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d. 25 May 1917 in Montreal


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HERTEL DE SAINT-FRANÇOIS, JOSEPH-HIPPOLYTE (called the Chevalier Hertel), army officer and interpreter; b. 23 July 1738 at Saint-François-du-Lac (Que.) and baptized two days later at Sorel, son of Joseph Hertel de Saint-François and Suzanne Blondeau; d. 10 Aug. 1781 in Montreal.

Like his five brothers, Joseph-Hippolyte Hertel de Saint-François took up a military career. He served as a cadet in the Ohio region and in 1755 took part in the battle of the Monongahela [see Daniel-Hyacinthe-Marie Liénard* de Beaujeu]. The following year he was commissioned second ensign. Thanks to his aunt, Catherine Jarret de Verchères, the wife of Pierre-Joseph Hertel de Beaubassin, he enjoyed Montcalm*’s favour. On 20 June 1757 Montcalm wrote to Bourlamaque*: “I commend the Hertels to you: they are nephews of a lady of whom you are fond and who is devoted to you.” On 30 June Bourlamaque dispatched a detachment of Indians on an expedition under three officers; two were Hertel brothers and Joseph-Hippolyte may have been one of them. In 1759 he was promoted ensign on the active list. During the year Hertel, who had been serving at Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga, N.Y.) for two years, was sent out at the head of Indian war parties.

After the conquest Hertel de Saint-François went to France, arriving at Le Havre on 1 Jan. 1762 on the Molinieux. His stay in France was short, for in 1763 he returned to Canada and went to live in Montreal. Like some other Canadians at this period, Hertel joined the new English Protestant community and became a member of a Masonic lodge in Montreal. As early as 1764 his name appears on a list of the heads of Protestant families in Montreal signed by Governor Murray. Three years later, on 3 Aug. 1767, in Montreal’s Christ Church he married Marie-Anne, daughter of Jean-Baptiste Le Comte* Dupré and Marie-Anne Hervieux. As the latter opposed the marriage before a Protestant minister, another ceremony was held on 24 August in the church of Notre-Dame in Montreal.

Hertel’s experience with the Indians during the Seven Years’ War was put to good use at the time of Pontiac*’s War. In 1764 he was placed at the head of an Iroquois contingent from Sault-Saint-Louis (Caughnawaga) which was sent to the Detroit region to help John Bradstreet put down the uprising. Hertel was subsequently entrusted by Colonel Henry Bouquet with several missions that aided the peace negotiations with the Delawares, Shawnees, and Senecas. The colonel recommended him to the superintendent of northern Indians, Sir William Johnson. Hertel returned to Montreal in the spring of 1765. Because he was in straitened circumstances, his widowed mother approached Johnson twice on his behalf.

On 17 June 1769 Governor Guy Carleton* appointed Hertel interpreter for the Abenakis who had sought refuge among the Iroquois at St Regis after the destruction of their village of Saint-François-de-Sales (Odanak) on 4 Oct. 1759 [see Robert Rogers]. The St Regis Iroquois asked the authorities to remove these refugees, who were provoking conflict by intruding on their hunting grounds and those of the Six Nations proper. They wanted to be rid also of the interpreter, whom they accused of encouraging the Abenakis “to remain so that he might continue to carry on the fur trade with them.” After the Iroquois brought further pressure to bear in 1770, Hertel decided to give up. The Abenakis left St Regis at the end of the year.

Back in Montreal, Hertel in 1775 enrolled in the volunteer detachment that was commanded by François-Marie Picoté de Belestre and Joseph-Dominique-Emmanuel Le Moyne* de Longueuil, raised to help repulse the American troops invading Canada. When Fort Saint-Jean capitulated on 2 Nov. 1775, he was taken prisoner. He was recognized as an officer by Brigadier-General Richard Montgomery, who had met him during the campaign against Pontiac, and was sent by him into exile in the American colonies. Freed in an exchange of prisoners, Hertel returned in 1777 to Montreal, where he died four years later. His widow applied twice to Governor Haldimand for a life pension. On 29 Oct. 1781 she wrote to him: “M. Hertel left me as his entire fortune one son, who is only waiting to be old enough to offer his services to his king.” The son, Louis-Hippolyte, who had been born in Montreal in 1771, became a lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Volunteer Regiment. On 2 April 1792, two months before her death, Madame Hertel sold to the Presbyterian congregation of Montreal the site on which it built St Gabriel Street Church.

Thomas-M. Charland

AN, Col., C11A, 101, f.15; D2C, 3, p.127; 48 (copies at PAC). ANQ-M, Greffe de Joseph Papineau, 2 avril 1792. BL, Add. mss 21651, pp.75–76, 88, 115; 21653, pp.463, 489–90; 21669, pp.72–73; 21687, p.29; 21772, p.73; 21773, p.149; 21831, p.130; 21879, pp.38, 48 (PAC transcripts). PAC, MG 11, [CO 42], Q, 2, p.335; 4, p.13; 13, p.164; MG 19, F1, 1, p.136. Coll. des manuscrits de Lévis (Casgrain), I, 170; V, 173; VI, 27. [Antoine Foucher], “Journal tenu pendant le siège du fort Saint-Jean, en 1775, par feu M. Foucher, ancien notaire de Montréal,” BRH, XL (1934), 144, 212–13. “The French regime in Wisconsin – III,” ed. R. G. Thwaites, Wis., State Hist. Soc., Coll., XVIII (1908), 218. [Thwaites confuses the two Hertel brothers, Pierre-Antoine and Joseph-Hippolyte. This error was perpetuated by N. B. Wainwright, editor of “George Croghan’s journal, 1759–1763 . . . ,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography (Philadelphia), LXXI (1947), 399.  t.-m.c.] Invasion du Canada (Verreau), 249. Johnson papers (Sullivan et al.). “Liste des membres; première réunion de la Grande Loge de Montréal,” PAC Rapport, 1944, xxxii. “A list of Protestant house keepers in Montreal (1764),” BRH, XXXIX (1933), 158. “La mission de M. de Bougainville en France en 1758–1759,” ANQ Rapport, 1923–24, 38. Papiers Contrecœur (Grenier), 104, 344, 407. [Nicolas Renaud d’Avène Des Méloizes], “Journal militaire tenu par Nicolas Renaud d’Avène Des Méloizes, cher, seigneur de Neuville, au Canada, du 8 mai 1759 au 21 novembre de la même année . . . ,” ANQ Rapport, 1928–29, 32, 39, 46. [François Daniel], Nos gloires nationales; ou, histoire des principales familles du Canada . . . (2v., Montréal, 1867), II, 369, 371. Francis Parkman, The conspiracy of Pontiac and the Indian war after the conquest of Canada (10th ed., 2v., Boston, 1886; repr. New York, 1962). C.-F. Bouthillier, “La bataille du 9 juillet 1755,” BRH, XIV (1908), 222. T. [-M.] Charland, “Les neveux de madame de Beaubassin,” RHAF, XXIII (1969–70), 84–90. J.-J. Lefebvre, “Louise Réaume-Fournerie-Robertson (1742–1773) et son petit-fils le colonel Daniel de Hertel (1797–1866),” RHAF, XII (1958–59), 330. “La loyauté des Canadiens en 1775,” BRH, XXXI (1925), 373. É.-Z. Massicotte, “A propos de mariage,” BRH, XXXII (1926), 536–37. “La reddition du fort Saint-Jean en 1775,” BRH, XII (1906), 315.

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Cite This Article

Thomas-M. Charland, “HERTEL DE SAINT-FRANÇOIS, JOSEPH-HIPPOLYTE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed May 25, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/hertel_de_saint_francois_joseph_hippolyte_4E.html.

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Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/hertel_de_saint_francois_joseph_hippolyte_4E.html
Author of Article:   Thomas-M. Charland
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1979
Year of revision:   1979
Access Date:   May 25, 2024