Jean Philippe Richard de L'Ours
Born 1731

The son of David Richard de L'Ours and Eleanor Dores de L'Ours. Born on the family’s farm south of Montreal on the Richelieu River near Fort Chambly. There he lived and worked the land until the spring of 1752 when his cousin Etienne LeChat asked him to accompany him to the Illinois country to start a trading post among the Pottawatomie tribe of Southern Lake Michigan. He agreed and left to help build this "Petite Fort" over the summer and fall of 1753. During the fall of 1754 met a half-blood woman living with the Pottawatomie named Anne Juliette Charte' and asked her to marry him with the tribes consent, thus cementing the trading rights of the post. They now live happily at Petit Fort.

In real life Philippe is Thomas Wojcinski a Chemist who works at a Car Battery Plant as a Quality Control Chemist. He is also married to "Anne", Crystal Wojcinski.

Anne Juliette L'Ours

Born 1732

The Daughter of Edouard Baptiste Chartre' a French engage' and Nkemon Gizes a Pottawatomie woman living at the Jesuit Mission at Fort Ste. Joseph. Anne lived at the mission with her father and mother who were engage' (lay helpers for the mission). She was baptized and took a Christian name on the insistence of her father in 1740. In 1753 she met a young French trader by the name of Jean Philippe while he was gathering supplies at the mission. Over the next year they became close friends and with the permission of her father and the approval of her mother and her tribe the two were engaged in the fall of 1754 and married that summer. Anne currently resides at Le Petite Fort with Philippe.

In real life Anne is Crystal Wojcinski, a Dry Cleaning Manager. She enjoys history, drawing, and tea with lots of Rum in it!! She is also "really" married to Philippe (Tom Wojcinski).

Etienne Le Chat

Born: 1726

Etienne Le Chat was born in 1726, the fourth son of Montreal carpenter Robert Le Chat and his wife Christina. With three older brothers already helping his father in the shop, the chances of obtaining an apprenticeship were slim. While working with his father, he was introduced to Madeline LaHorn, the daughter of a floor planer. Unable to afford a wedding and with few other prospects, the high profits of the fur trade seemed the most promising. Despite the protests of Madeline, who was remembered to say “Coureur de Bois? You’ll be killed!”, Etienne was hired by Nicolas Lefebrve as a voyageur to Fort St. Joseph in 1750. During that year, Etienne was struck with illness while the convoy traded on the southern shore of Lake Michigan. Rather than risk the voyage, he wintered with the Potawatomi there, developing a strong relationship with the tribe.

Etienne Le Chat (continued...)

In the fall of 1752, he returned to Montreal with two proposals, one to his cousin Phillppe to join him as a partner on a trading venture with the Potawattomis, and the other a marriage proposal to Madeline. Etienne and Madeline were married the next year in 1753, and the three left for the dune land to build “La Petite Fort” and their new lives. The conge could come later.

In “real life” Etienne Le Chat” is Brian Popiela. He is an English teacher at a Catholic school. He was introduced to the world of reenacting when his mother took him to the Feast of the Hunter’s moon in 1988. As he says “What thirteen year old could resist a place where they let you carry around guns and swords?” The original enchantment turned into a passion for history and scholarship. He has also published the fantasy novel Do Dandelions Grow on the Moon?

Madeline Le Chat

Born 1733

Madeline Le Chat was the only daughter of Edouard and Constance La Horn. She grew up in Montreal surrounded by her many step-siblings, the children of Edouard’s late wife. While her father, a floor planer, was working on a house along with carpenter Robert Le Chat, Madeline was introduced to Etienne Le Chat. Why she decided to accept the marriage proposal of a Coureur de Bois amongst all her other suitors is still a mystery. Perhaps it was his kind demeanor, or his loyal devotion to her, or maybe it was the romantic vision of a seasoned frontiersman laden with silver brooches and the prosperity of a successful trade venture. Regardless they were married in January of 1753 and embarked for the southern shore of Lake Michigan.

In “Real life” Madeline Le Chat is Megan Popiela. She is a student of visual arts at Indiana University Northwest. She became interested in reenacting while dating Brian, and Brian asked her to marry him after she not only tolerate the strange hobby, but enjoyed it as well.

Jacques...Surname Unknown

Born: 1733

Jacques was born the son of a brewer in Le Havre. He was an unruly child, and his father promised him to a local monastery with hopes of quelling his disorderly behavior. This tutelage, however, could not keep him from the tavern. He was challenged to a duel during a drunken dispute, and when things went horribly awry, he was accused of murder, ejected from the monastery and fled his native France for Canada. Upon his arrival, he feigned a nobility, title and all, in order to obtain a large seigneury in St. Ours. This falsehood was eventually discovered and he was pressed into military service. During King George’s War, he was captured by the British along with three other Frenchmen and imprisoned in North Carolina. He led the three in a daring escape, and followed the Ohio and Mississippi river making their way to Fort St. Joseph. Now in service to the Fort, he was considered more of a liability than an asset.

Jacques (continued...)

In 1753 he was ordered to help in the construction of “La Petite Fort”, an endeavor the commandant allowed, yet omitted from the books with hopes of benefiting from the trade and making up for losses generated by the shortage of trade goods during the war. Regardless of his past, Phillippe and Etienne admire his jovial attitude, especially in the face of the rigors of frontier life. Also, his moral ambiguity and connections to the authorities come in handy when obtaining goods under the nose of the Crown. Many barrels of brandy have come to La Petite Fort, although the habitants have been known to imbibe most of it before it reaches the lips of the natives. Still in military service, Jaquez in encouraging his commrands to join the fight against the British. As Jaquez himself has said . . . "If the Devil does not know the true name of Jaques, then he cannot take me to Hell !"

Elanore Dores de L'Ours

Born: 1701

Born in Montreal in 1701, the daughter of a tin-smith she lived most of her life in the city. In 1725 she met a young habitant David Richard de L'Ours and they were married the following year. The new couple moved to a farm south of the city on the Richelieu River to start a family. In 1731 she had her first son Jean Philippe, then two others, Pierre in 1734 and Elisabeth in 1740. Pierre has become the black sheep of the family and was last seen heading for the Caribbean, while Elisabeth is destined for the Ursula convent. Occasionally she makes trips to Petite Fort to visit her first son and his new fiancé along with her sister Christine Marie.

In "real" life Elaine is a grade school teacher and the mother of Philippe (Tom Wojcinski). She is also a lover of history and an antique doll collector. She is a period crafts person making apple head dolls which have won numerous awards for quality. She has been a participant at The Feast of The Hunters Moon in La Fayette IN.

Guy Chambert

Born: 1727

Guy came to New France as an indentured servant. Being the poor son of a tenant farmer in France he had no way to pay for his passage over the sea. But being an upstanding catholic with much praise from his local parish priest he was allowed to make the passage. In return for his fare Guy worked as a laborer and house servant in the household of Chevalier Trepezec for 7 years until 1751. During his stay at the Chevalier's estate he met and befriended on Jean Philippe L'Ours who would often bring his families produce to market in Montreal. After being granted freedom in 1751 Philippe asked Guy if he would like to accompany him on a business venture in the Illinois Country with is cousin Entienne. Guy, having just met a lady and needing money to establish himself, agreed.

In really life Guy is Dennis Bolda, a student and empolyee at Butler University in Indianapolis. Dennis is just a few semesters away from a degree in counceling and is currently engaged.

Christine Le Chat

Born 1697

Christine was born in Montreal the 1st daughter of a tin-smith she lived most of her life in the city with her 2 sisters, Elanore included, and 1 brother. She eventually married a carpenter named Robert LeChat and had 4 sons. The youngest, Etienne, came back to his mother with crazy ideas of a trade post in the Upper country. Seeing that she could not talk him or her nephew out of the venture she decided to offer her services as "book keeper" and "bank" of sorts back in Montreal. The boys would send her some of their earnings so she could save it for them and in return she could use some of it to live on, now that her husband was getting on in years. Occational Christine leaves the comfort of her house on Rue St. Jean and the company of her grandchildren, Genevieve, Juliette and Jean to visit her son in the Upper Country with her Sister.

Christine is a teacher, mother and grandmother, as well as a lover of history and accomplished seamstress.

 

Sawesbike (Sawak)

Born 1733

Sawésbiké lived at the Potawatomi village on the southern shore of Lake Michigan. At a young age, he was taken to the Jesuit mission at St. Joseph. There he was educated by the missionaries, who would teach him to speak French and (attempt to) Christianize him. But young Sawésbiké was not content at the mission, and one day he offered to join a team of passing voyageurs who were short a paddle. Sawésbiké would then meet many new people along the way to Montreal, and could quickly pick up their languages. He would wind up staying with them for several years, until early in 1750 when he returned home to his family. That winter, a Frenchman named Le Chat, too ill to travel, was cared for by the village. Sawésbiké helped to acquaint him to the Potawatomi people and customs. Le Chat seeing Sawesbike's ability to translate asked him to assist in helping with trade at Petit Fort.

In real life Sawesbike is Joe Mejia, a college student and employee of FedEx.

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