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LEFEBVRE, THOMAS, voyageur, “seigneur of Koessanouskek, king’s interpreter for the Abenaki language”; b. c. 1647, son of Jacques Lefebvre, cooper, and of Anne Anjoult, from Rouen (province of Normandy); d. some time between 1713 and 1715.

We have no information about Lefebvre prior to 8 Sept. 1669, date of his contract of marriage in Quebec with Geneviève Pelletier (Peltier), Vincent Verdon’s widow. After his marriage Lefebvre lived near the reservation at Sillery, where his first two children were baptized, and he established friendly relations with the Abenakis. By 1692 he was officially serving as an interpreter. Six years later he was in charge of an important fur-trading expedition which involved him in protracted differences with a creditor, Louis Chambalon, who had advanced the supplies both for the trip and for trading. In 1702 he was delegated by Brouillan [Monbeton], the governor of Acadia, to go to Boston, and he was kept a prisoner there for some time.

To protect the frontier between continental Acadia and New England, which had been left in a precarious situation by the treaty of Ryswick (1697), the governor and the intendant, on 7 May 1703, granted as a seigneury to Thomas Lefebvre the territory of Koessanouskek (or Kouesanouskek), situated between Meniekec (today Owl’s Head, opposite Rockland, Maine, on Penobscot Bay) and the St George River. The following year Colonel Benjamin Church, who had set out from Boston, surprised and captured the interpreter and two of his sons, Thomas and Timothée; they were not exchanged until the autumn of 1706. The buildings put up by Lefebvre and his sons had been burned down, and the war that followed prevented them from enjoying further use of their seigneury. The seigneury was, moreover, lost through the Anglo-Abenaki peace treaty of 1727.

Honorius Provost

AJQ, Greffe de François Genaple, 17 mars 1703. Church, King Philips war (Dexter), II, 146–50, 154. Coll. de manuscrits relatifs à la N.-F., II, 425, 427, 453, 455, 462, 602f. Jug. et délib., passim, especially VI, 560–67. Maine Hist. Soc., Coll., 1st ser., IV (1856), 326; IX (1887), 79. P.-G. Roy, Inv. des concessions, IV, 178–79; Inv. contrats de mariage, IV, 88. J. P. Baxter, The pioneers of New France in New England, with contemporary letters and documents (Albany, 1894), 341–46. Coleman, New England captives, I, 93.

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

Honorius Provost, “LEFEBVRE, THOMAS,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed July 29, 2014, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/lefebvre_thomas_2E.html.

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Permalink: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/lefebvre_thomas_2E.html
Author of Article: Honorius Provost
Title of Article: LEFEBVRE, THOMAS
Publication Name: Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2
Publisher: University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication: 1969
Year of revision: 1969
Access Date: July 29, 2014