RODRIGUE, JEAN-BAPTISTE (sometimes called Jean de Fonds (Fond)), king’s pilot, fisherman, merchant, churchwarden of Louisbourg parish; b. apparently in the 1670s in Portugal, probably at Viana do Castelo, son of Jean de Fond and Anne Manet; d. between 15 Sept. and 16 Nov. 1733 at Quebec.
Rodrigue probably came to Acadia after 1700; in 1707 he married Anne, daughter of Alexandre Le Borgne* de Belle-Isle and Marie de Saint-Étienne de La Tour, both of prominent Acadian families. Rodrigue and his wife had at least eight children.
Rodrigue served as king’s pilot at Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal, N.S.) as late as March 1709. By August 1710 he had moved to Placentia (Plaisance) whence he made raids on British shipping and engaged in trade. While cruising in Acadian waters in October 1710, he met the English invasion fleet led by Francis Nicholson, and it was he who dispatched messengers to Port-Royal with the news. In March 1712, Rodrigue was still engaged in trade at Placentia. He then served as a pilot at Dunkirk, as later reported by Le Normant* de Mézy, presumably sometime between the latter date and November 1713, when he is referred to as a merchant of Quebec. In 1714 he settled at Louisbourg in the new French colony of Île Royale (Cape Breton Island). After assisting in the evacuation of Placentia, ceded to Great Britain in 1713, Rodrigue prospered in fishing, coasting, and local trade. The censuses and the admiralty records of Île Royale give an idea of Rodrigue’s involvement in fishing and trade; he had only one employee in 1715, 20 in 1716, 15 in 1717, 20 in 1720, and 30 in 1724. At the time of his death in 1733 he was one of the principal merchants of the colony.
Following his death, which occurred while he was in Quebec on business in the fall of 1733, his widow and two eldest sons, Michel and Pierre, carried on the family enterprise. In 1738 his widow married Jean Duperié (or Duperier) of Louisbourg, who in 1731 had been first mate on a fishing vessel from Saint-Jean-de-Luz.
Archives de la Charente-Maritime (La Rochelle), Amirauté de Louisbourg, B 265, B 266–67, B 268, ff.160–64; B 277. AN, Col., C11B, 1–14; C11C, 7, ff.54ff.; 15; Section Outre-Mer, G1, 406, 467; G3, 2040, 15 May 1707, 17 March 1709; 2046; 2054, pièce 52, 14 Aug. 1710; pièce 55, 18 Aug. 1710; 2055, pièce 2, 22 Feb. 1712; pièce 118, 16 [Nov.] 1713. PANS, MS docs., XXVI (parish register of Port-Royal), 21.