Research has shown that there are two main branches of the Frigault family in North America ... those descended from Pierre Frigault
of New Brunswick Province and those descended from François Frigault of Québec Province. Whether these two men were related remains a mystery, although certain evidence tends to support this position.
There is a story that has been passed down through many generations of both
Frigault families. Descendants of François Frigault relate that their immigrant ancestor was one of two Frigault brothers who left their homeland and traveled to New France
together. One member of this family remembers hearing about a third brother who supposedly settled in Italy. These descendants also state that one of their early ancestresses was Native American.
Jean-Guy Frigault, descendant of Pierre Frigault and author of Pierre Frigault et Josette Bouthillier de Caraquet et Leurs Descendants, states: "I remember my father
telling me about two Frigault brothers that came from 'overseas' by boat, one settling in the Province of Québec and the other one, Pierre, in Caraquet (N.B.)." Jean-Guy's
research shows that Pierre Frigault married the granddaughter of a white man and a Micmac Indian. In addition, one member of this family recalls that there was a third brother who settled elsewhere, perhaps at Québec.
These two stories, handed down through the two Frigault families, are strikingly similar. Yet there is no proof that Pierre and François were indeed les deux frères of each family's legend.
In 1974 and 1976, Jean-Guy Frigault conducted extensive research on the Frigault family. His efforts included corresponding with Bernard Deloeuvre of France, a direct descendant, by his mother, of Thomas Frigault of Theurthéville-Beaucage. Jean-Guy had hoped to discover the names of Pierre Frigault's parents, information that was surprisingly absent from all records in New Brunswick. He was told, to his dismay, that
many of the church records necessary to concluding his research had been destroyed during World War II. However, Mr. Deloeuvre sent him while a copy of a handwritten
descendant chart that had been prepared on 17 August 1948 by a priest of Holy Trinity Church at Teurthéville-Bocage. This chart had been presented to August
Desiré Edouard Frigot on the occasion of his wedding. This document listed the parents of François Frigault, Thomas-François Frigot and Marie-Charlotte Guilbert,
names which had been duly recorded on François' marriage contract of 1767 at Cap-St-Ignace in Québec Province. According to this chart, Thomas Frigot was born
in 1705 and married Marie-Charlotte Guilbert in 1736. Therefore, Thomas was about thirty-one years old at the time of his marriage. François Frigault, their son, was born in 1742.
Were François and Pierre brothers? Apparently not, since Pierre, who stated that he was "about forty years of age" in 1762, was probably born in the early to mid-1720's -
too early to have been the son of Thomas-François Frigot and Marie-Charlotte Guilbert. However, it is quite possible that Thomas- François Frigot's marriage to
Marie-Charlotte Guilbert was his second marriage. He might have married while in his early twenties, had children, been widowed, and then married Marie-Charlotte when
he was thirty-one. If this is the case, it is quite possible that Pierre Frigault and François Frigault were half-brothers.
In 1762 both Pierre Frigault and François Frigault appeared before Father Dolbec,
parish priest at L'Islet in Québec Province, to testify on behalf of one François Hamel, a French soldier. In order to be married in New France, Hamel had to provide proof
that he had never been married before, either in New France or in France, and was required to provide three witnesses who could vouch for his bachelor status. Pierre
and François Frigault were two of the three who testified under oath for Hamel. As Father Dolbec recorded, "I, the priest of L'Islette have, after taking the oath, heard
Pierre Frigo ... and the said Hamel; although living Douze Lieux [about 36 miles] apart in the diocese of Coutances, both having made many campaigns by sea and by land,
without having any knowledge that the said François Hamel was married." Father Dolbec also recorded, "François Frigo having taken the oath declares having come to
Gaspé with him, the said François Hamel, coming from the same place although in different vessels and came to Canada with him with no knowledge or having heard
that the said François Hamel was married." It was noted that neither Pierre nor François could sign his name.
The testimony of Pierre Frigault and François Frigault verifies that they came from the
same general vicinity in France, traveled in the same fleet of ships to Gaspé in New France, and were together at L'Islet in the year preceding the end of the French and
Indian War. However, neither of these documents - the Frigot Descendant Chart or Father Dolbec's Temoignages de Liberte au Mariage [Statements on Freedom to
Engage in Marriage] - is proof positive of Pierre Frigault's ancestry. Still, the evidence suggests that it is very possible that Pierre Frigault and François Frigault were les deux frères
noted in the stories of both Frigault families. For the sake of simplicity, this relationship will be assumed in the biographies of
Pierre Frigault and François Frigault (below) and the Frigault Genealogy presented on this Web Site.
of Caraquet, New Brunswick
From the beginning of the European colonization of North America, the French and
British vied with each other to gain control of this vast continent brimming with natural resources. Lumber, furs, farmland, and fishing rights were just a few of the prizes which would go to the victors.
For nearly seventy-five years, from 1689 to 1763, the French and British waged a series of wars - King George's War, King William's War, Queen Anne's War, and the
French and Indian War - in this struggle to claim dominion over what would be Canada and the United States.
Many battles were fought during these years, among them the Battle of Ristigouche
which raged from 27 June to 8 July 1760. A fleet of French ships arrived at Pabos on the southeastern shore of the Gaspé Peninsula. Among the soldiers was Pierre
Frigault, a thirty-eight-year-old seasoned veteran and a member of the St-Simon Company. Pierre and the others of his company were certainly no strangers to
combat. For twelve days, they fought valiantly against the British in the vicinity of Ristigouche. Unfortunately, they lost the battle and were forced to retreat. Pierre
Frigault, along with Captain St-Simon and a handful of other survivors, escaped in a small boat and took refuge in a bay which the men later named in honor of their captain.
As the French and Indian War drew to a close and the British closed in on victory, the French people of the Gaspé region found themselves cut off from help and supplies.
Within just a few months of the Battle of Ristigouche, Louis-Guillaume Bazagier sent a report from the Ristigouche outpost describing the status of the inhabitants of the
Gaspé area. He stated that there about one hundred people including seventeen French families and Metis (American Indians), all in dire straits. These people
apparently suffered greatly, and Pierre Frigault may have been among them during this time.
At some point Pierre Frigault made his way to the French-held province of Québec,
specifically L'Islet, where he was recorded as a witness in a document dated 10 February 1762. He had been asked to certify that a parishioner of L'Islet, François
Hamel, was free to marry. Pierre testified that he was about forty years old and had lived about 36 miles from François Hamel, the prospective groom, in the Diocese of
Coutances in Normandy, France. He also stated that he and Hamel had been together through many military campaigns, both on land and at sea, and that to his knowledge
Hamel had never been married. Also recorded as a witness in that document was François Frigault, possibly the half-brother of Pierre, who stated that he had known
Hamel in France and that, to his knowledge, Hamel had never been married. François also testified that he had come to Gaspé in New France with Hamel, "coming from the
same place although in different vessels." Father Dolbec, who had requested their testimony, noted that none of the witnesses could sign their names.
After the Treaty of Paris on 10 February 1763, many Acadians returned to their land in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. At some point, Pierre Frigault apparently joined
them, for around 1770 he was married, probably at Caraquet, to Josette Bouthillier. Josette was the daughter of Joseph Bouthillier and Angèlique Giraud dit St-Jean.
Angèlique was the daughter of Gabriel Giraud dit St- Jean, who had married a native American, probably of the Micmac tribe.
Pierre and Josette settled at Caraquet in New Brunswick and had at least six children:
1. Marie Frigault, born circa 1770; she married Jean-Baptiste Leclerc, son of
Jean-Baptiste Leclerc and Marie DuPaulo dit Duval, on 2 June 1790 at Carleton, Gaspé East County, Québec;
2. Pierre Frigault Jr., born circa 1773; he married Marie Lanteigne; they had nine children;
3. François (called Joseph) Frigault, born circa 1775; he married Eulalie Mailloux circa 1805 at Caraquet;
4. François Frigault, born circa 1777; he married Hélène Chiasson, daughter of Joseph
Chiasson and Anne Haché on 26 November 1810 at Caraquet;
5. Marguerite, born circa 1781; she married, circa 1799, Pierre Gionet, son of François
Gionet and Marie LeVicaire; there were no children from this marriage although Pierre had two children from his previous marriage on 4 July 1791 to Anne Robert dit LeBreton, who died in 1796.
6. René Frigault, born 9 June 1786 and baptized 25 June 1786 by Father Antoine Girouard; his godfather was René Bouthillier, his maternal uncle, and Anne Haché, his
brother François' mother-in-law; he married Euphrosine Chiasson, daughter of Pierre Chiasson and Marguerite Dugué on 25 November 1806 at Caraquet; he died and was buried 20 April 1813 at Caraquet.
Pierre Frigault must have been a man of some standing in his community for, when there was no priest available to baptize a new-born child, it was Pierre who was
called upon to perform that duty. The baptismal records of three children bear his name: Eulalie Mailloux, born on 12 February 1783 (who later became his
daughter-in-law); Remi Paris, born on 1 October 1783; and Edouard Frigault, born on 27 October 1783. Although there are only six known children of Pierre Frigault and
Josette Bouthillier, it is probable that this Edouard Frigault was also their child.
On 4 February 1784 John Parr, Governor of Nova Scotia, directed Charles Morris, Esq.,
Chief Surveyor of Land, to "Admeasure and layout unto François Gionnest and thirty three others their wifes & children A Plantation containing fourteen thousand one
hundred & fifty acres of Land at Caraquet." This document, on file at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, lists "Pierre Frigaux Sa femme 5 Enfants"
["Pierre Frigaux, his wife, five children"] as the recipients of four hundred acres.
Pierre's land was located on the Bay of Caraquet, between Chenard Brook and Isabel
Brook, east of the road that today leads from Caraquet to Tracadie. By 3 March 1784, Charles Morris reported that the survey had been completed, noting that the land
granted to the Acadians was "...for the most part of an Indifferant Soil, the Growth of the Forest Trees are Small, principally Spruce & Fir, with a mixture of Hardwood,
Maple & Birch..." According to the terms of the grant registered at Fredericton, New Brunswick on 27 January 1787, each grantee was required to pay two shillings
annually per one hundred acres; clear and work a certain portion of the land each year or, if the soil were unfit for planting, to mine or quarry the land; build a home of
a certain size (16'x20'); and keep a certain number of livestock on the land. Perhaps the most taxing stipulation was that each grantee would be required to take an oath of allegiance to the King of England.
Pierre apparently honored the terms of the agreement and lived out the remainder of his life on the land granted him. Josette cared for their six (or seven) children and
Pierre worked the "Indifferant Soil" of his farm. The former soldier spent his remaining years on the shores of the Bay of Chaleurs, not far from where he had first set foot in New France.
It is unknown exactly when Pierre and Josette died since the Caraquet burial records covering that span of time are missing. Pierre died sometime before 25 November
1806, when his son René's marriage record referred to him as "the late Pierre Frigault." Josette died sometime between that date and 26 November 1810, when her son François married.
of Cap-St-Ignace, L'Islet, Québec
François Frigault was born around 1743 at Teurthéville-Bocage. He left France and was at L'Islet in Québec Province by 10 February 1762 when he testified on behalf of François Hamel.
François married Marie-Claire Caron on 2 January 1767 at Cap-St. Ignace in L'Islet, Québec Province. Marie-Claire was the daughter of Étienne Caron and
Marie-Geneviève Tondreau. In noting this marriage, one source called him "François Frigot (Frigault) 24 ans, fils de defunt François Frigot" ["François Frigot (Frigault) 24
years, son of the late François Frigot"]. Apparently François' surname was changed to Frigault sometime after his arrival in New France. The children of François Frigault and Marie-Claire Caron were:
1. Marguerite Frigault; she married Laurent-Jean Caron on 28 July 1794 at St. Jean-Port-Joly, Québec, Canada;
2. Claude-Charles Frigault; he married Adelaide Thibault on 16 September 1794 at St.
Jean-Port-Joly, Québec, Canada;
3. Joseph-Michel Frigault; he married Marie-Madeleine Labbé ;
4. Jean-Baptiste Frigault; he married Veronique Jean on 20 February 1821 at St. Jean-Port-Joly, Québec, Canada;
5. Marie-Anne Frigault; she married Germain Chouinard on 8 November 1825 at St. Jean-Port-Joly, Québec, Canada.