Nicolas Patenostre, son of Nicolas Patenostre and Adrienne Simon, always said he was born in the parish of Berville en Caux, near the city of Rouen, in Normandy, France. However, the baptismal record has never been found.
He was born circa 1629 and learned the trade of clothier, or tailor. At the age of 22, he made his way to New France. The first written record we have found of Nicolas in America is that of his marriage contract to Marguerite Breton on October 25, 1651.
Marguerite Breton, daughter of Antoine Breton and Sainte Paulin, was born in the parish of Saint-Nicolas-des-Champs, Paris, France. On the day of their official engagement, October 25, 1651, as recorded by the notary Audouart, many witnesses affix their signature to the contract of mariage during the engagement party. On the following Monday, October 30, Nicolas and Marguerite are married in the church of Notre Dame in Quebec City.
On the Island
After living for a few years near Quebec City, we find a record of his having moved his family, in 1662, to the Island of Orleans (I.O.). Their farm was located on the north side of the island in the parish of Sainte-Famille. Nicolas purchased this land on February 2, 1662, from Charles de Lauzon. It had a frontage of 2 arpents on the water with a total area of 132 arpents, situated between the farms of neighbours Jean Royer and Jean Rabouin.
The census of 1666 confirms Nicolas, tailor, Marguerite Breton and their seven children living on the island. The following year, there is a record declaring that they have 9 arpents under cultivation and having 9 head of cattle in their stable. On November 22, 1675, Nicolas purchases a farm with 3 arpents of water frontage next to Louis Doray for the sum of 300 pounds, with 25 pounds down payment and 275 pounds, plus interest, over time.
A Quiet Life
It seems Nicolas and Marguerite and their family lived a more or less quiet life. A record has been found stating that the wife of Patenostre has made a donation of two pounds of butter. This was in June of 1665.
Another record, dated March 1, 1664, shows the name of Nicolas Patenostre as a witness of good character for one Francois Bilodeau, who had been accused of losing a canoe.
From all accounts, Nicolas and Marguerite were quiet, caring, generous people, well respected by their peers.
We are descended from the second of eleven children of this mariage, Jean Patenostre. Jean and three of his brothers moved to Laprairie, near Montreal. Jean and his second wife, Marie Romaine Robidoux, were married December 10, 1686, with whom he had four children. Jean died in hospital, and was buried in Montreal, June 25, 1699.
One of Jean's seven brothers, Charles Patenostre, who was baptized May 21, 1656, married Francoise Sesuin, daughter of Francois Seguin and Jeanne Petit, on January 8, 1694, in Boucherville, near Montreal. The following September 19, 1694, Charles signs a contract to become a voyageur. He and Francoise have ten children. Charles died February 17, 1724, at Longueuil.
In the census of 1666, Nicolas describes himself as a clothier, or tailor, yet no documentation exists to show that he practiced his trade. He was, above all, a man of the soil. He died, at the age of fifty, on Saturday, February 13, 1679, and was buried in the cemetery of Sainte-Famille the following Monday. Father Lamy, in a notation in the register of deaths, wrote: he lived 50 years, fifty years of self-sacrifice and devotion.
As for Marguerite Breton, she continued to raise and educate her children alone. We know she was living when her youngest son Marin Michel Patenostre took over the family farm and was married on November 11, 1698. We don't know for sure, but it is possible that Marguerite died during the great epidemic of 1702, possibly in the Montreal area where most of her children were living.
Nicolas and Marguerite, in founding a family, you have helped found a country. You lived a life of faith; your mission is accomplished. Today, it is up to us to remember your life and to express our thanks to you with more than just a well-deserved prayer.
Father Gerard Lebel, C.Ss.R.
"Nos Ancetres", Book 28
(translation from the French by Dan Pattenaude)