CHEFDOSTEL, THOMAS, French sailor from Watteville, in Normandy; fl. 1597–1603.
Chefdostel, who was captain of the ship Catherine, entered into a contract with the Marquis Troilus de La Roche de Mesgouez, viceroy of Canada, on 4 March 1597, whereby he undertook to lead to the Île de Sable an exploring and fishing expedition of which they were to share the profits. This expedition must have yielded satisfactory results, for the following year Chefdostel took La Roche himself there, and the latter set up on the island an exploration post manned by some 50 vagabonds and beggars recruited at Rouen. Each year, by La Roche’s order, Chefdostel came to bring them supplies, except in 1602. The following year the viceroy instructed him to take stores to his men and to bring back the commander, Querbonyer, and a few associates. On his arrival he found that as the result of a mutiny the commander and other leaders had been slaughtered. He then brought back to France the 11 survivors left on the island, and claimed the right to keep as compensation all the skins which they had loaded on to his ship. But the Parlement of Rouen ordered them to be shared out, one-third going to Chefdostel and the remainder to the rescued men.
ASM, B (Parlement de Rouen), archives secrètes. Bibliothèque de l’Institut de France, Coll. Godefroy, 291 [escrit envoyé par le marquis Troille du Mesgouez de La Roche (1604)]. Anthiaume, Cartes marines, II, 95. Bréard, Documents relatifs à la marine normande, 59, 61, 63, 76, 79. É.-H. Gosselin, Nouvelles glanes historiques normandes. Gustave Lanctot, “L’établissement du marquis de La Roche à l’Île de Sable,” CHA Report 1933, 33–42. Joseph Le Ber, “Un document inédit sur l’Île de Sable et le marquis de La Roche,” RHAF, II (1948–49), 199–213.