HERTEL DE LA FRESNIÈRE, ZACHARIE-FRANÇOIS, seigneur, officer in the colonial regular troops; b. c. 1665, probably in Trois-Rivières, oldest son of Joseph-François Hertel* de La Fresnière and Marguerite de Thavenet*; buried in Montreal, 20 June 1752.
Members of the Hertel family are often confused: several, in active military service at the same time, were referred to by the family name. This confusion is most evident with Zacharie-François, who carried his father’s title of “de La Fresnière.” Only incidents that can definitely be related to the son’s career have been included here.
Zacharie-François was wounded in a raid on Salmon Falls, New Hampshire, led by his father in 1690, but he participated in an attack on the Iroquois the following year and was taken prisoner. He returned to Trois-Rivières after three years of captivity and married Marie-Charlotte, daughter of half-pay captain Michel Godefroy* de Lintot, on 17 Jan. 1695. In October he was officially commissioned half-pay lieutenant, and served as storekeeper at Fort Chambly, south of Montreal, for the next two years. In 1708 he replaced Alphonse Tonty* as commandant of Fort Frontenac (Kingston, Ont.), where his knowledge of several Indian languages was frequently exercised. He left the command of Fort Frontenac in 1712 with the rank of lieutenant. Appointed a captain on 5 Feb. 1731 he was given the important task of supervising the construction of Fort Saint-Frédéric (Crown Point, N.Y.) on Lake Champlain.
Zacharie-François inherited one-half of the fief and seigneury of Chambly, but exchanged it in 1719 for an arrière-fief of 60 square arpents in the seigneury of Boucherville. During the next 25 years he renounced or conceded more than 500 square arpents of land in the Richelieu River area which were his by right of inheritance.
On 2 March 1745, Zacharie-François was invested with the cross of the order of Saint-Louis. He retired from military service on 17 Feb. 1748, and died four years later in Montreal. Although he left no wealth, Zacharie-François had carried arms in his country’s name for 60 years, and had served satisfactorily in three different military roles.
[Despite what is said in the biographies of Joseph-François Hertel de La Fresnière and Alphonse Tonty (DCB, II), it was Zacharie-François Hertel de La Fresnière, and not his father, who was commandant at Fort Frontenac from 1708 to 1712. Several reasons justify this statement. First, the commandant during this period is referred to as “Hertel de La Fresnière” (AN, Col., C11A, 29, f.243); and Zacharie-François’s father was generally called “Hertel the elder.” In 1708 the latter was 66 years of age while his son was 43. Finally the commandant, who was a second lieutenant in 1708, asked that year to be promoted lieutenant on the grounds that his position merited a rank of greater importance (AN, Col., C11A, 29, f.243; 31, f.178v). Both father and son were half-pay lieutenants at this time. However, a “Hertel de La Fresnière” was promoted lieutenant by Vaudreuil* in 1711 (AN, Col., C11A, 32, f.236) and confirmed in this position by the king the following year (AN, Col., D2C, 222/1, p.304). Was this the father or the son? According to Laffilard, the father was still a half-pay lieutenant when he died in 1722 (AN, Col., D2C, 222/1, p.303); and we know that the Hertel at Fort Frontenac was promoted lieutenant and that Zacharie-François was a lieutenant in 1719 (ANQ-M, Greffe de Michel Lepailleur, 14 mars 1719). c.j.r.]
AJTR, Greffe de J.-B. Pottier, 2, 10 août 1710. AN, Col., B, 16; C11A, 11, 13, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 113; Marine, C7, 142. ANQ-M, Greffe d’Antoine Adhémar, 12 mars 1704; Greffe de J.-C. Porlier, 13 juill. 1741, 14 févr. 1742, 16 mars 1744; Greffe de Marien Tailhandier, dit La Beaume, 7 mars 1714; Greffe de J.-B. Tétro, 16 mars 1728. Fauteux, Les chevaliers de Saint-Louis, 139. Le Jeune, Dictionnaire. [Le Jeune is in error in stating that Zacharie-François Hertel de La Fresnière died in 1730. c.j.r.] P.-G. Roy, Inv. concessions, II, 197–98. Tanguay, Dictionnaire. P.-G. Roy, Hommes et choses du fort Saint-Frédéric, 14–15. Henri Têtu, “Le chapitre de la cathédrale de Québec et ses délégués en France,” BRH, XVI (1910), 194.