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
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