Pierre Gaultier de La Vérendrye

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Pierre Gaultier de La Vérendrye
Born (1714-12-01)December 1, 1714
Île aux Vaches, (Isle of Cows) near Sorel, New France
Died September 13, 1755(1755-09-13) (aged 40)
Montreal, Quebec

Pierre Gaultier de La Vérendrye de Boumois (December 1, 1714 – September 13, 1755) was the second son of Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye. An explorer and fur trader who served many years under the command of his father, he was born on Île aux Vaches, (Isle of Cows) near Sorel, New France.

The young Pierre spent two years in the colonial regular troops as a cadet, doing garrison duty in Montreal. In 1731, when his father planned an expedition to expand the fur trade westward and at the same time search for a water route to the Western Sea, he accompanied his father and brothers Jean Baptiste, François, and Louis-Joseph as a member of the expedition. He spent the winter at Fort Kaministiquia while his older brother Jean Baptiste and his cousin and the second in command, Christopher Dufrost de La Jemeraye, carried on to Rainy Lake and established Fort St. Pierre. In 1732 he accompanied his father to Lake of the Woods, where they built Fort St. Charles.

In the spring of 1734, after his father had left for Montreal, Pierre briefly was left in command of Fort St. Charles until relieved by La Jemeraye. In February 1737 Pierre accompanied his father to Fort Maurepas, and in June the two men left the west for Montreal and Quebec.

From August 1738 until November 1739, Pierre was entrusted with the command of Fort St. Charles while his father explored into the Mandan country north of the Missouri River.

Starting out from Fort La Reine on the Assiniboine River and accompanied by two Frenchmen, he travelled south in 1741 as far as two Spanish forts, probably in present-day Nebraska, before turning back. He returned from this expedition with two horses and some articles of Spanish make. These are the first two horses of historical record in what is now Manitoba.

Later the same year when his father returned from the east in October Pierre was sent to build Fort Dauphin near present day Winnipegosis, Manitoba. His mission completed, Pierre invited the Crees and Assiniboins to bring their furs from then on to the new fort, then he returned to Fort La Reine where he spent the entire year of 1742.

Pierre Gaultier de La Vérendrye was active as a fur-trader and explorer in the west even after his father was relieved of his command in 1744 up to 1749 when he finally returned east and re-entered the army. He was active at Fort Beauséjour where he served until it was captured by the British in 1755. He died shortly after at Quebec. His death was in Montréal, specifically. His death was assassination, and many agree that the British wanted to kill such a valuable addition to the French.

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