PINSONAUT, PAUL-THÉOPHILE, notary, militia officer, businessman, and jp; b. 10 March 1780 in La Prairie, Que., son of Thomas Pinsonnault, a merchant, and Euphrasie Artaud; m. there 17 Aug. 1807 Clotilde Raymond, daughter of Jean-Baptiste Raymond, and they had 11 children; d. 27 May 1832 in La Tortue (Saint-Mathieu), Lower Canada, and was buried in the church of Saint-Philippe.
In 1796 Paul-Théophile Pinsonaut was doing his clerkship in the office of notary Jean-Marie Mondelet*. He received his commission as a notary in 1801 and drew up documents first in La Prairie and then in La Tortue, where by 1814 he had signed some 3,000 acts. He took up residence, possibly the year he was married, in the house where his wife had been born, a dwelling built at La Tortue by his father-in-law and eventually known as the Manoir Pinsonaut.
Pinsonaut took part in the War of 1812. In October 1812 as a militia captain Pinsonaut was put in charge of organizing the Chasseurs de Saint-Philippe, a unit in the Châteauguay élite company. He served for two years. According to a family tradition, he was at the battle of Châteauguay in October 1813 under Charles-Michel d’Irumberry de Salaberry.
When the war was over Pinsonaut by degrees gave up the notarial profession to go into business; in the period 1814–28 he signed only about 300 acts. In October 1817 his father-in-law handed over to him and his wife, as an advancement, a property of about 63 acres, two other pieces of land, and two potasheries valued at 12,000 livres; he had already given them 5,800 livres. Pinsonaut had become an important businessman. He went into lumber and potash production, developed his lands intensively, and invested in real estate. When he died, he owned some 800 acres in the seigneury of La Salle.
Pinsonaut served as a justice of the peace for the District of Montreal from 1821, acted as agent for the neighbouring seigneurs, and became a lieutenant-colonel in the militia in 1830; he had achieved success. In his manor-house he lived in the style of the upper middle class. A tutor from France, who had fled during the revolution, resided near the house and attended to the children’s education. They also went to the Petit Séminaire de Montréal or else to Mme Trudeau’s boarding-school in Montreal, which occupied the former Recollet friary and offered painting, music, dancing, and riding lessons. Wealth did not, however, shield the family from misfortune. On 1 May 1832 Pinsonaut buried his second son, who was only 19. Some three weeks later he caught the malady that led to his own death.
Two of Pinsonaut’s daughters entered religious orders: Marie-Adélaïde joined the Ursulines in Trois-Rivières; Marie-Honorine-Euphémie became a member of the Sisters of Charity of the Hôpital Général in Montreal and in 1840 was a founding member of the Hôtel-Dieu at Saint-Hyacinthe. His son Pierre-Adolphe Pinsoneault*, a Sulpician who had been ordained priest in France, became the first bishop of London in Upper Canada. Jacques-Alfred, a lawyer and seigneur of Léry, continued developing his father’s properties and in 1851 set up an experimental farm.
ANQ-M, CE1-2, 10 mars 1780, 17 août 1807; CE1-54, 30 mai 1832. PAC, RG 68, General index, 1651–1841. Officers of British forces in Canada (Irving). Henri Masson, Joseph Masson, dernier seigneur de Terrebonne, 1791–1847 (Montréal, 1972). J.-J. Lefebvre, “Jean-Baptiste Raymond (1757–1825), député de Huntingdon (Laprairie), 1800–1808,” BRH, 58 (1952): 59–72; “Manoir Pinsoneault ou maison Raymond?” BRH, 58: 173–75. É.-Z. Massicotte, “Paul-Théophile Pinsonault, ses ascendants et ses descendants,” BRH, 34 (1928): 207–20.