RENAUD D’AVÈNE DES MÉLOIZES, NICOLAS, army officer and seigneur; b. 22 Nov. 1729 at Quebec, son of Nicolas-Marie Renaud* d’Avène Des Méloizes, officer in the colonial regular troops, and Angélique Chartier de Lotbinière; m. 5 Jan. 1767 Agathe-Louise de Fresnoy, and they had three children; d. 30 Aug. 1803 in Blois, France.
Like many an officer’s son Nicolas Renaud d’Avène Des Méloizes began serving in the colonial regular troops at an early age, becoming a cadet on 1 Jan. 1741. He participated in the Acadian campaign of 1746–47 [see Jean-Baptiste-Nicolas-Roch de Ramezay*] and was commissioned second ensign on 15 Feb. 1748, then ensign on 1 April 1753. From 1753 to 1755 he served in the operations in the Ohio valley [see Ange Duquesne* de Menneville] and distinguished himself sufficiently to reach the rank of lieutenant on 1 May 1757.
In February and March 1758 Des Méloizes, acting as attorney for his brother-in-law Michel-Jean-Hugues Péan*, attended to hiring a dozen voyageurs for the poste du Nord in the pays d’en haut. That same year he took part in the battle at Carillon (near Ticonderoga, N.Y.), and on 1 Jan. 1759 he was promoted captain and adjutant of the garrison at Quebec. Governor Vaudreuil [Pierre de Rigaud*] had recommended him warmly, and the king’s order declared: “This officer is a master of all the details connected with the adjutant’s duties. He has carried them out with all possible intelligence and dispatch in all the recent campaigns, and he is capable of assisting the adjutant general.”
Des Méloizes distinguished himself again in the battle of Sainte-Foy on 28 April 1760 [see François de Lévis*], performing “prodigious acts of valour,” according to Vaudreuil; his brother Louis-François was killed close by him. Seriously wounded in the thigh by a shell fragment on 13 May, he remained in the Hôpital Général of Quebec, since the surgeon refused to evacuate him. On the strength of the agreement for the exchange of prisoners James Murray* promised that he would be allowed to rejoin the French army as soon as he had recovered, but changed his mind and decided to send him on parole to France. Des Méloizes arrived in La Rochelle early in December 1760 and received the cross of Saint-Louis on 24 March 1761. For a short time he was suspected of complicity in Intendant Bigot*’s malfeasance, but no evidence could be brought against him. On 8 May 1764, therefore, he received a warrant for a pension of 800 livres. Although Des Méloizes had, it seems, always been considered “an outstanding officer because of his courage and talents,” he then quit the service for good.
In November of that year Des Méloizes was at Quebec. He saw to the managing of the seigneury of Neuville, which he had inherited from his father. He made land grants and bought and sold farms. In September 1765 he turned over his seigneury to Joseph Brassard* Deschenaux for 40,000 livres. Then he returned to France. In 1787 he represented the nobility of the bailliage of Senlis at the provincial assembly of Île-de-France.
AD, Loir-et-Cher (Blois), État civil, Blois, 30 août 1803. AN, Col., C11A, 104, 105; D2C, 48: f.349; E, 126 (dossier Renaud d’Avène Des Méloizes). ANQ-Q, CE1-1, 22 nov. 1729; CN1-250, 11, 15, 21, 23, 24 févr., 1er, 8, 9, 14 mars 1758; 28 nov., 2, 8, 20 déc. 1764; 23–25 janv., 4, 26, 30 juill., 1er août 1765. Bibliothèque nationale (Paris), mss, Fr., Chérin 170. Nicolas Renaud d’Avène Des Méloizes, “Journal militaire tenu par Nicolas Renaud d’Avène Des Méloizes, cher, seigneur de Neuville, au Canada du 19 juillet 1756 au 30 octobre de la même année,” ANQ Rapport, 1928–29: 4–86. P.-G. Roy, Inv. concessions, 2: 27; “La famille Renaud d’Avène Des Méloizes,” BRH, 13 (1907): 161–81, 193–209.