CÉLORON DE BLAINVILLE, JEAN-BAPTISTE, midshipman, lieutenant, captain, knight of the order of Saint-Louis; baptized 19 Feb. 1660 in the church of Saint-Sauveur in Paris, son of Antoine Céloron, king’s counsellor, and of Marie Rémy; nephew of Pierre Rémy, parish priest of Lachine; d. 4 June 1735 at Montreal.
Jean-Baptiste Céloron probably came to Canada in 1684. He was in Montreal in 1688, when he was found guilty of playing billiards on Easter Monday, during vespers, which was forbidden at that time. In 1691 he was a half-pay captain. The following year he was granted the former fief of Blainville. Ten years later he received a commission as captain of a company of colonial regular troops, replacing the Sieur de Merville. In 1704 he asked for leave and returned to France to put his affairs in order. He was to return to Canada in the autumn of the following year.
During his stay in Paris Céloron de Blainville roused in his family an interest in Canada. As a result of his efforts he received in 1707 two sums of money, which he made over to the Ursulines of Trois-Rivières, and in 1708 he settled an annuity on them in the name of his sister in Paris, Catherine Céloron.
In June 1705 he accused Pierre de Saint-Ours, the younger, of violating his sixteen-year-old daughter, Hélène, but by September Saint-Ours had been freed of this charge. Saint-Ours married the girl in 1710. On 7 July 1711 the minister wrote to the intendant, Bégon*: “As the big lawsuit between the Saint-Ours and Blainville families has been settled with a marriage, it is advisable for the peace of the two families that the proceedings of this affair be forgotten. . . .”
Later Céloron de Blainville engaged in the fur trade in the pays d’en haut, without much success, however. This is proven by three transfers of letters of credit in favour of Pierre You de La Découverte, Mademoiselle Picoté de Belestre, and Jean Bouillet de La Chassaigne, two recognizances, one to Jean Loubinois de Tourneuve for the sum of 1,593 livres, the other to Pierre Trottier* Desauniers for 1,691 livres, and a lawsuit before the bench of the royal jurisdiction of Montreal in 1721.
Jean-Baptiste Céloron de Blainville was married four times and had eight children. By his first marriage, which took place in Paris, he had a son who became a Recollet. Then in 1686, in Montreal, he married Hélène Picoté de Belestre, mother of François de La Frenaye. They had seven children, one of whom, Pierre-Joseph Céloron* de Blainville, won fame as a soldier. On the death of his second wife Céloron de Blainville married Geneviève Damours de Chauffours, daughter of Mathieu Damours*, in 1703. And in 1704 he married Geneviève-Gertrude, daughter of Charles Legardeur* de Tilly. He was created a knight of the order of Saint-Louis on 4 April 1730, though he had solicited this honour since 1712. His superiors noted that he was only a fairly good officer. This no doubt explains why the archives contain nothing special about his military career. He died on 4 June 1735 at Montreal.
AAQ, Registres d’insinuation C. AJM, Greffe d’Antoine Adhémar, 2 oct. 1693, 29 nov. 1701, 7 janv., 28 sept. 1705, 8 juillet, 11 oct., 18 nov. 1707, 23 janv. 1708, 16 avril 1710, 17 févr. 1712; Greffe de Bénigne Basset, 16 juin 1692; Greffe de Jacques David, 26, 30 août 1721. AN, Col., C11A, 24, ff.214, 237; 31, ff.5–28. Caron, “Inventaire de documents,” APQ Rapport, 1940–41, 352. “Correspondance de Vaudreuil,” APQ Rapport, 1938–39, 22, 36. PAC Report, 1899, Supp., 352, 376, 446, 457, 480; 1904, App.K, 131. P.-G. Roy, Inv. coll. pièces jud. et not., I; Inv. concessions, V, 153. Fauteux, Les chevaliers de Saint-Louis. [Faillon], Histoire de la colonie française, 341. Désiré Girouard, Lake St. Louis, old and new, and Cavelier de La Salle (Montréal, 1893), 211. É.-Z. Massicotte, “Évocations du vieux Montréal,” Cahiers des Dix, III (1938), 145. P.-G. Roy, “La famille Céloron de Blainville,” BRH, XV (1909), 302–14, 329–50, 360–76.