Translated by J.R. Theriault from ‘Familles Acadiennes’, Tome II, Léopold Lanctôt, o.m.i, Éditions du Libre-Échange.
(p. 247) Jehan Thérriot was born in the ancient village of La Grande Chaussée in the Loudun region of France in 1600. He came to Acadia in 1632 with Commander de Razilly.
On 20 March 1632, the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye returned possession to France its colonies of Quebec and of Port Royal, which had been taken by the English and the Scottish. On 10 May, the King of France commissioned Commander Isaac de Razilly, Knight of the Religious and Military Order of Malta, to retake Port Royal from the Scottish who had had ownership since 1628.
On 20 June, two ships, the Saint Jean (250 tons) and l'Esperance en Dieu (Hope in God) sailed from La Rochelle after taking on provisions necessary for the expedition, as well as a few men. The flotilla headed for Auray in Brittany where a third ship joined the first two and the remainder of the recruits was boarded. The ‘300 hommes d’elite’ thus consisted of soldiers and their officers, missionaries and some dozen or so families including Jehan Thérriot and his spouse Perrine Breau who had just married, and one of Jehan’s sisters, Perrine Thérriot and her spouse, Martin Dupuy who were also recently married. It was a custom of the period for colonials to marry before their departure for New France. One of Perrine Breau’s brothers, Vincent, his wife, and three-year-old son also named Vincent, may also have been part of the group of recruits.
Razilly had recruited the colonists from the La Grande Chaussée, Aulnay, Martaizé region which is owned by his family and the family of his cousin and lieutenant, Charles de Menou who accompanied Razilly to Acadia. La Grande Chaussée where the Thérriot's, the Breau’s, and the Dupuy’s came from was part of the Seigneurie of Aulnay. These names occur frequently in the registers of the parish of Saint Clement of the Grande Chaussée.
The flotilla left Auray on 28 July 1632 and dropped anchor on 8 September at the mouth of the La Hève River (present-day La Have) on the south shores of Acadia after one month and a half of sailing across the Atlantic.
The colonists immediately set about the task of constructing a fort on the point at the entrance to the La Hève River as well as some dwellings for the families; a dwelling for the missionaries, a chapel and a monastery for the Capucins monks who were also recruits. During the next year, the area of land starting from the river and going west of the fort for about 15 kilometers was cleared. Jehan Therriot and Martin Dupuy, his brother-in-law both established their families in this cleared area, which became the core of the colony of La Hève. The area immediately surrounding the fort was a large promontory rock and was thus not arable.
In 1634, Razilly in a letter to Cardinale Richelieu confirmed that Fort Sainte-Marie-de Grâces was fully prepared to ‘defend the Cross and the Fleur de Lis’ and its arsenal included a battery of 25 canons.
In December of 1635, commander Razilly died suddenly leaving command of the colony to his cousin and lieutenant, Charles de Menou. After the arrival of the ship, Saint Jean in May of 1636, Aulnay moved the colony to Port Royal. The location chosen in Port Royal for the new settlement was not where the are that was first settled on the north side of the basin of Port Royal but on a point at the mouth of the Dauphin River (present-day Annapolis-Royal) on the southern banks of the basin. Jehan Therriot and Martin Dupuy were now settled in Port Royal, as were most of the other families from La Hève. Few families remained in La Hève.
In 1636, probably before they left La Hève, Jehan Thérriot and Perrine Brault (different spelling again) received their first born son, which they named Claude. In Port Royal, the colonists started all over again: building a fort, the habitation, the ‘maraits salants’ to produce salt, the levees and aboiteaux to keep the sea off the marshes, barges and small boats and canoes to navigate the Dauphin River.
Jehan Thérriot and his family witnessed the taking of Port Royal by the English in 1664. Their older son, Claude who then was old enough to bear arms, was probably among the heroic defenders of Port Royal who in spite of their small numbers resisted a two-week assault by the English.
In 1659, Jeanne, Jehan, and Perrine’s oldest daughter married Pierre Thibodeau, the miller of Prée-Ronde near Port Royal. The following year, it was Claude’s turn: he married Marie Gautherot, daughter of François Gautherot (who also came to Acadia in La Hève in 1632 at the same time as Jehan Thérriot), and Edmée Le Jeune. Edmée Le Jeune came from an Acadian family even more ancient than Jehan. His father probably came to Port Royal with Biencourt around 1611. It was seven years before the next wedding in the Thérriot family. In 1667, Germain married Andrée Brun his cousin ‘germaine’, daughter of Vincent Brun and of Renée Brault. Afterward, the weddings occurred regularly: in 1668, Catherine married Pierre Guilbeault, in 1670, Bonaventure married Jeanne Boudrot, daughter of Michel Boudrot, future lieutenant-general of justice in Acadia.
On 2 September 1670, Acadia was again returned to France and Mr. de Grandfontaine was Governor. His first order of business on arriving was to organize a general census of the colony. He commissioned Father Laurent Moulins, Cordelier missionary to conduct the census, which was directed by Sir Hugues Randin, French engineer in the service of Frontenac, Governor-General of New France.
At this census, Jehan Thérriot was already old and his sons Claude and Germain were well established in their farms which they cultivated with their father, as was then the Acadian custom. The following excerpt from the census describes the families of Claude, Germain, and Jehan.
"Excerpt from the census of Acadian families conducted by Monsignor Colbert (the King’s Minister) from Quebec as directed by Sir Randin on 8 November 1671. Port Royal:…"
"Farmer – Claude Terriau, 34 years old, his wife Marie Gautrot 24 years old. Their four children, Germain nine years old, Marie six years old, Marguerite four years old, Jehan one year old. Their livestock included 13 cattle and three sheep. Six acres of cultivated land."
"Farmer – Germain Terriau, 25 years old, his wife Andrée Brun, 25 years old. Their child Germain, two years old. Their livestock four cattle, two sheep. Their cultivated lands include two acres."
"Farmer – Jehan Terriau, 70 years old, his wife Perrine Bau (note the difference from the actual spelling in the census, Rau), 60 years old. Their seven children, those who are married, Claude Terriau, 34 years old, Jehan, 32 years old, Bonaventure 30 years old, Germain 25 years old, Jeanne, 27 years old, Catherine, 21 years old. The only one not married is Pierre, 16 years old. The livestock include six cattle and one sheep. Their cultivated lands include five acres."
"Farmer – Pierre Thibeaudeau, 40 years old, his wife Jeanne Terriau, 27 years old. Their six children: Marie, 10 years old, Marie, 8-9 years old, Marie, 7 years old, Anne Marie 6 years old. Catherine 4 years old, Pierre, one year old. Their livestock include 12 cattle and 11 sheep. The cultivated land includes 7 acres.
"Farmer – Bonaventure Terriau, 27 years old, his wife Jeanne Boudrot, 26 years old. Their only child is a daughter, Marie, 4 years old. Their livestock include 6 cattle and 6 sheep. Their cultivated land includes two acres. (He is farming the land of his father-in-law Michel Boudrot, 71 years old.
‘Farmer – Pierre Guilbault, 32 years old, his wife Catherine Terriau, 20 years old, one daughter Marguerite Guilbaut, 2 years old. Their livestock include 6 cattle and 5 sheep. Their cultivated land includes 15 acres.
The census mentions Jehan Thérriot, 32 years old, son of Jehan Thérriot and Perrine Brault who was married. The younger Jehan’s family is never mentioned again in any other census. Is he dead or did he return to La Hève where no census was taken because by this time, La Hève had reverted to a settlement of Indians and ‘Metis’.
Fifteen years later, at the time of the 1686 census, Jehan Thérriot, and Perrine Brault are both deceased. Claude, Bonaventure, Jeanne, and Catherine continue to live in Port Royal. Germain is deceased and his widow has been remarried for seven years. As to Pierre, the youngest of their sons, he moved east where he founded the new settlement of Grand-Pré on the Bassin des Mines.