GAMELIN MAUGRAS, PIERRE, merchant, king’s interpreter; b. 1697 at Saint-François-du-Lac (Que.), son of Pierre Gamelin and Marie-Jeanne Maugras; d. 2 July 1757 in Montreal.
When he reached adult age, Pierre Gamelin added to his patronymic the surname Maugras, by which he is often referred to in notarial acts, perhaps to distinguish him from his father whose career overlapped his own. On 16 May 1724 he entered into partnership with Alexis Lemoine, dit Monière, a “merchant-outfitter” in Montreal, and Louis-Mathieu Damours de Clignancour, for the fur trade in the pays d’en haut. Gamelin Maugras went a few times to the trading post at Baie-des-Puants (Green Bay, Wis.); the partnership lasted four years.
In 1728, after the partnership had been dissolved, Gamelin Maugras continued in the fur trade on his own account before settling permanently as a merchant in Montreal. On 15 Nov. 1735, in Montreal, at the signing of his marriage contract, he declared that he was worth 25,000 livres; the next day he married Marie-Clémence Dufrost de La Gemerais, daughter of François-Christophe Dufrost de La Gemerais and Marie-Renée Gaultier de Varennes, thus joining the Dufrost and Gaultier family circle. In 1740 he agreed to be procurator for Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de La Vérendrye, and in 1742 for Philippe Leduc, the explorer’s partner. Louis-Joseph Gaultier de La Vérendrye appointed him administrator of his property in 1745, and his agent with power of attorney on 31 Dec. 1749, at the time of the inventory of the estate of La Vérendrye Sr. Gamelin Maugras was already the “merchant-outfitter” of Louis-Joseph Gaultier and his partners, who in 1748 undertook not to dispose of their peltries until they had settled their debts with Gamelin Maugras, he having just advanced them funds for the next three years.
Pierre Gamelin Maugras, having travelled in the west over a period of several years, had learned several Indian languages in the course of his journeys; he consequently often served as interpreter. In recognition of his many valuable services, Governor Charles de Beauharnois appointed him king’s interpreter on 30 May 1743. This office, to which no remuneration was attached, allowed the holder to receive certain honours and to enjoy certain rights, prerogatives, and exemptions.
Gamelin Maugras died in Montreal on 2 July 1757, survived by his wife, who died in 1768. His was a family of merchants, of which his uncle and his cousin, Ignace Gamelin* Sr and Ignace Gamelin* Jr, were the most famous representatives.
ANQ-M, Greffe de J.-B. Adhémar, 16 mars 1724; Greffe de L.-C. Danré de Blanzy, 31 oct. 1740, 22 août 1745, 14 juin 1748; Registre d’état civil, Notre-Dame de Montréal, 16 nov. 1735, 3 juill. 1757; Registre d’état civil, Varennes, 26 janv. 1704. Jug. et délib., V, 102. “Recensement de Montréal, 1741” (Massicotte). Massicotte, “Répertoire des engagements pour l’Ouest,” APQ Rapport, 1929–30, includes a number of Gamelin Maugras’s contracts. “Marguilliers de la paroisse Notre-Dame de Ville-Marie de 1657 à 1913,” BRH, XIX (1913), 279. Tanguay, Dictionnaire. É.-Z. Massicotte, “Les interprètes à Montréal sous le régime français,” BRH, XXXIV (1928), 149.