THE ANCESTOR OF THE PREMIER OF QUEBEC
COUILLARD DE LESPINAY, Louis, fisherman, hunter, and seigneur; 1629-1678. D.s., Quebec, 1st May 1667. 2 p. folio and docket on conjugate blank leaf.
Land grant by Couillard for some property on the seigneurie of Lauzon.
Pardevant Le nore Royal en la nouvelle france Et tesmoins soubssignez fnt present en leurs personnes Louis Couillart sieur de lEspinay Et damlle genefievfe desprez sa femme de luj suffisamment octroyée pour l effet des presents. Lesquels ont ceddé et transporté a Jean Bourasseau Et Marie Vallée sa femme de luj aussy octroyée pour l effet qui Ensuit a ce present et acceptant une Concession scize En la Seigneurie de lauson [le mot «joign. » rayé dans le texte] Consistant en quatre arpens de terre de front sur quarante arpens de profondeur Joignant d’un costé au Sr Charles Amyot Et dautre costé a henry breau Sr de Pommainville Et ce aux Charges Et Conditions suivants, Cest a scavoir les presents se sont obligez Et obligent de payer par Chacun an auxds Sr Et damlle de lespinay ou au porteur la Somme de trente Livres Tournois Et deux Chappons vifs payable par lesd. preneurs en bled anguille ou argent par Chacun an Chacque jour Et feste [de] St Martin dhyver Moyennant que lesd. preneurs seront obligez dentretenir Et Executer le Contract de Concession qui en a esté donné a Jean Baptiste Couillart fils aysné desd. bailleurs par deffunct Messre Jean de lauson vivant Chevallier grand
[ p. 2]
seneschal de la nouvelle france Lequel Contract lesd. bailleurs se sont obligez mettre en mains desd. preneurs dans huictaine et d autant que la susd. concession appartient au Sr Jean baptiste Couillart fils aysné de Sr Guillaume Lesd. partyes sont Convenus Et Tombez d’accord que lorsque le Sr Jean baptiste Couillart aura atteint l’aage de Majorité Il y sera loisible de Rentrer en lad. Concession en Rembourst lesd. preneurs des frais [le mot « que » rayé dans le texte] Et travaux quils auront peu faire sur lad. Concession Et ce audit despens Et gens a ce cognoissant. Car ainsy &c. Promettant &c. obligeant &c. Chacun en droit sy &c. Renonceant &c. fait Et passé a quebeq Estude du no.re susd. Et soubsigné le premier Jour de May 16c Soixante sept presence Srs Louis de la Chaize, Et Nicolas gauvreau tesmoins soubsignez avecq lesd. bailleurs Et ont lesd. preneurs desclaré ne scavoir escrire ny signer de ce Enquis suivant l’ordonnance.
[signé:] Louis Couillart ; Louis de Lachaise ; Nicolas Gauverau ; Duquet [avec paraphe]
[titre à l’endos du feuillet blanc conjoint:]
Concession Louis Couillart Sr de Lespinay a Jean Bourasseau de pre.r may 1667.
DUQUET DE LA CHESNAYE, Pierre, explorer, royal notary, attorney-general, seigneurial judge, seigneur; baptized 14 Jan. 1643 at Quebec and was buried there on 13 Oct. 1687.
Son of Denis Duquet and Catherine Gauthier, Pierre was one of the first pupils of the Jesuit college of Quebec. The Journal des Jésuites stresses on different occasions the role that he played in the musical portion of the religious ceremonies.
Shortly after leaving the college, Duquet, at the age of 20, bought the registry of the notary Guillaume Audouart, whom he succeeded as royal notary. His commission, dated 31 Oct. 1663, made him the first Canadian-born notary.
At this time Duquet had only just returned from an expedition, directed by Guillaume Couture, which had taken him during the summer a little beyond Lake Nemiskau, about a hundred miles from Rupert River. This was the second attempt by the French to reach Hudson Bay by land.
Like most of the notaries of his period, Duquet had a well-filled career: he was often given power of attorney by litigants, and in addition he was commissioned to carry out several inquiries into irregularities in the liquor traffic. In the autumn of 1666 he went with the Carignan-Salières regiment into Iroquois territory and signed on 17 October the Procès verbal de la prise de possession des forts d’Agnié. Deputy attorney-general (1675–1681), attorney-general (1681–1686), seigneurial judge of Notre-Dame-des-Anges, of the Île d’Orléans and of Orsainville, he was moreover the owner of several properties at Quebec and Lévis and of two seigneuries granted to him in 1672 and 1675. His multifarious occupations prevented him, however, from giving the desired attention to his notarial acts, in which are to be found many errors and omissions. His registry, which is nevertheless very interesting, is preserved in the Judicial Archives of Quebec.
On 25 August 1666 Duquet had married at Quebec Anne Lamarre, who came originally from the parish of Saint-Sulpice in Paris. André Vachon (DCB)
COUILLARD DE LESPINAY, Louis, fisherman, hunter, and seigneur; b. 1629, third child and eldest son of Guillaume Couillard and Guillemette Hébert, baptized 18 May 1629 at Quebec just two months before its capture by the Kirkes; d. 1678.
He received some education from the Jesuits but early showed a liking for movement and adventure. At 17, with four lively companions of about his own age – all rascals (“tous fripons”) comments the Journal des Jésuites – he made a voyage to Old France. Never daunted by danger, he had many narrow escapes and repeatedly turned up safe and sound after rumours of his capture or death. At the age of 21 he formed an association with seven other young men, for hunting seals, an occupation which entailed months of extreme hardships on the shores of the gulf.
On 29 April 1653, he married Geneviève Després in the parish of Notre-Dame de Québec. The following year he bought half the seigneury of the Rivière-du-Sud about 30 miles below Quebec on the south shore of the St. Lawrence. A year later, with the acquisition of the other half, he became the third seigneur of a domain originally granted to Governor Huault de Montmagny (1646).
He did not settle down on it, however, but continued his voyages. Going to and fro between Quebec and Tadoussac or the gulf, his boat transported a variety of passengers: frequently a Jesuit father, sometimes a government official, and once a fugitive from justice who was hanged the day after Lespinay landed him at Quebec.
In October 1656, he broke the Canadian record for cod-fishing by catching 1,000 in one day at Malbaie. In 1659 he caught 220 seals on a flat rocky island opposite Tadoussac. Later this rock (Île Rouge) was ceded to him exclusively. In 1664 Lespinay’s discovery of a mine earned him a grant of 1,000 livres from the Conseil Souverain.
The Intendant Talon was well pleased with his enterprising spirit. His activities produced results which were tangible proof of the colony’s potential wealth. Seal-hunting, for instance, furnished oil in such abundance that it could be exported to the Antilles. In 1665, in three weeks’ hunting, Lespinay cleared a profit of 800 livres.
Guillaume Couillard was granted letters of nobility in 1654 and his son Louis, on the recommendation of Talon, received them in 1668. These letters, although not yet registered by 1669 when Louis XIV abolished such unregistered titles, were none the less valuable to Couillard and his descendants for no one questioned the title. On 30 June 1692 the Conseil Souverain even ordered that the patent be inscribed in the council’s registers. Couillard still took pride in what he earned by work, however, as is evident in the motto he chose: Prix des travaux n’a rien de vil.
At the age of 45 he transferred his energies from the water to the land. He had his seigneury surveyed by his brother-in-law Jean Guyon Du Buisson (1619–94) and grants made to prospective settlers, most of them connections of the Hébert family. He himself, says his descendant Couillard Després, supervised the clearing of the land and shared the toil with his tenants.
A manor house of stone, 40 ft. by 24 ft., surrounded with a palisade for protection against the Iroquois, was erected on a slight promontory overlooking the junction of the Rivière du Sud with the St. Lawrence. Nearby was a waterfall which could turn a mill-wheel. Lespinay engaged a skilful builder to construct a flour mill and equip it with everything necessary for the production of good flour. It cost 900 livres.
The expenses of clearing and building exhausted his capital. As well as selling hereditary land at Quebec, he borrowed money from the Jesuit fathers and from Charles Bazire.
To his seigneury he gave the name La Couillardière but the old name, Rivière-du-Sud, later prevailed. The parish was called Saint-Thomas de Montmagny.
He died in the summer of 1678 at the age of 49. His creditors seized his seigneury (his debts by this time had passed through several hands) and his wife and six children were left with nothing. His wife, however, was legally entitled to claim her dowry; she did so and with it bought back the land. It remained in the possession of the family, says Couillard Després, for another century and a half.
Ethel M. G. Bennett (DCB)
GAUVREAU, Nicolas, armourer, 1641-1713, in 1668 married Simone Bisson. (Tanguay)
LACHAISE, Louis, in 1667 married Jeanne-Claude Duboisandré, widow of Pierre Rencourt.