Jean Guyon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Jean Guyon, du Buisson
Born September 18, 1592
Tourouvre, France
Died May 30, 1663
Beauport, New France
Occupation mason, colonist
Spouse(s) Mathurine Robin
Children Jean Guyon du Buisson (junior) and 9 others

Jean Guyon du Buisson (September 18, 1592 – May 30, 1663) was the patriarch of "one of the earliest French families to settle in (Nouvelle France), one of the most numerous in the beginning, one of the most respected and best known."[citation needed]

Guyon made his living as a mason and was regarded as a "master mason of excellent reputation."[citation needed] In 1615, he finished the interior stone staircase of the Saint-Aubin Church.

Arrival in New France[edit]

Guyon was born in the Saint-Aubin Parish in Tourouvre, Orne, France, on September 18, 1592.[1][2] Guyon and his family (at least eight children[1]) emigrated to North America as part of the Percheron Immigration, a small group of families and some single men from the region of Perche, in the province of Normandy, brought over to New France in 1634 to colonize new areas.

Jean de Lauzon, the Governor of New France, awarded a concession of land to Robert Giffard de Moncel, physician to the colony. Giffard, now Seigneurie of Beauport, recruited Guyon and other tradesmen to the new colony with the offer of 1,000 arpents of land with hunting and fishing rights in exchange for three years of service.

Guyon traveled aboard a convoy of four ships under the command of Charles Duplessis-Bochart and arrived in New France in 1634. Guyon was awarded land in newly established Beauport, one of the oldest European-founded communities in Canada (and now a borough of Quebec City). Under the seigneurial system, he received a rear fief near rivière du Buisson (river of bushes). He attached its name to his own, Guyon du Buisson.

Guyon lived there until he died in 1663. He built a small mill and helped build the parish church of Québec city and the governor's residence.

For nine years, he and Zacharie Cloutier disputed Giffard's seigneural rights to receive foi et hommage (fealty and homage). Refusing to accept him as their superior, they did not stake their lands or pay him annual taxes. On July 19, 1646, the governor of the colony took action to force Cloutier and Guyon to comply with their contractual obligations. Such cases of censitaire refractoriness filled the time of the courts for the duration of the seigneurial system, both during the French regime and under the English.

His eldest son, also named Jean Guyon, married Élisabeth Couillard, granddaughter of Louis Hébert, the first French colonist established with his family in New France. Their wedding was accompanied by the "two violins...which had not been seen yet in Canada."[citation needed]

After his death, his heirs engaged in a protracted legal dispute over his lands.


Guyon fathered ten children, eight of whom married, and he is known to be an ancestor of many French Canadians. By 2006, news media noted that at least three out of four pure laine (old stock) Québécois descend from him. The descendants are often recognized as Dion, sometimes as Despres, Dumontier, Lemoine, in Louisiana as Derbanne and Texas as Berban. He has been linked to the family trees of Madonna, Celine Dion, Stéphane Dion, Hillary Clinton, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.[3][4][5]

By 1730, more than 2,150 births of Guyon descendents had been recorded, according to The First French Canadians: Pioneers in the St. Lawrence Valley. By 1800, Guyon had 9,674 married descendents, the second-most of New France immigrants, according to the Historical Demography Research Program of the Université de Montréal.[6] This study enabled neurological researchers to trace 40 cases of classical Friedreich's ataxia, a rare inherited disease, across 12 generations to 14 previously unrelated French-Canadians kindreds to one common ancestral couple: Guyon and his wife Mathurine Robin. The disease causes progressive damage to the nervous system resulting in symptoms ranging from gait disturbance and speech problems to heart disease. The finding allows for gene chromosomal localization studies that had previously been judged to be almost impossible in rare autosomal recessive disorders. [7]


In 1984, the 350th anniversary of Guyon's arrival, Quebec City named a park after him and a commemorative plaque to honour Guyon was mounted on the church in Beauport by the Association des Dion d'Amérique inc. In 2006, the city renamed a street after him. [8]


  1. ^ a b [1], by Honorius Provost. Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, Library and Archives Canada, retrieved on May 23, 2007
  2. ^ According to a research carried-out in France and documented in the "Fichier Origine".
  3. ^ Jean Guyon, l'ancêtre de Céline Dion originaire de Tourouvre, Perche-Qué, Retrieved on January 5, 2013
  4. ^ Liberal leader, singer share an ancestor: New France's Jean Guyon, father of 10, sired 75% of purebred Quebecers, By Patricia Bailey, Ottawa Citizen, A5, December 6, 2006, retrieved on May 23, 2007
  5. ^ Madonna, Celine and Camilla all swing from the same genealogical tree, Inside Entertainment Online, Retrieved May 22, 2007
  6. ^ *The Pioneers, Research Program in Historical Demography, Université de Montréal, Retrieved on May 22, 2007
  7. ^ Barbeau A, Sadibelouiz M, Roy M, Lemieux B, Bouchard JP, Geoffroy G. (1984). “Origin of Friedreich's disease in Quebec” Canadian Journal of Neurologic Science. 1984 Nov;11(4 Suppl):506-9. PMID 6391645
  8. ^ "Jean Guyon Park Avenue". Directory Names. Ville de Quebec (City of Quebec). Retrieved 30 March 2014. 

External links[edit]