LEFEBVRE DUPLESSIS FABER (Fabert), FRANÇOIS, seigneur, officer in the colonial regular troops; b. 9 Nov. 1689 in Champlain, near Trois-Rivières, oldest son of François Lefebvre Duplessis Faber and Madeleine Chorel de Saint-Romain, dit d’Orvilliers; d. 20 July 1762 in Rochefort, France.
Because the early years of François’s career were determined in part by his father’s activities, the life of François Sr merits some attention. François Sr may have been helped by his father Pierre Lefebvre Duplessis Faber, maitre d’hôtel du roi, to rise rapidly to a full captaincy in the Régiment de Saint-Vallier at the age of 24. In 1687, aged 40, François Sr sailed for Canada to assume command of a company of colonial regular troops. On 7 Jan. 1689, he married Madeleine Chorel de Saint-Romain in Champlain, where he made his home for the next seven or eight years. In July 1689 he wounded Captain Raymond Blaise* Des Bergères de Rigauville in a swordfight, and was obliged to pay him 600 livres in damages. During the next 20 years he applied for the governorships of Acadia and of Plaisance (Placentia, Nfld.) and the positions of commander of the troops, king’s lieutenant of Trois-Rivières, commandant of Chambly, and road surveyor. On 5 May 1700 the minister of Marine, Pontchartrain, wrote to the intendant, Champigny [Bochart*], that “the Sieur Duplessis . . . having been recommended to me by persons of whom I think highly, I would be pleased if you would be of service to him if the occasion arises.” But Francois Sr’s liking for wine made his promotion to the general staff unwise. As compensation, however, his son was commissioned ensign at the age of 11. François Sr died on 12 April 1712; in June he was awarded the cross of Saint-Louis, an honour he had requested since 1700.
On 31 Dec. 1713, his son François married at Montreal Catherine-Geneviève, daughter of Jean-François-Xavier Pelletier. During that year he had received an expectancy of a commission as lieutenant which he obtained in 1714. François was interested in serving in Louisiana in 1717, but remained in Montreal where, in 1722, he became assistant town major, a position with status but without salary. While serving in this capacity he sold Île Ronde, near Sorel, and three islands in the St Lawrence River which had been given to him by Étienne Volant* de Radisson, step-father of his wife, and Montreal agent of the Compagnie des Indes. His appointment to a full captaincy in April 1727 – he was then commandant at Baie-des-Puants (Green Bay, Wis.) – came as a direct result of the recommendation of Mme de Vaudreuil [Joybert*].
In 1732 Francois again applied for a transfer to Louisiana, this time to serve as garrison adjutant. Upon rejection he asked for the cross of Saint Louis, but this was also denied him. In 1739 he was appointed commandant of Fort Saint-Frédéric (Crown Point, N.Y.), but his interest in trade and commerce and a bitter dispute with the storekeeper, Médard-Gabriel Vallette de Chévigny, led to his recall in 1741. He was not in total disgrace, however, for in April 1742 he was awarded the cross of Saint-Louis. In 1744 the king suspended him for three months for refusing to arrest Timothy Sullivan, known as Timothée Silvain, but he was not out of favour long. In 1745 he was appointed commandant of Fort Niagara (near Youngstown, N.Y.) to replace Pierre-Joseph Céloron de Blainville. His talents were exercised maintaining the dubious loyalty of the Senecas.
Duplessis was not long at Niagara; in 1747 he was obliged by illness to ask to be relieved of his command. He was succeeded by Claude-Pierre Pécaudy* de Contrecoeur. Two years later, Duplessis was appointed commandant at Michilimackinac, and on 17 March 1756 he was appointed town major of Montreal. In August 1758, from Fort Frontenac (Kingston, Ont.), Pierre-Jacques Payen* de Noyan, anticipating an attack by Lieutenant-Colonel John Bradstreet* with 3,000 men, appealed for help, and Pierre de Rigaud* de Vaudreuil ordered Duplessis to lead 1,500 militiamen to Noyan’s assistance. But the preparations at Lachine took so long that news of the fort’s loss arrived shortly after Duplessis’s party had set out. He subsequently visited the Indians in the Fort Frontenac area, and returned to Montreal. After the fall of Canada, Duplessis returned to France with a pension of 300 livres, and he died in Rochefort on 20 July 1762.
Twelve children were born of his marriage to Catherine-Geneviève Pelletier, of whom six lived to adulthood; one son, François-Hippolyte, served in the colonial regular troops and retired a half-pay captain in 1760, and another, Joseph-Alphonse, was an officer in Canada, Île Royale (Cape Breton Island), and Rochefort, retiring in 1764 with the rank of lieutenant.
The career of Duplessis Faber is difficult to assess because he was promoted in the military hierarchy through connections at court, but he seems to have shown himself able and conscientious while serving as assistant town major of Montreal and commandant of Niagara.
AJTR, Registre d’état civil, Immaculée-Conception de Trois-Rivières, 11 nov. 1689. AN, Col., B, 22, ff.122v, 124v; 27, ff.89v, 270; 29, f.373v; 33, f.140v; 34, f.34v; C11A, 17, ff.335–38; 18, f.69; D2C, 47, f.3v; 222/2, p.167 (PAC transcript). ANQ-M, Greffe d’Antoine Adhémar, 30 déc. 1713; Greffe de Guillaume Barette, 28 avril 1726; Greffe de Jacques David, 17 mars 1725; Greffe de Michel Lepailleur, 29 janv. 1722; Greffe de J.-C. Raimbault, 30, 31 août, 3 sept. 1727. Royal Fort Frontenac (Preston and Lamontagne). Fauteux, Les chevaliers de Saint-Louis, 138. Le Jeune, Dictionnaire, I, 557 [Le Jeune confused the two François Lefebvre Duplessis Fabers and erred in the date of François Jr’s appointment as commandant of Fort Saint-Frédéric. c.j.r.]. P.-G. Roy, Inv. ord. int., I, 275; II, 241; Les officiers d’état-major, 80–85. Tanguay, Dictionnaire, I, 367; III, 544 [In vol. III Tanguay incorrectly dated François Sr’s birth as 1637 instead of 1647. c.j.r.]. P.-G. Roy, La famille Lefebvre Duplessis Faber (Lévis, Qué., 1937); Hommes et choses du fort Saint-Frédéric, 49–57, 168–70. Stanley, New France, 184, 186. P.-G. Roy, “Les commandants du fort Niagara,” BRH, LIV (1948), 168–70.