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VALLÉE, FRANÇOIS-MADELEINE, surveyor; fl. 1710–42; m. Laurence Casselle in France.

François-Madeleine Vallée was trained in the engineering sciences, including surveying and hydrography. In 1723, by lettre de cachet, he was exiled with his family from France to Île Royale (Cape Breton Island), following a period of imprisonment for undetermined misdemeanours. Until 1725 he was forbidden to take gainful employment; instead, the state provided the family with rations. Probably to demonstrate his usefulness, he undertook a critical review of the construction work done at Louisbourg prior to his arrival there. In 1725 François Ganet, with the consent of the authorities, appointed Vallée as his agent in Louisbourg. In that capacity Vallée looked after the general contractor’s interests until the latter arrived in Louisbourg later that year, including the initial negotiations to settle the claims of the heirs of Michel-Philippe Isabeau*, the previous general contractor.

An attempt in the same year to have Vallée appointed king’s surveyor and teacher of mathematics and hydrography to officers’ sons failed; he had to wait until July 1731 for his surveyor’s licence. Thereafter he was responsible for preparing town plans and survey reports on property concessions in Louisbourg and throughout the colony. He settled boundary differences between owners and on occasion studied all original land titles in order to provide official advice on the current status of various properties. He kept the court up to date on new concessions by providing plans and statements and he was frequently called upon to furnish precise facts respecting properties about to change hands. Vallée’s reports and plans are among the best surviving documentary evidence of town planning at Louisbourg.

In 1731 Vallée was expected to live by the fees he could charge for his services. Evidently this arrangement proved most difficult: he was in a “miserable situation” and it was “absolutely impossible” for him and his family to subsist without a salary. No salary was provided, but from 1733 he was given an annual gratuity of 200 livres. Vallée also raised 5,500 livres by selling his stone house on the corner of Rue Saint-Louis and Rue de France in Louisbourg.

Archival references to Vallée at Louisbourg peter out in 1742. There is some evidence that he may have been allowed leave in France in 1738–39 and that he may have returned there in 1743. He had died by the time a register of officers who had served in the French colonies from 1747 to 1763 was drawn up. He is known to have had one son, Louis-Félix, an artillery officer in Île Royale from 1742 to 1745.

F. J. Thorpe

AD, Charente-Maritime (La Rochelle), B, 275, f.6v. AN, Col., B, 47, 48, 49, 55, 58, 61, 63, 68, 69, 74; C11B, 6, 7, 8, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24; D2C, 222; Marine, C7, 335 (dossier Vallée); Section Outre-Mer, G1, 407; G2, 181; G3, 2038, 2039, 2046; Dépôt des fortifications des colonies, Am. sept., nos.43, 182, 183. McLennan, Louisbourg, 335, 351.

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

F. J. Thorpe, “VALLÉE, FRANÇOIS-MADELEINE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed May 31, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/vallee_francois_madeleine_3E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/vallee_francois_madeleine_3E.html
Author of Article:   F. J. Thorpe
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1974
Year of revision:   1974
Access Date:   May 31, 2023