FAUTOUX, LÉON, merchant; b. in Bayonne, France, date unknown, to Georges Fautoux and Marie Meyracq (Mayrac); m. on 16 Jan. 1738 in Louisbourg, Île Royale (Cape Breton Island), Marie-Madeleine Lartigue, daughter of Joseph Lartigue; three of their children survived infancy; d. 14 Sept. 1748.
It was perhaps the long-standing interest of the town of Bayonne in the Atlantic fishery that brought Léon Fautoux to Louisbourg, where he was engaged in commerce as early as 1730. Fautoux was a commission agent, the typical merchant of an entrepôt such as Louisbourg, handling the cargoes of others and even buying and selling ships for them. The commission agent aspired to build up his capital and one day trade on his own account. Fautoux’s alliance by marriage with an important local family in 1738 indicates that he had by then become a merchant of some consequence. This indication is confirmed by his establishing relations in November with Robert Dugard et Cie of Rouen, the firm which had placed François Havy in Quebec in 1732.
Although it was not Fautoux’s only business, he acted as a commission agent for his Rouen correspondents for the next six years. He received 13 major company cargoes and provided as many returns, their total value being more than 500,000 livres. French and Canadian cargoes supplied the local market; Canadian primary products together with the region’s dried cod were exchanged for Caribbean cargoes. The company’s trade at Louisbourg ended with the town’s capture by New England forces in 1745 [see Pepperrell]. In an agreement signed at Rouen on 13 November the company gave a small settlement in money and merchandise to Fautoux, then a refugee in France, and abandoned to him all their debts at Louisbourg. “I would be delighted if he could get something out of it,” wrote one member. “This man is worthy of pity.”
Fautoux returned to Île Royale where he is said to have been killed by the explosion of a bomb while he was on militia duty. His widow was a merchant at Louisbourg until its second capture by British forces in 1758. The family fortune twice destroyed, she and her daughter retired to France and were given pensions by the crown.
AN, 62 AQ, 35 (G. France à Robert Dugard, Paris, n.d.; G. France à R. Dugard, 3 déc. 1745); 41, 15e cargaison en retour, pièce 66 (Robert Dugard, son compte courant avec Fautoux, 1739–45); Section Outre-Mer, G1, 407–9, 458–59, 466; G2, 180, ff.374–81; 181, f.502; 202, no.275; G3, 2037 (11 avril, 17 mai 1730); 2039/1 (26 juin, 21 oct. 1734); 2046/2 (9 sept. 1741, 28 juin, 17 juill., 7 oct., 21 nov., 7 déc. 1742); 2047 (18 oct. 1743). [Sources cited in the bibliography of François Havy were also used in preparing this entry. d.m.]