François Davignon dit Beauregard


The first Davignon in America was born around 1685 to 1695 in France, perhaps in the southwestern region of France. The names of his parents are as yet unknown. He came to Canada near the turn of the century.

NEW: -- It has recently been confirmed that François was a soldier. (Thanks to Claude and Francine.) He was part of the Company of Monsieur Arpantigny. In February of 1719, he was a witness to the beating death of a black man, Antoine, and gave testimony at the criminal trial. During his deposition, he stated that he worked at Monsieur Ramezaj's saw mill because his military pay was 'thin'. (At the time, he was a new father with his first-born just 3 months old.)

He settled in the Chambly basin, where he was one of the area's earliest pioneers. (Chambly is about 14 miles east of Montréal and situated in the Richelieu River valley. The church there was established in 1706, but not consecrated until 1728. The fourth Fort Chambly was built nearby in 1709.) He farmed his homestead there all the rest of his life.

Nonetheless, he was a literate man, as evidenced by his various signatures in the Chambly parish records from as early as 1718 up to the year of his death. He used a couple of spellings of his name: davignot and davignont.

On the 24th of May in 1719, at Chambly, his marriage to Madeleine Mailhot (daughter of Jean Mailhot and Marie Courault) was formalized by a religious ceremony. At the time, their first child, Catherine, was nine-months old. The marriage record indicates that Catherine was legitimate. Perhaps there was a civil ceremony about the end of 1717 at the fort that wasn't captured in the historical record.

In the years that followed, they had at least ten more children. Altogether, six sons and four daughters survived to maturity. Most of François' descendants, surnamed Davignon, trace their ancestry through only two of François' sons: Jean-Baptiste and Clement-Amable. The descendants of Alexis, another son, go by the surname Beauregard, except for a few lines. The other three sons, François, Etienne, and André, had no surviving male issue.

On the 2nd of February in 1761, François and Madeleine attended the wedding of their son, Amable. A few weeks later Madeleine died; she was buried in Chambly, February 20th. (François claimed he could not write then.) Later that year, François died too; he was buried in Chambly on August 30th, aged about 75 years.


  1. Catherine, born about Aug 1718; bapt. 12 Nov, Chambly; married Jean Gaborio (widower of Marguerite Boileau) 9 Aug 1762, Chambly; died 18 Jan 1766, Chambly, aged about 50 (sic)
  2. François, bapt. 8 Jun 1721, Chambly; married Françoise Massé-Sancer, 1746
  3. Jean-Baptiste, born 8 Mar 1723, Chambly; married Marie-Magdeleine Massé, 1750
  4. Marie-Agathe, born around 1725; married Jean Soutière, 7 Jan 1756, Chambly; bur. 24 Feb 1801, St. Mathias, aged about 79 (sic)
  5. Etienne, bapt. 16 Apr 1728, Chambly; died 27 Jul 1751, Québec (Hötel-Dieu)
  6. André, born 18 Jun 1730, Chambly; married Marie Vallières, 1752
  7. Clement-Amable, born 29 May 1732, Chambly; married Marie-Anne Lamoureux, 1761
  8. Michel{le}-Françoise, born & bapt. 11 Oct 1734, Chambly; died & bur. 14 Oct
  9. Alexis, born 23 Mar 1736, Chambly; married Marie-Anne Crête, 1762
  10. Louise-Marguerite, born 2 Aug 1738, Chambly; married Antoine Montalon, 7 Jan 1760, Chambly
  11. Marie-Françoise, born 18 Mar 1741, Chambly; married Etienne Potvin, 16 May 1763, Chambly


The origins of François remain unknown. A search on and other genealogical sites, however, can bring up many "parents". Typically, these key off of François' dit name, Beauregard. For example, there was a François Beauregard who died in Hötel-Dieu, Montréal, 12 Jan 1709. No other facts are known about this person. Nevertheless, some people have designated him the father of our François. Others have gone so far as assigning a birth in France to him (1656), an immigration to Canada (1665), and a marriage in France (1691, Michelle James). I guess this François did a lot of traveling. This would no doubt be a surprise to the definitive Beauregard researcher, Denis Beauregard, who has been studying those lines at least as long as I have been researching the Davignons.

Other researchers have come across the birth of a François Davignon in France in 1690 and assigned him to our François. The problem with that is that that François can be found in later French records, both marrying and dying in France.

Perhaps the most provocative theory is that our François is one and the same as François Jarret dit Beauregard, son of André and Marguerite Anthiaume. This François was born in Verchères in 1686 and married Madeleine Pepin in Boucherville in 1706. Madeleine was listed as a widow in 1718 when she remarried. But, the speculation goes, François faked his death because the Catholic church did not allow divorce so that he could marry Madeleine Maillot, who was carrying his illegimate child, Catherine. And to hide he changed his name from François Jarret dit Beauregard to François Davignon dit Beauregard and moved far, far away (~10 miles) to Chambly. No one could ever make the connection. Hmmmm.

NEW: -- Looking a little deeper into this claim, it is noted that François was literate and left multiple examples of his handwriting in the records. So a search was done to find examples of François Jarret's script. Would they match? Although he lived in Verchères, the parish there was not yet established. Instead, the records of his marriage and children are found in the registers of Boucherville and Contrecoeur. No signatures of this François were found in the period of 1700 to 1717 for either parish anywhere in the registers. This probably indicates that this François could not write, just like his brother, Joseph, godfather to one of François' children, who indicated that he could not write. So in addition to the name change and moving far, far away, François Jarret apparently became literate. Hmmmm.

My own speculations are a little more mundane. François was born in France sometime in the late 17th century. (Note that François was a very common French name and Davignon was not uncommon.) He became a soldier and was sent to Canada to participate in the ongoing French and Indian Wars. In 1709, Fort Chambly was undergoing its last rebuild and probably saw numerous fresh troops coming in during the following decade. (Major renovations were carried out on the Fort between 1718 and 1720.) Many of these men were single, and often were given land grants and settled in the area. At some point during his service, François picked up the nickname, Beauregard (the good-looking), as was the custom for the early French-Canadians. The evidence for this is obvious in the generations of his male descendants. 😏

As previously stated, François' marriage record noted that Catherine was a legitimate child. His military service hadn't ended until 1719 or later, so François and Madeleine may have had a civil ceremony at the Fort. Further evidence that they were legitimately married by 1718 comes from the fact that François and Madeleine served as godparents to Marie-Françoise Boudreau in March 1718, which certainly would not have been allowed if otherwise.

A number of acquaintances and sons-in-law of François were emigrants from the southwestern French provinces of Auverge, Guyenne, and Gascony. If these were also ex-military settlers and possible regiment mates, then it may suggest a possible region of origin in France for François.

On a symbolic note, François was a soldier who came to Fort Chambly during its apex period, and he also went out with the fall of the Fort. In September of 1760, the English completed their conquest of the French forts along the St. Lawrence with the capture of Fort Chambly. Both Madeleine and François died within a year.


Here are François' signatures from 1718 through to the year of his death, as found in the parish registers of Chambly. He usually spelled his name 'davignont' or 'davignot', and never with an apostrophe. Interestingly, he never used the canonical form of his name Davignon, by which the majority of his direct descendants go.

On the 27th of March 1718, François and Madeleine were godparents to Marie-Françoise Bourdeau, daughter of Isaac Bourdeau and Marie-Françoise Coulon. Marie-Françoise is Madeleine's mother who married Isaac after Madeleine's father died. So Marie-Françoise Bourdeau was also her little half-sister.

On the 6th of February 1719, François signed his deposition at the criminal trial for the beating death of Antoine. This signature is unusual in that he signed only with his dit name.

On the 8th of March 1723, François signed the register at the baptism of his son, Jean-Baptiste. Here, he also signed only with his dit name. The final flourishes are similar to the previous.

Later that year, on the 7th of June 1723, François was a witness at the marriage of Joseph Claveau and his sister-in-law, Marie Maillot.

In August 1733, François was a witness at the marriage of Michel Macé and his sister-in-law, Louise Maillot.

In about May 1745, François was a witness at the marriage of Madeline's nephew, Basil Maillote and Agathe Trouillette.

On the 18th of April 1746, François was a witness at the marriage of Joseph Morin and Marie Claveau (goddaughter?). Interestingly, his firstborn son and namesake was married on the same day, about 10 miles away in St. Hilaire. This was not an insignificant distance in those times.

On the 2nd of February 1750, François was a witness at the marriage of his son, Jean-Baptiste.

On the 19th of June 1752, François was a witness at the marriage of his son, André.

1756 was a busy year for François. On the 7th of January 1756, François was a witness at the marriage of his daughter, Marie-Agathe, to Jean Soutière.

The following week, on the 12th of January 1756, François was a witness at the marriage of Theodore Chartier and Thérèse Loupe. Theodore was the son of John Carter who was suddenly transported far away from his home to a place beyond his imagination. (No, not that John Carter.) John Carter of Deerfield, MA, taken prisoner in the 1704 raid and brought to Canada where he lived the rest of his life. (The Deerfield raid has significant entanglements with François and his family. Eventually, I'll put up a page describing them.)

A few months later, on the 3rd of May 1756, François was godfather to his grandson, François Soutière.

Finally, near the end of the year, on the 3rd of November 1756, François was witness at the marriage of his widowed daughter-in-law, Marie Vallières, to Charles Legrain.

On the 9th of January 1758, François was witness at the marriage of Denis Laporte and Marie-Louise Maillot.

François' last known signature was on the 2nd of February 1761 at the marriage of his son, Clement-Amable.