BABIE (in later generations spelled “Bâby,” and in Michigan historical collections “Baubee”), JACQUES, soldier, farmer, and fur-trader, founder of the distinguished Canadian family of this name, son of Jean “Bavis” and Isabeau Robin of the parish of Monteton, diocese of Agen; b. in France c. 1633 (1639 according to the census of 1681); d. 28 July 1688 at Champlain.
Jacques Babie came to Canada in 1665 as a sergeant in the Carignan-Salières regiment, sent by Louis XIV and Colbert to fight the Iroquois. After peace had been signed at the end of 1666 between the Iroquois and Alexandre de Prouville, Marquis de Tracy, commander-in-chief of Louis XIV’s forces in North America, Babie obtained his discharge from the army and settled in Champlain on the St. Lawrence near Trois-Rivières, in a fertile region known as the “cradle of explorers and fur-traders.”
He was attracted to fur-trading and farming and engaged in both. As early as 1668, and for many years thereafter, he traded with the Indians of the upper Saint-Maurice and upper Ottawa rivers, and was among the government-accredited merchants who participated in the great fur mart held annually at Montreal. In 1669, he bought two tracts of land in Champlain and farmed them. By the year 1681 he had acquired two more tracts of land in the same locality as well as another at Gentilly across the St. Lawrence. In 1670, he married Jeanne Dandonneau, daughter of Pierre Dandonneau*, dit Lajeunesse, Sieur Du Sablé, one of the substantial citizens of Trois-Rivières, who had settled in Champlain about 1660. Jacques Babie died in 1688, at the age of about 55, in Champlain, leaving a comfortable fortune. Very avid for profits, and a hard-headed businessman, he had numerous differences which frequently brought him before the Conseil Souverain.
The youngest of his 11 children, Raymond Babie, who followed in his father’s footsteps as a fur-trader, was the father of Jacques Baby*, dit Dupéron, and François Baby*. Both distinguished themselves in the early years of British rule.
AJTR, Greffe de Guillaume de La Rue, 1 juin 1670. APQ, Documents divers, I, Lettres de Jacques Babie et de son épouse, Jeanne Dandonneau, à Antoine Adhémar. Additional ms material in Detroit Public Library, Burton Hist. Coll.; Ontario Hist. Soc.; Public Archives of Ontario; University of Michigan, William L. Clements Library; Université de Montréal, Coll. Bâby. Recensement de 1681. Jug. et délib., II, III, V, VI, passim. P.-B. Casgrain, “Jacques Babie,” BRH, X (1904), 329–32; Mémorial des familles Casgrain, Bâby et Perrault (Québec, 1898).
Revisions based on:
Bibliothèque et Arch. Nationales du Québec, Centre d’arch. de la Mauricie et du Centre-du-Québec (Trois-Rivières, Québec), CE401-S7, 28 juill. 1688.