DUGUÉ DE BOISBRIAND, PIERRE, protégé and officer of Buade* de Frontenac, commandant in the Illinois country; b. 21 Feb. 1675 at Ville-Marie (Montreal); second son of Michel-Sidrac Dugué* de Boisbriand, seigneur of Mille-Îles, and of Marie Moyen Des Granges; d. 7 June 1736.
Dugué began his military career under the aegis of Count Frontenac as a half-pay ensign in the colonial regular troops, but in 1694 was promoted to the rank of ensign. His first military assignment was as second in command, under Captain Saint-Ours in 1695. The following year he served with Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville, his cousin, in an attack on Newfoundland. Dugué’s last encounter with the English took place in 1697 when he accompanied Iberville’s expedition to recapture York Fort (Fort Bourbon) in Hudson Bay. After a very difficult voyage from Placentia (Plaisance), Iberville defeated a squadron of three English war-ships and forced Henry Baley, the commander of the fort, to surrender. Iberville then returned to France leaving his brother, Joseph Le Moyne de Serigny, in command, probably with Dugué as his lieutenant.
After the treaty of Ryswick (September 1697), Dugué was brought to France. Meanwhile Iberville had made an exploratory trip to the mouth of the Mississippi to continue the work of Cavelier* de La Salle. In 1699 he made a second voyage and Dugué went with him as an officer of the marine, serving on the frigate Renommée. Iberville established Fort de Mississipi on Biloxi Bay which de Maltot and Louis Denys* de La Ronde commanded first, followed by Iberville’s brother, Le Moyne* de Bienville. Dugué’s position as town major of Biloxi had been confirmed by royal order in August 1699.
In 1702 the two Le Moyne brothers founded the city of Mobile in which a number of officers, including Dugué de Boisbriand, received grants of land. Two years later, Dugué, on the instructions of Bienville, escorted 70 Chickasaws to a peace conference with the Choctaws, but the latter massacred the envoys in front of Dugué and his force of 25 French soldiers. Dugué was wounded in the fight, and the Choctaws endeavoured to show their regret by sending him back to Mobile with an escort of 300 warriors. Although there is no information concerning Dugué for the next ten years, it appears that he lived in Mobile during that period. In 1714 when Bienville became governor, he took over Natchez and Fort Saint-Jérôme; he intended to place the latter under Dugué’s command, but it was committed instead to Captain Chavagne de Richebourg.
In 1716 Dugué became garrison adjutant. The following year he was named commandant of Mobile and the surrounding country. At this point he was granted leave to return to France. In Paris, Dugué was considered a man of importance, for the Compagnie d’Occident had just taken over Antoine Crozat’s monopoly of trade from the lands of the Illinois to the coast, and the company was seeking advice as to what it should do. As a result, in the spring of 1718 Dugué returned to Louisiana on board the Duchesse de Noailles with a commission as first king’s lieutenant and member of the council of Louisiana; a few months later he was commissioned commandant of the Illinois. In December of that year with a strong force of soldiers and some miners who wished to hunt for minerals, Dugué left for the Jesuit mission at Kaskaskia, arriving there on 13 May 1719. The following year, he built Fort de Chartres 16 miles to the northwest. He remained there for a number of years, and, although a hunchback, became very popular with the Indians owing to his knowledge of their language and his interest in their welfare. He sought to push farther into the interior but inter-tribal wars, rising costs of provisions, and difficulties with Rigaud de Vaudreuil, governor of New France, prevented him.
By 1720 the Compagnie des Indes had fallen into serious difficulties, largely through internal squabbles. In 1724 Bienville, accused of misgovernment, returned to France, and the governorship was assumed by Dugué. The latter, however, did not remain in power long, for complaints were made against him as well; when he refused to cooperate with Jacques de La Chaise, who had been sent out to investigate, he also was recalled. In France he was censured, deprived of his rank, and dismissed from the royal service. In 1730, however, he was granted a pension of 800 livres by the king. On 7 June 1736 he died in France. Contrary to Msgr Tanguay’s statement Dugué never married.
AE, Mém. et doc., Amérique, 1, ff.5–8. AN, Col., B, 29, 35; C13A; Marine, B2; B3. Découvertes et établissements des Français (Margry), V, 587–672. MPA (Rowland and Sanders). Tanguay, Dictionnaire, I, 210. Alvord, Illinois country. N. M. Belting, Kaskaskia under the French régime (University of Illinois studies in the social sciences, XXIX, no.3, Urbana, 1948). Giraud, Histoire de la Louisiane française. HBRS, XXI (Rich). O’Neill, Church and state in Louisiana. “La famille Du Gué de Boisbriand,” BRH, XXIV (1918), 193–200. Benjamin Sulte, “Michel-Sidrac Dugué, sieur de Boisbriand,” BRH, X (1904), 221–23.
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