MIGEON DE BRANSSAT, JEAN-BAPTISTE, merchant, clerk in the Compagnie des Indes occidentales, seigneurial attorney, subdelegate of the intendant, judge and seigneur; b. 1636 at Moulins in Bourbonnais, son of Jean Migeon, merchant, and of Marie Desbordes; d. August 1693 at Montreal.
Migeon de Branssat seems to have come to New France in 1665, or not long before. In 1665 he was a merchant at Montreal. The following year he was a clerk in the Compagnie des Indes occidentales, and in 1667 became attorney of the seigneury of Montreal. He was to hold this office for ten years, with Sieur Jean Gervaise as his deputy.
In November 1665, at Montreal, he married Catherine Gauchet de Belleville, a native of Senlis. She was of a noble family, and was related to M. Souart, superior of the seminary of Saint-Sulpice; she had come to Canada with the contingent that arrived in 1659. In May 1664 she had been granted an arriere fief, later known as Lagauchetière, to which a thoroughfare of the city still gives access today.
In December 1665 Migeon himself was granted an arriere fief, adjoining his wife’s. At that time he was engaged in fur-trading, and made numerous real estate deals.
In the winter of 1672 Migeon, with Pierre Picoté de Belestre, Jean-Vincent Philippe de Hautmesnyl, Charles Le Moyne, and Jacques Le Ber*, formed part of a deputation that tried to make respectful representations to the governor of Montreal, François-Marie Perrot, about his repeated violation of the laws governing trade in pelts. For this so-called insolence Perrot had Migeon put in prison; the latter had made himself the spokesman of the group.
At the time of a quarrel over precedence in the parish church of Notre-Dame, in 1675, Migeon de Branssat bore the titles of bachelor of laws and lawyer in the Parlement. On several other occasions this same status was attributed to him.
In August 1677 he succeeded Charles-Joseph D’ailleboust, the civil and criminal judge in the bailiff’s court of Montreal, despite the protests of d’Ailleboust’s son, who laid claim to the office. His installation address is recorded in the register of the bailiff’s court of Montreal.
Migeon de Branssat has been reproached with having frequently ignored the edicts concerning the fur trade and the coureurs de bois, although his very office required him to see that they were observed.
He became the subdelegate of the intendant Jacques de Meulles* in September 1685, and resigned from his post as seigneurial judge in 1690. He was named royal judge of Montreal by the edict of 15 March 1693 that created this office, but he died in the following August, before the appointment had been conferred upon him. It was Charles Juchereau* de Saint-Denis who assumed this function.
After 13 years as a widow, his former wife became a nun of the Hôtel-Dieu at Montreal, where one of her daughters had preceded her. She died there in 1721, aged 77 years. It has been said that she had originally come to New France with the intention of becoming a nun.
Migeon de Branssat and Catherine Gauchet de Belleville had at least six children who reached adult age.
Jug. et délib., I, 1014; II, 157, 183, 191, 547–49, 575, 617f., 675f.; III, 760f., 924f. Ord. comm. (P.-G. Roy), I, 252–58. Faillon, Histoire de la colonie française, II, 360f.; III, 82, 216, 452f. É.-Z. Massicotte, “Les juges de Montréal sous le régime français, 1648–1760,” BRH, XXVII (1921), 177–83; “Migeon de Branssat,” BRH, XXI (1915), 232–359 303f.; “Les tribunaux et les officiers de justice de Montréal sous le régime français.” BRH, XXXVII (1931), 302–13. Régis Roy, “Migeon de Bransat,” BRH, XXVI (1920), 313–17.