52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Week 3: Francois Meloche

Click HERE for last week’s ancestor.

Francois Meloche was born October 11, 1676 in Frontenay l’Abbatu, in Saintonge, France (Today known as Frontenay-Rohan-Rohan in Deux-Sevres, France). His parents were Francois Meloche, a fish merchant and Therese Hernu (OR Marie Pelloquin/Bloquin). In France, he worked as a “laboureur” quite likely on a farm, driving a plough. He travelled to New France (Canada) from the western French port of La Rochelle – which was at the time a three month trip across the Atlantic – sometime around the year 1696.

At the time, the colonies along the St. Lawrence river had been established for decades already, and the wars between the French and the Iroquois which had previously deterred immigration were beginning to wane. Still though, deciding to leave France behind to carve out a new life in a wild, new, unknown land was not for the faint of heart, and Francois Meloche was of the category of settler who left France entirely of his own accord, not as a soldier or servant. Francois first went to Montreal, where he married a first generation Canadian, Lachine-born Marie Mouflet dit Champagne on October 25, 1700. Marie was the daughter of Jean Mouflet dit Champagne, a soldier with the Regiment Carignan-Salières (French militia sent to the colonies to help defend them) and Anne Dodin, a fille du roi (800-1000 poor or orphaned girls sent by the French king to New France to off-set the high percentage of male habitants… ie become wives and have a large number of children).

They settled down on a tract of land 3 arpents frontage by 25 arpents depth in Lachine, – a settlement a little south of the settlement of Montreal, which had previous suffered many deadly Iroquois raids (during one of which, Marie’s parents were taken prisoner and not seen again) – where they farmed and also participated in the fur trading business. Francois and Marie had ten children, and are the progenitors of all North American Meloches today. Francois is my 9th great-grandfather (Francois – Pierre – Francois – Jacques – Francois Xavier – Etienne – Henri – Moise Joseph Thomas, my great, great grandfather). His son Pierre, my 8th great grandfather was one of the first settlers of Fort Pontchartrain, or Detroit, and my Meloche line remained in the Detroit/Windsor area through all the subsequent generations and is still there today.

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