A Brother Hanged for Rape ? Jacques Ratté

A Brother Hanged for Rape ? Jacques Ratté

B. about 1630 in Laleu, France
M. 12 Aug 1758 in Quebec City, Quebec
Wife: Anne Martin
D. 8 Dec 1699 in St-Pierre, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec
Emigrated: 1652

Jacques Ratté was born in about 1630 in Laleu, France to François Ratté and Jacquette Huguet. Laleu was in the vicinity of the city of La Rochelle, an embarking point for ships going to North America, and in 1652, Jacques migrated to Quebec.

After Jacques arrived, he was in need of a contract for work. A Jesuit priest wrote to authorities in France securing Jacques a position of indentured servant to a glove maker named Jean Pasquereau. He was to work for two years at a salary of 75 livres per year, but instead he seemed to have been signed over to the Nursing Sisters of Quebec in the spring of 1653. They provided him food and lodging, as well as paid his salary.

In 1657, Jacques sought to find a wife amongst the small population of women in Quebec. So on August 19th, he contracted with Abraham Martin and Marguerite Langlois to marry their 12 year-old daughter Anne. The couple was married on November 12th of the following year. They were said to have lived with her parents for the first six months of marriage before setting out on their own. Jacques rented a half arpent of land near Hotel-Deiu (the hospital in Quebec City). Between 1659 and 1686, Jacques and Anne had 12 children; the first three all died young.

Jacques made a living as a cabinet maker and was working in Quebec City when his younger brother, Jean, got into trouble. Jean had migrated by 1662 when he was listed as working in the Ursuline convent in Quebec. On November 20, 1667, a woman named Suzanne Miville accused Jean of raping her ten year-old daughter, Anne Paulet. Jean was arrested for the crime and Jacques intervened on his brother's behalf, consulting with the girl's mother and getting her to agree to drop the charges if Jean married Anne. But the authorities ruled that Jean would be executed, and on December 1st, he was hung from the gallows. The girl Anne died in 1670.

It has been said that this scandal brought shame to Jacques. As a result, he sold his place in the city (described as ?a lower room, a cellar, an attic, a barn, a yard and a garden") and moved away. The family settled at St-Pierre on the Ile d'Orleans. Jacques doubled the size of his land at St-Pierre by purchasing an adjoining lot from the Nursing Sisters in April 1675. The 1681 census showed that Jacques had 14 head of cattle and 20 arpents under cultivation. He bought more land in 1684 and rented it out for more income. In 1697, Jacques was fined for not building a fence on his farm and allowing his animals to damage the neighbors property.

Jacques died at St-Pierre on April 8, 1699. His wife Anne survived him by over 16 years, dying on January 14, 1717.

1.  Jacques Ratté ? B. 30 Dec 1659, Quebec City, Quebec; D. 31 Dec 1659, Quebec City, Quebec

2. Bertrand Ratté ? B. 10 Dec 1660, Quebec City, Quebec; D. 25 Dec 1660, Quebec City, Quebec

3. Michel-Joseph Ratté ? B. 25 Dec 1662, Quebec City, Quebec; D. About 1666

4. Marie-Anne Ratté ? B. 13 Feb 1665, Quebec City, Quebec; D. 25 May 1729, St-Laurent, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec; M. Ignace Gosselin (1654-1727), St-Pierre, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec

5. Jean-Baptiste Ratté ? B. 28 Nov 1667, Ste-Famile, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec; M. Madeleine Blouard (1682-?), 13 Oct 1698, St-Pierre, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec

6. Anne Ratté ? B. 16 Oct 1670Ste-Famile, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec; D. 25 Dec 1709, Chateau Richer, Quebec; M. (1) Jacques Trapanier (?-1706), 20 Feb 1691, St-Pierre, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec; (2) Jean Langlais, 8 Mar 1707, Chateau Richer, Quebec

7. Jacques Ratté ? B. 16 Jun 1673, Ste-Famile, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec; D. young

8. Pierre Ratté ? B. 11 Oct 1675, Ste-Famile, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec; D. 21 Mar 1721, St-Pierre, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec; M. Jeanne Nolin (1685-1733), 27 Nov 1702, St-Pierre, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec;

9. Genevieve Ratté ? B. 27 Jan 1678, Ste-Famile, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec; D. Nov 1754, St-Pierre, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec; M. Jean Sicard, 27 Nov 1694, St-Pierre, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec

10. Louise-Angelique Ratté ? B. 17 Jun 1680, St-Pierre, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec; D. May 1749, La Pocatiere, Quebec; M. Louis Martin (1671-1749), 12 Jan 1700, St-Pierre, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec

11. Ignace Ratté ? B. Aug 1683, St-Pierre, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec; D. Jan 1744, St-Pierre, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec; M. (1) Helene Bouchard, 10 Nov 1705, St-Pierre, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec; (2) Genevieve Langlois (1703-?), 13 Jun 1729, St-Pierre, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec

12. Guillaume Ratté ? B. 14 Nov 1686, St-Pierre, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec; D. Oct 1759, St-Pierre, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec; M. Marie-Madeleine Nolin (1690-1748), 4 Nov 1710, St-Pierre, Ile d'Orleans, Quebec

Our French-Canadian Ancestors, Gerard Lebel (translated by Thomas J. Laforest), 1990

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