GLOBENSKY, HORTENSE (Prévost), known as Chevalière des Deux-Montagnes and Héroïne du Nord; b. 1804 at Saint-Eustache, daughter of Dr Auguste-France Globensky and Marie-Françoise Brousseau, dit Lafleur de Verchères; d. 29 April 1873 at Montreal.
Of Polish ancestry, Hortense Globensky’s father was born in Berlin. He came to Canada in 1776 as a surgeon in the Brunswick-Hesse regiment. On 7 Jan. 1829, at Saint-Eustache, Hortense married the notary Guillaume Prévost, son of Guillaume Prévost and Josephte Quévillon, of Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, by whom she had at least two children.
In the election of 1834 Hortense’s brother, Frédéric-Eugène Globensky, stood as Tory candidate in the county of Deux-Montagnes. Many times Hortense, with her usual fieriness, publicly championed his cause. But it was the representatives of the Patriote party, William Henry Scott* and Jean-Joseph Girouard*, who were elected. Hortense, having made no secret of her attachment to the government, could not expect, when the insurrection came, to escape the attacks of the young Patriotes of the county of Deux-Montagnes. On 6 July 1837 friends advised her to seek refuge with neighbours, since the Patriotes intended to come and attack her house. But Hortense, who had just lost one of her children, aged three and a half, decided not to abandon its body. At nightfall some 50 Patriotes approached the house with the purpose of sacking it. Dressed in her husband’s garb and wearing his characteristic blue cap, Hortense stationed herself at a window with all the firearms she had been able to muster. The Patriotes saw her, with a gun levelled straight at them, and chose to run. As a memento of this event, loyalist admirers made Hortense a gift of a silver teapot bearing the following inscription: “Presented to Madame G. Prévost, of Sainte-Scholastique, by several loyal persons of Montreal, in testimony to her heroism, greater than that expected of a woman, on the evening of 6 July 1837.”
Subsequently Hortense Globensky often got herself talked about, and what people said was not always flattering. Coming from mass on 15 Oct. 1837, at a moment when Patriotes were inciting the parishioners to rebellion, Hortense began to speak and asked them to remain loyal to the government. When the Patriotes made a move to silence her, she took out a pistol and threatened to shoot the first one who came near. As a result of this incident she had to answer a charge of illegally carrying firearms. In November she repeated the action, once more against the Patriotes, who never lost an opportunity to provoke her. Amury Girod*, an associate of Dr Jean-Olivier Chénier*, organized an expedition one day to try to bring Hortense to heel, but it had no result.
After the battle of Saint-Eustache, several people of Sainte-Scholastique and the neighbourhood are believed to have gone to Hortense’s house to express their regret for not having listened to her wise advice, and to entreat her to intercede with her brother, Colonel Maximilien Globensky*, on behalf of Patriotes who had been arrested by John Colborne*. Hortense agreed, and obtained the release of several prisoners.
Brave to the point of recklessness, Hortense Globensky-Prévost had an impetuous temperament, or at least an exceptional one. She was called Chevalière des Deux-Montagnes and Héroïne du Nord by newspapers at the time.
La Minerve (Montréal), 17 juill., 20 juill. 1837. La Patrie (Montréal), 11 nov. 1933. Le Populaire (Montréal), 12 juill., 6 oct., 22 déc. 1837. Ludwik Kos-Rabcewicz-Zubkowski, The Poles in Canada (Canada Ethnica, VII, Ottawa and Montreal, 1968), 17. The Polish past in Canada; contributions to the history of the Poles in Canada and of the Polish-Canadian relations, ed. Wiktor Turek (Toronto, 1960), 119–21. Michèle Lalonde, “La femme de 1837–1838: complice ou contre-révolutionnaire?” Liberté (Montréal), VII (1965), 155–57. Jacques Prévost, “Les Globensky au Canada Français,” SGCF Mémoires, XVII (1966), 160–62.