DUBREUIL, JEAN-ÉTIENNE, shoemaker, court officer, seigneurial attorney, and royal notary; b. c. 1666, son of Jean Dubreuil and Catherine Lemarinier of the parish of Saint-Médéric in Paris; d. 4 June 1734 and buried the following day at Quebec.
In March 1681 there was a Dubreuil among the governor general’s guards. Was he Jean-Étienne, who was barely 15 years old, or a relative whom he presumably had accompanied or followed to Canada? We cannot say. Jean-Étienne Dubreuil was in any event at Quebec in the autumn of 1691, carrying on the shoemaker’s craft. On 29 Sept. 1693 he took on Charles Saulcier as an apprentice for four years. He was also verger of the parish of Notre-Dame in Quebec around 1697. These humble beginnings did not prevent him from acceding to some relatively important offices which certainly were more prestigious, if not more profitable. On 8 Nov. 1704 he was appointed by Intendant François de Beauharnois* court officer to the Conseil Supérieur, and was admitted to the office on 15 December following. Then on 26 Nov. 1707, in view of the infirmities with which the lawyer Chambalon was afflicted and which often prevented him from working, Jacques Raudot appointed Dubreuil notary. When a report on his “character” was received on 7 December, Dubreuil was authorized to practise as a notary. Like many of his confrères, he was soon going to hold three offices simultaneously: on 2 June 1710 he received a commission as attorney for the seigneury of Notre-Dame-des-Anges. The “character” report was received 14 June. We do not know how long he retained this office. Finally, on 31 Aug. 1725, the very day of René Hubert’s death, he was appointed, at the king’s discretion, to succeed him as first court officer to the Conseil Supérieur; he was admitted on 1 October. The king approved this promotion on 14 May 1726, with the result that on 7 October following another ceremony was held to install the new incumbent.
Dubreuil was married three times: the first time, on 26 Nov. 1691, to Marguerite Legardeur, who was buried 29 Dec. 1702 during the smallpox epidemic, at Quebec; the second time, on 14 May 1703, to Marie-Anne Chevalier, who was buried 5 April 1711; and finally, on 12 Feb. 1713, to Marie-Jeanne Routier, Jacques Voyer’s widow, who survived him by three years. His first two wives each bore him five children. The Dubreuil family lived in Upper Town, near the bakery belonging to the seminary on Rue Sainte-Famille. Dubreuil owned various pieces of land and at the beginning of his career engaged in some dealings in real estate. Being burdened with a large family, however, he did not become rich. When he was still a shoemaker he had invested 1,000 livres in the Compagnie de la Colonie; in 1708 – when he was court officer and notary – Raudot wrote laconically that “he has nothing.” Alas! the poverty of legal officers under the French régime.
AJQ, Greffe de Louis Chambalon, 29 sept. 1693, 14 oct. 1705; Greffe de François Genaple, 25 nov. 1691, 13 mai 1703; Greffe de Jacques Pinguet, 18 août 1734; Greffe de François Rageot, 31 janv., 9 févr. 1713. AQ, NF, Coll. de pièces jud. et not., 907, 2034½, 2037¾, 2055; NF, Ins. Cons. sup., II, I54v; III, 44f.; VI, 47v et seq., 88; NF, Ins. de la Prév. de Québec, I, 684; II, 126, 346; III, 138; NF, Ord. des int., IV, 17v. Jug. et délib. Ord. comm. (P.-G. Roy), II, 324. Recensement de Québec, 1716 (Beaudet). “Liste générale des intéressés en la compagnie de la colonie du Canada, et des actions qu’ils y ont prises,” BRH, XL (1934), 499. Tanguay, Dictionnaire, I, 206.