LA CORNE DE CHAPTES, JEAN-LOUIS DE, king’s lieutenant at Montreal; b. 23 Oct. 1666 at Chaptes, in the commune of Beauregard-Vendon (department of Puy-de-Dôme), son of Luc de La Corne and Antoinette d’Allemagne; d. 6 May 1732 at Montreal.
In 1685 New France welcomed a young soldier, second lieutenant La Corne, who was descended from a noble family of the province of Auvergne. Only 19 years old, he had already lost an eye in battle. In 1691 Buade* de Frontenac granted him a commission as a lieutenant, which received royal approval on 1 March 1693, the year in which he was wounded in the thigh while on active service. On 4 June 1698 he received a year’s leave to go to France; this leave was renewed on 25 May 1699 and 8 June 1701.
Three years later we find him at Fort Frontenac (Cataracoui, now Kingston, Ont.), contending with the Ottawas; the latter were attacking the Iroquois who had pitched their tents not far from Cataracoui. Suspecting La Corne of having been a trouble-maker in this affair, Louis XIV withheld the promotion of a man whom he had always considered up to then “as a good officer.” But the authorities of the colony lost no time in establishing his innocence, and on 27 May 1706, at their urgent request, he was promoted captain. The preceding year, according to Gédéon de Catalogne, Jean-Louis de La Corne had lost the command of Fort Frontenac because he had had an artillery salute fired in honour of Laumet, dit de Lamothe Cadillac, who was at that time on bad terms with Governor Rigaud de Vaudreuil. On 15 Nov. 1707 Vaudreuil and Jacques Raudot requested the cross of the order of Saint-Louis for La Corne, assuring the minister that the latter was “a very good and brave officer, who is all covered with wounds.” However, it was a little more than five years before the king granted La Corne the decoration.
In 1712 La Corne, through the mediation of Vaudreuil, vainly entreated the king to give him the command of Fort Chambly. On the other hand, on 12 May 1714 he became town major of Trois-Rivières, and on 27 April 1716 garrison adjutant in the colonial regular troops at Quebec. In a document dated 1722 appears the following favourable comment by Vaudreuil on La Corne; “He leads a steady life, and performs very well his duties as garrison adjutant. Of the many wounds that he has received, one has cost him an eye and another has maimed him in one arm, but he is capable of marching anywhere where his services may be required.” Consequently, on 8 Feb. 1724, the king granted to this disabled officer a pension of 400 livres, and on 23 April 1726 named him king’s lieutenant at Montreal. A few months after this last promotion, La Corne informed the new governor, Beauharnois* de La Boische, that the English had incited the Five Nations to destroy the French fort at Niagara. Then, on 13 Feb. 1731, he drafted a report, which was forwarded to the minister, on the need for setting up a trading post at Pointe de la Couronne, on Lake Champlain. That autumn Beauharnois praised La Corne, saying that he was an excellent man, who was active and vigilant, and who loved the service. But his devotion to the king seems to have brought La Corne more wounds and praises than fortune. Indeed, when he died on 6 May 1732, he left his wife in straitened circumstances. Marie Pécaudy de Contrecoeur, whom he had married on 11 June 1695, owed the seminary of Quebec, in 1734, 450 livres “for her sons’ board.”
Jean-Louis de La Corne de Chaptes was the founder of one of the most important families in New France, and four of his sons became knights of the order of Saint-Louis.
AN, Col., C11A, 120, ff.126v., 127ff. ASQ,