Guillaume Labelle - American Labelle's ancestor

Guillaume Labelle Family tree

Marriage contract between Guillaume Labelle and Anne Charbonneau

St-Eloi-de-Tontuit and St-Benoît-d'Hébertot

Cadastral map of Ile Jésus (Laval)

Pictures of St-François-de-Sales, Île Jésus (Laval)


(Translation by Félix Labelle, Seeleys Bay, Ontario)

Guillaume Labelle(1) was born circa 1649. His ancestry is traced back to St-Éloi-de-Fourques, canton de Brionne, district de Bernay in the province of Normandy. He was originally from Saint-Éloi-de-Tontuit, a small hamlet now known as Saint-Benoît-d'Hébertot, district and bishopric of Lisieux in Calvados, Normandy, France.(2)

He was a very courageous young man. Other boys his age had already crossed over at the invitation the the Intendant Jean Talon. He located a hiring agent, left his family and embarked for New France around 1667 at approximately age 18.

The crossing was made on a small ship, crowding together passengers, baggage and livestock giving the ship the appearance of a Noah's Ark, wrote somewhere Monsignor Philippe Labelle. What is sure is that the passengers were exposed to many perils and troubles.

Did Guillaume attend school? In Canada, he declared not to know how to write or read and signed with a cross.


Monsignor de Laval was an extraordinary bishop. His Episcopal palace was the open Canadian nature. He searched his candidates wherever they resided.

In the Spring of 1668, for the fourth time since his arrival in Canada, he went to Ville-Marie to confer the sacrement of confirmation to 48 candidates among which was Guillaume Labelle. The ceremony took place in the humble Notre-Dame chapel, the 11th May 1668. This historical fact permits us to conclude with enough certitude that Labelle had passed the winter in Montréal and that he was in the country since the summer of 1667.

The census of 1666 and 1667 ignores his existence and for good reason. The census takers did their task during winter when it was easier to contact the people.


Eventually, he met a young girl, a French native, Anne Charbonneau, daughter of Olivier Charbonneau and Marguerite Garnier, settlers from LaRochelle. It was in Marans, in Aunis, France that she saw the light of day, circa 1657. She was on the perilous crossing, the summer of 1659 on the same ship that carried Jeanne Mance, the Saint-André.

Guillaume declares himself ready to start a family.

At the end of the year 1671, Guillaume declared himself ready to start a family. On the morning of 22 November, he wore his Sunday best to go to the home of Sir Jacques Leber, merchant, husband of the "honorable" Jeanne LeMoyne, accompanied by Jean Petit, resident of Longueuil and tailor, and Benigne Basset, notary and scrivener for the island of Montreal. Already there waiting for them was Olivier Charbonneau, future father-in-law and Marguerite Garnier his wife, Simon Cardinal and Michelle Garnier, Jacques Cardinal, Mathurin Thibodeau and Catherine Avrard, Charles LeMoyne, lord of Longueuil and Catherine Thierry called Primot, Pierre Dagenais or Dagenet, François Dollier de Casson, sulpician priest and "district ecclesiastic superior", and the future spouse Anne Charbonneau.

Guillaume and Anne will marry in co-ownership

The matrimonial conventions were read with much high flown intonations. Guillaume and Anne will wed in co-ownership in the custom of Paris. Anne will be endowed the sum of 300 livres, Olivier and Marie pledged 3 blankets, 4 chicken and 60 livres "in equal payments". Jean Gervaise and François Bailly called Lafleur were witnesses to the legitimacy of the civil contract. Only Pierre Dagenais or Dagenet allows himself to flourish the capital of his signature.

Marriage of Guillaume Labelle and Anne Charbonneau

Monday morning, 23 November 1671, they married in the chapel of the hospital(3) in the presence of Gilles Perrot, sulpician priest of the parish, who blessed the union of Guillaume Labelle and Anne Charbonneau, (she was only 14 years old) at the same time as Jean Groust and Marie-Ange Goguet, and of Pierre Payet called Saint-Amour and Louise Tessier. Charles LeMoyne, Lieutenant-General of Canada signed the parish register as a witness to the marriage of the three couples.


(1) Labelle is a matriarchal name. The origin of this complimentary for m of address goes back to an attractive peasant, a pleasant and gracious woman of the people. Consequently, it was applied to her children; the boys of la belle, the girls of la belle. Some other matriarchal names are Lamartine and Larousse. It became patriarchal with time.

(2) Saint-Benoît and Saint-André-d'Hébertot are two communes (villages) without history situated at equal distance between Pont-l'Évêque and Beuzeville, west of national highway 175 near the existing railway. The ancestral village of Guillaume is in a beautifully forested corner of proud Normandy.

(3) The first Notre-Dame church in Montréal was a modest chapel erected in 1642, at a place called "Port-Royal" (and later "Pointe à Callières"). It was built by skillful carpenters, as, for exemple Gilbert Barbier called Minime. One or two years later, it was decided to build a hospital. As the Pointe à Callière was exposed to flooding, they chose a more favourable lot: the north-east corner of the actual Saint-Paul and Saint-Sulpice streets. A hospital was then constructed and was capped by a vaulted chapel of 9 to 10 square feet. Until 1657, the hospital was served by Jesuits. As the recruits were multiplying, the Fort chapel (built in 1642) became too small. So, M. de Chomedy decided to build a wooden church 50 feet long at the end of the main building of the hospital, to serve the sick and the parishioners. To note, that this chapel, built with the alms acquired by Jean de St-Père, received equally a generous encouragement from the gentlemen of St-Sulpice. In 1662, space was cramped again. M. de Chomedy foresees a piece of land with a view of building a church. But things remained idle. It is in 1669 that Mgr de Laval, on a pastoral visit to Montréal, urged the parishioners to gain a church apart from the hospital. On 12 May, a lot is chosen; that of Jean de St-Père, and a beginning date is fixed for 8 June. Again, nothing happens. The land is not worthwhile. M. Dollier de Casson, the Sulpician superior, chooses to place the church at the top of the hill, where Notre-Dame street will open and near the seminary soon to be constructed. He commits to give the land and, what's more, to grant 3000 livres . It is in 1672 that the cross is planted to designate the future emplacement of the church (29 June) and the next day, are laid the first five stones. It is not until 10 years later that the faithful of Montréal were able to worship in their church.


Guillaume Labelle and Anne Charbonneau get established in Montreal

Six days after his wedding, on 29 November 1671, Guillaume buys a plot from Louis Mary called Ste-Marie, land that he will return one year later.

At that time, he will acquire another - that one of 60 square acres - at the Côte St-François. His lot has number 116 and is situated near his father-in-law, Olivier Charbonneau who has number 120.

The Côte Saint-François, is in the actual parish of Saint-François-d'Assise of Longue Pointe and the 116 lot is where presently there are huge gas reservoirs.


Building a country is a considerable task, and never ending. Guillaume Labelle made his humble contribution to this task. The surgeon René Sauvageau called Maisonneuve, an old soldier of the Carignan-Salières Regiment, owned 60 acres of land in Côte Saint-François on Montréal island. A neighbour, Claude Desjardins called Charbonnier owned three acres of frontal land adjacent to this concession. On 30 November 1672, Guillaume Labelle purchased these 60 acres for the considerable sum of 500 livres.

A plank covered cabin

True, there was a wood plank cabin and a sod shed already built on the site. Guillaume promises to pay by sawing 100 good roof planks and to transport them to the river before the next Easter. There will remain a balance of 445 livres to pay out in five annual payments.

On 4 December 1672, Louis-Marie called Sainte-Marie and Guillaume had made some arrangements on work already done on each other's property. Sainte-Marie seems to be a neighbour of Guillaume.

Guillaume experienced difficulties in paying his creditor Sauvageau. On 21 October 1674, exhausted, he goes with him to the notary Basset. Sauvageau expresses his displeasure. He wants to evict his debtor, or to make him pay as soon as possible. Guillaume offers in payment, to cut a stretch of three acres of timber from the land in front of his at Pointe-aux-Trembles. In short, Guillaume will be allowed to reside on his first concession until 1676, on condition to frantically work to satisfy the demanding surgeon.


1) Birth of Antoine Labelle, baptized 20 November 1674 at Montreal

On 29 October 1675, Pierre Boucher, Sieur de Grosbois and Lord of Boucherville, delegated as public prosecutor on 14 October, went to work. He summoned several settlers of the Montréal region, including Guillaume Labelle, to remind them that they should discharge their debts towards the Québec Seminary. On the same day, Boucher found two honest and hard working farmers to care for the seigneurial farm on Île Jésus.

The happy chosen were Guillaume Labelle and his father-in-law Olivier Charbonneau. What a promotion! They went from poor settlers to sharecroppers and that, for three years! The farm possessed 45 acres of cultivated land, some buildings, 330 sheaves of wheat, 600 bales of hay, 4 oxen, a poultry yard, etc.

There was still a need for settlers, tax payers (censitaires) to populate the island. The prosecutor Pierre Boucher, on 13 August 1677, signed a deed conceding land ownership to Guillaume Labelle. He was the first land owner "in title" on the seigneury and on 17 August, obtained from the notary Frerot at Ville-Marie, the lot number 8 near the manor house.

Honors carry obligations. The priest Noël Baillargeon, curator of archival records at the Québec Seminary, attests that Guillaume Labelle and Olivier Charbonneau barely paid off their obligations and left at the expiry of their contract in October in 1678.

2) Birth of Françoise Labelle, baptized on 19 April 1676 at Pointe-aux-Trembles. At age 3, she was buried 20 July 1678 at Pointe-aux-Trembles.

3) Birth of Marie Labelle, 2 February 1678, baptized at Pointe-aux-Trembles.

On 7 August 1678, according to the diary of notary Frerot, Sisters of the Congrégation (represented by Marguerite Bourgeois) conceded 60 acres of land, 20 x 3, to Guillaume Labelle on the following conditions: three livres of rent annually, deux sols de cent? and 22 bushels of wheat.

Guillaume and his family are settling on Île Jésus, more precisely in the eastern extremity of the island. Others will soon join them, like the Léonard Éthier and the Michel Buisson families.

At last, Guillaume had his home. He built a house with a warm hearth and lived modestly as a farmer.

4) Birth of Charles Labelle, baptized 24 December 1679 at Repentigny by Abbé Morel.


This census reports 4 heads of families living on Île Jésus: Michel Buisson, Olivier Charbonneau, Léonard Éthier and Guillaume Labelle, 32 years old. Guillaume has three young children around his table, (Antoine, Françoise and Charles); 1 musket hanging above the hearth, 2 horned beasts in the stable and 4 acres of land under cultivation.

The eldest, Antoine died after 1681.

During several years, at least until 1681, these four families will be the only ones inhabiting the island.

5) Birth of Marie-Madeleine Labelle, baptized 15 December 1681 at Repentigny by Abbé Germain Morin, the first Canadian priest.

On 14 September 1682, guillaume purchased from Gilles Carré, the grains on the master-surgeon's land acquired from Charles Lefebvre and Jean Compairon called Lavergne. Labelle will pay in exchange, 100 bushels of wheat at AllSaints.

6) Birth of Joseph Labelle circa 1683, baptized at Repentigny.

7) Birth of Pierre Labelle on 1st, baptized on 2 January 1684 at Repentigny

8) Birth of Jean-François Labelle circa 1686, baptized at Repentigny.

For a period of fifteen years, hostile Amerindians, encouraged by the English enemy, made life difficult for the residents of the Montréal region. In 1687, the ancestor Lalonde and nine of his companions fell victims to the Iroquois. In 1689, there was a massacre in Lachine and Clément Lerige called Laplante was captured by the Iroquois. On 2 July 1690, Jean Grou or Groust was slain by Indian axe. The following year, Jean Plamondon also disappeared due to the Agniers' cruelty (Mohawks-Iroquoian nation). This hostility lasted until the peace treaty of 1701.

There is fear of the Iroquois raids and because of this fear, certain settlers desert the island.

Does Guillaume Labelle leave Île Jésus for the Québec region?

At what period did Guillaume leave Île Jésus? The time cannot be established exactly. In 1688, he was still there since he brought a son to the baptismal fonts.

9) Jacques Labelle was baptized at Lachenaie on 22 March 1688.

10) Joachim Labelle, born circa 1690, baptized at Lachenaie?

11) Catherine Labelle, born 5 July 1692, baptized at Lachenaie.

Note. We say born or baptized circa? It is that the documents to certify the birth and baptism of Joseph, Joachim and Jean-François Labelle are missing.

Guillaume Labelle was hospitalized at the Hotel-Dieu of Québec city for 40 days starting on 1 October 1692. Had he left the island shortly after the baptism of his daughter? Had he been wounded?

It is believed that he went to Côte de Beaupré. It is quite plausible if we recall that Guillaume had purchased land from the Québec bishop (or the Episcopal Corporation).

Further clues that Guillaume and family resided in Québec city area.

Because of the Iroquois menace, these Gentlemen of the Québec Seminary would have aided the families residing on the island, at least the Labelle family that they would have installed on the Côte de Beaupré, and the Saint-Joachim farm seems the likely place to accommodate this family.

Where did the Labelle reside? The account books of the Québec Seminary has Guillaume's name inscribed on a list of employees.

On 9 February 1695, his daughter Marie married Jean Migneron at Saint-Joachim and Guillaume witnessed the said marriage.

The following year, grand-father Guillaume was god-father to baby Jean born from the marriage of Jean Migneron and Marie Labelle.

Then-what confirms his residence in the Beaupré region-Guillaume again becomes a father.

12) A daughter is born. Angélique Labelle, god-daughter of Noël Racine was presented on the baptismal fonts on 3 August 1697.


After the birth of Angélique, Guillaume and his family would have returned to the island probably after the peace of 1701.

Silence progressively wraps the later years of Guillaume Labelle. On 6 March 1705, he forgave his son Joseph a debt of 60 livres and on 24 May 1706, Pierre Labelle received from his father the sum of 180 livres.

On 25 November 1709, two of his sons marry on the same day (but not at the same place): Pierre weds Jeanne Boulard at Rivière-des-Prairies and Joseph weds Marguerite Lamoureux at Saint-François. Guillaume was absent and surely too ill.

In fact, he died one month later. On Monday, 1 January 1710, Guillaume passes away. The next day, abbé Benoît Roche, priest of Saint-Sulpice and curate of Pointe-aux-Trembles, after saying prayers for the rest of the generous soul of the deceased, signed the register. He was interred the next day at Pointe-aux-Trembles in Montréal.


Still solid, Anne Charbonneau, then 63 years of age, reorganized her life. She signed a marriage contract with the widower Pierre Guindon on 15 February 1711.

The ancestor Guindon, originally from Loudon in Poitou, France had married Catherine Barsa in 1706 with whom he had three sons. After the death of Catherine on 21 august 1710 at Saint-François on Île Jésus, he was searching for a devoted wife. The religious act of Pierre and Anne remains unfound. But, we know by notorized documents signed on 6 March 1724, that they were married. Madame Labelle-Guindon later divided her land; three acres wide by twenty deep located on Île Jésus, adjacent to that of Pierre Labelle and the notary Coron, among all the Labelle heirs. Anne received a life annuity of fifteen bushels of wheat. After her death, her children had masses celebrated for her. The mother of all the Labelle and the step-mother of the Guindons passed away on Monday 11 april 1729 at Saint-François, Ile Jesus. The funeral was held the next day before the Labelle and Guindons and presided over by Abbé Michel-Claude Poulin de Courval.



Algonquins, Hurons and probably other people of the six nations Confederation paddled the rivers long before the arrival of the French. Jacques Cartier, circa 1535 goes upstream by boat up to the Sault. Champlain, in 1615 went, accompanied by a "young man full of courage, called des Prairies".

On 15 January 1636, the Company of One-Hundred Associates granted Île Jésus, domain and seigneury (property of a Lord), to the Reverend Jesuit Fathers of New France.

At that time, the island was called Île de Montmagny in honor of Charles Huault de Montmagny, governor of New France. He went to Ile de Montmagny and in the name of the Jesuit fathers, took possession officially on 16 August 1638. In the Act, documents preserved in the archives of the Québec Seminary, show that the concession of the island happened six years before the foundation of Ville-Marie (Montréal).

The Jesuits, Lords of Île Jésus (1636-1672). In time, it seems the Jesuits abandoned the island and neglected their duties. They were mostly engaged in the providential work of the foundation of Ville-Marie.

Empoverished by the ruin of Fort Sainte-Marie, near Georgian Bay, they could not offer to the future colonists of the island an enclosure of security against Iroquois raids.

They did no wood clearing and gave no lands to the colonists. In 1663, the records of the Saint-Lawrence made no mention of any settlers (tax payers) on the island.

It is in 1668 that the island came out of its shell; that it gave real signs of life, with the apparition of the first manor house, that the Intendant Talon had built for M. Berthelot.

Berthelot never came to NewFrance. We can say in a sense that a new seignory opened to colonization with a manor house. Since 1670, the Jesuits gave up Île Jésus to François Berthelot but this transfer did not become official until 7 November 1672 by the Intendant Talon.

François Berthelot was covering the functions of counselor to the King, Secretary to His Majesty and Commissioner of powders(gun?) and saltpeter of France. He never came to Île Jésus or New France.

However, he requested Intendant Talon in 1670, to start the wood clearing of Île Jésus, to construct a seigniorial manor house and out buildings and to produce crops on the land, all at his expense.

On 20 March 1674, Lord Berthelot concedes the domain on Île Jésus to the reverend Jesuit Fathers (the first "seigneurs" of the island). This domain of the Jesuits was apparently situated at the western extremity of the island, along the Milles-Îles river, that is around 4 kilometers.

After three years, nobody inhabited the island. The said François Berthelot conceded the Île Jésus to Monsignor (Bishop) de Laval on 24 April 1675.

Mgr de Laval having need of money to endow his seminary founded twelve years before, gave up his seignory of Île d'Orléans to M. Berthelot in exchange for Île Jésus, for the sum of twenty-five thousand livres, with five thousand cash.

Mgr de Laval, on 12 april 1680, gave Île Jésus to the Quebec Seminary with concession of lands to the Notre-Dame Congregation. One of the first preoccupations of Mgr de Laval was to concede to the Sisters of the Notre-Dame Congregation, two farms on Île Jésus.

So, in 1676, before the notary Benigne Basset and in free title, they accepted the concessions granted by the bishop, land situated on the south side of the island, with front on the des Prairies river, on the point where the manor house, the church and the village were situated. The Ladies did not keep this property for very long. In 1689, when the Iroqois were terrorizing and killing in and around the isle, they decided to sell the land.

In 1681, we number only 27 persons spread among four families residing on the seignory of Île Jésus. That year and the following years, the Québec Seminary (or their representatives) conceded, in front of notary, the several parcels of land in the actual region of Saint-François-de-Sales.

In 1688, the census shows 116 persons at LaChenaie and Île Jésus. The following year, on 13 November 1689, about 150 Iroquois fell on LaChenaie and Île Jésus and burned nearly all the habitations right up to the forts, captured, ransacked and killed all the inhabitants that only 2 inhabitants of LaChenaie did escape. (Letter of 17 novembre 1689, the governor informs Colbert).

This attack consequently augmented the number of settlers that left the island. Very few new settlers established themselves there and the fear of any new Iroquois attack resulted in the gradual abandonment of the land. The colonists and their families establish themselves on Ville-Marie and at Québec city. Only 5 women and 17 men still remained on the seignory in 1695.

In 1698, the island will show 42 families, nearly 200 souls.

But Louis XIV will not officially ratify the concessions until 1702, the year following the peace treaty with the Iroquois. 1702 marks the foundation of the first parish on Île Jésus, Saint-François-de-Sales and the true debut of the populating of the island.

The land concessions were first along the shores, from the point east going towards the west, and in the interior lands, in the eastern half of the island, that is the two côtes, St-François and Saint-Elzéar.


The isle was endowed with a chapel from 1685 and on that date, the curate of Repentigny, M. Pierre Volant de St-Claude, was solemly enthroned to serve the chapel.

The Seminary, to better conform itself to the demands of french law, wished to replace the primitive chapel with a proper stone church.

Saint-François-de-Sales became in 1702, the first parish of the island. In 1706, there were 361 souls.

The church was inaugurated on 30 May 1706. Several more colonists established themselves on Île Jésus.

Mgr de Saint-Vallier was a prisoner in England from 1704 to 1709 and Mgr de Laval, being sick, was no longer the administrator of the diocese.

On his return, Mgr de Saint-Vallier was not in accord with the steps taken by his curate-general and the Seminary.

There was an interruption of the cult on the island.

M. Louis Lepage de Sainte-Claire, canadian by birth, was ordained priest on 6 april 1715 and is immediately named curate of Saint-François of Ile Jesus, where he remained until 1724.

In 1721, the inhabitants practically cannot go to the church in Saint-François because of lack of suitable roads and several of them residing in remote areas. There is serious thought of founding two new parishes in the center of Ile Jesus. (St-Vincent-de-Paul and Ste-Rose.)

That same year, a terrible fire destroys the church, the mill, the manor house and several buildings of Saint-François-de-Sales.

From the year 1730, the concessions, as they were inhabited, will take on the responsability for the construction and maintenance of roads which will be paid for by the tax-payers.

In 1749, nearly 400 plots of land are already conceded, that is, around half of the island's territory.

A great increase of the population towards the east of the island will lead to the foundation of two new parishes; Sainte-Rose (1740) and Saint-Vincent-de-Paul (1743). The total population of the island is 752 souls.

It will be increased to 2379 inhabitants a quarter century later, that is, one of the most populated seignories of New-France.

The first flour mill was constructed in 1711, along the des Prairies river; it will be linked to the north shore of the island via the Montée-du-moulin road.

In 1749, no longer able to support the expenses of the main estate on the east point, the Seminary sells it to Charles Rhéaume, merchant of Montréal. The Seminary will conserve five other estates for wood reserves and for the establishment of mills.

This demographic progression towards the west in 1774 will bring about the creation of a fourth parish: Saint-Martin. Contrary to the other three, it will see its church located inland.

The increase of demographic weight of the island center will bring about movement towards the west of the churches of Sainte-Rose (1780) and of Saint-François-de-Sales (1847).

Three years before the end of the seigniorial regime, Ile Jesus at census time in 1851, was inhabited by 10,013 souls.

The new center of the seignory was progressively established at Saint-Martin since the end of the XVIII century.


The number of houses has increased on Île Jésus passing from 1397 in 1851 to 1877 in 1901.


Quickly, the ancient parishes will grow and divide. The old cores and embryos of villages, henceforth urbanized, will detach from parishes and will constitute new municipalities.

But the island center will remain lightly populated and mostly established for agriculture.

As of 1950, the massive suburbanization of the after war period will link between them these first centers of urbanization, with tendance to form only one city.

On 14 august 1965, there was a fusion of 14 towns to become: THE CITY OF LAVAL

Guillaume Labelle Family tree

Marriage contract between Guillaume Labelle and Anne Charbonneau

St-Eloi-de-Tontuit and St-Benoît-d'Hébertot

Cadastral map of Ile Jésus (Laval)

Pictures of St-François-de-Sales, Île Jésus (Laval)


"Research Documents no. 2", Bibliography of Jesus Island, André Dionne 1983.
"Historical Sources of Jesus Island", Marcel Paquette, Edition d'Antan 1976.

Last update: June 2, 2014

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