The arrival

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What led our ancestors to emigrate to Nouvelle-France has never really been clarified. They were comfortably established in Tourouvre, dividing their time between trade and culture and being among the local notables. Their arrival in Quebec City is thought to have occurred around 1638. Did they come as merchants or farmers? Possibly both because, as Geslin wrote: "Every Norman or Percheron farmer is at the same time a merchant". In 1640, we find the three brothers Gagnon Mathurin, Jean and Pierre take possession of land grants in Château-Richer. These lands were located very close to the current parish of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre between Riviere-aux-Chiens and Sault-à-Ia-Puce. 

There was a limit for cutting wood each year in order not to reduce the value of the land, not to pluck the land as he said. "They lived mainly on farm produce, it was very different from life today, but the land produces if you want to cultivate it, everything you need to feed yourself and live happily. They liked everything that was beautiful and good, didn't care how long it took to achieve something. They put their trust in God because even if we think of doing everything, it is God our Father who does the greatest part. We are very small in front of these large fields and seeds that we put in the ground".

Jean, the first to settle, occupies a lot near the Riviere-aux-Chiens, with his brother Mathurin as his second neighbour, who in turn lives next to his brother Pierre's land. Each of these lands has a frontage of approximately seven arpents overlooking the river and a depth of 126 acres. Established on their respective farms, the three brothers set to work to operate and enhance the value of their concession while continuing to operate their business in Quebec City. They commute between Château-Richer and Quebec City. On August 14, 1651, Governor Louis Dailleboust granted them a compost on the west side of Saint-Pierre Street in the lower town of Quebec City where they established a store. Business is booming. In 1660, the Gagnon brothers owned 25 to 40 acres of land each, cattle and were relatively comfortable with their families. Noblesse oblige: Mathurin the elder is appointed by the Governor to sit on the Sovereign Council which is what we could call the government of the time. 

(Source: Texts and images from "La Gagnonnière" magazine)

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