|From Time Magazine, September 3, 1945:
The Trudels had a party at Quebec City last week. About 2,500 of them from near and far witnessed a pageant honoring their most renowned ancestor, attended high mass in the cathedral, heard speeches, went picnicking in suburban Boischatel. It was the 300th anniversary of the first Trudel's arrival in New France. The Trudels were not the first French Canadian family to hold a tercentenary celebration nor would they be the last* But their party was noteworthy because the story of the Trudels is, in a sense, the story of French Canada.
Arpents and Offspring. When Jean Trudel arrived at Quebec in 1645 he was just 16, a weaver by trade, and poor as Job. In his first ten years in New France, he worked for an apothecary, tilled the soil, fought Indians. When he had learned all the tricks necessary for survival in a frontier land, he was given the traditional 30 arpents of land (one arpent: approximately one and a half acres), and was on his own. He cleared away the forest, built a house, then married a Netherlander named Marguerite Thomas.
Quebec's records tell the rest. The 1681 census discloses that Jean and Marguerite owned two guns, their 30 arpents, eight cattle, and had four children at home. Church records reveal that practically every other year for more than 30, they became either parents or grandparents. All told, they had eleven children, who produced 60, who in turn produced 226 more. One Trudel had 16 children, ten of whom married; the ten begot no less than ten children each, and one had 21.
Soldiers and Legends. In St. Augustin de Portneuf there is a farm that has been tilled continually by Trudels for 200 years. Scores of Trudels became priests or nuns, and a few were bishops. Trudels fought the Americans in 1812, the Boers in 1899-1902, the Germans in 1914-18; there were 300 Trudels in Canada's armed services in World War II, and probably almost as many in U.S. uniforms. One Trudel, Anselme, was a Canadian Senator (1873-90). Another, George, was recently mayor of Manchester, N.H. The Trudels even have their own Paul Bunyan -- Daniel, who lived in Berthier County and whose knack for playfully hoisting horses into trees is a Trudel legend.
In 300 years, the Trudels have become so numerous they have begun to lose count of themselves. Though 2,500 last week managed to get to Quebec (some from as far away as Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia and western Canada), there were 17,500 other known descendants of the original Jean and Marguerite who could not make it.
*Other Canadian families which have celebrated tercentenaries: The Bellemares, Dions, Gagnons, Gravels, Lemires, Poulins.