DAVION, ALBERT, member of the community of the seminary of Quebec, parish priest on Île d’Orléans, and missionary in Louisiana; b. at Saint-Omer in the province of Artois; d. 1726 in the parish of his birth.
Abbé Albert Davion arrived in Quebec 24 May 1690. He was first the parish priest at Saint-Jean and Saint-François on the Île d’Orléans, then in 1698 he was chosen by Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix] and the directors of the seminary of Quebec to go with Abbé Jean-François Buisson de Saint-Cosme (1667–1706) to found missions in Louisiana under the direction of Abbé François de Montigny. According to Abbé Henri-Jean Tremblay*, procurator of the seminary of Quebec in Paris, he was “a very good priest,” but in such poor health that life in the wilds did not suit him at all. Abbé Davion and his fellow religious set out from Lachine 24 July 1698, accompanied by 12 paddlers. The travellers followed the Ottawa route and reached Fort Michilimackinac 8 September. There they found the explorer Henri Tonty, who guided them as far as the Arkansas Indian country, which they reached 27 December. On 4 Jan. 1699 the expedition continued on its way and stopped 200 miles farther south, among the Tunicas, where Davion agreed to found a mission. But Abbé Montigny and he decided first to go on as far as Fort Maurepas on Biloxi Bay (Biloxi, Mississippi). On his return from this voyage Davion settled among the Tunicas, on the banks of the Yazoo River (Miss.). He devoted himself to this tribe, occasionally staying for long periods in the French settlements on Mobile Bay (Alabama).
In 1722 he retired to New Orleans. But the Capuchins, to whom the missions in Lower Louisiana now belonged, asked for his recall. Abbé Davion sailed for France in 1725 and withdrew to live with his family, where he died 8 April 1726 after a short illness.
AAQ, Copies de documents, Série A: Églises du Canada, III, 9f. ASQ, Évêques, 172; Lettres, N, 48, 123; R, 64, 77; Missions, 73, 73c, 102; Paroisses diverses, 47–48. Noël Baillargeon, “Les missions du séminaire de Québec dans la vallée du Mississipi 1698–1699,” AQ Rapport, 1965, 13–70. Découvertes et établissements des Français (Margry), VI, 247. MPA (Rowland and Sanders), II, 346n. Arthur Maheux, “La bibliothque du missionnaire Davion an XVIIIe siècle,” CF, 2e série, XXVII (1939–40), 650f.