LA ROCHE DAILLON, JOSEPH DE, Recollet priest, first missionary to the Neutrals, son of Jacques de La Roche, seigneur of Daillon in Anjou, and of Jeanne Froyer of La Baronnière; d. 1656 in Paris.
After leaving Dieppe 24 April 1625, Father Joseph de La Roche Daillon landed at Quebec on 19 June of that year. His superiors having requested him to go and lend his assistance to Father Nicolas Viel, a missionary to the Hurons, he had already gone as far as Trois-Rivières in the company of Father Jean de Brébeuf, when he learned of Father Viel’s death, which had occurred on 25 June. Both Hurons and French then persuaded them to turn back.
On 14 July 1626 he set out again, and after a successful trip made in Huron canoes, he at last arrived at the village of Toanché. After staying a short time with the Hurons, he departed on 18 Oct. 1626 for the territory of the Neutrals, where he spent some months studying their language and catechizing them, as he tells us in his account dated 18 July 1627. This text which, according to the Relation for 1641, was judged worthy of publication, constitutes, despite its brevity, the first study of the customs of the Neutrals and one of the earliest descriptions of the Huron peninsula. After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Neutrals, Father Daillon returned to the Huron country.
Back in Quebec in the autumn of 1628, he carried on his ministry, as is attested by the first page of the parish register of Notre-Dame de Québec, where, on 18 May 1629, he administered the rite of baptism to Louis Couillard de Lespinay.
After serving as Latin interpreter on the occasion of the capitulation of Quebec, Father Daillon, together with his fellow religious, took ship for Tadoussac on 9 Sept. 1629; this was the first leg of a journey that took him to Dover on 29 October and thence to the convent in Paris.
Thus concluded the missionary career of this priest “who had renounced worldly honours in favour of the humility and poverty of the religious life.” He passed away in France on 16 July 1656.
Champlain, Œeuvres (Laverdière), 1077, 1112, 1184. JR (Thwaites), passim. Le Clercq, First establishment of the faith (Shea), I, 234, 236, 241, 246, 261, 263–72. Sagard, Histoire du Canada (Tross), II, III, IV, passim. The Catholic encyclopedia, an international work of reference . . . of the Catholic church ed. C. G. Herbermann et al (17v., New York, 1907–22) D Harris, The Catholic Church in the Niagara peninsula (Toronto, 1895). Jouve, Les Franciscains et le Canada (1615–1629).