Name: Guillaume Couture
Birth: in "Famous Coeur de Buois"
Notes for Guillaume Couture:
Guillaume Couture came from Rouen to New France about 1640. He entered service with the Jesuits. He became a "Coureur des bois" in the best sense of the word. He was very interested in the natives and took the trouble to learn a number of their languages. For this reason the government and the Jesuits used him in many of their dealings with the natives.
Seven years after he was married Guillaume became a hero. On August 2nd 1642 according to the father Bressani "The Hurons with twelve canoes including Father Jogues, Rene Goupil, their surgeon, and Guillaume Couture were forced by a band of twenty four Iroquis, who after firing a gun forced the canoes to land. After this victory the Iroquis began torturing their victoms including Couture. After seven days of tortures, the prisoners were dragged from one village to the next. Because of his courage under torture Guillaume was adopted by one of the villages. He earned the respect of the natives and from that time forward he was used frequently in negotiations with the savages.
He established himself in 1649 with Anne Aymard near Point Levis. He was a judge and captain of the coast.
According to "Parkman in the Jesuits in North America" I have the following tale. In 1641 the waters of the St. Lawrence rolled through a virgin wilderness, where, in the vastness of the lonely woodlands, harborage was found at only three points - at Quebec, at Montreal and at Three Rivers. Here, and in the scattered missions was the whole of New France - a population of some three hundred souls in all. And now, over these miserable settlements, rose a war-cloud of frightful portent.
It was thirty two years since Champlain had first attacked the Iroquois. They had nursed their wrath for more than a generation, and at length their hour was come. The Dutch traders at Fort Orange, now Albany, had supplied them with fire-arms. The Mohawks, the most easterly of the Iroquois nations, had, among their seven or eight hundred warriors, no less than three hundred armed with the arquebuse.
In parties of from ten to a hunded or more, they would leave their towns on the River Mohawk, descend Lake Champlain and the River Richelie, lie in ambush on the banks of the St. Lawrence, and attack the passing boats or canoes. Sometimes they hovered about the fortifications of Quebec and Three Rivers, killing stragglers, or luring armed parties into ambuscades. They followed like hounds on the trail of travellers and hunters; broke in upon unguarded camps at midnight; and lay in wait for days and weeks, to intecept the Huron traders on their yearly descent to Quebec.
In the early morning of August 2nd, 1642 twelve Huron canoes were moving slowly along the northern shore of the expansion of the St. Lawrence known as the Lake of St. Peter. There were on board about forty persons, including four Frenchmen, one of them being the Jesuit, Isaac Jogues.They were on their way back to the Huron mission who were in need of clothing for the priests, vessels for the altars, of bread and wine for the eucharist, writing materials, basically everything. Included in the forty were a few Huron converts, among them a noted Christian chief Eustache Ahatsistari, the remainder were still heathen returning with the proceeds of their bargains with the French fur traders.
Jogues sat in one of the leading canoes, with him were two young men, Rene Goupil and Guillaume Couture, donnes of the mission - that is to say laymen who, from a religious motive and without pay, had attached themselves to the service of the Jesuits. Couture, was a man of intelligence and vigor, and of a character equally disinterested. Both were, like Jogues , in the foremost canoes; while the fourth Frenchman was with the unconverted Hurons, in the rear.
The twelve canoes had reached the western end of the Lake of St. Peter, where it is filled with innumerable islands. The forest was close on their right, they kept near the shore to avoid the current, and the shallow water before them was covered with a dense growth of tall bulrushes. Suddenly the silence was frightfully broken. The war-whoop rose from among the rushes, mingled with the reports of guns and the whistling of bullets; and several Iroquois canoes, filled with warriors, pushed out from their concealment, and bore down upon Jogues and his companions. The Hurons in the rear were seized with a shameful panic. They leaped ashore; left canoes, baggage and weapons; and fled into the woods. The French and the Christian Hurons made fight for a time; but when they saw another fleet of canoes approaching from opposite shores or islands, they lost heart, and those escaped who could. Coupil was seized and triumphant yells, as were also several of the Huron converts. Jogues sprang into the bulrushes, and might have escaped; but when he saw Goupil and the neophytes in the clutches of the Iroquois, he had no heart to abandon them, but came out from his hiding-place, and gave himself up to the astonished victors. A few of them had remained to guard the prisoners; the rest were chasing the fugitives. Jogues mastered his agony, and began to baptize those of the captive converts who need baptism.
Couture had eluded pursuit; but when he thought of Jogues and of what perhaps awaited him, he resolved to share his fate, and, turning, retraced his steps. As he approached five Iroquois ran forward to meet him; and one of them snapped his gun at his breast, but it missed fire. In this confusion and excitement, Couture fired his own piece, and laid the savage dead. The remaining four sprang upon him, stripped off all his clothing, tore away his finger nails with their teeth, gnawed his fingers with the fury of famished dogs and thrust a sword through one of his hands. Jogues broke from his guards, and rushing to his friend, threw his arms about his neck. The Iroquois dragged him away, beat him with their fists and war-clubs till he was senseless, and when he revived, lacerated his fingers with their teeth, as they had done those of Couture. Then they turned upon Goupil, and treated him with the same ferocity. The Huron prisoners were left for the present unharmed. More of them were brought in every moment, till at lenght the number of captives amounted in all to twenty-two, while three Hurons had been killed in the fight and pursuit. The Iroquois, about seventy in number, now embarked with their prey; but not until they had knocked on the head an old Huron, whom Jogues with his mangled hands, had just baptized, and who refused to leave the place. Then, under a burning sun, they crossed to the spot on which the town of Sorel now stands, at the mouth of the river Richelieu, where they encamped.
Their course was southward, up the River Richelieu and Lake Champlain; thence by way of Lake George, to the Mohawk towns. The pain and fever of their wounds, and the clouds of mosquitoes, which they could not drive off, left the prisoners no peace by day, nor sleep by night. On the eithth day, they learned that a large Iroquois war-party, on their way to Canada, were near at hand; and they soon approached their camp, on a small island near the southern end of Lake Champlain. The warriors , two hundred in number, saluted their victorious countrymen with volleys from their guns; then, armed with clubs and thorny sticks, ranged themselves in two lines, between which the captives were compelled to pass up the side of a rocky hill. On the way, they were beaten with such fury, that Jogues, who was last in the line, fell powerless, drenched in blood and half dead. As the chief man among the French captives, he fared the worst. His hands were again mangled, and fire applied to his body; while the Huron chief, Eustache, was subjected to tortures even more atrocious. When, at night, the exhausted sufferers tried to rest, the young warriors came to lacerate their wounds and pull out their hair and beards.
In the morning they resumed their journey. And now the lake narrowed to the semblance of a tranquil river. Before them was a woody mountain close on their right a rocky promontory, and between these flowed a stream, the outlet of Lake George. On those rocks, more than a hundred years after, rose the ramparts of Ticonderoga. They landed, shoulded their canoes and baggage, took their way through the woods. First of white men, Jogues and his companions gazed on the romantic lake that bears the name, not of its gentle discoverer, but of the dull Hnoverian king.
Again the canoes were launched, and the wild flotilla glided on its way, - now in the shadow of the heights, now on the broad expanse, now among the devious channels of the narrows, beset with woody islets, where the hot air was redolent of the pine, the spruce, and the cedar.
The Iroquois landed at or near the future site of Fort William Henry, left their canoes, and with their prisoners, began their march for the nearest Mohawk town. Each bore his share of the plunder. Even Jogues, though his lacerated hands were in a frightful condition and his body covered with bruises, was forced to stagger on with the rest under a heavy load. He with his fellow prisoners, and indeed the whole party, were half starved, subsisting chiefly on wild berries. They crossed the upper Hudson, and, in thirteen days after leaving the St Lawrence, neared the wretched goal of their pilgrimage, a palisaded town, standing on a hill by the banks of the River Mohawk.
The whoops of the victors announced their approach, and the savage hive sent forth its swarms. They thronged the side of the hill, the old and the young, each with a stick, or a slender iron rod, bought from the Dutchmen on the Hudson. They ranged themselves in a double line, reaching upward to the entrance of the town; and through this "narrow road of Paradise", as Jogues calls it, the captives were led in single file, Couture in front, after him a half-score of Hurons, and at last Jogues. As they passed, they were saluted with yells, screeches, and a tempest of blows. One, heavier than the others, knocked Jogue's breath from his body, and stretched him on the ground; but it was death to lie there, and, regaining his feet, he staggered on with the rest. When they reached the town, the blows ceased, and they were all placed on a scaffold, or high platform, in the middle of the place. The three Frenchmen had fared the worst, and were frightfully disfigured. Goupil, especially, was streaming with blood, and livid with bruises from head to foot.
They were allowed a few minutes to recover their breath, undisturbed, except by the hootings and gibes of the mob below. Then a chief called out, " Come let us caress these Frenchmen" - and the crowd, knife in hand, began to mount the scaffold. They ordered a Christian Algonquin woman, a prisoner among them, to cut off Jogue's left thumb, which she did; and a thumb of Goupil was also severed, a clam-shell being used as the instrument, in order to increase the pain. It is needless to specify further the tortures to which they were sujected, all designed to cause the greatest possible suffering without endangering life. At night, they were removed from the scaffold, and placed in one of the houses, each stretched on his back, with his limbs extended, and his ankles and wrists bound fast to stakes dreiven into the earthen floor. The children now profited by the examples of their parents, and amused themselves by placing live coals and red-hot ashes on the naked bodies of the prisoners, who, bound fast, and covered with wounds and bruises which made every movement a torture, were sometimes unable to shake them off.
In the morning, they were again placed on the scaffold, where during this and two following days, they remained exposed to the taunts of the crowd. Then they were led in triumph to the second Mohawk town, and afterwards to the third, suffering at each a repetition of cruelties, the detail of which would be as monotonous as revolting.
In a house in the town of Teonontogen, Jogues was hung by the wrists between two of the upright poles which supported the structure, in such a manner that his feet could not touch the ground; and thus he remained for some fifteen minutes, in extreme torture, until, as he was on the point of swooning, an Indian, with an impulse of pity, cut the cords and released him. While they were in this town, four fresh Huron prisoners, just taken were brought in, and placed on the scaffold with the rest. Jogues, in the midst of his pain and exhaustion, took the opportunity to convert them. An ear of green corn was thrown to him for food, and he discovered a few rain-drops clinging to the husks. With these he baptized two of the Hurons. The remaining two received baptism soon after from a brook which the prisoners crossed on the way to another town.
Couture, though he had incensed the Indians by killing one of their warriors, had gained their admiration by his bravery; and, after torturing him most savagely, they adopted him into one of their families, in place of a dead relative. Thenceforth he was comparatively safe. Jogues and Goupil were less fortunate. After a while, Goupil was killed by the Indians, but Jogues did manage to escape with the help of the Dutchmen at Fort Orange.
It was not until July 5, 1644 when the Iroquois responding to an offer of peace from the French reappeared at Three Rivers, bring with them two men of renown, ambassadors of the Mohawk nation. There was a fourth man of the party, and, as they approached, the Frenchmen on the shore recognized, to their great delight, Guillaume Couture, who had long since been given up as dead. In dress and appearance he was an Iroquois. He had gained a great influence over his captors, and this embassy of peace was due in good measure to his persuasions.
It was during the negotiations, a couple of days later that Couture was returned to the French. However that winter in order to hold the Mohawks to their faith, Couture stayed with them along with Jogues.
And translated from Internet page of Robert Rochon "Liste des Protronymes" :
GUILLAUME COUSTURE The name " seams " as former French is a plowed field, a cultivated and sown ground. In the same way, a " dressmaker " is a farmer. All the Couture family of America comes from Guillaume Cousture, arrived to News-France towards 1640. Guillaume Cousture is baptized on January 14 1618, son of Guillaume Cousture and Madeleine Mallet, originating in the Saint-Godard parish of Rouen, in Normandy, department current of Seine-Maritime. The Guillaume young person chooses to put at the service Jesuits. As several do it at the time, he offers his services to the Jesuits in exchange of a lodging and food. It is the beginning of an adventurous life where he comes very close to several times death. As of 1641, Cousture has learned several Indian dialects, which gives him an essential asset for the young colony. Moreover, his talents of carpenter are very appreciated. He builds a vault in a named mission " Sainte-Marie ", close to the Georgienne bay. Cousture leaves Three-Rivers, for a journey towards Huronie into 1642, accompanied by the fathers Isaac Jogues and Rene Goupil and 19 Huron Indians. Around the lake Saint-Pierre, the small troop is attacked by a group from approximately 80 Iroquois. There is combat, Cousture mortally reached one of the heads with his arquebus, but the battle is nevertheless lost. As reprisals, Iroquois are caught some to the French and with Huron and torture them. The Jogues father tells the maltreatment which Cousture. " Cousture undergoes then, which in the combat had killed one their heads, is exposed to all their fury. They stripped it and meurtrirent it with blows of sticks. They tore off the nails to him, crushed to him the fingers with their teeth and passed a sword to him through the hand. A savage removes even half of the right index to him. The pain is all the more large as the savage was useful himself, not a knife, but a piece of shell. As it could not cut the too hard nerve and too slipping, it twisted it and tears off to him while drawing with such a violence that the nerve emerges out of the arm length of a palm. The arm swelled prodigiously to the elbow " Then Cousture is sent in another village and is put in adoption in a family (possibly the family of the man which it had killed). The two Jesuits underwent other atrocious tortures and Goupil is loosely assassinated of a blow of axe because it made the sign of the cross on the head of a child iroquois. Jogues is also killed later like several other Jesuits of which the Father Jean de Brébeuf. These good men, with the faith inébranlable, is known today under the name of " Saints Canadian Martyrs ". As for Cousture, it is adopted by a widow iroquoise who treats it like a member of the tribe. It learns the language and the habits from these people and becomes a member if appreciated that it sits soon at the consulting of tape. After three years of captivity, valorous Normand goes to Three-Rivers with two deputy, to sign peace between the two people. One hesitates to recognize Cousture which is vêtu with the iroquoise and which one believed dead, but " As soon as that it is recognized, each one is thrown to its collar, by looking it like a man ressuscité. " Into 1647, Cousture is established in Lauzon, where day before today its statue. he marries, November 18 1649, in its house of Point Lévy, Anne Aymard or Esmard, originating in Niort, in Poitou, girl of Jean and Marie Buneau. She is the sister of Madeleine Esmard married to Zacharie Cloutier son, and of Esmard Barb married to Olivier LeTardif. This marriage gives ten children. Cousture, whose experiment among Amérindiens is very useful. he is named towards 1666, captain of militia of the coast of Lauzon. It is told that then 73 years old, the captain and his men prevent the unloading of the troops of Phipps at the coast of Lauzon. Cousture is finally named judge seneshal, station which he occupies until his death on April 4, 1701. Of six sons of Guillaume Cousture, Guillaume is the only one who preserves the original surname (from which the " S " is disappeared today). Jean-baptiste, the elder one, becomes the ancestor of the Lamonde family. Charles takes the name of Lafrenaye, Eustace takes that of Bellerive and Joseph-Odger that of Cressonnière. This last is that which binds us to Guillaume Cousture, in this genealogy. Joseph-Odger Cousture marries into 1695, Jeanne-Marie Huard, girl of the ancestor Jean Huard and Anne-Marie Amiot. Their daughter, Louise Seams wife in 1733, Pierre Bourassa. Anne Esmard is buried on January 15, 1700, with the Point of Lévis. Guillaume A followed a little later, but, before November 14, 1701.
Marie-Anne Aymard\Emard b: in France
- Guillaume Couture b: 11 OCT 1662 in Quebec City, P.Q.