ROUFFIO, JOSEPH, merchant; b. 31 Oct. 1730 at Montauban, France, son of Jean-Jacques Rouffio and Marquèze Nègre; d. sometime after 1764.
Little is known about the Rouffio family’s business career in New France. The Rouffio brothers, Jean, Dominique, Pierre, François, Étienne, and Joseph, along with their brother-in-law François Romagnac, probably arrived in the colony in 1752, and there they formed a partnership. In 1755 Joseph Rouffio withdrew from the partnership after a quarrel with his family over his marriage to Louise Cadet.
The Rouffio family’s differences with Louise Cadet and Augustin Cadet, her father, began in 1753. Pierre Rouffio, who was not yet 20 years of age, fell in love with Louise Cadet and prepared to renounce Protestantism in order to marry her. Jean, the eldest member of the Rouffio family, was opposed to this marriage. To force his hand Pierre abducted Louise Cadet. The girl’s father brought action against the abductor before the provost court of Quebec, which condemned the young man to the galleys. A few weeks later the Conseil Supérieur modified the sentence: it ordered Pierre Rouffio to pay 10,000 livres in damages and to leave the colony unless he preferred to marry Louise Cadet. Rouffio chose to pay the money, but it is not known whether he had to leave Canada.
Louise Cadet was consequently provided with a considerable dowry. It was probably with the idea of bringing this money back into his family that Joseph Rouffio, Pierre’s brother, took it into his head to marry Louise Cadet. But he encountered his older brother Jean’s frenzied opposition, for this project meant, among other things, that a second member of the Rouffio family would abjure his faith, Pierre having already done so. In February 1755 Jean Rouffio endeavoured to obtain from the provost court of Quebec, then from the Conseil Supérieur, an order forbidding his brother, who was still under age, from entering into this marriage. The council, however, ordered “a new assembly of neighbours or friends in the absence of parents in this country . . . to give . . . their opinion and assent” to the marriage. On 20 March 1755 the engaged couple contracted a marriage with community of property according to the customary law of Paris: Rouffio paid 3,333 livres 6 sols 8 deniers into the joint estate out of the 8,000 livres that he declared he owned in the partnership to which he belonged. For her part Louise Cadet brought her indemnification of 10,000 livres. The wedding took place on 8 April of that year.
In July Joseph Rouffio withdrew from his brothers’ partnership; he received his share of 8,000 livres in the partnership, his share in his father’s estate and that of a brother who had died in France, likewise amounting to 8,000 livres, and in addition 2,000 livres as compensation. Joseph Rouffio’s debts to the partnership were cancelled, but those of the partnership to Joseph Rouffio were paid off. The interests of the Rouffio family were thus separated, but Joseph was the only one who profited from it. In his will, dated August 1755, Jean Rouffio disinherited his brother Joseph.
Shortly after the conquest Joseph Rouffio is believed to have gone back to France and to have settled in Tours. He returned to the colony in 1764, probably to attend to the registration and clearing off of his French bills, for he registered more than 85,000 livres in bills of exchange at the clearing of accounts carried out in 1763. After 1764 he disappears from sight.
AAQ, 42 CD, Abjurations, A, 63, 145; 65, 147. AD, Tarn-et-Garonne (Montauban), État civil, Saint-Jean-Villenouvelle, 31 oct. 1730. AJQ, Registre d’état civil, Notre-Dame de Québec, 8 avril 1755. AN, Col., C11A, 108, ff.1–90. ANQ, Greffe de R.-C. Barolet, 20 mars 1755; Greffe de J.-C. Panet, 6 août, 29 sept., 17 oct. 1753, 18 juill., 18 août 1755, 26 oct. 1764; NF, Registres du Cons. sup., registre criminel, 1730–1759, ff.140v–41; 1752–1755, ff.175–75v. PAC, MG 7, II, 12147, ff.118–19, 247. P.-G. Roy, Inv. contrats de mariage, V, 241; Inv. ins. Prév. Québec, III, 31; Inv. jug. et délib., 1717–1760, II, 191; V, 186; VI, 22, 66. Tanguay, Dictionnaire. P.-G. Roy, La ville de Québec, II, 231–32 [P.-G. Roy wrongly attributes to Joseph Rouffio the abduction of Louise Cadet in 1753. j.i.].