||The topic of this article may not meet Wikipedia's general notability guideline. (March 2008)|
The descendents of Pierre Cottereau, called Chouan, a lumberjack, and of his wife Jeanne Moyné lived in la closerie des poiriers at Saint-Ouën-des-Toits in Mayenne, and gave their surname to the Chouannerie:
- Jean Cottereau, called Jean Chouan (1757-1794), one of the leaders of the counter-revolutionary and royalist insurrection that developed in Mayenne in 1793 ;
- François Cottereau (1750-1794), his brother ;
- Pierre Cottereau (1756-1794), his brother ;
- René Cottereau (1764-1846), his brother.
Much of what we know of Jean Chouan's biography rests on a partisan work written by Jacques Duchemin des Cépeaux in 1825 at the request of Charles X, with numerous stories, sometimes without any foundation. The history of Jean Chouan contains a great deal of legend. Nonetheless, his role in the counter-revolution should not be underestimated.
His grandparent, as well as his father Pierre Cottereau, were clog merchants, crossing the forested regions of France, from the forest of Le Pertre to the forest of Concise. His first two sons were born in the course of one of his travels. Pierre Cottereau had married Joan Moyné, daughter of Pierre Moyné, who had in 1751 been let les Poiriers by the children of John Anjuère: house and room, a closet, the Noë du Four, the lande of Le Chemin. Half of it descended to Joan Moyné, who, widowed in 1778, bought the other half from John Lamy, weaver at Olivet.
The Closerie des Poiriers
In 1760, Jeanne Moyné settled down at the closerie des Poiriers, a fermette situated on the road halfway between le Bourgneuf-la-Forêt and Saint-Ouën-des-Toits, that he had inherited from his parents, along with other pieces of land.
Jean, the second of the boys, also had two sisters, and their mother was left in charge of these six children. It seems that Pierre Cottereau was away on business for he would not have missed signing the acts of baptism for his children if he was present. Thus, none of them are signed in his hand.
In the acts of baptism for his children, Pierre Cottereau is given as a homme honorable, then a marchand sabottier, then as a sabotier, then as a closier, doubtless after he had arrived at the Closerie des Poiriers.
Reading the parish registers for this area at this time, particularly those of the parish of Olivet, the town next to Saint-Oüen-des-Toits and the location of the closerie des Poiriers, we can see a region deep in misery. In several birth records, we read né sur la lande (died on the lande) of parents on only casual work. The misery of the forge workers at Port-Brillet, owned by the prince of Talmont, duc de la Trémoille, was such that they took part in the French Revolution, armed the National Guard and became ardent Republican patriots, like the workers of La Brûlatte.
The Chouan family belonged to a milieu of merchants, notaries and priests, and Pierre was literate. His children, grandsons of notaries or merchants, were violent, quarrelsome, untaught, broken to all fatigues, were not at all disposed to regular work.
Without doubt their father's prolonged absences deprived the Cottereau children of an authority figure and teaching (their mother was illiterate, as was common in this era). Their father died in 1778 when Jean Chouan was still young. Pierre, the elder son, called himself a sabotier. To survive, Pierre and his three brothers and even his sisters went into salt smuggling (salt was then under a heavy gabelle tax). René, the youngest child, was a house roofer.
The Cottereau family often worked in the Misedon woods, beside their house. Well before 1780, Jean Chouan was surprised, with his brother René and others, drinking alcohol in breach of the laws of Olivet. They exceeded in blows against two employees, Pierre Bériteau and John Guitton. A surgeon from Laval declares that one of the two could not be carried to hospital. The Chouan brothers and their accomplices were condemned to to pay for the medicines and the necessary foods for the injured, who were transported to an inn at Saint-Ouën-des-Toits.
Of a rare brutality, the Cottereau children managed to cripple almost all their neighbors, for meaningless reasons, and to bring several court proceedings and ruinous demands for compensation, which ruined the family.
Jean Chouan and his brothers François and René dodged the faux-saunage and, though they well-knew the hidden places of the regions' forests, were often stopped on several smuggling trips.
The family came to a tragic end during the French Revolution: François died after injuring himself with his rifle, though at least he was not killed by the forge workers of Port-Brillet. Pierre was arrested, condemned and guillotined, as were his two sisters. The only survivor was René, who died in 1846.
Pierre Cottereau (1696 - Olivet 4/2/1768 x (Olivet - 12 June 1725) Jeanne Chauvin (13/8/1698 - after 1768) │ └──> Pierre Cottereau (Olivet 9/1/1732 - Saint-Ouen-des-Toits 16/9/1778 ) x (Olivet 3/8/1754) Jeanne Moiné (Saint-Ouen-des-Toits 28/11/1735 - Le Mans 13/12/1793) │ ├──> Pierre Cottereau (Brains-sur-les-Marches 30/9/1755 - Laval 11 June 1794) ├──> Jean Cottereau (Saint-Berthevin-lès-Laval 30/10/1757 - Saint-Ouen-des-Toits 24 July 1794) ├──> François Cottereau (1760 - Olivet 3 January 1794) ├──> René Cottereau (Saint-Ouen-des-Toits 26/3/1764 - Saint-Ouen-des-Toits 7/4/1846) │ ├──> René Cottereau (1793-1857) │ ├──> Jeanne Cottereau (1795-1833) │ ├──> Louis Cottereau (1795-1796) │ ├──> Marie Cottereau (1798-1844) │ ├──> Pierre Cottereau (1800-1826) │ ├──> Jean Cottereau (1807-?) │ ├──> Dominique Cottereau (1808-1816) │ ├──> Julien Cottereau (1810-1865) │ ├──> Renée Cottereau (1811-1884) │ ├──> Lucie Cottereau (1813-1893) │ ├──> Angélique Cottereau (1814-1816) │ ├──> Étienne Cottereau (1815-1892) │ ├──> Jean Cottereau (1819-?) │ └──> Dominique Cottereau (1824-1879) ├──> Perrine Cottereau (17/10/1769-1794) ├──> Renée Cottereau (11/11/1776-1794) ├──> Marguerite Cottereau (1778-1778) └──> Marie Cottereau (1778-1794)
Notes and references
- lequel dans sa signeury de fraudeur est nommé Chouen, said in 1781.
- His eldest son, Pierre Jean François Cottereau lived not far from les Poiriers, at Brains-sur-les-Marches, next to the forest of Le Pertre
- who both died in 1754
- She had a sister, Françoise, who married Martin Duchemin and died in childbirth on 6 January 1762.
- See : Acte de naissance of François Cottereau.
- In fact with a modest patch of land, enough to graze one cow.
- Meaning that the parents lived on the lande in loges and worked in the surrounding lordly lands in the day, most often at the forges in Port-Brillet, then part of the parish of Olivet.
- Marie Le Bourdais, daughter of a notary, was the wife of Alexis Ollivier, the son of a notary. She bought almost all of what was for sale in the parish. His son, abbot Alexis Ollivier, protector of Jean Chouan, owned several métairies in Olivet and le Genest. His brother, Jean Le Bourdais, godparent of Pierre Cottereau, was a "tissier" merchant. On Jean Chouan's mother Jeanne Moyné's side, we find one Pierre Anjuère, priest of the cure of Saint-Pierre-la-Cour, as well as a Nicolas Moyné, priest with the cure of La Croixille, who had several lands in his parish and that of Bourgon. Of these, certain lands were leased to Julien Pinçon and Pierre Huet, notorious Chouans.
- Ernest Laurain, Chouans et contre-chouans, p.30
- In Brittany, pays de franchise, the salt was sold for 2 to 3 livres per minot (a little less than 50 kg); in Bas-Maine, next to Brittany but the country of pays de grande gabelle, had to pay 60 livre, over 20 times dearer.
- Léon de la Sicotière, La mort de Jean Chouan et sa prétendue postérité, Mamers, G. Fleury et A. Dangin, 1877, 38 p. (tiré-à-part from the Revue historique et archéologique du Maine) .
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Wood, James, ed. (1907). "article name needed". The Nuttall Encyclopædia. London and New York: Frederick Warne.
- "Famille Chouan", in Alphonse-Victor Angot, Ferdinand Gaugain, Dictionnaire historique, topographique et biographique de la Mayenne, Goupil, 1900-1910 ([détail édition]), t. IV, p. 243-244.