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Biography of Abraham Martin - Ontario Genealogical Society

From Descendants of Jean Cote' by Jean-Guy Cote' pggs. 5-11) ABRAHAM MARTIN Abraham Martin, our first Canadian Maternal grandfather, was with Louis Hebert, one of the first colonists of Canada, His name remains with us as it is attached to the famous Plains of Abraham. He was a pilot on the St. Lawrence river and, with his wife, Marguerite Langlois, left us through their daughters, a long line of Canadians. In the archives the Dames Ursulines are stored the titles to two parcels of land which belonged to him. United, these land were sold to the decendants of Master Abraham. Abraham Martin's land were known as the "Plains of Abraham" and this name was also attached to the adjoining lands were Wolfe and Montcalm fought their famous battle. Abraham, as the first pilot of the Saint Lawrence river, was the first to put together rudimentary maps of that landmark. It is interesting to note that the small ship that provides pilot services at Poite-aux-Pere near Rimouski carried the name of this famous pilot, Abraham Martin, and its sister ship, the name "Jalobert" the first French pilot who came here with Cartier. First clearer of lands and first river pilot, Abraham Martin carved out, through his knowledge and courage, a reputation that will remain in our history. In 1923, the Historic Society of Quebec dedicated a monument to him in the old lower part of Quebec city. ABRAHAM MARTIN Abraham Martin ("The Scotsman" or "Master Abraham) pilot, born in France in 1589, died at Quebec on the 8th of September 1664. Abraham Martin arrived in New France about 1620 with his wife, Marguerite Langlois, her sister Francoise and her brother-in-law Pierre Desportes (the parents of Helene Desportes). Martin could have been of scottish descent, or he may have taken on a nickname because he had served in the army or he may have belonged to a clandestine organization. Nicknames were used to hide indentites of deserters or those members of illegal organizations in case their documents were seized. It is equaly possible that he was named so because he had made numerous voyages to Scotland in his youth. We are not absolutely certain that he was made official pilot, even if the title "royal pilot" as given him during his lifetime. In any case, it is proven that he fished all along the St. Lawrence all the way to the gulf. The "Plains of Abraham" would also be named after him. An interesting anecdote tells us that "Abraham's hill" was a right of way that Martin used to bring his cattle to the waters of the St. Charles river. His lands were 32 arpents (about 48 acres) made up of 12 arpents granted by the Company of New France in 1635 and 20 more received as a gift from Sieur Adrien Du Chesne, naval surgion to Pierre Legardeur de Repentigny in 1645. This property was sold by the Martin Family to the Ursuline Nuns in 1667. It is possible that this same Martin was employed by Jean de Biencourt and Du Gua de Monts as navigator on the Acadian coast while he was still very young. When David Kirk took Quebec in 1629 and left his brother Lewis as governor until 1632, Martin and his family stayed in Quebec. Later, Martin lost face with the citizens when he was accused of attrocities towards a young girl from Quebec. He was jailed on February 15th of 1649 for that act. The archives show that Abraham Martin and Marguerite Langlois had nine or ten children. Anne Martin, born in France in 1635 and married to Jean Cote' the 17th of November 1635 was probably not his daughter. Eustache, baptised on October 24, 1621 is the godson of Eustache Boulle' and was the first Canadian born. Marguerite, born January 4, 1624 and Married May 22, 1638 to Etienne Racine had many descendants including the two Bishops Racine. Helene, born June 21, 1627 was goddaughter of Samuel de Champlain. She married Claude Etienne in 1640 and then Medard Chouart des Groseillers on September 31, 1647. Charles Amador, born March 7, 1648, godson of Charles de Sainte-Etienne de La Tour, was the second priest ordained in Canada. It is possible that Brother Dominique Scot, mentioned in the Jesuite Relations, as having arrived in Huronia still a young man is equally one of his sons. We may also suppose that a young man identified as arriving in Huronia at the same time (1634-1635) was Eustache Martin. THE PLAINS OF ABRAHAM According to Mr. P.-J.O. Chauveau, this historical name applies to the vast plateau which extends below the ramparts of Quebec and which terminates to the south by a steep hill on the St. Lawrence river and on the other side a smaller hill which seperates it from the valley of the St. Charles river. Where does this name come from? Abraham Martin known as The Scotsman has a confusing history. We have assumed that he was from Scotland but any written proofs do not support this. The nickname given to Abraham Martin is a presumption of these opinions. It is Abraham Martin who has left his name to the plains where the French and English forces met on September 13, 1759 and again on April 28, 1760. The first owner of this land was the surgeon, Adrien Duchesne, who gifted it to Mr. Martin as noted in the following document: "We, the undersigned, certify to whom it may concern, that last year, 1645, Sieur Adrien Duchesne, naval surgeon on the ship of Mr. De Repentigny, being in Quebec, told us that he had given the land, which was given to him in the town of Quebec, to Abraham Martin river pilot, and that he could work it as he saw fit. If time permitted to prepare a contract of the gift, he would have done so. This we attest to as the truth. Made this 15th day of August 1646." The document was signed by six citizens of Quebec: MMS Giffard, Tronquet, Latardif, Delaunay, Bissot and Guitet. A document notarized by Lacoustre, notary in Quebec, dated December 1647, qualifies Abraham Martin as royal pilot in this country. Above are two authentic documents which confirm that Abraham Martin was river pilot, that is, of the St. Lawrence. We have the right then to proclaim him "first royal pilot in this country" until anyone can provide the names of those who preceded him in that capacity. Abraham Martin died at Quebec September 8, 1664. June 1, 1667, the descendants of Abraham Martin sold to the Ursuline Nuns of Quebec "a lot of 32 arpents of cleared land, situated within Quebec city, with a house and a barn on that same land". This was the concessions that Abraham Martin had received from Duchesne along with more than 12 arpents given to him by the Company of New France May 16, 1650. The Ursulines paid 1200 "livres" for possession of the Plains of Abraham. In 1863, Mr. Chauveau described the Plains of Abraham: "Even if historically there was nothing to them, this land merits to be know for its beauty. Two great roads parallel the lands. One follows the St. Lawrence, the other the St. Charles river. The first is named Grande-Allee or chemin St. Louis and the other chemin Sainte-Foy. Each position has its own monument as well. One raised to honor Wolfe, at the spot where he died, and the other to the brave of 1760, at the spot where the heat of battle was, on the site of the Dumont Mill." ABRAHAM MARTIN Abraham Martin, "the Scotsman" (buried in 1664), pilot, clerk of the Company of Merchants. The date of his birth had been contested (1589) because of the age of his daughter, Anne, who married Jean Cote, Nov. 17, 1635 at Quebec: She must have been born of a previous marriage since Marguerite Langlois gave birth to her last child in 1648 which brings her own birth back to around 1600. In addition, Abraham did not arrive in New France in 1613 or 1614, since there were no arrivals, but must have arrived in 1619 or 1620 with his wife and daughter Anne born of his first marriage. (see Bulletin de Recherches Historique 1922). Martin was first employed by the Company of Rouen and his payments from this allowed him to keep his assets until needed. He then applied himself to cultivating: two of his farms were sold later by his descendants to the Ursulines; the first of 20 arpents was given to him in 1646 by Deschesne (see that name), and the second of 12 arpents was a concession to him by the Company of Cents Associes (company of 100 associated). In 1647, he received the title of royal pilot. We can read it in the Jesuite Journals, that on that month, in June 1647, master Abraham and two sons-in-law went to fish for seals(?). On the eve of Saint-Jean, they caught 4 at I'lle Rouge (red island) of which they obtained 6 small barrels of oil. "On new year's day (1646), we gave four handkerchiefs to the wife of Abraham and to him a bottle of spirits". On January 19, 1649, "the first execution at the hands of the executionner took place on a creature (girl) of 15 or 16, a thief; at the same time, Abraham was accused of violating her; he was jailed until the arrival of the ships". He died September 1664 having stayed in Quebec in 1629-32. From his research, Mr. Massicotte is certain that Anne Martin was born around 1603. (extracted from "Dictionnaire General du Canada" - Lejeune Volume 2) ABRAHAM MARTIN "THE SCOTSMAN" ...Louis Hebert, and his wife Marie Rollet, who arrived in 1617, are generally known as the first settlers of Canada. However, in 1618, there arrived another settler whose name has been carried in our histories-- this man was Abraham Martin dit l'Ecossais. It was on his farm that General Wolfe and Montcalm fought the battle for the city of Quebec, and the struggle has since been called the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. You will note that I called him Abraham Martin "dit l'Ecossais". For those who have not heard the expression "dit", it is the French word for said or called. In other words, Abraham Martin was nicknamed "L'Ecossais" or "The Scotsman". In a quarterly publication of the Genealogical Society of Montreal, which describes a research trip with the objective of proving once and for all whether Abraham Martin was , in truth, a Scotsman. The author and searcher had found during his travels a tombstone in Dundee, Scotland, with the following inscription: "Here lies an honest man, Abraham Martine, Frenchman, surgeon and barber, lawful son of Abraham Martine, merchant, burgess of the city of Mertz, in Lorraine, France, who departed from this life 13 June 1673. His age being 57 years." This Abraham Martin dit l"Ecossais set sail for Canada. It may therefore be assumed that our Abraham travelled to Scotland from France and perhaps derived his nickname from these travels... (extracted from a paper on Ontario Genealogical Society)



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