BONHOMME, dit Beaupré, NOËL, surveyor; b. 13 Nov. 1684 at Lorette (Ancienne-Lorette, Que.) and baptized the same day at Quebec, son of Ignace Bonhomme, dit Beaupré, and Agnès Morin; m. on 29 May 1709 Félicité Hamel at Ancienne-Lorette; d. there 29 May 1755.
It is difficult to know what Noël Beaupré’s professional training was because his certificate of professional competency has not been found. This certificate was normally conferred by the king’s hydrographer or the teacher of hydrography upon pupils who had followed the mathematics courses successfully, or by a recognized surveyor upon candidates who had completed their apprenticeship with good results. In any event, on 15 Dec. 1718 Noël Beaupré received official papers as surveyor and geometrician from the intendant, Michel Bégon; he was 34 at the time. He styled himself royal surveyor in his deeds from 4 June 1731 until the end of his life but he does not seem to have received any official appointment confirming this title.
The surveyors’ role, clearly defined in the official papers they received from the intendant, consisted of “surveying and measuring of every sort, [and] drawing up the written reports . . . as is the practice in the provost court and viscounty of Paris, for the allotted fees and emoluments.” Surveyors were required to place plainly visible boundary marks and to use only compasses, lodestones, and other instruments that had been duly inspected by the king’s hydrographer. Noël Beaupré mentions specifically in his reports that for his boundary marks he used stones, earthenware shards, or cinder blocks. In addition to measuring newly granted lands, the surveyors, thanks to their work of setting boundaries and making their reports, often put an end to the numerous lawsuits that arose over land boundaries between neighbours, even between seigneurs, and especially among heirs. They settled definitively disputes which had lasted for years.
Noël Beaupré’s qualities and capabilities were speedily recognized, and people had recourse to his good offices on the Beaupré shore and Île d’Orléans, on the south as well as the north shore of the St Lawrence River, throughout the territory of the government of Quebec and even outside it. Between 1718 and 1752 he drew up close to 900 deeds and reports. Among the reports are two of special importance: one on the survey done in December 1737 and January 1738 on the lands in Nouvelle-Beauce recently granted to Thomas-Jacques Taschereau, and another on the setting of the boundaries of the fiefs of Beaumont, Vincennes, and Saint-Gilles, done in 1743 at the request of Jacques-Hugues Péan de Livaudière, Charles-Marie Couillard de Beaumont, and Marguerite Forestier. The second report put an end to a difficult division of the seigneury of Beaumont after the sale of the seigneury by the heirs.
Noël Beaupré died at Ancienne-Lorette and was buried there on 29 May 1755. His reports demonstrate his attention to detail and accuracy, qualities that account for his great popularity everywhere in the government of Quebec.
AJQ, Registre d’état civil, Notre-Dame de Québec, 13 nov. 1684. ANQ, Greffe de J.-É. Dubreuil, 12 juill. 1722; Greffe de Florent de La Cetière, 2 mai 1709; NF, Coll. de pièces jud. et not., 2975, 3125; NF, Ord. int., 15 déc. 1718; 31 mai 1730; 8 juin 1731; 13 août 1738; 16 mars, 26 août, 8 sept. 1743; 12 avril, 18 déc. 1745; 19 févr. 1746. ASQ, Fonds Verreau, XIII, 22; Polygraphie, III, 107c. Tanguay, Dictionnaire.