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Lecture 3

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Brock University
Rebecca Beausaert

September 24, 2013 HIST 2Q93 Lecture 3: “Establishing Roots: Women in New France, Acadia, and the New England Colonies” Assignment First full citation (either footnote or endnote): [Book] Mary Jemison, A Narrative of... (1764), page number. [Journal] M. Lavater, “Characteristic Differences...,” The Nova Scotia Magazine (March 1793): page number. Subsequence citations: Jemison, A Narrative..., page number. Lavater, “Characteristic Differences...,” page number. Read instruction sheet handed out in lecture and posts online! OUTLINE: 1) New France a. Female immigrants to New France b. Life in New France c. Profile – Madeleine de Vercheres 2) Acadia a. Life in Acadia b. Profile – Evangeline 3) New England Colonies a. Profile – The Mayflower b. Life in Colonial New England c. Profile – Martha Ballard New France: Female immigrants - Present day Quebec - Why did they need women to come to Quebec? - Primarily French men that came to Quebec to engage in the fur trade September 24, 2013 - The aboriginal women were outnumbered by French men - Civil and religious forces wanted traders to form more “respectable” unions- with white women from France - Early 17 C We see more white women arriving from France - Some were married - Many were single girls hoping to find husbands in the new colony - Some single girls were called En Gage – indentured servants – white servants who lacked the means would come to the new world themselves and were funded to go and eventually pay off their debts - Many girls wanted to become nuns and devote their time to god - Early 17 C the counter reformation going on so many women were becoming nuns - They saw New France as an unspoiled territory - Most of them wanted to convert aboriginal people to Christianity - Girls who wanted to get married as soon as they got into the colony were called les filles a marier = marriageable girls - Some women were wealthy and were travelling with their husbands who were government officials - Most were travelling because they had no other option at home in France – outcasts - Some had come from prisons, slums - In the 1630s groups of French nuns began arriving in New France - First hospital in North America was an order called Hospitalieres at Hotel-Dieu in 1639 - They tried to build a hospital in an aboriginal community but the wars were making it a bad place - Hotel-Dieu was not very large - In 1639 a group of nuns called Ursuline began arriving in New France and wanted to civilize the aboriginal people - Many aboriginal girls attended their school - Some fathers saw it as beneficial to learn the European ways but most families showed resistance and didn’t want their children to be converted and lose their traditions September 24, 2013 - The school became a school solely for European girls and was the first school in North American for girls - Marie de l’Incarnation was the founder of the Ursulines - She was born in France and was married at one point with a child but her husband died so she took about celibacy and devoted her life to religious vocation - She took her religious vows in 1633 - She decided to undertake a mission to further establish the catholic faith in the colony - She arrived in 1639 and established a school/convent - She had contact with aboriginal people and refered to them mostly as savages or children of the woods - She developed a fondness of them and took on a motherly roll - She was their teacher, disciplinarian, mother - But she was looking at the through a European gaze – didn’t see them as people - Even though she lets on that she is trying to do good, she really just wants to make them French - The nuns were in charge of bringing single girls over to the colony - In 1663 once French officials had control of the colony, they took over the task of gathering the women - Part of this reason is because not enough women were coming over - Between 1643-63 on 230 unmarried female immigrants had arrived from France - Once royal officials take over this number balloons and efforts to bring single girls over enhance - Between 1663-1680 800 women came over - These women were called Filles du Roi = daughters of the king (Louis) - The king established certain standards for these girls – healthy, strong to endure the harsh realities of life in the colonies, and attractive - These women adapted well to their new lives - 90% of them became permanent settlers – 10% went back home - The fille du roi came from a variety of Socioeconomic backgrounds, but most of them were from poor families who could not arrange marriages for them September 24, 2013 - Many came from a hospital – orphans or abandoned - They were uneducated and the majority were between the ages of 12-25 - Most came from larger urban centres like Paris and were used to city life, busy with amenities - For many it was a difficult transition as it was different from what they expected and didn’t know anyone - 40% of them arrived within the first 2 months of arrival in New France and got married quickly - They married husbands who had already built their homes and married into money - They could be picky in their spouse choices because of the poor gender ratio - Some of the men had financial advantages - Before leaving France the filles du roi were offered dowries if they married upon arrival - These dowries (money) helped them establish their life - Poorer women received smaller dowries - They were also given goods such as sewing needles, clothes, pots, household goods - About 1/3 of the filles du roi never received the dowries promised to them Life in New France - It was expected that you would marry whether single or a widow - The marrying age in New France was much lower such as 12 and 13 years old – as soon as they hit puberty during the earlier time of settlement when women were so scarce - In rural areas in 1700 the average marrying age was 22 for women and 27 for men – 3 years younger than women in New France (19) - The colonial government was pushing early marriages and offered dowries to women married by the age of 20 and men of 25 - In the eyes of the government, early marriage meant more children and an increase in population, richer colony, expanded colony, more available labour force - During the 17 C / 18 C the average woman gave birth to 8-9 children, dropping to 7 in 1900 - Aboriginal women were giving birth to half the number of children women in France were September 24, 2013 - Higher infant mortality - Families in New France were actually healthier and lived longer with larger families – more plentiful food, they weren’t cramped into a city with lots of disease, and the climate was healthier to live in - In New France, child birth and children were highly valued - At birth, a large group of women were gathered to help the woman - Baptism of the child was an important social event - Women’s work in New France revolved around the production of food, cooking, butchering meat, veggie gardens, keeping small livestock - At times women worked alongside men i.e. on the farms, in the fields during busier times such as planting and harvesting time (spring and fall) - Some women worked alongside their merchant husbands - The women with education did accounting work for their husbands - Publicly women were active in the textile industry - Some women owned taverns which was an important social place in any settlement - Women were also midwives and attended births - Women of lower SES domestic service was popular and were sent to work for wealthier families - New France was dominated by a social hierarchy where men were first and foremost - Men were the head of the household - Property brought into the marriage belonged to the husbands - Males were jailed if they didn’t care for their families - Widows had limited legal rights – i.e. she was entitled to half the income - Political and legally women of New France didn’t have a lot of rights, but the church was one place that they could i.e. nuns, educating children - Women were faced with constant threat of war between Iroquois and Huron who were living around the French settlements especially during the 1690s - The Iroquois were mounting attacks against the colonists by burning their homes, capturing their women and children and killing some of them Madeleine de Vercheres September 24, 2013 - Most famous woman from this time period - Born in 1678, her father was a seigneur – large land owner - Her family lived on Fort Vercheres which was her father’s seigneury - In Oct 1692 both of her parents were away from the Fort, and she stayed behind with her younger siblings – she was 14 years old - The Fort was not very protected - On this day a bunch of Iroquois were at war with the French - The Iroquois came up onto the Fort and seized a bunch of the workers - She was nearby and seized by the Iroquois but claims that she was able to get away and back to the Fort - She claims that she made a call to arms and told everyone what was happening and to get their guns - She claims she took shots from the Fort - A cannon shot was let off and spooked the Iroquois and let a signal to nearby Forts that an attack was happening - A group of men from another Fort came to help but the Iroquois had already left - Whether this story is true or not
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