ÉLIE, JACQUES, fifth official executioner in Canada; b. c. 1682 in the village of Parcoul, in the province of Saintonge; d. 23 May 1710 on the shores of the Duchesne River, in the seigneury of Deschaillons.
the arrived in New France when quite young and lived first in Acadia, where he was condemned to death at Port-Royal. As there was no executioner in Acadia, he was sent to Quebec to be hanged. In November 1705 he was in the prison of the Conciergerie when, Canada having been without an executioner for two years, the Conseil Souverain asked him to fill the office of hangman. He accepted, on condition that his life be spared.
Jacques Élie was a rogue of the worst sort, and as soon as he was released he started stealing again and continued to do so despite frequent stays in prison.
On 7 Oct. 1707 he married Marie-Joseph Maréchal at Quebec. She bore him two sons. Provoked beyond measure by the insults which the inhabitants of Quebec heaped upon them, the £lies decided to flee to New England. They entrusted their fate to the Pawnee Indian Nicolas, who undertook to serve as their guide. But after one day’s travelling, during the night of 23 May 1710 while Jacques Élie, his wife, and two children were sleeping, the Pawnee murdered them, robbed them, and fled. The hangman Élie and his family were buried on the site of the crime.
AHDQ, Registres des malades, 1709–12. AJQ, Registre d’état civil de Notre-Dame de Québec. AQ, NF, Coll. de pièces jud. et not., 377, 447; NF, Dossiers du Cons. sup., Mat. crim., III, 193ff. Jug. et délib., V, 192. André Lachance, Le bourreau au Canada sous le régime français (SHQ Cahiers d’histoire, XVIII, 1966), 67–72. Marcel Trudel, L’esclavage au Canada français; histoire et conditions de l’esclavage (Québec, 1960), 225.
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