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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




AUGUST 27, 1976

(Fortress of Louisbourg
Report H D 27)


1717-1726 Joannis Dastart

There is no record of the concession of the property. In November of 1717 two drafts of a list of concessions granted by Costebelle and Soubras were drawn up to be sent to France. In one list a property in the Fauxbourg was conceded to Dastarit (referred to as Joannis) while in the second the property was described as unconceded. The 1718 confirmations which conveyed the King's approval of the 1717 concessions followed the second list; Dastarit's property was mentioned only indirectly as an unconceded property ordering Parisien's property. A marginal note added to the1717 draft of Dastarit's concession, stated that the property was not to be conceded. [NOTE 1] Dastarit's property does not appear in subsequent concessions granted by the governor and commissaire ordonnateur.

The fact that Dastarit did not have a concession does not mean that he was not living on the Fauxbourg property; there are many cases of people in Louisbourg building on unconceded land. It is interesting that the1717 list which considers this property as still unconceded describes it as "celuy de Joannis [Dastarit] ".

Possibly one of the houses shown in the Fauxbourg on plan 717-2 belonged to Dastarit. (See plan 717-2). The house which is indicated has approximately the same scaled dimensions, and alignments as the Dastarit house on plans 733-2 and 740-1. It is difficult to determine the location of the property on the 1717 plan, however, because of a lack of common reference points with later plans.

Joannis Dastarit's career as a habitant fisherman appears to have been unsuccessful. His crew was relatively small; the censuses show that he had four men in 1716 and 1717 and 2 engages in 1724.  [NOTE 2] He did not own any chaloupes at the time of the 1724 census, and apparently did not have any in 1718 when a list was made of chaloupes and owners fishing in Ile Royalle.  [NOTE 3] By 1721 he was bankrupt.

On 26 March 1721 Dastarit and Guillaume Delort, a Iouisbourg merchant, appeared before the Superior Council where Delort demanded payment for fishing supplies, including 32 bariques of salt, supplied to Dastarit in October of 1719. Dastarit was ordered to return what was left off the salt and to reimburse Delort in cod from the previous autumn's catch for what had been used, one quintal of cod equalling one barique of salt. Several hundred livres were also owed and Dastarit's property,flakes, beach and fishing buildings (vignaux) were mortgaged to Delort until the income from them had paid the debt in full.  [NOTE 4]

The case was re-examined by the council on 20 September 1721, however, when two other creditors appeared with Guillaume Delort against Dastarit. Dominique, from Lorembec and Louise, a ship's captain, had been absent at the time of Delort's claim. The March decision was nullified and the income of the Fauxbourg property for the summers of 1721, 1722, and 1723 was mortgaged to the three creditors. Dastarit was allowed the income from the autumn season for his subsistence.  [NOTE 5] His indebtedness was further increased by the expenses of both court cases.

Apparently Dastarit became discouraged with the fishing industry. Described as a habitant pecheur in 1724, he had become a habitant cabaretier, a tavern keeper, by the census of 1726. His household consisted of his wife and three servants in 1726.   [NOTE 6]

On 17 December 1726 Joannis Dastarit was buried in the parish cemetery.  [NOTE 7]

1726-1738 Jeanne Galbarrette verve Dastarit

It is probable that a niece, Marie Galbarette, lived with Jeanne Galbarette from about 1727 to 1730. Marie was the daughter of Jeanne's late brother, Joannis, from D'andaye. Her name first appears in the Louisbourg parish records in May of 1728 when she was godmother to a son of Antoine Paris, a Fauxbourg neighbour.  [NOTE 8] Jeanne Galbarette named her as heir in a will made in June of 1727  [NOTE 9] and granted her permission to marry a merchant, George Rosse in 1730. The marriage contract was signed "dans la maison de la demlle Veuve Dastarits".  [NOTE 10] There is no record of Marie's parents having lived in Louisbourg and it seems a safe assumption that prior to her marriage she lived with her aunt.

Jeanne Gilbert acquired two other properties in 1728. On 22July 1728 Julian Bienvenu sold her a property in the Barachois, 70 pieds along the coast by 90  pieds, bounded to the south by the sea, to the north by unconceded land, to the east by Le Breton and to the west by Jean Jeannot. The property included a picket house, 27  pieds by 14-15  pieds and cost 120 livres. [NOTE 11] She still owned the land in 1729 and probably was renting it to Antoine Duval, a fisherman. [NOTE 12] She had sold it by 1735; her accounts in 1735 include a debt of 600 livres owed by Jean Morin, the remainder of his payment for a property in the Barachois. [NOTE 13]

Lot E in Block 31 was conceded to Jeanne Gilbert in May of 1728. Michel de Gannes purchased this property from her by October of 1734 and resold it to Bernard Muiron in 1742. [NOTE 14] There is no evidence to suggest that Jeanne Gilbert ever occupied either of these two properties.

Jeanne Gilbert seems to have continued Dastarit's business operations. In 1734 she was enumerated in the census as an inn keeper (aubergiste) with two servants. [NOTE 15] It was not an officially recognized inn,for her name is not mentioned in the official list of aubergistes and cabaretiers in May of 1734. [NOTE 16] It appears that she was patronized primarily by a Basque clientele; an examination of her account book in 1735 revealed names which seem to be of Basque origin. The debts were usually for small amounts, with 2/3 under ten livres. All but two of 287 debtors listed were men. It also appears that the clientele were non-resident and probably were connected with the fishing industry. Few appear in the parish records. Their professions, when supplied, were marine - 11 maitres de grave and 11 ships' captains. Their debts totalled 3954 livres 9 deniers. [NOTE 17]

It is not known if Gilbert continued Dastarit's fishing operation. In 1735 there was a Cuisine or Cabane aux Gens on the property. The building contained 7 pine tables, 8 benches, 2 tablecloths, an iron bar with a pot-hanger, two andirons and 6 quintals of dried cod. The attic held 8 quintals of bread and 5 bariques, a pine table, 3 benches and two quintals of cod. [NOTE 18] If fishermen had been occupying the building when this inventory was made, their goods would not have been included, as they would have been private possessions and not part of the communauté being inventoried.

Laurent Dibarrat

Jeanne Gilbert entered a brief marriage in 1735. Her second husband was Laurent Dibarrat, a Basque merchant, who was a native of Eustoris and former resident of St. Jean Deluz. Dibarrat had a son Jean in France by a previous marriage to Gratienne de Lareguy. Neither Galbarrette nor Dibarrat was able to sign their marriage contact which was formalized in Galbarrette's home in the Fauxbourg on 19 February1735. [NOTE 19]

Before the marriage, estimates were made of their respective wealth. Dibarrat was said to have goods in Louisbourg worth 1000 livres.

An inventory of Galbarrett's assets and debts revealed that she was worth 9800 livres 6 sols 8 deniers. Her movable goods (meubles) totalled 2869 1 2 s and her Fauxbourg property, her only immeuble at this time, was evaluated at 5000 livres. Debts of 6005 l 8 s 11 d were owed to her while she owed 4175 1 4 s 3 d. Her fortune had increased substantially since Dastarit's death. [NOTE 20]

Almost nothing is known about the marriage. The marriage contract indicates that they were going to live in the Fauxbourg. She was to retain title to the property, however, and if she predeceased him he was to be reimbursed for any improvements made to buildings on the property during the marriage. There is no record of either the marriage or his death in the parish records. On 8 September 1736 a Laurent Dibanes, aged about 67, was buried in the parish cemetery. [NOTE 21] This possibly was Laurent Dibarrat as the spelling is so close and the age seems right; Jean Galbarrette was 66 in 1735. At any rate, Jeanne Galbarrette was a widow again by January of 1738 when she married George Desroches.

George Desroches

George Desroches was 28 when he married Jeanne Galbarrette,by then a twice-widowed woman of 69, in January of 1738. He was a native of Carrole, Avranche, the son of François Desroches Grandmaison and Louise Daniel. If he anticipated a short marriage, he was mistaken,for Jeanne Galbarrette lived to be 85. [NOTE 22]

During the 1740's Galbarrette and Desroches made wills. Dictating from a sickbed in her Fauxbourg home on 7 September 1742, Galbarrette left everything to her husband with the exception of a perpetual annual income of 100 livres from her property which was to be paid to the Recollets for a lower Requiem mass each Thursday between four and five o'clock in the afternoon. After Desroches's death the estate was to pass to her nephew, Martin Gilbert. [NOTE 23] Desroches's will was made during an illness in March of 1743 and bequeathed everything in the colony to Galbarret, to be given at her death, to his brother, Jean Desroches. [NOTE 24]

In December of 1742 Galbarret's stepson, Jean Dibarrat, a negociant of St. Jean de Luz, came to Louisbourg to settle the marriage community which had existed between Gilbert and Laurent Dibarrat. It was agreed that Jean Dibarrat would receive the 1000 livres which his father had brought into the community and cede his community rights to Galbarret and Desroches. [NOTE 25]

Desroches probably used the Fauxbourg property as the base of a fishing operation. In 1743 he purchased a ship of 40 tonneaux, Le St. Pierre, for 600 livres. [NOTE 26] He owned chaloupes which were rented for 1695 livres to assist in the attack on Canso in the summer of 1744. [NOTE 27] In 1749 he was described as a habitant pecheur. [NOTE 28]

In 1743 Desroches had a forge with at least one apprentice blacksmith. When Valerin Louis dit le Bourguignon, an apprentice stonecutter, was prosecuted for theft, he testified that he had traded a door lock for a chest lock with an apprentice at George Desroches' forge outside the Dauphin gate. [NOTE 29] The forge probably was built between 1735 and 1743, for it was not mentioned in the inventory of the property in 1735.

It seems that Desroches was planning to build a new house; in 1744 he purchased the frame and "all that composes a house" from Martin Benoist for 200 livres. Benoist's house stood on the glacis of the Dauphin Bastion and had to be moved. There is no indication what Desroches did with the building. In October of 1749, Benoist's widow, Jeanne Perry, claimed, unsuccessfully, that Desroches still owed her 100 livres for the house. [NOTE 30]

The buildings on the Desroches-Gilbert property would have been among those destroyed by the French in the Fauxbourg area by the French before the first siege. The Fauxbourg ruins appear on the view of the town under attack in 1745.

After the capture of the fortress, Desroches and Gilbert were among the few French inhabitants who remained in Louisbourg. [NOTE 31] During the New England occupation they shared accommodation with Jean Baptiste Guion and family. It seems that the Guions lived with the Desroches and then the Desroches moved in with the Guions in a house belonging to the English, presumably the new Guion house on the Quay front in Block 2. In 1750 Guion attempted to collect 100 livres from Desroches for rent and nursing care during this period. [NOTE 31]

Desroches was one of the few to re-establish in the Fauxbourg area after the fortress was returned to the French. In October of 1749 he was living on Rue de Scatary. [NOTE 33] He was back in the Fauxbourg by March of 1751 when his house was mentioned in the trial of a soldier, Jean Baptiste Chaufour dit Saint Sulpice, for theft. [NOTE 34] In 1751 the property was also defined as a boundary when Nicolas Larcher purchased the Paris property where he subsequently erected "a large house, immense magasins, and a very strong wharf". [NOTE 35] Desroches' house appears on several 1751 plans.

The Desroches property was a busy fishing center during the second French occupation period. Desroches rented part of his beach and also seems to have continued his own fishing operations.

The names of three men who probably were part of Desroches's crew are supplied by Superior Council cases. Joannis de Calenina, a fisherman aged 33, was living "chez Lenommé Desroches" in December of 1752. [NOTE 36]  A chaloupe captain, Bertrand Bouillé, aged 44, was resident there in May of 1756. [NOTE 37] Someone named LeBourquy seems to have been employed by Desroches in 1755. LeBourquy was lodging with Jacques Jean dit Laprairie in the Barachois at Desroches's expense; Desroches paid in kind, one quintal of bread for 21 livres, one quart of peas for 24 livres and, by order of the Superior Council, 13 1 19 s 6 d in cash. [NOTE 38]

Beach space on the Desroches property was rented in the spring of 1756. Michel Vallée rented "la Grave ou partie de la Grave" necessary for the cod fished by two chaloupes. After Vallée's death, his children's guardian arranged to continue the enterprise for the rest of the season. [NOTE 39]

François Bahaud, a negociant who lived on Rue D 'Orleans, apparently was also renting Desroches's grave in the spring of 1756. Bahaut seems to have been working independently of the Millie heirs, for there is no reference to them in the court case on a charge by Bahaud of "crimed'exces comis sur Sa personne" which resulted from the disputed ownership of 20 quintals of cod.

Bahaud's charge was against Thomas Gillot de La Grandmaison, the captain of a St. Malo ship, "Le St. Esprit", which was moored in the harbour. Gilot had examined cod in Bahaud's storehouse and was under the impression that he had purchased the fish for 17 livres per quintal, on the condition that it receive more drying. In May Gilot came to Desroches's beach where the fish had been brought to dry, told Bahaud that even further drying was required and was informed that there was no formal purchase agreement. At this point, Gilot started to leave, then returned and struck Bahaud. The incident occurred about four o'clock in the afternoon, when the cod was being collected and placed in a pile. Desroches was assisting him, as were other friends and neighbours and presumably his employees. It is interesting that Gillot says that he couldn't understand what Bahaud said to his men because he was speaking a language which he believed to be Basque. The verdict of the court is not known. [NOTE 40]

Anne Gilbert died on 18 December 1754, at the age of 85, and was buried in the Louisbourg parish cemetery. [NOTE 41] George Desroches, a widower at 44, continued to reside in the Fauxbourg until at least 1756. It is possible that he remained in Louisbourg after 1758, since he had stayed during the New England occupation (1745-49) and is not included in the list of Louisbourg inhabitants disembarking at LaRochelle in 1759. [NOTE 42]

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