Clément Lérige de La Plante.

Compagnies franches de la Marine.

At age 25, Clément was a cadet in the Compagnies franches de la marine who arrived in Canada in the fall of 1685. He served as an aide to the Governor General of Quebec, Jacques-René de Brisay de Denonville (1685-89). It is unclear whether he might have been on the same ship as Denonville, which arrived safely on 1 August 1685, or more likely, if he was transported on one of the troop ships which landed about a month later. La Dilligente made it to Quebec on 20 August, Le Fougon made port riddled with typhus and scurvy, and finally Le Mulet. Over 300 troops were cared for at Hôtel-Dieu at Quebec, joining scores of colonists who had been struck down by an influenza outbreak.

Nicolas Varin dit la Pistole was another of our ancestors who served in this branch of the military.

The position of cadet was awarded to young men training to become an officer. While waiting for a coveted commission to open up cadets served with the rank and file. Their uniform differed by the addition of an aiguillette [braided loops of blue and white silk with brass tips which hung from the shoulder]. While engaged on a mission, their clothing more closely resembled that of a woodsman, who in turn adapted the attire of the Native Americans to include buckskin leggings and moccasins. The French quickly adjusted to the use of snowshoes like those native to the region to traverse the snow-packed countryside in the winter months. Like his comrades, Clément was armed with a musket and a brass-hilted sword that had a straight blade.


To his credit, the new governor travelled throughout the colony to assess its status. Like many observers of the time he was taken aback by the "robust and vivacious" youth who so resembled the Indians in their manner and dress - a byproduct of living in such close contact. He also noted that the arrangement of the seigneuries spread out along the river front represented a defensive nightmare and would have preferred the farmers homes were built in clusters that could be defended by a palisade.

Clément was garrisoned at Montréal.