JUCHEREAU DUCHESNAY, ELZÉAR-HENRI (also called Henri-Elzéar), lawyer, seigneur, legislative councillor, and senator; b. 19 July 1809 at Beauport, son of Antoine-Louis Juchereau* Duchesnay, seigneur of Beauport, and of Marie-Louise Fleury de La Gorgendière; d. 12 May 1871 at Sainte-Marie-de-la-Beauce and buried in the parish church.
After receiving an excellent education within his family and through lessons from skilful tutors, Elzéar-Henri Juchereau Duchesnay completed his legal training and was called to the bar on 10 Jan. 1832. He married for the first time on 24 July 1834, and went to live at Sainte-Marie-de-la-Beauce, where his wife, Julie Perrault, daughter of Jean-Baptiste-Olivier Perrault*, bore him three children. At her death, on 22 Aug. 1838, she bequeathed to him part of the Sainte-Marie seigneury. Having been appointed stipendiary magistrate for the district of Montreal on 22 July 1839, then police magistrate on 8 April 1840, Juchereau Duchesnay took up residence at Sainte-Marie-de-Monnoir. But in 1843 he returned to the practice of law at Quebec. On 17 June 1844, he married his first wife’s cousin, Élisabeth-Suzanne, daughter of the Honourable Jean-Thomas Taschereau* and sister of Cardinal Elzéar-Alexandre Taschereau*, and this marriage brought him back to Sainte-Marie-de-la-Beauce. They had seven children who, like their descendants, made their mark in the society of the time; one son was Charles-Edmond*, who was superintendent of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company in British Columbia.
In 1846, having received military training during his youth, Juchereau Duchesnay became lieutenant-colonel of the Dorchester, the 4th militia battalion of his region. His sympathies were with the Conservative party, and on 29 Sept. 1856 he was elected legislative councillor for the Lauzon division; he remained a councillor until confederation, and on 23 Oct. 1867 was named to the Senate of the dominion.
He was a great philanthropist, and a promoter and benefactor of education. The guerre des éteignoirs [see Meilleur] raged in his parish, as it had elsewhere since 1846, and the local school commission broke up, leaving education in utter neglect. On 28 Aug. 1849 Juchereau Duchesnay addressed to Lord Elgin [Bruce* ] a petition signed by 42 notables requesting a new school commission for the village. On 24 September the governor replied favourably. The promoter of the commission, having become its president, assumed the thankless task of reviving the schools; he undertook all the correspondence with the superintendent of education, and personally drafted the contracts of appointment with the schoolmistresses. Louis Proulx, who became priest of the parish in 1851, gave him strong support. The two “friends of education” succeeded in putting 15 schools into operation again, and the report of the superintendent for 1855 praised their tireless zeal. In August 1856 Juchereau Duchesnay handed over his responsibilities to his colleague.
Juchereau Duchesnay was also interested in agriculture. At the time the agricultural society of the county was revived, on 23 Feb. 1847, he became president. Le Canadien on 3 Feb. 1864 reported that at an annual meeting he was re-elected. It seems that in the interval he had continued to be president, and that in this way he championed the cause of agriculture in the county for at least 18 years; he was a farmer himself, and as a philanthropist took an interest in the bettering of the occupation of farming.
Juchereau Duchesnay was also mayor of Sainte-Marie-de-la-Beauce from 1868 to 1870. Finally, at his death he was still lieutenant-colonel of the reserve militia, division of La Beauce. At his funeral four farmers carried his coffin.
Archives de la Fabrique Sainte-Marie (Beauce, Qué.), Papiers des écoles. ANQ, QBC, Instruction publique, 28, 29, 35, 36, 37, 41, 42, 43, 50, 51, 55, 62, 64. Canada, Province of, Legislative Assembly, Journals, 1856, app.16, “Report of the superintendent of education for Lower Canada for 1855.” Le Canadien (Québec), 3 févr. 1864. La Gazette des familles acadiennes et canadiennes (Québec), 15 juin 1871. Honorius Provost, Sainte-Marie de la Nouvelle-Beauce, histoire religieuse (Québec, 1967). P.-G. Roy, La famille Juchereau Duchesnay (Lévis, 1903); La famille Taschereau (Lévis, 1901).