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The origins of Mathurin Dubé

The origins of Marie Campion

Arrival and courtship in New France

Settlement and life on Orléans Island

The move to La Pocatière in Grande-Anse

Death of our ancestors

Mathurin and Marie’s descendants


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Mathurin finally anchored his family on the land acquired around 1691 in Rivière-Ouelle. Mathurin and Marie gave life to eight children, six of them on Orléans Island: Mathurin, Marie-Madeleine, Louis, Pierre, Charles and Laurent. After the family moved to Rivière-Ouelle, Marie bore two other children, Marie-Anne born in 1691 and Jean-Bernard born in 1694, who both died in childhood.

1- The Following Generation

From the eight children born to Mathurin and Marie, four sons and one daughter married in Rivière-Ouelle. From those who married, first-born Mathurin wed Marie-Anne Miville/Deschênes on May 13, 1691, and they had 13 children. Widowed in 1717, Mathurin married Marie Catherine Dunn in 1724, but this union left no descendants. During his life, Mathurin was a landowner or farm tenant in Rivière-Ouelle, Kamouraska, La Pocatière and Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies. Second-born Marie-Madeleine married three times. Her first spouse, Charles Bouchard, drowned three weeks after their marriage. She then married Jean Miville/Deschênes, a cousin to her brother Mathurin’s wife, and they had 11 children. Widowed again, she married Grégoire Ouellet, who not only gave her a son but also brought 16 children from a previous marriage. Widowed once again, she was to care for a large family of 28 children. She spent her life mainly in La Pocatière and Rivière-Ouelle. Third-born Louis wed first Marie-Angélique Boucher on January 28, 1697, and they had 12 children. Widowed in 1717, he wed Marguerite Lebel on January 9, 1719, and together they had another 9 children. He owned land in Rivière-Ouelle and also exploited a porpoise fishing business with other associates, one of which was his brother-in-law Jean Miville/Deschênes and, after the latter’s death, his own sister Marie-Madeleine. Fourth-born Pierre married Marie-Thérèse Boucher on January 7, 1704, and she gave him 9 children. Pierre owned farms first in Rivière-Ouelle, then in Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies and thereafter in the Lauzon seigniory in 1723, before moving to the Montreal area in 1728 where he died on February 6, 1755. Fifth-born Laurent married Geneviève Boucher on January 7, 1706, becoming the third Dubé son to wed a girl from the same Boucher family. They had 11 children. Laurent exploited his farm in Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies and participated in a porpoise fishing business. Thus, as was the case in other Quebec families at the time, the Dubés had a high birth rate. Altogether, Mathurin and Marie had 66 grandchildren, 54 of them named Dubé. How could Mathurin and Marie have ever dreamed of leaving in America such a colossal progeny that would keep their memory alive for all generations to come!

2- The Dubés Throughout the Province of Quebec

Pierre’s descendants have been present in Montreal and the surrounding area for a long time, even though in small number. Meanwhile, the descendants from the other children born to Mathurin and Marie multiplied rapidly over several generations in an area extending from Quebec City to Kamouraska, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River. As is well known and easily observable, a vast area extending over 350 kilometres from Montmagny to Matane, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, is the family’s real cradle. In some villages of this vast region, Dubés are effectively the most visible minority. Rivière-du-Loup has become a sort of headquarter for the Dubés. Moving further inland in the early 1800s, a large number of Dubés settled both the Témiscouata Valley and the farming land along the Matapédia River. Most of the marriages contracted in these regions were already included in the first directory published by Julien Dubé for the Association des Dubé. Continuous and rigorous research carried out by our present team of genealogists for publication in our recent directory entitled Les Descendants de Mathurin Dubé et Marie Campion nevertheless revealed some surprising phenomena. We found in the Mauricie area an important contingent of Dubés, pioneers from our large family who settled there in the late 1700s. In this area, a Dubé married an Atikamekw girl living in the northern part of the Mauricie, and that couple left an important progeny in this Aboriginal community. A few years later, another Dubé from the Mauricie area was one of the pioneers who settled the Témiscamingue region. One single family, which arrived in Quebec City around 1820, had a large number of descendants who contracted hundreds of marriages in this region. At the same time, a Dubé moved to the Rocher-Percé area; this branch of the family has grown at an extremely fast rate, particularly in Grande-Rivière, and its descendants spread later to various parts of the Province of Quebec. In the 1800s, a few Dubés left the south shore, crossed the St. Lawrence River and settled first the Saguenay area and later the Lac-St-Jean and the North Shore, where they left numerous descendants. Around 1850, an important cell formed in the vicinity of Sherbrooke and near the American border along New Hampshire. In the meantime, other Dubés moved to both shores of the Ottawa River. In the 1900s, Dubés from various branches and areas participated in a thrust to colonize another frontier, the Abitibi region. Overall, even though Dubés were relatively less visible in Montreal due to the massive size of the population, a high percentage of marriages recorded in our directory were contracted in this region.

3- The Dubés Outside Quebec Borders

The Dubés have extended their presence outside the Province of Quebec and exercised a significant influence in the Madawaska region of New Brunswick since the late 1700s. From there, they easily crossed the St. John River, and when the Canada-US border was changed they became residents of the State of Maine. So was created the first large group of American Dubés. West of the Province of Quebec, as could be expected, numerous Dubés settled in Ontario and in the francophone region of Manitoba. Dubés also went to other communities in Western Canada. In the United States, Dubés have formed still-existing cells in the territories long ago conquered by French explorers: the Detroit area and the Mississippi Valley. Around 1860, some Dubé families accompanied Charles Chiniquy in Illinois, before pushing further into the American Mid-West. Far more massive was the migration of the late 1800s and early 1900s, when entire villages, including numerous Dubés, left the Bas-St-Laurent [region along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River] and converged on New England.

4- Exponential Growth

As a result of this exponential growth of Dubés in America, it is estimated that Mathurin and Marie are the ancestors of 15 000 to 20 000 Dubés, who spell our family name under various forms. In the Province of Quebec, according to estimates in a series of articles on founding families published in Quebec City’s daily Le Soleil, Dubés come in 20th among the most frequent family names of French extraction. This is particularly remarkable, given that one single couple of this name took root in Canada. And how about our French cousins? There are still Dubés in our motherland. We are keeping in direct contact with our overseas cousins. We found some traces of the family in Vendée, Mathurin’s birthplace. It is obvious that their number is very limited compared to the large progeny a “little guy from La Chapelle-Thémer” established on our side of the Atlantic.




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