Louis Tétreau, from Tessonnière to Trois-Rivières (by Josée Tétreault)
Origin of Louis Tétreau
On Wednesday, January 8th 1631, Louis Tetreau, the son of Mathurin Tetreau and Marie Bernard, was baptized in the parochial church of Tessonniere1. His godfather is Jacques Bernard and his godmother, Marie Marthin. Louis Tetreau is the young man of about 28 years who will cross the Atlantic Ocean to settle himself in New France in the greater region of Trois-Rivieres
What is revealed to us by the registers of Tessonniere?
The first appearance of Mathurin Tetreau in the registers of Tessonniere was in 1615, when he was the godfather of a son of Julien Gabillet and Martine Hubert. Besides the children of Mathurin, only three other persons with the name Tetreau are mentioned in the registers of this parish within this time frame: Germaine, spouse of Mathurin Serton; Perinne, spouse of a man named Jourdain; and Pierre. When looking carefully, the acts in which they are mentioned, it is likely that they are brothers and sisters of Mathurin. It is also possible that Louis Bernard, the godfather of our ancestor Louis, could be his maternal uncle.
The plague of 1631
According to the writings of the priest of Availles-Thouarsais, a commune about 6 km north of Tessonniere, it is lucky that our ancestor, Louis, survived his first year of life. Indeed, an epidemic scourge hit the area of Poitou, Anjou and Brittany. The contagion and plague were so strong and vehement in the parish of Availles and the circumjacent parishes in 1631 that people would starve. The famine was over the Poitou. Having harvested very little wheat in the fields, a third of the population had to resort to begging. The people were forced to leave their homes, furniture and rags to go in the provinces of Brittany, Limousin or other to beg for their food5.
Consulting the burials of the year 1631 reveals that the village of Tessonnière - like many communities of the Kingdom of France - was strongly affected by the plague. While only six deaths were recorded in 1630 and ten in 1632, 29 were recorded in 1631. These numbers indicate that about three times more deaths occurred because of the plague compared to the previous and the following years. The 29th death from this terrible year was that of “the daughter of Mathurin Tetreau.”
After 1631, we do not find any further reference of the family of Mathurin Tetreau in Tessonniere. Did Mathurin, Marie and their children leave the area searching a better future? Already, since a few years, the registers are mute on the subject of Germaine, Perrine and Pierre Tetreau. Briefly, after 1631, the name of Tetreau disappeared almost completely from the registers of Tessonniere
Text from the bulletin Les Tétreaul disent... spécial Edition 350e (december 2013).
1 From the civil registers of Tessonniere, department of Deux-Sèvres, France.
2 At his marriage in 1663, Louis said to be a native of Louin.
3 In the baptismal act of Mathurine in 1621, the parents are said to be living in the village of “La Guichardiere.”
4 La date du mariage des parents de Louis est incertaine à cause d'ajouts et de ratures dans la page du registre de la paroisse. Le mois pourrait être janvier ou juillet et l'année 1620 ou 1621. Puisque Mathurine, la soeur de Louis, est baptisée en mai 1621, nous présumons que ses parents se sont épousés l'année précédente.
5 Extracted from the baptismal, marriage, and death registers from Availles-Thouarsais 1631-1652.
6 Roland J. Tetreault, L’histoire de Louis Tetreau (1635-1699), 2005, p. 19.
7 Notary Louis Laurent, October 15th 1662.