LENEUF DE LA VALLIÈRE DE BEAUBASSIN, ALEXANDRE, naval captain, knight of the order of Saint-Louis; b. 22 June 1666 and baptized 2 Feb. 1667 at Trois-Rivières, eldest son of Michel Leneuf de La Vallière de Beaubassin, governor of Acadia, and of Marie, daughter of Nicolas Denys*; d. 1712.
Like his father, he was a good sailor and became a daring sea-captain. In May 1685, in his father’s name, he arrested Bergier Des Ormeaux on Île Royale (Cape Breton Island) and seized his pelts; the latter was the son of Clerbaud Bergier*, the director of the Compagnie des Pêches sédentaire de l’Acadie.
Leneuf became a sub-lieutenant in 1690. In May 1691, on Buade* de Frontenac’s orders, he went by boat from Quebec to Beaubassin to take gifts to the Indians. This mission seems to have been criticized by the king in a memorandum of April 1693 addressed jointly to the governor and the intendant; the king accused the person responsible for distributing the gifts to the Indians in this region of having used for his personal advantage the powder which was intended for them; according to some authors, this was one of the causes of the defection of a certain number of Acadian Indians.
Leneuf was promoted lieutenant on 1 March 1693. In a letter to the minister on 25 Oct. 1694, concerning a petition by La Vallière, the governor supported him as follows: “Everything he says therein is true; he is a very fine lad, liked and esteemed by everybody here, and has distinguished himself in several encounters.”
During the winter of 1698–99 he carried on fur-trading by boat in Baie Verte. The year 1703 gave him an opportunity to take vengeance for the destruction of Beaubassin by Church in 1696. Rigaud de Vaudreuil sent him in the direction of Boston with a detachment of Abenakis and French. On 21 August (10 August, o.s.) Leneuf and his men made a surprise attack on the little town of Wells and took possession of it. According to François de Beauharnois* de La Chaussaye and Vaudreuil, they laid waste more than 15 leagues of enemy country and killed or captured more than 300 persons. Casco was saved thanks to the resistance put up by Captain Southack* and John March.
On 12 Oct. 1705 Ramezay recommended La Vallière to the minister for promotion. In 1707 he became associated with Guillaume Gaillard, and as commander of the Nostre-Dame-de-Victoire, he set out from Quebec in July for Newfoundland, with Thomas Moore, Henri-Louis Deschamps de Boishébert, and a crew of 100 Canadians, in search of Englishmen. He arrived there on 20 August. This privateering venture had little success, since no prizes were taken during it.
Alexandre was raised to the rank of naval captain on 5 May 1710. He was captured on the Neptune and taken as a prisoner to England in August 1711, when he was returning from France to bring aid to Acadia. In October he found himself penniless in Paris. The king recognized his services by granting him the cross of the order of Saint-Louis in June 1712. He died at sea on the Héros, in September of the same year.
Alexandre’s naval career continued the tradition of the La Vallière family, which up to the period of the conquest furnished an unbroken line of distinguished soldiers and sailors.
AJTR, Registres d’état civil de Trois-Rivières, 1636–99 (copy in PAC, MG 24, B 14, Papiers Lafontaine). AN, Col., B, 16, ff.193v, 237; 32, f.33v; 34, f.45; C11A, 11, ff.222, 267; 13, f.77; 21, f.13; 22, f.341; C11C, 5, f.114; 7, ff.97–98; C11D, 1, f.192; 3, f.226; C11G, 3, ff.153–54; D2C, 222/1, p.36 (copy in PAC); E, 277 (dossier de La Vallière), pièce 21; F1A, 17, f.17. AQ, NF, Coll. de pièces jud. et not., liasse 57, pièce 2268. NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow), IX, 745, 756, 762.
Gagnon, “Noms propres au Canada français,” 121. Pierre Daviault, Le baron de Saint-Castin, chef abénaquis (Montréal, 1939), 152, 209. Fauteux, Les chevaliers de Saint-Louis, 105. Sylvester, Indian wars, III, 41–45. Samuel Niles, “History of the Indian and French wars,” Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., 3d ser., VI (1837), 248–50.
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