PÉCAUDY DE CONTRECŒUR, ANTOINE, officer in the Carignan-Salières regiment, first seigneur of Contrecœur; b. 1596 at Vignieu (Dauphiné), probably the son of Benoît de Pécody and Énarde Martin; d. 1 May 1688 and buried at his seigneury.
The original family name, fairly common in the north of Dauphiné, was Picoud or Pécoud. Contrecœur was a regimental nickname. Thus Pécaud dit Contrecœur eventually became Pécaudy de Contrecœur. Pécaudy was also frequently written Pécody.
Antoine Pécaudy de Contrecœur went to New France in 1665. All the details known to us about his career before that date come from the letters of nobility that Louis XIV is said to have granted him in January 1661. The historian Pierre Saint-Olive has cast doubt upon the authenticity of this document, in which he has pointed out several inaccuracies, particularly errors of concordance in the dates and places quoted. In 1673 Contrecœur had a copy made in New France, collated with the original, of his letters of nobility. It was only on 25 Feb. 1687, that is to say more than 26 years after his letters were granted, that Contrecœur thought of having them registered in the Conseil Souverain at Quebec.
Pécaudy, who is thought to have begun his military career at the age of 40, belonged first to the Montezon regiment and then to that of Carignan-Salières, in which he was a lieutenant and after that a captain. He was wounded on several occasions. One may suppose that he was a courageous soldier. On 11 Jan. 1652, at Saint-Chef, at the age of 56, he married Anne Dubois, who had been left a widow by Jacques Lemort a year earlier. The widow’s second marriage, like her first, was childless.
Pécaudy seemed to be interested in his wife’s assets, and tried by every conceivable means to obtain a transfer of ownership, an arrangement to which the Dubois brothers were opposed. He was absent when his wife died, at Saint-Chef, and he arrived home only on 10 July 1663, the evening of the funeral. The Dubois brothers and Pécaudy came into conflict over the settlement of the estate, and at first the Dubois family prevailed. But fresh disputes arose, and in 1720 proceedings were still under way, involving the descendants of the Dubois and of Charles Pécaudy, Contrecœur’s nephew.
In 1665 Pécaudy de Contrecœur embarked at La Rochelle in command of one of the 24 companies of the Carignan-Salières regiment, bound for New France. He landed at Quebec on 17 Aug. 1665. After his first winter, spent at Montreal, he led his troops in the various campaigns undertaken by the Carignan-Salières regiment.
On 17 Sept. 1667 in Quebec, at the age of 71, he married again; his wife was a young girl of 15, Barbe Denys, the daughter of Simon Denys de La Trinité, a member of the Conseil Souverain. In a letter dated 19 Dec. 1667, Intendant Talon wrote to the minister, Louvois, that he was delighted at this marriage, which was going to contribute to the establishment of the colony. Three children were born of this union, among them François-Antoine*, b. 1680, who married Jeanne de Saint-Ours in 1701 and continued the line.
When the Carignan-Salières regiment was disbanded, Contrecœur chose to remain in Canada. On 29 Oct. 1672, Talon had a seigneury granted to him; it was two square leagues, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence, a few miles east of Montreal. The seigneury, referred to by the name of Contrecœur, had 69 settlers and 80 acres of productive land at the time of the 1681 census.
In July 1673 the seigneur of Contrecœur was among the officers who accompanied Governor Buade de Frontenac at the founding of Fort Cataracoui (Frontenac). Although the name of the seigneur of Contrecœur is fairly often mentioned in the documents of the Conseil Souverain and in various other sources, it nevertheless seems that as an individual he was not associated with any outstanding event in the years preceding his death, which occurred on 1 May 1688.
Later on, in the Pécaudy de Contrecœur family, it became the accepted thing to repeat that their ancestor had died “in the king’s service.” This should perhaps be taken to mean that he was killed when the Iroquois sent an expedition to the Montreal region.
Among his descendants, one should mention Claude-Pierre Pécaudy* de Contrecœur, who played an important role during the military operations of the Seven Years’ War and was a member of the Conseil Législatif of Quebec.
AJQ, Greffe de Gilles Rageot, 6 sept. 1667. Recensement de 1681. Correspondance de Talon, APQ Rapport, 1930–1, 90. Jug. et délib., I, III. P.-G. Roy, Inv. concessions, II, 154f. F.-J. Audet, Contrecœur, famille, seigneurie, paroisse, village (Montréal, 1940). BRH, IV (1898), 193; VI (1900), 219; X (1904), 320; XV (1909), 151; XVII (1911), 194; XXIV (1918), 226f. Auguste Gosselin, Une famille de héros, les Pécaudy de Contrecœur (Évreux, 1904). Régis Roy et Malchelosse, Le régiment de Carignan. Pierre Saint-Olive, Les Dauphinois au Canada: essai de catalogue des Dauphinois qui ont pris part à l’établissement du régime français au Canada, suivi d’une étude sur un Dauphinois canadien: Antoine Pécody de Contrecœur (Paris, 1936). Sulte, Mélanges historiques (Malchelosse), VIII.
Revisions based on:
Bibliothèque et Arch. Nationales du Québec, Centre d’arch. de Montréal, CE601-S58, 1er mai 1688; Centre d’arch. de Québec, CE301-S1, septembre 1667; P1000, S3, D1610; TP1, S28, P3553; TP1, S28, P3556; TP1, S36, P262. Library and Arch. Can. (Ottawa), MG 18, H8, 11 janv. 1652.