JARRET DE VERCHÈRES, PIERRE, officer; b. 1679 or 1680 at Verchères (Canada); son of François Jarret de Verchères and Marie Perrot; killed 1708.
His family came from the province of Dauphiné. An attempt has been made, wrongly, to link him with the Verchères de La Réole, from the region of Bordeaux. Pierre Jarret de Verchères’ father, who was born in 1641, was the son of Jean Jarret and Claudine Pécaudy, of Saint-Chef, near the hamlet of Verchères in the archbishopric of Vienne. François arrived in New France at the age of 24 with the Carignan-Salières regiment, as an ensign in the company of his uncle, Antoine Pécaudy* de Contrecœur. When the regiment was recalled to France in 1667, the young soldier decided to make his home in Canada, in accordance with the wish of the king, Louis XIV, who encouraged the settling of soldiers in the colony to increase the safety of its population. Two years later, on 16 Sept. 1669, at Sainte-Famille (Île d’Orléans), he married a young girl of 14.
Writing to the minister on 2 Nov. 1672, Buade* de Frontenac requested for François Jarret de Verchères letters of nobility, which apparently he never obtained. The next day Talon* granted him as a fief, with rights of seigneury and justice, “a piece of land half a league wide by one league in depth, fronting on the St Lawrence River, and extending down from the Sieur de Grandmaison’s land grant towards the unassigned lands as far as those of the Sieur Vitrez [Denys]. . . .” This seigneury was subsequently to be enlarged by the addition of Île aux Prunes and Île Longue and another league of depth. In November 1674 the governor again asked Colbert for a reward for the good services of Verchères, who, acting on his order, had harried coureurs de bois as far as 200 leagues above Montreal, alienating many persons’ good will in doing so.
The founder of Verchères, while he worked at bringing his domain under cultivation, did not abandon soldiering. At the time of Brisay de Denonville’s expedition against the Senecas in 1687, he was captain of a militia company in Alexandre Berthier’s battalion. In 1691 he received from Frontenac a commission as ensign in the troops in Canada, which the king ratified on 1 March 1693. He was promoted lieutenant on 15 April 1694, then made a lieutenant on half pay.
François died on 26 Feb. 1700, leaving his family in poverty. He had had 12 children, of whom Pierre was the fifth. Pierre was to follow in his father’s footsteps, and even in those of his mother, who in 1690 had held out almost single-handed against the Iroquois in a 48-hour siege. Young Pierre early received his baptism of fire. When he was about 12 years old, he defended the fort of Verchères for a week, side by side with his famous sister Madeleine* and his younger brother Alexandre. It was doubtless of Pierre that the heroine spoke in 1699, when she requested of the Comtesse de Maurepas: “. . . that the good you would like to do me at least redound to the advantage of one of my brothers who is a cadet in our troops. If it is your pleasure, have him made an ensign. He has experience in the service, he has been on several expeditions against the Iroquois. . . .” Her wish was granted and the young man received the desired rank.
On 29 Aug. 1708 he took part in the attack on Haverhill, a village in Massachusetts, with a detachment of 100 Frenchmen and a smaller number of Indians led by Jean-Baptiste de Saint-Ours* Deschaillons and Jean-Baptiste Hertel de Rouville. After putting the village to fire and sword, the assailants were withdrawing at dawn when they fell into an ambush laid by some 60 English. In these two engagements there were 18 wounded and 10 killed on the Canadian side; among the dead was Pierre Jarret de Verchères.
AN, Col., C11A, 18, f.69; F3, 5, f.427. Baugy, Journal (Serrigny), 84, “Correspondance de Frontenac (1672–82),” APQ Rapport, 1926–27, 18, 68. “Correspondance de Vaudreuil,” APQ Rapport, 1939–40, 430–32, 438, 457f. Lettres de noblesse (P.-G. Roy), II PAC Report, 1899, 6–7. P.-G. Roy, Inv. concessions, III, 27–34. Taillemite, Inventaire analytique, série B, I, 54, 56. Bonnault, “Le Canada militaire,” 287, 486. Coleman, New England captives. P.-G. Roy, La famille Jarret de Verchères (Lévis, 1908); BRH, XIV (1908), 209–17, 240–54, 271–85, 299–303. Pierre Saint-Olive, Les Dauphinois au Canada. Essai de catalogue des Dauphinois qui ont pris part à l’établissement du régime français au Canada, suivi d’une étude sur un Dauphinois canadien: Antoine Pécody de Contrecœur (Paris, 1936), 27f., 94. Aegidius Fauteux, “La famille Jarret,” BRH, XXX (1924), 253–56, 278.