LA MOTTE DE LUCIÈRE, DOMINIQUE, companion of Cavelier de La Salle in his explorations, commandant of Fort Conti at Niagara, substitute captain of the guards of the king’s farms, of noble birth; b. 1636 at Vernix (Normandy), son of Jean de La Motte and Clémence de Badon; d. 17 Sept. 1700 at Montreal and was buried there the following day.
In 1678 he agreed to accompany La Salle to New France and lent him 1,374 livres. He sailed with him from La Rochelle on 21 July and reached Quebec on 15 September. La Salle charged him with taking his men and his belongings to Ville-Marie (Montreal) and then to Cataracoui (Kingston). From there La Motte set out again on 18 November to go to choose the site of Fort Conti on the Niagara River. After enduring a multitude of dangers, he entered the river on 6 December. The next day he visited the great falls, “the greatest in the world,” wrote Hennepin*, who accompanied him. The two travellers were charged with the mission of persuading the Senecas to agree to the construction of a fort on the river and also the building of the large bark which La Salle had ordered. The Iroquois would give no definite answer. However, a little later, as La Salle had succeeded in convincing the Indians, the shipwrights set to work building the Griffon.
La Motte was not able to stay long at the building site. Being in danger of losing his sight, he returned to Montreal. There he married on 24 Dec. 1680 Alixe de La Feuillée, the widow of Louis Des Granges de Mauprée. He lived in Notre-Dame street. La Motte did not long enjoy La Salle’s esteem, as the suspicious explorer classed him in 1682 among his innumerable persecutors, real or imaginary, accusing him of having done his utmost at the time of the Niagara River expedition to steal his workmen away from him.
On 26 July 1683 La Motte asked for and obtained the abandoned seigneury of Lussaudière. The following year he bought a piece of ground in Saint-Jacques street next to his dwelling. He enlarged his house in 1691 in order to rent part of it to Alphonse Tonty*, and later to Mme de Lamothe Cadillac.
He lived, however, in poverty, and in 1697 he acknowledged that he owed the Sulpicians the sum of 1,092 livres. On 9 July 1699 he did fealty and homage for his fief of Lussière (Lucière), and in October he was appointed substitute captain-commandant of the guards of the king’s farms for the government of Montreal, with a salary of 400 livres a year. He died on 17 Sept. 1700, two months before his wife.
He has been mistaken for several persons of the same name, among others Pierre Lamotte de Saint-Paul and Louis de La Rue, Chevalier de La Motte.
Découvertes et établissements des Français (Margry), I, passim; II, 7–10, 229f. Louis Hennepin, Voyage ou nouvelle découverte d’un très grand pays . . . (Amsterdam, 1704), 72–91. Royal Fort Frontenac (Preston and Lamontagne), 34, 476. Philéas Gagnon, “Noms propres du Canada-Français . . . ,” BRH, XV (1909), 51. “Les La Mothe du régime français,” BRH, XL (1934), 49–54. Charles de La Roncière, Le père de la Louisiane, Cavelier de La Salle (Tours, 1936), 26–29. Léon Lemonnier, Cavelier de La Salle et l’exploration du Mississipi (Paris, 1942), 74–79. É.-Z Massicotte, “Les actes de foi et hommage conservés à Montréal,” BRH, XXVI (1920), 94; “Dominique de La Motte, sieur de Lucière,” BRH, XXVII (1921), 189–91; “Le travail des enfants, à Montréal, au XVIIe siècle,” BRH, XXII (1916), 57. Parkman, La Salle and the discovery of the great west (12th ed.), 116f., 123–29. Sulte, Mélanges historiques (Malchelosse), VIII, 98f. Roger Viau, Cavelier de La Salle (s.l., 1960), 46–49.
Revisions based on:
Bibliothèque et Arch. Nationales du Québec, Centre d’arch. de Montréal, CE601-S51, 18 sept. 1700.