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Alberta's Francophone Heritage
Background, People, Culture, Heritage Community Foundation, Albertasource and Alberta Lottery Fund

 

Francophone Edukit

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Letendre, dit Batoche
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Born in Sorel in 1762, Jean-Baptiste Letendre came to the Canadian Northwest during the 1780s.1 He was in the employ of the North West Company (NWC) as a "devant" or boat guide between 1785 and 1786. In 1804, he became an interpreter at Fort-des-Prairies (Fort-la-Corne, SK). Josephte "Crise" becomes Letendre’s country wife, and the two had a family.

The Lagimonière family met Letendre and his Cree family on the prairie in 1806. Jean-Baptiste (or his son who bears the same name) accompanied David Thompson in 1810, and they returned from the Beaver Hills (present day Elk Island National Park) with 100 beaver pelts. The same Letendre accompanied Thompson on his trip to the Pacific Ocean, going up the Athabasca River to the Rockies, but abandoned him where the Canoe River meets the Columbia River.

Letendre worked as a free man in the fur trade, and kept a post on the Saskatchewan River for approximately 10 years. He settled for a time at the Red River colony, where a son was killed during the Seven Oaks incident in 1816 (known as La Grenouillère to the French) when the employees of the NWC engaged in warfare against the men of the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). Letendre returned west and spent time at Rocky Mountain House (known as le poste de la montagne de Roches), after which his family returned to the Red River, where he took up farming. He was a talented agrarian and prospered with a whopping 40 people in his care.

One of Letendre’s sons established himself at Pembina (North Dakota), while another, Louis, worked in the area between the Forks of the Saskatchewan River and Fort Carleton during the 1850s. It is Batoche’s grandson, François-Xavier who established the town of Batoche on the South Saskatchewan River, where he also ran a ferry. It is this individual who became well-known in the 1885 insurrection. The family name was also prevalent at Lac St. Anne.

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