GODEFROY DE TONNANCOUR, RENÉ, king’s attorney, lieutenant-general of Trois-Rivières, seigneur of La Pointe-du-Lac; baptized 12 May 1669 at Trois-Rivières; son of Louis Godefroy de Normanville, king’s attorney, and of Marguerite Seigneuret; grandson of Jean Godefroy* de Lintot; buried 21 Sept. 1738 at Trois-Rivières.
Tonnancour was only ten when his father died and could not immediately succeed to his father’s position. Indeed, the intendant, Duchesneau*, wrote on 10 Nov. 1679 that “the office of king’s attorney at Trois-Rivières is vacant because of the death of the Sieur de Normanville, who has left a son who shows much promise.” He suggested that the office be kept for him, to which the king willingly assented. Thus the office remained vacant until 1695, the year in which he took the position.
On 12 May 1714 Tonnancour succeeded Jean Lechasseur as lieutenant-general for civil and criminal affairs for the jurisdiction of Trois-Rivières. He also acted as syndic for the Recollets in the same town; in this capacity he watched over their temporal interests and supervised the construction of a monastery and church for the religious community. The Ursulines, who established a convent and a hospital in the town, also found in him a protector. Finally, he made the Charon Brothers a gift of a piece of land for the setting-up of a boys’ school.
In 1718 Tonnancour obtained confirmation for his family of the ennoblement which had been granted in 1668 but which had never been registered. He gave some attention, without much success, to his seigneury of La Pointe-du-Lac which he had inherited from his father; the latter, through his marriage with Marguerite Seigneuret when she was only nine, had added to his domain the adjacent land belonging to his father-in-law. On it Tonnancour tried to settle some Indians, who eked out a miserable existence in wretched lodges until about the end of the French régime.
On 8 Oct. 1731 Beauharnois* de La Boische and Hocquart* had rendered a glowing tribute to the jurist: “The Sieur de Tonnancour, in his capacity of subdelegate of the intendant and as an intelligent and good judge, settles summarily almost all the disputes in the government of Trois-Rivières.”
In a spirit of humility Tonnancour had asked to be buried in the cemetery rather than in the parish church. The Ursulines wrote that the deceased had always been “the counsellor, stay, and support of all those who had recourse to his protection.” The burial certificate, drawn up by the parish priest of Trois-Rivières, notes the moral qualities of the deceased during his life as well as during his illness.
By his marriage in 1693 to Marguerite Ameau, the daughter of the notary Séverin Ameau, he had five sons and five daughters. Two of the daughters became Ursulines. The eldest son, Charles-Antoine*, became a priest and then a canon of the chapter of Quebec. The continuator of the line was Louis-Joseph*, baptized 27 March 1712.
AJTR, Registres d’état civil de Trois-Rivières. AN, Col. C11A, 4–6. Jug. et délib., II, IV, V, VI. Lettres de noblesse (P.-G. Roy), I, 197f. P.-G. Roy, Inv. concessions, I, III; Inv. jug. et délib., 1717–1760, I, 210, 266. Alexandre Dugré, La Pointe-du-Lac (Trois-Rivières, 1943), 14–21. Jouve, Les Franciscains et le Canada: aux Trois-Rivières, 58, 91 152ff., 276. P.-G. Roy, La famille Godefroy de Tonnancour (Lévis, 1904), 33–43. Sulte, Mélanges historiques (Malchelosse), XIX, 12f., 16–18, 30–34.