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Le Moyne

One of the most illustrious families of the New World, whose deeds adorn the pages of Canadian history

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Le Moyne, the name of one of the most illustrious families of the New World, whose deeds adorn the pages of Canadian history.

CHARLES LE MOYNE, founder of the family, b. of Pierre Le Moyne and Judith Duchesne at Dieppe on August 1, 1626; d. at Ville-Marie (Montreal), 1683. On reaching Canada in 1641, he spent four years in the Huron country, and then settled at Ville-Marie, his knowledge of the Indian languages rendering him useful as an interpreter, and his valor contributing to defend the colony. He often fought single-handed against Iroquois marauders. This unusual bravery encouraged the settlers to cultivate the soil. In 1653 he negotiated a peace which lasted five years. He married Catherine Primot in 1654. Surprised by a party of Iroquois in 1665, he was preparing to sell his life dearly, when he tripped and was captured. Awed by his valor and fearing reprisals, his captors did not torture, but soon released him. He accompanied Courcelles and Tracy against the Five Nations and shared their success. In recognition of his services Louis XIV ennobled him with the title of Sieur de Longueuil. He served as interpreter to Courcelles and the Governors of Montreal and Three Rivers during a visit to the Iroquois country, and was rewarded by Intendant Talon with a vast concession on the St. Lawrence, reaching from Varennes to La-prairie, henceforth named the Longueuil fief. He was the father of fourteen children, seven of whom honored Canada by their prowess, three dying in battle and four becoming governors of cities or provinces. Of his sons, surnamed for their bravery the “Machabees of New France“, the two most renowned are treated in separate articles (see Pierre Le Moyne Iberville; Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville); each of the five others deserves here a short notice.

CHARLES LE MOYNE, eldest son of the preceding, b. at Ville-Marie, December 10, 1656; d. in 1729. After serving in France, he returned to Canada with the rank of lieutenant, and, at the age of twenty-seven, was appointed major of Montreal by Governor de la Barre. He married Elizabeth Souart. In 1700 he received for his services an additional grant of land and promotion to the rank of baron. He won fame in battle against the Iroquois and in the defense of Quebec (1690). The cross of St. Louis was awarded him, and he was successively Governor of Three Rivers and Montreal. In 1711, preceded by the religious standard embroidered by Jeanne Leber, he marched to Chambly against the invading army, which retreated on hearing of the wreck of Walker’s fleet.

JACQUES LE MOYNE, Sieur de Sainte-Helene, b. at Ville-Marie, April 16, 1659; d. at Quebec, 1690. A soldier from early youth, he trained for warfare his illustrious brother, d’Iberville. During Phipps’s siege of Quebec, Ste-Helene with 200 volunteers repulsed a troop of 1300 men commanded by Major Whalley, who had attempted to cross River St. Charles. Mortally wounded in this encounter, Ste-Helene died shortly after, mourned by the whole colony for his courtesy and valor. The Iroquois of Onondaga sent a wampum collar as a token of sympathy, and released two captives to honor his memory.

PAUL LE MOYNE, Sieur de Maricourt, b. December 15, 1663; d. on March 21, 1704. He accompanied d’Iberville to Hudson’s Bay, and amply shared his success, particularly in boarding and capturing with only two canoes a large English cruiser. In 1690 he aided Ste-Helene in defeating Whalley. Frontenac having undertaken a decisive campaign against the Iroquois, Maricourt forced them to surrender. Skillful diplomat as well as intrepid warrior, he was chosen to negotiate peace. His success was due to the affection and esteem of the Iroquois for his uprightness, which moderated their dread of his bravery. They had begged him to act as their protector and mediator. In 1691 he married M. Madeleine Dupont de Neuville.

FRANCOIS LE MOYNE, Sieur de Bienville I, b. 1666; d. 1691. After several valorous exploits, he was shot in an encounter with a party of Onneyouts at Repentigny, while assailing the window of a house where they had taken refuge.

JOSEPH LE MOYNE, Sieur de Serigny, b. July 22, 1668; d. at Rochefort, France, in 1704. A worthy emulator of d’Iberville, he commanded the vessels sent from France to enable his brother to take possession of Hudson’s Bay. In that expedition, as well as in Florida and Louisiana, he displayed great valor. With his brothers he drove the Spaniards from Pensacola, after which he fortified Mobile and expelled the Spaniards from Ile Dauphin. He was promoted captain in 1720, and in 1722 became Governor of Rochefort, France, where he died in 1734. He had married M. Elisabeth Heron.

LOUIS LE MOYNE, Sieur de Chateauguay I, b. January 4, 1676; d. 1694. He fought under d’Iberville at Hudson’s Bay, assisting when only a boy at the capture of Fort Monsipi. In the years following he so often defeated the English that they were at last reduced to Fort Nelson (Bourbon), their most important post. This stronghold was likewise captured after a long and difficult attack, during which Chateauguay was killed at the age of eighteen.

CHARLES LE MOYNE, second baron de Longueuil, b. at Longueuil, October 18, 1687; d. on 17, January, 1755. He entered the army quite young, and, after having served in France, was appointed major of Montreal (1733), and received the cross of St. Louis (1734). As Governor of Montreal (1749) he administered the colony after Jonquiere’s death. He saved from suppression the General Hospital of Venerable Madame d’Youville, maliciously threatened with destruction. He married Catherine Charlotte de Gray in 1720.

PAUL-JOSEPH LE MOYNE, b. 1701; d. at Port-Louis, France, in 1778. Inheriting the military spirit of his ancestors, he joined the army at the age of seventeen, and served as lieutenant in Normandy. He was successively commander of Fort Frontenac, Governor of Detroit, of Three Rivers, and finally commander of the citadel of Quebec. He fought under Vaudreuil, Montcalm, and Levis, and won the cross of St. Louis. After the Conquest, he returned to France, where he died at Port-Louis in 1778. He married (1728) Genevieve Joybert de Soulanges.

JOSEPH-.DOMINIQUE-EMMANUEL LE MOYNE, second son of preceding, b. at Soulanges on April 2, 1738. He began his military career at the age of twelve. After serving as captain and major under the French regime, he later served under the British flag after the change of domination, bravely defending Fort St. John in 1755 against the American invaders. He was successively appointed inspector general of militia (1777), colonel of the Royal Canadians (1796), and legislative councillor. He died in 1807.

LIONEL LINDSAY


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