My Wife and her connection to an Indian Raid, 1694

About a year ago I started researching my ancestry and my wife’s.

Hers has a better paper trail than mine. Through her great-grandmother’s line which is French-Canadian I came across the below story.

Perhaps my wife’s relative looked similar to this early New England young woman.

The short version here is that my wife’s distant relative lived in early Durham, New Hampshire, c 1694, a town not far from Boston, Massachusetts. As a young woman her family was massacred by Iroquois or Abenaki Indians allied with  the French and she was taken captive to Quebec.

Iroquois Warrior 1700

Apparently she was ransomed so-to-speak by a French Canadian military officer who adopted her. Later she married another French-Canadian but as a Protestant this would not do so she was baptized a Catholic. Her line of descendants would evolve to my wife’s great-grandmother, Jessie Despins who left French Canada (Quebec) to move to Wisconsin (1850’s) where she met James Robinson, a transplanted Scotsman who also settled in Wisconsin after service in Civil War. They married in 1865.

French-Canadian Militia 1700

Amazing story. Never know what you might find. Here’s the existing data.

MARIE URSULA MERCY PLAGNOL4 ADAMS (REBECCA3 SMITH, GEORGE2, THOMAS1) was born March 13, 1673 in Oyster RiverPlantation, Durham, New Hampshire, and died September 15, 1728 in Yamaska, PQ.

She married CHARLES DIT BRISBOIS DUBOIS August 03, 1704 in St. Francois du Lac, PQ, son of RENE DUBOIS and ANNE-JULIENNE DUMONT. He was born December 05, 1680 in Quebec.

Notes for MARIE URSULA MERCY PLAGNOL ADAMS: Marie apparently got to Canada as a captive of the Iroquois from their attack on Durham in 1694, aided and abetted by the French. Both her parents were killed by the Iroquois during the Oyster River Massacre. The Oyster River flows through Durham, NH. Her name appears in one NH source as “Marcy or Ursula” and her married name as”Brisebois”.  (should be Dubois) Charles Antoine Plagnol, the commandant of the fort at St. Francois du Lac adopted Mercy.

On Apr 6 1697 she was baptized as Ursule, a name chosen for her by her godmother, Maruerite Swigneuret, wife of Jean Boudor. Ursule (Mercy) married on Aug 3 1704 at St. Francois du Lac to Charles Dubois dit Brisebois

Notes for MARIE URSULE (MERCY) ADAMS: Abenaki-french captive 19 July 1694 raid and massacre on Oyster River Plantation. Durham NH Marie Ursule Plagnol-Ely-Meystrey -adoptive parents, godparents AFGS spring 92 vol 15 #1 p 53 Je Me Souveins portraits pionnieres v2 p 116 More About MARIE URSULE (MERCY) ADAMS: Christening: April 06, 1697, St Francis du Lac, Yamaska, Quebec5

Fact 1: July 19, 1694, captured and taken to canada Fact 2: 1694, adopted by Charles Antoine Plagnol, commandant

Fact 3:   April 06, 1697, baptised, Godmother-Marguerite Seigneuret

29 comments on “My Wife and her connection to an Indian Raid, 1694

  1. Hello there! I am also a descendant of Mercy Adams (aka Marie Ursule)! She is my 7th great grandmother via my maternal grandmother’s line, so I bet that your wife and I are distant relatives via our French Canadian roots! How cool. I ran across this amazing story of Mercy Adams & her interesting life just last year. Inspiring, right? I could hardly believe it. Have been meaning to get up to Durham to see the marker where the attack happened, definitely will at some point. Thanks for posting! -Mary Miller (Portland, OR)

    • Hi Mary,
      Nice to meet you. I showed your note to my wife so it’s nice to know she has a relative on the French-Canadian side of things. Her great-grandmother was Jessie Despins and Marie, according to Ancestry.com was

      Marie Ursule Adams (1674 – 1728)
      is her 6th great grandmother

      I’m not an expert at this genealogy thing but given the fact Marie is 7th great mother to you and 6th to my wife it seems you are a generation apart and would be 6-7th cousins or something like that 🙂

      Marie certainly had an interesting life as did many of those early Americans. Honestly, I’m still trying to sort out some of my wife’s connections. The French-Canadian aspect has a lot of tentacles and connections but I have been able to trace some back to France in the Paris area around 1460. Are you on ancestry.com?

      Thanks much for the comment. Glad you found a long lost relative! We’re in Oak Creek, WI (Milwaukee area).

  2. Bonjour Mary, Bruce,

    I just retraced my family line to Mercy Adams. I am a direct descendant of Charles Brisebois – Joseph-Marie Brisebois – Michel (Michael) Brisebois -then another Charles Brisebois – Régis Brisebois – André Brisebois – Royal Brisebois – Roger right down to myself. My first language is French as I am French Canadian and the whole family for many generations. Our forefathers are from Des Poitiers, France.

    I found it really intriguing to see that I have British blood flowing through my veins. Perhaps I can really consider myself a True Canadian with the exception of lack of native blood.

    I currently live in a small forestry town called Chapleau in Northern Ontario, Canada but I am originally from Sudbury, Ontario as well as several generations of Brisebois’ (since early late 19th early 20th Century.

    Its been a pleasure learning about my roots.

    Ronald Brisebois

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story Ronald. It’s fascinating. You and my wife are distant relatives through that English blood.

      Her great-grandfather was Scottish and he married a French Canadian gal with the last name of Despins. It is very interesting researching the distant relatives of those who came to North America early. Thanks again for sharing your story.

    • HI: I am one of your cousins…… My grandfather was Pierre Brisebois, married to: Delima Levac di Latulipe. I have 1 sister; Royal, Andre, Regis, were known names to our family. Nice to meet you. Pierre Brisebois siblings,included Azilda Brisebois who married M. Belanger. The town of Azilda is named after the love of his life, Azilda, and their home is now a heritage home in Azilda and the name plate on the property tells this story. A bizarre and wonderful encounter on a bus with a cousin “Belanger” ended up with a small Brisebois family reunion in Azilda a few years ago when the Belanger family was honored.

  3. Well, I’m another one of her descendant. Her daugther Ursule Dubois dit Brisebois married my ancestor Louis-Alexis Lefebvre son of Nicolas-Gabriel Lefebvre dit Lataille and Louise Duclos on March 4th 1734 in Montreal.

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing that Andre. It’s fascinating to realize how many relatives a person can have if you can connect the dots. The early French–Canadian connection for my wife was a total surprise.

      • There’s a lot more of these connections with early french Canadians because they where all over North America since 1670. These are who we call the “runner of the wood” whose history was never told neither by the French, the English or the Americans.
        Have a wonderfull day

      • We live in Wisconsin, a place where the early French Canadians made an imprint. Here’s a list of some of the towns and counties in WI with French names: Allouez, Argonne, Aux Plein, Baraboo, Belmont, Beloit, Bois Brulé, Brule, Butte des Morts, Calumet, De Pere, Des Plaines, Durand, Eau Claire, Eau Galle, Fond du Lac, Juneau, Fond du Lac, Juneau, La Crosse, Lac Courtes Oreilles, Lac du Flambeau, Lafayette, Lambeau Field, Langlade, Little Chute, Lost Dauphin, Marinette, Marquette, Montreal, Pepin, Platte, Portage, Porte des Morts, Prairie, Prairie du Chien, Prairie du Sac, Racine, St. Cloud, St. Croix, St. Croix Falls, Superior, Tomah, Trempealeau, Vieux Desert, etc. You have a great day too!

  4. One of my direct ancestor died in Florissant Missouri in 1815. Is name was Pierre Lefebvre and he was born in Batiscan Québec in 1748. It took me six years to find where he had died. I found it because one of his sons whent to search for him in 1810 and found him in 1812. The son wrote back the information to his mother so she could sellt he farm to her elder son.. One of the Lefebvre family still has the two hundred years old letter. Pierre was the son of the daughter of Mercy Adams named Ursule Dubois dit Brisebois. Pierre had been a “voyageur” since 1792 and could not come back to Canada. The English suspected him of being an american spy; wich was not the case. But he had lived near New York from 1767 to 1778 and had come back home with the loyalist to Yamachiche. Quite a man was he!

  5. My 7xgrandmother was Mercy Adams. I was new to working on my family tree a few years back….I found Mercy and her parents in researching my mother’s Fr. Canadian side. I too, was so surprised to see I had English blood! I see there are several trees out with her parents names but, have not found out when and how they got to New Hampshire….what ships their people came over on….Bruce, do you know? I grew up in San Francisco and still live in Northern California. My parents were from Illinois. I have done my dna with an outfit called ’23&Me’ and I have my tree on Ancestry.com…if anyone is interested. I have quite a few Lefebres in my tree, Despins also.
    Some day I hope to go to eastern Canada and New
    Hampshire…Hi to all, Lynn Coleman (nee Reilly)

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. It certainly is an interesting one! My wife’s great G’ma was Jessie Despins and that’s how I got to Mercy Adams on Ancestor. My wife has English lineage but the surnames are Palmer and Oliver, no Adams that I can find. If I remember my colonial history right I believe New Hampshire had strong connections from Massachucets. I was able to trace my wife’s Palmer side to the ship that followed the Mayflower. The name was Fortune. Best of luck to you as pursue more info.

  6. Hi! I am another cousin! Mercy was my 6th great grandmother. What a story of survival. I descend from her daughter Catherine. She married Joseph Lavallée Baillargeon. I live near Vancouver, BC Canada…

  7. Hi , I.m a Brisebois from Ottawa Canada, my ancestors were Dubois dit brisebois. first one to immigrate to Que was Rene Dubois dit brisebois, all brisebois are related ,

    • Thank you the comment. Investigating my wife’s French-Canadian heritage has been fun as well as very interesting. Your comment adds to all that. Much appreciated!

    • Hello again Bruce, j.brisebois, lartiste12, Donna Phillips, Noreen Barbe and All! I wrote originally in Feb. 2015…my maternal 7xG’ma was Mercy…I was so intrigued by her story. Just wondering if anyone found out how and when her parents families came to New Hampshire (the Adams & Smiths)? I am excited to be traveling to Quebec in the fall. I have never been there…flying to Montreal then driving up north & eventually over to Nova Scotia. I would love to hear if any of my Fr. Canadian distant cousins have any suggestions on what to see, where to go…my grandmother was a Dubois, that side goes back to Jean Baptiste Dubois 1659 but, Mercy Adams is off of a Frigon/Lefebvre grandmother. I see familiar names of towns (from my tree) between Montreal & Quebec City…if anyone has something to share of what I should see, I would be so happy to hear from you! We have about 18 days up there….thank you, Lynn Coleman

      • Thanks for stopping by. I’m happy to post in the hopes you get some more information. This has been an interesting and amazing thread for my wife and I. When we started we had no idea that one of her Massachchets ancestor’s branches would end up in French Canada married to a French officer after being taken captive by Indians. Amazing story.

  8. I’m late to this post so I hope you are still reading here. I also am a descendent of Jessie Despin. Such an interesting history. I was born in Wisconsin but live now in Austin, TX. I would also like to know about her father, Magliore. He had a store in Green Bay. Why did he move to the U. S.?

  9. I rejoined ancestry recently and found a few more clues. I have a new picture of Jessie, a death notice (which is incorrect because it gives her birthplace as Green Bay rather than Quebec), and a death notice for Magliore. I do not know why Magliore left Quebec. Jessie was born in 1848 in Quebec but by 1850 the family was in Green Bay. It’s speculation on my part but I do know that Green Bay had a French presence dating back to colonial times. Wisconsin was part of New France until 1763 when it became British. It was British until after the Revolutionary War. My guess is that Magliore had French connections in Green Bay. His death notice states he was buried in a French Catholic Church thus indicating a discernible French community. If you give me your email I will send you the three pictures I just got from Ancestry. Thanks for stopping by. Jessie is my wife’s great grandmother.

  10. Everyone else is posting, so I guess I will, too. I’m another descendant of Mercy Adams, also through the Despins line. Though not through Magloire, but his brother. I never heard this story until now, despite researching for 20+ years!

  11. The French leading the raid are my Father’s ancestors.

    One of the surviving garrisons belonged to my mother’s ancestors.

    It’s a strange, cruel world out there.

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