Joannis-Galand d'Olabaratz

( ? -1778)

Olabaratz (De Laubara, Delebroitz, Dolobarats, Olobaratz), Joannis-Galand d', merchant fisherman, privateer, and port captain; born probably at Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France; died 1778 at Bayonne, France.

          The cod fishery first attracted Joannis-Galand d'Olabaratz to Louisbourg, Île Royale (Cape Breton Island).  As early as 1722 he was granted a concession on the north side of the harbour for drying his catch, but he does not seem to have made the fortress his residence until the mid 1730s.  He should not be confused with his son Jean Dolabaratz, another merchant fisherman who was also active at Louisbourg during this period.

          When war came in 1744, d'Olabaratz hoped to profit by privateering.  That May he accompanied in his own ship the successful expedition led by François Du Pont Duvivier against Canso (Nova Scotia).  Returning to Louisbourg in early June, he signed two agreements: one for the purchase and outfitting of the corsair Cantabre, which he owned in partnership with Duvivier, François Bigot, and Jean-Baptiste-Louis le Prévost DuQuesnel; the other with a M. Leneuf de Beaubassin, probably Philippe, captain of the corsair Caesar, whereby the two men agreed to share their proceeds from privateering equally for one month.  The two ships sailed together in June but were separated, and the unlucky d'Olabaratz and his 93-man crew on the Cantabre were captured 15 leagues off Cape Cod by a Massachusetts coast guard vessel commanded by Edward Tyng.  Imprisoned in Boston for several months, d'Olabaratz returned to Louisbourg in November with information, perhaps intentionally leaked by Governor William Shirley, concerning a British amphibious assault on Louisbourg supposedly planned for the following spring.  D'Olabaratz wrote a report on New England in which he noted with a privateer's eye that Boston's material wealth would permit a handsome payment to avoid pillage.  He carried his report to France, where he was assigned to the fleet of Antoine-Alexis Perier de Salvert.  In 1746 he was given command of a frigate in the fleet commanded by the Duc d'Anville [La Rochefoucauld].  For these and other services, he was honoured in 1748 with the rank of fire-ship captain.

          D'Olabaratz returned to Louisbourg after it was restored to France in 1748, and in 1750 he became port captain, a post previously held by Pierre Morpain.  For the next eight years he filled this position to the satisfaction of several Louisbourg administrations and in addition to his regular duties undertook soundings of the harbour and nearby coastal waters.  On 6 January 1758, through winter seas usually considered unnavigable, d'Olabaratz succeeded in bringing provisions to Louisbourg, which had been blockaded the previous summer by the British [see Augustin de Boschenry de Drucour].  He was back in France in March 1758 when he was awarded the cross of Saint Louis and permitted to retire with a pension of 800 livres.  Later that year, however, he rejoined the service of the Marine as a port official at Bayonne.

[Two paragraphs that appear here in the original article have been deleted from this version.  They describe events on Lake Champlain that have been attributed erroneously to Joannis-Galand d'Olabaratz.  For comparison, you can read the original article.]

          Nothing is known of d'Olabaratz after 1759.  As a corsair, he had served the interests of France while he served his own.  During two wars his seafaring experience aided the French cause even though his personal goal was profit, the booty from privateering on the high seas or other raids.  Much of the French naval effort in North America until 1760 rested on the skill and daring of men such as d' Olabaratz, Morpain, and Jean Vauquelin.

          D'Olabaratz had married Catherine Despiaube, and they had at least one son, Jean, who became port ensign at Louisbourg in 1743 and eventually rose to the rank of brigadier of marine infantry.

— Terence Allan Crowley, Assistant professor of history
      University of Guelph, Ontario

Source: Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
Joannis-Galand d'Olabaratz (the original article)

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Captain Joannis-Galand d'Olabaratz
Captain Edward Tyng

25 June 1744

Joannis-Galand d'Olabaratz ( ? -1778)
Edward Tyng (1683-1755)

This is an image of the nameplate for the Boston Weekly Newsletter, 29 June 1744.
Boston Weekly Newsletter, Number 2100, 29 June 1744

This is an image of part an article, about events occurring at sea off the coast of North America, as published on page one, column two, in the Boston Weekly Newsletter, 29 June 1744.
This is an image of part the same article, about events occurring at sea off the coast of North America, as published on page two, column one, in the Boston Weekly Newsletter, 29 June 1744.
This is an image of part the same article, about events occurring at sea off the coast of North America, as published on page two, column two, in the Boston Weekly Newsletter, 29 June 1744.

Above is an image of an article, published in the Boston Weekly Newsletter, 29 June 1744, about recent events occurring at sea off the coast of North America, in the vicinity of Massachusetts and Nova Scotia.




        The following Privateers have lately sail'd on a Cruize against his Majesty's Enemies from this Port, viz.

Vessels Commanders Carriage
Billander John Rouse 16 24 100
Brigantine Sam. Waterhouse 14 26 130
Brigantine Nath. Ingerson 14 22 110
Schooner Samuel Gatman 8 16 70

        The Two latter of which are gone in Conjunction ; and there's another Brigantine that will put to Sea in a few Days, commanded by Joshua Loring, which mounts 14 Carriage & 30 Swivel Guns, and is to carry 120 Men ; also a Ship is building for the same Diversion, that's to mount 24 nine Pound Cannon, besides Swivels, and several other Vessels suitable for the Business would be fitted out immediately, could Guns and Ammunition be procur'd, which is hop'd will soon arrive from London.

        Besides these private Vessels of War, this Government have a Snow, Sloop and Brigantine in Commission ; the two first compleatly equipp'd in every respect, to protect our Trade, and defend our Coast from the Depredations of an Enemy, the other is fitting with the utmost Expedition.

        By a person who was Master of a Vessel lately taken by the French at Canso we are inform'd, That 'twas on the 14th of May last, just about break of Day, when the French came against that Place : Their Force consisted of a Sloop and Schooner, each having 8 Carriage and 8 Swivel Guns, attended with 30 smaller Vessels with Land Forces, the whole Number of Men were supposed to be 8 or 900, under command of Capt. Delebroitz : After they had discharg'd a few Broad Sides upon the Place, they sent off a Flag of Truce, and after some Capitulation surrender'd and were made Prisoners of War : the Guard-Sloop stood upon her Defence for some Time : but was oblig'd to strike to such a superior Force, after having one Man kill'd and 3 or 4 wounded : The Indians were very desirous of going ashore to destroy all the English people, and would have done it, but were prevented by the French Commander.  After the French had got Possession of the Block-House, they went to Mass, singing Te Deum, &c.  And having set Fire to the Stores and other Buildings, they departed and sail'd with their Prisoners about 70 or 80 in Number, as also the English Vessels taken by them, to Cape Breton, where all but the Guard-Sloop arriv'd the next Day : The English that were left on board the said Sloop having watch'd their Opportunity, when at some Distance, over-power'd the French Men and secur'd them in the Hold for 3 Days : but very unlucky it was, that not one of them understood how to navigate the Vessel, and being at a loss which way to steer, they releas'd the French Men, who soon carried them into Cape Breton, were they were made close Prisoners.

        Our Informant lost his Vessel and all he had with him except the Clothes he had on ; but having obtain'd his Liberty, came hither, with some others, in a Vessel from Cape-Breton last Saturday.

        On the 24th a Vessel arrived from Providence, in whom came Capt. Richardson of this town, and his Son, who were taken by the Spaniards near the Bay of Honduras some Months past.  Capt. Richardson informs, that he and 39 others were sent from the Havannah to Providence in a Flag of Truce, and were to be exchanged for as many Spaniards from Jamaica, there not being any at Providence.  He says, there were about 70 English Prisoners at the Havanna when he came away.

        We are informed from Statia that as soon as his Majesty's Declaration of War was published at St. Kitts, two of their Privateers went directly to St. Martin's, and plundered all the French inhabitants upon that Island.

        On Monday last Capt. Tyng in the Province Snow, returned from a Cruize, and brought in with him a French Privateer Sloop with 94 men, mounted with 8 Carriage and 8 Swivel Guns, burthen between 70 and 80 Tuns, commanded by Capt. Delebroitz, which was fitted out from Cape Breton, and sail'd about 3 Weeks before : Capt. Tyng discover'd her last Saturday Morning about 9 o'Clock, as he was laying too off of Crabb-Ledge, 15 leagues from Cape-Cod, it being very Calm : Perceiving she had a Top-Sail and was bearing down towards him, Capt. Tyng took her to be the Province Sloop commanded by Capt. Fletcher ; but soon after, as she drew nearer, he suspected her to be a French Cruizer under English Colours, whereupon, in order to prevent a Discovery he ordered his Colours to be struck, his Guns to be drawn in and his Ports to be shut close, and at the same Time the Bulk Head to be taken down : When the Privateer had got within about Gun-shot of Capt. Tyng, taking the Snow to be a Merchant-Man, they fired upon him ; upon which Capt. Tyng threw open his Ports, run out his Guns, hoisted his Colours and fired upon them : Perceiving their Mistake, they tack'd about, put out their Oars and tug'd hard to get off after firing two or three Guns more : It continuing very calm, Capt. Tyng was obliged to order out his Oars and to row after her, firing several Times his Bow Chase at her, in which the Gunner was so skilful, that 9 Times the Shot did some Damage either to her Hull or Rigging : About Two o'Clock the next Morning he came up pretty close with them being very much guided by 4 Lanthorns which they had inadvertently hung out upon their Rigging in the Night ; finding they were bro't to the last Tryal, attempted to board Capt. Tyng, which he perceiving, brought up his Vessel and gave them a Broadside, they having before thro' Fear all quitted the Deck : The Mast being disabled by a Shot, it soon after broke off in the middle : Upon firing this Broad-side they cry'd for Quarter ; and then Capt. Tyng order'd them to hoist out their Boat and bring the Captain on board, but they answer'd that their Tackling was so much shatter'd that they could not get out their Boat with it ; they were then told they must do it by Hand : Accordingly they soon comply'd, and the Captain being brought on board deliver'd his Sword, Commission, &c. to Capt. Tyng, desiring that he and his Men might be kindly us'd, he was promis'd they should ; and then the other Officers, being a 2d Captain, 3 Lieutenants, and others Inferiour, were brought on board, and the next Day the rest of the Men who were secur'd in the Hold.

        The Night after Capt. Tyng brought them into this Harbour, they were convey'd ashore and committed to Prison here ; and the next Morning 50 of them were guarded to the Prisons at Cambridge at Charlstown : The Officers and Men are treated with much Humanity and Kindness.

        'Tis remarkable that notwithstanding the great Number of Men on either Side, in the attack and surrender, there was not one kill'd or wounded.

        Capt. Morpang in a Schooner of 110 Tuns, mounting 10 Carriage Guns, 4 Pounders, and 10 Swivels, with 120 Men, came out with Delebroitz from Cape Breton, and we hear he is appointed to Guard the Coast there till a Vessel of greater Force arrives for that Purpose.

        We hear that they had Advice at Cape-Breton from Quebec, that they were in great want of Provisions.

        Last Tuesday Capt. Fletcher in a Sloop in the Province Service, well fitted and mann'd, sail'd on a Cruize.

        And, on the next Day about 10 o'Clock sail'd on another Cruize, Capt. Tyng in the Province Snow, from this Harbour.

        We have certain Advice from New-York, by several Hands, That on Friday last Capt. Peter Warren, in his Majesty's Ship Superbe of 60 Guns, arriv'd there from the West-Indies ; he brought in with him a French Ship which he had taken in his Passage, having on Board 400 Hogsheads of Sugar.  He was receiv'd there with great Rejoicings.

        A Number of great Guns were heard on board several Vessels from different Parts, who came in Yesterday, as they sail'd along in the Bay, which occasion'd various Conjectures ; some concluding there must have been an Engagement, either by the Province Snow, or Sloop, or some Privateer, against an Enemy ; but it turn'd out to be two of our Privateers at Cape Ann, clearing their Guns before they put to sea.

        Yesterday Capt. Roach came up in a Vessel from Cape-Cod, who informs, That on Saturday last, just before Night, being bound hither in a Sloop from Nantucket, which had on board 330 Barrels of Oyl...


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