I trace my roots back to Gillette Banne who was a Filles a Marier – one of the first women to come to New France in 1649 (at age 13 or younger). Her first husband died after they had only one child, but she remarried Jacques Bertault, a locksmith, within a couple of years (at age 17). Jacques and Gillette had six children.
Their daughter Elisabeth (or Isabelle Elisabeth) was married at age 12 to a drunk and a scoundrel (apparently). Gillette tried to poison him, and when that was unsuccessful, she and her husband, Jacques, beat him to death. They were convicted of the crime and sentenced. So Gillette was one of the first criminals hanged in New France (at age 36)!
Isabelle later married my ancestor, Noel Laurence and had 8 children.
These fascinating stories continue to hold my attention. What would I have done watching my daughter being beaten and starved by her ‘erstwhile’ husband? As the 6 Merry Murderesses from the musical “Chicago” say “He had it coming, he had it coming, he had it coming all along – it was a murder, but not a crime….