AUBERT DE GASPÉ, IGNACE-PHILIPPE, officer in the colonial regular troops and seigneur; b. 4 April 1714 at Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly (Que.), son of Pierre Aubert de Gaspé and Madeleine-Angélique Legardeur de Tilly; d. 26 Jan. 1787 at Saint-Jean-Port-Joli (Que.).
Ignace-Philippe Aubert de Gaspé gained a name for himself as much through his military career as through being a member of the Aubert family, who were related to the most notable families in Canada. He was the grandson of Charles Aubert* de La Chesnaye, a businessman, and of Charles Legardeur* de Tilly, governor of Trois-Rivières. Through his marriage in Quebec on 30 June 1745 to Marie-Anne Coulon de Villiers, daughter of Nicolas-Antoine*, he became the brother-in-law of Louis* and of Joseph Coulon* de Villiers de Jumonville.
In the course of a distinguished military career, Ignace-Philippe Aubert de Gaspé spent 33 years in the forces and was prominent himself in numerous combats and expeditions which marked the end of the French régime. A cadet at 13 he was successively promoted second ensign (1739), ensign (1745), lieutenant (1749), and captain (1756); he served all over New France from 1734 to 1760. He first participated in the 1734–35 expedition to subdue the Foxes, west of Lake Michigan [see Nicolas-Joseph de Noyelles* de Fleurimont], and in the 1739 campaign against the Chickasaws and Natchez in Louisiana [see Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne* de Bienville; Charles Le Moyne* de Longueuil]. After three years’ garrison duty at Michilimackinac (Mackinaw City, Mich.), he left the west in 1746 to join Jean-Baptiste-Nicolas-Roch de Ramezay’s expedition organized to help the fleet of the Duc d’Anville [La Rochefoucauld*] chase the British from Acadia. Four years later, when France was trying to consolidate the boundaries of its territories in that part of the country, he was called upon to build Fort Saint-Jean, on the Saint John River. He became commandant and remained there until he left for the west in 1753. Following a brief stay on the Ohio River, he participated in the attack on Fort Necessity (near Farmington, Pa.), which was intended to avenge the death of Jumonville who had been killed by a detachment of Virginian militia led by George Washington [see Louis Coulon de Villiers]. In 1756, after a few months’ stay at Fort Niagara (near Youngstown, N.Y.), he was sent to the Lake Champlain region, and he served at Fort Saint-Frédéric (near Crown Point, N.Y.) and Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga, N.Y.). He consequently took part in the capture of Fort George (also called Fort William Henry; now Lake George, N.Y.) in 1757 and in Montcalm*’s well-known victory over Abercromby at Carillon in 1758. After the fall of Quebec he took part in the French army’s siege of the city and fought at Sainte-Foy under Lévis.
Montcalm seldom praised the colonial regular troops; nevertheless Captain Aubert de Gaspé was among the small number he mentioned after the British were routed at Carillon. Aubert de Gaspé’s merit was also recognized by Ramezay and Noyelles de Fleurimont, and by the king, who on 24 March 1761 named him a knight of the order of Saint-Louis. Whether he ever had the opportunity to go to France and be received officially as a member of that order is not clear.
In the autumn of 1760, after the surrender of Montreal, Aubert de Gaspé took refuge with his censitaires at Port-Joli. As his manor house had been burnt by the invader the previous autumn, he was forced to live for a time in what remained of the seigneurial mill at Rivière Trois-Saumons. Except for 1775 and 1776, which were marked by the American invasion, the 26 years that Aubert de Gaspé spent on his seigneury after the conquest were on the whole peaceful. Between 1764 and 1766 the manor house and all the houses burnt by Wolfe*’s army were rebuilt. The seigneur’s personal presence so encouraged settlement that the population of the seigneury nearly tripled during his years there. In 1779 it was possible to build a church, develop the second line of homesteads, and begin on the third.
Captain Aubert de Gaspé, the fourth seigneur of Port-Joli, died in his manor house at the age of 72 and was buried on 28 Jan. 1787 in the parish church which he had helped build. He and Marie-Anne Coulon de Villiers had ten children. The sixth, Pierre-Ignace*, became a member of the Legislative Council and a militia colonel; he married Catherine Tarieu de Lanaudière and their son Philippe-Joseph* was the author of Les anciens Canadiens.
[Æ. Fauteux* states in Les chevaliers de Saint-Louis, 25ff., 182ff., that Ignace-Philippe Aubert de Gaspé never visited France and consequently was not admitted as a knight of the order. On the other hand, textual analysis of Philippe-Joseph Aubert de Gaspé’s Mémoires (Ottawa, 1866) indicates that Ignace-Philippe was believed to have spent some time in France after the conquest. He might have been admitted as a knight at this time. This theory would explain why in 1786 he could write after his name “admitted to the royal and military order of Saint-Louis,” an addition his grandson also made on two occasions. Further research is needed. j.c.]
ANQ-Q, Greffe de J.-N. Pinguet de Vaucour, 26 juin 1745. Archives paroissiales, Notre-Dame de Québec, Registre des baptêmes, mariages et sépultures, 30 juin 1745; Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly (Qué.), Registre des baptêmes, mariages et sépultures, 5 avril 1714; Saint-Jean-Port-Joli (Qué.), Registre des baptêmes, mariages et sépultures, 26 janv. 1787, 19 mars 1789. ASQ, mss, 424, ff.8–10. Æ. Fauteux, Les chevaliers de Saint-Louis, P.-G. Roy, Inv. concessions, III, 170. P.[-J.] Aubert de Gaspé, Les anciens Canadiens (16e éd., Québec, 1970); The Canadians of old, trans. G. M. Pennée (Quebec, 1864); Mémoires (Ottawa, 1866). H.-R. Casgrain, Philippe Aubert de Gaspé (Québec, 1871). Jacques Castonguay, La seigneurie de Philippe Aubert de Gaspé, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli (Montréal, 1976). [François Daniel], Histoire des grandes familles françaises du Canada, ou aperçu sur le chevalier Benoist, et quelques familles contemporaines (Montréal, 1867). P.-G. Roy, La famille Aubert de Gaspé (Lévis, Qué., 1907).