GREYSOLON DE LA TOURETTE, CLAUDE, esquire, fur-trader, brother of Daniel Greysolon Dulhut; b. c. 1660, probably at Saint-Germain-Laval; d. after 1716, in France, probably at Lyons.
The date of La Tourette’s arrival in New France is uncertain. He may have come with Dulhut in 1675 or perhaps only in 1682, when the latter returned to the colony after having unsuccessfully sought from Seignelay the grant of a seigneury in the lands he might discover west of Lake Superior. In 1683, holding Governor Le Febvre* de La Barre’s commission, the two brothers set out together for the western Great Lakes with a convoy of 15 canoes.
La Tourette’s duties in the west consisted in administering the posts which his brother founded on Lake Nipigon and at Kaministiquia. This involved establishing commercial relations with the Indians living on the lands between Lake Superior and Hudson Bay and making voyages to Montreal to purchase trade goods and to hire indentured employees. There are indications that La Tourette was highly successful in this work. In 1687, during one of his visits to the colony, he informed Governor Denonville [Brisay] that over 1,500 Indians had come to his posts to trade. When he returned to the west in 1688 he took with him a party of 200 men, 30 of them being his own employees. By that date, Dulhut’s western career had come to an end, but La Tourette continued to operate the two posts until approximately 1693.
He probably returned to France in the mid 1690s; little is known of his life after that. The fur trade had apparently made him wealthy, however, for in 1700 he loaned to the procurators of the city of Lyons, where he had taken up residence, the sum of 10,800 livres. In New France, meantime, the shareholders of the former Compagnie de La Ferme du Roi were taking action against him before the Conseil Supérieur for the recovery of a sum of 3,186 livres loaned to him by Charles Aubert de La Chesnaye in 1685. This lawsuit, in which La Tourette was represented by a deputy, continued until 1716 when a judgment was rendered ordering him to pay the amount in question. This is the last reference to him in Canadian documents. There is no evidence to support the theory that he returned to America to command a post in the Illinois country in 1728.
[Isolated references to La Tourette can be found in several books and articles, but these are unreliable. The most common errors consist in calling him Charles instead of Claude and in maintaining that he arrived in Canada in 1675, accompanied Dulhut on his expedition to the west in 1678, and returned to command a post in the Illinois country in 1728. No evidence has been found to support any of these three contentions. y.f.z.]
AN, Col., C11A, 6, 9; F3, 7. Découvertes et établissements des Français (Margry), VI. Jug. et délib., III, V, VI. P.-G. et A. Roy, Inv. greffes not., I, IV, V, XI, XVIII. É.-Z. Massicotte, “Daniel de Greysolon, sieur du Lhut, Claude de Greysolon, sieur de La Tourette, et Jean Jacques Patron,” BRH, XXXIII (1927), 139–47.
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