Gabrielle Baribeau(*)

The Death of Gabrielle (2 Mar 1725)

     "If by chance nothing bad happened to Francois and Louis Bellec, Gabrielle Baribeau, their mother had always lived in terrifying times. These (coming to add to her twelve motherhoods, to the death of four children, as well as to the premarital adventures of  her daughter Elisabeth ) seem to have prematurely aged her. And in addition,  say's the writer Swede Pehr Kalm, the woman of New-France in those days was "hard at work and often in pain, especially among the working people; one always sees them in the fields, in prairies, in stalls, never refusing any tyoe of works". There is no doubt that, all her life, Gabirelle Baribeau this mother leads an  industrious and courageous existence. In the beginning of March 1725, she dies  at the age of fifty-two years, "after having received the last sacraments". On March 2 she is buried in the cemetery of Batiscan. This last rest, the grandmother of the St-Arnaud had deserved it well.

     At the time of the death of his wife, Paul St-Arnou is aged of 64 years. He remains alone in the home with the children: Paul (21 years), Marie-Joseph (16 years) and Marguerite (13 years). The three others, Elizabeth, Louis and François Bellec, are  married already. One can believe that, the brothers Bellec, are present, following June 21, when Trotain the notary proceeds to inventory the complete of possessions of the matrimonial community."

Inventory of possessions (21 Jun 1725)

     The inventory takes place at the request of the Sieur Paul Bertrand St-Arnaud , because most of the community property was between he and Gabrielle, and again as guardian of Elizabeth Bertand, Paul, Jean-Baptist, Marie-Jeanne,Marie-Joseph, Margeurite -minor children Bertrand and deceased Gabrielle Baribeau; as the presence of Pierre Baribeau dit Baupre, brother of Gabrielle, substitute guardian of the so-called minor; for the conservation of possessions, and François Bellec and of Louis Bellec, common in possessions of the present now-so-called community, as he is appointed by the contract of marriage entreed by the aforesaid Bertrand and the deceased...

     As he owes to himself, Trotain made good and faithful inventory and description of all possessions , every piece of furniture, utensils, herd, linen, dresses, letter tiltre, papers, teachings, debt active and passive , to the day of her death. All was found being in the house or the aforesaid Bertrand is staying, some which deceased aforsaid died.

     In the house of straw covered wood. Guillet and Proteaus first make the assessment of the dishes and utensils; then they notice, among other things, an old frying pan, a cooking pot, a midsize vold pail with a small pail, both covered with old yellow copper, also a bucket to sift flour. And they estimate that there are 57 pounds of it. Then they value at 31 pounds the coat, the skirt and the table of the deceased; her three hairdressings and her three shirts, in addition of some tablecloths.

     The estimators then visit the old barn and the old stall surrounded of cedar pickets and covered with straw. They find  2 picks, an ax, a wood pail, a big barrel used to hold bacon, an old horse collar. two anatoires.. with its chains and the dossiere, a packet of leather to make anatoires; an old rifle, an old forge, three sickles, a charue equipped with its coustre, etc. All of it being valued at about 75 pounds. Close to the farm buildings, one counts animals: four pigs estimated at 20 pounds and three small pigs being worth 6 pounds; two sheep and two sheep (15 pounds), a cavalle under red hair (80 pounds), four cows (112 pounds), a bull of two years, and another (42 pounds), as well as one young cow less than a year old (6 pounds). In all 281 pounds.

     To note that François Bellec owes St.Arnou  30 pounds, while Loius Bellec owes him 180 pounds! St.Arnou aforesaid, for his part, only has 56 pounds of debts, of which, eleven pounds for the funeral expensesof the deceased, his wife.. To the term of this inventory, estimates of its just value by witnesses, Paul Bertrand affixes his signature with flourish; signing also are Louis Guillet, Baltazard Pollet, and the notary Trotain ; and as for Proteau he declared not to know how to sign. Let's add that the concession of Paul Bertrand dit St-Arnou counted in 1725 the more than 25 arpentses in cultivation.

     This inventory, gives us a precise enough idea of the  economic and social situation of our Ancestor, twenty-eight hard years on his farm on the River-Batiscan. On his concession of 160 arpents, of which a sixth is cultivated, Paul St-Arnou possesses a house of straw covered wood, an old barn and an old stall, the all surrounded by pickets of cedar and covered with straw. The remainder is valued at 397 pounds, to which adds themselves 210 pounds and 56 pounds of debts to pay. He and his wife have worked close to thirty years to achieve it! This can not be misery, but it is at least great poverty. The real true wealth, are those that remain - the children! It is henceforth on them that Paul Bertrand is going to lean. The time has come transmit the torch to others.
(*) Excerpts from the "La Famille St-Arnaud à la Rivière Batiscan, 1695-1770" 
by P. René Bacon, O.J.M. Book available from the St-Arnaud Association

(Computer translation from french)

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Last modified by Jacques L'Heureux on
September 13, 2004