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The story of Pierre Laviolette

Vicki Gilhula December 19, 2014 Vicki Gilhula No Comments

Pardon me for getting personal. It is the holiday season and a time when we celebrate family. For the past couple of years I have been working on family history. I am learning so much about my French Canadian roots. 2015 marks the 400th year that French-Canadians settled in Ontario.



The following was written and researched by my sister, Diane Gilhula.  We would love to hear from people who are also related to our Pierre Laviolette who settled in the Georgina Township/Jackson Point and Simcoe County areas after the War of 1812.  If we can find Pierre’s gravesite, we can able to have a War of 1812 memorial put on his grave. vgilhula@hotmail,com.


Pierre Laviolette (1798-1877) was the French Soldier in Carolan Family lore.

He  was born in Quebec (Canada) as were several generations of Laviolettes and Dusangs. .

Aunt Kate Carolan (1883 - 1963) used to say her Grandfather Laviolette was a French soldier,  a “French General.”

She said he was from France.

Aunt Kate said she never knew her Grandfather Laviolette and that he had died before she was born in 1883.

We now know that Pierre Laviolette was not born in France but New France, and his family goes back to 1610 on Ile d Òrleans, Quebec. .

This was a story we loved to hear her tell over and over. She however didn’t know where he had done his War Service.

We now know Pierre Laviolette served in the Lake Champlain/New York State Theatre of War in September & October 1814 during the War of 1812-1814.

Pierre Laviolette was in the 3RD Batallion Militia of Lower Canada according to a Petition for Land Grant dated May 1836 in Penetanguishene, Ontario. (research M. Diane Gilhula 1980)..

Laviolette was requesting in 1836 a Grant of Land in Upper Canada (now Ontario) based on his service in Lower Canada, and Upper Canada.

We now know that Great Great Great Grandfather Pierre Laviolette was a “Soldier serving as a Marine” in the British Navy in 1814.  He served on the British War Ships in the Lake Champlain/New York State Theatre of War on the Confiance, Linnett, Chubb and Finch Ships according to the British Muster Rolls and Paylists from Archives Canada..

The Force of 11,000 British left from Sorel, Quebec (Lower Canada) at the confluence of the Richelieu, and St. Lawrence Rivers.  The War ships sailed south on the Richelieu and through Lake Champlain to near Plattsburg, New York.  This is where the Battle of Lake Champlain took place in November 1814..

Th Confiance War Ship was wintered on Michilimackinac in Lake Huron in 1815 so possibly this was the service in Upper Canada Pierre Laviolette referred to in his 1836 Petition for Land in Ontario.

Margaret Young Lawson used to say she thought her Great Grandfather  P. Laviolette may have been from Sorel, Quebec.

Pierre Laviolette was born in Sorel, Quebec and his parents were Joseph Laviolette (1762-1838) and Marie Martel Laviolette.  .

Pierre Laviolette eventually obtained land in Ontario as his daughter Catherine Laviolette Carolan was born in Orillia Township in Simcoe County in 1836. .

It was passed down in the family that Pierre Laviolette sent his daughter Catherine away from the Ontario frontier to school in Montreal after her mother died in 1848. She was just 12 years old.   .

Aunt Kate said her Grandmother Dusang Laviolette must have died a long time ago as she didn’t remember anyone mentioning her.

Marguerite Dusang was Aunt Kate’s grandmother according to the birth certificate of Catherine Laviolette in May 1836 which was obtained in 1980. (research by M. Diane Gilhula)..

The parents of Marguerite Dusang were Joseph Dusang and Marie Francois Manegre Dusang.  .

Interestingly, one of M. Dusang’s brothers Amable also served in the War of 1812-1814.

Records show Amable Dusang (b 1792) served on the side of the British at  Fort Michilimackinac in Lake Huron, and at Prairie du Chien on the Upper Mississippi (now Wisconsin)and stayed there until the Peace came in 1815.  The British Flag flew there until the Treaty of Ghent in 1815..

A. Dusang also lived on Drummond Island till the British Fort was decomissioned in 1828-1829, and everyone was removed to Penetanguishene.

Dusang was an Indian Interpreter that followed the British during the course of the War and eventually was pressed into service..

He also worked at the British Fur Trading Post on St. Joseph`s Island in Lake Huron prior to the War of 1812-1814.

Amable eventually received an Ontario Land Grant for his War Service in Upper Canada in 1830 in Tay Township (Simcoe) near present day Coldwater. It is recorded that Amable received one of the first such grants of land in Simcoe County.  .

By 1836, Pierre Laviolette and his brother in law Amable were now living very near to one and other outside of present day Orillia in different townships before it was incorporated as a town..

Jacques J. Laviolette I was the Great Great Grandfather of our French Soldier Pierre Laviolette.

It is recorded that Jacques J. Laviolette I and his wife Marie Ferra Laviolette were some of the first 300 people to live in Ile d’Orleans near Quebec City. .

Jacques J. Laviolette II (b. 1631) was the first Laviolette born in Canada in Montmorency, Quebec (Lower Canada) in 1631.

Our French soldier was about 17 years old when he survived the Battle of Lake Champlain and lived to tell about it.

There was 500 British who died in that Battle.  Same number of Americans.

Pierre Laviolette was a French Soldier.  There is a beautiful truth to these family stories told and retold over 200 years.



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