MOTIN (Mottin), JEANNE, Acadian pioneer and governor’s wife; b. c. 1615 in France, daughter of Louis Motin de Co(u)rcelles, who was associated with the Razilly-Condonnier trading company; d. c. 1666 at Cap de Sable.
She came to Acadia in 1636 with her two sisters and her brother-in-law, Nicolas Le Creux Du Breuil. In the same year, probably at Port-Royal, she married Charles de Menou d’Aulnay, by whom she had four sons, who entered the army and died in battle, and four daughters, all of whom took religious vows.
Following the death of d’Aulnay in 1650 she continued to reside at Port-Royal. She found her husband’s estate had debts totalling well over 300,000 livres, and there was little hope of her being able to raise this sum. Persistent attempts to collect payments were made by creditors and those of Emmanuel Le Borgne did not stop short of raiding and looting her property. At the same time she sent one of her officers to dislodge Nicolas and Simon Denys from their posts at Cape Breton, claiming that these were on lands controlled by the d’Aulnay estate. In July of 1651 she had her steward (intendant), Brice de Sainte-Croix – the son of Mme de Brice – go to France to act in her interests. The unauthorized arrangements he made with the Duc de Vendôme, under which Vendôme assumed half the debts in exchange for half the d’Aulnay property and an equal share in the fur trade, only complicated the situation.
In a marriage of convenience she was wed in July 1653 to Charles de Saint-Étienne de La Tour, who had been d’Aulnay’s chief rival for power in Acadia. They lived at the mouth of the Saint John until about 1656 when they moved to Cap de Sable. By La Tour she had five children – Jacques (m. Anne Melanson), Charles*, Marie (m. Alexandre Le Borgne), Marguerite (m. Abraham Mius de Plemazais), and Anne (m. Jacques Mius d’Entremont, Baron de Pobomcoup). A petition by her daughter, Marie, dated 1667 shows that Jeanne Motin was dead by that date.
For the litigation carried on by her daughter, Dame Marie do Menou, canoness of Poussay, and subsequently by her son Charles de Saint-Étienne* de La Tour, see AN, Col.’ C11D, 1, ff.55–60v., printed in Coll. de manuscrits relatifs à la Nouv.-France, II, 351–63. Other references: ibid., I, 132, 145–46; II, 292–93, 363–80 passim.