LANDRON, JEAN-FRANÇOIS, silversmith, merchant; b. 27 Dec. 1686 in Quebec, son of Étienne Landron, a merchant, and Élisabeth de Chavigny; d. probably in 1760.
Nothing is known of Jean-François Landron’s childhood and education. On 10 Nov. 1719 he signed a marriage contract with Marie-Anne Bergeron in Montreal before the notary Michel Lepallieur*; the wedding took place on 22 November. Born in Quebec and married in Montreal, he was referred to in 1724 as a silversmith in the account books of the church of Notre-Dame de Québec. For making a censer he received that year from the churchwarden in charge the sum of 138 livres 12 sols 6 deniers, which represented half the total cost, the difference to be paid by the canons of the chapter. The silversmith’s craft, however, does not seem to have been his only activity. Like the silversmith Michel Cotton, who was also a shoemaker, Jean-François Landron had to engage in other activities to be assured of a decent income. This diversity of occupation is encountered not only among the silversmiths, but also among painters and sculptors.
A document dated 17 July 1728 mentions that Landron, silversmith, bought from Pierre Trefflé, dit Rottot, “50 barrels of green peas at nine livres per barrel,” and in return he promised “to supply and deliver to the aforementioned Sieur Rotot four casks of spirits, four casks of tafia, eight casks of Bordeaux wine, a hundred bushels of salt.” This document illustrates the importance of Landron’s commercial activities, although his official occupation continued to be that of silversmith, according to this notarial deed. From 1730 on, it seems, Landron devoted himself more and more to trade. At least that is what the judgements and deliberations of the Conseil Supérieur at this time lead us to believe. The lawsuits in which Landron was involved deal in general with trade, and he himself is hardly referred to any more as a silversmith, but rather as a merchant, bourgeois, or trader. If a document of the period is to be believed, he apparently organized in 1730 a lottery, the articles in which were evaluated at a little more than 2,025 livres. In 1731 he bought at Île Jésus for 1,800 livres a boat named the Saint-Guillaume. According to the intendants’ ordinances for 1744 and 1747 he is supposed to have owned in addition two other boats, the Heureux Retour and the Saint-François, for his trade on the Labrador coast.
It seems therefore that Landron was a merchant more than a silversmith for a great part of his life. Despite that, he does not seem to have neglected the silversmith’s craft completely, since in 1742, at the time of the inventory after the death of Jacques Pagé, dit Carcy, he was appointed the expert for appraising the deceased man’s silversmith and clockmaker’s tools. Some examples of Landron’s work remain today. The Musée du Québec owns three pieces of plate bearing his stamp: on them can be read his initials I. F. above L crowned with a fleur-de-lis.
The place and date of Jean-François Landron’s death cannot be stated with certainty. He died sometime between 26 July 1756, the date when he became godfather to Françoise Poisset, and 7 Nov. 1760, when his widow lent some money. A document from the judicial archives of Beauce (Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce) mentions that a certain François-Xavier Landron, “in his lifetime a trader at Quebec,” was buried on 24 Jan. 1760 in the parish of Saint-Joseph. Only the slight difference in given names prevents a positive assertion that this death certificate is that of Jean-François Landron.
AJQ, Registre d’état civil, Notre-Dame de Québec, 27 déc. 1686, 26 juill. 1756. ANQ, Greffe de Jacques Barbel, 17 juill. 1728; Greffe de R.-C. Barolet, 7 nov. 1760; Greffe de J.-N. Pinguet de Vaucour, 18 juin, 17 août 1742. ANQ-M, Greffe de François Coron, 17 mai 1731; Greffe de Michel Lepailleur, 10 nov, 1717. Archives judiciaires de Beauce (Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce, Qué.), Registre d’état civil, Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce, 24 janv. 1760. IOA, Dossier Jean-François Landron, orfèvre. P.-G. Roy, Inv. coll, pièces jud. et not., I, 83. Tanguay, Dictionnaire. Gérard Morisset, Évolution d’une piéce d’argenterie (Collection Champlain, Québec, 1943), 8–9. Marius Barbeau, “Indian trade silver,” RSCT, 3rd ser., XXXIV (1940), sect.ii, 27–41; “Old Canadian silver,” Canadian Geographical Journal (Ottawa), XXII (1941), 150–62.