French in the Midwest
"By the 1580s, French trading companies had been set up, and ships were contracted to bring back furs. Much of what transpired between the natives and their European visitors around that time is not known for lack of historical records." They located fur trading posts along the banks of rivers and lakes. Their trade routes extended into Canada.
The first Europeans to set foot into what is now Wisconsin (established in 1848) were the French.
The Milwaukee Public Museum, the Wisconsin Prairie du Chien museums, and other local sites document the French legacy.
The Sault Ste. Marie region or territory, from Michigan and extending into Canada, is a wonderful place to visit and learn more.
Solomon Juneau, a French Canadian, founded Milwaukee. His grave is located at Calvary Cemetery in Milwaukee.
"Acadia and Canada (New France) were loaded with unexploited and valuable natural riches, attracting settlers from far and wide."
"New France (Nouvelle-France) was the area colonized by France in North America during a period beginning with missionary activity and the exploration of the Saint Lawrence River by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Spain and Great Britain in 1763."
Primarily Dutch, English, and French settlers migrated to this northern land. Many of us, myself included, trace their genealogy from what is now the United States and into what is now called Canada.
Family Immigration to New France
At least one of my ancestors (and likely more) arrived from the Charente region of France during the Nouvelle period. I am not sure of the reasons for their departure, as nothing has been recorded, but hope for a better life or military enlistment certainly entered into the equation.
1. Above left is the 17th century, Faubert family, Chateau d'Oyer located in west-central France. The chateau is in a dilapidated state. The tower has toppled since the vintage photograph was taken and window panes were missing in places.
2. The second photo shows the well-worn, coat-of-arms over the aged, chateau main entrance. It looks to be a standard chevalier or knights helmet.
3-4. Situated on a hill, the Chateau d'Oyer, overlooks an ideally scenic, rural valley. A friendly farm family was living in a section of the building at the time of our visit. They owned a small herd of goats and chubby geese wandered the premises along with feral cats.
5-6. Hay baling appeared to be one of the mainstays and to feed the animals. A handful of large outbuildings, some original, dotted the estate. In some, as shown, farm equipment was kept and hay was stored.
7-8. The second to last photo is a statue of St Joan of Arc which is located at the Oyer Church on the town square. Embedded in the walls of this church are ancient medallions dating from the time when the area was a Roman outpost. We were told that Faubert is an old Roman name.
French Chapel of St Joan of Arc in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Marquette University, appropriately named after this renowned explorer and saintly Jesuit priest, brought the Gothic Chapel of St Joan of Arc, stone by stone, to Milwaukee in 1927. The story is documented in a small booklet that can be purchased at the Chapel. Having been violated many times, the Chapel was in a concerning state of disrepair (reminding me of d'Oyer) and might have been lost forever had it not been for the swift actions of Gertrude Gavin, daughter of a railroad magnate.
Below are photos from the St Joan of Arc Chapel interior (click to enlarge). One photo shows the stone on which St Joan of Arc is reputed to have knelt and another is a Marian banner from the period. View more photos here.
Notes, Art, Photography CMJENTZ ©2013-2018
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