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Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada




September 1971
(Revised 1978)

(Fortress of Louisbourg
Report Number H D 17 R)


[PAGE 78:]


Lot C of Block 2 was conceded to Pierre Benoist in 1720. On 20 June deMesy ordered deCouagne to survey a property with a frontage (presumably on the Rue Toulouse) of 36 pieds and a depth (presumably into the block) of 44 pieds, between Seigneur (Lot B) and an unconceded property (Lot D). The property surveyed by deCouagne and conceded to Benoist on 23 June was, in fact, 36 pieds by 42 pieds. The superior council registered the concession on 26 June 1720 [NOTE 1].

It is possible that the property was re-conceded in 1721. The 1734 etat and 1735 arret gave the date of concession as 25 September 1721 and 15 October 1721, respectively [NOTE 2. Lot C's west boundary possibly was increased in 1721. In 1733, Antoine Sabatier, the owner of Lot D, stated that although he had been conceded 60 pieds on the Rue Toulouse in 1721, he had only received 56 pieds, the other 4 pieds having been conceded to Benoist in Lot C [NOTE 3].

Outlines of a building bordering on the Rue Toulouse first appear in Lot C on Plan 1722-1. In 1723 Benoist was described as the owner of the property, and probably was occupying the structure seen on Plan 1723-2 [NOTE 4]. Four other officers were lodging with Benoist in 1724: 240 livres rent was to be paid to him for his house [NOTE 5].

Benoist apparently engaged in illicit gambling. In 1728 a game of Pharaon "chez Benoist" was stopped by St. Ovide [NOTE 6].

Benoist seems to have led a very comfortable life in his Rue Toulouse home. When his wife, Anne Levron, died in January of 1733 an inventory was made in December of the communauté held with Benoist. Luxuries included 401 livres worth of silver (12 place settings, a lady's belt buckle, and a serving dish), 60 faience plates, two beds with mattresses and bedding [PAGE 79:] worth 295 livres and 100 livres respectively, and an 18-year old Negro slave named Charles, valued at 512 livres. The clothing of Anne Levron and her daughter was estimated at 883 livres 10 sols and included such things as 38 chemises a femme, a robe de chambre of damasked satin worth 120, livres, and 14 bonnets. The Lot C residence and property, which Benoist was occupying, were evaluated at 4,000 livres while a property in Block 22 was evaluated at 1,500 livres. The communauté amounted to 10,383 livres 12 sols 9 deniers [NOTE 7]

In 1733 the Lot C house consisted of two large rooms with three cabinets in each. One room was the kitchen while the other was the main living and sleeping area [NOTE 8].

The chambre was furnished with an armchair of calemande (estimated at 30 livres), a folding table with a rug (13 livres), a birch joined table with a drawer (12 livres), a small pine table with a drawer and tablecloth (8 livres), two small toilet mirrors (12 livres), 14 straw chairs (28 livres), and a small "turned" table (6 livres). A pine buffet which locked with a key, and a walnut armoire with two doors which locked with a key, estimated at 10 livres and 60 livres respectively, probably held the faience dishes and the linen and women's clothing inventoried here. Three beds were inventoried - a lit quarée with bed hangings of green serge, a straw mattress, a feather mattress, another mattress (matelat), a feather bolster, two woolen blankets, a quilt and a pillow, estimated together at 295 livres; a lit a tombeau with bed hangings, straw mattress, feather mattress, bolster, pillow, three woolen blankets, and another mattress, all estimated at 100 livres; and a pine couchette with a small chest estimated at 10 livres. No indication is given of the distribution of the furniture in the main room and the three cabinets [NOTE 9].

It is probable that the Benoist family slept in the cabinets of the chambre, either one person in each of the three or M. and Mde. Benoist in the lit quarrée, their daughter Marianne in the lit a tombeau and possibly a servant in the couchette. Another daughter, Anne, who died between the time of her mother's death and the inventory, possibly had shared a bed with Marianne. The slave possibly slept in a cabinet in the kitchen [NOTE 10].

[PAGE 80:]

The details of the kitchen and its cabinets are puzzling. There was no furniture in the kitchen; only pewter dishes and cooking dishes are inventoried. One cabinet is said to hold two folding tables and a birch couchette (estimated together at 22 livres), 11 quarts of flour from Canada (estimated at 218 livres 12 sols 9 deniers), two barrels of Bordeaux wine (130 livres), ten bushels of maize (20 livres), and a bottle holder with 12 flasks of olive oil (25 livres). The other cabinets are not mentioned [NOTE 11].

When the inventory was taken in December of 1733, Marianne (confused in the inventory with Anne who died in January) was eight and one-half years old. Pierre Benoist was elected guardian and Jean Seigneur, their neighbour in Lot B, the under-guardian (subrogé tuteur). Marianne was an heir to the estate and, being the only surviving child, probably was to share equally with her father and receive half of the 10,383 livres 12 sols 9 deniers when she came of age [NOTE 12].

The area of Lot C had increased by the time of the 1733 inventory. The property measured 45 pieds along the Rue Toulouse and 96 pieds into the block in 1733 and 1734. This was substantially larger than the 36 pieds by 42 pieds conceded in 1720 [NOTE 13].

It seems that Benoist and his family were in Port Toulouse from at least 1742 to 1745. In January of 1734, after the communauté with his first wife had been established, he married Anne Jaçau, the daughter of Thomas Jaçau, the master cannonier. [NOTE 14]. In 1740, Benoist, then a lieutenant, was still residing in Lot C [NOTE 15]. By 1742, however, he was the commandant at Port Toulouse [NOTE 16]. It seems that his family was with him for, when the English attacked in 1745, he lost the "greatest part of his moveable possessions" [NOTE 17]. The last reference to Pierre Benoist or Anne Jaçau in the Louisbourg parish records was in April of 1741. It is possible that two of their five children were born in Port Toulouse, since the baptisms of only three were registered in Louisbourg. (See Appendix I). If Benoist's family accompanied him to Port Toulouse, there is no indication who occupied his Lot C house in Louisbourg.

Benoist's finances continued to decline following his personal losses at Port Toulouse in 1745. During the New England occupation of Louisbourg [PAGE 81:] (1745-49) he was transferred to Rochefort where his family incurred large expenses, partially through illness [NOTE 18]. When he returned to Louisbourg in 1749, Benoist found his Lot C house in a dilapidated state. Charles Des Herbieres De La Ralière and Jacques Prevost de La Croix reported that it was "inhabitable et presque abatue" while Marianne Benoist described it to be "toute delabré et presque hors d etat a etre occupée" [NOTE 19].


Benoist's first house stood from about 1722 to 1752 and thus is the house to be reconstructed. The 1733 inventory supplies a good description of the building:

"La maison ... batie en piquet planchée haut et bas couverte en planche et Bardeaux renduitte en chaux et a sable dedans et dehors nayant quele Simple Ret de chaussée contenant quarante cinq pieds de face Sur Laditte Rue Toulouze et vingt deux pieds de Largeur ..." [NOTE 20].

Thus it was a picket building which seems to have been plastered with lime and sand on the exterior and the interior. It is probable that there was an attic above ground floor, as there were wooden floors on two levels (planchée haut et bas). The inventory description of a roof of shingles and boards is substantiated by Plan 1725-9a which shows a shingled pitch roof. All plans agree that the house had a pitch roof with east and west slopes. (See Plans 1725-9a, 1730-2, 1734-4, N.D. 24, N.D. 89, and N.D. 105).

In 1733 the building measured 45 pieds on the Rue Toulouse and 22 pieds into the block. Since the Rue Toulouse boundary seems to have been either 36 or 40 pieds when the house was built, an extension may have been added later. It seems more probable, however, that Benoist simply overextended his original boundaries when he was constructing his house.

Since the plans do not show a gap between the Lot C house and the house in Lots B and D, it is unlikely that there were windows in the north and south walls of the Lot C house. Dormer windows may not have been necessary, as only the ground floor was occupied in 1733.

As mentioned above, the house was divided into two main rooms, a chambre and a kitchen, which were then subdivided by board partitions to make three cabinets in each room. The inventory described the floor plan in 1733 as:

[PAGE 82:]

Lad maison Divisée en une Grande chambre ayant veu Sur lad Rue et Sur La cour qui y est contingûe dans laquelle chambre Sont trois cabinets en cloisons de planche, une alcove, et une cheminée Double avec La cuisine de plein pied dans laquelle Sont trois autres cabinets aussy a cloison de planche ... [NOTE 21].

The cabinets of the chambre, which may have been bedrooms, probably were built against the east or west walls for access to windows. It is probable that these cabinets were on the east wall; the general description states that the chambre and its cabinets faced both the yard and the Rue Toulouse, but the chambre without its cabinets is said to face the Rue Toulouse [NOTE 22]. Again, as in Lot B, the term alcove presents a problem and requires further study.

The main entrance would have been on the Rue Toulouse, since the house filled the west boundary and prevented direct access between the street and the rear yard. The Rue Toulouse door seems to have opened directly into the chambre. The door into the courtyard seems to have been on the kitchen side of the house, for the inventory moved from a kitchen cabinet into the yard [NOTE 23].

It is probable that there was one chimney, located approximately in the center of the building. The double fireplace seems to have been back-to-back with one fireplace in both the kitchen and the chambre. The inventory mentions one set of fireplace utensils in each room. The stove in the chambre probably also utilized the chimney and possibly was located in a cabinet in the northeast corner of the room [NOTE 24].


A garden was situated along the east boundary of Lot C. Between the cultivated area and the house was a courtyard. (See Plans 1725-9a, 1730-2, 1731-3-(l), 1734-4, N.D. 24 and N.D. 105). A picket fence enclosed and separated the courtyard and garden. (See Plans 1725-9a and 1731-3-(l)). An opening in the section of fence between the courtyard and garden appears on Plans 1731-3-(l) and N.D. 105. In 1733 the courtyard had an area of 40 square pieds and the garden, which was enclosed with pickets, measured 34 pieds by 45 pieds [NOTE 25].

[PAGE 83:]

A small picket magasin and three animal sheds (cabanots), all with a board roof(s), were situated in the courtyard "on the width of the property" in 1733. One shed, located on the north of the courtyard, contained two goats (estimated at 40 livres) and a sow (50 livres). Another shed adjoined the house and contained 30 hens and roosters, eight ducks and six turkeys, (valued together at 81 livres) [NOTE 26]. The four outbuildings mentioned in the inventory cannot be correlated with the plans. An addition on the north section of the east wall of the house, running into the block, is shown on Plans 1730-2, 1731-3-(l) and N.D. 24, and possibly was an outbuilding complex, located under one roof.

A small, narrow, rectangular feature appears in the southeast corner of the courtyard on Plans 1731-3-(l), 1734-4 and N.D. 105. It does not seem to have been a building and possibly was a watering pool for the livestock.

Ten cords of firewood with an estimated value of 150 livres were found in Benoist's courtyard in December of 1733 [NOTE 27].

Benoist had agricultural resources outside of Block 2. In 1733 he had a garden 90 pieds square on his Block 22 property on the corner of the Rue d'Orleans and the Rue d'Estres. In addition, he and M. Duvivier held equal shares of an ox (beuf) and a heifer which were worth 120 livres [NOTE 28].


Benoist returned from Rochefort in 1749. His household consisted of the daughter by his first marriage (Marianne), the five children by his second marriage (Henry, Genevieve, Emilie, Anne and Jeanne), one servante and one domestique. His second wife is not mentioned and in 1752 is referred to as the "late" Anne Jaçau [NOTE 29].

It seems that, on their return to Louisbourg, Benoist and his family moved into the north wing of the king's Bastion Barracks. In 1749 his Block 2 house was very dilapidated and his Block 22 property remained vacant [NOTE 30]. In September of 1753 Benoist and his family were residing in two upper-storey chambres: two lower-storey chambres and a cabinet of the barrack's north wing [NOTE 31].

[PAGE 84:]

Benoist borrowed money from friends and, in 1752, began constructing a two storey charpente house and magasin [NOTE 32]. In June of 1753, the new buildings on the Rue Toulouse were rented to Jacques Brunet for three years at an annual rent of 2,000 livres [NOTE 33].

In 1752, Marianne Benoist, the only surviving child by Benoist's first marriage, legally renounced all claim to her share of her mother's communauté. In return, Marianne, who would have been 27 years old and apparently a potential spinster, expected to continue to be "nourrie et entretenue" in her father's household for the rest of his life. At his death, she would share equally with the five children by his second marriage. In addition, it was agreed that Benoist would pay 1,500 livres to her in five annual 300 livres installments, commencing 1 October 1753. The money was to come from the rent of the new house and magasin [NOTE 34].

When Jacques Brunet's lease expired in June of 1756, he moved to another Block 2 property, Lot K. Benoist was still the owner of Lot C in that year and possibly occupied the building himself from 1756 to 1758 [NOTE 35]. No further rental agreements have been located for the property.

After the fortress fell to the English in 1758, Benoist went to France with a servant, Margueritte Laiguille, and four of his daughters, Marianne, Emilie, Anne and Jeanne, Genevieve having married Jean Baptiste Duplex Silvain in 1753 [NOTE 36]. There he was made a "chevalier de Saint Louis" on 8 February 1760 [NOTE 37]. His finances apparently continued to decline for his four (apparently unmarried daughters claimed that when he died in 1763 they were left without even enough money to pay for his burial [NOTE 38]. The family had settled in Charente. By December of 1792 they had been there for over 30 years; Emilie Jeanne and Jeanne Gervaise were still living there, Anne was in a convent at (Niout?) and Marianne was dead [NOTE 39].

It seems that the second Lot C house and magasin did not endure very well. Built only in 1752, they were being used as stables or a storehouse in 1767. In 1768 they were reported to be in "Bad" repair, which meant "for the most part the Floors partitions and windows taken away for Fuel" [NOTE 40]. (See Plans 1767-1 and 1768-1).

[PAGE 85]


The second Benoist house was a two-storey charpente structure [NOTE 41]. It was built along the Rue Toulouse boundary on the site of the first house. (See Plans 1767-1, 1768-1 and N.D. 27).

The magasin had two storeys and was probably also of charpente construction [NOTE 42]. It abutted against the south section of the east wall and extended into the block almost to the east boundary of Lot C. (See Plans 1767-1, 1768-1 and N.D. 27).

I. [PAGE 204:]

[NOTE 1:] A.F.O., G1, Vol. 466, pièce 83, f. 4 Concessions, 1720-1723.
[NOTE 2:] A.C., CIIB, Vol. 5, f. 26, Etat des terrains concédé dans la ville delouisbourg sous lebon plaisir du Roy par messieurs les gouverneur Et commissaire ordonnateur delisle Royalle jusqu'au 15e.8bre.1734 et autres dont Sa Majesté a disposé par Son memoire du 31.may.1723, 24 octobre 1734; A.C. B, Vol. 63, f. 567v., Arret du C.cil qui confirme les concessions faites dans la Ville de Louisbourg jusqu'au 15.8bre.1734, 5 avril 1735.
[NOTE 3:] A.F.O., G3, Carton 2038 suite (No. 58), np. 4, [untitled] Contract de vente: Antoine Sabatier à Andres Carrerot, 23 décembre 1733.
[NOTE 4:] A.C., C11A, Vol. 126, pièce 111, p. 239, Estat des Emplacements concédés a Louisbourg dans l'Enceinte de la Place relatif au plan de 1723, 1723.
[NOTE 5:] A.C., C11B, Vol. 7, f. 257v., Bordereau des Depenses faittes Sur le fond de 15000" accordé pour les extraordinaires a faire a L'isle Royalle pendant Lannée 1724, 24 novembre 1725.
[NOTE 6:] Ibid, Vol. 14, f. 18v., St. Ovide à "Maurepas, 15 mars 1733.
[NOTE 7:] A.F.0., G1, Vol. 406, Registre IV: Louisbourg 1728-1738, f. 41v, Parish Records, 5 janvier 1733. A.F.O. G2, Vol 182 suite, pp. 986-1009, "Inventaire aprés le déces de dame anne Levron a la Requete du S. Pierre Benoit Enseigne des Compagnies de La Marine Son mari fait par le Commissaire ordonnateur a Lisle Royale 1733," 19-22 décembre 1733.
[NOTE 8:] A.F.O., Gl, Vol. 406, Registre IV: Louisbourg 1728-1738, f. 41v., Parish Records, 5 janvier 1733; A.F.O., G2, Vol. 182 suite, pp. 9861009, "Inventaire aprés le déces de dame anne Levron....", 19-22 décembre 1733.
[NOTE 9:] A.F.O., G2, Vol. 182 suite, pp. 989-998, "Inventaire aprés le déces de dame anne Levron ...," 19-22 décembre 1733.
[NOTE 10:] Ibid; A.F.O., Gl, Vol. 406, Registre IV: Louisbourg 1728-1738, f. 42v., Parish Records, 19 janvier 1733.
[NOTE 11:] A.F.O., G2, Vol. 182 suite, pp. 998-1001, "Inventaire aprés le déces de dame anne Levron ...," 19-22 décembre 1733.
[NOTE 12:] Ibid, pp. 987-988; A.F.O., G3, Carton 2047 suite (No. 58), npp. 1-9, [untitled] Transaction faite entre Marianne Benoise et Pierre Benoist, concernant la succession d'Anne Levron, 9 août 1752.

[PAGE 205:]

[NOTE 13:] A.F.O., G1, Vol. 466, pièce 83, f.4, Concessions, 1720-1723; A.F.O., G2, Vol. 182 suite, p. 1007, "Inventaire aprés le déces de dame anne Levron ...," 19-22 décembre 1733; A.C., C11B, Vol. 5, f. 26, Etat des terrains concédé dans ville delouisbour ..., 24 octobre 1734; A.C. B, Vol. 63, f. 567v., Arret du C.cil qui confirme les concessions faites dans la Ville de Louisbourg ..., 5 avril 1735
[NOTE 14:] A.F.O., Gl, Vol. 406, Registre IV: Louisbourg 1728-1738, f. 49v., Parish Records, 10 janvier 1734.
[NOTE 15:] A.F.O., G2, Vol. 197, No. 129, pièce 38, [untitled] Papiers touchant la succession du (Jean Baptiste) de Couagne, 19 octobre 1740.
[NOTE 16:] A.C., C11C, Vol. 12, f. 101v., Bordereau de la Recette et Dépense faite a L'Isle Royalle pendant L'année Mil Sept cents Quarente deux, 25 octobre 1743.
[NOTE 17:] A.F.O., G3, Carton 2047 suite (No. 58), np. 3, [untitled] Transaction faite entre Marianne Benoist et Pierre Benoist, concernant la succession d'Anne Levron, 9 août 1752.
[NOTE 18:] Ibid, npp. 3-4.
[NOTE 19:] Ibid, np. 4; A.C., C11B, Vol. 28, f. 48v., Desherbiers et Prevost, 21 octobre 1749.
[NOTE 20:] A.F.O., G2, Vol. 182 suite, pp. 1006-07, "Inventaire aprés le déces de dame anne Levron ..., " 19-22 décembre 1733.
[NOTE 21:] Ibid.
[NOTE 22:] Ibid, pp. 998, 1007.
[NOTE 23:] Ibid, pp. 998, 1000-01.
[NOTE 24:] Ibid, pp. 996-97, 999.
[NOTE 25:] Ibid, p. 1007.
[NOTE 26:] Ibid, pp. 1001-02, 1007.
[NOTE 27:] Ibid, p. 1001.
[NOTE 28:] Ibid, p. 1008.
[NOTE 29:] A.F.O., Gl, Vol. 466, pièce 76, np. 13, Denombrement General des familles, D officiers et habitans Existans dans la colonie De l'Isle Royale La Présente année de v11C quarante neuf, 1749; ibid, G3, Carton 2047 suite, (No. 58), np. 1, [untitled] Transaction faite entre Marianne Benoist ..., 9 août 1752.

[PAGE 206:]

[NOTE 30:] A.F.O., G3, Carton 2047 suite (No. 58), np. 4, [untitled] Transaction faite entre Marianne Benoist ..., 9 août 1752.
[NOTE 31:] A.C., C11B, Vol. 33, ff. 222v., 226v.-27, Etat General des Pavillons, Cazernes, Corps de garde ..., 9 octobre 1753.
[NOTE 32:] A.F.O., G3, Carton 2047 suite (No. 58), npp. 4-5, [untitled] Transaction faite entre Marianne Benoist ..., 9 août 1752.
[NOTE 33:] Ibid, Carton 2041 suite (No. 39), npp. 1-3, Bail a ferme de Benoist a Jaqs Brunet, 1 juin 1753.
[NOTE 34:] A.F.0., G3, Carton 2047 suite (No. 58), npp. 1-9, [untitled] Transaction faite entre Marianne Benoist ..., 9 août 1752.
[NOTE 35:] Ibid, Carton 2045 (No. 67), npp. 1-2, [untitled] Bail à loyer: Jean Claparede à Jacques Brunet, 1 juin 1756.
[NOTE 36:] A.F.O., Gl, Vol. 408, Registre II, f. 53, Parish Records, 27 février 1753; A.C., C11B, Vol. 38, f. 266, Liste Generalle des familles ..., de la colonie de l'Isle Royale debarqué a la Rochelle ..., 28 avril 1759.
[NOTE 37:] Aegidius Fauteux, Les Chevaliers De Saint-Louis en Canada, p. 177, Montreal: Les Editions Des Dix, 1940.
[NOTE 38:] A.N., C7, No. 25, pièce 4, 6 septembre 1763.
[NOTE 39:] A.N., F15 3494, No. 5, Extrait de la loi relative aux Secours accorde aux officiers, tant Civils que militaires acadiens et a leurs familles Su 25 fevrier 1791, 14 décembre 1792.
[NOTE 40:] C.O. 217, Vol. 25, ff. 141-41v., The State of the Town of Louisbourg, on the 10th of August 1768, 26 September 1768.
[NOTE 41:] A.F.O., G3, Carton 2047 suite (No. 58), np. 4, [untitled] Transaction faite entre Marianne Benoist ..., 9 août 1752; ibid, Carton 2041 suite (No. 39), np. 1, Bail a ferme de Benoist a Jaqs 1,Brunet, 1 juin 1753.
[NOTE 42:] A.F.O., G3, Carton 2047 suite (No. 58), npp. 4-5, [untitled] Transaction faite entre Marianne Benoist ..., 9 août 1752; ibid, Carton 2041 suite (No. 39), np. 1, Bail a ferme de Benoist a Jaq Brunet, 1 juin 1753.

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