JACQUET (Jacquiers), FRANÇOIS, potter; b. c. 1731, probably at Bourgoin-Jaillieu, France, son of Joseph Jacquet, a manufacturer of faience, and Louise Giroux; d. some time after 1777.
François Jacquet came to Canada as a soldier in the colonial regular troops and was discharged on 2 Dec. 1751. On 10 Jan. 1752 he married Élisabeth Bourget in Quebec. The marriage contract, concluded the previous day before notary Gilbert Boucault* de Godefus, indicates that he was living in the house of the widow Fornel [Marie-Anne Barbel] “in his capacity as a potter,” and this evidence suggests that he must have apprenticed in France with his father. On 31 May 1752 Jacquet engaged himself to work for Marie-Anne Barbel for three years, but by the end of the summer problems had developed. Jacquet wanted to leave the shop, located near the Rivière Saint-Charles, alleging that “the building which constitutes the pottery is uninhabitable . . . is in danger of collapsing” and “has holes all over, with water leaking in.” At the beginning of the winter he complained that “the clay . . . in the aforementioned pottery is frozen so hard that it cannot be used for its intended purpose.”
Whether she liked it or not, Marie-Anne Barbel had to do without the services of her potter, because on 18 Nov. 1752 he went into partnership with merchant Pierre Révol*. According to the contract, Révol advanced 2,913 livres 14 sols to buy clay and the “tools necessary to use it,” while Jacquet undertook to work for him for five years, with profits and losses to be shared equally. Their association lasted less than two years since on 16 March 1755 Jacquet went into partnership with Jean Teissier to manufacture bricks and hired “as brick-maker, Pierre Fournier living at Cap-Rouge.” This new partnership was dissolved on 2 July.
Between 1752 and 1766 François Jacquet acquired some lots on the right bank of the Rivière Saint-Charles. He apparently found usable clay on the spot and set up shop there. There is no indication that he trained apprentices, but in 1757 he hired Joseph François, dit Saint-François, “to be and in his capacity as journeyman potter,” and in 1763 he hired a potter named Jacob Steinner. From 1762 on, probably because there were no longer imports from France, Jacquet signed numerous contracts to make earthenware articles for Quebec merchants, such as François Dambourgès. He received orders for cooking pots, plates, and dishes of all sorts. Many such items dating from this period have been found, but none can be attributed with certainty to Jacquet.
Jacquet seems to have been in financial difficulties in the spring of 1770. He disposed of part of his land in March, and a little later his remaining properties, together with their buildings – two houses, a barn, and a shop with a kiln – were seized. In April he took legal action against Guillot Poulin to obtain payment for earthenware. His situation does not seem to have improved subsequently, since in September he signed a bond for 1,739 livres 19 sols in favour of Gabriel Messayé, a Quebec baker. He probably left the city at that period to set up business in Montreal. On 18 Oct. 1777 he took inventory of his shop in the faubourg Saint-Joseph, after the sudden departure of his partner Joseph, who was identified as “Irish by birth.” In the shop there were many earthenware soup bowls, chamber pots, cooking pots, butter crocks, soup tureens, and dishes, and some unused “powdered clay.” This is the last record of François Jacquet; the date and place of his death remain unknown.
François Jacquet was one of the few potters working in New France, a situation no doubt explained by the massive importation of pottery from France. In 1747 earthenware goods worth 250,000 livres were exported from La Rochelle to the West Indies, Louisiana, and Canada, and in 1758 51,000 livres’ worth. It was only after the conquest that this craft really began to develop, and more information about Jacquet’s career might illustrate its growth.
AMHDQ, Papier terrier, Quartier Saint-Sauveur, Procès-verbal du terrain des pauvres . . . , 18 août 1762, no.4, ff.62, 63. ANQ-M, Doc. jud., Cour des plaidoyers communs, Registres, 1770–85; Greffe d’Antoine Foucher, 18 oct. 1777. ANQ-Q, État civil, Catholiques, Notre-Dame de Québec, 10 janv. 1752; Greffe de Claude Barolet, 20 déc. 1752; Greffe de Gilbert Boucault de Godefus, 9 janv., 26 juill. 1752, 21 août 1753, 16 mars 1755; Greffe de C.-H. Du Laurent, 31 mai 1752, 20 mai 1757; Greffe de Claude Louet, 13 déc. 1764; Greffe de F.-E. Moreau, 14 mai, ler sept., 21 nov. 1764, 15 mai 1765; Greffe de J.-C. Panet, 18 nov. 1752; Greffe de J.-A. Saillant, 28 oct. 1762; Greffe de Simon Sanguinet, 2 sept. 1763, 7 mars, 12 sept. 1770; NF 19, 100, f.41v; QBC 28, Conseil militaire, 1er, 11 avril 1761; IBC, Centre de documentation, Fonds Morisset, Dossier François Jacquet. Private archives, J.-P. Cloutier (Prescott, Ont.), Lettre de Jean Chapelot. Quebec Gazette, 10 May 1770. P.-G. Roy, Inv. jug. et délib., 1717–60, V, 249–50; Inv. procès-verbaux des grands voyers, II, 247. Tanguay, Dictionnaire.