RANVOYZÉ, ÉTIENNE, notary, militia officer, jp, office holder, and politician; b. 10 March 1776 at Quebec, son of François Ranvoyzé* and Marie-Vénérande Pelerin; m. 6 March 1802 Françoise Fillion in Jeune-Lorette (Loretteville), Lower Canada; d. 9 Aug. 1826 in Trois-Rivières, Lower Canada.
Étienne Ranvoyzé was the fourth of ten children. Through his work as a silversmith his father assured the family of some security, and he was on good terms socially with the Quebec bourgeoisie and clergy. It is therefore not surprising that in 1790 Étienne went to study at the Petit Séminaire de Québec, where he remained until 1795. His brothers Louis and François-Ignace also attended this institution.
Étienne was attracted to law and trained with notary Jean-Marie Mondelet*. On 11 April 1799 he received his commission as a notary public. He went into partnership with his teacher for a time and practised at Saint-Marc and William Henry (Sorel). Around 1801 he settled in Trois-Rivières and, while carrying on his profession, he became interested in public affairs.
During the War of 1812 Ranvoyzé served in the Canadian militia. He was commissioned a lieutenant in the 3rd Select Embodied Militia Battalion on 25 May 1812 and served under Lieutenant-Colonel James Cuthbert. On 25 March 1813 he was promoted captain, and on 26 October he took part in the battle of Châteauguay under Charles-Michel d’Irumberry de Salaberry. He came under fire again on 11 Sept. 1814 at the battle of Plattsburgh. He remained on active service until at least the beginning of 1815, at which time he left the militia.
Peace having been restored, Ranvoyzé returned to his notarial practice in Trois-Rivières. Since he had neglected his clientele for some years, he had to rely on the prestige he had won on the battlefield, as well as on patronage. He received a commission as justice of the peace on 8 July 1815. On 2 October he was recommended for the post of clerk and treasurer of the commission set up to oversee the building of a prison in Trois-Rivières. In the general election of 1816 he served as returning officer for the riding of Trois-Rivières. These offices apparently did not bring in enough money to save him from serious financial difficulties in 1817. That year Louis Gugy*, the sheriff of Trois-Rivières, seized part of Ranvoyzé’s assets, consisting of a property on Rue Notre-Dame. In 1818 Ranvoyzé was secretary to the municipal corporation of the town.
In March 1819, probably counting on the popularity he enjoyed from his numerous administrative posts, his prestige as a former military man, and a growing practice, Ranvoyzé ran in a by-election in the riding of Saint-Maurice against Pierre Bureau*, a Trois-Rivières merchant. Despite the encouragement and promises of numerous supporters, Ranvoyzé was defeated; he then unsuccessfully contested the election results. In 1820 he ran in Trois-Rivières, but again his hopes were dashed, since Joseph Badeaux won.
When a general election was held in July and August 1824 Ranvoyzé again stood as a candidate there, with Amable Berthelot* as his running-mate. This time his constituents did not deny him their support and he won. Ranvoyzé would not disappoint the voters who had finally given him their trust. He took his role seriously and participated in no fewer than 15 select committees during the 1825 and 1826 sessions. As a member of the Canadian party, which was then predominant in the assembly, he voted regularly with the majority, although at the opening of the first session he had voted with the English party against the election of Louis-Joseph Papineau* as speaker.
Étienne Ranvoyzé died in Trois-Rivières on 9 Aug. 1826 and was buried there two days later. Active until the end, in less than 30 years he had carved out a reputation and an important place for himself in his adopted town. He energetically combined professional commitments as a notary with duties as a magistrate, and after a few tries attained the highest office for someone from his milieu, member of the Lower Canadian House of Assembly.
ANQ-MBF, CE1-48, 25 nov. 1802, 11 août 1826. ANQ-Q, CE1-1, 11 mars 1776; CE1-28, 6 mars 1802. ASQ, Fichier des anciens. L.C., House of Assembly, Journals, 1817, app.H; 1819: 206. Le Canadien, 16 juin 1819; 15 mars, 26 juill. 1820; 11, 25 août 1824. La Gazette des Trois-Rivières (Trois-Rivières, [Qué.]), 16 juin 1818; 12 janv., 16 févr., 20 avril 1819; 4 juill., 8 août 1820. Quebec Gazette, 18 April 1799, 9 Jan. 1817, 19 March 1818, 10 Aug. 1826. F.-J. Audet, Les députés des Trois-Rivières. Ivanhoë Caron, “Papiers Duvernay conservés aux Archives de la province de Québec,” ANQ Rapport, 1926–27: 148–49, 151. Officers of British forces in Canada (Irving). Fernand Ouellet, “Inventaire de la saberdache de Jacques Viger,” ANQ Rapport, 1955–57: 131. Quebec almanac, 1815–16, 1822. Maurice Grenier, “La chambre d’Assemblée du Bas-Canada, 1815–1837” (thèse de ma, univ. de Montréal, 1966). J.-E. Roy, Hist. du notariat, 2: 233.