François Picquet (French pronunciation: [fʁɑ̃swa pikɛ]; 4 December 1708 – 15 July 1781) was a Sulpician priest who came to Montreal from France in 1734. He spent the next few years studying Indian languages and customs and serving the local parish.
From 1739 to 1749 he served at Lac des Deux Montagnes, where there was a Sulpician mission. It was during that period that Picquet made the decision to work with the Indians south of the Great Lakes for conversion and to ensure their loyalty to France. In 1748 a commitment was made by Roland-Michel Barrin de La Galissonière, the Governor General of New France, to send Abbé Picquet to the Thousand Islands area for the above purpose.
In 1749, Abbé Picquet built a mission fort named Fort de La Présentation near the junction of the Oswegatchie River and the St Lawrence River. By 1755 it had a large population of Iroquois loyal to France. In 1758, with the Seven Years' War intensifying, a military commander was put in charge of that new aspect of the fort. The Abbé was displeased with this dilution of his authority and left the fort for a period. He was back in July, 1758, to lead his Indian troops in the battle of Carillon. He also was part of Louis de la Corne's excursion to the Oswego area the following year.
In 1759, the mission fort was abandoned in favour of Fort Lévis and Picquet fled to Montreal with his Indian troops. He left there for New Orleans where he stayed for a time, returning to France in 1772. He took up a ministry at Verjon and then as a chaplain to the nuns of the Visitation. A private audience with Pope Pius VI occurred in 1777 and he retired in 1779.
- Shea, John Gilmary. 1855. History of the Catholic missions among the Indian tribes of the United States: 1529-1854. Dunigan. [See especially pp. 335-340. Available via Google Books.]
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