Apostle Names and Petun Villages

Charles Garrad

April 1997

The logic and process of the Jesuit naming of Petun Indian villages are examined.

Comment les Jesuites ont nommé les villages des Petuns. 


In 1639, the missionaries of the Society of Jesus residing among the Huron Indians of Simcoe County in Ontario launched a new “Mission surnamed ’Of the Apostles” to the Khionontateronons” (People of the Hills),the people whom the French called “Nation du Petun”(Tobacco People). Their villages were a two days journey west of the Hurons.

By the time the Mission of the Apostles commenced, the Petun were well known to the French. Traders had been visiting Petun villages for more than twenty years. The Jesuit Father Jean de Brébeuf, as the newly arrived Superior of the Huron Mission, briefly visited the Petuns in 1634, and Father Charles Garnier, to whom the Mission of the Apostles would be assigned two years later, spent nearly fourteen days among the Petun in 1637. It was likely at this time that the feasibility of eventually establishing a permanent Mission among the Petun was being considered.

Native village names are given in italics. Matthew and Matthias are consistently so given, but may be found also spelled Mathew or Mathieu and Mathias in cited sources.


Under the Jesuits, the practise of assigning the names of Saints to Indian villages in Huronia, which had begun with the Recollets, took on a more planned hierarchical structure, and extended to mission districts, even to islands. In 1634, St. Joseph became “the new Patriarch of the Hurons .. and protector of the Hurons” (JR8:73, 149), and also “Father, Patron, and Protector of new France” (JR8:221,JR11:67). The opportunity to give similar recognition to Mary,the spouse of Joseph, came with the building of a residence cabin at Ossossané in 1637, which was named “The Conception of Nostre Dame”, “Ia Conception”, or “sainte Marie, or Nostre Dame de la Conception” at its new location in 1639 (JR14:57, JR19:133, 135-7), better known today as Sainte Marie Among the Hurons.

In considering a name for the potential Mission to the Petun, the realization that the number of Petun villages was approximately the number of Christ’s twelve Disciples may have raised the possibility that each village could be named for a Disciple, and consequently the entire Petun mission district named for them collectively. This information was perhaps among the “concerns” forwarded to Quebec in June 1637 (JR14:109) and on to France the same year for the consideration of a potential sponsor (Garrad 1996:4-5).


While all the above is hypothetical, it is recorded that in April 1637, Father Charles Garnier undertook a journey to the Petun of an unprecedented fourteen days duration. From Father Le Mercier’s account, this visit was spontaneous, to take advantage of an opportunity to accompany French domestics, and to visit the sick there (JR14:35). Nevertheless, the stay was long enough to allow Garnier to visit every Petun village, to familiarise himself with the Petun country, to select the most appropriate village for a potential mission residence headquarters, to determine the number of missionaries that would be necessary, to decide if he personally would wish to be one of them, and to devise names for the villages and the Mission. Whether originally a purpose of the 1637 visit or not, one of its results could well have been the determination of the feasibility and cost of establishing a permanent mission among the Petun.

In accord with the forgoing suppositions are the facts that when the Mission of the Apostles commenced on November 1, 1639, Father Charles Garnier was assigned to it; that all nine villages of the Petun were already named for apostles, that the principal Petun town, intended to be the mission residence and headquarters,was identified, and that in due course the Princesse de Conde, in France, was publicly proclaimed “the Mother and foundress of the Mission called that “of the Apostles”, in the nation commonly known as the Tobacco nation” (JR32:137). She “set aside a perpetual revenue to establish a mission to the Nation of the Petuns, and wished it to be called the Mission of the Apostles (Du Creux 1952(2)486). Negotiations with the Princesse, initially through her son the Duc d’Anguien, for her sponsorship of the Mission of the Apostles, may have commenced as early as 1636 (Garrad 1996:4,5).


“C’a efté la cinquiefme de nos miffions, que nous auons nommé la miffion des Apoftres. Le fort en eft efcheu au Pere Charles Garnier, & au P. Ifaac lacques. Voicy les noms qu’ils ant donne a neuf bourgs qu’ils y ant rencontre, fainct Pierre & fainct Paul, fainct Andre, fainct jacques, fainct Thomas, fainct lean, fainct lacques & fainct Philippe, fainct Barthelemy, fainct Matthieu, fainct Simon & fainct lude” (JR20:42).

Thus, nine villages of the Petun were named

1. St. Peter & St. Paul
2. St. Andrew
3. St. James
4. St. Thomas
5. St. John
6. St. James & St. Philip
7. St. Bartholomew
8. St. Matthew
9. St. Simon & St. Jude

As will be discussed, Father Jérôme Lalemant gave the list of village names without comment or explanation, consistent with his having no part in their assigning. Although the Superior, Lalemant was but newly appointed, and had no experience in the Huron mission prior to his arrival the previous year on August 26, 1638 (Jones 1909:309). For this he was dependent on the man he had replaced, the very experienced Father Jean de Brebeuf, who was now subordinate to him, and to whose prior decisions he now fell heir. One such decision was to move the second residence of the Huron


mission from Ihonatiria (St. Joseph I) to Teanaostaiae (St. Joseph II), accomplished in June 1638 just before Lalemant’s arrival. Another such decision evidently was to commence the Mission of the Apostles to the Petun. That Garnier’s 1637 visit to the Petun was with the permission of Father Superior Brébeuf was specifically recorded (JR14:35).

The policy of the new Superior Father Jérôme Lalemant towards his more experienced predecessor may have been one of tactful distance. Lalemant took up residence at Ossossané where Garnier no doubt advised him on the Petun. Brébeuf remained initially at the second residence at Teanaostaiae (St. Joseph II), with other Fathers. These included Isaac Jogues, whose name Lalemant gave, nearly two years after his arrival, as Jacques. While perhaps more probably simply a printer’s error, the thought lingers that this might be evidence of Lalemant keeping such a politic distance from his predecessor, his associates and projects, that he genuinely did not know Jogues’ name.

Whatever Lalemant’s policy towards projects initiated during the regime of his predecessor, input from the Petun expert Garnier within his own walls, and the promise of financial support from a near-royal house of France, ensured the Mission of the Apostles commenced as planned. Lalemant’s vibrant and detailed account of the experiences of Fathers Charles Garnier and Isaac Jogues among the Petun in 1639 and 1640 suggests the enthusiasm of a person knowing first hand of his subject. In contrast, the only comment he made concerning the naming of the villages was that this was done by the Fathers. He does not even mention the obvious biblical origin of the names, and their sequence, nor explain how the biblical names were adapted to the villages. As suggested above, this apparent detachment is probably because in this he is simply recording the results of decisions made before his arrival in Huronia, in which he did not participate.

That the names were assigned before the Mission commenced, inferentially from prior familiarity with the Petun country and as part of the preplanning for the Mission, is indicated by the first village reached by the arriving missionaries, Fathers Charles Garnier and Isaac Jogues in November 1639, being recognized as St. Thomas, which is not the first village on the list, but the fourth. To find St. Thomas, the missionaries had needed guides (JR20:45, Jones 1909:227), but once there, no guides are mentioned as necessary to take the Fathers on to their intended residence at St Peter & St. Paul, the “farthest and principal village of our district”, reached from St. Thomas by passing through “some other little villages” (JR20:45, 47). This suggests that once he had reached the Petun country, Garnier knew the way.

That the ordering of the list was planned and is meaningful is evident from the list itself. It is basically a quotation from the Bible, more precisely, allowing for necessary and understandable modification, an amalgam of the several lists of Apostles found in the New Testament (Table 1). The village list indicates a Jesuit preference for the name Jude, as given in his Letter (Jude), rather than Judas, son of James, provided in Luke (6:16) and Acts (1 :13), or Thaddaeus found in Matthew (10:4) and Mark (3:18).


The names of Christ’s Twelve Apostles are given four times in the New Testament, in one instance lacking Judas Iscariot. The sequences of names in the four lists vary, but the similarities are obvious. Peter is always first and Judas Iscariot, when mentioned, is always last, always preceded by Simon


and Thaddeus/Jude (Judas, son of James). Even after the adjustment necessary to reduce from twelve, the number of Apostles, to nine, the number of Petun villages, the biblical origin of the list of Petun village names is obvious (Table 1). This establishes that the sequence of names as given was intentional and meaningful, and confirms the names were assigned with careful consideration prior to the commencement of the Mission.

The process by which the names of the Twelve Apostles were adapted to nine Petun villages may be deduced. Judas Iscariot, who was not raised to Sainthood, and following the precedent of Acts 1:13, was dropped, leaving eleven names to be assigned. Four of the eleven were then coupled into pairs, St. James with St. Philip, and St. Simon with St. Jude, each pair being usually associated because of shared Feast Days. This procedure reduced the number of available names to nine, but made a case for the inclusion of St. Paul, who shares a Feast Day with St. Peter and is usually associated with him. Although Paul was not a Disciple, and his name does not appear on the New Testament lists, he is termed an Apostle (Paul n.d.). His inclusion as part of a double name did not affect the number of total names, and was therefore allowed.

Having established that the list of Apostle names is meaningful, and given that St. Peter heads all the biblical lists and also the list of villages (as St. Peter & St. Paul)(Table 1), it follows with reasonable certainty that the villages were named geographically in the same sequence. Given that the first village reached in 1639 was St. Thomas, the fourth on the list, and to reach the final destination, St. Peter & St. Paul, the first on the list, the Fathers passed through “other little villages”, it follows these must be the third and second on the list, St. James and St. Andrew.

That St. Peter and St. Paul was beyond the “other little villages” suggests the villages were arranged in a line, more or less, perhaps along a single trail. That the first village encountered from the river was in the middle of the list suggests this line was to some extent parallel to the river, with the middle of the line closest to where the river was crossed. The implication is that St. Thomas was at or near a T-junction, at which the west-bound traveller from Huronia, having crossed the Nottawasaga River, could turn either left or right. Evidence that the turn toward St. Peter & St. Paul was to the south (i.e. to the left) might be deduced from the word “farthest”, as viewed from Huronia, and support found in the two maps on which St. Peter & St. Paul is shown south of St. Simon & St. Jude. Unfortunately, both maps (d’Abbeville 1656, du Creux 1660, Garrad 1997a:3-5) are secondary and geographically unreliable, and the later one is copied from the earlier, so their unanimity in showing St. Peter and St. Paul to the south, and St. Simon and St. Jude at the extreme north by the lakeshore, does not add confirmation. However, evidence that the map is correct in the relative placement of the two villages is found on a another and more reliable map. This does not show these villages, but instead shows  two others by their Petun names, Etharita to the south of Ekarenniondi (Bressani 1657; Garrad 1997a:4-5, Plate 6). Elsewhere it will be shown that the Jesuit names for these two villages were St. John and St. Matthew, respectively fifth and eighth on the list. A south-to-north sequence is confirmed.

Subsequent events add credence to the interpretation that St. Peter & St. Paul was the southernmost village at the time. The Petun country was protected to the east by the Hurons, to the west by Ottawa/Algonquins and to the north by the lake. Additionally, all the villages except those at the very ends of the line were protected by the other Petun villages closer to the lake. The southernmost village was therefore was the only one open to attack by a land force, and only from the south. In 1642 the village named for St. Peter & St. Paul was attacked, but no others, presumably by the Confederacy Iroquois from New York to the south. Similarly, in 1649, when the village named for St.


John was attacked, it was described by the Jesuits as the village “nearest to the enemy” (JR35:107), again implying the southernmost for the same reason, the villages formerly to the south, St. Peter & St. Paul, St. Andrew, St. James and St. Thomas, by this time having been abandoned. This conforms with the evidence of Bressani’s map, which shows no villages south of Etharita (St.John).

Even without access to the confirming Bressani map, the historian Andrew F. Hunter speculated as early as 1898, from Sanson d’Abbeville’s map (1656) “that the nine villages.. were named, beginning at the southernmost village and ending at the northernmost, the order of the names in the text being preserved throughout” (JR20:307 n6).

It has been noted that factors favouring the mission being named “Of the Apostles” included the approximation of the number of Petun villages to the number of Apostles, the Apostles being eligible as a source of names following the prior recognition of Joseph and Mary, and the conditions imposed by the benefactress for her support. A further factor is now revealed. That the principal and first Petun village, where the Mission residence would be placed for probably political reasons, would, by following the biblical Apostle list, be named for St. Peter, the principal and first Apostle, was a coincidence probably too great to ignore. Jesus called the Apostle Peter the rock on which “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18),and the Petun village named for him would be the one from which the gospel would be spread throughout the mission district.

It is not proposed that this line of reasoning can be carried further. There is no suggestion, for example, that the villages named for Apostles who were fishermen (Peter, Andrew, James, John) had any unusual specialization in fishing. It is a standing joke among Petun researchers that Fathers Garnier and Jogues named the first village they reached “St. Thomas” (‘Doubting Thomas’), because having got lost and much delayed, they had doubted they would ever get there! It has also been suggested that, as the gateway to the Mission, this village would have been more fittingly named for St. Peter. However, the names were not determined by local circumstances, but by the New Testament, and the village that was named for St.Peter & St.Paul was, as the principal village, the true gateway to the Mission.


In 1642 the Mission of the Apostles “was given up that we might work in other centres ..” (Garnier 1648, cited by Jones 1909:355). When Father Charles Garnier, with Father Leonard Garreau, returned to the Petun country four years later for another missionary attempt, the population and the territory of the Petun were much reduced. All the villages south of St. John, including the former principal village named for St. Peter & St. Paul, had been abandoned. St. John was now the southernmost frontier town, nearest to the enemy (JR35:107). Both Fathers took up residence in the new principal village, which bore the Petun name Ekarenniondi, Father Garnier to minister to the Petun, Father Garreau to the Algonquins. Father Garnier described the new missionary effort as “a new mission termed that of the Petun Nation, to which we have given the title of Mission of the  Apostles” (Garnier 1648, cited by Jones 1909:355). This is the last mention of the name.

Following the departure of the Algonquins from Ekarenniondi in the summer of 1647, the Algonquin-speaking missionary, Father Garreau, who also spoke the language of the resident Petun, was appointed to them, and Garnier moved to the secondary capital of Etharita, so that the reduced Petun territory was divided into two, each a Mission district with its own headquarters and resident


missionary. One of these Mission districts remained headquartered in the village “called Ekarennindi, dedicated to St. Matthias, and the other Etharita, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist” (Garnier 1648, cited by Jones 1909:356). It is clear that the names St. John and St. Matthias are those of the two mission districts. In the case of Etharita, residence headquarters of the Mission district of St. John, the Apostle name of the village was also St. John, but the Apostle name of the village Ekarenniondi, residence headquarters of the Mission of St. Matthias, is nowhere given. This is deduced as being St. Matthew, for reasons now to be considered.


The mention for the first time in 1648 of a new Mission named St. Matthias, already two years old, is not accompanied by any explanation. Andrew F. Hunter (JR20:308) , Father Jones (1909:225 etc.) and others have assumed the headquarters of the new Mission of St. Matthias must necessarily be in a village of the same name. This in turn implies a new village had been built since the 1639 list, becausethe nameSt. Matthiasis not on it (Table 1).

St. Matthias was an Apostle, elected to replace the Disciple Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:23-26). To name for him any new village founded subsequent to the 1639 list would comply with the hierarchical structure. However the hypothesised creation of a new village to accommodate this possibility has no support in probability. At the time, the Petun population was greatly shrinking. Existing villages were being abandoned, not new ones established. The records never refer explicitly to a village of St. Matthias. If described, St. Matthias is always the Mission (district) of St. Matthias. In the case of Etharita Father Ragueneau carefully distinguished between St. John the Mission and St. John the village even though both had the same name (JR35:107). This implies that as separate entities Mission and headquarters village may not necessarily have the same name. The village of Ehwae, for example, had its own name, “St. Peter & St. Paul” distinct from that of the Mission of the Apostles headquartered there. In the case of the village of Ekarenniondi, the Mission headquartered there is certainly St. Matthias, but it does not necessarily follow that the village had the same name.

If Ekarenniondi in its 1648 location was not a new village, then it must have been one of existing villages on the 1639 list, certainly one of the four north of St. John, and inherently, as with the example of St. Peter & St. Paul, the principal village of the Petun mission district.

Fortunately Father Paul Ragueneau dedicated an entire Chapter in the Jesuit Relations to the Mission of St. Matthias (JR35:163-171). The Mission district comprised at least two villages. Of these, only St. Matthew is named, and named twice, consistent with it being the principal village. Its affairs are given more space than all other matters. It was at St. Matthew that “the most eminent” captains assembled in international council (JR35:165), an event appropriate to the principal village of the host nation. It was from St. Matthew that the Jesuit Fathers “were then absent” and to which they later returned (JR35:165, 167) as to their usual place of residence. It was inferentially from St. Matthew that Noel Chabanel left on December 7, 1649, because his killer, presumably among those who accompanied him easterly from the village, was certainly a resident “of the village of St. Matthew” (JR35:169). The imprecise mention of St. Matthew as “a village belonging to this Mission” has obscured the fact that it, among all villages belonging to the Mission, was the headquarters village. St. Matthew is the eighth village on the 1639 list.

The second village mentioned was not named but simply described as “another village, dependent


on this same Mission”. The 1639 list indicates the next village to the north of St. Matthew was St. Simon & St. Jude, and to the south, St. Bartholomew, either one of which could have been the mentioned village. As will be seen, probability favours St. Simon & St. Jude.


In October 1646 the Mission of the Apostles recommenced as one Mission.

After the departure of the Algonquins in the summer of 1647, the Petun territory was subdivided into two, served by two Fathers, Charles Garnier and Leonard Garreau, in two villages, Etharita and Ekarenniondi, comprising the two missions of St. John and St. Matthias (Garnier 1648, cited by Jones 1909:355-6).

By April 1649 there was a third Father and a third Mission in the Petun area. Father Garnier explained in a letter dated April 25, 1649, written at Ste. Marie I, that a number of Hurons had “sought refuge in the country of the Petuns, of whom two Fathers and myself (“deux de nos peres et moy”) have the care” (cited by Jones 1909:387). Father Superior Paul Ragueneau, in a Relation dated May 1, 1649, confirmed that “the Huron villages, which have become scattered, have taken various routes in their flight – some having fled to the mountains where dwell those whom we call the Tobacco Nation, where three of our Fathers were cultivating, this last winter, three separate Missions ..” (JR34:203).

Neither of the sources explained that among “the great mass of these peoples who sought refuge with the Tobacco Nation” (JR34:223) were at least some Hurons from the Mission of La Conception at Ossossane, accompanied by Father Joseph Marie Chaumonot, whose Mission this was (Jones 1909:379, 382). Ossossane was evacuated in fear of impending attack during the night of March 19-20, 1649, by one account across the ice of frozen Nottawasaga Bay to the Petun (JR39:251).

Logically the cold, tired, and frightened people and their pastor would have sought shelter in the very first Petun village they reached, nearest to the shore. The last, and therefore the most northerly village on the 1639 south-to-north village list named for St. Simon & St. Jude. If the refugees and Father Chaumonot remained in this village, then it was here that the Mission of La Conception relocated. Consequently, at the time that Garnier was writing his letter and Father Superior Paul Ragueneau was compiling his Relation, the three missionaries in the Petun area were Father Leonard Garreau, at St. Matthew Ekarenniondi in the Mission of St. Matthias, Father Charles Garnier, usually at St. John Etharita in the Mission of St. John, with the Mission of St. John, but temporarily visiting Ste. Marie, and Father Joseph Marie Chaumonot at (probably) St. Simon & St. Jude with the Mission of La Conception displaced from Ossossané. 

The duration of the Mission of La Conception to the Hurons of Ossossané among the Petuns was of only some six weeks. On May 1, 1649 Father Chaumonot and “many of his flock” moved to Christian Island (Chaumonot, cited by Jones 1909:379, 382, 383; JR34:213-221).

In 1648 Father Charles Garnier mentioned that “We have a little chapel” in both Ekarenniondi and Etharita (Garnier 1648, cited by Jones 1909:356). This suggests that it was the practice to build a chapel in each Mission headquarters village, where a priest could look after it. A third chapel, with a belfry, was built in the unidentified village “dependent” on St. Matthias (JR35:169). This village then had become a third and separate Mission, with its own chapel, and presumably therefore with


its own resident pastor. As noted, the village which acquired a third mission (La Conception) and missionary (Father Chaumonot) was probably St. Simon & St. Jude. After the mission of La Conception and Father Chaumonot moved to Christian Island in May, the chapel was necessarily left in the care of the missionaries resident at the nearby St. Matthew. In their absence it was destroyed in December 1649, possibly as the result of the same agitation that lead to the death of Father Noel Chabanel.

From the same documentary evidence, the learned Father Arthur E. Jones reached different conclusions. He argued that the mention of a third mission was proof of the existence of a village named St. Matthias, and of the presence of Father Noel Chabanel in the Petun country after February 1649 as the third missionary (Jones 1909:379-380, 387). He placed Father Charles Garnier at St. John Etharita, Father Leonard Garreau at “St. Matthias, at Ekarenniondi” and Father Noel Chabanel alone at St. Matthew.

That there was no village named St. Matthias, and consequently no third mission there, that the Apostle name of the village of Ekarenniondi was St. Matthew, not St. Matthias, and that the third Mission was La Conception, and the third missionary Father Chaumonot, has been demonstrated. Further confirmation requires that if Father Noel Chabanel was not the third missionary alone at St. Matthew, his presence elsewhere at the time (February to May 1649) must be demonstrated. Unfortunately, the Jesuit records do not provide this information, but do provide other clues.

It seems beyond probability that Father Chabanel, newly arrived in the Petun country, would be immediately left alone in a principal Petun village in charge of his own Mission. Originally intended for Algonquin missions in 1644 (Jones 1909:340), and then “to aid in the conversion of the Algonquins who dwell next to the Hurons” (JR26:73), Father Chabanel proved unable to master any native language or to adapt to “the ways and manners of the Savages” (JR35:151 , 153). The need to accompany another Father who spoke the local language would have prevented him being assigned to a village where he would be by himself. Available records of him in Huronia from the time of his arrival in 1644 suggest he was never left alone, but was always an assistant to a more experienced missionary, and travelled with guides. He was assisting Father John de Brébeuf at St. Ignace II when, in February 1649 (Jones 1909:379) he was re-assigned to a mission identified only as “more remote and more laborious” (JR35:161). Father Jones interpreted this unidentified mission as being to the Petun (Jones 1909:387), but there is no evidence that the Petun missions were “more laborious”, indeed, Father Leonard Garreau was sent to the Petuns in 1646 as if to recuperate from the long and debilitating illness that he had suffered all the previous winter (Jones 1909:352,361).

Chabanel’s presence in the Petun area is not certain until December 1649 when “Father Noel Chabanel was the Missionary companion of Father Charles Garnier” (JR35:147) at St. John Etharita. This is the only mention of him there at all prior to the events of his death. His arrival in the Petun country therefore must certainly have been sometime between the mention of his removal from St. Ignace II in February, and his death in December. However, had he arrived in the Petun country prior to Chaumonot’s departure on May 1st, there would have been a total of four Missionaries, not the three stated for the period. He therefore arrived on or after May 1, 1649.


On April 25, 1649, Father Charles Garnier was at Ste. Marie I (Jones 1909:387), presumably in


connection with the impending decision to soon abandon and destroy the establishment, and remove to Christian Island (JR34:203, 223, 225), and to assist in the necessary dispersal of staff, visitors and assets. On August 12 he was at the new location, Ste. Marie II, on Christian Island (Jones 1909:383, 387), possibly on continuing business related to the move, and possibly, as Father Jones suggests, to ask for more help (Jones 1909:387). On both occasions he was visiting from his mission post at Etharita, to which he returned. Father Noel Chabanel, who had been recalled to headquarters in February for a planned re-assignment that did not occur due, presumably, to the threat of enemy action, could have accompanied him to the Petun country either occasion, as long as he did not arrive before May 1, the day the previous third missionary, Father Chaumonot, left. Had Chabanel gone to the Petun country in February, as Jones suggests, he would have been the fourth, not the third missionary there, and he would have travelled there without the companionship and guidance of a fellow missionary.

Similarly, Father Adrien Greslon must have accompanied Father Garnier on one his return journeys, more probably on the later one in August, to take up his assignment to assist Father Garreau at St. Matthew Ekarenniondi. He had arrived from Quebec the previous September and spent the winter at Ste. Marie I learning the language (Jones 1909:376-7, 387).

On December 7,1649, Father Noel Chabanel, on his way to Ste. Marie II with a party of seven or eight Christian Hurons was camped near the Nottawasaga River some six leagues east of St. Matthew of “the Mission of saint Matthias”, which they had left that morning. On hearing the noise of an approaching Iroquois “victorious hostile force” with captives from St. John taken that afternoon, the men “fled at once into the forest, and eventually saved themselves, scattering some here, some there; and taking their route toward the very place from which the enemy had come out, though a little to one side of it. These Christians .. arrived at the Tobacco Nation, and reported ..” (JR35:147, 149; Jones 1909:236). Garnier having been killed during the attack on St.John/Etharita, the only Fathers remaining “at the Tobacco Nation” were Garreau and Greslon at St. Matthew/Ekarenniondi. To report to them, at least some of the men must have returned there, not quite “the very place from which the enemy had come out”, which was St. John/Etharita. Father Superior Paul Ragueneau, who wrote of the incident, is not known to have visited any of the Petun villages of the Mission of the Apostles. Perhaps he simply assumed that St. Matthew was “a little to one side of” St. John.


Father Ragueneau’s statement that in December 1649 the Fathers in charge of the Mission of St. Matthias, usually resident at St. Matthew, were “absent on their visitation rounds in some of the more remote villages” (JR35:169) cannot be readily explained. The Mission of St. Matthias included certainly only one village other than St. Matthew, probably St. Simon & St. Jude, but possibly also St. Bartholomew, if it still existed. Both these villages are next to St. Matthew on the village list and therefore were not “remote”. Perhaps the Fathers from St. Matthew visited their colleagues at St. Jean.

The possibility that “the more remote villages” were the seasonal camp sites of the nomadic Algonquins can be dismissed. It might be thought that after the Algonquins withdrew from Ekarenniondi “and joined another Algonquin nation two days’ journey from Ekarenniondl” in 1647 (Garnier 1648,cited by Jones 1909:356), perhaps Father Garreau, the Algonquin-speaking Jesuit at St. Matthew (Jones 1909:355, 356), might have followed the departed flock to attempt a


reconciliation. The records contain no hint of this possibility, but state to the contrary that after the Algonquins left, Father Garreau was appointed to the Huron-speaking Petun (Garnier 1648, cited by Jones 1909:356). This enabled Father Garnier to move to St. John.

As mentioned earlier, Father Superior Paul Ragueneau is not known to have visited the Mission of the Apostles. He may have simply assumed the villages of St. Simon & St. Jude and St. Bartholomew were “remote” from St. Matthew.


The proximity of the village St. Simon & St. Jude, and perhaps St. Matthew, to Nottawasaga Bay has already been deduced from their placement as last, and last-but-one, on the village list. When the Mission of St. Matthias closed in the spring of 1650, Leonard Garreau, the last resident Father at St. Matthew, was recalled to Christian Island, and travelled there by canoe (Ragueneau n.d. (September 1656 ?), cited by Jones 1909:400). This might suggest that St. Matthew also had easy access to the lake, either directly or through St. Simon & St. Jude.


The Mission of the Apostles operated from November 1639 to Spring 1641 and from 1646 to the Spring of 1650. For a brief time, 1647 to December 1649, it divided into two, and for an even briefer time, March 20 to May 1, 1649, hosted a third mission. It ended as it began, a single mission.

Enough clues exist to the distribution of the villages of the Mission of the Apostles that it is possible to draw a theoretical map (Map 1). A subsequent more detailed examination of the references to distances from the Hurons to the Petuns, to be found in French writings and maps of the period, should enable this map to be refined and possibly related to the present geography of Ontario. However, before the distances can be accepted the effect must be considered of the Nottawasaga River, which lay as a natural impediment between the Hurons and the Petuns and might well have affected both the distance and time required to journey from one to the other. For a summary of the maps showing the Petun, see Garrad 1997a. For a study of the distances from the Hurons to the Petuns, see Garrad 1997c. For an examination of crossing places of the Nottawasaga River, see Garrad 1997b.


Anonymous (Acts)
The Acts of the Apostles 1:13

The New Testament

Bressani, Francisco-Giuseppe
1657 Huronum Explicata Tabula (map)

Public Archives, Ottawa
reproduced in Heidenreich 1971, Map 13; Garrad 1997a:4-6, plate 6


Chaumonot, Pierre
1885 Autobiographie
cited in English by Jones 1909:379, 382

d’Abbeville, Sanson
1656 Le Canada ou Nouvelle France (map)
Public Archives, Ottawa
reproduced in Heidenreich 1971, Map 9.

du Creux, Franyois
1660 Tabula Novae Franciae (map)
Public Archives, Ottawa
reproduced in Heidenreich 1971, Map 11

1952 History of Canada or New France
2 volumes, The Champlain Society

Garnier, Charles
1648 Lettre de Saint Charles Garnier a son frere. Ie Pere Henri de Saint-JoseRh. Carms. de Sainte-Marie des Hurons. 25 Avril 1648
Rapport de l’Archiviste de la Province de Quebec pour 1929-1930, Quebec 1930:37-39 (in English) Martyrs’ Shrine Message 21(3) 1957
substantially reproduced in English by Jones 1909:355-356 q.v.

1649 Lettre de Saint Charles Garnier a son frere. le Pere Henri de Saint-Joseph. Carms. de Sainte-Marie des Hurons. 25 Avril 1649
Rapport de l’Archiviste de la Province de Quebec pour 1929-1930, Quebec 1930:40-41 (in English) Martyrs’ Shrine Message 9(4), 15(3)
cited in English by Jones 1909:383, 387

Garrad, Charles
1966 The Petun and the Princesse de Conde
Research Bulletin No. 3, Petun Research Institute, December 1966

1977a Maps Locating the Petun
Research Bulletin No. 6, Petun Research Institute, February 1997

1977b Crossing the Nottawasaga
Research Bulletin No.7, Petun Research Institute, March 1997

1997c Distances to the Petun
Research Bulletin No.8, Petun Research Institute, March 1997

Jones, Arthur Edward
1909 8endake Ehen
Fifth Report of the Bureau of Archives 1908

JR = Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents
Thwaites Edition, 73 volumes, 1896-1901, Cleveland
Especially volumes 8, 11, 14, 19, 20, 26, 32, 34, 35, 39, 42


The Letter (Epistle) of Jude
The New Testament

Luke, Saint
The Gospel According to Luke (6:14)
The New Testament

Mark, Saint
The Gospel According to Mark (3:16-19)
The New Testament

Matthew, Saint
The Gospel According to Matthew (10:2-4)
The New Testament

Paul, Saint
The First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians (1:1)
The Letter of Paul to the Galatians (1:1)
The New Testament

Ragueneau, Paul
n.d. (September 1656?) a letter to Father Garreau’s brother
cited by Jones 1909:400


Map 1 -Theoretical map of the Mission of the Apostles



Apostles Names and Petun Villages - Table 1.pages


Map 1: Theoretical Map of The Mission of the Apostles 1639-1650

Not to Scale

The Mission of the Apostles Map

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