Early History Page


Cathedral of Notre Dame
Chartres France
Chartres France in Red

Chartres, just southwest of Paris, France, is an ancient city, first populated by Celtic Druids. During Roman times, the city was known as Carnutum. It was burned by the Viking Normans in 858 A.D., and was passed to the French crown in 1286; it later became a grain-trading center.

History of Normand dit LaBrièr(e)-LaBruyère Family

The first ancestor we have found is FRANCOIS NORMAND He married JEANNE BOISSEL before 1597 in France. Children of FRANCOIS NORMAND and JEANNE BOISSEL are: PIERRE NORMAND, b. France; d. before 1665, Prob. France, JEAN NORMAND, d. April 23, 1666, Quebec; m. JACQUETTE VIVIER, September 12, 1650, Quebec, and GERVAIS LABRUYÈRE NORMAND, b. March 16, 1597, France; m. LEONARDE JOUAULT, Before March 17, 1637.

PIERRE NORMAND was born in France, and died before 1665 in Prob. France. He married MARIE GUILMAN before 1635 in France. She was born in France, and died in Prob. France.

PIERRE and MARIE GUILMAN had one child we know of who was PIERRE NORMAND de La BRIÈRE born about 1635, in Paroisse de St-Martin, Bellesme, Perche, Diocese de Chartres; and died December 13, 1707, Quebec, Canada.

Pierre immigrated to Canada some time before 1665. Colonization of Canada had begun in 1608, when French Explorer Samuel de Champlain founded the city of Quebec on the St. Lawrence River. The settlement of the colony was slow until 1634, when Cardinal Richelieu was Minister of King Louis XIII, organized a joint-stock company to grant large tracts of land to men who would find suitable colonists

The population then increased: Trois-Rivieres was founded nearby in 1634, and Montreal in 1642, both towns grew from the flourishing trade with the Huron Indians.

In 1663, New France became a royal colony rather than a private one, which resulted in the French government sending troops for defense and actively encouraging settlement and industry. Part of the reasoning for this decision was that the pro-British Iroquois Indians, rivals of the French allies, the Hurons, had become a serious threat to the colony; at one point, they had nearly demolished the white population of Quebec.

The Iroquois menace ended in 1665, when French troops decisively defeated them in battle, opening the way for new settlers to arrive and live in relative safety.

Although sporadic Indian attacks continued for the rest of the century, the French population grew quickly after 1665; by 1675, the number of white settlers in the Quebec area grew to 8,000, and by 1683 the number had ballooned to nearly 10,000.

In the following story you will see how our name changed through the years, and their descendants use variations of the name.

PIERRE NORMAND de La BRIÈRE married CATHERINE NORMAND September 07, 1665 in Quebec, Canada, daughter of JEAN-BAPTISTE NORMAND and CATHERINE PAGEAU. She was born May 17, 1644 in Paroisse de St-Hillaire, Ville Et Archeveche de Sens, Bourgogne, France (Ar. Sens, Yvonne), and died February 05, 1703 in Quebec, Canada. Catherine was "Fille du Roi"

Their wedding certificate shows that Pierre Normand de LaBrière's father was deceased, his mother Marie Guillemain was living. Parents of the bride, Baptiste Normand was deceased, and Catherine Pajot was living. The grooms Uncles, Jean Normand and Gervais Normand, brothers of Pierre Normand, witnessed marriage. Louis Ango, Pretre (Priest) performed the marriage .

Catherine Normand was one of some 770 women who arrived in the colony of New France (Canada) between 1663 and 1673 as a Fille du Roi, or King's daughters , under the financial sponsorship of King Louis XIV of France. Most were single women and many were orphans. The King paid for their transportation to Canada and settlement in the colony. Some were given a royal gift of a dowry of 50 Livres for their marriage to one of the many unmarried male colonists in Canada (Catherine Normand had a dowry of 500 pounds ). These gifts were reflected in some of the marriage contracts entered into by the Filles du Roi at the time of their first marriages. The Filles du Roi were part of King Louis XIV's program to promote settlement of his colony in Canada. Some 737 of these women married and the resultant population explosion gave rise to the success of the colony.

Most of the millions of people of French Canadian descent today, both in Quebec along with the rest of Canada and the USA (and beyond), are descendants of one or more of these courageous women of the 17th century.

Scenes from Old Quebec City Quebec - Canada


A census taken between 1608-1880 shows:

Pierre Normand de LaBrière, tailiander, age 46, Catherine Normand, sa femme, age 37; enfants: Etienette age 14, Charles age 13, Marguerite age 11, Philippe age 8, Jean age 6, Anne age 5, Louis age 1; 1 fusil, 1 vache. (Translation: Norman Pierre said LaBrière, Tailor, Catherine Normand his wife, children: Etienette age 14, Charles age 13, Marguerite age 11, Philippe age 8, Jean age 6, Anne age 5, Louis age, along with 1 rifle and 1 cow ). Pierre was listed as living in Quebec(ville) in 1666, and Quebec (Basse Ville) in 1681.

Catherine Normand died February 7, 1703, in Quebec at the age of 70. Pierre was listed as living, Jean Dubreuil and Jean Brassard were witness at burial, and Francois Dupre was the Pretre.

Pierre Normand La Brière died December 13, 1707 in Quebec at the age of 73. Pierre was listed as an immigrant on his death certificate. His name was listed as Pierre Norment La Brière

Louis Normand La Brière was born October 11, 1680 in Quebec, and was Baptized October 13, 1680. At his baptism were his parents Pierre Normand LaBrière and Catherine Normand, both residents of Basse Ville. Witnesses were Jean Baptiste Peuvret, Secretary to advise the king, clerk as a chief of the counsel soverain to this country, Godparents: Marie Pellerin and her spouse Romain Bequet, Notary, officiating was Pierre Paul Gaignon, Pretre (Priest). Louis Normand married Anne Bruneau in Quebec, his parents Pierre and Catherine Norman were in attendance. The parents of the bride, Vincent Bruneau and wife Marie Cordier were deceased. Witnesses to the marriage were LeVasseur, Captain Engineer for the King, his wife Madame LeVasseur, Captain Delachaseigne, Charles Normand, Desmaizerets, Vicar-general of (beneath the Bishop) Monseigner de Quebec, and Francis Dupre, Priest-Parish Pastor. Desmaizerets granted the exemption of two banns.

Louis Normand La Brière and Anne Bruneeau were in Detroit, Michigan June 7, 1706 to work at his trade of toolmaker. They were considered residents of Quebec and Detroit. Louis Normand paid land rent in Detroit, March 10, 1707 for 2 livres and 10 sols rent and 10 livres for other rights. This was subsequently sold to Alexis Lemone, this may have been one of 13 grants for gardens of Half an arpent each as he was listed as number 3 on the grant list of gardens. Louis and Anne are listed in Detroit's First Directory. They are listed as Bruneau, Anne, and Louis Normand dit Labriére. Louis Normand, toolmaker and Gilles Chauvin, voyageur was in partnership there.

Louis and Anne's daughters were born in Detroit, Marie Therese Normand (called La Brière ), on September 1, 1705, and Angelique Normand on June 20, 1707. Louis Normand had lot number 19, which was on Ste. Anne Street in Detroit, Michigan 1708 Downtown Section.

Settlers Names in Cadillac's Detroit

From a Histoire of Des Canadiens-Francais (dictionary translation so not the best translation): L'une of the premieres ground concedes in Detroit was it in favour of Francois Fafard says Delorme, D'apresle system seigneurial of low-Canada. Lamoth-Cadilac had the privilege of the draft of furs, the right to distribute grounds in census and to d'agir in the respect like gouveneur-general. Any I administration of this new colony etait calquee on what s'etat passes has Quebec and in Trois-Riveres in the course of sixty dernieres years. Montreal, locates as apart from News-France, appears to navoir contributes of nothing to the first movement directs towards Detroit. D'es of the dimension of Beaupre, of Quebec and Three-Rivers which the men pertinent by which it was made accompany. The oldest names conuus, has ceaux share already mention, are Pierre Roy, Francois Pelletier, Joseph Parent, Jean Farfard known as naconce, Louis Normand said Labruyere, Jean Gauriau, Jena Vessier says Laferte, Antoine Dupuis says Beauregard, Pierre Stebe say Lajeauness, Jean casse known as St. Augin, Andre Bombardier. In 1707, ill had there a vault, a store, a mill and residences for the colonists. The first dwellings were not done on the current site of the city, but a little has louest, in the vicinity of the rivere has Parent.

Louis died July 15, 1729 in Quebec, his name is listed as Louis LeNormand LaBrière, occupation Maitre Taillandier at age 55. At his funeral was Thamur, Pretre; Tonancour, Pretre, and Boullard, Pretre. Marie Anne is listed as Marie Anne Cordie ( they used her mother's maiden name on death certificate). Her husband already deceased, Pierre Chabot Lusignan and Thomas Duhay were present at the funeral service and Pretre Gosselin officiated.

Louis Normand LaBrière and Marianne Catherine Bruneau had seven children, and as far as we find only one stayed in the U. S., and that was Louis Ratte "Normand" dit LaBruyère (La Brière). He was born about 1715 in Parish of St.Pierre, Ile d'Orleans, Canada,

Louis Ratte Labruyère, also known as Louis Normand de LaBrièr, according to the Kaskaskia, Illinois records, first shows in November of 1731, where he signed as a witness to a land transaction between Indians and a settler. His signature appears as a witness or as a notary throughout the Kaskaskia records for nearly twenty-seven years, until January 1758; his name also appears often as a record of his personal life. He was a master smith and locksmith, as the records note on his contracts to furnish other villagers with metal tools, lime (for roofing), and ironworks and locksmithing for homes. In return for his services, he was paid in money (the livre was the currency), flour, livestock, land, labor, or the use of tools or slaves. He also hired apprentices, and, for a brief time, went into a business partnership with another tradesman. Another note, 1737, has that Louis, master toolmaker in Kaskaskia to supply Dominque Quensel with 30 hoes.

Even though Louis Ratte's father, Louis Normand, died in 1729 in Quebec, it wasn't until 1741 that Louis Ratte managed to settle his estate. There is a passage in the Kaskaskia records that states: "Agreement by Pierre Charbot, former voyager-trader in the Illinois county, residing now in Canada, to act for Louis Normand LaBrière, master smith of Kaskaskia, in all matters pertaining to his inheritance from the late Louis LaBrière, his father, in exchange for one half of LaBrière's share in the estate, dated April 4, 1741.

On January 15, 1737, Louis Ratte Normand LaBruyère married **Catherine Clement, daughter of Marc Clement and Agnes Annard; her father was a soldier, deceased at the time of the marriage, and her mother came from Flanders (now a part of Belgium) in Europe. Louis and Catherine were given "a parcel of land and a sow farrow" by her mother and stepfather as wedding presents. They had a least 3 children together, Catherine born circa 1741, Louis born 1744, and Raimond "Raymond". Raimond used both spellings of the "dit" surname. All children from this marriage grew up in Kaskaskia, and later moved to Prairie du Rocher, Illinois.

They had at least 3 children together:,

1) Catherine LaBruyere, born c1741, married Leonard Billeron dit LaFatigere (on 1/12/1758 at Kaskaskia) Pierre Langlois (on 7/29/1765 at Kaskaskia)

2) Louis LaBruyere, born 1744, married Marie Joseph Quelle

3) Raymond LaBruyere, married Agnes Thuillier Desvignets and Magdalene Cotineault (on 1/7/1777 at Prairie du Rocher [Randolph Co.], IL; Magdalene died 5/9/1793 at Kaskaskia)**

All of them grew up in Kaskaskia and later moved to Prairie du Rocher, Illinois.

**Raymond & Magdalene were the parents of Antoine Normand dit LaBruyère (LaBrier) who married Agathe Danis. They were the parents of my Great Grandfather Pierre August LaBruyère/LaBrier
**Catherine Clement was the "mother" of my line of LaBriére - LaBruyère - LaBrier family.

Catherine died 10 years later, on July 3, 1747, Ten days after that, on July 13, 1747, Louis married Angnes Hulin (born in 1734), a girl of 12 years of age; he was engaged to marry her on the day after his first wife's death. The Kaskaskia records show that it was common to marry again soon after a spouse's death, probably because the hardships and labors of pioneer life made it necessary to have a partner in order to survive the burden of everyday living.

Also, 12 years old may seem to be an early age for marriage by modern standards, but, in colonial times, a girl was considered ready to marry at the onset of puberty and her childbearing years.

Agnes' father Pierre Hulin, was from New Orleans, and his only entry found in Kaskaskia records, besides his death, was that he bought a slave named Chocolat from a merchant for 1,500 livres; her mother, Dorothee Accicia, listed as "an Indian" (and said to be the daughter of a chief of the Metchiperta tribe). Pierre died five months after his daughter's marriage, in December of 1747, and Louis acted on behalf of his new wife, who at age 12 was a minor, to receive her share of the estate. Three years later, in 1750, Louis and Agnes separated, although it is not known why. They were eventually united, However, because they had more children together in the years to come. Sometime in the late 1750's they moved to Ste. Genevieve (now in Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri). On November 28 1753, Louis bequeathed all his possessions "in Illinois" to the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Kaskaskia, while his possessions in Canada were given to his relatives.

There are many possible reasons for the move. The Kaskaskia records reveal that from 1751 on, Louis was often deep in debt, even resorting to selling his inheritance rights to a brother-in-law in April of 1756….so he may have decided to start all over in a new place. But, many of Kaskaskia's other residents moved to Ste. Genevieve and St. Louis in the late 1750's, just as many did from Cahokia. One reason was that much of the farmland in the area had by then been all but depleted from overuse, and the rich bottomlands on the west bank of the Mississippi River must have looked inviting. Another reason, perhaps just as compelling, was that the French and Indian War began in 1756, pitting the French against the British in a colonial struggle for domination of much of the North American continent. The west side of the river, which is now Missouri, was then under French control, so many French-speaking residents moved to Ste. Genevieve and St. Louis rather than live under the rule of their long-time bitter enemies, the British. England won this war, and eventually France ceded all lands east of the Mississippi to British rule; this area included the village of Kaskaskia.

Whatever the reason, Louis and Agnes moved to Ste. Genevieve's Old Village. The earliest permanent settlement in what is now Missouri, Ste. Genevieve (referred to in earlier land records as St. Joachim) was founded on the west bank of the Mississippi River before 1750 by French settlers from Kaskaskia as a trading post. A damp and muddy place in the bottomlands (the Old Village, it was later called; it has been since washed away by the river), French residents still living in Illinois at the time called it "misiere"…French for "misery".

The serious obstacle to the growth of the town was its dangerous position on a river bank tbat was steadily being eroded by the waters of the Mississippi during the annual spring flooding. For nearly 50 years, the Old Village of Ste. Genevieve held is precarious ground; then as the caving of the banks began to threaten the cabins closest to the river, the town moved three miles upstream to higher ground, to its present site.

The period of removal to the new site covered about ten years, from 1781 to 1791, the flood season of 1785 hastening that move. That year, the swirling, muddy waters of the Mississippi reached the houses' rooftops, according to a later published report from Louis' son, Julien.

Louis Ratte Normand LaBruyère and his wife Agnes, first appeared in the Ste. Genevieve Catholic Church (established 1760) records as a daughter of theirs, Agnes, was born on February 2, 1764. However, they had moved to the area long before that.

Julien, Louis' son, claimed on record that the LaBruyeres first moved to Ste. Genevieve's Old Village in the late 1750's. Since Louis' last signature as a notary at Kaskaskia was on January 29, 1758, and since his daughter, Catherine, and her husband sold the property she received from him at Kaskaskia on March 29, 1758, it follows that Louis and Agnes most likely moved to Ste. Genevieve in early 1758, right before the Spanish took over the area.

Records show that Louis LaBruyère was one of the first landowners at the present site of Ste. Genevieve, on higher ground than the flood prone Old Village; he purchased a tract of land from the Spanish in 1784, having already been a landowner at the older site. In that same year he built a large two-story house (which is still standing, and currently in renovation stage) near South Gabouri Creek across the street from the Moses Austin (father of Texas' Stephen Austin) property which bounded on the creek. His land ran from what is now Front Street, then to Common Field Street and to the present Main Street.

In 1794, Louis filed a will leaving all of his estate to Julien; his wife, Agnes had died 20 years before, his son Henri had just died, and his two daughters were married by that time, so Julien was to inherit everything. Julien then deeded his property described as occupied by Louis Ratte for the past 25 years, and thereby took possession in 1809 of the house his father had built in 1784, living there until his own death in 1826.

Lucille Basler's History of Ste. Genevieve has this to say about the house, "in 1809, Louis (RATTE LABRUYERE), a master locksmith and his son Julian sold the property to John McArthur stating he had resided here for 25 years, which would date the house 1784. Immediately after the purchase John McArthur mortgaged the property and mentioned the two story house, purchased from Ratte.

In his Ste. Genevieve Architectural Survey, Dr. Osmund Overby of the University of Missouri described the Hoffman home, known historically as the John McArthur House and locally as the Ratte Labruyere-Hoffman House this way: Federal I-house. C. 1809. Heavy-timber frame construction. This three-bay frame I-house with brick end chimneys and two-story rear porch is one of the finest remaining American houses from the early 19th century. Perhaps because this house has been allowed to deteriorate instead of being expanded and modernized over the years, its present appearance is close to that of the original building. Its exterior appearance suggests that the building may retain its original structural system and interior plan. Like the John Donohue House on S.Third, the Josiah Millard House on N. Main, and the Old Academy on N. Fifth, it probably contained a central hallway when it was built. Unlike the Abraham Newfield House on Merchant and the Aaron Elliot House on S. Main, other early frame structures built by Americans, it has not undergone extensive renovations and additions. Thus it may be the best preserved American frame house built in the first decade of the 19th century. There is no definite evidence of the actual date of construction; however, when this property was sold by Louis Ratte and Julien and Marie Labriere to John McArthur in 1809, the deed mentioned that Ratte had lived on the premises for 25 years. The first paragraph of the deed is as follows: This indenture made this thirteenth date of September one thousand eight hundred and nine, between Louis Ratte (Labruyere), Julien Lubriere and Marie Lubriere, wife of said Julien of the district of Ste Genevieve and territory of Louisiana of the one part and John McArthur of the same place of the other part.

Witnesseth that the said Louis, Julien and Marie aforesaid for and in consideration of Eight Hundred and Twenty-Five Dollars current money of the Unites States to them in hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged hath granted, bargained and sold, and by those present doth grant, bargain and sell unto the said John McArthur his heirs and assigns forever a certain lot of land situate lying and being in the Town of Ste Genevieve being a town lot containing two and a half arpents be the same more or less and bounded in front by a street on the north by a lot of Mon' Jean Bte Pratte pere, on the East or Rear by the present enclosure of the said lot which leaves a street between the same and the common big field and on the South by a Street between this lot and the lot of Thomas Oliver and being the same lot of land originally improved and occupied for twenty-five years last past by the said Louis Ratte.

Louis Ratté LaBrière Home How It Would Have Looked*
*Courtesy of Mark L. Evans - Author of "The Commandant's Last Ride"

The house is three stories high, with French-style shutters and a porch, it has an open balcony in back.

The Great Flood of 1993 further damaged it and the surrounding area; the house is right near the more famous restored homes in the historic section of town, but not close enough to be protected by the new levee that was hastily constructed during the flooding that summer.

There are many stories about the descendants of the above men and women, that would be another new chapter and possibly a book to put together. They went on to make new homes in many areas. Their hard work, and tenacity, they learned from their ancestors have helped them make better lives for themselves and their children, as their ancestors did for theirs. As the years grew, they lost track of each other and just recently we have met a lot of new cousins, albeit distant, we still can share the stories passed down generation to generation about the families before us, the hardships, the wars, the the music playing, singing, dancing, births of children and grandchildren, sadness of losing loved ones from sickness and accidents. Through all this our families move on to each new generation. We hope this book will help keep new found family members learning more about their families, and passing on to each new generation what they have learned from their hard work of scouring records of all types. It is indeed a work of love when someone has the desire to find out more about their family.

Normand dit LaBruyere-LaBrier(e) by Their Descendants References: Family, Census, Church, Birth, Marriage, Death Records.

A big "Thank You" to all the dedicated descendants who put in many man hours researching our family. For all the help in checking, and proofing the compilation of our work. It could not have been done without each and everyone of you. Remember that genealogy is always a work in progress, it never ends. We have tried to make this project as accurate as possible. Corrections and additions are always welcomed.

References: Family, Census, Church, Birth, Marriage, Death Records.

Interesting Family History Notes

Louis Normand dit Labrière (Pierre Normand Brière & Catherine Normand) married Marie Anne Bruneau (Vincent Bruneau & Marie Cordier Rigaud) 1701-05-29 Québec. Daughter Marie Angelique baptized 1707-06-20 Ste-Anne de Détroit. Cadillac hired him and his family and a servant on 18 February 1706, to leave in May of 1706 to go to Fort Pontchartrain to work for three years as a taillhandier, edge-tool maker. Engagement de Normand Labrière, Notary Chambalon, ANQ, photocopy. Whether they actually left in May cannot be determined, although Cadillac himself originally also said he would leave in the early spring but did not depart until late June after being ordered to do so.

[8] Interestingly, Louis Normand's mother, Catherine Normand, had petitioned for payment when she provided lodging at Québec in 1680 for witnesses attending the inquiry into the 1679 murder of Jeanne Couc, Isabelle's sister. Isabelle was twelve in 1679 when her sister died, and Louis was born that very year of 1680. Benjamin Sulté, Histoire de Saint-François-du-Lac. Montréal?: s.n., 1886 p. 26. Read at Early Canadiana Online: See also "Procès de Jean Rattier dit Du Buisson accusé du muertre de Jeanne fille de Pierre Couc des Trois Rivières en 1679," Les Editions Quesnel de Fomblanche, Albert Quesnel, éditeur, transcription.

Whoever Brother Lewis is, I have nevertheless paused more than once at the 21 November 1706 baptism in the Sainte-Anne du Détroit registers of an unnamed male child with unnamed parents whose godmother was Angélique Proteau, wife of Étienne Boutron, my ancestors, and whose godfather was Louis Normand.

[7] Although Isabelle was thirteen years older than Louis Normand, their families were not unknown, his mother having provided lodging for witnesses attending the 1680 judicial inquiry held in Québec City concerning the death of Isabelle's sister Jeanne. [8] And, in fact, not two months before the baptism of the unnamed male child, Louis Normand had also served as godfather on 26 September 1706, this time with Isabelle Coup" as godmother, for a boy given the name Louis after his godfather, son of Taouen[ink blot]rons (?) and Martine, Hurons. The 26 September event is the last known act showing Isabelle's presence at the fort. For this, her fourth documented act as a godmother, she again declared she did not know how to sign.

Louis Normand's godchild, the unnamed male child firs— of November, could also have been named Louis after his godfather. I will, of course, never know if this could be Isabelle's child, the elusive Louis / Lewis, brother of Andrew, perhaps fathered by the deceased Pierre Tichenet, who had died in June of that year but for whom, inexplicably, no death or burial record survives in the registers of Sainte-Anne; nor is there any record for the soldier, Larivière, or even for Father Delhalle, as he signed the name, also deceased that June of 1706, whose death and burial is not formally entered into the register until 1723, when he was exhumed and reburied seventeen years after his death.

The entry in the register of Sainte-Anne for 30 May 1723 says that Father Bonaventure and others located the body of Reverend pere Constantin de Lhalle Recollet" according to information given them by Sr. Delisle who had helped to bury him. [9] Father Delhalle's register entries simply stop a little more than a month before his death with the burial on 24 April 1706 of Rafael Bienvenue, age three, son of François Bienvenue dit Delisle and his first wife, Geneviève Charron dite Laferrière. Father Delamarche's surviving entries begin on a separate page dated 16 August after his arrival 8 August. There was, of course, no priest available there to make any death entries immediately in June, but it seems to me these deaths should have been recorded, especially the priest's, when the large convoy including Father DeLamarche arrived, unless these entries were lost or destroyed.

Return to Top of Page