Jean Baptiste's Passport

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[1690 map]

Unlikely as it seems, Jean Baptiste Richard (born 1682), a voyageur and French soldier, was the descendant of a Welsh mercenary and the ancestor of United Empire Loyalists. (You can find out more about him in our Richards family tree.)

On his journeys, Jean Baptiste met, apparently bought, and eventually married a young woman named Marie-Anne You. She was the daughter of a Miami Indian woman named Elizabeth and a French soldier named Pierre You. Jean Baptiste met her near what is now Detroit, Michigan and brought her back to Montréal, where they were married the same day their oldest child was baptized.

However, Marie-Anne did not do well in Montréal, and Jean Baptiste sought and obtained permission to return with her and their children to her original home. What follows is the English translation of the document issued to them for the journey.

No. 12. Permission to Jean Richard, September 3, 1722. [In margin: Richard, permit for the Ouitanon. Took out sixteen pots of brandy for the four men, left September 9.]

There appeared at the record office of the royal jurisdiction of Montréal before the clerk undersigned the Sieur Jean Richard, who presented permission which monseigneur the governor general had granted him to go to the post of Ouitanon this day, for which permission he requested registration in conformity with itself and with the declaration of the king of April 28, 1716, the record requested granted him by said clerk for his use and to be used as may be thought proper and immediately the said permission was registered by said clerk as follows. Done at Montréal at said record office, September 3, 1722.

Philippe de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil, Knight Grand Cross of the military order of St. Louis, governor and lieutenant general for the king in all New France.

The man named Jean Richard, formerly interpreter and blacksmith at the post of the Ouiatanon, where he served under the Sieurs de Vincennes, father and son, has represented to us that his wife, who is of the Ouiatanon nation, and who has been continually ill for the two years that she came to live in this colony, wishes to return to her country to recover her health, if it would please us to grant him permission to take her back to said post of the Ouitanon with her children; and since the Sieur de Vincennes fils who commands there has asked us for the said Richard, whom he needs because he is a blacksmith as well as a good interpreter and a man of good will to serve in the conversation which he is obliged to hold for the interests of the savages, we have permitted said Jean Richard to return to said post with his wife and three children in a canoe, taking with him the men named Joseph Larrivé, Louis Goulet, and François Seran to aid him in conducting the said canoe, in which he has declared to us that he is taking the things necessary for his housekeeping, his clothes and those of his family, with a hundred pounds of flour, three hundred pounds of biscuit, two pots of brandy, fifteen pots of wine, and two pots of strawberry brandy, and that his entire merchandise consists of only one hundred pounds of powder, one hundred pounds of lead, nine ells of woollen cloth, a gross of knives, and two pounds of vermilion. We forbid the said Richard to carry or to allow to be carried in said canoe for his three employees any other merchandise or brandy than that declared above under the penalties carried by the ordinances; we also forbid them to do any trading or commerce with the savages in the dependencies of Fort Frontenac, of Detroit, or elsewhere than at the said post of the Ouiatanon. The said Richard will be required to have these presents registered before his departure from this town at the record office of the royal jurisdiction of Montréal. We enjoin the three employees of the said Richard to return to this colony and to be back during the month of July of next year at the latest, each with his gun, which they will be required to have upon leaving from here and to bring back upon their return, without being allowed to get rid of them by trading them to the savages under penalty of three months in prison.

Done at Montréal, September 3, 1722; signed, VAUDREUIL, and lower down, for monseigneur, DE LESTAGE.

Source: H.C. Burleigh, Jean Richard , U.E. of Isle Tant and Prince Edward County.

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