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The First Resident Family

In 1687, Charles LeMoyne’s widow, Catherine Primot, and Jacques LeBer sold the tract of land and the house to François Guillemot dit Lalande. Guillemot was already living in the Maison and likely intended to operate it as an inn and to farm the extensive grounds. But the 1689 Lachine Massacre decided otherwise, and he returned to Montréal, reportedly after the house burned. To date, however, archaeological exploration has produced no evidence of such a fire, nor any indica- tion of its extent.

François Guillemot dit (called) Lalande was born in Brittany around 1630 and died in Montréal in September 1700. His wife, Madeleine Dupont, bore their first child in Lachine on January 7, 1686. Guillemot settled in Montréal after August 1689 and opened a bakery there.

1. Basin (partial)

Coarse earthenware, 17th century. Probably made on site with local clay. Only the bottom and base of the sides have been found. The inside of a basin was glazed to make it waterproof and easily cleanable after use. Among their many uses, basins served as “milk pans,” where the cream rose for skimming. AR-1999-159

2. Basin (partial)

Coarse earthenware, 17th century. These fragments are from a large, thick-sided basin unevenly coated with a thin glaze. AR-1999-160

3. Basin fragment

Coarse earthenware, 17th century. This basin was made in France, probably in the Saintonge region. Prior to the 20th century, basins were the preferred recipients for preparing and mixing food, skimming cream from milk and other tasks. Found on shelves, tables and even floors, they were the largest articles in 17th- and 18th-century kitchens, other than metal cauldrons. AR-1998-161

4. Basin

Coarse earthenware, Saintonge style. Large. From Maison Paradis, Place Royale, Québec City.

Archaeological collection, Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec IQ2153-IL6-1623

5. Cooking pot

Coarse earthenware. Large. From Maison Paradis, Place Royale, Québec City. Used to cook or reheat food, cooking pots were placed above or directly on the fire. They also served to store food, in which case the mouth was sealed with scraps of fabric and wax.

Archaeological collection, Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec IQ2153-IA6-1643

6. Three-legged cooking pot fragment

Coarse earthenware, 18th century.


7. Cooking pot fragment

Coarse earthenware, 17th century. Made in France. Used to cook or store food. The outer side of this fragment bears traces of soot from cooking fires. Probably from a pot similar to No. 5. AR-1998-163

8. Pottery fragment

French stoneware, 17th century. May be from a butter pot. AR-1998-162

9. Container fragment

White English faience, 17th century. Flat bottom. AR-2000-268

10. Container fragment

White Dutch faience, 17th century. Probably neck-shoulder transition area of a closed pot. AR-2000-269

11. Passenger pigeon bones (6)

Wing bones. Passenger pigeons, now extinct, were large birds. Archaeological finds have revealed that coureurs des bois and voyageurs stopping at Maison LeBer-LeMoyne in the 17th century dined mainly on passenger pigeons and eel. AR-1999-413-1.6

Passenger pigeon

Musée de la nature et des sciences Photo Patrick Pilon

12. Ox bones (3)

Part of an ox skull. Found among the bones of other animals (birds, river fish, pig, wild duck), these fragments indicate that oxen were raised in Lachine in the 17th century. Laboratory analysis reveals that parts of the ox were stewed. A depression on the skull suggests that this beast was yoked for clearing the land. AR-1998-164

13. Eel bones (21)

Shown at different angles. This eel was about 90 cm long and was probably caught in Lac Saint- Louis. Eels were a prized delicacy during the French Regime, and the local variety was judged to be plumper and tastier than those from France. AR-1999-414-1.21

14 Betty lamp

Iron lamp with a deep bowl that extends to a narrow spout at one end to hold the wick. It was fuelled with animal grease or oil and could be hung by a wrought iron hook from a rafter or, more often, the mantelpiece. Betty lamps – so called from the German word besser (better), because the spout prevented dripping – were made of iron, copper or pewter.

Anonymous gift RC-1974-L44-19

15. Strike-a-light

This type of iron lighter was common in the 17th and 18th centuries. Struck quickly and repeat- edly against a flint, it produced sparks that ignited a piece of amadou* or tow** placed in a pipe bowl or, for lighting a fire, on dry grass to which bits of woods were added gradually.

* Amadou: A spongy substance derived from tree fungi and used as tinder when dry. Also called punk or touchwood.

** Tow: Hemp fibre residue from rope making or from old rope.

Anonymous gift RC-1980-L43-25

16. Gunflint used as a strike-a-light

Flint, 17th century. AR-1999-025

17. Chamber pot

Rhenish stoneware.

Archaeological collection, Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec 132QU 6B4-141 or 132QU VIIB4 139

18. Chamber pot fragment

Rhenish stoneware, 17th century. Partial decoration heightened with cobalt blue. This shard is from a chamber pot similar to No. 17. In the 17th century, hygiene and privacy were of less concern than they are today. Chamber pots were kept under the bed and emptied outdoors daily, usually into latrines dug in the yard. AR-1998-165