Wednesday, August 26, 2015
LETENDRE, dit Batoche, JEAN-BAPTISTE (also known as Okimawaskawikinam), fur trader and farmer; b. 30 Aug. 1762 in Sorel (Que.), son of Jean-Baptiste Letendre (1736–1809) and Marie-Madeleine Cardin, dit Loiseau (1742–1808); m. c. 1785 à la façon du pays Josephte “Crise,” a member of the Cree nation, in the northwest; d. in or after 1827, probably in St Boniface (Man.).
Jean-Baptiste Letendre, dit Batoche, came to the northwest in the 1780s. In 1785–86 he was employed by the North West Company in the Athabasca department as a “devant” or bowsman. He is listed as an interpreter in the region of Fort des Prairies (Fort-à-la-Corne, Sask.) in 1804. Marie-Anne Gaboury* and Jean-Baptiste Lagimonière*, who spent some time in the area in 1808, are reported to have met the Canadian Batoche and his Cree family. In 1810 Letendre or his son, who was also called Jean-Baptiste, was with the explorer David Thompson*. In his diary Thompson mentions that Letendre and his family arrived from the region near Beaverhill Lake (Alta), bringing a hundred or so beaver pelts. That year Letendre or his son went with Thompson to explore the Athabasca River as far as the Rockies but quit the expedition in January 1811 at the camp on the Canoe River (B.C.), a tributary of the Columbia.
In the 1810s and 1820s it appears that Letendre engaged in the fur trade on his own account as a “freeman,” to use an expression common in the northwest. Alone or with his family he owned a trading post called Batoche at Muskootao Point, west of Fort-à-la-Corne on the north bank of the Saskatchewan. The Letendres also stayed for a time in the Red River colony (Man.) during this period. On 19 June 1816 one of their sons was killed in the engagement at Seven Oaks (Winnipeg), known in historical writings by the Métis and French of the west as La Grenouillère [see Cuthbert Grant*; Robert Semple*]. The NWC agreed to pay Mme Letendre compensation for this unfortunate accident because of the “good character her husband always bore.”
Around 1825 the Letendres came from Rocky Mountain House (Alta), known by francophones as “poste de la montagne de Roches,” to settle at St Boniface. On 6 June of that year Letendre’s sons Jean-Baptiste and Louis (Louison) and his daughters Josephte and Angélique were married in religious ceremonies. In 1827 Letendre, his wife, and eight children were living on lot 906. Two of their sons occupied land near by with their families. Letendre was a well-to-do farmer, but he was keeping a family of 40. He owned seven horses, a herd of cattle, a canoe, and two carts. It is worth noting that he was farming 50 acres at a time when even the Catholic mission only cultivated 25.
No trace of Letendre has been found after 1827. He is not listed as head of a household or owner of a lot in the 1828 census, or in those that followed. His son Jean-Baptiste settled at Pembina (N.Dak.) around 1850. As for Louis, he made regular trips to the Fourche des Gros Ventres (as the South Saskatchewan River was known) and the post called La Montée on the North Saskatchewan. In 1849 he was one of the Métis who protested against the HBC’s fur-trade monopoly, at the time of the Sayer affair [see Pierre-Guillaume Sayer*]. The Letendre family carried on business both on its own account and for the HBC in the area around Fort Canton (Sask.) in the 1850s and 1860s and settled permanently in that region around 1870. In 1872 Jean-Baptiste’s grandson François-Xavier founded the village of Batoche on the South Saskatchewan River. It was Batoche that became the centre of Métis resistance in 1885 and the Métis capital of the northwest.
Diane Paulette Payment, “LETENDRE, Batoche, JEAN-BAPTISTE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 6, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed April 12, 2014, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/letendre_jean_baptiste_6E.html.
"dit" Names etc.
Rita Elise Plourde
|* There are two reasons why there are so many variant spellings of some names.|
* First: most of the citizens of the 1600-1800 were illiterate. Of these, a precious few could sign their names. However, the priests,seminarians,missionaries, monks & nuns were the most educated groups in the citizenry. Only an elite few were educated beyond what we, today, would consider a basic elementary education.
* Consequently, many of the clerics & notories, who under the French system of administration were charged with recording "vital statistics" wrote the names as they knew them to be in France, as a precious few of the immigrants/colonists signed them, or as they heard them (phonetically).
* That is why one sees Garau, Garrault, Gareau,Garo, etc... even amongst the sons of a particualr ancestor. A good example are the descendants of Louis Houde...some of the variant spellings found are: Houd,Houle, Ould,Houde,Hood,etc.
* The second reason for variant spellings is: As the colonists migrated within Nouvelle France/New France & eventually beyond the areas of French-speaking Canada ( ex. to current-day USA, the Caribbean, the West Indies, etc.) recorders of "vital statistics" who were not French speakers, usually spelled names phonetically, or changed them because they didn't have a clue how to write them.
(Ex. Rochefort became Rushfort in the Carolinas, Champagne became Shampang, Thibodeaux became Thibodo, or Tibodo. LeBrun was changed to Brown & Leblanc to White, etc.etc.)* The "dit" names have an interesting origin. The English translation of "dit" is "said". The Colonists of Nouvelle France added "dit" names as distinguishers. A settler might have wanted to differentiate their family from their siblings by taking a "dit" name that described the locale to which they had relocated ( ex: since the Colonists followed the customs of the French feudal system, land was divided amongst the first born sons [primogeniture] . Soon there was not enough land to divide any further.
* Perhaps an adventurous younger son would decide to establish himself, with or without a family, in another area... say a fertile piece of land near some streams... he might add des ruisseaux (streams/creeks/rivulets) to distinguish himself from his brothers. When he married,or died, his name might be listed as Houde dit DesRuisseaux, or Desruisseau(s).
* The acquiring of a "dit" name might also be the result of a casual adoption, whereby the person wanted to honor the family who had raised them. Another reason was also to distinguish themselves by taking as a "dit" name the town or village in France from which they originated... ex: Huret dit Rochefort.
Rita Elise Plourde (10) is a member of AFGS and contributer of cultural, or historical comments in response to the queries posed by volunteers in the AFGS Volunteers mailing list. She is a bilingually educated ( K thru college) Franco-American anthropologist, who was raised in a multicultural environment. Rita continues to explore, examine &extol the culture of her French/Acadian/Quebecois ancestors & contemporary relatives. Her primary aim as an AFGS member is the sharing of information & research regarding her French/Acadian/Quebecois ancestors, their culture & their legacy.
Surnames French-Canadian : Variants, Dit, Anglicization, etc.
Jerome - Latour
Jérome - Beaume
Jérome - Beaumeleblanc
Jérome - De la Tour
Jérome - Latour
Jérome - Leblanc
Jérome - Longtin
Jérome - Patry
Jérome - Rivière
Jéróme - Hélie
Jérôme - Baumeleblanc
Jérôme - Beaume
Jérôme - Delatour
Jérôme - Lonquetin
Jérôme - Patry
Jérôme - Rivière