The Fractured Nation Interviews


Johan Christoph Bayer and Marie-Madeleine Gendreau

Fractured Nation Interviews His name was Johan Christoph Bayer. He was a 25 years old soldier based in the German town of Hanau, 25 kilometres east of Frankfort in the German state of Hesse. In the eighteenth century, Hessian regiments were often put in the service of the British Empire.

On July 12, 1777 Christoph’s regiment arrived in Québec City to help defend the former colony of New France during the American Revolutionary wars.

After the war the British allowed 332 German soldiers (of the approximately 4,000 who came over) to stay if they met certain conditions. Two of these was clearing a minimum of one acre a year on the land they had been allotted and finding a wife.

He asked for and obtained the hand of Marie-Madeleine Gendreau of Saint-Thomas de Montmagny, a small parish on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River where his regiment had been billeted one winter. Bayer became Payer and later Payeur.

Christoph and Madeleine had eleven children, eight of whom reached adulthood. Madeleine died on October 18, 1838 at the age of 80. Christoph, a few week later. He was 82.

Ralston Saul, in Reflections of a Siamese Twin: Canada at the End of the Twentieth Century (Penguin, 1997) wrote about politicians, in shameless pursuit of the immigrant’s vote, talking as if Canada had no history prior to 1985 when Mulroney drastically increased immigration levels, ostensibly to help his Party at the polls.

My ancestors’ contribution to building Canada was as great as that of those who came after 1985 and the sacrifices they made and the hardship they endured worthy of being remembered — as are the sacrifices made by those who came to Canada after the Mulroney immigration reforms.

It is the hope of the author that Canada - The Fractured Nation Interviews, in remembering everyone's sacrifice and contribution, we may avert the disaster debated in The Interviews.

Bernard Payeur

Information on Johan Christoph Bayer and Marie-Madeleine Gendreau from a talk given by Gérard Payer at a Payeur family reunion at Thetford Mines in August of 1985.