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Friday, March 1, 2024

A Really Bad Marriage

Julien La Touche, from La Rochelle, a soldier in the Grandfontaine Company of the Carignan Regiment, earned his living in the region of Trois-Rivieres. Because of his lack of talent as a farmer, he was content to lease lands from Maurice Poulin, Sieur de Lafontaine, and from Charles Jutras dit Lavallee.

Elisabeth Bertault was pressured by her father to accept the 30-year old Julien LaTouche in marriage. Elisabeth let herself be lead to the foot of the altar of the church of Trois-Rivieres on 12 August 1671. Disaster! Almost immediately poverty settled in at the home. Papa Bertault often had to send food to his daughter or invite her to eat at home. He even stated that he and his wife could accomplish more work with a pickaxe than LaTouche did with two oxen and a plow. Furthermore, LaTouche drank and beat his wife, sometimes drawing blood. 'I wish that you were dead', he often told her.

What must happen, will happen. The parents believed themselves wounded in their own flesh. They decided to do away with Julien. After an attempt at poisoning, they killed their son-in-law by stabbing him with a pickaxe and dragged him into the river. Of course they were caught. At Quebec, the case was judged criminal and the parents , little people with no defense, paid with their lives: strangulation for the father, hanging for the mother. On 9 June 1672 in the Upper Town of the capital, Elisabeth was compelled to personally attend the barbaric execution of her parents.

Thomas J. Laforest Our French-Canadian Ancestors : Volume XV, Pages 161-162

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