The earliest immigrants to French Canada from France were primarily craftsmen and their families, businessmen in the fur trade who were given land grants from the King of France, French military men, some farmers/dairymen, and the young men who worked as voyagers in the fur trade. The craftsmen were greatly needed for the stone/brick and carpentry work of the fast growing New France. They often brought along their wives and children to settle permanently, as did the farmers. The businessmen came to establish the fur trade and often went back to their families in France to enjoy the profits and run the European end of the sales system and the military officers were often as much involved in the business of the fur trade as in the French Army, so they, too, went back to enjoy their profits. The young French military men and voyagers had little opportunity for a good job or owning land in France. This new land offered them freedom from the very restrictive serfdom their families were living under, and they could marry and live freely, possibly even starting their own farms and businesses.
It was customary for the Fur Trade Voyagers to remain single in their early adult years, as the rigorous and lengthy travel over the northwest territories kept them from maintaining a permanent home. Once they had managed to save enough money for land, they usually settled down in their mid 30's, creating a homestead in the wilderness near established forts. Since there were no white women in the area, and because many of these voyagers were part Indian themselves, it was natural for them to seek wives among the nearby Indian bands. These wives were already trained and highly skilled in wilderness life, were of the same Catholic religion or willing to convert, and were active partners in all homestead work. Food gardens, maple sugar, wild rice, hunting, dried and smoked meats and poultry, prepared furs and raising horses took the place of the voyager travels and provided income. Supplies and horses as well as contract services were sold to the forts, and to other settlers and Indian tribes in a network of trade that had been established by the Indians hundreds of years before any white settlers came. The children were also trained and worked in the "family business" and were able to begin their own business ventures upon reaching adulthood. By 1820 the largest population group in the territory that later became Wisconsin, was the Metis (also known as Creoles). These French - Indian families lived in clans and worked together in business. They tended to marry other Metis and formed trade alliances to help each other. Their communities were located near existing forts and they did considerable business with whatever country manned the fort. They also maintained a close relationship with their Indian tribes, but lived apart in their own settlements. Their culture was a mix of Indian and French tradition. Having a large, healthy family was a great source of pride and the children were as well cared for as possible at all times.
Green Bay was originally known as "La Baye" by the French explorers and military. It was at first a cluster of long, narrow homesteads along both sides of the Fox River near the French Fort, later called Fort Howard. The community numbered several hundred by the early 1800's and was still Metis when the American Government took over the land officially from the British, who had taken it from the French in the 1700's. This culture and settlement had been established for decades by the early 1800's. Farther up the Fox River was another Metis settlement at the Falls of De Pere. Here a Fort Smith was built and a number of Metis families made homesteads for themselves nearby. This was called Shantytown, which was the perfectly acceptable local French word for home, similar to the word "cottage" today, and only in later years later took on negative meaning. The settlement was called DePere after the falls and the explorer/priest they were named for. The Joseph Boucher, Jr. family cleared land and made their home here. Although the fort was soon abandoned, the community continued to thrive. Shantytown along the river's edge was eventually abandoned for higher ground to the east and much of that land became part of Allouez Cemetery which has begun around the Chapel that remains today (original chapel no longer standing, present chapel built after 1919). Daily and weekly Catholic Mass was said at the chapel for Shantytown residents, however, major events, such as marriages, baptisms and funeral Masses were held at the "mother" church, St John the Baptist, in Green Bay. This is the oldest church in the region and is still well attended. It was often referred to as the "Old French Church" among locals. The original Catholic Cemetery for La Baye was beside it until moved years later (1834 - 1835) to Allouez Cemetery.
In 1838, as Wisconsin Territory was readying itself for statehood (1848), the US government mandated that mixed races would not be recognized officially and that those people had to declare themselves either White, Indian or African (Negro). Those families choosing to declare Indian were moved to the government reservations and received yearly government subsidies. Those people who declared White were then paid a lump sum of money by the Federal Government to compensate for any loss of Indian status. The payment system was worked out among the local tribes, such as the Menominee, through the tribal leaders and a representative of the government. The payments were made through Acts of US Congress in 1839 and 1849 to the Menominee mixed race people who chose White status. Many families had split members between White and Indian afterward, but maintained family relationships as usual. Others parted ways forever. It has been a considerable challenge to family researchers who have heard that there is Indian heritage in their lineage, but find "White" status in documents of the 1800's. Their Indian mixed blood ancestors had chosen "White" status and were citizens of the US. All American Indians and all women received their individual federal citizenship for the first time in 1920. Only White males were citizens of the US before that time. To complicate matters, church records and some local county records continued to us "half-breed", "mixed race" and similar terms for people found as "White" of federal and state documents.
Records of the early Metis families in the La Baye region are sparse to non existent. As a remote territory of Indian, French, British and US governments, there were no offices to report and document records of births, marriages, deaths, burials, land ownership, etc. The Metis families and settlements were already well established by the time the first Catholic Churches were built and had permanent pastors to keep records. It is from the old territorial censuses (which gave only the names of the head of household and number, age range and gender of the residents), the La Baye Grignon business papers and other saved old Fur Trade Company ocal documents in written French, old survey sketches, a few official documents and contracts in Canada and La Baye, and written memoirs of the early residents of the La Baye area that give us any identity information on these families and members.
Here is a chronological generation chart and history of what I have on the early Boucher/Busha family, some of which you already have. I am still researching old documents to further support and verify connections that are found here. Much of the earliest information came from the Catholic Church records in French Parishes.
Birth: 1521 in St-Malo, France
Death: 1611 in France
Father: Jehan Boucher b. 1483 in France
Mother: Jehanne Bournier b. About 1485 in France
Jehanne Mercier (Wife) b. About 1530
Marriage: Abt 1550 in France
* 1. Jacques Jean Boucher b. 1562 in St-Malo, Bretagne, France
2. Marie Madeleine Boucher
2. Jacques Jean Boucher
Birth: 1562 in St-Malo,Bretagne,France
Death: 30 Jul 1611 in St-Jean de Montaigu,Poitou,France
Father Jean Boucher b. 1521 in St-Malo,France
Mother: Jehanne Mercier b. About 1530
Occupation: Menuisier (carpenter)
Françoise Paigne (Wife) b. 1564 in St-Malo, Ille-et-Vilaine,
Marriage: 4 JUL 1582 in St-Jean de Montaigu, Poitou, France
* 1. Marin Boucher b. 15 Apr 1589 in St-Jean,de Mortagne,Perche,France
2. Nicole Boucher b. 1590 in St-Malo, Langy, France
3. Étienne Boucher b. 1592 in St-Malo, Langy, France
4. Charles Boucher b. 1594 in St-Malo, Langy, France
5. Jean Boucher b. 1598 in St-Malo,Langy,France
6. Gaspard Boucher b. About 1599 in Notre-Dame-de-Mortagne, Perche, France
7. Jeanne Boucher b. About 1607 in St-Jean-de-Mortagne, Perche, France
8. Antoinette Boucher b. About 1610
Marin Boucher - came to Canada in 1637+ one year
with his children
and second wife. Masons were in great demand for building in New France.
Birth: 15 Apr 1589 in St-Jean,de Mortagne,Perche,France
Death: 25 Mar 1671 in Notre-Dame-de-la-Visitation,Château-Richer,QC
Father: Jacques Jean Boucher b. 1562 in St-Malo,Bretagne,France
Mother: Françoise Paigne b. 1564 in St-Malo,Ille-et-Vilaine,Bretagne,France
Burial: 29 Mar 1671 Château-Richer,QC
Emigration: 4 Jun 1633 Canada from France
Occupation: Maçon (mason)
Changed: 16 Aug 2003 21:22:08
Julienne Baril (Wife) b. About 1590 in St-Langis Les Montagne, Perche,
Marriage: 7 FEB 1610/1611 in St-Jean de Montaigu, Poitou, France
1. Nicole Boucher b. 1611 in St-Langis, Mortagne, France
2. Jean Boucher b. 1613 in St-Langis, Mortagne, France
3. Louise Boucher b. 1615 in St-Langis, Mortagne, France
4. François Boucher b. 22 Nov 1617 in St-Langis,Mortagne,Perche,France
5. Thienette Boucher b. 1620 in St-Langis, Mortagne, France
6. Charlotte Boucher b. 1622 in St-Langis, Mortagne, France
7. Marie Boucher b. 6 Aug 1625 in St-Langis, Mortagne, France
Périnne Mallet (Wife) b. 29 Mar 1607 in Courgeon, Mortagne,
Marriage: 29 MAR 1629 in St-Jean,Courgeout, Mortagne, Perche, France
1. Louis Marin Boucher b. 29 Aug 1630 in St-Langis Les Montagne, Perche, France
* 2. Jean-Galeran Boucher b. 16 Feb 1632/1633 in Mortagne, Perche, France
3. Françoise Boucher b. 22 Jun 1636 in Mortagnes, Perche, France
4. Pierre Boucher b. 13 Feb 1638/1639 in Notre-Dame,QC
5. Madeleine Boucher b. 4 Aug 1641 in Québec,QC
6. Marie Boucher b. 11 Apr 1644 in St-Langis Les Montagne, Perche, France
7. Guillaume Boucher b. 5 May 1647 in Québec,QC
Birth: 16 Feb 1632/1633 in Mortagne,Perche,France
Death: 28 Mar 1714 in Rivière-Ouelle,QC
Father: Marin Boucher b. 15 Apr 1589 in St-Jean, de Mortagne, Perche, France
Mother: Périnne Mallet b. 29 Mar 1607 in Courgeon, Mortagne, Perche, France
Burial: 29 Mar 1714 Rivière-Ouelle,QC
Marie Leclerc (Wife) b. About 1640 in Dieppe, Normandie, France
Marriage: 10 OCT 1661 in Château-Richer, QC
1.Marie Boucher b. 26 Feb 1660/1661 in Château-Richer, QC
2.Pierre Boucher b. 8 Nov 1664 in Château-Richer, QC
* 3.Philippe Boucher b. 12 Dec 1666 in Château-Richer, QC
4.Marguerite Boucher b. 1 May 1669 in L'Ange-Gardien,QC
5.Marie-Madeleine Boucher b. 21 Jun 1670 in L'Ange-Gardien, QC
6.Catherine Gertrude Boucher b. 24 Feb 1672/1673 in Rivière-Ouelle, QC
7.Anne Marie Boucher b. 28 Feb 1674/1675 in QC
8.François-Galleran Boucher b. 3 Feb 1676/1677 in Rivière-Ouelle, QC
Birth: 12 Dec 1666 in Château-Richer,QC
Death: Aug 1724 in La Pocatière,QC
Father: Jean-Galeran Boucher b. 16 Feb 1633 in Mortagne, Perche, France
Mother: Marie Leclerc b. About 1640 in Dieppe, Normandie, France
Marie-Anne Miquier (Wife) b. 16 Jan 1677 in Charlesbourg, QC
Marriage: 10 Nov 1693 in Rivière-Ouelle, QC
* 1.Philippe Boucher b. 27 Jan 1704 in Riviere Ouelle, QC
3.Jean Boucher b. 12 Aug 1700 in Riviere Ouelle, QC
5. Pierre Boucher b. 1713
Birth: 27 Jan 1704 in Riviere Ouelle, QC Baptised 3 Feb 1704 at Notre-Dame-de-Liesse
parish church Riviere Ouelle
Death: 7 May 1784 in Rivière-Ouelle,QC
Father: Philippe Boucher b. 12 Dec 1666 in Château-Richer,QC
Mother: Anne Mignier b. 16 Jan 1677 in Charlesbourg,QC
Marie Dionne (Wife) b. 8 Sept 1697 baptised: 8 Sept
St-Famille, Ile d'Orleans;
Parents Jean Dionne and Marie-Charlotte Migneau
+Francis Michard - first husband
Marriage to Philippe Boucher: 4 July 1729 at Ste-Anne di La Pocatiere, QC
* 1. Joseph - Marie Boucher b. March 11, 1732, at La Pocatiere, French Canada
2 .Louis Boucher
3. Madeleine Boucher
4. Isidore Boucher
5. Geneviève Boucher b. Apr 1756 in Rivière-Ouelle,QC
Joseph-Marie Boucher Sr.:
Birth - March 11, 1732, at La Pocatiere, French Canada;
Death - 7 April 1786 at Berthier, buried 9 April 1786
Father: Philippe Boucher b. 1713 (probably in Riviere Ouelle, QC)
Mother: Marie Dionne; b. 8 Sept 1697 baptised: 8 Sept 1897 at St-Famille, Ile d'Orleans;
Marie Levesque - wife #1; d. 10 Sept 1773 Berthier, Berthier
(burial 11 Sept 1773 at Ste-Genevienve parish church);
parents Joachmim Levesque and Marie-Anna Bouchard were married 10 Nov. 1733 at Rimouski.
Marriage: 27 FEB 1775 in Rivière-Ouelle, QC
Children with Marie Levesque: first two children born in Rivere-Ouelle, before moving his family
to Rivere-des-Prairie (1760),Montreal (1763) where he baptised four children, then to Berthier (1771)
where he had his last two children.
Pierre Boucher b. c. 1757
+ Unknown Indian wife
Son baptised Ste-Genevieve de Berthier Dec 23, 1826
+ Genevieve LaVallee m. Oct 24 1796
Son baptised Ste-Genevieve de Berthier March 14 1787
+ Catherine Houre m. 1804
* Joseph-Maria Boucher b. Feb. 9, 1760 in Riviere-des-Praries (Island of Montreal);
+ Charlotte (Mandan Indian) family below:
Agatha Mandeville - wife #2
Marriage: 19 Aug 1782 at Lanoraie (St Joseph Parish church), L'Assomption Co. (a parish close to Berthier)
Marie-Anne Charron dit Ducharme - wife #3
Marriage:10 Feb 1784 at Ste-Genevieve de Berthier.
Joseph Boucher Jr.;
Birth: February 9, 1760 in Riviere-des-Praries (Island of Montreal);
Died: November 1833 De Pere, Wisconsin; Buried first in the Old Catholic Cemetery/Shantytown Cemetery, De Pere or LaBaye Cemetery in Green Bay (then named Town of Astor) at Washington and Adams streets (now a fire station) and then moved to Allouez Cemetery in 1834-1835.
Father: Joseph Boucher Sr.: Birth - March 11, 1732, at La pocatiereFrench Canada;
Mother: Marie-Josephte Levesque (Metris) b. 9 Mar 1746/1747 in Repentigny, QC
Occupation: He first worked as a voyager and gave Berthier, Canada, as his home in
a fur trade contract with businessmen/partners J.A. Langevin and Louis Grignon at
La Baye. He settled in De Pere, near Green Bay (La Baye) and was mentioned in the
Grignon memoirs written for the Wisconsin State Historical Society. Joseph Boucher
was remembered as being among the very first settlers in La Baye and "Head of the a
Household" by 1812 in La Baye. Contracts for his work in the fur trade have been
found forJoseph Boucher, residing in Berthier, dated 24 June 1802 (Louis Chaboillez, notary)
to McTavish & Frobisher to go to Grand Portage (Portage, Wisconsin ?), in 1808 - 1815
with Msr. J.A. Langevin and Louis Grignon at La Baye, and 1819 - 1821 with Louis Grignon
at La Baye. He also owned a homestead in De Pere on which the family grew vegetables and raised horses.
Joseph Boucher Jr. was an engagé of Paul Ducharme who moved with his family to La Baye in 1794.
The Ducharme family homesteaded the extensive lot #17 in De Pere where smaller land holdings
were distributed among his engagés and their families. Such was the homestead of Joseph Boucher Jr.
which remained in the Boucher family until 1912, described at that time as three quaters of an acre of
land with an old house. In 1821 the US Government demanded title of property
be shown and reinstated. This was done, By 1824, the fur trade companies that employed Ducharme,
Gignon, Lawe and other large property owning original families suddenly forclosed on
the property owned by these families to satisfy outstanding trade debts. Much of the property owned in
the city of Green Bay was confiscated by the companies who then sold it in lots to people from primarily
the areas of Milwaukee and Chicago. These lands were platted under the names of Navarino and Astor
in the 1820's and eventually merged to become the Boro of Green Bay. The land owned in DePere was
kept in the families, including Boucher. These were originally platted as Menomineeville
(where the present institution now stands near the bridge at the dam), and Shantytown, on the east side
of the river where much of the Allouez Cemetery and the original Ducharme and Boucher land now sits.
They later merged into West DePere.
Marriage : July 13, 1807 according to the Grignon fur trade business
in French Vol. 55, at the Area Resource Center, Cofrin Library, Special Collection,
Green Bay, Wisconsin. Translation is " Joseph Boucher, contract employee, married
to his Savage 1807."
Charlotte (Mandan Indian Wife) b. about 1781 in what is now South Dakota; died
1864 in De Pere, Brown County, Wisconsin. (related to a neighbor by Charlotte
Boucher/Busha shortly before her death and reported in the 1864 Green Bay
Advocate). She was struck At age 4 years, Charlotte was struck in the head and
first left for dead amongst her Mandan band by the Sioux warriors who attacked
and murdered most of them in 1785. One Sioux, noticing she was alive, stopped
another from killing her and took her back to his settlement as a slave.
Over the years she was tortured and kept at close to starvation, just strong enough
to do work, but not strong enough after working to run away. Charlotte told of having
one child while living with the Sioux. She was then sold to the Winnebago tribe, known
for slave trading at that time. She traveled east to Wisconsin territory and was sold by
them to a Metis (French/Indian) family from whom she eventually escaped, only to be
picked up by a trapper who tricked her by bringing her back to her owner for the
reward. She was tortured and sold, having two children by the owner's son, surname
Frank Dashna, in Portage Wisconsin between 1803 and 1805. Charlotte was then
reclaimed by the trapper and taken away. She was then sold to Joseph Boucher in
1807 and was taken by him to his homestead land in De Pere, Wisconsin.
After her husband's death in 1838, Charlotte attempted to return to her Mandan
people where she could receive despirately needed financial support as an American
Indian, only to find out that her tribe no longer existed. The few that were left after her
capture in 1785 by the Sioux, had been killed by Small Pox. The US Government
disbanded the tribe officially and there was no independent recognition of the few
survivors, who joined other tribes. The Wisconsin Menominee Nation officially
adopted her and the subsidies were restored. Her daughter Mary received Menominee
Mixed Race payment in 1838. Charlotte was living with her son, Michael and family
on the Joseph Boucher estate land in De Pere at the time of her death in 1864.
Children - according to Charlotte, numbered 9 with husband Joseph
record of all their names and birth dates has been found. Of the nine, due to poverty
caused by the illness of Joseph Boucher, 4 children were apprenticed to Green Bay
Judge Henry Baird and his Metis wife until age 21 years. There, under contract signed
by both the child and Judge Baird and witnessed by local authorities, they were
properly housed and fed, educated in mathematics and reading, and trained in a skill to
prepare them for independent adult living. The Bairds were well known for their
kindness and honesty, so these placements were considered very fortunate for the
children.. From the 1830 Wisconsin Territorial Census there were three young females
(assumed to be the youngest daughters) living in the Joseph Boucher household along
with one adult woman (assumed to be Charlotte his wife).
The following children are known:
1. Jean Luc
* 3. William (Guilliam) b. 1815 married Mary Jane Dixon and had a son Jacob
4. Rosalie married William Morgan and had a daughter Elizabeth b. 1839
5. Mary b. 1819 married Robert Denton
6. Michael b. 1821 De Pere (sources US Census, US Military Service and
PensionRecords, Henry Baird apprentice records- Green Bay)
7. unknown female
8. unknown female
9. unknown female
9. William (Guilliam) - One of 4 Boucher/Busha siblings apprenticed to Green Bay
Judge Henry Baird and his Metis wife until age 21 years.
Birth: 1815 in Wisconsin or French Canada (both are given in various
Father: Joseph Boucher Jr.b. 1778 in French Canada
Mother: Charlotte (Mandan Indian) b. about 1781 in what is now South
Marriage: c: 1840
Mary Jane Dixon - wife (also Jane Murtaugh was named and could be the
same person since both names are used in various documents).
* 1. Jacob (?also James)
10. Jacob Boucher/Busha
Birth : c:1840 - Illinois according to a census document
Death: 1864 - Thought to be in Tennessee while serving in the Northern
Army during the American Civil War. Burial in National Cemetery,
Father: William Boucher/Busha b. 1815 in Wisconsin or French Canada (both
are given in various documents.)
Mother: Mary Jane Dixon (also Jane Murtaugh was named in documents,
could be the same person since both names are used in various documents).
Marriage: c: 1862
Olive Haimeust - wife (according to the child's birth record in Green Bay) other
surname variations could be Hajoit, Haimand, Haiment, etc.
1. Michael - b. April 1863 in De Pere, Brown County Wisconsin (according
to birth his certificate, but was born three months before baptism in Green Bay,
and that indicates he may have been born elsewhere, being taken to live in
De Pere shortly after his birth. Death of his mother has not been found in
Wisconsin. Michael was found in the home of his great Uncle Michael Boucher
( see family below)as a young boy on the 1870 US Census and was raised there.
He is not listed as the son of any member of that household in any official documents.
The family that raised him on the original family homestead had an extensive
history of raising nieces and nephews over several decades and generations.
9. Michael Boucher
Death: 1863, cause - progressive respirator disease contracted in service of Co. H -12th
Reg. Wis. Inf. Vols, Northern Armies of the Republic. He was mustered out for
disability in 1862. Michael was age 39 when he joined the service as a specialist. The
Company was being changed from infantry to cavalry in Georgia and he was in charge
of health and acquisition of the horses.
Occupation - Horse Surgeon (Veterinary horse specialist - Military
Marriage: Jan 10, 1847
Sophia Josephine Matta (Wife, also Manta, Matte, Mateau, Motta, Manda, Metta,
Mette, Meete - Canadian Metis) b.1813 Mackinac (now Michigan) d. November 20,
1899 Allouez, Brown County, Wisconsin. Parents (St. John The Evangelist Catholic
Church, Green Bay records) : possible father or uncle John Matte (d. June 15, 1876
age 77 in Green Bay); mother or aunt Marguerite Greendt (Mrs. Charles) Mette
(d. June 30, 1867 age 71 in Green Bay, born in Mackinac) father or uncle Charles
Meete (d. June 15, 1879 age 72 at Cradle Home House Green Bay). Sophia
Josephine was blinded at age 15, oral family history indicates that the accident
happened while she was stirring boiling maple sap during sugar rendering and it
exploded. Had a sister, Julia Matta (a midwife), who lived with Sophia after she was
widowed. Julia married Conrad Stiles
Marriage: January 10, 1847 St. John's Church in Green Bay, Wisconsin.(Catholic
Diocese of Green Bay Archives)
1. Jane b. 1842 Mackinac. She is Michael's step daughter from Sophia's first marriage
and used the Busha/Boucher surname.
2. Frank b. 1843 Mackinac d. Jan 15, 1900 Oconto County, Wisconsin. Buried in
Allouez Cemetery. He was Michael's step son from Sophia's first marriage and used
the Busha/Boucher last name. Civil War Veteran, Private 4th Infantry Battery
Wisconsin Light Artillery. Enlisted September 27, 1864, Discharged July 3rd, 1865.
Married Mary Elizabeth Solomon (Metis)
Her parents: Vitallis and Lucy Solomon. Had 5 children.
3. Eugene b. Nov 15, 1947 Brown County, Wisconsin died in infancy. (Wisconsin
Births Vol. 1 Page 194)
4. Joseph Mariam b. Dec. 21, 1849, Brown County, Wisconsin died in infancy
(Wisconsin Births Vol. 1 Page 260)
5. Lucam (Luke) b. Jan 28, 1952 (Wisconsin Births Vol. 1 Page 152) d. Jan 19, 1903.
Married Mary Listell d. Sept 5, 1873
on Nov 12 1871. Her parents were Catherine and Michael Listell
6. Julia b. Aug 14, 1854 (Wisconsin Births Vol .5 Page 95) married June 2, 1874 in
Green Bay to Jean Baptiste Thayer. His parents were Angela and Charles Thayer.
7. Sophie b. June 2, 1855 (Wisconsin Births Vol. 5 Page 173 has the date June 1,
1856) d. July 16, 1878 d