Note: s now Chateau Richer, as promised to them by Robert Giffard the Seigneur. They called their new fief, "La Clouterie". The sons of Zacharie along with other colonists were settled on the territory extending from the river at Petit Pre to the river at Chiens which became the future parish of Chateau Richer. The fief measured 693 arpents (about 1,100 acres)
Zacharie was not a farmer and really had no interest in farming. He was a master carpenter, in later years he was described as a 'bourgeois seigneur working as a master carpenter". The first generations of Cloutiers established themselves in Chateau Richer. The families of succeeding generations dispersed little by little throughout the province, eventually many leaving Quebec entirely.
Among the interesting buildings in Chateau Richer two are of particular note. in Chateau Richer was originally built by the Cloutiers in 1658, it was rebuilt in 1778 and finally replaced in 1865. Situated high on the bank of the escarpment overlooking the St. Lawrence, the original church was part of the Seigneury of Beaupre and was commissioned by Sieur Oliver Tardif. The church was and still is the site of numerous religious functions involving Cloutier families many still living in Chateau Richer today.
The second building is of equal interest. Located close to the bottom of the cliff on the Beaupre coast at the very eastern extreme of Chateau Richer is ( the Cloutier House ). This old rustic residence is certainly one of the finest specimens of typical early French-Canadian architecture that can be found in Quebec. Originally it was the main house on what was known as the "Cloutier farm" that was in the family since 1676 when Jean Cloutier III bought it from Nicholas Vereul who had obtained it from Pierre Gagnon. Since that time it was owned by successive generations of Cloutiers being handed down from father to son for some 289 years. In 1965 it was finally sold by Adelard Cloutier the last owner of that name. It has subsequently been restored with provincial grants in the hope it will last for another 300 years.
Cardinal Richelieu, 1585 - 1642 ) became the most powerful person in France during the reign of King Louis XIII. In part because Louis was a weak king and in part because Richelieu, himself, was so strong. Richelieu in his role as chief of the Royal Council, and later First Minister and Chief of State, had control of almost every facet of French politics, from the daily activities of the court to foreign policy and affairs. His dual role as head of the church in France and chief of state, allowed him to control the very direction he wished the government to go.
Under Richelieu the strategy of colonization was two fold. The Jesuits the strongest and most influential of the religious orders, established the goals of converting the Indians to Christianity. The thought was that the Indians, once converted, would become role players in the settling of the land. The strategy proved unsuccessful, the Indians while in some cases accepting Christianity, had no desire to give up their way of life. It soon became obvious that if the land was to become developed in the image of France, it would be through immigration using settlers from France, not through the integration of the Indian into the agriculture or socio-economic structure of the French way of life.
In France, Richelieu granted a charter to the Company of One Hundred Associates in 1627. Under the charter, the Company was granted full title to land extending from Florida to the Arctic Circle. In return the Company was obliged to bring out 200- 300 settlers in 1628 and 4000 more during the next 15 years.
The Company had an investment of 300,000 livres ( the livre being the basic monetary unit worth about $2.00 US.)
Unfortunately for the company, their first convoy of four ships and 400 settlers was captured in the Gulf of St. Lawrence resulting in a total loss of supplies to the settlers already in New France and the Company was forced to look at other means of colonizing.
The French devised a scheme of Land Grants to persons of means. For gentlemen of France who had served their country well, huge grants of land were made in New France, but with these grants came certain obligations. The system known as the 'Seigneurial System' obligated the 'Seigneur' to bring settlers out from France who then were given portions of the land grant in return for providing services to the 'lord' (seigneur). The services were such activities as helping the seigneur to develop his land, building the seigneurial mansion, government buildings and churches.. In return the settlers received their passage from New France to the New World, a stipend identified by the 'contract' signed before leaving France, and, where warranted, a portion of the land grant for the settler to farm on his own.
Religion, however, did play a significant role in solidifying and maintaining the presence of the church and the strong fabric of French society. The parish priests held together the communities, keeping together the family units whose most important link was the parish church. Consequently the building of the local church held a high priority in every seigneury.
It was here the early Cloutiers played so prominent a role. Zacharie Cloutier was recruited by Giffard not for his potential as a farmer, but for his skills as a builder. He was first a carpenter but later also became a skilled mason as well. His responsibilities were to construct the Government buildings, the Manor House, and the Parish church. Consequently he never did 'farm' in the true sense of the word. After he completed his 'servitude' with Giffard he took his trade to other communities to build their churches.
In short Cardinal Richelieu's policies with regard to the spread of Christianity, and his seigneurial system approach to settlement molded well with the skills and ambitions of Zacharie Cloutier I who put these policies into practice in the new land.
While not a Cloutier, Robert Giffard did more to affect the lives of not only Zacharie Cloutier I but also thousands of future Cloutiers than one can imagine.
Robert Giffard was a surgeon and an apothecary ( one who dispenses medicines and drugs). He lived at one time in both Mortagne and Tourouvre. He had served with on two of Champlain's voyages of discovery in North America. Giffard was searching for prospective emigrants when he received notice that he had been awarded the from the One Hundred Associates.
This prestigious award of a massive land grant on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, near what is now Quebec City, brought with it some obligations. As Seigneur, Giffard was bound to see that this area was settled and developed as part of the colony of New France. He had already been doing so but now it became imperative that he select not only good farmers and potential settlers, but also skilled tradesmen to enable him to build his Seigneurie, including the churches, and public buildings that would be essential to develop his newly acquired realm. One of these artisans was , master carpenter.
The second of only two skilled tradesmen was master mason. These two men were signed to special contracts as witnessed by the notary at La Rochelle on the 14th of March 1634.
The contract of 'servitude' which Cloutier and Guyon signed in joinder, in favor of Giffard, stipulated that Giffard would pay the passage plus food and lodgings for the two artisans plus one family member each , for a period of three years to date from June 24th 1634. After two years the men would then be allowed to send for the rest of their families, also at the expense of Giffard.
The Seigneur of Beauport ( Giffard ) agreed to give each man a few head of livestock to get started farming, plus 1000 arpents of land. ( An arpent is about one and one quarter acres, therefore 1000 arpents = 1250 acres of land ).
Originally Zacharie had agreed to leave France with only his seventeen year old son Zacharie Jr., but obviously he changed his mind and brought his entire family with him. ( While there is no record to our knowledge, of any contractual change to have allowed this to happen, such was the stature of Zacharie and his importance to Giffard that it is obvious he was granted this privilege).
Some genealogists/historians suggest the original departure was from Dieppe - however a stained glass window in the Cathedral in Tourouvre shows clearly that the original departure was from New Rochelle in March 1634 with a stop in Dieppe. Hence, technically, the last point of departure from France was indeed Dieppe.)
On June 4th, 1634, after a voyage of two long months the passengers disembarked at the tiny hamlet the colony of Quebec was at the time.
By the 22nd of July 1634, master carpenter Cloutier was hard at work along with his colleague Jean Guyon building the manor house for Giffard as well as the parish church and Fort St. Louis in Quebec.
Note: On the 3rd of February 1637 Zacharie Cloutier took possession of the fief of land in what i
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