LE BLANC, ÉTIENNE, merchant, landowner, jp, office holder, politician, and seigneur; baptized 13 Nov. 1759 in Champlain (Que.), son of Jean-Jacques Le Blanc and Marie Héon; m. there 10 May 1796 Josette Richerville, and they had at least one son; d. 11 July 1831 in Trois-Rivières, Lower Canada.
Étienne Le Blanc’s parents were among a group of Acadian exiles who spent the winter of 1757–58 at Quebec. The circumstances were scarcely promising since they had to endure the rigours of the Seven Years’ War. Many suffered from the severe famine, and by some accounts about 250 of them died of smallpox. A large number of the refugees fled Quebec and settled in the Bécancour region, which they had heard about in Acadia from the Abenakis and the missionaries. Jean-Jacques Le Blanc chose to settle at Champlain in 1758. He opened a small business which did so well that, when the time came, he was able to set his four sons up in good situations, in either farming or business.
Étienne Le Blanc was a merchant at Champlain in 1789. His business seems to have been rather prosperous, since he purchased numerous properties. On 21 April 1795, for example, he paid 700 livres for an eleventh of the seigneury of Champlain. In 1796, having obtained a licence, he married Josette Richerville, the under-age daughter of the seigneur of Dutort. The marriage contract stipulated that all the possessions and landed property belonging to the husband would remain his in his own right up to a total of 12,000 livres. The jointure was set at 3,000 livres and the preference legacy at 1,500 livres. On 4 Sept. 1824 Mme Le Blanc renounced community of property and it is thought that she took legal action against her husband for separation of property.
In 1801 Le Blanc moved to Trois-Rivières, where he continued to engage in business. He quickly adapted to his new setting. On 16 Aug. 1803 he was made a justice of the peace for the district, and his commission was renewed in 1805 and 1811. On 6 June 1808 he was appointed a commissioner for the relief of the insane and foundlings, as were Louis Gugy* and Charles Thomas. He was reappointed to this office in 1813, 1821, and 1825. In 1812 Le Blanc, with other residents of Trois-Rivières, sent a declaration to Governor Sir George Prevost* supporting Jewish merchant Benjamin Hart*, who was seeking a commission in the Trois-Rivières battalion of militia. Le Blanc was also a member of the Fire Society.
In 1811 Le Blanc had begun having difficulties with his brother Joseph, who launched an action against him in the Court of King’s Bench concerning his lands. In June some of his properties were seized and put up for sale. Joseph apparently did not win his case, and the disputed properties remained in Étienne’s possession. Through various transactions Étienne went on building up a large landed estate. In 1816 he owned the seigneury of Dutort, part of the seigneury of Champlain, several pieces of land in Godefroy and Roquetaillade seigneuries, and a lot in Trois-Rivières. He seems to have devoted the last years of his life to managing his properties.
In 1814 Le Blanc had become a member of the House of Assembly of Lower Canada. Together with Joseph-Rémi Vallières* de Saint-Réal he represented the riding of Saint-Maurice until 1816. He was present in the house only irregularly and infrequently. A moderate, he wanted to retain the French laws that were in force and took a stand against the introduction of English private law.
ANQ-MBF, CE1-7, 13 nov. 1759, 10 mai 1796; CE1-48, 13 juill. 1831; CN1-56, 18 mars, 17, 21, 24 juin, 15 août, 13 oct. 1823; 4, 22 mars, 12 avril, 28 mai, 10 juin, 17 août 1824; 7 avril, 11, 21 juin, 20 juill., 12 sept., 12 déc. 1825; 4 févr., 27 juin, 16 sept., 27 nov. 1826; 29 août 1829; CN1-87, 11, 21 avril 1795; 11 avril, 7, 9 mai 1796. PAC, MG 24, B1, 170: 3960–73; RG 4, A1, 125; 128; RG 68, General index, 1651–1841. L.C., House of Assembly, Journals, 1815–16. Montreal Gazette, 23 July 1831. Quebec Gazette, 9 April 1789; 3 Jan. 1799; 11 June 1801; 30 June 1808; 2 Nov. 1809; 6 Dec. 1810; 27 June, 10 Oct., 26 Dec. 1811; 9 Jan. 1812; 2 Dec. 1813; 1 Aug., 21 Nov. 1816; 24 May, 27 Sept., 8 Oct., 6 Dec. 1821; 22 Aug., 31 Oct., 5 Dec. 1822; 20 July 1831. F.-J. Audet, Les députés de Saint-Maurice (1808–1838) et de Champlain (1830–1838) (Trois-Rivières, Qué., 1934). Bona Arsenault, Histoire et généalogie des Acadiens (éd. rév., 6v., [Montréal, 1978]), 3. Adrien Bergeron, Le grand arrangement des Acadiens au Québec . . . (8v., Montréal, 1981), 5. [Prosper Cloutier], Histoire de la paroisse de Champlain (2v., Trois-Rivières, 1915–17), 2. Maurice Grenier, “La chambre d’Assemblée du Bas-Canada, 1815–1837” (thèse de ma, univ. de Montréal, 1966). C.-É. Mailhot, Les Bois-Francs (4v., Arthabaska, Qué., 1914–25), 2.