DU CHESNE, ADRIEN, surgeon, interpreter, from Dieppe (Normandy); brother of Judith Du Chesne, the mother of Charles Le Moyne; known to have been in Canada during the period 1631–48; d. some time after 1656.
It is not known whether he was married, or at what exact date he arrived in New France. Benjamin Sulte, and following him Maude E. Abbott (the latter and John J. Heagerty call Du Chesne a Huguenot), are of the opinion that he came to Quebec as early as 1618. Basing himself on Faillon, Heagerty writes that he arrived with the Kirke brothers in 1629. Be that as it may, there is no evidence of his presence at Quebec until, 9 Feb. 1631, when his name appeared on the certificate of baptism of a daughter of Guillaume Couillard. In the colony he acted as a surgeon, and as an interpreter in the service of the Jesuits. In the 1634 Relation he is given the title of “Chirurgien de l’habitation.” The same Relation and that of 1636 recount that he accompanied the Jesuits on their visits to the Indians’ lodges, and that with Fathers Paul Le Jeune and Jacques Buteux he had occasion to serve as godfather to several Indian children and a number of adults, who were being baptized after it had been noted that they were in danger of death.
On 9 July 1637 Du Chesne acquired a grant of land on the outskirts of Quebec; on 5 April 1639 this grant was to be confirmed by a title-deed issued by the Compagnie des Cent-Associés. In 1641 he was at Dieppe. He reappeared in Canada in August 1645 with Pierre Legardeur de Repentigny’s fleet. In the same year he turned over to Abraham Martin the land that had been given to him at Quebec, on what are now the Plains of Abraham. In the autumn of that year, the Journal des Jésuites reported that Du Chesne “was sent to 3 rivers as soldier and Interpreter.” We have news of him again in 1648, at Quebec.
There is one last document that does seem to refer to Adrien Du Chesne. This is a notary’s deed from Dieppe, dated 17 Jan. 1656. In it mention is made of “Maistre Adrien Du Chesne, a surgeon at present living on the island of Guadeloupe.” Might it be on this island that he ended his career?
AJQ, Greffe de Jean Guitet, 17 oct. 1637. ASM, Tabellionage dieppois, 17 janv. 1656. ASQ, Documents Faribault, 14, 19, 157; Séminaire, LVII, 16. JR (Thwaites), VI, 126–28, 132; VIII, 258, 312; XXVII, 90. JJ (Laverdière et Casgrain). P.-G. Roy, Inv. concessions, I 36.
Maude E. Abbott, History of medicine in the Province of Quebec (Toronto, 1931; McGill University pub., VIII, no.63, 1932), 16. Ahern, Notes pour 1’histoire de la médecine, 186–89. “Biographies canadiennes: Adrien Duchesne,” BRH, XXVII (1921), 279. Boissonnault, Histoire de la faculté de médecine de Laval, 30–2. Archange Godbout, “Les origines de la famille Lemoyne, RHAF, I (1947–48), 533–40. J. J. Heagerty, Four centuries of medical history in Canada, and a sketch of the medical history of Newfoundland (2v Toronto, 1928), I, 223–24. Joseph Le Ber, “Adrien Duchesne,” SGCF Mémoires, IV (1950), 62; “Les origines de la famille LeMoine,” RHAF, I (1947–48), 101–7, 257–70. Sulte, Hist. des Can. fr., II, 37. Tanguay, Dictionnaire I, 207, 379.