DELAUNAY, CHARLES, coureur de bois, tanner., b. in Quebec, 30 May 1648; d. in Montreal, 26 Feb. 1737.
Pierre Delaunay, the father of Charles, was born in Fresnay-le-Boesme in Maine in 1616. He came to Canada in 1635 as a clerk of the Compagnie des Cent-Associés and married Françoise Pinguet in Quebec on 7 Nov. 1645. He was killed by the Iroquois on 28 Nov. 1654.
Like many other Canadians, Charles was initially attracted to the life of the coureur de bois. He was a member of the party which Henri Tonty led to the Gulf of Mexico in 1686 in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue the ill-fated expedition of Cavelier* de La Salle. Following his marriage in 1695 to Marie-Anne Legras (by whom he was to have 13 children) he settled in Montreal. There he opened a tannery with Gérard Barsalou in 1700. When the two men dissolved their partnership six years later Jacques Raudot decreed by an ordinance that they would be the only two tanners authorized to ply their trade in Montreal and he laid down in some detail their rights and obligations. Shortly afterwards Delaunay took on an indentured employee, Gabriel Lenoir, dit Rolland, who became his partner in 1713 and married his daughter, Marie-Joseph, in 1714.
Charles Delaunay is admittedly a minor figure, but he is not without historical significance. His career as a tanner, which can be studied in some detail in numerous notarial documents, provides valuable information on one of the important crafts of the French régime and on the general nature of business practices in the colony.
AJM, Greffe d’Antoine Adhémar, 12 déc. 1695; Greffe de Pierre Raimbault, 9 sept. 1731. Découvertes et établissements des Français (Margry), III, 436–50. Jug. et délib., III, IV, VI. A. Roy, Inv. greffes not., IV, V, VI, XI, XII, XVII, XXI. P.-G. Roy, Inv. ord. int., I, 48. Massicotte, “Répertoire des engagements pour l’Ouest,” 195. Tanguay, Dictionnaire, I, 171; III, 297–98. Fauteux, Essai sur l’industrie sous le régime français, II, 413–29. Francis Parkman, La Salle and the discovery of the great west (Boston, 1887), 428–30. Ivanhoë Caron, “Les censitaires du côteau Sainte-Geneviève (banlieue de Québec) de 1636 à 1800,” BRH, XXVII (1921), 97–108.