JUCHEREAU DUCHESNAY, HENRI-JULES, lawyer, magistrate, and politician; b. 6 July 1845 at Sainte-Marie-de-la-Nouvelle-Beauce (Sainte-Marie), Canada East, son of Elzéar-Henri Juchereau* Duchesnay, a lawyer and politician, and Élisabeth-Suzanne Taschereau, daughter of the Honourable Jean-Thomas Taschereau*; d. 6 July 1887 at Sainte-Marie.
Henri-Jules Juchereau Duchesnay’s ancestor, Jean Juchereau* de Maur, who had arrived in New France in 1634 with his wife and four children, was the first seigneur of Saint-Augustin. During the next two centuries, the Juchereau family became connected with the other nobility in the Quebec region through marriage.
Juchereau Duchesnay received a classical education at the Petit Séminaire de Québec, and studied law at Université Laval in Quebec City and McGill College in Montreal. On 14 Sept. 1866 he was called to the bar, and practised at Quebec with Honoré-Cyrias Pelletier for some months before taking up residence in his native parish. On 19 May 1871 he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of the militia and on 3 Jan. 1874 stipendiary magistrate for Beauce County. In 1875 he accepted the post of inspector of mines for the Beauce area, which included the 1,500-square-mile basin of the Rivière Chaudière considered to be a gold-bearing region. The most intensive mining was being carried out on the Rivière Gilbert, a tributary of the Chaudière; in October 1882 Juchereau Duchesnay listed 16 companies prospecting on the Gilbert alone. Joseph Obalski*, a mining engineer working for the provincial government, noted in his report in 1898 that gold was to be found there in “commercial quantities.”
In 1882 Juchereau Duchesnay, who devoted part of his time to agriculture, collaborated in establishing a creamery designed to teach butter manufacturing; there was at that time only one other similar operation in Quebec, at Saint-Denis-de-la-Bouteillerie. As president and managing director of the Société de Fabrication de Beurre et de Fromage de la Paroisse de Sainte-Marie, he imported from Denmark two centrifugal separators, the first to be installed in Canada and indeed in North America. They yielded unexpectedly good results, but unfortunately the suspicious farmers did not provide the requisite daily quota of milk. Observing that the company was operating at a loss, despite an annual grant of $1,000 from the provincial government, the shareholders withdrew in July 1883, leaving Juchereau Duchesnay to run the undertaking by himself; he continued until “his financial resources were exhausted.” Two years after his death the butter-factory was reorganized as a cooperative.
Politics also interested Juchereau Duchesnay. In 1885, according to L’Électeur of Quebec City, he was one of the speakers who “in energetic terms stigmatized the cowardly and criminal servility of the federal ministers” who had voted for the execution of Louis Riel. At a meeting of the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste he secured the adoption of a motion “that the society’s flag have a black border during the celebration of the national holiday on 24 June.” In 1887 he stood as “National” Conservative candidate in Dorchester County, dissociating himself from his leader, Sir John A. Macdonald*, because of the Riel affair. On 22 February he defeated Dr Charles-Alexandre Lesage, the Conservative incumbent. Juchereau Duchesnay served for only a few months before he died of typhoid fever on 6 July 1887. His brother-in-law, Honoré Julien-Jean-Baptiste Chouinard, won the subsequent by-election on 8 Jan. 1888.
On 21 Sept. 1869, at Quebec, Henri-Jules Juchereau Duchesnay had married Caroline, daughter of Cirice Têtu, a Quebec merchant, and they had ten children. Juchereau Duchesnay led an active life in the Beauce region, where he was held in high esteem. Although he had many abilities his premature death deprived him of the time to acquire the standing and respect his father had enjoyed.
AP, Sainte-Marie-de-la-Nouvelle-Beauce (Sainte-Marie), Reg. des baptêmes, mariages et sépultures, 8 juill. 1887. Qué., Parl., Doc. de la session, 1882, I: no.2; 1883–84, IV: nos.22, 22a, 22b, 23. L’Électeur (Québec), 24, 26 nov. 1885. CPC, 1887. P.-G. Roy, Les avocats de la région de Québec, 146. Frère Éloi-Gérard [Talbot], Recueil des généalogies des comtés de Beauce-Dorchester-Frontenac, 1625–1946 (11v., Beauceville, Qué., 1949–55), I. Joseph Obalski, Or dans la province de Québec (Québec, 1898). Honorius Provost, Sainte-Marie de la Nouvelle-Beauce; histoire civile (Québec, 1970). P.-G. Roy, La famille Juchereau Duchesnay (Lévis, Qué., 1903); La famille Taschereau (Lévis, 1901). Rumilly, Hist. de la prov. de Québec, X. Errol Bouchette, “Les débuts d’une industrie laitière et notre classe bourgeoise,” RSC Trans., 3rd ser., 6 (1912), sect.i: 143–57.