Of all 18 of our Filles du Roi matriarchs, Marguerite Lamain (or Maine) may rank among the most unusual. She was born in about 1657 in Rouen, Normandy, the daughter of Jacques Lamain and Marguerite Deshaies. We can only wonder how a 13-year-old girl would have the maturity to make such a commitment or what her life conditions were that someone sought to improve by sending her alone from France at such a tender age to meet her destiny — and probably with the knowledge that they would never, ever meet again.
The ship Saint Jean-Baptiste arrived in Québec City at the end of July, bringing Marguerite and her trousseau with goods stated to be worth about 300 livres for her dowry. No doubt she would find some solace in the company of some 119 other Filles who presumably treated her as a little sister.
In modern culture it’s unthinkable that Marguerite would be taken to the convent of the Ursulines and ultimately asked to choose a husband among grown men. The only relief I can find for such a terrible thought is that Marguerite’s was not a rare case in the world’s turbid evolution. Child marriages are still common in some places today. In fact we have twelve other ancestors over six generations that preceded Lazare and Clarice Côté who married at 13 years of age. The only thing that sets Marguerite Lamain apart is that she was one of the Filles du Roi.
Michel Rognon dit Laroche was born about 1639 to Charles Rognon and Geneviève Le Parmentier in the parish of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois in Paris. He arrived in New France on June 30, 1665 at 26 years of age, five years before Marguerite’s arrival, as a soldier with the Monteil Company of the Carignan Regiment. The soldiers of the Carignan Regiment had been sent by France to protect settlers from unprovoked attacks of the Iroquois.
It seems there were at least some concerns for Marguerite’s emotional and physical well-being. By the time she married on September 14, 1670, about six weeks had passed since the landing of her ship, and almost all of her fellow Filles had already departed the Ursulines with their new husbands, suggesting that either the Ursulines were more protective of young Marguerite about whom they considered a suitable mate or that most men who called were simply not interested in starting a family with a 13-year-old child. Marguerite did, however, marry Michel Rognon, now 31 years old, at Québec City, regardless that there were 18 years between them. Marguerite could not sign the marriage contract drawn up previously on September 3 by notary Romain Becquet, but Michel could, at least in some acceptable fashion. King Louis XIV’s intendant, Jean Talon, kept the regal promise made to Marguerite by providing the gift of 50 livres in kind from the king’s stores. And so their marriage began in the village of Neuville in Québec.
While there is no question that Marguerite was a child bride in the truest sense, it comes as some consolation to learn that she did not bear any children during the first three years of her marriage to Michel Rognon. Finally at 16 she gave birth to a son and then continued a succession of child-bearing for the next 24 years — 14 children in all.
On November 8, 1684, Michel Rognon died for unstated reasons and was buried at Neuville. He was only 45. His sixth and final child was just a year old. It would be their fourth child, also named Marguerite, who would carry her mother’s genetic blueprint onward to Lazare Côté.
- 1695 Marguerite Rognon
m. Julien-Charles Sevigny » Jean-François
- 1743 Jean-François Sevigny
m. Marie-Anne Croteau » Catherine
- 1780 Catherine Sevigny
m. Michel Charest » Joseph
- 1807 Joseph Charest
m. Marguerite Aubin » Marie-Desanges
- 1845 Marie-Desanges
Chaurette m. François Côté » Lazare
- 1870 Lazare Côté
m. Clarice Bergeron
- 1695 Marguerite Rognon m. Julien-Charles Sevigny » Jean-François
- 1743 Jean-François Sevigny m. Marie-Anne Croteau » Catherine
- 1780 Catherine Sevigny m. Michel Charest » Joseph
- 1807 Joseph Charest m. Marguerite Aubin » Marie-Desanges
- 1845 Marie-Desanges Chaurette m. François Côté » Lazare
- 1870 Lazare Côté m. Clarice Bergeron