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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)

1723 - 1768

[PAGE 10]


Jean Lagrange had lost his position as chirurgien major to the Brothers of Charity in 1717 [NOTE 1]. When he returned to Louisbourg in 1719, he came as a surgeon, but did not serve in an official capacity again until 1724 when he received a brevet and a salary of 300 livres a year [NOTE 2]. He served in this capacity until 1735, when he returned to France to re-establish his health [NOTE 3]. Louis Bertin, a ship's surgeon who had been in Louisbourg in 1735, returned the following year and married Lagrange's daughter, Anne Henriette [NOTE 4]. He took over Lagrange's duties while the latter was in France [NOTE 5]. Unfortunately, Lagrange died in France in 1737, and Bertin was officially appointed chirurgien major in October of that year [NOTE 6]. He held this position until the second fall of Louisbourg in 1758.

One can assume that Bertin and his wife lived in the Lagrange house in Block 3; in 1740, a summons was delivered to Bertin, "demeurant Rue du quay" [NOTE 7].

The only reference to the house during the New England occupation is on plan 1746-8, which indicates that the building served as a storekeeper's house and that it had been repaired. [PAGE 11:]

In 1749, Bertin returned with his wife, a son, a daughter, two servants and four garçons chirurgiens. The veuve Lagrange returned with Jeanne Cahouet, her daughter by a previous marriage, Louise Lagrange, her daughter, and one servant [NOTE 8]. Again, one can assume that they all occupied the house in Block 3; during a trial in 1751, reference was made to a meeting in front of the veuve Lagrange's house on the quay [NOTE 9].

Sometime before 1753, Anne Henriette died [NOTE 10], and Bertin married Marie Anne Bertrand [NOTE 11]. The only indication we have that Bertin continued to reside in Block 3 after his second marriage is a payment made to the veuve Lagrange in 1756 for lodging Bertin [NOTE 12].

The veuve Lagrange died in 1759, and at an unspecified date, Imbert and a Bertin residing at St-Pierre et Miquelon requested compensation as her heirs [NOTE 13]. The Bertin mentioned here must be Louis Bertin's son, Sebastien Louis. The father died at Rochefort in 1776 [NOTE 14], and had no apparent connection with St-Pierre, but Bertin fils served there in several capacities after the second fall of Louisbourg [NOTE 15].

In 1768, the Lagrange house was described as a private residence built of stone and occupied by Keho, a fisherman, and in tolerable condition. There was another building west of the house which served as a Guard House. It was described as a wooden structure, in tolerable condition [NOTE 16]. (see plan 1768-1)

[PAGE 12:]

II. CARTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE: (see Part V for dimensions)

The first plan to show the Lagrange house occupying the quay frontage of the lot is plan 1726-4. Thus the house must have been built between 1724 and 1726. Only a portion of the building is shown, butted against the Beauséjour house in Lot B.

Plans 1730-2 and ND 24 indicate a U-shaped building and another building at the south end of the lot, in the position of the house shown on plans 1720-2 and ND 6. The boundary between the two properties is straight on plan 1730-2 but has a slight jog on plan ND 24. The roofs are hipped on plan ND 24 and gabled on plan 1730-2.

View 1731-1 gives the impression that the Lagrange house was a fairly substantial structure. The quay facade consists of a door, three windows, a door, and a window. There is a mysterious black mark at the eastern extremity of the building, an unlikely place for a window. There is a large chimney towards the west end of the house, and what may be another chimney near the centre at the back. There is also a chimney at the south end of the east wing. The house has two rows of dormers, an unusual feature for Louisbourg. There are four large dormers on the Quay facade, and three smaller dormers above them. Only one small dormer can be seen on the east wing if there are any others, they are hidden by the Beauséjour house. The roof at the west end appears to be hipped. The ground in front of the house slopes considerably from west to east.

[PAGE 13:]

Plan 1731-3 indicates the same U-shaped structure as before, but there is no building shown in the yard. A garden enclosed with pickets lies behind the house and is reached through an opening just beside the east wing. The view 1731-3 differs somewhat from 1731-1, and it seems on the whole to be more logical. There is a terrace running most of the way across the front of the house. It stops abruptly near the east end and there is a door at the lower elevation with a small window above it. This would explain the mysterious black mark in view 1731-1. At the higher elevation there is a door, three windows, a door and another window. The roof is hipped at either end and there are two rows of dormers: four in the first row, and one in the second row. On the west wing one can see the profile of a domer in the first row, and on the east wing, there is a dormer in the second row. Two chimneys are shown, one at the west end and the other just east of centre.

Plan 1734-4 shows a U-shaped building with an addition on the west wing. This addition is in the same location as the building shown on plans 1723-2, 1723-3, 1723-4, and 1724-2. All the roofs have gables. The entrance to the garden is now opposite the central portion of the house, just east of the addition. In plan 1731-3 the east wing is longer than the west wing; in 1731-4 both wings are proportionally shorter while the west wing is the longer of the two.

[PAGE 14:]

Plan ND 89 is similar to 1734-4 except that the east wing is hipped. Here the west wing is wider than the east wing, unlike the situation shown in plans 1731-3 and 1734-4.

Plan 1737-7 shows only a portion of the house.

View 1745-1 indicates a facade with five windows, two dormers, a possible central chimney, and a roof hipped at either end. There is a dark area below the house, possibly indicating a terrace.

View 1745-la and 1745-lb are too blurred to be of much value. There is a vague suggestion of a terrace on these two views.

The New England plans, with the exception of 1745-17, all show an L-shaped building, omitting the east wing. It is possible that this wing was destroyed during the seige. Plans 1745-24 and 1746-13 indicate an addition at the south end of the west wing. Plan 1746-1 indicates that the building was of stone, and plans 1746-8 and 1746-8a designate it as a "Storekeeper's house repaired". Plans 1745-17 and 1758-20 indicate a mass of buildings unrelated to any of the other plans.

Plan 1752-11 indicates a U-shaped building again, with the west wing longer. There are two small buildings added to the east wing, and another building added to the west wing. At the south end of the property, there is a new building, running parallel to the Rue du Cloître.

View 1758-6a, of doubtful accuracy, indicates a facade with four windows, and a roof hipped at either end.

[PAGE 15:]

View 1758-9 has been included, although it seems to bear little relation to reality. Plan 1758-20 is similar to plan 1745-17 in being of dubious reliability.

A large number of new buildings appear on plan 1767-1. The west wing is shown as a separate building, with another building added on; the second building is marked "y Stores and Stables occupied at present". The property lines have radically changed, and a large area is now fenced off adjacent to this building. At the south end of the west wing in the courtyard is one of the small square structures which have been interpreted as storm porches. The quay portion of the house and the east wing are shown in a lighter colour than the rest of the buildings. This should indicate that this portion is built of stone. There is a darker patch at the south end of the east wing, possibly an addition, and the building is marked "v Houses at present inhabited". Just west of the Lagrange house is a building marked "Quay Guard house", almost certainly built by the English. Along the west wing and almost two thirds of the quay facade is something which appears to be a boardwalk or terrace.

ND 27 shows only the quay portion of the house, and indicates that it is built of stone. Just west of it is another building, probably the Guard House.

Plan 1768-1 is similar to plan ND 27, but the buildings are identified as a residence and a guard house.

[PAGE 16:]


There is virtually no information about the structural details of the Lagrange property. From the various plans and the petition of Imbert and Bertin, we learn that the house was built of stone. The plans vary considerably, but the U-shaped structure seems the most usual. As shown in the tables in Part V, the wings of the house vary in width and length. It is quite possible that either or both of the wings were built of wood, and the additions and outbuildings were quite probably wooden.

The only indication we have of the interior of the house is the inventory made after the death of Anne Henriette Lagrange [NOTE 17]. The entire inventory has been reproduced in Part VI. The inventory covers only a part of the house, presumably the area which Bertin and his family occupied. Their quarters consisted of a bedroom, at the back of the house, a cabinet beside this room, an antechambre, a kitchen, a bedroom upstairs, and a cabinet à remède. There was a fireplace in the first bedroom, and five old window curtains, four small window curtains in the antechambre, and a fireplace in the kitchen. There were pieces of a stove, some damaged, in the cabinet à remède.

[PAGE 17:]


(i) property 56 pieds by 105 pieds;
(ii) house approx. 56 pieds by 24 pieds (along quay), 54 pieds by 18 pieds (west wing), 48 pieds by 24 pieds (east wing), 30 pieds by 24 pieds (west addition);
(iii) built 1724-26;
(iv) occupied at least until 1774;
(v) used as a residence (two families); may have been used as a surgeon's office and/or infirmary;
(vi) masonry, two and a half stories; some part (s) may have been wood;
(vii) addition to west wing in 1734 (approx.);
(viii) east wing may have been destroyed in 1745; if so, rebuilt by 1752;
(ix) additions in 1752 - outbuildings to south, in 1767 - addition to west wing, may be a stable;
(x) there may be a terrace or board walk along the west wing and the Quay.


[PAGE iv:]


[NOTE 1:] 27 octobre 1722, AC C11C, vol. 15 suite, pièce 230. "Etat des pretentions duSr. Lagrange ...".

[NOTE 2:] 20 juin 1724, AC B, vol. 47, pp. 292-305. Maurepas à de Mesy; 26 juin 1724, AC B, vol. 47, pp. 306-14, Maurepas à St-Ovide et de Mesy.

[NOTE 3:] 24 octobre 1735, AC C11B, vol. 17, ff. 57-58. LeNormant au Ministre.

[NOTE 4:] 17 mai 1736, AFO G3, carton 2039 suite, no. 10. Contrat de mariage.

[NOTE 5:] 11 novembre 1736, AC C11B, vol. 18, ff. 92-94. LeNormant au Ministre.

[NOTE 6:] 23 octobre 1737, AC C11B, vol. 19, ff. 13-19. St-Ovide et LeNormant au Ministre.

[NOTE 7:] 23 avril 1740, AFO G2, vol. 197, dossier 136, pièce 3.

[NOTE 8:] 1749, AFO Gl, vol. 466 pièce 76. "Denombrement General des families, Dofficiers et habitant ... ".

[NOTE 9:] 1751, AFO G2, vol. 210, dossier 517, f. 120 (v). "Procedure contre Jean Dourroula, tonnelier, et Jacques Dupré, tailleur ... ".

[NOTE 10:] mai 1753, AFO G2, vol. 202, dossier 281. Tutelle des enfans mineurs de Louis Bertin.

[NOTE 11:] 7 juillet 1753, AFO G3, carton 2047 suite, no. 65. Contrat de mariage.

[NOTE 12:] 20 décembre 1756., AC C11B, vol. 36, ff. 212-45, "Bordereau des payemens qui ont eté faits ...".

[NOTE 13:] s.d. AC E , 227, f. 8. Dossier Imbert.

[PAGE v]:

[NOTE 14:] s.d., AM C7, 27, ff. 2-8. Dossier Bertin.

[NOTE 15:] 12 mars 1768 AC C 12, vol. [or 11], f. 141. Memoire pour le ministre.

[NOTE 16:] September 26, 1768, CO 217, vol. 25, pp. 139-44. "The State of the Town of Louisbourg, on the 10th of August 1758", enclosed in a letter from Franklin to Hillsborough.

[NOTE 17:] 3 juillet 1753, AFO G2, vol. 202, dossier 281, pièce 2. "Inventaire de la communauté entre Louis Bertin et feue Anne Henriette Lagrange".

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