DORION, JACQUES, doctor, mha, Patriote; b. c. 1797 at Quebec, son of Pierre Dorion, butcher, and Jane Clarke; d. 29 Dec. 1877 at Saint-Ours, Richelieu County, Que.
Researchers place Jacques Dorion’s birth around 1797, although only one son of Pierre, born on 18 Sept. 1796 and baptized Pierre, is entered in the registers of the parish of Notre-Dame at Quebec. Jacques Dorion began his studies at the Petit Séminaire of Quebec in 1810 and abandoned them in 1816 after completing the fourth year of his classical course, as was common at the time. According to written tradition he studied medicine in Paris under Guillaume Dupuytren and Marie-François-Xavier Bichat, but his name appears neither in the registration book nor in the list of doctors of the faculty of the Université de Paris. No doubt he was one of the 15 Canadians who studied medicine in Paris between 1816 and 1822. On his return to Canada he took up residence at Saint-Ours, where he practised his profession competently and with dedication for more than 55 years. In 1835 he founded the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste of Saint-Ours.
As mha for Richelieu County from 26 Oct. 1830 to 27 March 1838, he was associated with the Patriotes; he took part in the great assembly of the six counties, signed the Ninety-two Resolutions, and played an active role in the 1837 rebellion. He was arrested on 12 December for high treason by the sheriff Édouard-Louis-Antoine Juchereau Duchesnay, and imprisoned at Montreal, during which time Charles Stephen Gore* had Dorion’s house ransacked. Dorion was accused of having given orders to fire on the boat Varennes between Saint-Denis and Saint-Ours; it may have been bringing supplies to Gore’s troops. Thanks to the influence of his friends, notably François-Roch de Saint-Ours, sheriff of Montreal and his wife’s cousin, he was set free on 3 March 1838 after paying bail of £1,000.
Jacques Dorion offers a fine example of social advancement in the 19th century. A butcher’s son, he was nonetheless able to get a classical education, and even to travel to France to learn medicine. Having gone to live in the prosperous Richelieu region, he married, on 30 Jan. 1824, Catherine-Louise Lovell, niece of the seigneur Charles-Louis-Roch de Saint-Ours*, was elected a member of the assembly, and led his children to the top of the social and professional hierarchy. Edmond-Jacques was a doctor and journalist; Eugène-Philippe was head of the French translators in the House of Commons; Joseph-Adolphe, married to Henriette-Amélie de Saint-Ours, was a notary, coroner, justice of the peace, mha, and legislative councillor; Charles was a lawyer at Sorel and a district judge.
Archives de l’université de Paris, Faculté de médecine, Catalogue des docteurs en médecine, I; Faculté de médecine, Registre des inscriptions, 1816–1822. Archives paroissiales de Notre-Dame (Québec), Registres des baptêmes, mariages et sépultures, 1795–1796, 1797–1798, 1799–1800. ASQ, Fichier des anciens du séminaire; Séminaire CIII, 56, 61; Séminaire CIV, 3, 6. Desjardins, Guide parlementaire. [Azarie Couillard-Després], Histoire de la seigneurie de Saint-Ours (2v., Montréal, 1915–17), II, 285–94. Fauteux, Patriotes, 217–18. [L.-O. David], “Les hommes de 37–38, le Dr Jacques Dorion,” L’Opinion publique (Montréal), 7 févr. 1878.