Cheval Blanc) of
Saint-Cosme-de-Vair, Simon l'Hérault, brother of Marie and the
Bisson family longed dreamed to leave for New France. Many among
their friends and countrymen had signed an engagement and had
joined in land shares in Beauport that Robert Giffard had
The Maine Region
During the XVIIe century, the Maine
region had too many workers for agriculture and trade work. The
taste of independence and a better knowledge of the New-World
made it kind of easy to stir up ways for some to depart.
Although there wasn't a direct opening
to the sea, the Maine Region (identified in blue on the
map to the right) sent a good number of it's children
during the XVIIe century who formed over there a valuable
planting of people at the beginning.
Workman, work-cutters and farmers were
the first to "work the earth". We still find evidence,
not only in the names of their descendants but also in the French
spoken in the valley of the Saint-Lauent which is very related to
the language spoken today among the habitants of the region of
With regard to Gervais Bisson, Marie
Lereau and their children René-Gervais and Antoine, we suppose
that they were from Saint-Cosme just like Florent for which the
marriage act was found by father Godbout but not the one of
Gervais which would provide with accuracy the dates of birth and
The township of Contres-en-Vairais, were
the Bissons come from, has existed for a long time on the maps of
France. Contres, Champaissant and Saint-Cosme-de-Vair forms only
today a small community, called Saint-Cosme-en-Vairais. There is
only one road full of houses. The ancient cemetery has
disappeared to become the place for a church, at which we record
a town-hall, two public schools, a police station, a post and
telephone office , a parish hall and a single hotel, called Trois
Pigeons. The old While Horse Tavern (auberge du Cheval Blanc) has
disappeared at the same rate of speed.
of Contres-en Vairais
Church of St-Cosme-en Verrais
photos taken August 22, 2006 by Réjean Roy (185)
Contres is 1,7 miles from Saint-Cosme-en-Vairais.
Quebec in the
A document proves beyond a doubt that
Florent Bisson was already in Québec in 1652. On October 23, he
assist as a witness to the marriage contract of a countryman,
Julien Fortin, engaged to wed Geneviève, daughter of Nicolas
Gamache, one of the most seen settlers of the era.
With regard to Gervais and his family,
their present was noted in Québec, on December 30, 1654, when
the baptized a daughter, Simone-Barbe. On March 1st on the
following year, Jean Bourdon granted to the ancestor, land in the
lordship of Saint-François de la côte Saint-Jean, near Sillery.
This lot was an acre of frontage on eight acres of length.
Bourdon in this period had been established in Québec for twenty
years and he acted as the general agent and civil engineer of the
colony. It was he who had traced, in 1641, the first map of
French Canada. Widow of Jacqueline Potel, in 1655, he wed Anne
Gasnier, the same that welcomed and supported the "Daughters
of the king" (filles du roi) at their arrival in New France
between 1663 and 1673.
On August 10, 1659, Gervais Bisson,
father and son, received the sacrament of confirmation from the
hands of Monsignor Laval. The pontiff had only been in Québec
since the previous June the 16th. "The Canada of 1659,
writes the historian André Vachon, was, to say truthfully, very
few things. The French population reached fewer than 2000 souls,
divided into 3 centers of population, at a distance of more that
60 leagues. The region of Québec, formed the village proper and
the seigneries of Beauport, Beaupré, Notre-Dame-des-Anges and
Lauson, making up the better of the concentration, nearly 1200
habitants; some hundreds colonist had settled at Trois-Rivières
or in the neighboring manors of Cap-de-la-Madeleine, of
Sainte-Anne and of Champlain, that began the difficulty of
development; at the front post, the island of Montréal was the
last center of habitation".
The ancestor Gervais lived all his life
at Saint-François de la côte Saint-Jean, but he owned at least
two other properties, one the côte Sainte-Geneviève, the other
at la côte Saint-Michel, in the manor of Sillery.
The land at the côte Sainte-Geneviève
was sold to Romain Duval on July 8, 1663. It has a area of 50
acres and situated between the properties of Jean Leclerc dit Le
Bouteleux and of Pierre Pinguet. The land at the côte
Saint-Michel was acquired on February 18, 1663 by the reverend
father Jérôme Lallemant, then superior of the Jesuites at
Québec. It had two acres of frontage by thirty of length. This
land will be acquired by inheritance by Gervais Bisson son, on
February 10, 1689, at the price of 600 French pounds. This
enclosed land lie between the domain of Mathurin Moreau and that
of the Jésuites.
Gervais Bisson and his family are listed
in census of 1666 and 1667. The colonist is therefore about 65
years of age and said to possess four cattle and twelve acres of
valuable land. He has one servant named Jacques Senson. Later, he
hires other "jack of all trades", named Manuel Rodrigue
and Pierre Brannelet.
Gervais must had been more than 70 years
old when the master of the world recalled him. His mortal remains
were buried on August 1st, 1674 in the Saint-Joseph cemetery,
near the cathedral in Québec.
The Bisson families were favorably known
in New France due to the number of religious it provided the
Canadian church from the first generation.
Gervais and Marie Lereau.
- René-Gervais, born
in France between 1640 and 1643, married in Québec on
September 11th, 1664 (notary Duquet September 11) to
Marie-Madeleine, daughter of Simon Boutet and Anne
Vilers, from Saint-Jacques-du-Haut-Pas, Paris. An
Important landholder, René-Gervais seams to have lived
at several locations, notably at Saint-François de la
côte Saint-Jean, at la côte Sainte-Geneviève, at
Champigny, at Saint-Gabriel and at la Petite-Auvergne. He
was a church custodian at Sainte-Foy and three of his
sons followed the missionaries to Mississippi. Buried at
Québec on March 7, 1707, Gervais was the father of seven
sons and five daughters.
- Antoine, born between
1641 and 1646 in France; married at Québec May 24, 1671
(notary Duquet) to Ursule, daughter of Mathurin Trud and
Marguerite Garman. A carpenter, first at Dombourg, then
at Lauzon, his final days were at Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly,
were he was buried on January 27, 1705. Ursule had died
suddenly at the end of 1701. They had six sons and eight
- Jean, baptized at
Saint-Cosme-de-Vair on October 1st, 1650. In all
likelihood, died at infancy..
- Simone-Barbe, born at
Québec on December 29, 1654 and buried the same place on
March 13 1722. On July 13, 1668, she became the spouse of
Nicolas, a gunsmith and son of Pierre Gauvreau and
Gabrielle Raimbaut, of Dompierre, in Vendée.
Simone-Barbe gave birth to six sons and seven daughters,
of whom two worked hospitality at Hôtel-Dieu hospital in
- Marie, baptized at
Québec on October 25, 1657; married May 24, 1671 (notary
Duquet) to Mélaine Bonnet. Buried June 4, 1732 at
Charlesbourg, where they lived this family consisted of
five sons and two daughters.
- Jean-François, born
in Québec on November 24, 1660. Ordained a priest on
November 30, 1683 and name council to the bishop a little
while later. Besides a brief stay at Sorel (1687-1688),
He practiced his priestly passion with quality as steward
at the seminary of Québec, where he died March 15, 1712.
A T T E N T I O N
Some series of the dictionary Bisson of America are available at
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