SUZOR (Suzor de Bièvre), FRANÇOIS-MICHEL, doctor; b. 26 May 1756 in Romorantin-Lanthenay, France, son of François Suzor, a merchant, and Marie-Anne Grougnard; d. 15 Dec. 1810 in Saint-Vallier, Lower Canada.
Unlike his father and two of his brothers, François-Michel Suzor was more interested in surgery than in trade and finance. He came to the American colonies with the forces under the Marquis de La Fayette and on 26 Aug. 1778 enlisted as a surgeon’s mate in the 7th Massachusetts Regiment. On 11 November some Iroquois from a detachment commanded by an officer of the British forces, Walter Butler*, captured him during the attack on Cherry Valley, N.Y., and took him to Fort Niagara (near Youngstown, N.Y.). Apparently he was accused of trying to bribe the Canadian sailors at this post, and he was subsequently transferred to Montreal and then to Quebec.
At that period a form of syphilis known as the Baie-Saint-Paul malady [see Philippe-Louis-François Badelard; James Bowman*] was raging in several parishes with devastating effects. Thinking that Suzor’s skills could be useful, the colonial authorities decided to send him to Baie-Saint-Paul to serve as assistant surgeon under Dr Badelard. Consequently he took ship on 6 May 1780 for Baie-Saint-Paul; he remained there for two and a half years. Some time after his arrival he left the temporary hospital that had been set up and decided to practise medicine in the region on his own.
Electing to remain in the colony, late in 1782 Suzor chose to set up practice at Pointe-aux-Trembles (Neuville), which had been without a surgeon since Bernard Planté’s death that year. He bought some of the books and all the surgical instruments and medicaments in Planté’s estate. His marriage to Marie-Anne Larue on 3 March 1783 and the grant of a building site in the village of Pointe-aux-Trembles six months later further helped him to become established. Early in 1784, however, he moved to Saint-Antoine-sur-Richelieu. On 12 June the leading citizens of the region asked Governor Haldimand to grant a notary’s commission to Suzor, “who through the zeal, charity, and humanity that he possesses” seemed to them to be worthy of occupying such a function. In all probability it was refused him. Some time after his wife’s death on 3 July 1785 Suzor returned to the Quebec region and established himself at Cap-Santé; on 28 Aug. 1787 he took as his second wife Louise Laflèche. He lived there until at least 1794, spent some time at Quebec before moving to Île d’Orléans, and finally returned to Cap-Santé around 1801. At his death in 1810 his family was still living there.
It is not known what kind of training Suzor had received, but his handwriting and style give proof of a good education. That prominent people suggested him as a notary lends support to this view. His competence was recognized officially on 30 Dec. 1788 when he received a licence to practise as a surgeon and pharmacist. His experience at Baie-Saint-Paul, where he is supposed to have cured dozens of people, had made a strong impression on him; on several occasions he announced that he “very successfully cures all sorts of venereal diseases, and other illnesses of every kind, [having] a particular secret for curing the infectious malady, so harmful to the health of His British Majesty’s subjects, known as the Les Éboulements and Baie-Saint-Paul malady.” He also said that he was a very good dentist.
At Suzor’s death his second wife was left with seven children, five of whom were still minors. None of the four sons carried on their father’s profession.
AD, Loir-et-Cher (Blois), État civil, Romorantin-Lanthenay, 26 mai 1756. ANQ-M, CE1-13, 3 juill. 1785. ANQ-Q, CC1, 8 oct. 1813; CE1-1, 28 août 1787; CE1-8, 22 avril 1793, 11 févr. 1801; CE1-10, 25 mai 1797; CE1-11, 19 juin 1798; CE1-15, 3 mars 1783, 25 mai 1797; CE2-8, 17 déc. 1810; CN1-21, 1er juill. 1828, 20 juin 1829, 18 mai 1830; CN1-25, 17 sept. 1783; CN1-83, 8 janv., 21 févr. 1783; 25 août 1787; CN1-230, 14 sept. 1802. BL, Add. mss 21732: f.411; 21843: f.54; 21845/2: f.309; 21879: ff.194–95 (copies at PAC). PAC, MG 11, [CO 42] Q, 39: 80; RG 4, A1: 16496–504, 16942–54, 17151; B28, 47: 74–76. Quebec Gazette, 3 Oct. 1782, 8 Sept. 1796. F. B. Heitman, Historical register of officers of the Continental Army during the war of the revolution . . . (Washington, 1893). Inventaire des registres paroissiaux de l’île de France (île Maurice), Compagnie des Indes, 1722–1767, R.-O. Béchet, édit. (Port-Louis, Île Maurice, 1951), 392. Albert Lasnier, “Suzor,” L’Hebdo de Portneuf (Saint-Raymond, Qué.), 4 déc. 1978: 8. “Nécrologie,” Le Courrier du Canada (Québec), 23 mai 1877: 2.