Jean-Baptiste Gaultier de La Vérendrye | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Jean-Baptiste Gaultier de La Vérendrye

Jean-Baptiste Gaultier de La Vérendrye, fur trader, explorer, son of Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de La Vérendrye (born 3 September 1713 on Île Dupas, Quebec; died 6 June 1736 at Lake of the Woods.) In 1731, Jean-Baptiste was a member of the first group to head west under his father's command. In autumn of 1731 he completed the building of Fort Saint-Pierre at Rainy Lake. His role in the construction of Fort Maurepas in 1734 establishes him one of the founders of present-day Manitoba (see also Francophones of Manitoba .)

La Vérendrye at Lake of the Woods. Arthur H. Hider (1870-1952).
Source: Library and Archives Canada/Collection Arthur H. Hider (C-006896)

Jean-Baptiste was the eldest of Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de La Vérendrye’s four sons. The others were Pierre Gaultier de La Vérendrye, François Gaultier de La Vérendrye and Louis-Joseph Gaultier de La Vérendrye.

Explorations of La Vérendrye

In the spring of 1733, Jean-Baptiste travelled as far as the Winnipeg River and built a small fort there. In January of 1734, he was left by his father among the Cree, who adopted him as one of their own. He built the first Fort Maurepas (about 10 km north of present-day Selkirk, Manitoba) on the Red River in 1734 and remained there until 1735. He spent the winter of 1735-36 at Fort Saint-Charles. On June 5, Jean-Baptiste left with Jesuit missionary priest Father Jean-Pierre Aulneau and 19 others to fetch provisions at Fort Michilimakinac. The party was surprised by Sioux warriors (see Dakota) and all killed on a small island in Lake of the Woods. The bodies were found on June 20 and taken to Fort Saint-Charles for burial.