La Vérendrye, Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de


La Vérendrye, Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de
(1685-1749)
   Son of René Gaultier, Sieur de Varennes, governor of Three Rivers. Served in the New England campaign of 1704, and the following year in Newfoundland. In 1707 with the army in Flanders, and wounded at Malplaquet in 1709. Returning to Canada, engaged in the fur trade, for some years on the St. Maurice, and 1727-1728 on Lake Nipigon. There conceived the idea of exploring the unknown country beyond Lake Superior, to discover the Western Sea, a project to which he devoted the remainder of his life. Left Montreal for the West in 1731; built forts on Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods, and in the succeeding years penetrated to Lake Winnipeg, Red River, and the Assiniboine. In 1738 made a journey to the Mandan villages on the Missouri; and the following year one of his sons penetrated to the Saskatchewan. In 1742, unable to go himself, sent two of his sons far to the south-west. They hoped, as he had always hoped, to reach at last the Western Sea, but were baffled by hostile tribes and the barrier of the Rocky Mountains. In 1743 returned finally to Montreal, broken in health and heavily in debt. Six years later died there. His sons begged to be allowed to continue his western explorations, but hostile influences made this impossible. WM Discoverer of the Rocky Mountains, 19. L Carries explorations as far as the Rocky Mountains, 11. MS Leads the way inland from Lake Superior, 3; his search for Western Sea, 40; his reply to charge of making money in fur trade, 281.
   Bib.: Prud'homme, Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de La Vérendrye (R. S. C., 1905); Laut, Pathfinders of the West; Parkman, Half Century of Conflict; Bryce, Hudson's Bay Company; Burpee, Search for the Western Sea. See also his journals in Canadian Archives Report, 1889; Richard's Summary (Can. Arch., 1904); and Margry, Découvertes et Établissements des Français. His Journals are now being edited for the Champlain Society, Toronto.

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