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BEAUBIEN, JOSEPH-OCTAVE, doctor and politician; b. 22 March 1824 at Nicolet, L.C., son of Louis Beaubien and Élizabeth Manseau; d. 7 Nov. 1877 at Montmagny.
The Beaubien family, like the Pomberts and La Bissonnières, descended from Jules Trottier, who was born in 1590 in the little town of Igé in Perche (France) and who emigrated to New France about 1650. Joseph-Octave Beaubien was educated at the college of Nicolet, then went for a year to Rochester, U.S.A., to study English. When he returned to Canada, he decided to take up medicine, and studied in turn under two distinguished doctors, William Marsden* and Jean-Étienne Landry. He qualified as a doctor in 1847 and went to live first at Sainte-Élisabeth, then at Montmagny, on the invitation of his uncle, the parish priest Jean-Louis Beaubien. On 24 July 1849, at Cap-Saint-Ignace, he married Catherine-Élisabeth-Aglaé Chenet, daughter of Antoine Chenet, notary and seigneur of Vincelotte.
Joseph-Octave Beaubien soon embarked on a fairly long political career. In 1857 he was elected a Conservative member of the assembly for Montmagny County, and having been re-elected in 1861 and 1863, he sat in the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada until confederation. In 1867 he was elected federal member of parliament for Montmagny County by acclamation, and sat in the House of Commons until defeated in 1872. From 15 July 1867 to 23 Feb. 1873 he formed part of the cabinet of Pierre-Joseph-Olivier Chauveau* in the province of Quebec, as commissioner for crown lands. In addition, on 2 Nov. 1867 he was appointed to the Legislative Council, where he represented the division of La Durantaye until 1877. As a minister, Joseph-Octave Beaubien introduced a number of bills, among them one concerning the sale and administration of public lands, and others amending the gold mines act, the law on surveys, and those on colonization. However, his administration was violently criticized in the house by the opposition. During the sessions of 1872 and 1873, Mrs Henri-Gustave Joly* de Lotbinière and Pierre-Alexis Tremblay endeavoured to prove that important concessions had been made to persons who were in no way involved in the timber trade, and called, in vain, for a commission of inquiry on this subject.
Joseph-Octave Beaubien had a veritable passion for agriculture. Having become co-owner of the seigneury of Vincelotte, he developed magnificent farms at Montmagny and Cap-Saint-Ignace; he was also a member of the agriculture council of the province of Quebec, which replaced the Board of Agriculture in 1868. He was lieutenant-colonel of the 61st Battalion of the Montmagny and l’Islet militia, and from February 1873 was one of the directors of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
He died at Montmagny on 7 Nov. 1877, leaving two children: a son who died without issue, and Caroline-Alix who married Jules-Joseph-Taschereau Frémont*, lawyer, professor of law at Université Laval, and MP for the county of Quebec in the House of Commons.
AJTR, Registre d’état civil. Archives judiciaires de Montmagny (Qué.), Registre d’état civil. Quebec, Legislative Council, Journals, 1867–77. Le Courrier du Canada (Québec), 15 juill., 3 nov., 1867. Journal de Québec, 23 nov. 1872; 8 déc.–13 déc. 1873. La Minerve (Montréal), 20 juill., 3 nov. 1867; 8 nov. 1877. Le Nouveau Monde (Montréal), 8 nov. 1877. Le Pays (Montréal), 18 juill. 1867. Can. directory of parliament (Johnson), 27. Can. parl. comp., 1862; 1863; 1864; 1867; 1873; 1874. Desjardins, Guide parlementaire. Political appointments and judicial bench (N.-O. Coté). P.-G. Roy. La famille Boisseau (Lévis, Qué., 1907). Rumilly, Hist. de la prov. de Québec, I. “Mémorial nécrologique; l’hon. Joseph-Octave Beaubien,” La Gazette des families acadiennes et canadiennes (Québec), III (1876–77), 362–63.