History of Embrun/Biographies/Louis Nèdère
Biographies: Louis Nèdère
BORN: August 12th, 1821 in Saint-Jacques-de-l'Achigan, Province of Canada
DIED: October 4th, 1846 in Saint Augustine-de-Catherine, Province of Canada
Who was Louis Nèdère?
Louis Nèdère was one of Embrun's first residents. He was part of the original group of 56 people that founded Saint Augustine-de-Catherine. But he was not just one of 56. Some members of the 'Founding 56' as they came to be called viewed him as their leader, although he wasn't offically their leader (they had no official leader, in fact). However, many members of the Founding 56 objected and didn't view Louis Nèdère as their leader.
Although the idea of starting a new settlement wasn't Nèdère's idea, he was the one that suggested a lumber industry.
Nèdère's Life in the new settlement
Nèdère took his wife, Marie, and his 1-year old son, Jean, with him on the search.
During the search, it was Nèdère that suggested that they investigate the Castor River. If it wasn't for Nèdère, Embrun would have been in a different location.
When they finally found the right spot and got off their boat at the present-day site of Embrun, Nèdère was weak and sick (It was later discovered that Nèdère got tuberculosis just before he left on the journey) and Jean was almost dead from exhaustion. Being the kindhearted person he was, Nèdère gave nearly all of his rations to Jean. Nèdère barely survived during the construction of the settlement that fall. When the town was completed in December, Nèdère was so weak that he could barely even walk. He definitely wasn't strong enough to search for food like the other members of the Founding 56 did.
The Founding 56 didn't expect to find much food at that time of year. So, they worked out a system. The more food a settler found, the bigger his or her share of the food would be. But Nèdère was too weak to search for food. Marie thus decided to work extra hard to get enough food for the whole family to survive.
When Jean was 18 months old in January, he fell into a coma, probably from lack of energy. Nèdère was sure that he was dead. But they didn't want to bury him in the middle of the winter.
But Jean woke up three days later. Over the rest of 1846, Nèdère and his wife and son continued to struggle. Nèdère didn't participate in the lumber industry in 1846, and thus the other settlers refused to give him a share of the food. Nèdère starved to death that autumn. Marie died several days later.
Jean, however, was adopted by Jonathan Smithson, Nèdère's cousin, and one of the few anglophone members of the Founding 56.