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d. 23 April 1843 in Sault-au-Récollet (Montreal North), Lower Canada


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LE MOYNE DE MARTIGNY ET DE LA TRINITÉ, JEAN-BAPTISTE, military officer, seigneur, commander at Fort Bourbon; baptized 2 April 1662 at Montreal; d. July 1709 at Fort Albany. Martigny was one of at least seven children of Jacques Le Moyne de Sainte-Marie and Mathurine Godé, and a nephew of Charles Le Moyne* de Longueuil et de Châteauguay. He married Marie-Élisabeth Guyon Durouvray on 1 July 1691 at Quebec, by whom he had one son, Jacques, born 20 March 1692.

Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Martigny was associated for the major part of his career with the campaigns of the French in Hudson Bay, from 1686 to 1709. In 1686, he took part in the expedition of 70 Canadians and 30 regular troops which Pierre de Troyes* led against the English fur-trading installations on James Bay. Leaving Montreal on 30 March, the party journeyed by the Ottawa route and through a chain of lakes and streams and difficult portages to James Bay, arriving on 18 June. The party captured the four Hudson’s Bay Company posts of Moose Fort Charles Fort, Albany Fort, and the depot on Charlton Island.

When Troyes departed in August, he left behind 40 Canadians, including Martigny, under the command of Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville, Martigny’s cousin. Martigny remained at James Bay throughout 1687 and most of 1688. On 10 October of that year, he was dispatched with a companion and two Indian guides to bring news of the north both to the authorities in Quebec and to the directors of the Compagnie du Nord, whose interests in the fur trade of the region had provided the principal impetus for the 1686 expedition.

The journey was one of incredible hardship. Their food ran out, their muskets misfired, they were continually forced off the trail to seek subsistence from the wilderness. Then, fearing an attack by Iroquois reported to be in the area, their guides refused to continue along the most direct route but headed instead for Sault Ste Marie, where they arrived in May 1689. It was only in mid-June that Martigny and his companion finally trudged into Montreal.

We lose sight of Martigny until February 1694, when he and other officers were accused before the Conseil Supérieur “of having roamed through the streets of the Lower Town [of Quebec] after an orgy, breaking in and smashing window-panes and sashes in the homes of various citizens.” Before this incident, however, he was probably included in Iberville’s abortive preparations in 1690, 1692, and 1693 to capture the one remaining English post in the north, York Fort. Martigny finally returned to Hudson Bay in 1694 as part of the successful expedition which captured the English station in that year. When Iberville, after wintering in the north, sailed away in September 1695, he left 70 men at Fort Bourbon (York Fort) under Gabriel Testard* de La Forest, with Martigny as the latter’s lieutenant. The following year, however, the English recaptured their station. Martigny, along with the garrison, was sent as a prisoner to England.

In 1697, the French, undismayed, began preparing once more to try to regain York Fort. Joseph Le Moyne de Serigny, Iberville’s brother, was appointed to take a squadron from France to Placentia (Plaisance), where the latter was concluding his destruction of the English fishery in Newfoundland. Martigny was released from captivity in England in time to return to France and join the campaign, for he sailed with Serigny that summer. After taking on Iberville and his Canadian soldiers at Placentia in July, the squadron of five vessels continued to Hudson Bay. After the brilliant victory of Iberville’s lead ship, the Pélican, over three English warships, the French laid siege to York Fort in September 1697. On the 11th of that month, Iberville picked Martigny to go into the fort under a flag of truce, and an English-imposed blindfold, to demand the release of French prisoners. Governor Baley refused, and the French resumed their fire; after two days the English commander surrendered the fort to the French.

Iberville immediately prepared to leave Hudson Bay for the last time. He appointed Martigny commander of Fort Bourbon, effective on the departure of the higher-ranking Serigny; however, the latter was detained until the autumn of 1698 while awaiting a replacement for his ship’s rudder. This was Martigny’s first command; he had under him 20 Canadians and a trading establishment of 10 men under Nicolas Jérémie.

It is not known when Martigny left Fort Bourbon; he was in Quebec on 22 April 1702 when he purchased from his three sisters and two of his three brothers their portions of the family seigneury of Cap-de-la-Trinité, thus becoming the sole proprietor and seigneur of La Trinité. In 1706, he was reported living in Montreal.

We lose sight of Martigny from 1706 to 1709. In the latter year he joined a party of 100 Canadians under Nicolas d’Ailleboust de Manthet on a journey to James Bay in an effort to recapture Albany Fort (Fort Sainte-Anne), which had first been captured by the French during Martigny’s first campaign in 1686, and had been recaptured by James Knight in 1693. Unlike his earlier campaigns, the 1709 venture was a disaster: nearly all of the party died either in battle or from hunger or exposure, and both Martigny and Ailleboust de Manthet were struck down in the very first skirmish. In his observations to the minister, Governor Rigaud de Vaudreuil pointed out the Canadians’ perennial reckless disregard for danger, and their inadequate knowledge of the area. The intendant, Jacques Raudot, confirmed this opinion, mentioned Manthet’s “excessive bravery,” and deplored the party’s failure to equip themselves properly, particularly with a battering ram and fascines for setting fire to the English fort.

After his father’s untimely and tragic death, Jacques Le Moyne assumed his name, and became seigneur of La Trinité.

Bernard Pothier

AN, Col., C11A, 10, 13, 15, 30. Charlevoix, Histoire (1744), III. [Nicolas Jérémie], “Relation du Détroit et de la Baie d’Hudson par Monsieur Jérémie,” with Intro. by J.-H. Prud’homme, Société historique de Saint-Boniface Bull., II (1912). Jug. et délib., III, IV, V. Kelsey papers (Doughty and Martin). La Potherie, Histoire (1753), I. P.-G. Roy, Inv. concessions, II. Frégault, Iberville. HBRS, XXI (Rich).

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Cite This Article

Bernard Pothier, “LE MOYNE DE MARTIGNY ET DE LA TRINITÉ, JEAN-BAPTISTE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed April 23, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/le_moyne_de_martigny_et_de_la_trinite_jean_baptiste_2E.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:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/le_moyne_de_martigny_et_de_la_trinite_jean_baptiste_2E.html
Author of Article:   Bernard Pothier
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1969
Year of revision:   1982
Access Date:   April 23, 2024