Warbird: The History Behind The Story

The French Jesuits founded the great mission of Sainte-Marie in 1639. This important historical site was in the heart of the land of the Huron people. Written reports from Father Paul Rageuneau, Father Superior of the mission provided the information of the priests, donnés and lay brothers. Father Francesco Bressani, Father Antoine Daniel, and Father Jean de Brébeuf, all served at the mission. The Huron Carol is a Christmas hymn written in 1643 by Father Jean de Brébeuf.  Brother Jacques Douart, murdered April 1648, lies in the tiny cemetery.

Ambroise Broulet – Cook, Louis Gaubert – Blacksmith, François Gendron – Doctor, Robert Le Coq – business manager, and Pierre Masson – Tailor, all worked at the mission for a small salary.

Voyageur Médard Chourart des Groseilliers was an engagé at Sainte-Marie from 1640 to 1646 before returning to live in Quebec. At the mission he acquired valuable experience necessary to his later travels of discovery.

The hostility and warfare between the Iroquois and the Huron is historical fact. The Iroquois captured and killed Father Antoine Daniel and destroyed the village of St. Joseph, known as Teanaustaye.  Jesuits Jean de Brébeuf and Gabriel Lalemant later met with the same fate in March of 1649. Captured with hundreds of Huron, the Iroquois tortured them to death. Those at the mission waited for a second attack but it did not come. Eventually the Jesuits burned Sainte-Marie to the ground and abandoned it.

With the greater part of their tribe killed or in captivity, the remaining Huron escaped south and westward in 1649. The Huron divided into two groups. One group settled in Quebec, the others continued to migrate, eventually settling in Ohio.  The Quebec Wyandots are direct descendants of the Midland Huron.

Even though the life of Etienne Chouart, my eleven year donné, is fictional, young boys did apprentice at Sainte Marie. Christian Hurons lived in the longhouse at the mission, but Tsiko, Satouta, and Soo-Taie are not real people.