CHERRIER, FRANÇOIS-PIERRE (François, Pierre-François), merchant and notary; baptized 3 Sept. 1717 at Savigné-l’Évêque (dept of Sarthe), France, son of François Cherrier, a merchant, and Périnne Isambart; d. 21 July 1793 at Saint-Denis, on the Richelieu River (Que.).
François-Pierre Cherrier came to Canada in 1736 on the advice of his maternal uncle, Sulpician Joseph Isambart, who had been parish priest of Saint-Antoine-de-Longueuil since 1721. Isambart persuaded him to take up residence in this village, and thanks to him Cherrier acquired a certain importance, signing as a witness when deeds were drawn up, acting as a godfather by the year after his arrival, and establishing relations with the principal local families. He opened a store next door to the presbytery, and he seems to have been fairly successful in business. On 9 Nov. 1738, in the presence of notary François Simonnet, Cherrier bought a piece of land, paying three-quarters of the price in cash and the remainder “in goods from his store.” Appointed seigneurial notary in 1738 – probably through his uncle’s support – he continued to attend to his business.
On 14 Jan. 1743 Abbé Isambart blessed Cherrier’s marriage to Marie, daughter of the former churchwarden Michel Dubuc. Charles Le Moyne* de Longueuil was among the witnesses signing their marriage contract, which had been drawn up the previous day in the presence of notary Antoine Loiseau. The couple had 12 children. Cherrier’s business connections enabled him to ask Jean-Marie Landriève Des Bordes, the supervisory clerk of the king’s stores in Montreal, to be godfather to his son Joseph-Marie-Simon in 1747; Marie Gauvreau, the wife of Jean-Baptiste-Grégoire Martel de Saint-Antoine, king’s storekeeper in Montreal, became the godmother.
In order to diversify his commercial interests, Cherrier in 1748 bought all the wood on a piece of land belonging to the fief of Du Tremblay, adjoining Longueuil; he paid 480 livres in payment orders and 120 livres in Canadian “playing card” money. In addition he leased out his land at Longueuil. On 18 Nov. 1750 Intendant Bigot appointed him royal notary for the parish of Longueuil. A notary’s income was certainly not enough by itself to meet the needs of Cherrier, who had a large family, and he continued to be active in trade, like many other notaries at the time.
After the conquest, Thomas Gage, the governor of Montreal, renewed Cherrier’s commission as a notary on 1 Oct. 1760. As a merchant, however, Cherrier suffered heavy loss as a result of the settlement of the paper money. Since his protector, Isambart, had died in December 1763, Cherrier went to try his luck in Montreal in August 1765. Here his eldest daughter, Marie-Charlotte, married surgeon Jean-Jacques Lartigue in September 1766. Because his financial difficulties did nothing but increase, Cherrier and his family returned to Longueuil in August 1767. The notary was not clear of trouble yet; at the beginning of 1770 he owed Jacques Perrault, known as Perrault l’aîné, a Quebec merchant, the sum of £380 18s. 6d. His stone house and the land surrounding it on the main street were put up for sale at auction, along with a piece of land, 12 by 30 or 40 arpents, in the barony of Longueuil. In the absence of buyers Perrault acquired the latter property in partial payment of Cherrier’s debts. Finally, in May 1770 the notary lost his house and its outbuildings in a fire.
Broken, but not desperate, Cherrier left Longueuil on 16 May 1770, to seek shelter with his wife and children in the presbytery of the parish of Saint-Denis, on the Richelieu, where his eldest son, François*, had become parish priest the previous year. Cherrier owed fairly large sums to a certain M. Dupré, a Quebec merchant, to Jacques-Joseph Lemoine Despins in Montreal, and to MM. Mercure and Perrault, also in Montreal. He took up residence at Saint-Denis, in a house opposite the church and presbytery, where he continued to practise as a notary until 1789.
Though Cherrier was not successful in making a fortune, he had the consolation of seeing his children succeed in establishing themselves securely. François became vicar general of the bishop of Quebec; Joseph-Marie, a surveyor and later a merchant, was the father of lawyer Côme-Séraphin*. Benjamin-Hyacinthe-Martin was a surveyor and member of the legislative assembly for Richelieu, while Séraphin, also a member for Richelieu, practised medicine and engaged in trade. Cherrier’s daughter Marie-Charlotte was the mother of Jean-Jacques Lartigue*, the first bishop of Montreal; Périne-Charles, who married Denis Viger*, was the mother of Denis-Benjamin*. Finally, Rosalie, who married notary Joseph Papineau*, became the mother of the great tribune Louis-Joseph Papineau*.
AD, Sarthe (Le Mans), État civil, Savigné-l’Évêque, 3 sept. 1717. ANQ-M, État civil, Catholiques, Saint-Antoine (Longueuil), 14 janv. 1743; Greffe d’Antoine Foucher, 30 déc. 1748; Greffe d’Antoine Loiseau, 13 janv. 1743. PAC Rapport, 1918, app.B, 29. Allaire, Dictionnaire, I, 119, 277. F.-J. Audet, Les députés de Montréal (ville et comtés), 1792–1867 (Montréal, 1943), 411–12. F.-J. Audet et Édouard Fabre Surveyer, Les députés au premier parlement du Bas-Canada (1792–1796) . . . (Montréal, 1946), 65. É.-Z. Massicotte, “Les tribunaux et les officiers de justice de Montréal sous le Régime français,” BRH, XXXVII (1931), 307. “Les notaires au Canada sous le Régime français,” ANQ Rapport, 1921–22, 47. P.-G. Roy, Inv. ord. int., III, 152. Tanguay, Dictionnaire, III, 52–53. Vachon, “Inv. critique des notaires royaux,” RHAF, XI, 105. J.-J. Lefebvre, “La famille Cherrier, 1743–1945,” SGCF Mémoires, II (1947), 148–64; “La vie sociale du grand Papineau,” RHAF, XI (1957–58), 472–73. É.-Z. Massicotte, “L’essaimage des Français et des Canadiens-français dans l’Amérique du Nord,” BRH, XXXIV (1928), 45. Henri Morrisseau, “La famille Cherrier de Saint-Denis-sur-Richelieu; un salon aristocratique à la fin du dix-huitième siècle,” Revue de l’université d’Ottawa, XVI (1946), 301–38.