DELORT (Delord, de Lord, de Lort), GUILLAUME, merchant, councillor of the Conseil Supérieur of Île Royale (Cape Breton Island); b. at Auch, France, son of Jacques Delort and Suzanne Despenan; d. before August 1749, place unknown.
Guillaume Delort is first mentioned in November 1706 at Plaisance (Placentia, Nfld.). Both here and later at Louisbourg he played a varied role in the commercial life of the colonies, and his career illustrates the different ways in which an entrepreneur could prosper in French colonial America. Much of his activity was as a broker, buying and selling goods and ships on his own account and on behalf of merchants in other ports, such as Quebec and Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France. An example is Delort’s purchase, with permission of Saint-Ovide [Monbeton], the governor of Île Royale, of the Joly Bachelier and its cargo from an English captain for 6,000 livres on 19 Oct. 1729. Two weeks later he sold the ship to a merchant of Saint-Domingue (Hispaniola) for 6,400 livres. In 1733 Delort obtained a schooner, the Margot, for debts owing him to the value of 2,500 livres and resold it for 2,800 livres.
The extent of Delort’s business dealings is evident in the many legal actions in which he was involved, often with shipowners or merchants in La Rochelle, France. Delort was frequently named as the inheritor of an estate because of debts owed him by the deceased. Many of those with whom he dealt were probably engaged in the commercial fishery since Delort was in the business of equipping and provisioning fishing ships. In 1738, for example, Gervais Brisset, a navigator of Port-Toulouse (St Peters, N.S.), stated that he owed Delort 2,008 livres for supplying his ship the Saint-Jean-Baptiste. In 1740 Michel Richard, dit Lafond, a merchant, owed Delort 1,687 livres for merchandise, for which sum he would forfeit all his goods. Delort also engaged in the fishery himself. In 1721 in partnership with a merchant and ship captain from Saint-Jean-de-Luz he had land on Île Royale cleared for drying fish, rented three schooners, and paid the wages of a crew to fish on them for a period of four years.
Beginning in 1730 Delort provided a wide variety of merchandise for the government. Goods supplied included tools, firewood, nails and planks, tobacco, candles, glass, and foodstuffs. On at least one occasion the supplies were brought in from New York. Delort also rented residence accommodation to government officials at Louisbourg.
In May 1723 Delort was serving as churchwarden of the parish of Louisbourg, and he was reported as acting as king’s attorney of the admiralty court in July 1724. In September 1735 Delort was appointed a councillor of the Conseil Supérieur of Île Royale to replace Jacques d’Espiet* de Pensens. His brother-in-law André Carrerot was also appointed at the same time. Because of their relationship special dispensation was required from Versailles though they were allowed to sit on the council until approval arrived the following year. At the time of his death Delort was keeper of the seals of the Conseil Supérieur.
Delort had first married, on 10 Jan. 1711, Françoise-Ovide Carrerot, daughter of Pierre Carrerot* and Marie Picq. One son, Louis, was baptized on 6 May 1713. On 24 Jan. 1717 he married his second wife, Marie-Charlotte Gautier, daughter of Jean-Baptiste Gautier, bourgeois of Quebec, and Marie Guyon Desprez. They had three sons, Philippe, Michel, and Guillaume, and two daughters. Delort’s children contracted marriages with many of the prominent families of Louisbourg including the Leneuf de La Vallière and the Espiet de Pensens families. Delort’s eldest son, Louis, was supplying goods to the government in 1735 and in 1743 Philippe was engaged in the same occupation. During the 1750s the Delort brothers continued their father’s business activities as merchants and dealers in ships. At least two of Delort’s sons were named to the Conseil Supérieur: Louis in 1750 and Guillaume, as councillor and assessor, in 1754.
Guillaume Delort’s business success, his family connections, and his status in the community indicate that he was among those wealthy citizens in the higher economic, social, and administrative circles of Louisbourg.
AN, Col., C11C, 11–13; Section Outre-Mer, G1, 406–8, 466; G2, 178, ff.323, 364; 180, f.114; 181, ff.437–40; 182, ff.1044–50; 183, ff.414–16, 431; 190/1, ff.4, 17, 19; 190/2, f.14; 190/3, f.27; 190/4, f.30; 191, ff.94–95, 118; 192/4, ff.9, 21; 212, nos.558, 577; G3, 7/175; 8/176; 2037; 2039 (16 oct. 1734); 2046 (26, 27 août 1737, 26 oct. 1738, 26 juin 1740, 29 avril 1741); 2055; 2056, 1717, nos.1, 26, 31–32; 2057 (24 nov. 1721); 2058 (18, 31 mai, 3, 18 sept. 1733). McLennan, Louisbourg, 359, 386–87.