LEGARDEUR DE SAINT-PIERRE, JEAN-PAUL, officer, fur-trader, interpreter, seigneur, son of Jean-Baptiste Legardeur de Repentigny and Marguerite Nicollet; b. at Quebec, 3 Oct. 1661; d. winter of 1722–23, probably at Chagouamigon (Chequamegon Bay in Lake Superior). Often confused with his brothers and cousins, he was usually referred to as Saint-Pierre or Sieur de Saint-Pierre.
In 1688 Saint-Pierre became an ensign, and for the rest of his life was prominent in military affairs. After 1690 most of his career was spent in the western country. He was at Fort Frontenac in 1689, however, and assisted in an attack on the Iroquois near Rivière des Prairies in 1695. Callière, Frontenac [Buade*], and Vaudreuil [Rigaud] consistently praised Saint-Pierre and gave him difficult missions in the west.
Saint-Pierre figured prominently in the Le Pesant affair in Detroit, 1706–7. Le Pesant, after instigating the Ottawa-Miami brawl at Detroit, fled to Michilimackinac. Saint-Pierre was instructed by Vaudreuil to apprehend him. This he did, but only after many trips between Montreal, Detroit, and Michilimackinac, numerous councils with the Indians, and much friction with Cadillac [Laumet]. Cadillac accused Saint-Pierre of plotting against Detroit – in favour of Michilimackinac – but Vaudreuil’s reports show that this was unlikely. One reason for Cadillac’s anger was that Saint-Pierre had exposed Cadillac’s brandy monopoly at Detroit.
In March 1711, Saint-Pierre was sent to Michilimackinac and Baie des Puants (Green Bay) to escort a party of Indians to a council at Montreal. In the fall of 1714 he was sent to Michilimackinac, where he helped Le Marchand de Lignery prepare for a spring offensive against the Foxes. Saint-Pierre acted as interpreter for La Porte de Louvigny in the Fox war of 1716, and in the fall of that year he went to western Lake Superior to invite the Chippewas to a council in Montreal.
Saint-Pierre and the Chippewas met with Vaudreuil in July 1718. Fearing that the Fox-Chippewa feuds would disrupt the fur trade, Vaudreuil ordered Saint-Pierre, now a captain, to re-establish the post at Chagouamigon. Vaudreuil wrote in 1719 that “Saint-Pierre . . . has succeeded so well in pacifying them [the Chippewas] that they are now bent on keeping the peace.”
Saint-Pierre visited with Charlevoix* at Michilimackinac in 1721, and probably went to Montreal several times before his death. It is likely that he died at his post in the winter of 1722–23. For 30 years he had been a reliable, intelligent, diplomatic officer in the western country. His greatest achievement had been as commandant at Chagouamigon. Because of his military ability and excellent relations with the Indians, this vital fur-trading centre was to know years of peace.
AN, Col., C11A, 26, ff.75, 138. AQ, Coll. P.-G. Roy, Legardeur. Charlevoix, History (Shea), V, 190, 237n. “Correspondance de Frontenac (1689–99),” APQ Rapport, 1927–28, 19, 26, 58. “Correspondance de Vaudreuil,” APQ Rapport, 1939–40, 389. Découvertes et établissements des Français (Margry), English MS translation, VI. Michigan Pioneer Coll., XXXIII, 342–50, 354–58, 366–67, 582–83, 588–89. NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow), IX. Wis. State Hist. Soc. Coll., XVI, 304–5, 311–12, 377, 380–81; XVII, 165–66. É.-Z. Massicotte, “Congés et permis déposés ou enregistrés à Montréal sous le régime français,” APQ Rapport, 1921–22, 193, 195, 196, 199, 201, 203. “Répertoire des engagements pour l’Ouest,” 202, 225. P.-G. Roy, “La famille Legardeur de Repentigny,” BRH, LIII (1947), 195–216. E. M. Sheldon, Early history of Michigan, 271–75.