GUILLEMOT, GUILLAUME, (also called Du Plessis-Kerbodot), governor of Trois-Rivières 1651–52; killed by the Iroquois on 19 Aug. 1652.
We must accept the name that he signed and under which he is known in our history: Guillaume Guillemot, seigneur of the Kerbodot fief in Brittany. If he has been called Du Plessis, it is because the word plessis, in Norman, means village, fief, like the Breton word ker. In the index of the Jesuit Relations (Thwaites), this person has been confused with Du Plessis-Bochart. The identity of each has subsequently been established beyond dispute.
Guillaume Guillemot certainly enjoyed great prestige in official circles, for on 2 Jan. 1651 his name was proposed to the king by the Compagnie des Cent-Associés, together with those of Jean de Lauson (senior) and Pierre Robinau, as a replacement for Louis d’Ailleboust as governor of New France. M. de Lauson was named to this office, but Du Plessis-Kerbodot was appointed governor of Trois-Rivières. He arrived at Quebec on 13 October of the same year, and his presence was noted at Trois-Rivières on 1 December. This latter post was no sinecure, and the new governor wanted above all to protect the interests of the Compagnie des Cent-Associés there. He quickly realized that he had to force the Indians to make peace, for Trois-Rivères was at that period the outpost against Iroquois attacks. An emergency squad was formed, called the flying column. By virtue of his office, the governor undertook to lead it himself. This was the first mistake on his part, for he was not a soldier and was totally ignorant of Indian tactics.
Despite the warning of a man of experience, Pierre Boucher*, and of a number of other settlers, Kerbodot ordered his flying column blindly to seek out the enemy in the woods around the town. The hastily organized troop obeyed. It comprised some 60 men, including 12 Indians who were allies. On the morning of 19 August they embarked in two sloops and followed the banks of the St. Lawrence. As soon as the troop landed, it fell into the ambush set by the Iroquois, who, following their usual tactics, had been watching its approach. Twenty-two Frenchmen, including the governor himself, were killed outright or taken prisoner.
Du Plessis-Kerbodot had married Étiennette Després in 1647 in Paris, and she had followed him to New France with their two children, Anne and François.
JR (Thwaites). JJ (Laverdière et Casgrain), Sulte, Mélanges historiques (Malchelosse), V, 9–28. Albert Tessier, Les Trois-Rivières: quatre siècles d’histoire 1535–1935 (Trois-Rivières, 1934).
© 1966–2023 University of Toronto/Université Laval
Cite This Article
Raymond Douville, “GUILLEMOT, GUILLAUME,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed April 1, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/guillemot_guillaume_1E.html.
The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:
|Author of Article:||Raymond Douville|
|Title of Article:||GUILLEMOT, GUILLAUME|
|Publication Name:||Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1|
|Publisher:||University of Toronto/Université Laval|
|Year of publication:||1966|
|Year of revision:||1979|
|Access Date:||April 1, 2023|