Nicolas-Antoine Coulon de Villiers


Coulon de Villiers, Nicolas-Antoine, captain in the colonial regular troops, major of Trois-Rivières; born 25 June 1708 at Contrecœur, eldest son of Nicolas-Antoine Coulon de Villiers and Angélique Jarret de Verchères; died 3 April 1750 in Montreal.

          Nicolas-Antoine Coulon de Villiers was a member of a typical military family of the Canadian nobility.  His father and at least two of his brothers, Louis and Joseph, had active military careers.  A cadet in 1725, Nicolas-Antoine served under his father at Fort St. Joseph (probably Niles, Michigan).  In 1730 he saw action against the Foxes.  Two years later he was recommended for a commission as second ensign.  In 1733, with his father, now commandant of Baie-des-Puants (Green Bay, Wisconsin), two brothers, and a brother-in-law, he was again in action against the Foxes; his father, brother-in-law, and one brother were killed, the other brother wounded.  Nicolas-Antoine rallied the French forces, routed the enemy in a counter attack, then took over command of the post.  In recognition of his valour and his family's loss he was given accelerated promotion to lieutenant in 1734 and succeeded to the command of his father's old post at Saint-Joseph.

          About 1742,Nicolas-Antoine returned to Québec where he married, on 7 October 1743, Madeleine-Marie-Anne Tarieu de La Pérade, widow of Richard Testu de La Richardière.  In 1744 he received the commission of captain solicited for him by Governor Beauharnois.  Two years later he was posted to Acadia and in February 1747, at Grand-Pré (Nova Scotia), he led some 250 Canadians in an assault on over 500 New England troops commanded by Arthur Noble.  His left arm was shattered by a musket ball but his force inflicted heavy losses on the enemy, forcing them to surrender.  In October Coulon de Villiers went to France for treatment of his wound at a thermal spring [see Louis de La Corne].  In 1748 he was awarded the cross of the order of Saint-Louis with an 800-livre gratuity, and was appointed major of Trois-Rivières.  After his return to Canada in 1749 he was obliged to have his wounded arm amputated.  He did not survive the operation, and was buried at Montreal on 4 April 1750.

—  William John Eccles
Professor of history, University of Toronto, Ontario

Source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
Nicolas-Antoine Coulon de Villiers (the original article)
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