Voyageur image for Delaronde family

Denys (Denis) De La Ronde

Our Denys (Denis) De La Ronde Family History

The Denys family figure prominently in the history of France and France’s explorations to the Americas. From the 1400’s and probably long before that they were defenders of the King as soldiers, sailors and in civil affairs.

(Possible ancestor) Jehan Denys (1450) was born in Honfleur, Normandy, France in the middle of the 15th century.His name is attested there in a register of the brotherhood of charity of the parish of Notre-Dame, in 1457.

He was the first great French explorer and navigator. He made a fishing trip to Newfoundland in 1506. He would have entered with the pilots Gamart and Thomas Aubert from Rouen, in the estuary of the Saint Laurent. He would have drawn up a first map of this estuary. Jehan DENYS, known as the “great capitano” in the Italian work “Raccolta de Ramucio” (1550-1556). He is said to have preceded Christopher Columbus to the American coasts. Indeed, on June 18, 1492, four days before the departure of Christopher Columbus, he arrived in Honfleur with two boats overloaded with rich goods from Mexico.

In 1504, he discovered part of the coasts of Brazil and he was the first Frenchman, in an authentic way, to visit the coasts of Newfoundland and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in 1506, 28 years before Jacques Cartier. He concretized this feat by establishing a map of the Gulf of St. Lawrence preserved today in the Ottawa archives.

He was the companion of VERRAZANO, commissioned by FRANCOIS I to discover the lands of North America, while he was working for the Dieppe shipowner Jean ANGO (1524).

Information copied from: Normandy Regional Maritime Heritage Committee.

Note: This family connection has yet to be positively proven, but is probable

(Probable ancestor) Pierre Denys 1485 – 1548

He was Intendant of Finances for the city of Tours, France.

Mathurin Denys de La Thibaudiere (1530 – 1584) (My eleventh Great Grandfather-EH)

There are 2 published accounts for this proven ancestor.

One story: He was a Captain of the Guards (King Henry the Third). On the seventh of May, 1589 while the King was besieged in the city of Tours, Mathurin was killed by a pike thrust. He was interred with full honors with the King marching on foot at the funeral processions. For his service King Henry the Third granted patents of nobility to his son Jacques

Second story: Mathurin was a merchant of Tours. He was a member of the wealthy bourgeoisie known as Sieur de Mussay.He was appointed estate manager at the castle belonging to the Bishop of Bourges. The social rise of the Denys family continued with his youngest son Jacques.

Note: all the rest of the information below this point has been proven

Jacques Denys de La Thibaudiere (1564 – 1631) He was a lawyer, administrator, advisor to the King and licensed in the election of Tours. He married Marie Cosier, daughter of a fur trader and a gentleman of the chamber  to the brother of the King of France.

Simon Denys de La Trinite (1599 – 1678): Click for more information

Pierre Denys De La Ronde (1631 – 1708)

He was a landowner and businessman in Quebec.

Read biography below:

DENYS DE LA RONDE, PIERRE – Volume II (1701-1740) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Louis Denys De La Ronde (1675 – 1741)

Louis Denys de La Ronde entered the naval service as a midshipman at Rochefort, France, in 1687. For the next 20 years he served in a wide variety of campaigns: he accompanied the deposed English king James II to Ireland in 1689, and saw action there at Bantry Bay and again off Beachy Head, England; in eight campaigns to New France between 1692 and 1705, serving several times under his older brother, Simon-Pierre Denys* de Bonaventure, he came to know the New England coastline well; in 1697 he accompanied Pierre Le Moyne* d’Iberville on his final and most dramatic campaign to Hudson Bay; and in 1699–1700 and 1701, at the specific request of d’Iberville, he served in the Mississippi expeditions. He was given his first command in November 1701, when d’Iberville entrusted him with the Enflammé for the return voyage to France. The following year, on his way to Quebec, he suffered a serious shoulder wound in an action against an English vessel. Twice, in 1695 and 1704, he was taken prisoner by the English on the high seas.

Louis was involved in many battles, spying, built the first ship on Lake Superior, etc.

It is well worth reading the full biography of Louis’ adventurous life.

Pierre Francois-Paul Denys De La Ronde (1722 – 1781)

He was a junior military officer stationed at Detroit at the end of the French Regime. Posted in Detroit when the English took possession of the country. He was instrumental in convincing the surrounding Indigenous peoples to accept British rule in 1764. He then settled in Montreal and took part in the defense of Fort St. Jean against the American insurgents who invaded Canada in 1775 and who briefly held him captive.

Charles Francois Denys De La Ronde Thibaudiere (1763 – 1840)

(My 5th Great Grandfather – EH)

Charles was born and baptized June 9th 1763 in Sandwich which is now Windsor, Ontario. 1763 was the year that Chief Pontiac attacked Detroit across the river from Sandwich. It was also the year of the Royal Proclamation transferring all French possessions in North America to British rule. Little is known of his early years, they were quite probably spent in Montreal. At some point he traveled to New Orleans where there was a large branch of the Denys Delaronde family.

Later Charles lived from the fur trade in the Pays d’en Haut.  He worked as a voyageur, which consisted of piloting the canoes that transported supplies to fur company posts. There are accounts of him working for the NorthWest Fur Company then later as an independent trader. I have a copy of him transporting goods from Montreal to Michilimackinac in 1837. The trade pass lists the following: 1 canoe and 8 men transporting kegs of gunpowder, shot, nails and rum.

 He settled in the Georgian Bay area where he built a trading post with his wife, Madeleine Pewadjiwonokwe.  The Laronde Trading Post north of Parry Sound is where most of Charles and Madeleine’s 9 children were born. Once called Chibechkon, it was located near the Shebeshekong River close to present day Dillon, Ontario in Carling Township. From there the family moved to Drummond Island, and finally Penetanguishene after the 1828 boundary agreement that made Drummond Island part of American territory. The people had a choice of staying on Drummond Island and becoming American citizens or moving to Penetanguishene where the British garrison was to be established. A land grant was offered to those choosing to move and remain under British control. Charles is listed as an employee of the Penetanguishene Military and Naval Establishment as a canoe man in 1829. In 1835 he was listed as a donor for the building of St. Anne’s Catholic Church, Penetanguishene. Apparently he bought a lot of 100 acres in this area in 1836. 

Link to Migration of Drummond Islanders

Charles François married Madeleine Pewadjiwonokwe according to native custom in 1797 and then according to Christian rites in 1818, at which time the children born of this union were legitimized.  

Madeleine Pewadjiwonokwe (about 1748 – before 1840) 

My 5th great grandmother – EH. Not much is known about our indigenous ancestor. She was born at Lac de la Clie (Lake Simcoe). She was of either Haudenosaunee (Huron or Mohawk) or Anishinaabe (Chippewa) heritage. On her 1818 marriage certificate she is referred to as “sauvagesse” by the priest at Lac des Deux Montagnes. On a historical note, in the early 1720’s about 250 Nipissing and 100 Algonquin were convinced by French Missionaries to join the 300 Christian Mohawk at the Sulpician mission village of the Lake of Two Mountains (Lac des Deux Montagnes). Known as Oka (Algonquin for pickerel) and Kanesatake (Iroquois for sandy place).

Six of the couple’s seven daughters married into the Métis and French Canadian voyageur milieu of Penetanguishene. The eldest daughter, Marie Louise Pitwanabokwe Delaronde married voyageur Jean Baptiste Croteau. (my 4x great grandfather – EH). This was the genesis of our familys Metis heritage. 

Jean Baptiste Croteau had two sons and four daughters with Marie Louise Piwanabokwe DeLaronde between 1823 and 1838.

He was a voyageur for the North West Fur Company from 1816 to 1821. In 1828, Jean Baptiste, along with his father Charles and brother Charles arrived in Penetanguishene as part of the Drummond Island Migration. He got a land grant in Penetanguishene on Water Street where he fulfilled his obligations to clear land and build a 12′ x 12′ log cabin for his family. This property was sold in 1871 by Jean Baptistes’ son, Charles.

On January 11, 1849, Jean Baptiste and Marie Louise attended the marriage of their daughter Mary Ann Croteau and Joseph St. Germain of Rama. They are shown as living in Georgina at this time.

 He died some time after 1849.