A Blupete Biography Page


La Ronde (1675-1741).

Louis Denys was born in Quebec in 1675. His Grandfather was Simon Denys (See Nicholas Denys) who had come to Acadia with Isaac de Razilly in 1632.1 His father was Pierre Denys de La Ronde who was a "landowner and businessman." Pierre married the daughter of the governor of Throis-Rivières (Jacques Leneuf), Catherine.

Coming from such an influential family of New France, it will be no surprise to learn that Louis Denys (who came to be known as simply, La Ronde) was shipped off to France for polishing. La Ronde was entered into the navy roll as a midshipman at Rochefort in 1687. As a very young naval officer, La Ronde was to accompany James II to Ireland in 1689. By 1692 La Ronde was back fighting in North America in the cause of France. He was to accompany Iberville to both Hudson Bay and to the Mississippi. He worked the coast of New England for a number of years causing much trouble for the shipping in and out of Boston; and, thus, became a hunted man. He was to be taken on the high seas as a prisoner of the English, both in 1695 and in 1704. Indeed, La Ronde was to spend considerable periods in Boston both as a prisoner, and, too, on various diplomatic missions; in the result, together with his earlier experiences in Ireland, La Ronde was able to get along in the English language better then most of his fellow French officers.

La Ronde was never to achieve high rank, likely because he was to run afoul his superiors a little too often. For example, in 1708, we see where Subercase was to complain of La Ronde's insubordination. It would seem, though, that La Ronde was a good man to have by your side in a fight; he was to receive the Cross of Saint Louis in 1721.

In 1713, due to the Treaty of Utrecht, the international boundaries of North America were to be significantly altered. Acadia, for the most part, was given by France to England. The islands of Cape Breton (then to be named Île Royale by the French) and Prince Edward Island (then known as Île Sainte Jean) were, however, retained by the French as out-sentinels of its holdings up the St. Lawrence. The French authorities decided to establish a strong presence on Île Royale; thus, Louisbourg came into being. La Ronde was instrumental in the selection and the initial setup of Louisbourg.2 He likely came over with St. Ovide from Placentia on the Semslack in 1713. For a five year period, 1715-20, La Ronde was to command the smaller fort at Port-Toulouse (St Peters). After this he was sent over to Île St. Jean (P.E.I) to set up its fortifications (a move, which, for some reason or other, he was not too happy about).

It would seem that throughout his career La Ronde was to keep up his contacts at Quebec (his family had solid connections). It would appear that the authorities there arranged for La Ronde to go west. Thus, La Ronde, at some point after 1720, leaves Acadia. By 1734, we see that he was involved in one of the first mining companies in North America along the Lake Superior (it was, I believe, a failure).

La Ronde was to die at Quebec in 1741. He left a widow, Marie Louise Chartier and six children, three boys and three girls.

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FOOTNOTES:

[1] Simon Denys was one of two brother, from La Tours, France, who had come over with Razilly. Nicholas established himself first at St. Peters then at Nipisiquit (Bathurst). Simon, La Ronde's grandfather, who eventually made his way to Quebec, did have an establishment, a French trading post, at Ste. Anne, Cape Breton, around 1650.

[2] La Ronde's older brother, Bonaventure was to also have a substantial connection to Acadia; you will recall Bonaventure was second in command at Port Royal, when, in 1710, it was captured by the British.

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Peter Landry
(1998)