Adam Dollard des Ormeaux

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For the town in southwestern Quebec, see Dollard-des-Ormeaux.
Adam Dollard des Ormeaux
Statue Dollard des Ormeaux, parc Lafontaine, Montréal 2005-08-29.jpg
Alfred Laliberté's Adam Dollard des Ormeaux in parc Lafontaine Montréal, Quebec
Born July 23, 1635
Ormeaux, Brie, France
Died May 25, 1660
Carillon, New France
Known for Battle of Long Sault

Adam Dollard des Ormeaux, (July 23, 1635 – May 21, 1660), also known as Adam Daulaut, Daulac, or simply as Dollard des Ormeaux, was a colonist and soldier of New France. As garrison commander, in 1660 he led his companions and native (mostly Huron) allies from the fort at the town of Ville-Marie (later to be known as Montreal), with its population of 600 colonists, to an area up the Ottawa River known as Long Sault (near present-day Carillon, Quebec). The exact nature or purpose of Dollard's 1660 expedition is uncertain, but it is believed that they intended to ambush a larger force of Iroquois warriors that were rumoured to be approaching from the west to attack the French colonists.

One alternative theory is that Dollard led a group of men into the forest to massacre what he had incorrectly been informed was a group of 16 or 17 Iroquois, with the intention of stealing their furs. According to this story, it turned out the group was considerably larger than he had anticipated. Another version has Dollard hearing the Iroquois are coming down the St. Laurence river so he tries to escape up the Ottawa river and bumps into the Iroquois party.

Dollard in New France[edit]

Dollard was born in Ormeaux, now in Seine-et-Marne département, France. Nothing is known of his activities prior to his arrival in Canada. Having come to Montreal as a volunteer in 1658,[verification needed] he continued his military career there. In 1659 and 1660, he was described as an officer or garrison commander of the fort of Ville-Marie, a title that he shared with Pierre Picoté de Belestre.

There is little verifiable evidence regarding Dollard's reason for being in Canada, but it is possible he was contemplating life as a settler in the new lands. At the end of 1659, Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve gave him a piece of land comprising 30 arpents (10 hectares). In 1661, the sum that Dollard had devoted "to having work done on the aforementioned grant" was calculated at 79 livres, 10 sols, "for 53 days’ labour."

Expedition west and the Battle of Long Sault[edit]

Engraving depicting Adam Dollard with a keg of gunpowder above his head, during the Battle of Long Sault.
Main article: Battle of Long Sault

Against the advice of seasoned Aboriginal fighters, Dollard got the support of the governor of Montreal, Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, to organize an expedition west. The group comprised about 16 volunteers who had little or no experience of Aboriginal warfare. After a 10-day canoe trip up the Ottawa River, they set up camp not far from Carillon, Quebec, in a former stockade. They were soon surrounded by about 700 Iroquois and after a siege lasting several days, were all killed or captured and massacred in what became known as the Battle of Long Sault. For reasons unknown, the Iroquois did not continue east to capture Ville-Marie. The events were witnessed by about 40 Huron allies who at times had joined the colonists in the stockade and at other times had harried the Iroquois from outside. The battle so weakened the Iroquois they cancelled their planned attack on Ville Marie (Montreal) and returned home. A postage stamp was made to honour his contributions to New France. The deaths of Dollard des Ormeaux and his men were recounted by Catholic nuns and entered into official Church history. For over a century Dollard des Ormeaux became a heroic figure in New France, and then in Quebec, who exemplified selfless personal sacrifice, who had been a martyr for the church, and for the colony.

Cultural legacy[edit]

Maisonneuve Monument: Dollard des Ormeaux in the Battle of Long Sault

The city of Dollard-des-Ormeaux was a suburb of Montreal, dating back to 1924. As a result of a forced merger it was briefly incorporated into the larger city, however, as part of a group of de-mergers it once again became a separate city in 2006.[1]

Avenue Dollard in LaSalle, Quebec, avenue Dollard in Shawinigan, Quebec, and rue Dollard in Saint Boniface, Manitoba, are also named in his honour.

A monument to Dollard des Ormeaux, created by sculptor Alfred Laliberté and the architect Alphonse Venne, was inaugurated in Parc Lafontaine on June 24, 1920.

A bas relief on the Maisonneuve Monument portrays Dollard des Ormeaux in the Battle of Long Sault.

In Quebec, starting during the time of the Quiet Revolution, Victoria Day became unofficially known as Fête de Dollard. However, in 2003 provincial legislation officially declared that date to be National Patriots' Day.

References[edit]