BRIGEAC (Brisac, Brigeart, Brijat), CLAUDE DE, soldier, secretary to Governor Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve; b. at Ligny-en-Barois (Lorraine) c. 1631; killed by the Iroquois in 1661.
Brigeac, who arrived at Montreal in 1659, was referred to as a gentleman and a grenadier. He was attached to the garrison as a soldier, and became Governor Maisonneuve’s secretary. On 25 Oct. 1661 he was ordered to accompany and protect a team of some 12 men who were going under the direction of the Sulpician Abbé Vignal to look for stones on the Île à la Pierre, adjoining the Île Sainte-Hélène. Brigeac was one of the last to arrive, and did not have time to arrange for the party’s safety before 35 Iroquois made a surprise attack upon the scattered workers, who fled in confusion towards their canoes. Fearlessly, Brigeac faced the enemy single-handed, but a volley of shot shattered his right arm and mortally wounded Abbé Vignal. The Iroquois captured them, as well as two companions, René Cuillerier* and Dufresne, and made camp at La Pierre-de-la-Madeleine. Dufresne was then given to the Mohawks, the Oneidas keeping the two other captives for themselves. Subsequently Cuillerier was adopted by the tribe, whereas Brigeac, who managed to get a note to Father Simon Le Moyne informing him of his capture, was subjected to the cruellest tortures for two days and finished off at last with a knife. His body was put in the pot and provided a meal for his enemies.
ACND, MS M1, Écrits autographes de Sœur Marguerite Bourgeoys. Dollier de Casson, Histoire du Montréal, 163–65, 241, 250, 252. JR (Thwaites), XLVII, 176–78, contains a letter from Brigeac, written when he was an Iroquois prisoner. JJ (Laverdière et Casgrain), passim. Premier registre de l’église Notre-Dame de Montréal (Montréal, 1961). Faillon, Histoire de la colonie française, II, 361, 505–12. É.-Z. Massicotte, “Brigeac, Brigeart ou Brijat,” BRH, XXXV (1929), 639–40.