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JEANNEAU (Geanneau, Janot), ÉTIENNE, merchant, court officer and notary, militia officer; b. c. 1668, probably at “La Tardière” in Poitou, France, son of Étienne Jeanneau, a merchant, and Jacquette Clément (Vincent); m. on 16 Aug. 1694 Catherine Perrot at Sainte-Famille, Île d’Orléans; d. 8 May 1743 at Rivière-Ouelle, on the south shore of the St Lawrence.

Étienne Jeanneau was in Quebec by 1686; he is described as a merchant, without any indication being given of what kind of commerce he conducted. We know only that he had business dealings with merchant traders in La Rochelle. He remained in business until about 1702, although he had left Quebec in 1698 to settle on land he had bought that year in the seigneury of Rivière-Ouelle.

Some years later, on 14 June 1709, Étienne Jeanneau obtained a commission as court officer and notary to practise in the seigneuries of Grande-Anse, Rivière-Ouelle, Kamouraska, Rivière-du-Loup, and Port-Joli. This immense territory on the south shore of the St Lawrence was without a notary, and before Jeanneau’s appointment the habitants of these seigneuries had to request the missionaries or militia captains to draw up their articles of sale and other legal deeds; these are in part to be found in the notary Jeanneau’s minute book. Jeanneau also exercised the functions of subdelegate of the intendant, since there were no “judges in office” in the seigneuries of Grande-Anse, Rivière-Ouelle, and Kamouraska. Intendant Bégon gave him authority to draw up deeds of guardianship and to preside over the taking of property inventories. In 1721 Jeanneau was a lieutenant of militia.

Jeanneau may have carried out his duties to the satisfaction of the habitants in his territory, but his nearest neighbours quarrelled with him on several occasions, and Jeanneau had to appear before the Conseil Supérieur to obtain justice. The location of a fence, a right of way or a right to cut wood was often the cause of these disputes, which as a rule were verbal; in 1706, however, one of them ended in fisticuffs, and Jeanneau obtained 100 livres in damages for the blows he had received.

Jeanneau’s career as a notary lasted more than 30 years. He is typical of the travelling notary who had to cover a vast territory and had often, without any preparation, to exercise more than one judicial and administrative function, while at the same time farming his land to feed his family.

Michel Paquin

ANQ, Greffe de Louis Chambalon, 5 août 1694; Greffe d’Étienne Jeanneau, 16741743; Greffe de Guillaume Roger, 6 août 1698. Édits ord., II, 453. Jug. et délib., III, IV, V, VI, passim. Bonnault, “Le Canada militaire,” APQ Rapport, 1949–51, 356. P.-G. Roy, Inv. coll. pièces jud. et not., I, 40, 149, 181; Inv. ord. int., I, II, passim. Tanguay, Dictionnaire. Vachon, “Inv. critique des notaires royaux,” RHAF, X (195657), 101. J.-E. Roy, Histoire du notariat, I, 18589.

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

Michel Paquin, “JEANNEAU, ÉTIENNE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed April 23, 2014, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/jeanneau_etienne_3E.html.

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Permalink: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/jeanneau_etienne_3E.html
Author of Article: Michel Paquin
Title of Article: JEANNEAU, ÉTIENNE
Publication Name: Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3
Publisher: University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication: 1974
Year of revision: 1974
Access Date: April 23, 2014