Monday, June 26, 2017

Francois Bourassa's 1686, voyage to Hudson Bay for the Compagnie du Nord

Francois Bourassa (1659-1708) (our 7th great-grandfather) made a voyage to Hudson Bay for the Compagnie du Nord in 1686.

The following is an account of his adventure from "Chevalier de Troyes and the Attack at Hudson’s Bay" 

In 1685, news reached New France that the British had established permanent posts on Hudson’s Bay, and had carried off a large shipment of beaver pelts intended for Quebec City. 

In response, French Governor Brisay de Denonville charged Chevalier de Troyes, a captain in the Piémont Regiment, to lead an expedition to rout the British from the bay. De Troyes was given the task of capturing any British that he could, especially associates of Pierre Radisson, who was by then regarded as a traitor (Legget 1975: 40). 

The expedition was funded in large part by the Compagnie du Nord, which then held the monopoly on the fur trade in the region for the French. In 1686, de Troyes and his three senior officers, the brothers Pierre, Paul, and Jacques Le Moyne, led 96 other men in over thirty canoes up the Ottawa River and on towards the English posts of Hudson’s Bay. 

The voyage went well. Leaving Montreal on March 20th, when ice was still on the Ottawa, they reached the junction at Mattawa on May 10th, but here, instead of following the accustomed route west, they continued north up the Ottawa and into Lake Temiskaming. The company followed the portage route into the Abitibi River, and finally reached James Bay on June 20th, exactly three months after their departure (Legget 1975: 40). 

They captured three British forts without great difficulty ‐ Monsipi (Moose Factory), Rupert (Charles), and Albany, and all without any losing of any of their men. Pierre Le Moyne remained in charge of the forts, and de Troyes led the main body of the troop safely back to Quebec by that October. 

In total, the expedition resulted in the loss of only three men: two from drowning, and a third from exposure (Legget 1975: 40). The operation was therefore a military success with positive results for the Compagnie du Nord. 


The Fur Trade along the Ottawa River

Families of Michilimackinac – Boisguillet/Boisguilbert to Bourassa Compiled by Diane Wolford Sheppard

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