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Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada




JUNE, 1971

(Fortress of Louisbourg
Report H D 16)

1713 - 1723

[PAGE 1]

The early history of Block 3 is of considerable interest since this area was the site of some of the first buildings constructed in Louisbourg. Although the documentation is incomplete, the history of these buildings can be traced with reasonable certainty.

Plan 1714-1 indicates that the first establishment was near the butte which was to become the site of the parish church: "I" marks "the open place where we lodged last year and where it is proposed to build the fort in 1715". View ND 3 gives some idea of the early appearance of Block 3: "A" marks the site of the old parish church, situated at the eastern corner of Block 3.

Most of the early houses in Louisbourg were apparently built by private individuals but paid for, at least in part, by the King. This fact emerges from an inventory and an estimation made in 1715 of the "houses built in the year 1713" [NOTE 1]. These two documents identify and describe most of the early buildings in Block 3. (see plan 1717-2) From east to west they are (a.) the building occupied by the Recollets and the parish church (marked by a cross), (b.) the Lacombe house, (c.) the bakery, and (d.) a house serving as the hospital, built by Jean Lagrange, and another building built by Lagrange.

[PAGE 2:]


The Recollet's building, including the Church and some "adjoining" storehouses (see plans 1717-2 and 1718-2), belonged to the king, but improvements had been made to the Church and the lodging by the Recollet fathers [NOTE 2]. According to the inventory and estimation, the parish church was at one end of the building, which was built of pickets 93 pieds long and 20 pieds wide. The roof was covered partly in planks, and partly in bark. There was at least one fireplace in the building; the Recollets repaired sashes, doors and the foundations, and supplied window panes, hardware, and nails [NOTE 3].

Although the building is not marked with a cross after 1718, it is shown on all the plans until 1724, and is indicated on plan 1723-2 as "the old church where divine service is presently held" [NOTE 4]. It is not known when the building ceased to function as a church, but is possible that more details will become available when the research for the rest of the block is completed. The building must have been destroyed or removed before 1726, since plan 1726-4 shows Beauséjour's house on the site of the old church.

There was a cemetery in Block 3 at this period. Although it is not shown on the plans, it must have been either in the area shown as a garden on plans 1717-2 and 1718-2, or, more likely, in the area south of the garden. LaCombe's house was bounded by the cemetery, and both Lagrange and Beauséjour complained that there were burials on their concessions. (see infra, pp. 8 &, 19)

[PAGE 3:]


At the time of the inventory and estimation, this house was occupied by Charlan, the glazier and Jacob [Jacau], a cannoneer. It belonged to the King, but was conceded to Michel Ballan, Sieur de LaCombe on October 15, 1715, in compensation for a lot in Port Dauphin [NOTE 5]. The concession noted that the property was bounded by the cemetery, the shore, the ovens, and the parish church. Unfortunately, little else is known about Michel Ballan. He was the original owner of Lot D, Block 15, later owned by Sr. Genier; [NOTE 6]. no concession has been found for the latter property, and the date and method of transfer is not known. In 1726, Ballan was residing in Quebec, [NOTE 7:] but it has not been possible to determine when he left Louisbourg.

The house was built of pickets with a bark roof. It was 32 pieds by 18 pieds (according to the inventory and LaCombe's concession - the estimation gives the dimensions as 30 pieds by 20 pieds), and had a double chimney [NOTE 8].

The LaCombe house appears in the same position on all the plans until 1722; that is, immediately west of the Recollet Church. On plans 1722-1 and 1723-2, there are buildings marked "F" and "E" respectively. "F" is further west than the LaCombe house, but "E" is in the same position. A building in the same position as "F" is shown on plan 1724-2. There is no explanation for the lettering on plan 1722-1, and that for 1723-2 explains that the building "E" belonged to "Francoeur cabaretier". It is quite [PAGE 4:] probable that there is an error in the name, and that the building belonged to Beauséjour (see infra, p. 18 ). The two buildings "F" and "E" may be the same although their positions vary slightly; in any case, it is unlikely that either of them represent the LaCombe house, which is shown consistently larger on all the earlier plans. Thus the house was probably destroyed between 1720 and 1722, and replaced by another smaller building as shown on plan 1723-2. This building had disappeared by 1724.

[PAGE 5:]


The bakery was also owned by the King. There is a marginal note beside the estimation of the building which is unfortunately almost illegible. It appears to indicate that the bakery was given to the Veuve Guyon in return for her house in Port Dauphin, which was being used to lodge an amourer, a nail-maker, and a carpenter [NOTE 9]. Again, there is no further information concerning the building, its function, or the owner. It is not known whether this is the bakery where the debris of Lagrange's house was burned in 1717. The Veuve Guyon is probably Marguerite Dugas who later married François Cressonet dit Beauséjour [NOTE 10], to whom Lot B was eventually conceded. (see infra, p. 18 & 19).

This building, like the others, was built of pickets with a bark roof, and it measured 30 pieds by 20 pieds. It contained two ovens [NOTE 11].

The bakery appears consistently until 1720. The building marked "F" on plan 1722-1 is in approximately the same position as the bakery on earlier plans, but it is much smaller. The same building appears on plan 1724-2. These buildings may represent the bakery, or they may be the Beauséjour house. (see above). Thus, the bakery was probably destroyed or removed between 1720 and 1724, and may have ceased to function as a bakery as early as 1715.

[PAGE 6:]


Jean Lagrange was sent from the hospital in Rochefort in 1713, as chirurgien major [NOTE 12]. He built a house in Block 3 which served as a hospital during the winter of 1713-14 [NOTE 13]. This building will be referred to as Lagrange I. He also built a storehouse in front of the house, near the harbour (Lagrange II), a garden, and in 1714 another house near the harbour (Lagrange III) [NOTE 14].

In July 1715, DeCouagne surveyed Lagrange's property: it was 60 pieds at the front, 160 pieds in the middle because of the garden, and 250 pieds deep, bounded by Genier in Block 2, the sea, and the cemetery. This land, somewhere in the vicinity of the bakery, was not conceded to Lagrange at this time [NOTE 15].

In October 1715, Lagrange went to Port Dauphin with the Governor and Ordnnateur and most of the garrison [NOTE 16]. He left Louis Lachaume, a sergeant, in charge of his Louisbourg properties, although he also claimed that he was forced to cede them to the King [NOTE 17].

In 1717, de Verville surveyed the site for the parish church, cloister and garden for the Recollets. He noted that the site was on a height near the port, and belonged to Lagrange, who would have to be compensated for the loss [NOTE 18]. The house which Lagrange had built in 1713 (Lagrange I) was in the way, and it was demolished and the debris burned at the King's bakery in October and November of 1717 [NOTE 19]. It does not appear on plan 1717-2 and we have no earlier plans of the area.

[PAGE 7:]

Lagrange I was a picket structure 37 pieds by 20 pieds containing a chimney and an oven. The floor and sleepers were made of squared pickets and the roof was of bark [NOTE 20].

Lachaume lived in the second house (Lagrange III) until at least 1719 [NOTE 21]. It had served as a hospital in 1715, and then housed some of the King's employees. It was described in the inventory and estimation of 1715 as a picket building with a bark roof, measuring 30 pieds by 20 pieds. Some work was done on the building when it was converted to a hospital, and the estimation includes fireplaces, double leaf doors, foundation, sashes, window panes, hardware, partitions and nails [NOTE 22].

When Lagrange returned to Louisbourg in approximately 1719 [NOTE 23], he found that the house was almost in ruins, and he had an estimate made in 1720. The estimate gave the dimensions as 27 pieds by 18 pieds, but the rest of the details given in this document correspond to those mentioned in 1715. The house was built of pickets, with picket floors and partitions. It had originially had braces ("arboutant, ou a corde qui tenoist lade. maison"), but they had been removed. There had been two windows, one facing the port and the other facing the land, but only the one facing the land contained a sash by 1720, and only 7 panes of glass remained intact. All the interior doors had been removed, and of the hardware, only a part of the latch and a nail remained on the main door. The roof was covered with "plans de terre et de bois" [NOTE 24]. The house must have looked very much like the Lartigue buildings in Block 1, shown on plan 1731-3.

[PAGE 8:]

The only information found concerning the storehouse (Lagrange II) is in an estimation of Lagrange's property made in 1717. It was built of pickets, 40 pieds long and 30 [Sic: 20] pieds wide, resting on picket sleepers. The roof was of bark [NOTE 25].

These two buildings are shown consistently until 1720, the larger one presumably being the storehouse. Neither of them are shown on plan 1722-1, but they appear again on plan 1723-2 (marked C), and on plan 1723-4. Neither are shown on plan 1724-2; thus they must have been removed between 1723 and 1724.

In August 1720, Lagrange received a concession for a property 96 pieds along the Rue de l'église and 56 pieds along the Rue du Cloître, bounded on the east by Depensens [NOTE 26]. By 1722, he was again threatened with confiscation, this time for the parish church and the quay. He stated that he had built a house on his new concession (Lagrange IV), and that the land being offered as recompense for moving was situated in the old cemetery in Block 3. He pleaded a numerous family, including the first male child born in the colony, as reasons for special consideration, and requested that he be allowed to remain in possession of his latest concession [NOTE 27].

In 1723, he finally received a concession for Lot A: 56 pieds along the quay and 105 pieds along the place de l'église (Property "C" on plan 1723-2). This concession was confirmed and registered by the Conseil Supérieur in 1735, and Lagrange appears to have suffered no further difficulties [NOTE 28].
[PAGE 9:]

There is no information concerning Lagrange IV. It is shown first on plan 1720-2, omitted on 1720-4, but appears again on plan ND 6. It is not shown on 1722-1, but is shown again on plan 1723-2, in a more northerly location. Plans 1723-3, 1723-4, and 1724-2 also show the building in this position. It seems to have been replaced by another larger building by 1726, but there is an outbuilding shown on many of the later plans - which may be this earlier building. (see infra p. 12 & 13). Thus, the house was probably built about 1720, and destroyed or moved before 1726.


[PAGE i:]


[NOTE 1:] 30 septembre 1715, AC C11B, Vol. 1, ff. 257-58. St-Ovide et L'hermitte "Inventaire des maisons faites en l'année 1713 dans le havre de Louisbourg de ce qui a Esté fait par les ouvriers du Roy Et fournitures"; 19 octobre 1715, AC C11B, Vol. 1, ff. 255-56. "Estimation faite par les S. Lelarge et Morin des Maisons du Roy qui sont au sud du Port de Louisbourg dans L'Isle Royale".

[NOTE 2:] ibid.

[NOTE 3:] ibid.

[NOTE 4:] 1723, AC C11A, Vol. 126, 111, [pp. 237-39]. "Estat des Emplacements concedés a Louisbourg dans 1'Enceinte de la Place, relatif au plan de 1723".

[NOTE 5:] 15 octobre 1715, AFO Gl, Vol. 466, pièce 83, f. 3. "Louisbourg Conseil Supérieur Concessions".

[NOTE 6:] 15 septembre 1735, AFO Gl, Vol. 466, [piece 85], f. 14. "Ratiffication faitte par sa Majesté des concessions des habitans de Louisbourg."

[NOTE 7:] 17 août 1726, AFO G3, carton 2058, no. 5. Succession de Marie Magdelaine Trumel.

[NOTE 8:] 30 septembre 1715, AC C11B, Vol. 1, ff. 257-58. "Inventaire des maisons ..."; 19 octobre 1715, AC C11B, Vol. 1, ff. 255-56. "Estimation faite ... ".

[NOTE 9:] 19 octobre 1715, AC C11B, Vol. 1. ff. 255-56. "Estimation ...".

[NOTE 10:] 5 novembre 1725, AFO G3, carton 2058, no. 36. Contrat de mariage.

[PAGE ii:]

[NOTE 11:] 30 septembre 1715, AC C11B, vol. 1, t ff. 257-58. "Inventaire des maisons ..."; 19 octobre 1715, AC C11B vol. 1, ff. 255-56. "Estimation faite ...

[NOTE 12:] 20 avril 1717, AC C11C, vol. 15, pièce 113. Conseil de Marine.

[NOTE 13:] 27 janvier 1717, AC C11C, Vol. 15 suite, pièce 230. Certifficat de L'hermitte, joint à la lettre du Sr Lagrange au Comte de Toulouse; 22 juillet 1719, AC C11C, vol. 15 suite, pièce 230. Lettre de L'hermitte au Sieur Lagrange.

[NOTE 14:] 18 février 1717, AC C11C, vol. 15 suite, pièce 230. "Estimation des maisons que Le Sr. Lagrange a fait faire au havre de Louisbourg ... "; 27 octobre 1722 AC C11C vol. 15 suite, pièce 230. "Etat des pretentions du Sr. Jean Lagrange Chirurgien a Louisbourg ... ".

[NOTE 15:] 17 juillet 1715, AC C11C, vol. 15 suite, pièce 230. Certifficat de DeCouagne.

[NOTE 16:] 26 février 1717, AC C11C, vol. 15, pièce 77. Conseil de Marine.

[NOTE 17:] 23 novembre 1719, AC C11C, vol. 15 suite, pièce 230. Certifficat du Sieur Lachaume; 21 novembre 1719, AC C11C, vol. 15 suite, pièce 230. Certifficat de Laforest.

[NOTE 18:] 19 fèvrier 1717, AC C11C vol. 15 suite, pièce 230. Certifficat du Sieur de Verville. [NOTE 19:] 21 novembre 1719, AC C11C, vol. 15 suite, pièce 230. Certifficat de Laforest.

[PAGE iii]

[NOTE 20:] 18 février 1717, AC C11C, vol. 15 suite, pièce 230. "Estimation des maisons que LeSr. Lagrange a fait faire au havre de Louisbourg."

[NOTE 21:] 21 novembre 1719, AC C11 C, vol. 15 suite, pièce 230. Certifficat de Laforest.

[NOTE 22:] 30 septembre 1715, AC C11B, vol. 1 ff. 257-58; 19 octobre 1715, AC 11B, vol. 1, ff. 255-56.

[NOTE 23:] 12 avril 1717, AC B, vol. 39-5, p. 986. Conseil de Marine à Costebelle et Soubras; 20 avril 1717, AC C11C, vol. 15, pièce 113. Conseil de Marine; 20 novembre 1719, AFO G3, carton 2056, no. 35. Rapport de visite de cadavre.

[NOTE 24:] 23 août 1720, AC C11C, vol. 15 suite, pièce 230. "Memoire de Letat ou Se trouve La maison quoqupoit Sy devante LeSr. Lachaune appartenant au Sr. Lagrange".

[NOTE 25:] 18 février 1717, AC C11C, vol. 15 suite, pièce 230. "Estimation des maisons que LeSr. Lagrange a fait faire ...".

[NOTE 26:] 22 août 1720, AFO Gl, Vol. 466, pièce 83, f. 4. "Louisbourg Conseil Superieur Concessions".

[NOTE 27:] 28 octobre 1722, AC C11C, vol. 15 suite, pièce 230. Lettre du Sieur Lagrange au Comte de Toulouse; 27 octobre 1722, AC C"C, vol. 15 suite, pièce 230. "Etat des pretentions ... ".

[NOTE 28:] 15 septembre 1735, AFO Gl, vol. 466, [pièce 85], f. 7. "Ratiffication faitte par Sa Majesté des Concessions des habitans de Louisbourg".

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