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John’s Believe It Or Not… February 4th

* 1623 – Louis Hebert, Canada’s First French Colonist, Granted First Seigneury in New France. * 2004 Mark Zuckerberg launches Facebook from his Harvard dormitory room. * 1974 Patty Hearst kidnapped. * 1983 Karen Carpenter dies of anorexia.

It’s Sunday! Did You Know…

* 1623 – Louis Hebert – Canada’s First French Colonist – Granted First Seigneury in New France.

Louis Hébert (c. 1575 – 25 January 1627) is widely considered to be the first Canadian apothecary as well as the first European to farm in Canada. He was born around 1575 at 129 de la rue Saint-Honoré in Paris to Nicolas Hébert and Jacqueline Pajot. He married Marie Rollet on 19 February 1601 at the Church of Saint-Sulpice, Paris.[1]

In 1606, he accompanied his cousin in law, Jean de Biencourt de Poutrincourt et de Saint-Just, to Acadia along with Samuel Champlain. He lived at Port-Royal (now Annapolis, in southern Nova Scotia) from 1606 to 1607 and from 1611 to 1613 when Port-Royal was destroyed by the English deputy governor of Virginia Samuel Argall.

In 1617, with his wife, Marie Rollet, and their three children, Guillaume (3 years old), Guillaumette (9 years old), and Anne (14 years old), he left Paris forever to live in Quebec City. He died there 10 years later because of an injury that occurred when he fell on a patch of ice.

Statues of Louis Hébert, Marie Rollet, and their children are prominent in Parc Montmorency overlooking the St. Lawrence River in Quebec City.

At this time, Quebec was a settlement of some fifty white men who were all transient soldiers, fur trappers, or missionaries. The economy of the settlement was dependent on some 20,000 beaver pelts that were annually returned to French merchants in exchange for supplies. The “Compagnie de Canada”, made up of merchants from Rouen, St. Malo, and La Rochelle had a trading monopoly that controlled the fur trade in Quebec.

Champlain, who founded Quebec in 1608, saw a desperate need for medical service and agricultural self-sufficiency for Quebec. Champlain had met Louis Hébert during the earlier expedition to Port Royal and had recognized Louis’ outstanding qualities. Champlain approached Louis with an offer from the “Compagnie de Canada”. He had met Louis when they were both in Acadie. They mutually respected each other.

Champlain spent the winter of 1616-1617 in Paris searching for support for his colony of Quebec. Hébert was allured, believing that there would be good opportunities for him in the St. Lawrence Valley. The Compagnie de Canada made Hébert an offer: If he would take his family to Quebec for three years and practice medicine in the settlement and establish farming, the company would pay him an annual salary of 600 livres (pounds) and grant him ten acres of land at the settlement on which to build his house and farm. Louis agreed to the terms and signed the contract.

Louis sold his practice and his home and proceeded with his wife, son, and two daughters to the port of Honfleur, France. When he arrived, Louis was told by the ship’s master that instructions from the Compagnie de Canada were that they could only board if Louis agreed to sign a new contract with the company. The new provision reduced his annual salary to 300 livres per year, required him to serve as the physician and surgeon at the settlement, and required him to farm ten acres of land and give the company exclusive right to buy all of his agricultural products at the prevailing price in France. Having already sold his house and left his practice, Louis reluctantly accepted and signed the new contract.

In the spring of 1617, Louis became the first private individual to receive a grant of land in the New World from the French Government.

Upon his arrival in Quebec, Louis selected ten acres on a site that is today located in the city of Quebec between Ste. Famille and Couillard Streets, on the grounds of the Seminary of Quebec and Basilica of Notre Dame. Soon afterward, Louis started clearing out some old-growth forest so he could plant crops. This put him in conflict with the fur trading company, who was strongly opposed to deforestation for farming because of its adverse effect on the fur business. Louis had to work very hard, doing all the work by hand. The fur trading company would not let him import a plow from France. On this land, Louis, his son Guillaume, and an unnamed servant with the help of only an ax, a pick, and a spade, broke the soil and raised corn, winter wheat, beans, peas, and livestock including cattle, swine, and fowl. He also established an apple orchard and a vineyard.

By 1620, Louis’ hard work was finally recognized as having been of great service to the colony: for being the physician and surgeon; for being its principal provider of food; and for having fostered good relationships with the natives. He was appointed Procurator to the King, which allowed him to personally intervene in matters in the name of the King.

In 1623, Louis became the first “Seigneur” of New France when he was granted the noble fief of “Sault-au-Matelot”. In 1626 he was further granted “le fief de la Riviere, St Charles” in recognition of his meritorious service.

LOUIS HÉBERT (c. 1575 – January 1627): the First Farmer - scattering seeds
LOUIS HÉBERT (c. 1575 – January 1627): the First Farmer

* 2004 Mark Zuckerberg launches Facebook from his Harvard dormitory room.

FaceMash, Facebook’s predecessor, opened in 2003. Developed by Mark Zuckerberg, he wrote the software for the Facemash website when he was in his second year of college. The website was set up as a type of “hot or not” game for Harvard students. The website allowed visitors to compare two student pictures side-by-side and let them decide who was hot or not.

Mark Zuckerberg, 23, founded Facebook while studying psychology at Harvard University. A keen computer programmer, Mr. Zuckerberg had already developed a number of social-networking websites for fellow students, including Coursematch, which allowed users to view people taking their degree, and Facemash, where you could rate people’s attractiveness.

In February 2004 Mr. Zuckerberg launched “The Facebook”, as it was originally known; the name taken from the sheets of paper distributed to freshmen, profiling students and staff. Within 24 hours, 1,200 Harvard students had signed up, and after one month, over half of the undergraduate population had a profile.

The network was promptly extended to other Boston universities, the Ivy League and eventually all US universities. It became Facebook.com in August 2005 after the address was purchased for $200,000. US high schools could sign up from September 2005, then it began to spread worldwide, reaching UK universities the following month.

As of September 2006, the network was extended beyond educational institutions to anyone with a registered email address. The site remains free to join and makes a profit through advertising revenue. Yahoo and Google are among companies which have expressed interest in a buy-out, with rumored figures of around $2bn (£975m) being discussed. Mr. Zuckerberg has so far refused to sell.

Mark Zuckerberg in his Harvard dormitory room.
Mark Zuckerberg in his Harvard dormitory room. (Business Insider)

* 1974 Patty Hearst kidnapped.

On February 4, 1974, Patty Hearst, the 19-year-old daughter of newspaper publisher Randolph Hearst, is kidnapped from her apartment in Berkeley, California, by two black men and a white woman, all three of whom are armed. Her fiance, Stephen Weed, was beaten and tied up along with a neighbor who tried to help. Witnesses reported seeing a struggling Hearst being carried away blindfolded, and she was put in the trunk of a car. Neighbors who came out into the street were forced to take cover after the kidnappers fired their guns to cover their escape.

Three days later, the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), a small U.S. leftist group, announced in a letter to a Berkeley radio station that it was holding Hearst as a “prisoner of war.” Four days later, the SLA demanded that the Hearst family give $70 in foodstuffs to every needy person from Santa Rosa to Los Angeles. This done, said the SLA, negotiation would begin for the return of Patricia Hearst. Randolph Hearst hesitantly gave away some $2 million worth of food. The SLA then called this inadequate and asked for $6 million more. The Hearst Corporation said it would donate the additional sum if the girl was released unharmed.

In April, however, the situation changed dramatically when a surveillance camera took a photo of Hearst participating in an armed robbery of a San Francisco bank, and she was also spotted during a robbery of a Los Angeles store. She later declared, in a tape sent to the authorities, that she had joined the SLA of her own free will.

On May 17, Los Angeles police raided the SLA’s secret headquarters, killing six of the group’s nine known members. Among the dead was the SLA’s leader, Donald DeFreeze, an African American ex-convict who called himself General Field Marshal Cinque. Patty Hearst and two other SLA members wanted for the April bank robbery were not on the premises.

Finally, on September 18, 1975, after crisscrossing the country with her captors–or conspirators–for more than a year, Hearst, or “Tania” as she called herself, was captured in a San Francisco apartment and arrested for armed robbery. Despite her claim that she had been brainwashed by the SLA, she was convicted on March 20, 1976, and sentenced to seven years in prison. She served 21 months before her sentence was commuted by President Carter. After leaving prison, she returned to a more routine existence and later married her bodyguard. She was pardoned by President Clinton in January 2001.

Patty Hearst
Patty Hearst (Wikipedia)

* 1983 Karen Carpenter dies of anorexia.

Karen Carpenter, a singer who long suffered under the burden of the expectations that came with pop stardom, died on this day in 1983, succumbing to heart failure brought on by her long, unpublicized struggle with anorexia.

Carpenter had a fixation with her weight from her earliest days performing with her brother, Richard, in and around their hometown of Downey, California. As a teenager, she dropped at least 25 pounds on a popular and severe weight-loss program known as “the Water Diet,” so that by the time she and Richard burst on the pop scene with their smash hit “Close To You” in the summer of 1970, she was a thin but healthy 20-year-old carrying 120 lbs. on a 5′ 5″ frame. She maintained that weight through the early years of the Carpenters’ success, yet it appears that Karen’s insecurities about her appearance only grew, even as she was becoming one of the biggest pop stars of her era.

In pictures printed in Rolling Stone magazine in late 1974, when the Carpenters were one of the most successful acts in all of pop music, Karen looks fit and healthy. Yet by mid-1975, the Carpenters were forced to cancel tours of Japan and Europe after Karen collapsed on stage in Las Vegas. Her weight had plummeted to only 90 lbs., and though it would rebound somewhat after a brief hospitalization, the next seven years were a repeating cycle of dramatic weight loss, collapse and then hospitalization. The name of Karen’s condition was virtually unknown to the public at this time, but all that was about to change. Early on the morning of February 4, 1983, while staying in her parents home in Downey, Karen suffered a deadly heart attack, brought on by the physiological stresses placed on her system by the disease whose name soon entered the public consciousness: anorexia nervosa. She was only 32 years old.

Karen Carpenter
Karen Carpenter (Pinterest)

Today’s Sources: 

* On This Day – History, Film, Music and Sport                         http://www.onthisday.com/

* This Day In History – What Happened Today                        http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/

* Wikipedia                                                                                                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_H%C3%A9bert

* The Guardian                                                                              https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2007/jul/25/media.newmedia