Pierre Falcon

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Pierre Falcon
Born June 4, 1793
Somerset House
Died October 21, 1876 (1876-10-22) (aged 83)
Saint-François-Xavier
Nationality Canadian
Occupation fur trader, farmer, magistrate
Known for composed La Chanson de la Grenouillère

Pierre Falcon (sometimes referred to as Pierriche meaning "Pierre the rhymer") (June 4, 1793 – October 21, 1876) was a Métis fur trader and pioneer living in what is today known as Manitoba. He was also a well known composer and singer.

Falcon Lake located in the Whiteshell Provincial Park in south-eastern Manitoba was named after Pierre Falcon.[1]

Early life[edit]

Pierre Falcon was born at Somerset House, also called Elbow Fort, on 4 June 1793. He was the son of Pierre-Jean-Baptiste Falcon, a French-Canadian employee of the North West Company and a First Nations woman believed to have been of Cree descent. Falcon was taken to La Prairie, Lower Canada as a child and was baptized at L’Acadie, Quebec on 18 June 1798. While in Quebec, Falcon stayed with his family, possibly his uncle Francois, and learned to read and write.

In 1808, at 15, Falcon came back to Manitoba to become a clerk for the North West Company. In 1812 he married a woman named Marie (possibly Marie-Suzette), who was also the sister of the Métis leader Cuthbert Grant. The couple sired three sons and four daughters. One of his sons, Jean Baptiste Falcon, led the St. François Xavier (White Horse Plain) group of buffalo hunters in 1851 and defended the camp from the Sioux at the Battle of Grand Coteau (North Dakota).[2]

Songs[edit]

In 1816 Pierre Falcon, then 23, celebrated the victory of the Métis at the Battle of Seven Oaks in his song La Chanson de la Grenouillère.[3] The song and the music became so popular among the Métis that it was still sung 150 years later and was published in 1866 in Le Foyer canadien and again in 1914 in Les Cloches de Saint-Boniface.[4]

Re-settlement[edit]

Falcon continued to work for the North West company until its merger with the Hudson's Bay in 1821. Falcon served the new company until 1825, when his family along with several other Métis families resettled in Grantown, (later known as Saint-François-Xavier), on the White Horse Plain, under the leadership of Cuthbert Grant. An 1838 census listed Falcon as having 30 acres (120,000 m2) of land under cultivation. By 1849 he was shown with only 15 acres (61,000 m2) as the remainder had been divided amongst his sons. In 1855, Falcon became a local magistrate.

He died on 21 October 1876, followed a year later by his wife on 11 October 1877.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Songs of Old Manitoba (02) (The Dickson Song) (p. 35)". by Margaret Arnett MacLeod. Retrieved 2014-02-14. 
  2. ^ Barkwell, Lawrence J. "Jean Baptiste "Che-ma-na" Falcon. (b.1826)". Retrieved 2014-01-05. 
  3. ^ Joseph James Hargrave (1871). Red River. author. p. 488. 
  4. ^ "La chanson des Bois-Brûlés". S.H.S.B. (Centre du patrimoine, 340, boulevard Provencher, Saint-Boniface, (Manitoba)). Retrieved 2014-01-11. 

Bruce Peel. "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online". University of Toronto/Université Laval. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 

External links[edit]