GENDRON, PIERRE-SAMUEL, notary and politician; b. at Sainte-Rosalie, Lower Canada, and baptized 31 Aug. 1828 at Saint-Hyacinthe, son of Simon Gendron, a farmer, and Marie-Louise Dion; m. in May 1850 his cousin Louise Fournier, and they had several children; d. 11 June 1889 at Saint-Hyacinthe, Que., and was buried in his native village.
Pierre-Samuel Gendron studied briefly at the Séminaire de Saint-Hyacinthe, but had to leave for reasons of health. In 1847 he turned to teaching, and for about ten years taught in the parishes of Saint-Simon and Sainte-Rosalie. He then entered the office of notary Louis Taché at Saint-Hyacinthe as a clerk and was admitted to the profession in 1860, establishing himself in his native parish. He had been secretary-treasurer of the school district and the village since 1855.
Gendron was a candidate for the Conservatives in the riding of Bagot in the 1867 election; he sat in both the provincial and the federal legislatures until the double mandate was abolished by the federal government in 1873. He then decided to continue in provincial politics and was re-elected by acclamation in 1875. The next year, however, he resigned to become protonotary of the Superior Court in Montreal, an office he held until 1887 when he returned to Saint-Hyacinthe.
In politics, Gendron had defeated such illustrious opponents as Maurice Laframboise and François Langelier*. Well informed about his electors’ needs, as a parliamentarian he was active in the house and also in his constituency. He was secretary of the agricultural society in his county, and was concerned about the stagnation in the farming sector and about emigration to the United States. Taking advantage of a law passed during the government of Pierre-Joseph-Olivier Chauveau to establish and encourage societies to promote colonization, in 1869 he founded the Société de Colonisation du Comté de Bagot, becoming its first president. As part of its work this body attempted to repatriate French Canadians by helping them to establish themselves, particularly in the region of Compton. During the debate on a bill to revise the municipal code in 1870, he got an amendment carried despite cabinet opposition. Gendron was aware of economic trends and in the 1871 session of the Quebec legislature proposed a special committee to study ways of developing and encouraging industry; in 1873 this committee was made a permanent one. In 1875 he became president of the Lake Champlain and St Lawrence Junction Railway Company (previously the Philipsburg, Farnham and Yamaska Railway Company); he had taken effective steps to ensure that this railway would run through his county when a private bill had been debated in 1871.
The Conservative newspapers often suggested Pierre-Samuel Gendron for important posts, but he was the typical representative of a rural constituency. He never neglected personal contacts with his constituents and often participated in the many local festivities. Remaining close to his origins, he lived in his riding throughout his entire political career. His extensive knowledge of local institutions and viewpoints, as well as his sustained effort, ensured his electoral successes.
PAC, MG 26, A, 345: 158300–1; 371: 172392–95; 523: 571; RG 4, B26, 137: no.5324. Québec, Parl., Doc. de la session, 1869–70. Le Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe, 22 juill., 7 oct. 1869; 13 juin, 1er juill. 1876; 13 juin 1889. Canadian directory of parl. (J. K. Johnson), 225. P.-S. Gendron, La famille Nicolas Gendron; dictionnaire généalogique (Saint-Hyacinthe, Qué., 1929). J.-B.-O. Archambault, Monographie de la paroisse de Sainte-Rosalie (Saint-Hyacinthe, 1939). M. Hamelin, Premières années du parlementarisme québécois. Edmond Chartier, “La colonie de rapatriement,” Rev. canadienne, nouv. sér., 13 (janvier–juin 1914): 406–15.
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