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Marie-Madeleine Jarret de Verchères was 14 years old when she fought against the Iroquois Indian tribe and defended their Verchères fort with her quick wit and bravery.
See the fact file below for more information on Madeleine de Verchères or alternatively, you can download our 25-page Madeleine de Verchères worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Marie- Madeleine Jarret de Verchères was born on March 3, 1678 in Verchères, Quebec. She was the fourth child of twelve children of François Jarret de Verchères and Marie Perrot.
- Her father was an ensign in the Carignan-Salières Régiment, a French military detachment sent to defend New France in the Iroquois Wars. These were a series of wars for land and resources between France and the Iroquois Indian tribe from the 1640s to 1701.
- Her father was given a 120-acre seigneury on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River as seigneury to recognize his military service. While the war was ongoing, François Jarret constructed a small wooden fort to safeguard the family and tenants, consisting of 11 families.
- The young Verchères usually worked in the family field in her spare time. Despite her father’s protection, her brother Antoine and two brothers-in-law were killed during the Iroquois conflicts.
- The Iroquois repeatedly attacked her home. During one of the first attacks, Verchères’s mother bravely faced the tribe with only four men to help her, which inspired her daughter.
The Heroic Act
- In the late 1600s, Iroquois burned and looted the homes of the settlers of New France. The attack made its way to Fort Verchères on October 22, 1692.
- During that time, Verchères’s parents and older siblings left their homes to gather winter supplies. She was left alone with her younger siblings. The fourteen-year-old Verchères became in charge of the fort with one very old man and two soldiers.
- She was working in the cabbage garden near the fort when she spotted the Iroquois attacking the settlers. The men tried to flee to safety, but the Iroquois caught them by surprise and easily captured them. Verchères quickly went back to the fort, but an attacker grabs her scarf.
- Once she closed the gates, she immediately went to the sentry. Verchères put a soldier’s hat on her head, and with some small gestures, she made it seem like there were many soldiers inside, although there was only one.
- She fired the cannon and shot firearms from a different location in the fort. Verchères also encouraged her companions to make as much noise as possible so the attackers would think many soldiers were defending the fort.
- She also fired the cannon to alert the other forts and call for reinforcements. The Iroquois hoped that a surprise attack would help them capture Fort Verchères, but as they failed, they retreated along with their prisoners into the bushes.
- Verchères was cautious in thinking that the Iroquois were only waiting for another opportunity. She did not bring down her guard. When she noticed a canoe approaching the landing site, she ran to the dock and led the family inside, pretending they were reinforcements. When the settler’s cattle returned, she had her two brothers wait for her to check the cattle for warriors.
- Reinforcements from Montreal arrived after eight days. They caught the Iroquois and brought back the kidnapped settlers.
- Verchères’s story was not known until 1699 when she wrote to the Comtesse de Maurepas, the wife of the French Minister of the Marine, describing her role in the defense of Fort Verchères and petitioning for a pension.
- Intendant Jean Bochart de Champigny confirmed the accuracy of her statement in the letter. In 1701, Verchères and her widowed mother received their stipends.
Later and Personal Life
- The twenty-eight year old Verchères married Pierre-Thomas Tarieu de La Pérade, the son of a colonial administrator Thomas de Lanouguère and Marguerite-Renée Denys. They had five children, but only two survived into adulthood. This marriage gave Verchères noble status and she moved to her husband’s family seigneury at Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade.
- Verchères also spent her adult life with legal cases regarding her reputation, family land holdings, and noble status. In 1722, she saved her husband’s life when a group of Abenaki men attacked him, wounding one of the assailants.
- Marie Verchères died on August 8, 1747, at 69 and was buried beneath her pew at Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade.
- Verchères’s story got no attention centuries after she died. Her heroic achievements were revived during the canonization of Joan of Arc in 1920 and when there was increased interest in French Canadian history following the 1837 Rebellion in Lower Canada.
- The story and image of Verchères were used during the first and second world wars to encourage women to participate in the war effort.
- Verchères’s life was the subject of the first French Canadian feature film in 1922. Governor-General Earl Grey purchased a Louis-Philippe Hébert statue of Verchères for Rideau Hall and proposed a similar figure by the same artist in Verchères.
Madeleine de Verchères Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about Madeleine de Verchères across 25 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use worksheets that are perfect for teaching about Madeleine de Verchères who was 14 years old when she fought against the Iroquois Indian tribe and defended their Verchères fort with her quick wit and bravery.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Madeleine de Verchères Facts
- Settler’s Early Life
- Heroine’s Journey
- Heroic Act
- Verchères: Fact or Bluff?
- Four Words
- Young Soldier Inquiry
- Poem for a Heroine
- Madeleine and Joan
- Wartime Heroines
- Living In War
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Link will appear as Madeleine de Verchères Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 5, 2021
Use With Any Curriculum
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