The Perrault family originated in France, probably in the Bourgogne or Burgundy region. The family name was originally spelled “Perrot,” and the earliest known Perrot was François, who was born about 1590.1 François Perrot was married to Étiennette Chamereau and among their five children was a son, also named François, who was a Lieutenant of Justice in the Barony of Darcey in Bourgogne. The younger François was born in 1616 in Darcey, and married Marie Sivot in 1640. Marie was born about 1620. François and Marie had six children, the eldest of whom was Nicolas.2
Nicolas Perrot, 6th great-grandfather of Robert Perrault, was born in 1644 in Darcey, Autun, Bourgogne, France and came to New France in 1660 at the age of 16 or 17 as a young donné, or lay servant, of the Jesuits.3 During his years of service to the Jesuits, he had the opportunity to visit Indians and learned several Indian languages, including Algonquian. He began fur trading about 1663, visiting the Fox and Potawatomi tribes, but returned to Montréal after a few years.4
At the age of 22, Nicolas Pero was listed in the 1666 census for Montréal as a domestic in the household of Marie Pournin, widow of Jacques Testar Delaforest.5 In 1687, he was included in the census for Montréal as a domestic in a household composed of five priests of St-Sulpice and 32 domestics.6 That same year, he became a partner in a trading company with Toussaint Baudry, Jean Desroches, and Isaac Nafrechoux and they traveled west to become the first French traders to deal with the Algonquian tribes near Green Bay, Wisconsin.7 Thus began a career that would make him an important mediator between Indians and French in the region of the Upper Mississippi.
On 11 Nov 1671, Nicolas entered into a marriage contract8 and subsequently married Madeleine Raclos who was born abt. 1656 in Paris, France, the second child of Godebon Raclos and Marie Viennot. Madeleine had recently immigrated to New France from Paris with her two sisters as Filles du Roi or “King’s Daughters” –a program sponsored by King Louis XIV to promote the settlement and population of the colony. The girls were accompanied by their father who provided each of his daughters with a dowry of 1,000 livres and then returned to France after seeing them well married.9
Nicolas and Madeleine had eleven children between 1672 and 1690:
- François Perrot, born 1672 in an undetermined location in Quebec;10 entered into a marriage contract on 10 Feb 1703 and married Marie Louise Massé;11 died 1704 in Bécancour.12
- Nicolas Perrot dit Turbal, born 1674 in an undetermined location in Quebec;13 married Marguerite Bourbeau dite Lacourse on 10 Oct 1710 in Bécancour;14died 1748 in an undetermined location in Quebec.15
- Marie-Clémence Perrot, born 1676 in an undetermined location in Quebec;16 married François Delpé dit Belair on 30 Apr 1725 in St-Sulpice.17
- Michel Perrot dit Châteauguay, born 22 Apr 1677 in Cap-de-la-Madeleine;18married Marie Jeanne Beaudry on 17 Oct 1712 in Trois-Rivières;19 died 11 Apr 1723 in St-Sulpice.20
- Marie Françoise Perrot, born 6 Sep 1678 in Cap-de-la-Madeleine;21 married François Dufault on 27 Jan 1706 in Cap-de-la-Madeleine;22 died 6 May 1744 in Trois-Rivières.23
- Marie Anne Perrot, born 25 Jul 1680 in Trois-Rivières;24 married François Bigot on 17 Nov 1715 in Cap-de-la-Madeleine;25 died 16 Nov 1745 in Bécancour.26
- Pierre Perrot, born 1682 in Bécancour;27 married Marie Champoux dit Jolicoeur on 25 Nov 1711 in Cap-de-la-Madeleine;28 married Marie Anne Lescarbeau on 26 Apr 1718 in St-Sulpice;29 died 7 Jun 1725 in St-Sulpice.30
- Marie Madeleine Perrot, born 19 Feb 1683 in Cap-de-la-Madeleine;31 died 7 Aug 1683 in Nicolet.32
- Claude Perrot dit Villiers, born 26 Jan 1684 at Cap-de-la-Madeleine;33 married Marie Goulet on 9 Jul 1714 in Repentigny;34 died 19 May 1741 in St-Sulpice.35
- Jean-Baptiste Perrot, born 14 Jun 1688 in Bécancour;36 died 29 Oct 1705 in Bécancour.37
- Jean Perrot dit Duchesne, born 15 Aug 1690 in Montréal;38 married Marie Catherine Quintin on 18 Aug 1714 in Repentigny;39 died 19 Feb 1773 in L’Assomption.40
Madeleine apparently raised the children by herself since her husband spent most of his time in the Great Lakes region until 1698. Perrot played a particularly important role in the 1680s, gaining influence through his dealings with the Indian peoples. He was one of the chosen emissaries to bring New France’s western allies into the war against the Iroquois in 1684. He traveled the Great Lakes to Green Bay, then up the Fox and down the Wisconsin rivers to reach the Mississippi where he established three small forts. The site of one of these forts is at Trempealeau, Wisconsin in present-day Perrot State Park.41
In 1689, at Fort St. Antoine on Lake Pepin of the Mississippi River, he represented the King of France in a ceremony claiming possession of all the upper Mississippi region and the country of the Sioux. With renewed war against the Iroqouis in the 1690s, Perrot played a critical role in the West, maintaining peace among the various peoples of the Great Lakes and securing their aid against the Iroquois. His last important official act was to serve as one of the interpreters in the great peace conference of 1701, which ended the wars between the French and their western allies on one side and the Iroquois on the other.42
He wrote about his experiences with the Indians in an effort to convey knowledge to the French government and influence French-Indian policy that he believed had begun to go astray. The English translation of his memoirs, The Indian Tribes of the Upper Mississippi Valley and Region of the Great Lakes, was published in the early 1900s and is still available in print.
Nicloas Perrot died on 13 Aug 1717 in Bécancour.43 After his death, Madeleine became depressed and required care and financial support from her children. She was buried on July 8, 1724 at Trois-Rivières.44,45
From Nicolas Perrot to Robert Perrault
- 6th great-grandfather – Nicolas Perrot (m. Madeleine Raclos)
- 5th great grandfather – Claude Perrot Perreault (m. Marie Goulet)
- 4th great grandfather – Claude Perreault (m. Marie Josephe Rivet)
- 3rd great-grandfather – Jean-Baptiste Perrault (m. Louise Laperche)
- 2nd great-grandfather – Jean-Baptiste Perrault (m. Marie Froment)
- Great-grandfather – Jules Perrault (m. Marie Consigny)
- Grandfather – Marie Nazaire Perrault (m. Marie Philomène Demerise Simoneau)
- Father – Joseph Toussaint Hector Emmanuel Perrault (m. Jessie O’Neil)
- Self – Robert Alexander Perrault
Links to Information about Nicolas Perrot
- The Virtual Museum of New France: Nicolas Perrot
- Dictionary of Canadian Biography: Nicolas Perro
- Wikipedia: Nicolas Perrot
- Association of Descendants of Nicolas Perrot
- Nicolas Perrot: French Fur Trade in Wisconsin
- Nicolas Perrot: Early Wisconsite
- Nicolas Perrot at the Wisconsin Historical Society
- Perrot State Park
- Commemorative Marker in Perrot State Park
- Perrot Notes
- Adventure of Nicolas Perrot by La Potherie
- American Journeys: Adventures of Nicolas Perrot
- L’histoire de Nicolas Perrot (site is in French)
- The Indian Tribes of the Upper Mississippi Valley and Region of the Great Lakes: As described by Nicolas Perrot
Notes and Sources:
The image of Nicolas Perrot at the top of this page is a detail of the statue “The Spirit of the Northwest” representing a Fox Indian, Claude Allouez and Nicholas Perrot. The statue is on the grounds of the Brown County Courthouse in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
1Robert Perreault, Les familles PERREAULT du Québec, Vol 1; Le Groupe de Nicolas Perrot et de Madeleine Raclos, (Perreault, 2002), p. 11.
4Wisconsin Historical Society, “Nicolas Perrot: French Fur Trade in Wisconsin,” (https://www.wisconsinhistory.org : accessed 28 May 2014), historical essay returned in search for “Perrot.”
5Hubert Charbonneau and Jacques Légaré, Répertoire des Acts de Baptême, Mariage, Sépulture et des Recensements du Québec Ancien (Programme de recherche en démographie historique), database, Université de Montréal: PRDH Online, (http://www.genealogie.umontreal.ca), Montréal 1666 census entry #95740, Nicolas Pero.
6Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, Montréal 1667 census entry #96701,
7Wisconsin Historical Society,”Nicolas Perrot: French Fur Trade in Wisconsin.”
8Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, marriage contract, #94507 Nicolas Perrot-Madeleine Raclos.
9Peter J. Gagné, King’s Daughters and Founding Mothers: The Filles du Roi, 1663-1673, (Pawtucket, RI: Quinton Publications, 2001), p. 478.
10Perreault, Les familles PERREAULT du Québec, p. 19.
11Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, marriage contract, #95025 François Perrot-Marie Louise Masse.
12Perreault, Les familles PERREAULT du Québec, p. 19.
14Association des descendants de Nicolas Perrot (ADNP), “Le Messager,” Vol.1, no. 1, August 2006, p. 4 (http://www.nicolasperrot.org : accessed 2 Jan 2007).
15Perreault, Les familles PERREAULT du Québec, p. 19.
17Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, marriage #21195 François Dalpec Belair-Marie Clémence Perrot.
18Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, baptism #5911 Michel Perrot.
19Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, marriage #89196 Michel Perrot-Jeanne Baudry.
20Perreault, Les familles PERREAULT du Québec, p. 19.
21Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, baptism #5926 Marie Françoise Perrot.
22Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, marriage #6205 François Dufaut-Marie Françoise Perrot.
23Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, burial #181261 Françoise Perrault.
24Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, baptism #87876 Marie Anne Perrot.
25Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, marriage #6217 François Bigot-Marie Anne Perrot.
26Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, burial #154254 Marie Anne Perrault.
27ADNP, “Le Messager,” Vol.1, no. 1, August 2006, p. 4
28Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, marriage #6212 Pierre Perrot-Marie Champoux.
29Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, marriage #21177 Pierre Perrot-Marie Anne Lescarbot.
30Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, burial #21315 Pierre Perrot.
31Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, baptism #5960 Marie Madeleine Perrot.
32Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, burial #6242 Marie Madeleine Perrot.
33Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, baptism #5971 Claude Perrot.
34Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, marriage #20076 Claude Perrot-Marie Goulet.
35Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, burial #127899 Claude Perrot.
36Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, baptism #5995 Jean Baptiste Perrot.
37Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, burial #89630 Jean Baptiste Pereau.
38Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, baptism #41068 Jean Perrot.
39Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, marriage #20077 Jean Perrot-Marie Quaintain.
40Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, burial #369882 Jean Perault.
41in collaboration with Claude Perrault, “PERROT, NICOLAS,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, (http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/perrot_nicolas_2E.html : accessed May 26, 2014).
43Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, burial #52950 Nicolas Perrot.
44with Claude Perrault, “PERROT NICOLAS.”
45Charbonneau and Légaré, PRDH Online, burial #89852 Marie Madeleine Perot.