TASCHEREAU, THOMAS-JACQUES, agent of the treasurers-general of the Marine, councillor in the Conseil Supérieur, seigneur; b. 26 Aug. 1680 at Tours, France, son of Christophe Taschereau, Sieur de Sapaillé, king’s councillor, director of the mint and treasurer of the city of Tours, and Renée Boutin; d. 25 Sept. 1749 at Quebec.
Pierre-Georges Roy* claimed that the nobility of the Taschereau family was of long standing. Whether or not that is true, it was of the nobility of the robe, and it had lost a great deal of its prestige by the time its first and only representative to come to Canada, Thomas-Jacques Taschereau, arrived in the country. He was descended from a line of royal or municipal officials whose toponymical surname was Sapaillé; but to Canada he brought the surname Linière, which belonged to another branch of the family in France.
Thomas-Jacques Taschereau, baptized privately at his birth, received public baptismal rites only at the age of 14, and thus was able to sign his baptismal certificate. Almost immediately afterwards he lost his father and mother. Nothing more is known about him until Claude-Thomas Dupuy*, who had been appointed intendant of New France, brought him with him as his private secretary. If he accompanied his master on the same ship to Canada, Taschereau would have left Paris in June 1726, to arrive at Quebec on 18 August.
During his brief stay of two years, Intendant Dupuy was immensely active, and his secretary must not have languished in idleness. But as a result of the trouble which developed after the death of Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix*], Dupuy was recalled and returned to France in the autumn of 1728. Taschereau, perhaps counting too much upon the security of his employ, had taken a wife on 17 January of that year; it was time for him to think of marrying, since he was already 48. He married a Canadian girl who belonged to the nobility and who was not yet 20, Marie-Claire, daughter of Joseph de Fleury de La Gorgendière and grand-daughter of the discoverer Louis Jolliet*. With this responsibility, Taschereau remained some time at Quebec; there, in February 1729, he had his first child, who was buried a few days later, baptized. Then he returned to France, and was there with his wife in February 1732 when he was appointed to succeed Nicolas Lanoullier de Boisclerc as agent of the treasurers-general of the Marine in Canada. Canon Pierre Hazeur* de L’Orme, in Paris at the time, wrote to his brother Joseph-Thierry Hazeur: “M. Taschereau has his office as treasurer. He is going back this year with his wife. . . . I think he will do well in that country. We have always been good friends since his return from Canada. As for M. Dupuy and his wife, I have not been to see them at all. If they had both followed Taschereau’s advice, they would not be in the situation they are today.”
In addition to the office of agent, which bore with it prestige and a relatively lucrative salary, Taschereau received the office of councillor in the Conseil Supérieur, one of the highest responsibilities in the colony, on 1 April 1735. Used to administering public funds, the agent had the idea of speculating on his own account by entering into partnership on 16 Oct. 1736 with François-Étienne Cugnet, Pierre-François Olivier* de Vézin, Jacques Simonet d’Abergemont, and Ignace Gamelin* the younger to exploit the Saint-Maurice ironworks. The lack of experience of the manager of the company, Olivier de Vézin, brought the undertaking to bankruptcy in 1740 and the king, who had advanced the main part of the finances, took it over.
The best known and most lasting achievement of Thomas-Jacques, ancestor of the huge and illustrious Taschereau family of Canada, remains however his contribution to the settling of the seigneury of Sainte-Marie and the development of the Nouvelle-Beauce region. On 23 Sept. 1736 three adjoining seigneuries, all the same size, were granted by Governor Charles de Beauharnois and Intendant Gilles Hocquart* to Joseph de Fleury de La Gorgendière and his two sons-in-law, Taschereau and Pierre de Rigaud* de Vaudreuil. The seigneuries of Sainte-Marie, Saint-Joseph, and Saint-François were surveyed by Noël Bonhomme, dit Beaupré in December 1737. Taschereau received the first grant, which was behind the seigneuries of Lauzon and Jolliet, beginning at the Île au Sapin and consisting of “land with a frontage of 3 leagues and a depth of 2, on both sides of the river called the Sault de la Chaudière.”
The settlement of the Beauce region began in 1738 and the three seigneurs carried out in the allotted time the condition set by the authorities that “they build a carriage and cart road which will follow the river” as far as the Île au Sapin. On 2 Aug. 1738 the first native of the Beauce, Joseph-Marie Raymond, son of Étienne Raymond and Marie-Cécile Mignot, was born in the seigneury of Sainte-Marie. In less than two years Taschereau granted 28 pieces of land, thus creating the embryo of a parish; the grants belonging to Fleury de La Gorgendière and Rigaud de Vaudreuil constituted a separate nucleus centred upon the chapel of the seigneury of Saint-Joseph. In the autumn of 1739 the region of Nouvelle-Beauce already had 262 inhabitants.
In the course of one of the earliest surveys on his seigneury Taschereau had had the church site marked out and a piece of land reserved for the parish priest; later, on 25 Feb. 1746, he donated it formally by deed to the bishop of Quebec, who was at the time Pontbriand [Dubreil]. He did still more for the religious life of his censitaires. In 1741 he had ordered from Paris all the articles of worship for the chapel which was at that time installed in the seigneur’s home at the place called “le Domaine,” and he had given from his own furnishings a fine painting of the Madonna, chosen as the patron saint of the parish in honour of the lady of the seigneury.
As he was kept in Quebec by his duties as agent and councillor, Taschereau the seigneur must have come only rarely to his seigneury; at no time is his presence mentioned in documents. On 1 July 1745 he entrusted the material organization of his seigneury to an attorney-at-law, Étienne Parent, whom Intendant Hocquart had commissioned the previous year to act as surveyor in Nouvelle-Beauce. From then on the life of the parish and seigneury finally knew its full development.
At his death on 25 Sept. 1749 Thomas-Jacques Taschereau owned one of the two houses that were later to form the site of the bishop’s palace in Quebec; his great-grandson, Elzéar-Alexandre Taschereau*, was to become famous in the palace as the first Canadian cardinal. After her husband’s death Mme Taschereau was left well enough off, and, despite the long service of her husband, “a very honest man moreover,” she was not able to obtain a royal pension. She saw to the education of the eight children who remained of the 14 whom she had borne. Marie-Anne-Louise entered the Ursuline order in Quebec and became superior of the convent; the youngest child, Gabriel-Elzéar*, was the only one to continue the name and became the second seigneur of Sainte-Marie. Taschereau’s widow died at Quebec on 19 Feb. 1797, after having lived for several years with her son in the manor-house of Sainte-Marie.
AN, Col., B, 56, f.140v; 58, f.465v; 62, f.20v; 63, f.462v; 64, f.421; 65, ff.413, 423v, 436v; 66, ff.13, 24, 249; 76, ff.44, 86v; 81, f.66; 87, f.26v; 89, f.23; 91, f.30v; C11A, 66, f.249; 92, f.58; 93, ff.29, 193. ANDQ, Registres des baptêmes, mariages et sépultures, 25 sept. 1749. ANQ, Greffe de Jacques Imbert; Greffe de J.-N. Pinguet de Vaucour; AP, Famille Taschereau. ASQ, Fichier des écoliers. PAC, MG 18, H17. “Contrat de concession d’un terrain pour l’église de Saint-Marie, Nouvelle-Beauce,” BRH, XIII (1907), 372–73. “Lettre du comte de La Galissonière à madame Thomas-Jacques Taschereau,” BRH, VIII (1902), 328. “Recensement de la Nouvelle-France, 1739” (Census of Canada). Gaumond, Les forges de Saint-Maurice. Honorius Provost, Sainte-Marie de la Nouvelle-Beauce: histoire civile (Québec, 1970); Sainte-Marie de la Nouvelle-Beauce: histoire religieuse (Québec, 1967). P.-G. Roy, La famille Taschereau (Lévis, Qué., 1901). Henri Têtu, “Le chapitre de la cathédrale de Québec et ses délégués en France,” BRH, XVI (1910), 206, 226.