GUGY, CONRAD, secretary to Haldimand, justice of the peace, seigneur, and director of the Saint-Maurice ironworks; b. c. 1734 in The Hague, Netherlands, son of Hans George Gugi, a French speaking Swiss officer serving in the Dutch army, and Thérèse Reis; d. unmarried 10 April 1786 and was buried in Montreal on 12 April.
Conrad Gugy seems to have served in the Dutch army before joining a newly formed British regiment, the Royal Americans (62nd, later 60th, Foot), as a lieutenant in 1756. This regiment, which included Haldimand and a great many other foreign Protestants, saw action at Quebec under Wolfe* in 1759. Appointed governor of the District of Trois-Rivières in October 1763, Haldimand chose Gugy, who spoke French and English with equal ease, as his secretary. Gugy succeeded John Bruyères, who had held the post when Ralph Burton* was governor of the district. In addition to his regular work of translating and drafting numerous proclamations, in March 1764 Gugy had to record statements and administer oaths to those holding “bills of exchange of Canada, payment orders, card-money and certificates,” who were to be reimbursed by France. Three commissioners, Louis-Joseph Godefroy de Tonnancour, René-Ovide Hertel de Rouville, and Jean-Baptiste Perrault, were named to assist him in this task.
Later in 1764 Gugy resigned his post as secretary and bought at auction the seigneury of Grandpré, also called Petit-Yamachiche, and part of the seigneury of Grosbois-Ouest, or Petite-Rivière-Yamachiche, where he built a manor-house. In 1771 he purchased Dumontier which adjoined Grosbois-Ouest. He likewise acquired Frédérick, located behind Pointe-du-Lac, and some lands forming part of Rivière-du-Loup-en-haut, which was owned by the Ursulines of Trois-Rivières.
Gugy, who remained loyal to the British crown during the American revolution, had to deal with various troublesome situations occasioned by local sympathizers. In 1775 François Guillot, dit Larose, a merchant of Rivière-du-Loup (Louiseville), accused him of threatening to whip Canadians who supported the American cause. Cleared of this charge following a trial at TroisRivières that year, Gugy continued to be the victim of all kinds of petty annoyances. Moreover, when the Americans were retreating in 1776, they burned some buildings on his seigneuries.
In 1778 a great many loyalists took refuge in the area along Lake Champlain and northwards to Yamachiche. In mid September Gugy wrote to Haldimand, now governor of Canada, of his intention to establish these people, who were mainly women and children, on his seigneury of Grosbois, “to the end of having an eye upon them.” The idea appealed to Haldimand, who was not eager to have the refugees mingling with the local populace. On 6 October the governor gave his official consent to the plan, issued orders for buildings to be erected, and gave Gugy the authority required to maintain order among the new arrivals. Six days later work was begun on a dozen houses with space for 240 persons, and construction was finished by the end of a month, thanks to corvées from five neighbouring parishes. Gugy had nine other houses and a school erected. For six years, from the autumn of 1778 until late 1784, the seigneury served as a refugee camp for large numbers of loyalists – 440 were listed as present in October 1779; they remained for long intervals, or for short periods prior to moving away to establish themselves elsewhere. Gugy’s settlement cost the government £1, 350, a sum which included the services of the seigneur, who acted as supervisor, and judging from the correspondence exchanged between Gugy and Haldimand, it was not always an easy role.
Gugy had been appointed a justice of the peace in 1765. Named to the first legislative council at its inception in August 1775, he retained the post until his death. In 1780 he served on a committee of legislative councillors charged with finding ways to reduce the price of wheat and flour. On 3 Feb. 1783 Gugy took a 16-year lease of the Saint-Maurice ironworks, for an annual rent of £18 15s., but he died three years later, and Alexander Davison and John Lees* took back the lease. There seems to have been a link between Gugy’s sudden death and his loss of a court case brought against him by François Le Maitre Duaime, the owner of a neighbouring fief who claimed that Gugy was responsible for wilful damage to his property during the construction of buildings for the loyalists. In 1787 Gugy’s seigneuries were put up for auction to pay the damages for which the jury had held him liable. Shortly after, however, the judgement was reversed. By an inter vivos deed of gift for services rendered, which was drawn up on 13 Jan. 1786, Gugy had left a life interest in his seigneuries, movables, and immovables to Elizabeth Wilkinson, who lived in his manor-house, and all his properties passed to her. It was intended that after her death they should go to Gugy’s brother Barthélemy, whose son Louis* in fact inherited them, Barthélemy having predeceased her.
Doc. relatifs à l’hist. constitutionnelle, 1759–91 (Shortt et Doughty; 1921), II, 685, 703. PAC Rapport, 1892, 275. Quebec Gazette, 25 Jan., 22 Feb., 1, 8, 15 March, 10, 17 May 1787. P.-G. Roy, Inv. concessions, II, 269-–70, 272; IV, 117–19, 205–6; V, 198. Raphaël Bellemare, Les bases de l’histoire d’ Yamachiche, 1703–1903 (Montreal, ). E.-H. Bovay, Le Canada et les Suisses, 1604–1974 (Fribourg, Suisse, 1976). Ivanhoë Caron, La colonisation de la province de Quebec (2v., Quebec, 1923–27), II, 43, 120–21, 125, 286. Sulte, Mélanges historiques (Malchelosse), VI. Tessier, Les forges Saint-Maurice. M. Trudel, Le Regime militaire. Napoleon Caron, “Les Gugy au Canada,” BRH, VI (1900), 89–92. Pierre Daviault, “Traducteurs et traduction au Canada,” RSC Trans., 3rd ser., XXXVIII (1944), sect.i, 67–87. É.-Z. Massicotte, “Famille Gugy,” BRH, XXIII (1917), 312–14; “Les tribunaux de police de Montreal,” BRH, XXVI (1920), 181. P.-G. Roy, “Le fief Dumontier,” BRH, XXXIV (1928), 3–5. W. H. Siebert, “The temporary settlement of loyalists at Machiche, P.Q.,” RSC Trans., 3rd ser., VIII (1914), sect.ii, 407–14.
© 1979–2023 University of Toronto/Université Laval
Cite This Article
in collaboration with Raymond Douville, “GUGY, CONRAD,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed March 29, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/gugy_conrad_4E.html.
The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:
|Author of Article:||in collaboration with Raymond Douville|
|Title of Article:||GUGY, CONRAD|
|Publication Name:||Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4|
|Publisher:||University of Toronto/Université Laval|
|Year of publication:||1979|
|Year of revision:||1979|
|Access Date:||March 29, 2023|