HAMELIN DE BOURGCHEMIN ET DE L’HERMITIÈRE, JACQUES-FRANÇOIS, ensign, then lieutenant, commandant first at Contrecœur and then at Fort Saint-François, seigneur; b. 6 Jan. 1664 at Louze, Maine (department of Sarthe), son of François de Bourgchemin, nobleman and seigneur, and of Madeleine Guitton; d. between the end of 1695 and the beginning of 1698, probably in France.
It is not known exactly when Bourgchemin arrived in New France. In any case, after becoming an ensign on 17 March 1687 he was in Canada on 13 November of that year, because he was married to Élisabeth Dizy, the 15-year-old daughter of Pierre Dizy, dit Montplaisir, at Champlain on that date. On the marriage certificate he had himself styled “chevalier,” a title without foundation even in the letters of nobility granted to his family, and which led the genealogist Cyprien Tanguay to confuse him with a soldier living in Acadia at the time and called Chevalier [see La Tourasse].
In 1690 he was at Contrecœur to direct its defence against the Iroquois. There he received the rank of half-pay lieutenant in 1691, which rank was confirmed on 1 March 1693 and raised to that of lieutenant on 15 April 1694. On 24 January of the latter year, in a document in the parish registers of Batiscan, he described himself as commandant of Fort Saint-François. Between 1690 and 1694 we find him on various occasions at Champlain, at Batiscan, and at Sorel, where he behaved scandalously. For example, in February 1690, when Bourgchemin’s wife had by her arrogance provoked a sharp retort from a Batiscan settler, the husband took his axe to the impertinent fellow to punish him. Moreover, early in 1694, this unruly officer was reported to Buade de Frontenac by Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix*l, although without justification apparently, for having refused, along with François Desjordy de Cabanac, to attend mass on Sexagesima Sunday. This was at a time when, in addition, Bourgchemin was involved in the legal proceedings before the Conseil Souverain instituted by Desjordy and Marguerite Dizy* Desbrieux against the parish priests Claude Bouquin and Nicolas Foucault*. Bourgchemin’s friend and his sister-in-law had just been placed under interdict in announcements from the pulpit in the churches of Champlain and Batiscan as a result of a pastoral letter from the bishop censuring the behaviour of certain officers in these villages. The repercussions of the litigation and the bravado of the two officers aggravated the situation. The affair dragged on, until it was finally referred to the king’s privy council in 1695 and lost sight of. That same year Bourgchemin’s case was further complicated: he was accused of trying to poison his wife, and Frontenac, in his letter of 4 Nov. 1695 to the minister for colonies stated that he was obliged to send him back to France. There is no trace of him after this date, but we assume that he returned to the mother country and died there shortly afterwards, since his widow remarried on 26 Jan. 1698.
Frontenac, probably to annoy Bishop Saint-Vallier, had, on 1 March 1695, transferred to Bourgchemin a grant of land made to Pierre Dorfeuille in 1672; and on 20 June of the same year he gave him a seigneury on the Yamaska River – the Bourgchemin fief – a grant confirmed by the king on 19 May 1696. Bourgchemin had had three children by Élisabeth Dizy: Anne-Marie, baptized on 10 Nov. 1689, François, baptized on 27 Oct. 1691 and buried on 7 April 1703, and lastly Marguerite, of whom we know only that she died sometime before 1724.
ASQ, MSS, 132, 133, Laffilard, Officiers français aux colonies, 1627–1780. Coll. de manuscrits relatifs à la Nouv.-France, I, 580. Correspondance de Frontenac (1689–99), APQ Rapport, 1928–29, 281. Jug. et délib. Lettre de M. de Lamothe Cadillac, 28 sept. 1694, APQ Rapport, 1923–24, 80–93. P.-G. Roy, Inv. concessions. F.-J. Audet, Contrecœur, famille, seigneurie, paroisse, village (Montréal, 1940). Raymond Douville, “Deux officiers ‘indésirables’ des troupes de la Marine,” Cahiers des Dix, XIX (1954), 67–83. Ægidius Fauteux, “Le Sieur de Bourchemin,” BRH, XXXIV (1930), 317–19. O.-H.-A. Lapalice, Histoire de la seigneurie Massue et de la paroisse de Saint-Aimé (s.1., 1930), 9–22, 416; “Le sieur de Bourgchemin,” BRH, XXIV (1918), 273–74. É.-Z. Massicotte, “Le Sieur de Bourchemin, ses noms, son âge, sa noblesse,” BRH, XXV (1919), 210–14.