DEMOSNY, JEAN (Jean-Baptiste) (the elder) deputy to the chief barber and surgeon to the king; b. 1643, son of Paul Demosny and Marie Filleul, from Grande in Normandy; d. 29 July 1687 and was buried the next day in the parish of Notre-Dame de Québec.
His duties made him responsible for supervising the surgeon-barbers of New France, for examining their qualifications, and for checking on their knowledge and their medical competence. He was also the surgeon appointed to the Hôtel-Dieu at Quebec, succeeding Jean Madry. On 9 Jan. 1673 he married in the parish of Notre-Dame de Québec Catherine Fol, who gave him two sons and five daughters, two of whom became Hospitallers of the Hôtel-Dieu in Quebec. In 1684–85 he was a churchwarden holding office in the parish of Notre-Dame de Québec. He died in 1687, leaving his widow in a precarious financial position; she remarried in 1691, becoming the wife of Claude Chasle. During his lifetime, Demosny had had to prosecute a good many patients who refused to pay for his treatments and for the remedies he had supplied to them. Some litigious cases were settled only several years after his death. He signed a good many apprenticeship contracts such as that concluded between him and the parents of Ignace Pélerin, son of Pierre Pélerin de Saint-Amant and Louise de Mousseaux. By the terms of this notarial document, Demosny undertook to teach the young Pélerin “the art and craft of a surgeon and everything connected therewith,” and to “furnish and supply him with subsistence, food and drink in his house, fire, bed and lodgings, and to treat him kindly and humanely as is proper.”
One of his sons, also named Jean Demosny, was, like his father, surgeon at the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec. He attempted to have his father’s creditors pay their bills, and trafficked in liquor, which was probably more lucrative than surgery and the sale of remedies that the patients, once they were cured, neglected to pay for. Born 12 June 1674 at Quebec, he married on 18 Jan. 1701 Julienne Bisson, who bore him two children, the first of whom lived only a few weeks. He took as his second wife (1704) Marie-Louise Albert, daughter of Guillaume Albert. Seven children were born of this marriage. The younger Demosny died on 11 June 1715.
Maude E. Abbott, History of medicine in the Province of Quebec (Toronto, 1931; McGill University pub., VIII, no.63, 1932). Ahern, Notes pour l’histoire de la médecine. Boissonnault, Histoire de la faculté de médecine de Laval.
Revisions based on:
Bibliothèque et Arch. Nationales du Québec, Centre d’arch. de Québec, CE301-S1, 9 janv. 1673, 30 juill. 1687; TL5-D167½.