DENYS DE LA RONDE, PIERRE, landowner and businessman; b. 8 Oct. 1631 at Tours, son of Simon Denys* de La Trinité and his first wife, Jeanne Dubreuil; m. 23 Aug. 1655 Catherine Leneuf (1640–97), daughter of Jacques Leneuf* de La Poterie, governor of Trois-Rivières; d. 6 June 1708 in Quebec and was buried two days later in the church of the Recollets.
Denys de La Ronde engaged in numerous business enterprises. He owned lots in Lower Town, Quebec, and on 14 Aug. 1655 he bought the brewery in Quebec and was still operating it in 1664. When he married in 1655 he settled at Trois-Rivières and was associated with his father-in-law’s shipping company. In 1657 he bought a farm at côte Sainte-Geneviève near Quebec and leased it. He moved from Trois-Rivières to Quebec in 1661, or soon after, and on 2 March 1662 obtained from the Jesuits a grant of land, 2 arpents by 40, on the St Charles River. Five years later he had half of it under cultivation. Subsequently his grant was increased and he also obtained land nearby at Bourg-Royal which he rented. On 4 March 1663 he was one of the 17 merchants to whom Governor Pierre Dubois* Davaugour leased the Tadoussac trading concession.
Talon* on 20 July 1672 granted Denys de La Ronde, Charles Aubert de La Chesnaye, and Charles Bazire* a tract of land extending from Percé to Mal Baie; there they established a sedentary fishery for seals, porpoises, cod, and all other fish in the seas and rivers, which Denys de La Ronde managed. A few years later there were buildings at Percé to store fish and to lodge crews, a house for the commandant, a chapel and lodging for two Recollets, a few houses for settlers, and 100 acres of cleared land. At Petite Rivière (Saint-Pierre de la Mal Baie) there were lodgings for 15 men, a storehouse, farm buildings, a garden, and 30 acres of cleared land. The enterprise did not prosper however. By 1676 the partners wished to withdraw and Denys de La Ronde petitioned the government for compensation for his ruinous expenditures. On 18 Oct. 1677 most of the grant was ceded to Jacques Le Ber of Montreal and by 1685 the seigneury had evidently reverted to a cousin of Denys de La Ronde, Richard Denys* de Fronsac, acting for his father, Nicolas Denys*. The grant had originally been taken from the holdings of Nicolas Denys. The settlements were destroyed by raiders from New England in 1690.
Meanwhile by 1676 Denys de La Ronde’s sight was failing, and he evidently was blind three years later when Buade* de Frontenac petitioned the king for help for him. Denys de La Ronde turned over his seigneury on the St Charles to a farmer, then on 1 Sept. 1680 bought a house in Upper Town, Quebec, on Rue Saint-Louis, adjoining the property of the Recollets, and lived there on rents from his properties. In 1691 he and his wife gave up their house to the Recollets as a hospice in return for an annual income and the use of a house on the Recollets’ land at the corner of Rues Sainte-Anne and Desjardins. Denys de La Ronde had always had a close and friendly relationship with the Recollets. One of his sons, Jacques, became Father Joseph Denys, the first Canadian Recollet. Both Denys de La Ronde and his wife were buried in the Recollets’ church in Quebec.
PAC, FM 18, H 13 (Denys family papers). Denys, Description and natural history (Ganong). P.-G. Roy, Inv. concessions, II, 127. P.-G. et A. Roy, Inv. greffes not., I, 60, 71; II, 10; III, 152, 185. Hugolin [Stanislas Lemay], Le père Joseph Denis, premier récollet canadien (1657–1736) (2v., Québec, 1926). Sulte, Hist. des Can. fr., V. Hugolin [Stanislas Lemay], “L’établissement des Récollets à l’isle Percée 1673–1690,” BRH, XVII (1911), 339–52, 369–80.