RANDIN (often found, incorrectly, as Raudin, Rendin, or Renden), HUGUES, French engineer in Governor Buade de Frontenac’s service, soldier, cartographer, and architect of Fort Cataracoui (Frontenac); b. probably in Écully, France, around 1646–48, son of Estienne Randin and Hypolite Saurel; d. 12 Feb. 1677 and was buried the next day at Quebec.
Nothing is known of Randin’s parentage and early life, and there is no record that he ever married while in New France. He came to Canada as an ensign with the Carignan-Salières regiment in the summer of 1665 and stayed when the regiment was repatriated in 1668. In 1671, the intendant, Talon, sent him to the western boundary of Acadia to report on the condition of Fort Pentagouet. For his services to New France he was granted a seigneury on the St. Lawrence by Talon in 1672, but this he sold a year later to Alexandre Berthier*; it is now called Berthierville, but an island opposite the town was known by the name Randin for a number of years.
Randin accompanied Frontenac on his 1673 mission of peace and trade to the Iroquois at the mouth of the Cataracoui (where Kingston, Ontario, now stands), when a French post was established to divert furs from the Dutch and English. Randin designed the fort and directed its construction. The work proceeded with such zeal that the journal of the expedition (NYCD, IX, 104; original in Paris) reports that the officers had difficulty in stopping the men for sleep. Arriving on 12 July, they began clearing the next day and, to the amazement of the assembled First Nations, Fort Cataracoui (or Frontenac) was completed by the 19th and palisaded on the 20th. Three years later the fort was dismantled and rebuilt in stone.
In 1676 Frontenac deputed Randin to Sault Ste. Marie with gifts as an ambassador of peace to facilitate fur-trade relations, this time with the Sioux. The mission was successful, and in that or the following year Frontenac secured a grant to his engineer of a seigneury in Acadia; its gift, by Randin’s brother and heir, to the Hôtel-Dieu, Quebec, was witnessed there before the notary François Genaple* on 5 June 1684.
A coloured MS map survives (in John Carter Brown Library, Providence, R.I.), generally attributed to Randin: Carte de L’Amerique Septentrionale Depuis l’embouchûre de la Riviere St. Laurens jusques au Sein Mexique, which depicts the full extent of the French empire in North America. It is a testimony to its author’s skill in draftsmanship. Though undated (and unsigned), it was evidently made after the “Jolliet” map of 1674, but possibly not later than 1676 since it bears no details of Randin’s Lake Superior journey.
A memoir dated 13 Nov. 1680, from Intendant Duchesneau to Jean-Baptiste Colbert in Paris (NYCD, IX, 142) complains of a trading agreement between Randin and his associates, and Frontenac. A document (AN, Col. C11A, 6, f.111) exists which refers twice to the feu (late) Randin; it is dated 10 Jan. 1681.
Private information from the John Carter Brown Library, Providence, R.I. NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow), IX, 104, for tr. of the “Paris” document. Le Jeune, Dictionnaire, II, 500–1. Sara J. Tucker, Indian villages of the Illinois country (Springfield, Ill., 1942), 3, and pl. vi.
Revisions based on:
Arch. de l’Archidiocèse de Québec, 66 CD, Registre des confirmés, I: 37. Arch. Départementales, Rhône (Lyon, France), “État civil,” Écully, 7 déc. 1643; 13 avril, 15 nov. 1644; 15 août 1653; 21 juin 1657: archives.rhone.fr (consulted 16 Nov. 2018). Bibliothèque et Arch. Nationales du Québec, Centre d’arch. de Québec, CE301-S1, 13 févr. 1677.