Sunday, December 9, 2012

"La Corriveau"

“La Corriveau”…   Her real name was Marie-Josephte Corriveau, and she was one of the most infamous murderers in Canadian history.  She was born in 1733 near Quebec, and she was my husband's 2nd cousin, 6x removed.   This is a bronze sculpture from the National Museum of Quebec. 

According to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, she was born in 1733 in Quebec and married in 1749 to Charles Bouchard, by whom she had three children.  After he died in 1760, she married again, in 1761, to Louis Didier.  Not long afterwards, in 1763, his body was found in the stable, with several fatal blows to the head.  Neighbors and family found it hard to believe that the horse was the culprit, and suspicion soon fell on Marie. 
There were two sensational trials.  The first ended with a death sentence by hanging—for Marie’s father!—who had confessed to the crime to save his daughter.  (Marie was sentenced to be flogged and branded for her part in it.)  But before these sentences could be carried out, her father made his last confession to a priest—and revealed his daughter as the sole murderer.   (He was later pardoned by King George III.)

At the second trial Marie confessed; she had struck her husband twice with an axe while he was sleeping and dragged his body to the stable.  She was sentenced to death by hanging—with the stipulation that after being executed, her body would be put in an iron cage and displayed publically as an example.  After a month of such display, her body was buried in the grounds outside the Catholic cemetery—where it was discovered in 1850.  She has been an object of interest ever since, with art, film, and entire chapters of books being devoted to her, and she is still known as “La Corriveau.”

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