THURY, LOUIS-PIERRE, priest, missionary in Acadia; b. c. 1644 at Notre-Dame-de-Breuil in Normandy; d. 3 June 1699 at Chibouctou (Halifax, N.S.).
Abbé Thury had probably begun his theological studies in France. He arrived in Canada about 1675, where he finished his theological studies, and was ordained by Bishop Laval* on 21 Dec. 1677. He first served some parishes on both shores of the St. Lawrence and became bursar of the seminary of Quebec.
In 1684, as the institution was planning to found a mission in Acadia, Bishop Laval sent Abbé Thury on an observation tour from Percé to Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal, N.S.). The missionary sent the bishop a long account and chose to settle at Miramichi, where Richard Denys offered a piece of ground for a mission. He remained there for three years, receiving the visit of Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix*], and occasionally went to the Saint John River and Port-Royal.
On Abbé Petit’s* advice, he then went to settle at Pentagouet (Castine, Maine), near Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie* de Saint-Castin, where he remained for eight years. He acquired great influence over the Abenakis and took part in their expeditions. In 1689 he accompanied Saint-Castin on the raid which resulted in the destruction of Pemaquid; of this he left a detailed account. In 1692 he went along with a war party against York (Maine). Two years later he applied himself to thwarting the endeavours of Phips, who wanted to keep the Abenakis neutral; Thury played an important role in retaining them under French influence. He took part in the attack against Pescadouet (Oyster Bay), and was present with Robinau de Villebon and a party of Abenakis at the capture of Pemaquid by Pierre Le Moyne* d’Iberville in 1696.
The bishop of Quebec made him his vicar general in 1698 and appointed him to be the superior of the missions in Acadia. About the same time Abbé Thury founded a new mission at Pigiguit (on Minas Basin) and planned to group the Micmacs in one huge settlement between Shubenacadie and Chibouctou. The court looked with favour upon this plan and granted him a sum of 2,000 livres. His death prevented him from carrying out this undertaking.
He died on 3 June 1699 at Chibouctou and was buried by the First Nations under a stone monument. Dièreville* saw this monument and heard the hymns which the missionary had translated into Micmac.
Endowed with great qualities, Abbé Thury had a full career and was a great missionary. His political role is more open to discussion and has been variously judged. The French officers praised his activity and Charlevoix* represented him as a “true apostle,” whereas Parkman considered him merely an “apostle of carnage.”
AN, Col., B, 17, 19, 20, 22; C11D, 2, 3. ASQ, Documents Faribault, Lettres; Polygraphie; Séminaire; passim; A.-E. Gosselin, “Notes pour servir à la biographie des prêtres du Séminaire de Québec,” with marginal notes. Jean-Baptiste de La Croix de Chevrières de Saint-Vallier, Estat présent de l’Église de la colonie française dans la Nouvelle-France . . . (2e éd., Québec, 1856), 45–52, reproduces the report of Thury to Bishop Laval.
H.-R. Casgrain, Les Sulpiciens et les Prêtres des Missions étrangères en Acadie (1676–1762) (Québec, 1897), 31–48, 139–143 (extract from Thury’s account of the destruction of Pemaquid, from Charlevoix). Parkman, Count Frontenac and New France (1st ed.), passim. Webster, Acadia, 198f.