Tuesday, October 01, 1985

Lisette Duval (Laval) Harmon 1791-1862

" cherished companion and the mother of my children" --Daniel Harmon

Elizabeth Laval, or Duval, was the Métis "daughter of a French-Canadian voyageur and a woman of the Snare people, whose country lies along the Rocky Mountain." She was born circa 1791 in the western Canadian Rockies. At the age of 14, Lisette was given as a "country wife" or femme du pays to Daniel Harmon "à la façon du pays" (in the custom of the country, or in common law) at South Branch Fort, Saskatchewan, on October 10, 1805. She traveled to the prairies and British Columbia for a decade with Daniel, and returned from Fraser Lake, BC to Vermont with him and their two surviving daughters in the spring of 1819.

Lisette and Daniel were formally married in the church of NorthWest Company headquarters at Fort William on August 19, 1819. Her son John was born on August 24, and the family departed for Montreal two days later. They arrived in Vergennes, Vermont, on September 11, having made a canoe trip of some four thousand miles in eleven weeks with three small children including a newborn. Lisette eventually bore fourteen children, ten surviving infancy; she buried all but two, as well as her husband. She died at Sault-au-Recollet, Montreal, February 14, 1862 aged 70, and is buried in Lot G-11 of Mount Royal Cemetery.