Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The First Acadian Murderer! Francois Xavier Gallant

With Halloween coming up, today I'm posting the story of  Francois Xavier Gallant, who murdered his wife with an ax!

I expect to be adding things to this post as I find more documents etc.

For now, it seems the story goes something like this:

Xavier and Madeleine married and have 8 children.  As of Jun 1812, 7 are still living.

On 11 June 1812 Xavier takes his wife for a walk in the woods, kills her with an ax and hides her body there.

He goes home, and pretends to not know where she was.  He looks with his children in the wood for her for a couple days.  Then he flees, and the children call in help.

He is found, and confesses to having killed her.  He takes them to where he hid the body.

There is a trial, and at the trial some people testify he was insane, having become mentally imbalanced after receiving some money for a Mr Marsh.  Mr. Marsh was probably Thomas Marsh, a local merchant.  The deal apparently netted him several hundred dollars....(????)

He apparently stopped working, and hid the money around the house, often accusing members of the family of having stolen it.   He stopped going to church. He believed his dog had bewitched him. He confused his wife with his daughter in law.

His son Fidele testified that he murdered her because she “was not mindful enough of Household affairs and did not take care of him – that he was obliged to cook his own Victuals.”

So many questions come to mind:

Why did he murder his wife?  Was he insane?  Who was Mr. Marsh, and why did he give him money?  Why would his sons think this made him crazy?  Why had his wife stopped cooking for him? If they were arguing, and she had stopped cooking etc for him, why go walking in the woods with him....and an ax???

I'm now looking for all the versions I can find of "Le Meurtrier de sa Femme" or "La Complainte de
Pinquin"

Xavier is the 2nd cousin 6 times removed of Michael John Stewart so far....
He is also the father in law of the 4th great grand uncle of Michael John Stewart (daughter Julie married Clement Martin)


Interestingly, this is the 2nd relative of my husband's who I have found so far that murdered his wife, apparently because he was mentally unstable, and was sentenced to be executed but wasn't.  The other one was Richard Hershell Stewart, on his father side.....


Genealogy Summary:

Francois Xavier Gallant was baptized in 1761 in Canada.

Francois Xavier Gallant was the son of Louis Gallant and Anne Chiasson.

Francois Xavier Gallant married Madeline Doucet.

The children of Francois Xavier Gallant and Madeleine Doucet include:

Lange Gallant

Daniel Gallant

Fidele Gallant

Victor Gallant

Bruno Gallant

Edesse Gallant

Julithe Gallant

Sources:

http://www.afgs.org/acadia/First_Acadian_Murder1.pdf

http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/gallant_xavier_5E.html