PÉZARD DE LA TOUSCHE CHAMPLAIN, ÉTIENNE, soldier, named to the governorship of Montreal, seigneur of Champlain, colonizer; b. 1624 at Blois (Orléanais), son of Claude Pézard de La Tousche and Marie Masson; d. c. 1696.
His arrival in Canada is generally dated as 1661, the same year that he was appointed lieutenant at Trois-Rivières. He must have distinguished himself in some way, since shortly afterwards he was promoted captain of the garrison. During his stay at Trois-Rivières it is thought that he helped Pierre Boucher* in the writing of his Histoire véritable et naturelle . . . (Paris, 1664).
He left Trois-Rivières in June 1664 to take over the command of the Montreal garrison. On 20 June, in the parish church of Notre-Dame, he married Madeleine Mullois de La Borde, who gave him five children. On the day of his marriage he was nominated governor of Montreal by Saffray de Mézy. Between the latter and Chomedey de Maisonneuve, who protected the rights of the seigneurs of the island, there was a certain coolness, and the nomination led to nothing because of the opposition of the seigneurs of Montreal, upon whom such a nomination depended. Probably Mézy wanted to compensate Pézard de La Tousche by granting him, on 8 Aug. 1664, the Champlain seigneury, which was a league and a half in length by one in depth. La Tousche, as distinct from the majority of the seigneurs of his day, took his role of “colony builder” seriously. He immediately erected a manor-house on the rocky promontory at the mouth of the Champlain River, and to attract settlers he began the construction of a church in 1665. Settlers thronged to the spot. In 1665 alone he granted more than 22 censives. His colonizing zeal made him a prominent inhabitant of New France. In 1670, in order to emphasize his merit, the intendant had no hesitation in giving him a mare from the royal stables. Later, in 1678, his name appeared among the 20 prominent persons summoned to decide upon the question of the trade in spirits.
The date of his death is not noted in the records. It is presumed that he died in 1696, for although the documents make mention of him in 1695, a text dated November 1696 speaks of the widow Marie-Madeleine Mullois. His wife lived until 1704.
[Pierre Boucher], Histoire véritable et naturelle des mœurs et productions du pays de la Nouvelle-France, vulgairement dite le Canada (Paris, 1664; Société historique de Boucherville, I, 1964). Jug. et délib., passim. P.-G. Roy, Inv. concessions, II, 105–7. Prosper Cloutier, Histoire de la paroisse de Champlain (2v., Trois-Rivières, 1915). Faillon, Histoire de la colonie française, III, 94f. P.-G. Roy, “Les gouverneurs de Montréal,” BRH, XI (1905), 165.