POMMEREAU (Paumereau), JEAN-BAPTISTE, storekeeper, king’s writer, entrepreneur in the fishery; b. in Montreal, 15 April 1702, son of Pierre-Jacques Pommereau and Françoise Nafrechoux; d. in Quebec, 26 March 1742.
Jean-Baptiste Pommereau’s father was a merchant and militia captain at Montreal. Apparently he filled supply contracts for the colonial government, and his contacts with colonial officials probably enabled Jean-Baptiste to obtain positions in the king’s storehouses and in the office of the Marine.
On 2 May 1738 Jean-Baptiste Pommereau acquired a ten-year concession, for the seal fishery, to a four-league frontage on the Labrador shore running northeast from Cap du Gros Mécatina. In the fall the right to use some offshore islands was added; a ship and shallop were outfitted at a cost of 9,000 livres but got only as far as Gaspé. In the spring of 1739 he surrendered a half-interest to Guillaume Estèbe* and Daniel-Hyacinthe-Marie Liénard de Beaujeu. Estèbe inspected the grant, and in September the concession was extended three or four leagues to Rivière Thekaapoin.
In 1740 a considerable establishment was formed at Gros Mécatina. At least 14 men including two coopers were hired to work under Charles Lecourt, a ship’s master, and during the two succeeding years 16 and 22 men were hired. Also, the bateau used during the first year was abandoned and the schooner Louise entered into service. Each fall the ship left Quebec with men and supplies, wintered in Labrador, and returned the following spring with the harvest. In December 1741, Pommereau leased from François Margane de Lavaltrie an additional post at the Rivière Saint-Augustin for 250 livres annually. Some evidence suggests that his father participated with him in his undertakings. There can be little doubt Pommereau’s sealing ventures were profitable. During the six years following 1740, 2,730 hogsheads of seal and oil were harvested at Gros Mécatina; in the last three years more than 10,000 seal pelts, nearly half the production between Cape Charles and Mingan, were taken there. Pommereau appears to have been on the point of becoming an important Canadian merchant on the eve of his death in 1742.
Pommereau was undoubtedly assisted by his alliance with a great seigneurial family of Canada. On 11 March 1736 he married Claire-Françoise, daughter of Pierre Boucher de Boucherville. From this marriage there were five children whose godparents, François Foucault, member of the Conseil Supérieur, Intendant Hocquart*, and military officers Michel-Jean-Hugues Péan* and François Pécaudy de Contrecœur, indicated, along with Pommereau’s business associates, the social élite with which he identified. Later, his sons moved in this society, Jean-François serving as an officer in the colonial militia during the Seven Years’ War and the American invasion, Gilles-François becoming paymaster of the Saint-Maurice ironworks. Two of his three daughters, Catherine-Élisabeth and Françoise-Renée, married English officers: John Bruyeres*, secretary to governor Ralph Burton, and John Gough, military officer. During the next generation the influence Pommereau and his children had enjoyed disappeared.
Jean-Baptiste Pommereau predeceased his father who apparently remained well-to-do. In 1745 Pommereau’s widow married Joseph-Michel Legardeur* de Croisille et de Montesson who joined Estèbe and Beaujeu in the exploitation of the sealing grounds at Gros Mécatina.
Inv. de pièces du Labrador (P.-G. Roy), I, 66–68, 71, 179; II, 11, 20–45, 50–53, 54–57. “La chasse des loups-marins autrefois,” BRH, XXXIV (1928), 734. Gérard Malchelosse, “La famille Pommereau et ses alliances,” Cahiers des Dix, XXIX (1964), 193–222 [This article provides manuscript sources for the Pommereau family.].