GODEFROY DE TONNANCOUR, CHARLES-ANTOINE, priest, theologal of the chapter of the cathedral of Quebec; b. 13 May 1698 at Trois-Rivières, eldest son of René Godefroy* de Tonnancour, seigneur of La Pointe-du-Lac, and Marguerite Ameau; d. 30 Sept. 1757 at Quebec.
Charles-Antoine Godefroy de Tonnancour spent his childhood at Trois-Rivières. During this period, according to his mother, he was believed to have been cured, through the intercession of Brother Didace Pelletier*, of a throat ailment due to “a fleshy growth on both sides, the size of a pigeon egg, which threatened to choke him and impeded his speech.” At the age of 15 he entered the Petit Séminaire of Quebec, “having some slight rudiments of knowledge.” When his schooling was finished he was admitted into the seminary, on 29 Sept. 1719, where he completed his four years of theology. On 18 Dec. 1723 he was ordained a priest by Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix*], who on 4 Jan. 1724 gave him a canonry in the cathedral chapter.
Godefroy de Tonnancour was thereafter concerned with the ceremonies and singing at the seminary and taught catechism to the children at the cathedral. In 1740 he took over the office of ecclesiastical superior of the Hôtel-Dieu of Quebec, and in 1748 Bishop Pontbriand [Dubreil] thought of appointing him dean of the chapter. In applying to the minister, Maurepas, concerning the choice of a new dean, the prelate, however, had Abbé René-Jean Allenou de Lavillangevin, a Frenchman, much more in mind than Godefroy de Tonnancour. Nevertheless he proposed that the latter be appointed, if the minister thought of thus “favouring the Canadians.” The bishop of Quebec pointed out that, of the canons then living at Quebec, M. de Tonnancour had most seniority, “even though he is only about 50”; he regarded him as “a man of rank, who works zealously at his ministry and is rather free of the shortcomings which the Canadians are charged with.” The prelate added: “He has wealth and can live in a respectable manner.” In the end Tonnancour had to be content with the title of theologal of the chapter, which he received on 1 Nov. 1753.
In November 1749 his seniority was responsible for his being chosen as syndic by his colleagues in the jurisdictional dispute which developed with the appointment by the seminary directors of Abbé Jean-Félix Récher, a priest from the seminary, as parish priest of the cathedral. On 6 November M. de Tonnancour first opposed the installation of the parish priest as an honorary canon; later, in the chapter’s name, he registered with the Conseil Supérieur a motion of appeal “for abuse of the act of creation of the new parish in the cathedral of Quebec and of the union which is made between it and the seminary of the Missions Étrangères.” His appeal was dismissed on 16 Oct. 1750. It was Godefroy de Tonnancour who, at Quebec, received from the hand of Bourlamaque two of the five flags which were taken at the battle of Fort Chouaguen (Fort Oswego) on 14 August 1756 and which the governor, Pierre de Rigaud* de Vaudreuil, had deposited in the churches of Montreal, Trois-Rivières, and Quebec.
After devoting himself, as had the other canons, to taking care of victims of an epidemic at the Hôpital Général of Quebec, Godefroy de Tonnancour fell victim to the infection himself and died on 30 Sept. 1757. He was buried the next day in the; crypt of the church of Notre-Dame de Québec.
AAQ, 10 B, Registre des délibérations. ASQ, mss, 2; Polygraphie, XXIX, 16. “Actes du très dévot frère Didace Pelletier, récollet, mort en odeur de sainteté en 1699,” Canada français, 1re sér., IV (1891), 277. P.-G. Roy, Inv., jug. et délib., 1717–1760, V, 151, 156, 163; La famille Godefroy de Tonnancour (Lévis, Qué. 1904). Sulte, Mélanges historiques (Malchelosse), XI. O.-M. [Jouve], “Étude historique et critique sur les actes du frère Didace Pelletier, récollet,” BRH, XVII (1911), 209. P.-G. Roy, “Les drapeaux de Chouaguen,” BRH, V (1899), 350. Henri Têtu, “Le chapitre de la cathédrale de Québec et ses délégués en France,” BRH, XIV (1908), 203, 260; “M. Jean-Félix Récher, curé de Québec, et son journal, 1757–1760,” BRH, IX (1903), 101.