Thursday, January 2, 2014

Charles De Saint Etienne De La Tour

#4398
10th great grandfather of Kristina Hewitt

This is perhaps one of my most interesting ancestors!  

Charles De Saint-Etienne De La Tour was the son of Claude Nicholas De Saint Etienne De La Tour and Marie Amador De Salazar.

Charles De Saint-Etienne De La Tour was born in 1593 in France.

On the 25 Feb 1610, Charles left Dieppe by ship to Acadia with his father and several other men led by Jean De Biencourt.  They were planning to resettle Port Royal which was abandoned.  Charles was good friends with the son of Jean De Biencourt, Charles De Biencourt.

Samuel Argall destroyed Port Royal in 1613 and Biencourt and his men lived for a time with the natives in the area.    Biencourt and his men mainly gave up on settlement and farming and focused on fur trade.  Charles De Biencourt died in 1623 or 1624 and left Charles De La Tour as his heir.  Some people claimed that Charles De La Tour poisoned De Biencourt, but this appears to be unfounded.  Charles De La Tour was a relative of De Biencourt (more on that later)

La Tour took over the colony and set up Fort Lomeron at Cap de Sable.  

When La Tour learned that France was at war with England in 1627, he realized that Acadia needed much better defenses it was to stay under French Control.  So, he writes some letters to France and his father presented the letters.  

France sent 4 ships, with settlers and  with his father Claude on one of them, but the ships were captured.  Since no help came, the only French held part of Acadia was then Fort Lomeron.

Here it starts to get really interesting.  Claude, while captured by the English, switches sides in exchange for promises of land from the English.  He returns to Acadia with 2 English warships, and English settlers and asks Charles to switch to the English side as well.  

Charles refuses and for over 24 hours the English troops attack Fort Lomeron.  They are unsuccessful and the English moved on to Port Royal.  

Soon after, 2 French ships arrive with supplies and settlers.  These food, arms and men were for Charles to build a stronger habitation for the French.  Charles built up the post and area around Cap de Sable, and the Fort was renamed Fort La Tour.

Since the French seemed to now be paying attention to things in Acadia, Charles sends to France asking for more help so he can secure a trading post at the mouth of the Saint John river.  This was a great area for fur trading.

On 8 Feb 1631, King Louis XIII named Charles de la Tour governor and lieutenant-general, and this royal commission was delivered with the supplies that Charles had requested.

Charles completed the fur trading post and named it Fort Sainte-Marie.  He left it under the command on one of his lieutenants.  On 18 Sep 1632 Scots from Port-Royal under the command of Capt. Andrew Forrester attacked Fort Sainte-Marie.  They damaged the chapel and stole supplies.  A few months later Charles captured and pillaged the English for at Machias to make it clear that attacks on his posts should expect attacks in retaliation.

In 1632 France signed the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, which gave them back control of Acadia.  Isaac De Razilly was made governor of Acadia, and arrived to take back Port Royal from the Scots.  Charles de la Tour headed back to France, where he had the boundaries of what he controlled and what De Razilly controlled set out.  Razilly was to control La Heve, Port Royal and the Sainte-Croixe area.  Charles also recruited more settlers while in France.   He returned to Acadia and in 1635 he moved his headquarters to  Fort Sainte-Marie.

Everything was going well, and the French were prospering under De Razilly and Charles De La Tour, but Isaac De Razilly died suddenly in 1635.  Isaac's brother Claude De Rasilly succeeded him, but as he desired to stay in France, he sent a cousin, Charles De Menou d'Aulnay to look after things in Acadia.

Both La Tour and D'Aulnay were ambitious and things quickly took a turn for the worse, as their boundaries were contested by each other.  A huge feud began, which is hard to really research, as sources conflict as to exactly what happened and when.  

In 1636 the French had given to Claude De La Tour a trading post at Pentagouet.  Claude had build this post, around 1625, but New England had taken it in 1626 and d'Aulnay had retaken it in 1635.  This seems to be part of the cause of the trouble.   Then, the French divided the land in a silly way, and made the matter worse.

The deal made years before was that D'Aulnay and La Tour would split the profit and expenses of the fur trade.  In 1640 La Tour went to Port Royal to check on the fur and supplies situation there, and was refused.  Apparently, he and D'Aulnay got into a physical fight!  
D'Aulnay wrote the king bascially accusing La Tour of attacking him and got an order from the King for La Tour to return to France to explain his conduct.  La Tour refused to follow this order since he felt it was unjustly obtained.  D'Aulnay used this refusal to make La Tour look bad in the French court and when the king finally ordered him to secure Fort La Tour he attacked it, burned it and kept the loot for himself.  

Since La Tour was not able to get supplies and trade with France, he sent someone to ask in Boston for the right to recruit and trade there.  D'Aulnay learned of this and went to France, accusing La Tour of treason.  In August 1642 he returned to Acadia again with orders for La Tour to appear before the king in France.

It is decided that his wife, Francoise-Marie Jacquelin, would go to France, and Charles De La Tour would stay in Acadia.  While in France, his wife was able to convince the French to send a ship with troops and supplies to La Tour.  In Apr 1643 the ship arrived in Acadia, but d'Aulnay had blockaded the Saint John post.  

More soon....





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