TONTY DE LIETTE (Deliette, Desliettes), CHARLES-HENRI-JOSEPH DE, officer in the Louisiana colonial regular troops; b. 13 May 1697, probably in Montreal, to Alphonse Tonty* and Marie-Anne Picoté de Belestre; d. 9 July 1749 in Montreal.
On 19 March 1720 Charles-Henri-Joseph de Tonty was commissioned lieutenant in the Louisiana colonial regular troops. He was assigned to Pierre d’Artaguiette’s company and began two decades of service among the Missouris and Illinois. On 16 Feb. 1722, during a brief visit to Canada, he married Marie-Madeleine Sabourin in Chambly. Their only child, born in April 1723, died at Chambly in infancy. Joseph married Louise Renaud Dubuisson in Montreal on 15 Sept. 1732 and probably took her to Fort de Chartres (near Prairie du Rocher, Ill.) where, according to the 1732 census, he owned a house, two cows, and two pigs. He was second in command under Claude-Antoine de Bermen de La Martinière at Baie-des-Puants (Green Bay, Wis.) in 1737 and the following year was appointed commandant of the post, a vital link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi. He served a short term as commandant of Fort Frontenac (Kingston, Ont.) in 1746 and returned to Montreal where he died on 9 July 1749.
Several authors have confused Joseph with his brothers and with his father’s cousin. Three of his brothers were militarily active. Alphonse was commissioned ensign in Île Royale (Cape Breton Island) in 1714; he petitioned for a lieutenancy in 1716, to which he was promoted in 1721 in Martinique. He was raised to captain in 1725. Claude-Joseph requested and received a half-pay ensigncy in 1730 while working as an assistant garrison adjutant in Canada. Pierre-Antoine was killed with several other young officers in the 1736 Chickasaw war. The death date of Joseph’s second cousin Pierre-Charles de Liette* was questioned in his biography in volume II of the DCB. Charlevoix wrote that de Liette had died in 1721; other sources indicated the death of a de Liette in 1728 or 1729. The possibility of a third de Liette was entertained because documents showed that the de Liette active between 1721 and 1728/29 could not have been Joseph. Subsequent research reveals that Charlevoix was probably mistaken and that Pierre-Charles may have lived until 1728/29. Whatever the case, Joseph did not add the title “de Liette” to his name until after 1729.
AN, Col., B, 35, f.126; 43, ff.47, 272, 345, 351; C11A, 37, f.196; 51; 52, f.214; C13A, 6, f.332v; 11, ff.89v–96v, 323, 360; D2C, 47; 222/2, pp.133, 275, 276 (PAC transcripts); E, 42; Marine, C7, 324; Section Outre-Mer, G1, 464/2, p.283 (PAC transcript). ANQ-M, Greffe de J.-C. Porlier, 25 mai 1738; Greffe de Pierre Panet, 3 août 1761. Chicago Historical Society, Otto L. Schmidt collection, II, 248. Charlevoix, Histoire de la N.-F. (1744), IV, 235; VI, 165, 168. Royal Fort Frontenac (Preston and Lamontagne). Tanguay, Dictionnaire. Belting, Kaskaskia, 49. Gosselin, L’Église du Canada jusqu’à la conquête, III, 317. Kellogg, French régime.