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VERANDRYE, Pierre Gautier de Yarennes de la, Canadian explorer, born in Three Rivers, Lower Canada, 17 November, 1685; died in Quebec, 6 December, 1749. His father, Rend Gautier de Varennes, a native of France and lieutenant in the regiment of Carignan, was governor of Three Rivers. The son entered the French army, fought in the war with Great Britain, received several wounds in the battle of Malplaquet, and was left for dead on the field. After his recovery he returned to Canada, and in 1712 married the daughter of the seignieur of Ile Dupas. Like many others, Verandrye cherished the hope of discovering a northwest passage to Cathay, and on his imparting his belief to Father Gonor, the latter persuaded De Beauharnois, then governor of Canada, to give Verandrye fifty men and a missionary to carry out his intended explorations. In 1731 he crossed Lac de la Pluie 160 miles west of Lake Superior, built Fort St. Peter near the present Fort Francis, and in 1732 erected Fort St. Charles on the western shore of the Lake of the Woods. In 1733 he passed down Winnipeg river into the lake of that name, and is supposed to have erected a fort south of Assiniboine river near its junction with Red river, from which the present Fort Rouge is named. He and his sons shortly afterward built Fort de la Reine upon the site that is now occupied by Portage la Prairie, and subsequently continued their explorations westward until they had discovered the Rocky mountains. In 1736 one of his sons, the Jesuit Pere Anneau, and twenty others were massacred by Sioux on an island of the Lake des Bois. In 1749 Verandrye ascended Saskatchewan river to the forks, where he erected Fort Dauphin, and afterward returned to Quebec, hoping to obtain a further pecuniary grant, but died as he was about to resume his journey. While on his tour of exploration he found among massive pillars a small stone that bore on two sides graven characters of an unknown language. The stone was afterward sent to Paris, and there the resemblance the characters were thought to bear to Tartaric was regarded as supporting the hypothesis of an Asiatic emigration into America. The king of France conferred the cross of St. Louis upon Verandrye, and at the time of his death he was about to resume, by the king's desire, his attempt to reach the Pacific ocean. Alexander Tache, the first Roman Catholic archbishop of St. Boniface, Manitoba, who was a relative of Verandrye, laid in 1885 the foundation of a monument to commemorate him at St. Boniface.
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