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Olivier Letardif (c. 1602/1604–1665)

Graphite-on-paper drawing of a bearded man dressed in period costume, as imagined by the artist. It depicts the frontal view of a man standing on a pedestal. He is wearing a wide-brimmed, feather-topped hat; a ruffled shirt; a long frockcoat open at the front; breeches; white stockings; and shoes. He is holding a roll of parchment in his right hand.

Depiction of Olivier Letardif, founder of Château-Richer

It was April 17, 1646, and Olivier Letardif had just handed over £1,500. In exchange for this considerable sum, he became a partner in Compagnie de Beaupré and acquired one-eighth of the Beaupré and Île d’Orléans seigneuries. But that’s not all! In addition to being a co-seigneur, he was named the company’s “general and special procurator,” a role that included managing its affairs and granting land.

For Olivier Letardif, it was the high point of a long career in New France, where he had settled some 25 years earlier. He first made his mark as an interpreter to Samuel de Champlain during the latter’s discussions with the First Nations and as an employee of several big trading companies.      He then acted in turn as assistant clerk for Compagnie de Caën, then fur-trading clerk and head clerk for Compagnie des Cent-Associés. In fact, he was the one who handed over the keys of the Habitation to Lewis Kirke when Quebec fell to the British in 1629. And now he was a landowner!

True to form, Letardif was an engaged and tireless seigneur, making several voyages back to France over the years to recruit settlers. And his efforts paid off. Between March 1650 and October 1651, he officially granted some twenty concessions in the Beaupré Seigneury.

Three-page archival manuscript document describing the lease of a land concession to Claude Bouchard by Olivier Letardif. The text, penned in ink, contains a number of signatures at the bottom. The paper itself is yellowed and stained in places.

Lease granted by Olivier Letardif to Claude Bouchard on July 30, 1657


After living for several years near Cap Tourmente, in 1653, Letardif settled in Château-Richer on the land adjacent to the site set aside by Compagnie de Beaupré as its domanial lands. He would continue to be actively involved in developing the village by granting lots on his land and having the first seigneurial mill built. His long list of achievements included occupying the position of judge of the Beaupré Seigneury, a role that involved administering justice and receiving oaths and affirmations from its sub-fief owners. After falling ill, Olivier Letardif sold his share in the seigneury, and died three years later, in 1665.

Archival ink drawing showing a plan view of the heart of the village of Château-Richer. From bottom to top, we can see the St. Lawrence River, the shoreline, Chemin du Roy, the hillside, and the plateau. The drawing features all the land and buildings in the village, including the convent, windmill, presbytery, seigneurial manor, church, and the villagers’ homes.

Drawing of the village of Château-Richer showing the site of the first windmill and the seigneurial domain.


Colour photograph of a commemorative bronze plaque set into a rock that reads (translation): Olivier Le Tardif 1602-1665. Arrived in New France in 1618. Clerk of Champlain, then of Compagnie des Cent-Associés. Co-seigneur and provost-judge of Côte de Beaupré. Founder of Château-Richer. Primary ancestor, together with Barbe Esmard, of the Tardif (Tardy, Tardiff) family of North America. Interred in the crypt of the Château-Richer Church. The Tardif families of North America, June 27, 1993.

Commemorative plaque dedicated to Olivier Letardif in the heart of Château-Richer


Today, Château-Richer looks back at… its founder from Brittany. The town’s community centre proudly bears the name of Olivier Letardif, the first Tardif in North America.