HÉBERT, JOSEPH, grandson of Canada’s first settler, only son of Guillaume Hébert and Hélène Desportes; baptized at Quebec 3 Nov. 1636; d. 1661 or 1662.
Joseph Hébert’s father, the only son of Louis Hébert, died in 1639. On 12 Oct. 1660, Joseph married Marie-Charlotte de Poytiers. Not long afterwards he was captured by the Iroquois, perhaps by the same band who killed his cousin Nicolas Couillard and six other Frenchmen on the Île d’Orléans in June 1661. A letter written by a companion in captivity states that, wounded in the arm and shoulder, he was given to the Iroquois of Oneida. After the usual tortures, he was finally stabbed to death by drunken members of the tribe. His death was not definitely known in Quebec until the summer of 1662.
Meanwhile on 15 Oct. 1661 his wife had borne a son, Joseph. Since the records contain no further mention of this child, it is assumed that he died in infancy. In that case, Canada’s first settler has no direct descendants bearing the Hébert name. There were, however, other Héberts in the colony at an early date, who may have been related; for example, one Jacques Hébert signed the inventory of Jean Nicollet’s possessions on 7 Nov. 1642.
The letter written by Joseph Hébert’s companion in captivity is cited in JR (Thwaites), XLVII, 90. Other information is collected in Azarie Couillard Després, La première famille française au Canada, and in Léon Roy, “Pierre Desportes et sa descendance,” SGCF Mémoires, II (1946–47), 167–68.
Revisions based on:
Bibliothèque et Arch. Nationales du Québec, Centre d’arch. de Québec, CE301-S1, 3 nov. 1636, 12 oct. 1660, 16 oct. 1661.