PUISEAUX, PIERRE DE, seigneur of Montrénault in France, of Saint-Michel and of Sainte-Foy in New France; b. c. 1566; d. in 1650 at La Rochelle.
Pierre de Puiseaux arrived in Canada shortly after having received from the Compagnie des Cent-Associés, on 15 Jan. 1637, the seigneuries of Saint-Michel, near Sillery, and of Sainte-Foy, not far from Quebec. (Faillon, Ferland, and Scott place the arrival of Puiseaux in Canada at the time of Champlain. Their documentation, however, remains either non-existent or incomplete.)
Dollier* de Casson, who made use of the stories of eye-witnesses when he wrote in 1672, gives us some details on this settler’s past. First he affirms that he was 75 years old in 1641. Then he informs us that he was “a worthy old man most zealous for this country in which he had spent very great sums of money.” He was very generous towards the pioneers around him; in 1640 he lodged in his house at Saint-Michel, called “the jewel of the colony,” the nuns of the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec, whose convent at the Sillery mission was not completed. In the autumn of the following year he virtually became a providential benefactor for M. Chomedey de Maisonneuve and the Montreal contingent. They all settled, until the spring of 1642, on the Saint-Michel and Sainte-Foy seigneuries, which Pierre de Puiseaux, by a contract signed on 23 Nov. 1641 before the notary Guillaume Tronquet, at Quebec, had just given to the Société Notre-Dame de Montréal through the intermediary of M. de Maisonneuve. Having become a member of that society, M. de Puiseaux attended, on 17 May 1642, the ceremonies of the founding of Montreal, and there became, on 5 March 1643, the godfather of the wife of a famous Algonkin, Paul Tessouat (d. 1654).
He returned to France, very ill, in 1644. On 21 June 1647 he dictated his will at La Rochelle. He died there in 1650 and was buried on 7 December. Before leaving New France, he had asked Maisonneuve to restore his seigneuries to him so that he might obtain funds for medical treatment. They were returned to him with all goodwill.
Dollier de Casson, Histoire du Montréal. JR (Thwaites). Juchereau, Annales (Jamet), 29. Premier registre de l’église Notre Dame de Montréal (Montréal, 1961), 49.
État de la maison du roi Louis XIII . . . comprenant les années 1601 à 1665, éd. Eugène Griselle (Paris, 1912), 27, 367. Faillon, Histoire de la colonie française, I, II. Ferland, Cours d’histoire du Canada, I. H. A. Scott, Une paroisse historique de la Nouvelle-France: Notre-Dame de Sainte-Foy: histoire civile et religieuse d’après les sources (Québec, 1902).
No personal documents of M. Puiseaux are known to the author of the above article and it also appears that no biography of Puiseaux has ever been written.
Revisions based on:
Arch. Départementales, Charente-Maritime (La Rochelle, France), “État civil,” La Rochelle, Saint-Barthélémy, 7 déc. 1650: archives.charente-maritime.fr/archives-en-ligne/consulter-documents-numerises (consulted 26 March 2018).