LEGARDEUR DE REPENTIGNY, PIERRE-JEAN-BAPTISTE-FRANÇOIS-XAVIER, officer in the colonial regular troops; b. 24 May 1719 in Montreal, son of Jean-Baptiste-René Legardeur de Repentigny and Marie-Catherine Juchereau de Saint-Denis; d. 26 May 1776 at Pondicherry, India.
The son of an officer, Pierre-Jean-Baptiste-François-Xavier Legardeur de Repentigny enlisted in the colonial regulars in 1733. He was promoted second ensign when he was 15, ensign in 1742, and lieutenant six years later. Posted to Île Royale (Cape Breton Island) in 1750, he received the rank of captain that year.
In 1757 Legardeur, who had returned to Canada, was decorated with the cross of the order of Saint-Louis. His brother Louis was also serving in the colonial regulars, and reports on the military campaigns of these years refer to both brothers, who were captains, by the name of M. de Repentigny. Louis, however, campaigned primarily along the Ohio River with Jean-Baptiste-Philippe Testard de Montigny and Joseph Marin de La Malgue, while Pierre won renown in the Quebec region. Lévis and Vaudreuil [Rigaud] considered Pierre a zealous, talented, and intelligent officer, and Montcalm* called him “a man of merit.”
After the conquest Legardeur went to France and settled at Tours. In 1769 he entered the service of the Compagnie des Indes as adjutant general and commander of the troops. Promoted infantry colonel in 1771, in 1774 he was made commandant at Mahé, India, and in 1775 became colonel of the Régiment de Pondichéry. He died at Pondicherry the following year.
Legardeur is best known as the murderer of a Quebec merchant, Nicolas Jacquin*, dit Philibert. This homicide, committed in January 1748, is supposed to have stemmed from Philibert’s desire to have the order billeting Legardeur in his house changed. The officer took offence and insulted the merchant, who replied in kind and struck him. Finally Legardeur fatally wounded the merchant with his sword. Upon being condemned by the provost court of Quebec to pay a fine of 8,000 livres and to be decapitated, he sought refuge at Fort Saint-Frédéric (near Crown Point, N.Y.). He asked the king for letters of remission, stressing his service and his military ability; Commandant General Roland-Michel Barrin* de La Galissonière and Intendant Bigot lent him their support. He obtained his reprieve in 1749. Back in Quebec he ran up against public opinion, which never forgives as readily as a king. Governor La Jonquière [Taffanel*] decided to transfer him to Île Royale.
This murder was the origin of the famous legend of the Golden Dog [see Nicolas Jacquin, dit Philibert], which has been given several interpretations. According to one of them, Bigot – who was not even in Canada at the time – is supposed to have been the instigator of the murder; another brings into it Intendant Michel Bégon* de La Picardière and one of Philibert’s brothers, who is supposed to have succeeded in avenging the merchant by killing Legardeur in India. Legardeur and Philibert became principal characters in William Kirby*’s novel The Golden Dog.
Legardeur had married Catherine-Angélique, the daughter of Pierre-Jacques Payen de Noyan et de Chavoy, in Montreal on 30 Jan. 1753. She had two stillborn infants and died at Lachenaie on 19 Dec. 1757. On 26 June 1766 at Saint-Vincent de Tours, France, Legardeur married Marguerite-Jeanne, the daughter of Philippe-Jean-Baptiste Mignon, and they had a son and a daughter.
AN, Col., E, 272 (dossier Legardeur de Repentigny). Archives paroissiales, Notre-Dame de Montréal, Registre des baptêmes, mariages et sépultures, 24 mai 1719. Coll. des manuscrits de Lévis (Casgrain), I, II, V, VII, VIII. “Journal du siège de Québec” (Æ. Fauteux), ANQ Rapport, 1920–21, 137–241. Claude de Bonnault, “Le Canada militaire: état provisoire des officiers de milice de 1641 à 1760,” ANQ Rapport, 1949–51, 282–83. Æ. Fauteux. Les chevaliers de Saint-Louis, 163–64. Tanguay, Dictionnaire, V. Léonce Jore, “Pierre, Jean-Baptiste, François-Xavier Legardeur de Repentigny,” RHAF, XV (1961–62), 556–71. P.-G. Roy, “La famille LeGardeur de Repentigny,” BRH, LIII (1947), 234–36; “L’histoire vraie du Chien d’Or,” Cahiers des Dix, 10 (1945), 103–68.