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John Carter
alias
Jean Chartier

Our English/French-Canadian Ancestor



          Our Chartier ancestor (ancestor of our grandmother, Exilia Chartier) began life as John Carter on September 22, 1695 in Deerfield, Massachusetts. His parents, Samuel Carter and Mercy Brooks, daughter of William Brooks and Mary Burt, were married in Deerfield in December 1690. Samuel is generally believed to have been the son of Joshua Carter and and his wife Catherine, although there are some who believe he was "enticed away from London, England at 12 years of age and brought to Boston," though this story has been called "a very wild fiction," by James Savage in his Genealogical Dictionary of the first settlers of New England, Volume I (Boston 1860). Joshua Carter was killed along with Captain Lothrop in the victorious battle of the Indians at Bloody Brook, near Hadley, Massachusetts. In any case, Samuel's first wife, Mercy, died on January 22, 1701, when John was 6 years old, and Samuel remarried Hannah Weller less than six months later.

          At that time, the English, with the help of the Iroquois Indians, had been conducting very brutal raids on small towns around Quebec. In an attempt to dissuade further raids more than as retaliation, three secret raids were planned by the governor of Quebec, to take place at Deerfield, Massachusetts, Albany New York and Salmon River outside of Boston. Hertel de Rouville of Montreal was in command of the raid to take place at Deerfield. The raid began on the night of February 28, 1704, and on February 29 around 2:30 a.m., Hertel de Rouville led the raid on Deerfield, consisting of 200 Quebec militiamen along with 142 Quebec Indians. The whole population of Deerfield at that time was approximately 500. The Quebec troopers were trained to only kill in an emergency, but the Indians, with their ingrained war habits to kill women and children, could not be prevented despite orders to to the contrary. The raid involved the near-complete destruction of Deerfield. Captives were drawn out of their beds, generally half-naked, and were packed in to the Community Hall, where they were given snowshoes and all available garments. Altogether, the captives consisted of 111 people. There were also another 125 missing survivors, with 50 adults, so the casualties numbered about 250. Then, before sunrise, the entire troop with captives headed on a march to Montreal in the winter weather, with the first day's march of at least 25 miles. At the time the Quebec troops with their captives departed Deerfield, the entire town was set on fire.

          Among the captives, there were seven people from the Carter family. One brother of John Carter, Thomas Carter, age 5, was killed during the raid. At the end of the first day's march on February 29, a captive made an attempt to escape. De Rouville gave notice that anybody else attempting to escape would be shot on sight. The very next evening, a shot was fired at John Carter's stepmother, Hannah Weller Carter, and Marah Carter, age 3, became the victim instead. On March 2, Hannah Carter, age 7 months, who was the sole remaining child of Hannah Weller Carter, died of exposure to the cold weather. Then on March 5, near the icy side of Lake Champlain, Hannah Weller died. Of the original family of Samuel Carter, after a march of approximately 25 days, only four children reached Quebec: Samuel Jr., John, Mercy and Ebenezer. John Carter and his brothers, Samuel Jr. and Ebenezer were taken in by the Reverend Fathers Jesuits at their mission on the Prairies River, which was located at Sault-au-Recollet, close to Fort Lorette. John probably served the Jesuits until 1710 and there is strong evidence that he did accept his new religion and nationality. It is likely that some time during this period of time, he decided to change his name to Jean Chartier. Mercy Carter was raised by by a girls' mission in Sault St. Louis which was managed by a religious congregation of women.

          In the meantime, back in Deerfield, John's father, Samuel Carter, had been delayed while taking care of business at a distance too far for him to return to Deerfield on the same day. When he returned to Deerfield, he discovered that he had lost his entire family of eight people. It was somewhat of a miracle that, within the ruins of his village, his house had somehow been left standing and still exists today. Inside the house, he discovered the body of his 5-year-old son, Thomas Carter, on the stairway. He also discovered dead cattle, bullet marks, and general disorder. Surviving witnesses informed Samuel Carter of the events in Deerfield, and Samuel Carter began his search and efforts to repatriate his children.

          In 1705, a Reverend Williams was one of the first to be set free. On his return, he told Samuel that Hannah had died and brought a full statement about all the others. From this time, Samuel made request after request to the local authorities to find a way to get his children back. Through diplomatic means, Governor Schuyller and Colonel Stoddard held a first meeting in Montreal in February 1707, where the Reverend and the Colonel were received by Governor Vaudreuil. They easily obtained release of Ebenezer Carter for a sum of 24 pounds. Ebenezer was very anxious to go home, but he was the only one. There was much celebration at the return of Ebenezer, but it was a joy mingled with sadness and regret over the three children who remained in captivity. Ebenezer, who was born in 1697, married Hannah St. John around 1720 in Norwalk Connecticut, and is said to have had a large family.

          In 1705, Samuel Carter left Deerfield and went to New Cannan, Connecticut, a village in the nearby suburbs of Norwalk, where he lived to the end of his life. He married a third time to Lois Sention/St. John in 1706, and this union produced his last child, a daughter by the name of Lois.

          Samuel did not give up trying to get the rest of his children back, and spent another seven years making requests to press his claim. In 1714, Reverend Williams went to Montreal to enter another plea. Samuel Carter, Jr. had just died in a drowning accident in the St. Lawrence River, and Mercy Carter, who had married an Indian from a local tribe, was now under the care of her husband. Reverend Williams returned to Samuel with the information that John, now known as Jean Chartier, was anxious to go back home. The governor ordered an open confrontation regarding this statement, whereupon Jean denied that he had made such a statement, adding that he was fully convinced of his new faith's truthfulness and that, despite his great respect for his father, he wished to establish himself in Montreal.

          On October 29, 1718, Jean Chartier married Marie Courtemanche, daughter of Antoine Courtemanche and Marguerite Vaudry, daughter of Jacques Vaudry and Jeanne Renaud, who came from LaRochelle, France. The marriage took place at the house of Jacques Gaudry in Pointe-aux-Trembles. Jacques Gaudry was married to Jeanne (Jane) Gillory, who also originated from Deerfield, Massachusetts. A witness to the marriage, Francoise (Frances) French, wife of Jean Debluy-dit-Larose, was also born in Deerfield.

          At the time of his marriage, Jean Chartier received a grant of land from the Reverend Seigniors of Montreal within the limits of Riviere-des-Prairies. Jean's land was later bought by Jean-Baptiste Chartier, son of Guillaume Chartier. His reason for selling the land was a new, larger grant of land at St-Antoine-on-the-Richelieu. The family moved there in 1728. He received another large grant of land in 1734, this time loacated at Contrecoeur.

          Samuel Carter meanwhile no longer agreed with the aggressiveness against the Church of Rome as led by by his religious congregation and appeared to accept the choice made by Mercy and Jean. He stated that if they should wish to establish themselves in Connecticut, he would grant them a large portion of his land and money, with absolute freedom to practice their newfound faith and beliefs. There is evidence that at least once before his death, Samuel was visited by two of Mercy's sons and by two of Jean's sons before his death in 1730. Jean himself came to Norwalk and visited his brother, Ebenezer, on two occasions, the first time in 1736 and later in 1751.

          Between 1719 and 1734, Jean Chartier and Marie Courtemanche had nine children. Jean died on August 5, 1772 in St-Antoine-on-the-Richelieu at the age of 76.




Sources

  • The Chartier Families, Volume V, by Me Jean (Chartier) Robert, B.A., L.L.B.; pages 12-17; obtained through Vernon Chartier of the American Section of the Chartier Family Association. For more information on purchasing any of the Chartier Families, Volumes I-V, contact Vernon Chartier (vlchartier@transport.com)

  • Descendents of Samuel Carter from Deerfield, Mass. and Norwalk, Conn;by Samuel Carter of Brooklyn, NY of the 6th generation, 1885. This booklet can be purchased from Higginson Book Company

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