CORBIN, ANDRÉ, blacksmith and maker of edge-tools; baptized 2 May 1709 in Quebec, son of André Corbin, also a blacksmith and maker of edge-tools, and Charlotte Rainville; d. 26 March 1777 in Trois-Rivières.
André Corbin’s father had an ironworking shop in Quebec, and as an apprentice there André Jr learned the various techniques of working in iron. On 16 July 1731 at the age of 22, he married Louise, daughter of Pierre Petit*, in Trois-Rivières. He does not seem to have settled in this region at that time but instead returned to Quebec, where his first child was born in April 1732. That spring Corbin probably helped his father to test the quality of the iron extracted from the mines along the Rivière Saint-Maurice which François Poulin* de Francheville was beginning to work.
In 1734 Corbin returned to Trois-Rivières, where he had a house built of squared timbers (pièces sur pièces) and an ironworking shop in which he made tools and articles for everyday use. He also took on bigger jobs at the Saint-Maurice ironworks, where Pierre-François Olivier de Vézin hired him. But the quality of his work was not satisfactory, if a report written in 1741 by François-Étienne Cugnet* is to be believed: “As early as 1738 . . . we had discovered examples of money badly spent, for instance a double forge built by the aforementioned Corbin, an edge-tool maker, which the Sieur Olivier had set up at Saint-Maurice, and which he tore down two years later because he acknowledged that Corbin was more of a hindrance than a help.” This opinion must be treated with caution, however, because Cugnet’s chief purpose was to place responsibility for bad management of the ironworks upon Olivier de Vézin and thus clear himself with Intendant Hocquart and the minister of Marine, Maurepas.
In 1744 Corbin was working in Quebec as a blacksmith and edge-tool maker in the king’s shipyards. His ninth child was baptized at Pointe-Lévy (Lauzon and Lévis) in July 1744. He was back at Trois-Rivières in 1746, and his mother-in-law, Marguerite Véron de Grandmesnil, granted him “a piece of timbered land” in the seigneury of Yamaska. He continued to work as a “master ironsmith,” filling orders from private customers and doing jobs for the ironworks, to which he owed the sum of 110 livres in 1747.
On 8 Jan. 1748 André Corbin was married again at Trois-Rivières, to Véronique Baby, a cousin of René-Ovide Hertel de Rouville who later became director of the Saint-Maurice ironworks. Corbin probably carried out some contracts for the ironworks during this period. Although his name does not appear in its general statement of accounts, we know he was a master ironsmith there in 1751. During the same period he made “the cross for the tower and other pieces of ironwork” for the second church at Saint-Antoine-de-la-Baie-du-Febvre (Baieville) and received the sum of 74 livres.
Corbin remained an active ironsmith and took part in community life in Trois-Rivières until his death on 26 March 1777. His fellow citizens seem to have appreciated his sense of responsibility since, according to Benjamin Sulte*, Corbin was elected syndic of the town of Trois-Rivières in 1757. Although a decree of the Conseil Supérieur dated 4 Dec. 1758 refused him “the position of syndic of the citizens and bourgeois of the aforesaid town” so long as he had not proven his right to “assume the aforesaid position,” notarial acts show that Corbin for several years after the conquest bore that title.
ANQ-MBF, État civil, Catholiques, Immaculée-Conception de Trois-Rivières, 16 juill. 1731, 8 janv. 1748, 27 mars 1777; Greffe de J.-B. Badeaux, 18 juill. 1768, 28 nov., 11 déc. 1770, 23 mars, 29 mai 1773, 7 févr., 10, 11 avril 1777; Greffe de Jean Leproust, 6 mars 1752, 20 juill. 1756, 21 déc. 1757; Greffe de Louis Pillard, 25 juill. 1746, 30 janv. 1747, 7 janv., 25, 28 juin 1748, 18 janv., 27 juin 1758, 27 juill. 1762, 15, 17, 21 avril 1763, 8, 9 juill., 10 août, 24 sept. 1764, 17 mai 1765, 5 déc. 1766, 22 déc. 1767; Greffe de H.-O. Pressé, 7 juill. 1742. Archives paroissiales, Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue (Baieville, Qué.), Livres de comptes. IBC, Centre de documentation, Fonds Morisset, Dossier André Corbin. Recensement de Québec, 1716 (Beaudet), 36. P.-G. Roy, Inv. jug. et délib., 1717–60, VI, 127. Tanguay, Dictionnaire. J.-E. Bellemare, Histoire de la Baie-Saint-Antoine, dite Baie-du-Febvre, 1683–1911 (Montréal, 1911), 63–64. J.-C. Dupont, “Les traditions de l’artisan du fer dans la civilisation traditionnelle au Québec” (thèse de PHD, université Laval, Québec, 1975). J.-N. Fauteux, Essai sur l’industrie, I, 58. Mathieu, La construction navale, 96. Morisset, Coup d’œil sur les arts, 126. Sulte, Mélanges historiques (Malchelosse), VI, 112–13.