LIÉGEOIS, JEAN, Jesuit friar; b. in 1600 (or 1599) in the diocese of Verdun (France); became a member of the Jesuits of the Province of France at Paris in 1623; killed by the Iroquois at Sillery, near Quebec, on 29 May 1655.
Skilled in the building trades and equipped with a sound education, Brother Liégeois landed at Quebec on 2 June 1634. He was first assigned to the residence of Notre-Dame-des-Anges, but he soon went to Trois-Rivières (about 1640), “where he built a commodious house with a chapel for our missionaries and their Indians.” Subsequently he was to be found on all the Jesuits’ construction sites: at the mill at La Vacherie (1646), at the college in Quebec (1648) as superintendent of construction, and at Sillery (1655).
Because of his intelligence and initiative, this indefatigable builder won the confidence of his superiors. In 1644–45, it would seem, then in 1648–49, 1649–50, and 1650–52, he spent periods in France “in the service of the mission and for matters concerning our different buildings.” He was moreover – in 1645 and 1646 at least – bursar of his community. Brother Liégeois likewise enjoyed the esteem of the public; we find him on occasion settling quarrels about precedence within the carpenters’ brotherhood or, during his trips to France, concluding certain pieces of business on behalf of settlers in the colony.
This friar, “who was esteemed by the Governors of his time,” an old chronicle affirms, was murdered by seven or eight Mohawks at Sillery on 29 May 1655, when he was directing the building of a fort for the Indian converts. Scalped and decapitated, he was buried on 31 May in the chapel of the college in Quebec, where his remains were found in 1878 [see Quen].
APQ, Coll. des pièces jud. et not., 9. Du Creux, History (Conacher), I, 178; II, 689f. JR (Thwaites), passim. JJ (Laverdière et Casgrain), passim. Gabriel Debien, “Liste des engagés pour le Canada au XVIIe siècle (1634–1715),” RHAF, VI (1952–53), 189, 379. [Melançon], Liste des missionnaires jésuites: Nouvelle-France et Louisiane, 1611–1800 (Montréal, 1929).