BOURDON D’AUTRAY, JACQUES, officer in the colonial regular troops, explorer, seigneur; baptized 30 Sept. 1652 at Quebec, son of Jean Bourdon and Jacqueline Potel; d. 1688.
He studied at the Jesuit College. From his father he received the fief of Autray (Lanoraie) but gave scant concern to its cultivation. By temperament he was an adventurer; he entered Cavelier de La Salle’s service in 1675 and served him loyally until his death. He was even one of La Salle’s trusted associates. He was with La Salle during the latter’s stay at Fort Cataracoui, took part in the building of the Conti and Crèvecœur forts in 1678 and 1680, and in 1682 was a member of the expedition that went down the Mississippi. On 9 April he signed the document recording the taking over of the Mississippi basin. He was then a lieutenant in the first company of troops maintained by the naval ministry. In return for his loyalty and his services, La Salle granted him a fief of 126 arpents in length by 42 in depth at Fort Saint-Louis-des-Illinois. This was on 26 April 1683, and was La Salle’s first grant of land in this region. In addition to the rights of basse justice, fishing, and hunting, d’Autray also enjoyed the privilege of being able to trade with the Indians. However, La Salle reserved for himself the monopoly of the bison skins, and stipulated that all trade must be conducted at Fort Saint-Louis.
In the same year, 1683, d’Autray associated himself with Henri Tonty*, La Salle’s lieutenant in charge of Fort Saint-Louis, to defend La Salle’s interests against the scheming of Le Febvre de La Barre. In 1684 he helped Tonty to defend the fort when it was attacked by 200 Iroquois. In 1687, together with the French from the Illinois region, he went to the aid of Governor Brisay* de Denonville, who was fighting the Senecas, and he took advantage of this trip to go down to Quebec. He spent the winter of 1687–88 at Montreal. In the spring he escorted the convoy that was on its way to take supplies to Fort Cataracoui. On the return journey he fell into an Iroquois ambush and was slaughtered. He was a bachelor.
Découvertes et établissements des Français (Margry), I, 502, 514, 518, 594, 604, 605; II, 108, 109, 118, 127, 131, 137, 139, 185, 193. Jug. et délib., III, 249–50, 1071; IV, passim.
The French foundations, 1680–1693, ed. T. C. Pease and R. C. Werner (Illinois State Hist. Library Coll., XXIII, French ser., I, 1934), 19–27, texte de la concession de la seigneurie de d’Autray par La Salle. Auguste Gosselin, Jean Bourdon, 1634–1668 (Les Normands au Canada, Évreux, 1892); “Les sieurs de Dombourg et d’Autray,” BRH, VII (1901), 122–24. Parkman, La Salle and the discovery of the great west (12th ed.), 185, n. 1. Benjamin Sulte, “Le Fort de Frontenac, 1668–1678,” RSCT, 2d ser., VII (1901), sect.i, 47–96; “La mort de Cavelier de La Salle,” RSCT, 2d ser., IV (1898), sect.i, 3–31; “Les Tonty,” RSCT, 2d ser., XI (1893), sect.i, 3–31.
Revisions based on:
Bibliothèque et Arch. Nationales du Québec, Centre d’arch. de Québec, CE301-S1, 30 sept. 1652.