STROUDS, GILLES WILLIAM (later baptized Louis-Claude-Joseph), entrepreneur; b. c. 1712 at London, England, son of William Strouds and Rachel Relind Baionas; buried 5 April 1757 at Quebec.
The Strouds family emigrated from England to Carolina early in the 18th century. In 1738 an affair of honour forced the younger William to flee the justice of the colony to New France. Four years later he abjured his Protestant faith and was baptized in the chapel of the Jesuit college with Gilles Hocquart* serving as his godparent. No doubt at that time he acquired the Christian names, Louis-Claude-Joseph, by which he was identified in the 1744 census of Quebec; he lived then with three servants on Rue de la Montagne. Ten years later, after he had married, he resided on Rue Saint-Jean.
Strouds’ major commercial interest appears to have been the Labrador seal fishery. In August 1751 he entered a five-year partnership with Jacques de Lafontaine de Belcour to exploit the latter’s posts along the north shore of the St Lawrence from the Nontagamion (Nétagamiou) to the Chicataka (Chécatica) rivers and at the Rivière Saint-Augustin, which Lafontaine leased from Charles Cheron. Strouds assumed one-half of the lease on Saint-Augustin and furnished 4,000 livres to Lafontaine’s son Gilles to outfit two ships with supplies. Lafontaine retained one eighth interest. Seal hunting must have been successful. In September 1754 Strouds borrowed 2,200 livres on future returns to supply victuals, nets, lead, and wages for the schooner Marie-Louise in order to hunt seals at Nontagamion; he paid back the loan within a year. Strouds also supplied firewood to Quebec. In 1752 he hired two men for the season to exploit his lighter, Baleine du Port (30 to 35 tons), by transporting cordwood from the south shore of the St Lawrence and selling it in Quebec for 40 sols per cord. Strouds took one-half of the profits; the two sailors shared the remainder and paid a third crew-member. Nothing else is known concerning Strouds’ business career, but the above account suggests that in true entrepreneurial fashion he sought to use his own and other individuals’ capital to exploit market opportunities he observed around him.
On 26 Feb. 1748 Strouds married Marie-Josephte Morisseau at Charlesbourg, near Quebec, and the same year successfully applied to the French crown for letters of naturalization. A child lived only for a few months; in 1751 Strouds purchased from some Acadian Indians a two-year-old boy born of English parents and had him baptized Pierre at Quebec. Gilles William Strouds died at Quebec and, on 5 April 1757, he was buried in the church of the Recollets. Strouds had left sums to be distributed to a servant and to the poor.
ANQ, Greffe de C.-H. Du Laurent, 24 févr. 1748; Greffe de J.-C. Panet, 15 mars 1757. Coll. de manuscrits relatifs à la N.-F., III, 419–20. Inv. de pièces du Labrador (P.-G. Roy), II, 95–97, 98–99, 104–5, 106, 107. “Recensement de Québec, 1744” (APQ Rapport). Tanguay, Dictionnaire. “Biographies canadiennes,” BRH, XX (1914), 375–76.