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Memorable Manitobans: Jean Baptiste Lagimodière (1778-1855)

Fur trader, pioneer settler.

He was born at St. Antoine de Chambly, Quebec, the son of Jean-Pierre Lagimonière and Marie-Joseph Jarret dit Beauregard. In the employ of the North West Company he made his first trip to Red River in 1800. He returned to Lower Canada during the winter of 1805-1806. On 21 April 1806, he married Marie-Anne Gaboury at Maskinonge and they moved to the Hudson’s Bay Company post at Pembina. They were the first white family to settle and raise a family on the prairies. They had eight children.

In the spring of 1807 they journeyed to Fort Cumberland and Fort des Prairies where the winter was spent, before returning to Red River. During the winter of 1812-1813 he was retained by Miles Macdonell as a buffalo hunter for the Selkirk colonists. In the winter of 1815-16 he travelled for almost five months over 1800 miles, mainly on snowshoes, from Red River to Montreal carrying despatches to Lord Selkirk. On the return journey he was captured by the Nor’Westers but later released. As a reward for this mission he received a grant of land from Lord Selkirk, on the east side of the Red River, thus becoming a pioneer of St. Boniface.

Lagimodière continued as a voyageur for the Hudson’s Bay Company for many years, and later became a successful farmer.

Grandfather of William Lagimodiere and Louis Riel.

He died at St. Boniface on 7 September 1855 and was buried in the St. Boniface Cathedral Cemetery. He is commemorated by Lagimodiere Boulevard in Winnipeg.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Lagimodiere and Gaboury Plaque (Whittier Park, Winnipeg)

The Riel and Lagimodière Families in Métis Society, 1840-1860 by Robert Gosman (1977).

Jean Baptiste Lagimodière, Dictionary of Canadian Biography VIII, 481-82.

Sources:

Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by J. M. Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 10 December 2011

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