SOULLARD, JEAN, gunsmith and goldsmith; b. 1642 at La Rochelle, France, son of Jean Soullard, master gunsmith, and Jeanne Couvreur, from Saint-Sauveur in the bishopric of La Rochelle; buried 9 July 1710 at Quebec.
The first official document that we possess, confirming Soullard’s presence in New France is dated 4 March 1666, the day on which he entered into a contract of marriage with Catherine Boutet, daughter of Martin Boutet* de Saint-Martin and widow of Charles Phélippeaux. After her death, he remarried twice. Nine children were born of the first marriage; one of the sons, Jean-Baptiste, wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, but fell ill when he was about 22. During this illness he made a will, in which he stated that he had abused his father’s confidence by stealing from him.
Jean Soullard seems to have been an active and enterprising man. His name appears regularly in the discussions in the Conseil Souverain of New France between 1669 and 1710. Thus on 13 Jan. 1683 the aforesaid council decided that Soullard should make the dies for stamping the coinage with the “fleur de Lys” and with a Roman numeral related to its weight. Various documents also inform us that the armourer Soullard received the sum of 10 livres for repairs made to the silver plate of the cathedral of Quebec in 1686. A decree of the Conseil Souverain on 29 April 1701 stated that “Soulard, a worker in the goldsmith’s trade, would appear before them in order to be heard on the value of the silver plate. . . .” It is certain, therefore, that Jean Soullard did work as a goldsmith, but like many of the craftsmen of his time he plied several trades. The majority of notarial acts give him the title of king’s gunsmith, and our knowledge of Jean Soullard as a goldsmith is confined to a few imprecise documents.
AJQ, Greffe de Romain Becquet, 4 mars 1666; Greffe de Louis Chambalon, 18 sept. 1692; Greffe de Gilles Rageot, 15 sept. 1701; Greffe de Pierre Rivet, 23 juillet 1710; Registres d’état civil de Notre-Dame de Québec, 1682. ASQ, Paroisses diverses, 9. Jug. et délib. P.-G. Roy, Inv. coll. pièces jud. et not., I, 49, 63. Marius Barbeau, “Deux cents ans d’orfèvrerie chez nous,” RSCT, 3d ser., XXXIII (1939), sect.i, 183–91. Jean Bruchési, “De la maison Soulard à l’hôtel Chevalier,” Cahiers des Dix, XX (1955), 91–105.