A Blupete Biography Page

"The Boularderies"
Louis Simon de St. Aubin le Poupet
(1674-1738) &
Antoine Le Poupet de La Boularderie (c.1705-?).

The Father:
Louis-Simon Le Poupet de Saint de Saint-Aubin, chevalier de La Boularderie, was born in 1674 at Paris, the second son of Antoine Le Poupet de St. Aubin. As of 1697, we are told by one of our correspondents (a descendent), Louis-Simon was a "lieutenant of a company of the detachment of the Navy, in Fort Louis of Plaisance, under the command of
De Costebelle, governor of this place." Further we learn from our correspondent, that "On the 20th April 1701 he was senior midshipman and was sent to Acadia"; and that he "was promoted to the rank of captain on the 1st February 1702." It was too, in that year, 29th November, 1702, at Port Royal, he married an Acadian girl, Madeleine Melanson1. Whether he was sent directly back to France with the capture of Port Royal in 1710, as it seems most of the administrative and military types were; or, he somehow found a way to go directly to Quebec, would be a matter of speculation on my part. At any rate, it appears that by 1713 he was operating a merchant vessel out of Quebec.

From our larger story we will see that Louisbourg was picked as a place to which the French from Placentia might relocate themselves, a place which the French intended to fortify and to generally establish as its eastern stronghold. Setting sail from Placentia on July 23, 1713, the Semslack, on route to Louisbourg was joined by a supply vessel from Quebec which carried a band of picked men, "40 or 50 of the best workers" under the command of Hertel. The Quebec supply vessel, we learn, had been chartered from a retired naval officer by the name of Boularderie.

What we know for sure is that in 1721 Louis-Simon received a grant of land, an island located at northeastern end of the Bras d'Or Lake about 50 kilometres from Louisbourg as the crow flies. This 40 kilometre island, to this day, bears his name, Boularderie Island. On Boularderie Island, Boularderie was given the power of the king; and he was to have the final word on all things administrative and judicial.2

Though obviously interested in the military establishments on Ile Royale, Boularderie did not hold down a regular full time military position; he would like to have had a command position but he was denied - not because he lacked military ability, but, rather, the authorities thought it better that he should concentrate his time and energies on the affairs of his companies.3 Thus, Boularderie was to involve himself mainly in his farming and fishing activities. At Ingonish (then variously known as Niganiche and as Orleans; see #16 on map) he had a monopoly on the fishery4: on his island, farming. In the pursuit of these important activities Boularderie brought out a number of people to Ile Royale which were to be indentured to him as farmers and fishermen.5

Throughout his time on Cape Breton, it seems, Boularderie was pursued by creditors at St. Malo who had granted him credit by the terms of a 1723 contract. That there were creditors ready to pounce on him back in France is likely the reason that Boularderie stuck it out in the wilds of Ile Royale. The New World was challenging and everything had to be done from scratch and one had to put up with the depredations of the English and of the natives; but, at least, it was generally out of the reach of one's creditors. Indeed, likely many a Frenchman came to Louisbourg to seek a commercial opportunity, but as important and at the same time, to shake his creditors. By 1734, recognizing Boularderie's importance to the colony, the government had stepped in, in order to hold him and his assets safe from his creditors.6 This intervention by the governmental authorities allowed him to form a new company. Shortly thereafter we see where he set up a ship-yard on "his grant." So, too, he set up a mill.7

The Son:
Louis-Simon died at Louisbourg on June 6th, 1738. He left two children: a daughter and a son Antoine Le Poupet de La Boularderie.
8 Antoine had been born at Port Royal in 1705. Antoine married in 1734 (Antoine's widow died in 1789 at the age of 76 at Tours, France). With the death of his father in 1738, Antoine took over the family estate at Ile Royale. Antoine, too, took over his father's position as one of the leader's on Ile Royal. In addition to running the family companies which were involved in farming, fishing and trading; the younger Boularderie was to became one of the chief military officers at Louisbourg (like his father before him, he was, in 1760, made a "chevalier de Saint-Louis.")

The younger Boularderie, as a boy, had the good fortune to be sent to France and enrolled in the household of Her Royal Highness, the Duchesse d'Orleans, as a page. This, of course, led to a commission in the French army. From my reading of the historical record, it would seem, that Antoine continued on with his military career in France, until, at the age of 33, he came out to Ile Royale to claim his inheritance. The family assets would have included lands and those necessary to run the enterprises which Boularderie, Sr., had spent most of his life building up. We might assume that when the 33 year old Boularderie stepped off the ship at Louisbourg, in 1738, that he had with him his immediate family and all the accoutrements of an experienced and accomplished French army officer. So, too, he was to bring with him "husbandmen and craftsmen from Normandy." In no time he slipped into his father's robes and boots, and, according to his own account was most successful. "I have in my employment twenty-five persons, a very handsome house, barn, stable, dairy, dovecot, and oven, wind and water-mills, twenty-five cows, and other live stock."9

During the seven years between his arrival and the successful siege by the New Englanders in 1745 we might imagine that Antoine Boularderie consolidated his father's holdings. I believe, too, that he probably played a significant role in advising the local military authorities at Louisbourg on how best to continue to build up its defences, though, like his father he did not have a specific command.

The 1745 Siege:
According to
McLennan, upon hearing that the New Englanders were on the coast in force, Boularderie set out from his estate in an "open boat."10 In any event, no matter how he conveyed himself, Boularderie lost no time getting to Louisbourg from his distant island fiefdom. On his arrival he was to find all of Louisbourg's finest citizens gathered together at the Governor's Ball not seemingly too bothered by the ragged New Englanders that were gathering together at Canso (see map). Boularderie realized: the magnitude of the English forces; their intention to attack; and the vulnerability of the French, notwithstanding the fine French fort of Louisbourg - even if Governor Duchambon did not. Boularderie and certain others of the same mind as Boularderie imposed themselves upon the governor and his partying entourage. Muster the troops! Get out! Fight the English on the beaches! Boularderie, together with Morpain, soon thereafter was leading a French force out of Louisbourg along the road leading to the expected landing site; and, then, to face the New Englanders who were tumbling out of their landing crafts on the beaches of Gabarus Bay. We will see in the telling of our larger story that the brave Boularderie and Morpain, in spite of their valour, were unable to stop the enthusiastic New Englanders, indeed, Boularderie was twice wounded and forced to surrender.

I know little of what happened to Boularderie after 1745. We might imagine he came back to reclaim his possessions in 1749 when Ile Royale was handed back to the French, but I have read no account of it. Was he there in the final fall of Louisbourg in 1758? I do not know. I do know that he spent most of the 1745 siege as Pepperrell's prisoner. He was taken back to Boston after Louisbourg capitulated where he was to make quite an impression on every one; such, that, he was given a signed and sealed accommodation (September 2nd), mainly on account of the care that he took to watch over the French prisoners; this he took with him when he was freed and sent on to France.11

More research needs to be carried out on "The Boularderies" who were to do so much for the French establishments at Ile Royale during the years, 1713-45.12


[1] We are told that Madeleine died on the 7th March 1745 in Paris (parish St. Roch).

[2] In a despatch dated July 20th, 1721, we see: "M. de la Boularderie is to start soon for his settlement at Ile Royale."(Report Concerning Canadian Archives Branch for the Year 1904 (CAR-1904), Appendix K, p. 23.) Boularderie Island looks like a cork stopper up the upper end of the Bras d'Or Lakes; see map, just below the #17 marking Port Dauphin. Prior to the grant to Boularderie, the island was known as Isle Verdronne. [NSHR, vol. 10 (1990), No. 2, p. 17.]

[3] CAR-1904, 1729 despatch, Appendix K, p. 149. Though not having a specific command, Boularderie had, in 1725, received a "chevalier de Saint-Louis."

[4] From a 1729 despatch, we read: "M. de la Boularderie, to whom was granted the island situate at the entrance to Baie Royale, having met reverses, has just formed a society with some traders of Havre and Rouen. He will see that they are permitted to occupy the necessary ground and beach in the port of Orleans, formerly Niganiche, provided they have 100 fishers there." (FN CAR-1904, Appendix K, p. 125.) Further, we see from the same source (p. 149) complaints from the people at Niganiche in that his the men of Boularderie's company are "enticing the crews of private parties away and kidnapping them." We see from Johnston's A History of the Catholic Church in Eastern Nova Scotia, p. 56, that a large church at Ingonish was built, the foundations of which could still be found in 1880. Also, Johnston notes, "in the year 1849, a church bell weighing more than two hundred pounds was found there, buried in the sand upon the beach with its inscription, in part, disclosing it had been casted by La Fosse Huet of St. Malo, 1729. Whatever might have happened to this bell, is something I would like to know.

[5] In 1729, the authorities are "happy to learn that the ships which his [Boularderie's] company sent to Niganiche arrived safely and that they brought from France fishing crews and farmers. Hopes that the wheat he has sown will grow fine and that he will work efficaciously to the settlement of Verderonne island."(See despatch of June 27th, 1732, CAR-1904, Appendix K, p. 168.) Certain of those brought out from France were to be unsavoury characters. In 1737, "Contraband-salters" are sent from France to the colony and a number are taken up by Boularderie to work as labourers at his establishments. (See despatch of April 16th, 1737, CAR-1904, Appendix K, p. 243.)

[6] At one point, the land grants originally made to Boularderie's company were switched directly to Boularderie personally, presumably to keep his estates out the hands of the company's creditors and thus to allow Boularderie to continue with his settlements. "A commission has been appointed to settle the matter between the shareholders of the Sr. de la Boularderie's company, in order to avoid lawsuits and useless expense. [The President of the Navy Board] is very glad of the progress of the Sr. de la Boularderie's post at Petit Brador." (See despatch of April 19th, 1735, CAR-1904, Appendix K, p. 219.)

[7] A nether or lower millstone is shipped on the Le Heros from France for Boularderie's "water mill." (See despatch of April 19th, 1735, CAR-1904, Appendix K, p. 219.)

[8] I have received correspondence from one of the descendants of the le Poupet family. Louis-Simon married Madeleine Melanson on 29th of November, 1702, at Port-Royal. Madeleine was born 13th of March, 1684 at Les Mines and was the daughter of Pierre and Marguerite (Mius d'Entremont). Louis-Simon died 28th of May, 1738, Petite-Brador. Of the two children: Marie-Madeleine le Poupet was born 29th September, 1703, Port-Royal. Marie-Madeleine first married, c. 1725, Jacques (de) Mazières; and, secondly, c. 1742, a fellow with a surname of, de Rambion. Louis-Simon's second child, Antoine, we deal with, following along, in the main text.

[9] In addition, on his island fiefdom, the younger Boularderie was to grow wheat, for we see, in 1740 he had "150 bbls. of fine wheat and vegetables as in Europe, and had a large orchard and a garden ..." (McLennan's Louisbourg, p. 58.)

[10] See McLennan, p. 149.

[11] See McLennan, p. 150. One of our correspondents, a descendent, sent genealogical information which referred to Antoine Le Poupet de La Boularderie's wife, Eleonore Baugny; and how, "in 1780, she lived retired in a convent at Niort. From this place she addressed the Minister with a demand of aid, saying that due to the loss of all her property in the Ile Royale and the insufficiency of her pension, she was in urgent want, and she got some assistance." Further reference is made to a son, Michel-Hypolite Le Poupet De La Eoularderie, called "Vely", who was born in Louisbourg on August 17, 1749. He too was to join the French armed forces and was to become a Captain in the battalion of Guyana. "In 1788 he asks for a furlough, stating in his request that he lost his father when he was a boy, that by now he is the eldest son of the family, that his mother is requiring his presence to put in order the property she inherited from Moreau de Verneuil, Master at the Audit-Office of Paris." We might conclude that Antoine did not live to be an old man.

[12] Another of our correspondents, to whom we referred in our fn#7, above, gave information that Antoine was to have nine children: François, Antoine, Bernardine, Louis, Jean-Charles, Jean-Richard-Thomas-Joseph, Gilles-Gerard-Leonard, Michel-Hippolyte and Rene-Ferdinand. All these children were born in Cape Breton between the years 1735 and 1751. Additional information is to be had on the François and Jean-Charles lines. François was to become a lieutenant d'infanterie and was to do service in South America, having married, in 1768, at Cayenne, French Guiana. Jean-Charles (1742-1801) was also to be an officer in the French army. The French, it will be recalled, went to the aid of the new United States in the War of American Independence. Jean-Charles was a Captain of the "7e regiment d'artillerie de la Caroline du Sud" (South Carolina). Jean-Charles had two children: Robert le Poupet de Treville (d.1862) and Harriot le Poupet de Treville. Robert's son, Richard de Treville (1801-74) was to become the lieutenant-governor of South Carolina.


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Peter Landry
2012 (2020)