BIGOT, FRANÇOIS, seigneurial attorney, royal notary, court officer, son of François Bigot, dit Lamothe, and Marguerite Drapeau; b. sometime between 1643 and 1645 in France; buried 28 Oct. 1708 at Champlain.
François Bigot arrived in Canada with his parents and his sister Marie in 1662 or shortly before, and lived at first with his father, who was one of Pierre Boucher’sfarmers at Cap-de-la-Madeleine. He seems to have had a deep love for the land, and was a farmer a long time, if not all his life. On 30 June 1666 he received from Quentin Moral two grants of land, each measuring two arpents by 40, in the fief of Arbre–à–la-Croix. This must have been some sort of confirmation of a grant already made, for as early as 1667 Bigot declared that he had six acres under cultivation there. But he soon went and settled in the Prairies Marsolet, having acquired there a piece of land measuring three arpents by 40 from Pierre Durand on 12 Sept. 1669, for the sum of 80 livres; he increased this holding by buying a like amount from Mathieu Brunet on 14 April 1679, and by 1704, thanks to a grant of 13 arpents by 40 made to him by Gédéon de Catalogne, Bigot had rounded off his property nicely. Meanwhile he had rented the domain of the Marsolet fief, but he relinquished his lease on 4 March 1678. In 1681 he possessed in his own right 6 head of cattle, 13 acres of cleared land, and 3 muskets.
We do not exactly know how it happened, but at the beginning of the 18th century Bigot was holding certain legal offices: in 1702 and 1704 he was styled seigneurial attorney of the Champlain seigneury, and certainly from 1704 on he was drawing up documents as a court officer in the royal jurisdiction of Trois-Rivières. In addition, on 8 Oct. 1702 he was acting as a notary, an office that he kept until his death. His registry is now lost, but we know two of the acts that he received.
It was in the Prairies Marsolet that Bigot brought up his 11 children. He had first married, in 1666, Catherine Baillargeon, who died childless sometime between 1670 and 1672. He remarried 24 Oct. 1672 at Château-Richer, his second wife being Marie Bouchard d’Orval, who was buried 19 June 1717 at Champlain. When Bigot died in 1708 he left three children under age; the act of guardianship was drawn up on 9 Aug. 1710, and the inventory of the estate on the 26 August following. In this estate were a few books that throw light upon the naive faith of the time: Le Nouveau Testament, Le martyre d’André, catéchiste, Petite délimitation de la dévotion à l’Ange Gardien, La vie de Ste-Catherine de Sienne; and a single secular work, Le parfait notaire.
AJM, Greffe d’Antoine Adhémar, 14, 16 avril 1679, 15 mars 1704, 11 oct. 1712. AJQ, Greffe de Claude Auber, 25 juin 1663; Greffe de Louis Chambalon, 7 oct. 1697; Greffe de Pierre Duquet, 4 mars 1678. AJTR, Greffe de Séverin Ameau, 12 sept. 1669, 28 juin 1670, 17 nov. 1673, 5 févr. 1674; Greffe de Jacques de La Touche, 8 déc. 1665, 30 juin 1666; Greffe de Daniel Normandin, 3 mars 1704, 12 juillet 1719; Greffe de J.-B. Pottier, 9, 26 août, 28 nov. 1710. Jug. et délib., IV, 677; V, 37, 250, 727f., 873. Recensement du Canada, 1666 (APQ Rapport). Recensements du Canada, 1667, 1681 (Sulte). Godbout, “Nos ancêtres,” APQ Rapport, 1955–57, 458f. “Les notaires au Canada,” 9f. Tanguay, Dictionnaire, I, 51. Cloutier, Histoire de la paroisse de Champlain, I, 57–62, 127; II 68. Raymond Douville, “Quel François Bigot fut notaire royal,” BRH, LXII (1956), 89–91. André Vachon, “François Bigot dit Lamothe fut-il notaire royal ?” BRH, LXI (1955), 129–32.