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  • Writer's pictureEllen Adams

Pierre Huet de La Valinière: Historical Marker

A Suplician priest of the 18th century

Pierre Huet de La Valinière was born in France in 1732 and in 1754 sailed for Montreal, where he completed his training for the priesthood at the Saint-Sulpice Seminary. For more than twenty years, La Valinière served in various parishes and missions in and around Montreal, but he was forced to leave Canada in 1779 because of his support of the American Revolution. La Valinière offered his services to the Americans, but they seemed not quite to know what to do with him. He returned to France for a time and after a brief stint in the Caribbean came back to North America and went to Kaskaskia in what is now Illinois. Here La Valinière came into conflict with his parishioners and other priests in the area, and was forced to leave after three years.

The historical marker on Lake Shore Road

In 1790, he arrived in Chazy to establish a church in what was then known as the Canadian Settlement, on the shores of Lake Champlain. Once again, he quarreled with his parishioners. This time, he held out for two years before his home and church were burned. Soon afterwards, he published a book entitled Vraie Histoire, ou Simple Précis des infortunes, pour ne pas dire, des persécutions qu'a souffert & souffre encore le reverend Pierre Huet de La Valinière, which recounted in verse the many trials he had undergone, none of which were his fault. He died in 1806, probably still insisting that he had never done anything wrong. La Valinière's church was the first Catholic church in this part of northern New York; there would not be another one until 1818, when a log chapel was erected in Coopersville.

This historical marker was erected by the Friends of the Library of the Chazy Public Library, as an initiative of the 350th Lake Champlain Anniversary Celebration. In 1959, the entire Lake Champlain basin, not just lakeside towns, celebrated Samuel de Champlain and his 1609 discovery of the region.

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