COURREAUD (Courraud) DE LA COSTE (La Côte), PIERRE, merchant; baptized 7 May 1696 in the parish of Saint-André, Angoulême, France, son of Élie Courreaud de La Coste, a merchant, and Catherine Coulaud; d. 26 March 1779 in Montreal (Que.).
Pierre Courreaud de La Coste was in Quebec in May 1717, when he signed a contract to serve for two years as an apprentice to barber-surgeon Simon Soupiran* Sr. But Courreaud, a merchant’s son, soon gave up the apprenticeship to go into business in Montreal, where he had relatives. There, on 26 Sept. 1718, he married Marie-Anne Massé (Macé), the widow of a blacksmith and edge-tool maker, Guillaume Malhiot. Courreaud was then only 22 but pretended to be 26, while his wife, who was 34 and had four dependent children, claimed to be only 30. These white lies allowed the husband to pass as being of age and his wife to avoid scandal. She died on 23 September 1721 following childbirth, and six months later, on 20 March 1722, Courreaud married a girl of 20, Marguerite Obuchon (Aubuchon), whose father was a merchant at Longue-Pointe, near Montreal. They had seven children but apparently none survived their father.
Neither of his wives brought Courreaud much wealth, but he was probably able to make use of family connections in his business affairs. At the time of his first marriage he established himself on Rue Saint-Paul, the business street of Montreal, and sold goods to fur-traders. With Julien Trottier Desrivières as his partner, he supplied trade goods to his second cousin, Marin Hurtebise, who from 1733 to 1735 was involved in the ventures of explorer Pierre Gaultier* de Varennes et de La Vérendrye. After Trottier’s death in 1737, Courraud evidently maintained business relations with his cousin; when in July 1741 the Compagnie des Indes, which held a monopoly on the fur trade, conducted general searches in Montreal for undeclared beaver pelts, he was found to have merchandise belonging to Hurtebise on his premises. Courreaud was also associated with Jean-Baptiste Latour in the sale of goods to Île Royale (Cape Breton Island), and with Pierre Latour, a merchant who, like him, had interests in the trade with the pays d’en haut. As a result of these various endeavours Courreaud acquired a degree of wealth. He owned a two-storey stone house, which he renovated in 1733 and to which he added a storage vault the following year. By 1729 he had a maidservant, and in 1737 he was even able to purchase a young black slave of 12 or 13 years of age.
Towards the end of the 1730s Courreaud added land speculation to his business activities. Some of this land probably came from insolvent or recalcitrant debtors, such as Gabriel Descary, whose indebtedness occasioned legal proceedings from 1743 till 1759. In 1739 Descary, Marin Hurtebise’ partner, had received trade goods from Courreaud but contested their value, and succeeded in having what he owed reduced from 5,264 livres 14 sols 4 deniers to 4,251 livres 1 sou 4 deniers. Courreaud appealed to the provost court of Quebec against this reduction but lost his case. Finally in 1759 a decision by the Conseil Supérieur enabled him to seize Descary’s property and sell it at auction. To avoid similar situations Courreaud had made those to whom he extended credit mortgage property to him with a fixed term as soon as their debts became significant.
Courreaud retired from business shortly after the conquest. In August 1764 he bought from Marie-Thérèse Migeon de La Gauchetière a piece of land called “presville,” near the faubourg Saint-Laurent, as well as the arriere-fief of La Gauchetière. Four years later he renounced his feudal rights, thus escaping the droit de quint, which he should have paid when he bought the fief in 1764. Like most influential Montrealers, Courreaud had signed the petition to George III in 1763 asking him to let merchandise that had remained in France during the war come into Canada and to use his influence with the court of France to quickly resolve the question of Canadian paper money.
ANQ-M, État civil, Catholiques, Notre-Dame de Montréal, 26 sept. 1718, 22, 24 sept. 1721, 27 mars 1779, 20 avril 1784; Greffe de J.-B. Adhémar, 6 août, 29 sept., 24 nov., 6 déc. 1752, 2, 3 févr., 10 mai, 12 oct., 16, 24 nov. 1753, 9, 15 janv., 8 juill. 1754; Greffe de L.-L. Aumasson de Courville, 10 oct. 1770; Greffe de Gervais Hodiesne, 12 déc. 1754, 20 févr., 20, 21 mars, 28 juin, 11 oct. 1755, 25 juin 1756, 9 janv. 1761, 27 oct. 1763; Greffe de M.-L. Lepallieur de Laferté, 25 sept. 1718; Greffe de Pierre Panet, 14 mars 1757, 18 sept. 1760, 22 août 1764, 17 juill., 30 oct. 1767, 8 juin 1768; Greffe de Simon Sanguinet, 2 mai 1778; Greffe de Nicolas Senet, 20 mars 1722; Greffe de François Simonnet, 25 sept. 1750, 9 nov. 1754, 21 mars 1755, 14 févr. 1756, 16 juin 1758, 14 mai 1768, 18 févr. 1769, 6 oct. 1773. ANQ-Q, NF 11, 59, ff.74–77; 61, ff.19v–26; 69, ff.19, 31v–32, 39v–41. Archives municipales, Angoulême (dép. de la Charente, France), État civil, Saint-André d’Angoulême, 7 mai 1696. PRO, CO 42/24, ff.72–74v (mfm. at PAC). “Aveu et dénombrement de messire Louis Normand, prêtre du séminaire de Saint-Sulpice de Montréal, au nom et comme fondé de procuration de messire Charles-Maurice Le Pelletier, supérieur du séminaire de Saint-Sulpice de Paris, pour la seigneurie de l’île de Montréal (1731),” ANQ Rapport, 1941–42, 27. Doc. relatifs à la monnaie sous le Régime français (Shortt), II, 968, 970. Montréal en 1781 . . . , Claude Perrault, édit. (Montréal, 1969), 23–24, 121–24. “Recensement de Montréal, 1741” (Massicotte), 26. “Marguilliers de la paroisse de Notre-Dame de Ville-Marie de 1657 à 1913,” BRH, XIX (1913), 279. P.-G. Roy, Inv. jug. et délib., 1717–60, IV, 110, 149, 188; VI, 133, 140, 143–44, 148–49. Tanguay, Dictionnaire. P.-G. Roy, “Lafamille Courault de La Coste,” BRH, XLV (1939), 366–68.
Revisions based on:
Bibliothèque et Arch. Nationales du Québec, Centre d’arch. de Montréal, CE601-S5, 20 mars 1722.