December 14, 1837

December 14, 1837 will be forever remembered in the memories of the people of St-Eustache.

On this cold winter day, Doctor Jean-Olivier Chénier and a hundred or so patriots of Saint-Eustache and surrounding parishes bravely faced 2000 men led by British General Colborne.


Barricaded in the church, the presbytery, the convent, the manor, and some houses in front of the town square and along main street, Chénier’s companions were not able to oppose for a very long time Queen Victoria’s troops.

In less than two hours, all of the village was encircled and became an easy prey. Between the first canon shot from le chemin de la Grande-Côte and the crackling of last rifle shots, the battle was over in less than five hours.

Using primitive weapons and being captive in their own fortress, the patriots were doomed. If not asphyxiated or burned to death, they would die from the bullets shot by the English soldiers or the volunteers while trying to flee. This is how those who believed in a just cause died: Jean-Olivier Chénier, Joseph Paquet, Jean-Baptiste Lauzé, Nazaire Filion, Séraphin Doré, François Dubé, Joseph Guitard, Pierre Dubeau, Joseph Bonnet, Jean-Baptiste Toupin and Alexis Lachance. With these men of Saint-Eustache several others from the surrounding region and from Sainte-Scholastique would also die.

In his Journal historique, the curé Paquin tells what he saw the day after the battle…

All the beautiful part of the village was nothing more but one big pile of smoking ruins where we could find here and there disfigured corpses, all covered with blood and half-burned. The church was reduced to ashes…

The number of burned houses totaled 60, most of them being amongst the most beautiful. This entire scene of desolation pointed out to carnage and revenge. Saint-Eustache all laid in ruins and the ashes were still smoldering. However there were enough cruel people to completely destroy what the fire had saved. Even pieces of the church bell became easy prey for these looters.

Jean-Baptiste Marineau, father of Jean-Baptiste Marineau

This is the translation of part of a text written by Jonathan Lemire.

The original is here. (it takes some time to view it… be patient)

Like many others, Jean-Baptiste Marineau was not implicated directly in the rebellion in St-Eustache. He was more a victim of the British army marching thru St-Eustache in December 1837.

Jean-Baptiste Marineau was born in the early 1800s. No trace of his exact birthplace nor his birthdate can be found in the parish registers. He was the son of Jean-Baptiste Marineau and Josette (Josephte) Quenneville. Martin Marineau was his brother, who was also implicated indirectly in the 1837 rebellion in Saint-Eustache.

On January 12, 1829, Jean-Baptiste Marineau married in Saint-Eustache Marie-Jeanne Lauzé, daughter of Paul Lauzé and Marie Poirier. The couple had at least five children : Marie-Charles-Julie (1816)*, Louis (1818)*, Philomène (1840), Marie-Charlotte (1843) et Jean-Baptiste (1844).

The 1825 census shows that Marineau was a farmer on le chemin de la Rivière-Nord in Saint-Eustache. In the 1840s, he was the owner of a ferry in Saint-Eustache. In 1851, a few years before his death, the census lists him as a carpenter.

Jean-Baptiste Marineau was the victim of reprisals from soldiers and volunteers when they marched thru Saint-Eustache on December 14th and 15th, 1837.

On February 10th, 1846, he made a claim  for £5, 15 sols and 6 deniers to la Commission des Pertes de 1837-1838. Here is the official letter :

À messieurs les Commissaires,
Jean-Baptiste Marineau, traversier, demeurant paroisse de Saint-Eustache.
A l’honneur de soumettre à votre examen un compte détaillé des pertes par lui éprouvées principal et accessoire, pendant l’insurrection de la paroisse de Saint-Eustache par suite du pillage à main armée.
Pour (mot illisible) votre religion, messieurs, l’exposant vous soumettre en temps et lieu, les témoins ou autres pièces justificatives que vous jugerez convenables.
Il a l’honneur d’être avec un profond respect, messieurs, votre très humble serviteur.
Montréal, 12 février 1846

His claim was for all these items: a rifle, a sideboard, a bed, a carpenter’s workbench, a coat, a large kettle, a salting tub, twelve terrines, two  one-gallon jugs, two barge oars. Two witnesses were present: Paul Rochon and Pierre Vanier.

After the unrest, he signed a petition to rebuild the church destroyed in 1837; this document was dated November 27, 1844.

Jean-Baptiste Marineau died in Saint-Eustache on March 9, 1852. He was 48. He was buried in St-Eustache on March 11, J. Meilleur and Charles Biroleau were acting as witnesses.

References :
BAC, Feddocs, Lower Canada Rebellion looses claims 1837-1855, Project no 19-2, RG 19, series E-5-B (R200-113-0-F), volume 5482, no 190 ; volume 3786, no 1866.
BAC, recensement de 1825, County of the Lake of Two-Mountains, St.Eustache Parish, bobine C-718.
BAC, recensement de 1851, County of the Lake of Two-Mountains, St.Eustache Parish.
Répertoire des Actes de baptêmes, mariages et sépultures (R.A.B.), P.R.D.H.

* these children were most probably a sister and a brother since Jean-Baptiste Marineau married Marie-Jeanne Lauzé in 1829.

Stay tuned.

More information on the way…

Watch for those goose bumps.