BRAS-DE-FER DE CHATEAUFORT, MARC-ANTOINE, Knight of Malta, acting commandant of New France from December 1635 to June 1636, commandant of Trois-Rivières from 1636 to 1638.
Chateaufort, who had arrived at Quebec in 1634 or 1635, had been appointed by the Compagnie des Cent-Associés to assume command in the event of Samuel de Champlain’s death. The letters confirming his appointment had been entrusted to the Jesuit Paul Le Jeune, who was commissioned “to produce them in proper time and place,” and this he did immediately after Champlain’s funeral: the letters “were opened and read that very hour before the population assembled in the church.” Champlain had acted as governor, without however bearing the title: in 1628, in a letter that he had written him, the king called him “commandant in New France” in the absence of Cardinal Richelieu; that is why Chateaufort was called “lieutenant-general for his Eminence the Cardinal, Duc de Richelieu, over the St. Lawrence River in all its length in New France.”
On 11 June 1636 Huault de Montmagny landed at Quebec. The Compagnie des Cent-Associés had appointed him in January 1636 (before Champlain’s death was known in France) to govern New France. Chateaufort handed over to him the keys of Fort Saint-Louis and shortly afterwards went to Trois-Rivières to act as commandant (the title of governor not yet being officially employed). The records of this town first make mention of this 28 Aug. 1636, but the Relation for 1637 entitles us to believe that Chateaufort had already been there for some time. It is not known whether he succeeded Laviolette, who was at Trois-Rivières until 17 April 1636 at least, or the Chevalier Antoine-Louis de Bréhaut Delisle.
Little is known of Chateaufort’s administration at Trois-Rivières. In July 1637 he detained the Abenakis, whom he charged with trading at Trois-Rivières although it had been forbidden by Montmagny; he had their baggage searched, without finding any beaver pelts in it, and confiscated three arquebuses; he helped the Jesuits to enrol young Hurons for their seminary; he acted as godfather to young Indians; on 5 September Father Le Jeune, who was making a short stay at Trois-Rivières, found him very ill and gave him the sacrament. The records of Trois-Rivières last mention Chateaufort 6 Feb. 1638, but, contrary to what has been written, Chateaufort remained some months more at Trois-Rivières, since on 31 August of the same year he was present with Montmagny at the taking possession by Jean Godefroy of the seigneury of Lintot. We do not know what became of Chateaufort after that date.
JR (Thwaites), VIII, 218, 308; IX, 208; XI, 82, 126–28, 130, 241; XII, 40–42, 110, 188, 236. P.-G. Roy, Inv. concessions, I, 31f., 152. BRH, IX (1903), 186f. P.-G. Roy, La ville de Québec, I, 135f., including a facsimile of Chateaufort’s signature. Benjamin Sulte, Mélanges historiques (Malchelosse), XIV, 63f.