QUEBEC-RESEARCH-L ArchivesArchiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2007-10 > 1193290923
Subject: Re: [Q-R] Martin Cote and Suzanne Paget
Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2007 01:42:03 -0400
Let me begin with a few historical notes. The statutory minimum age of
marriage in Quebec under the French regime was 14 years old for a young
man, 12 years old for a young woman. However, if a marriage was
contracted [a prenuptial agreement about real and personal estate], and
solemnized [always in the Church, in that era], but one or both parties
were below the statutory age, the validity of the marriage could be
challenged only before the person reached the statutory age. So, there
is nothing illicit, and nothing unusual about the marriage of a 13 year
old, the age of Suzanne Page when she married Martin Cote.
The question of whether Suzanne Page was living in the home of Anne
Martin, widow of Jean Cote, before she married Martin Cote can neither
be proved or disproved by the fact that Suzanne was listed there in the
1667 census, since the census listed persons where they were when the
census taker came there, not at their place of residence. In fact, it
was not unusual for a person to be listed at two or more locations, if
they happened to be present at more than one location when the census
taker arrived there.
Finally, speculation is the enemy of scholarship!
Fr John L
From: Darrell Martin <>
Sent: Wed, 24 Oct 2007 6:51 pm
Subject: [Q-R] Martin Cote and Suzanne Paget
I'm replying to a message I got from RootsWeb although I'm not
subscribed to the
list. I am also sending it to the list so the admin can choose whether
I think you may need to reverse your thinking a bit. The assumption
implicit in your questions is that Martin and Suzanne were "connected"
she started living with Martin and his mother. It is just as possible
-- in fact
in may be more likely -- that Suzanne moved in before she and Martin
down the road to matrimony. That is, she might have been a servant or
of domestic help; or she might have been part of a family that could
her, and she was taken in by Martin's family; or any one of quite a few
scenarios that have her arrival in the family predate Martin's interest
(or vice versa). If you think in *those* terms, a young man falls for a
precocious 12 year old who is living with his family, as opposed to
why his betrothed had already moved in with him, then I think many of
doubts can be laid to rest.
Put in another way, Suzanne's moving in with Martin and his mother may
the *cause* of their eventual marriage, not an *effect* of that
Of course, all this is speculation. More evidence of any kind would be
nice. Absent that, though, I just don't see anything happening here
that is all
that unusual. Only Suzanne's age raises eyebrows, and the blunt fact is
would not have been the youngest girl ever to make a hasty leap into
for whatever reason and whether or not the church and society approved
of how it
happened; not by a long shot.
>From: "" <>
>Sent: Oct 24, 2007 3:22 PM
>Hi father John L.,
>Thanks for the confirmation. We are set there - you and I are have
with Suzanne's and Martin's birth and marriage dates BUT here is the
snag (as I
>The 1667 census from the PRDH shows:
>1. Martin Cote and Suzanne Paget living with Martin's mother
Martin and Suzanne would be MARRIED if living together with his mother
>2. the census has their ages listed as 27 and 12 which doesn't make
the ages were 28 and 13 when they were MARRIED and ASSUMING they were
married when living with Martin's mother.
>My Conclusion: So the census data doesn't make sense to me unless I
that the census was taken in early April 1667 before both Martin's and
birthdays AND Suzanne was just visiting/working with Martin's mother
for a while
in March and April prior to the July marriage.
>My Question: Would this be a logical conclusion that Suzanne
staying with Martin's mother (maybe helping with the household) prior
marriage to Martin? Sounds 'goofy' but maybe that is the answer. I
make sure this is a reasonable conclusion considering Quebec customs
this time period.
>Sorry that this is so confusing but maybe Suzanne really was working
Martin's mother's home helping out.
>Thanks for the help,
>Father John L. wrote:
>According to the DGFQ [Jette]:
>Martin COTE, son of Jean COTE & Anne MARTIN was baptized on 12 July
>1639 at Quebec.
>Suzanne PAGE, daughter of Raymond PAGE dit Quercy & Madeleine BERGERON
30 April and baptized 03 May 1654 at Quebec.
>Martin COTE and Suzanne PAGE were married at Chateau-Richer on 25 July
>Taking Martin COTE's duly recorded baptismal date as his birth date,
he was 28
years, 0 months, 13 days old on the day of his marriage. Suzanne PAGE,
birth and baptism are both duly recorded, was, in fact, older than 12
on the day
of the marriage. She was 13 years, 2 months, and 25 days old. She was
age to marry according to both civil and canon law.
>She was, by the way, 14 years, 4 months and 6 days old when her first
>son was born on 06 June 1668, and 29 days older on the day of his
>burial. Her second son, named Jean like his older brother, was born
March 1770, when Suzanne was 15 years, 10 months and 18 days old.
>So, Charlie, I don't know how to answer your question "Am I missing
>something here?" The records are there, and they are authentic,
>according to Jette and PRDH.
>On the other hand, I would be wary of some of the paths continuing
might lead to. A school committee in northeastern New England and an
community on the Arizona-Nevada border come to mind.
>Let's not go there!
Darrell A. Martin
a native Vermonter in exile in Illinois
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