BÉCART DE GRANVILLE ET DE FONVILLE, PAUL, officer in the colonial regular troops, seigneur; b. 18 Jan. 1695 at Quebec, son of Pierre Bécart de Granville and Marie-Anne Macard; d. 19 March 1754 at Quebec, a bachelor.
Bécart de Fonville, as he was generally called, was the son of a captain in the Régiment de Carignan-Salières; his brother Charles* was a king’s attorney, 1700–3. Paul entered military service in 1712, became an ensign on 27 April 1716, lieutenant on 29 May 1725, and captain on 1 April 1737. He served as assistant garrison adjutant at Quebec from 1717 to 1737. On 3 Sept. 1733 he received the seigneury of Île aux Grues from his brother Pierre but does not seem to have spent much time there.
Recognized as a solid, dependable officer, Bécart de Fonville was for this reason made commandant of Fort Saint-Frédéric (Crown Point, N.Y.) in 1743, succeeding François-Antoine Pécaudy de Contrecœur. For years it had been a post that ambitious officers tried to avoid and no commandant had served there for much more than a year since its establishment in 1731. The intendant, Hocquart*, recognized that the western posts were more attractive because of their possibilities for profit in the fur trade. Fort Saint-Frédéric offered no such opportunities but because of its strategic location on Lake Champlain it could exercise military and diplomatic influence over the Iroquois and other Indians. It was also important as a barrier to the smuggling of furs into the English colonies and as an area where New France hoped to expand its agricultural production. Hocquart suggested, and Maurepas, the minister of Marine, concurred, that to encourage longer service at Fort Saint-Frédéric by better officers special favours should be promised by the king.
Bécart de Fonville served at Fort Saint-Frédéric for about two years. When applying for the cross of Saint-Louis in 1747 he specifically mentioned the minister’s letter of 1742 wherein special favours had been promised to the officers who served at Fort Saint-Frédéric. A copy of this letter, he remarked, was kept on hand by the commandants of that fort. In 1750 he was made a knight of the order of Saint-Louis. With the death of Paul Bécart de Granville et de Fonville this old family name of New France died out.
AN, Col., B, 65, f.420v; 74, f.39; 76, f.39; 78, f.45; C11A, 75, pp.362–66; 77, pp.376–78; 79, pp.167–68; 80, pp.77–78; 81/1, pp.224–27; 83, pp.67–68; 89, pp.216–17; 120/1, pp.8, 294–95; 120/2, p.120 (PAC transcripts); D2C, 222/1; Marine, C7, 128. P.-V. Charland, “Notre-Dame de Québec: le nécrologe de la crypte,” BRH, XX (1914), 215. Fauteux, Les chevaliers de Saint-Louis, 150. P.-G. Roy, Inv. concessions, I, 215–20; “Les commandants du fort Saint-Frédéric,” BRH, LI (1945), 326–27; “La famille Bécard de Grandville,” BRH, XXII (1916), 97–100.