VINCENT, chief of the Huron Indians at Lorette; fl. 1740–45.
In 1740 the unhappy survivors of the Huron tribe were living at Jeune-Lorette, Lac-des-Deux-Montagnes, and Father Armand de La Richardie’s mission near Detroit. During that year a dispute arose between the Lorette Hurons and those of Lac-des-Deux-Montagnes. Vincent had gone to visit the latter settlement and had asked to see its treasure, 12 strings of wampum (their exact significance is not known) which his tribe had deposited when the village was founded in 1716. Finding that only 2 of the 12 strings remained, Vincent took them away with him. He also declared that the village’s fire had been extinguished, a serious statement which seems to have struck a blow at the chiefs’ authority.
The Indians at Lac-des-Deux-Montagnes made their grievances known to the governor of New France, Charles de Beauharnois. Foreseeing that war was going to break out again between France and England, Beauharnois wanted to prevent any internal quarrelling among the Indian allies of France. So he made Vincent take the strings of wampum back to Montreal, to be kept there by the governor, Josué Dubois Berthelot de Beaucours, until the dispute was settled. After negotiations it was decided that Vincent should return them. On 12 Aug. 1741 there was a great feast at Lac-des-Deux-Montagnes, and Jean-Baptiste-Nicolas-Roch de Ramezay* came in the name of Governor Beauharnois “to rekindle a new fire,” around which the Indians would gather to smoke and discuss their affairs.
Vincent fought in Acadia during the War of the Austrian Succession. In 1745 he was in command of a party of Hurons from Lorette which took part in the capture of a merchant ship at Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. William Pote, the captain, was among the prisoners whom the Hurons took back to Quebec, and he described Vincent as “a Verey Subtil Cunning fellow.” The Huron chief acted humanely towards the prisoners, refusing, among other things, to give the Micmac women permission to dance about them because, he said, this custom was “Intierly contrary to what is allowed or permitted with us. . . .”
Neither the date nor the circumstances of Vincent’s death are known. The name Vincent is famous among the Indians of Lorette. Among those who bore it might be mentioned Nicolas (Tsawouenhouhi*), who was in England from 1824 to 1825 as a delegate to George IV, the two brothers Joseph and Stanislas, who distinguished themselves at the battle of Châteauguay in 1813, Abbé Prosper, who was ordained in 1870, the first Catholic priest from his nation, and finally the painter Tehariolin* (Zacharie Vincent), who died in 1886, the last of his race to speak the language of his ancestors.
Archives paroissiales de Saint-Ambroise de la Jeune-Lorette (Loretteville, Qué.). NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow), IX, 1069–70. [William Pote], The journal of Captain William Pote, jr., during his captivity in the French and Indian war from May 1745, to August 1747, ed. J. F. Hurst and Victor Paltsits (New York, 1896). J.-B.-A. Ferland, Cours d’histoire du Canada (1534–1759) (2v., Québec, 1882), II, 470. L. St-G. Lindsay, Notre-Dame de la Jeune-Lorette en la Nouvelle-France . . . (Montréal, 1900).