TURCOTTE, LOUIS-PHILIPPE, historian; b. 11 July 1842 at Saint-Jean, Île d’Orléans, C.E., of the marriage of Jean-Baptiste Turcotte, farmer, and Marie-Josephte Fortier; d. a bachelor on 3 April 1878 at Quebec.
After his first years of study at the parish school, Louis-Philippe Turcotte entered the first form at the Petit Séminaire of Quebec in 1855, and left it three years later without finishing his classical education. He then worked as a clerk for one of his brothers, a Quebec businessman. On 23 Dec. 1859, while crossing the frozen river to get to Île d’Orléans, he fell into the icy water, and this accident left him infirm for the rest of his life. He retired to his parents’ house at Saint-Jean and was encouraged by the parish priest, M. Antoine Gosselin, to explore the archives of the Île d’Orléans. This research enabled him to publish in 1867 his Histoire de l’île d’Orléans, dealing with the French period; in it he outlined the history of each parish and recounted shipwrecks in which islanders had been the victims. He then undertook the preparation of his principal work, Le Canada sous l’ Union the first part of which was published in 1871 and the second in 1872. He followed a chronological order from 1841 to 1867 and gave a faithful but colourless account of political events. He showed no ability to draw the threads together or to express views of his own.
In December 1872 Louis-Philippe Turcotte, became assistant librarian of the library of the Quebec legislature, which was directed by Léon-Pamphile Le May*. In November 1873 he was admitted to membership in the Institut Canadien of Quebec, where he held the offices of librarian (1874–77) and vice-president (1877). He had been president for two months when, on 3 April 1878, he died at Quebec.
Besides the two works already mentioned, Turcotte published in 1873, at Quebec, two short biographies, one of the Honourable René-Édouard Caron, lieutenant governor of the province of Quebec, and the other of Sir George-Étienne Cartier. In 1875, at the Institut Canadien, he organized a celebration of the centenary of the Americans’ siege of Quebec in 1775. The following year he published an account of these celebrations, as well as a study called Invasion du Canada et siège de Québec en 1775–1776.
Louis-Philippe Turcotte was a conscientious worker, but, lacking a certain kind of intellectual development, a proper perspective on events, and elementary qualities of style, he was able to produce only one useful work.
L.-P. Turcotte, Le Canada sous l’ Union, 1841–1867 (2v., 1re éd., Québec, 1871–72; 2e éd., Québec, 1882); Histoire de l’île d’Orléans (Québec, 1867); L’honorable R.-É. Caron, lieutenant-gouverneur de la province de Québec (Québec, 1873); L’honorable sir G.-É. Cartier, ministre de la milice (Québec, 1873); Invasion du Canada et siège de Québec en 1775–1776 (Québec, 1876). Dom. ann. reg., 1878, 368–69. Annuaire de l’Institut canadien de Québec, 1878 (Québec, 1879), 75–86. Henri d’Arles, Nos historiens (Montréal, 1921), 125–55. N.-H.-É. Faucher de Saint-Maurice, “Louis Turcotte,” RSCT, 1st ser., I (1883), sect.i, 111–18.