VOYER, JACQUES, notary, landowner, militia officer, office holder, and jp; b. 2 Jan. 1771 at Quebec, son of Charles Voyer, a notary, and Françoise-Charlotte Perrault; m. there 21 July 1800 Luce-Monique Pinguet; d. there 8 Jan. 1843.
Jacques Voyer was commissioned notary on 5 Feb. 1798 and set up an office in his home town. Prior to 1812 young Archibald Campbell* articled with him. Voyer took part in the defence of Lower Canada that year; having been made lieutenant-colonel of the Île d’Orléans battalion of militia on 5 April, he became a major in the 1st Select Embodied Militia Battalion of Lower Canada on 25 September, and was promoted lieutenant-colonel of the 4th battalion on 26 October. For some months he had acted as paymaster of the 1st battalion. Voyer seems to have distinguished himself during the war. It is evident that he gave it his complete attention, since there are no notarized deeds listed for 1814 and 1815 in the index of his notarial records. He put a notice in the Quebec Gazette/La Gazette de Québec on 25 May 1815 announcing his intention “to resume business as a notary public . . . on the Place du Marché [Place Notre-Dame] in Lower Town.” At the same time he offered his services “to the public, and more particularly to the traders, merchants, and ship captains who before his departure for the frontier honoured him with their confidence.” Among his regular clients was George Pozer, whose appointed notary he was.
In 1806 Voyer had been a member of the company that had made a successful bid for Frampton Township. His brother-in-law Pierre-Édouard Desbarats* acted as township leader at the time. Among the other associates were George Pyke*, François Vassal de Monviel, and William Berczy*. As a former militia officer, Voyer received 1,200 acres in the township in 1826. He obtained a further 1,072 acres in 1838. Considered to be a large landowner, he adopted the same methods of settlement as Desbarats and recruited settlers from among the large number of Irish who were arriving at the port of Quebec. Both men took care to choose robust and peaceable immigrants. The notice he published in the Quebec Gazette on 9 April 1827 was addressed to the settlers, mostly Irish, already living in the township. Voyer pointed out that he would grant them land “at the rate of 10 shillings in legal currency a year for 50 arpents, with no other charges whatsoever except for constructing and maintaining roads. They will have possession for three years without paying any rent.”
Throughout his career Voyer was given various commissions that witness to his good name. On 24 May 1815, for example, he was appointed commissioner to examine claims to compensation under the Militia Men Indemnification Act for injuries suffered in the War of 1812. On 22 November he was named justice of the peace for the district of Quebec, an appointment renewed in 1821, 1828, 1833, 1836, and 1838. In the course of the last two years he was also a commissioner for building churches and presbyteries in that district. Voyer had always shown an interest in the field of education. In 1821 he had helped set up the Education Society of the District of Quebec, of which Joseph-François Perrault had been elected president. Voyer sat on the committee to draw up its bylaws along with Jérôme Demers*, Thomas Maguire*, Joseph Signay, John Neilson, and Joseph-Rémi Vallières de Saint-Réal, among others.
Jacques Voyer apparently had no children. In the handwritten will he made on 12 March 1823 he left all his property to his wife, enjoining her to pass the estate on to his nephews and nieces. He drew up his last notarized deed on 4 Aug. 1842 and died on 8 January of the following year. On 25 June 1845 Mme Voyer married Étienne Gauvin.
ANQ-Q, CE1-1, 2 janv. 1771, 21 juill. 1800, 11 janv. 1843. Quebec Gazette, 25 May 1815, 9 April 1827. F.-M. Bibaud, Le panthéon canadien (A. et V. Bibaud; 1891). Langelier, Liste des terrains concédés. Officers of British forces in Canada (Irving). J.-E. Roy, Hist. de Lauzon, 5:86, 92; Hist. du notariat. P.-G. Roy, “Le notaire du roi Archibald Campbell,” BRH, 32 (1926): 736–39.