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Fort Anne National Historic Site of Canada


Jeanne Motin

Jeanne Motin was a French settler and daughter of an associate of Razilly’s trading company. In 1636, at the age of 20, she sailed from France accompanied by her two sisters and her brother-in-law. In the same year, she married Charles de Menou d’Aulnay, who was some 12 years her senior. The couple had four sons, who entered the army and died in battle, and four daughters, all of whom became nuns.

By the time d’Aulnay died in 1650, Port-Royal comprised of around 300 French residents. As his widow, Madame D’Aulnay’s ability to carry on with her husband’s work was limited considerably by his debts incurred from his colonizing efforts and battles with Charles de Saint-Étienne de La Tour.

Persistent creditors demanded payment from Madame d'Aulnay. Among the most aggressive was Emmanuel LeBorgne from La Rochelle, France, the future governor of Acadia, claiming the d’Aulnay estate owed him 260,000 livres. Others that made claims against Madame d'Aulnay included Nicolas Denys, the holder of one of the largest seigneuries in Acadia. In 1651, LeBorgne sent an agent to Port-Royal to seize the fort. Capuchin priests tried to intervene, but the fort was pillaged. The situation was further complicated after Madame d’Aulnay’s intendant went to France and made unauthorized arrangements with the Duc de Vendome to assume half the depts in exchange for half of d’Aulnay’s estate and an equal share in the fur trade.

Around this time, hearing of d'Aulnay's death, La Tour returned to Paris where he was absolved of any wrongdoing, stemming from his attack on the fort in 1643. He was made governor of Acadia and returned to Port-Royal, then to his old fort along the Saint John River. With the exception of Denys's seigneury, La Tour once again came to control Acadia.

On February 24, 1653, La Tour, at the age of 57, and the widow of his old enemy, Jeanne Motin, married. The couple would have five children.

The family lived at the mouth of the Saint John River until about 1656 when they moved to Cape Sable. La Tour and Jeanne Motin died in the 1660s. Their five children would remain in Acadia and play important roles in the later history of Port-Royal.