LEVASSEUR, MICHEL, silversmith, born in France, resident of New France from 1699 to c. 1709; married Madeleine Vilers, and had seven children; the eldest, a girl, was born in Quebec in 1700.
Levasseur was the first member of his craft working in Quebec during the French colonial period whose activities have been documented. The records of Notre-Dame de Québec show that in 1707 he cleaned the silver and the following year he repaired a chalice and a ciborium. In 1709 he made a sanctuary lamp for the Quebec seminary. Shortly after this he returned to France where he had difficulty in finding work because of the opposition of the silversmiths of Rochefort.
During his ten-year stay in New France Levasseur followed the traditional pattern of the master silversmith in teaching his craft to others. According to a deed of 2 May 1708, he signed an agreement to teach his craft to Pierre Gauvreau and “to no one else.” Shortly afterwards, he was released from this contract by the Intendant Jacques Raudot and allowed to take another apprentice, Jacques Pagé*, dit Carcy. Under the terms of such indentures, the master silversmith, in return for a sum of money from the parents, undertook to take the apprentice into his household for a period of seven years, teach him the “mystery” of his craft, and provide shelter, food, and clothing; he also assumed certain obligations for his education and attendance at church. No wages were paid to the apprentice.
To date no examples of Levasseur’s work during his stay in Canada have been identified.
Jug. et délib., V. Taillemite, Inventaire analytique, série B, I, 205. Tanguay, Dictionnaire, I. John Langdon, Canadian silversmiths 1700–1900 (Lunenburg, 1966); Canadian silversmiths and their marks 1667–1867 (Lunenburg, 1960). Ramsay Traquair, The old silver of Quebec (Toronto, 1940). Marius Barbeau, “Deux cents ans d’orfèvrerie chez nous,” RSCT, 3d ser., XXXIII (1939), sect.i, 183–91. Alfred Jones, “Old church silver in Canada,” RSCT, 3d ser., XII (1918), sect.ii, 135. Gérard Morisset, “L’orfèvre Michel Levasseur,” Revue de l’université d’Ottawa, XVII (1947), 339–49.