LEVASSEUR, dit Lavigne, JEAN, “master joiner of Paris,” first court officer of the Conseil Souverain; b. 1622, son of Noël Levasseur and Geneviève Grange; d. 31 Aug. 1686 at Quebec and was buried there the following day. He was the grandfather of the woodcarver Noël Levasseur* and one of the founders of the Confrérie de Sainte-Anne, at the parish church of Quebec.
In 1648, in Paris, he married Marguerite Richard, daughter of a master lapidary and of Jeanne Bonnet. He probably arrived at Quebec in 1651, with Governor Jean de Lauson. On 13 Aug. 1654, Father Jérôme Lalemant and the churchwardens of Notre-Dame entrusted to Jean Levasseur the upkeep of the parish church, particularly of the casement windows of the edifice, “providing him with the paper and the oil,” and paying him a daily wage of 30 sols.
In 1655, Louis d’Ailleboust made him two grants of land: one in the censive of Quebec, the other in the seigneury of Coulonge. Three years later, d’Ailleboust granted him more land, this time on the north slope of the Île d’Orléans.
Marguerite Richard had left assets in Paris, specifically a house located on Guérin-Boisseau Street, in the quarter of Saint-Nicolas-des-Champs, “where hangs a sign bearing the likenesses of Ste Barbara, Ste Anne and Saint Francis.” On two occasions, 13 Aug. 1658 and 18 Oct. 1660, she authorized her husband to go and sell this property. It seems that Jean Levasseur’s journey to France took place in the autumn of 1660, since on 31 October of that year, in Quebec, Levasseur undertook to pay, on behalf of Raymond Pagé, dit Carcy, the sum of 150 livres to “Nicolas Marsollet, in the town of Rouen, in his lodging which is at the bottom of the rue de la Vicomté, in the dwelling of the Sieur de la Marre, master locksmith.” This obligation was cancelled, but it is nevertheless certain that Levasseur made the voyage to France with his son Louis, then 10 years old; on 18 Sept. 1662, Louis Levasseur was boarding with Gilles de Beddé, at Montreuil-sous-Bois.
The position of court officer of the Conseil Souverain, which Jean Levasseur assumed, left him little opportunity for the diligent practice of his trade. He became as it were an intermediary between the joiners and the government of New France, and indulged in speculation in real estate – as can be ascertained from some of the contracts of the notaries Duquet and Rageot.
When the marriage contract was drawn up between his daughter Anne-Félicité and Jean Hamel, on 23 April 1685, Jean Levasseur was stated to be absent by reason of an indisposition.
AJQ, Greffe de Guillaume Audouart, 13 août 1654, 20 oct. 1655; Greffe de Pierre Duquet, 1663–84, passim; Greffe de Gilles Rageot, 1666–1702, passim. ASQ, Documents Faribault; Séminaire, passim. Musée du Québec, Inventaire des œuvres d’art . . . , Dossiers Levasseur. JR (Thwaites). P.-G. Roy, Inv. concessions.
Marius Barbeau, “Les Le Vasseur, maîtres menuisiers, sculpteurs et statuaires (Québec, circa 1648–1818),” Les Archives de Folklore, III (1948), 35–49. D. Levack, La Confrérie de Sainte-Anne à Québec (Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, 1956). Tanguay, Dictionnaire.
Revisions based on:
Bibliothèque et Arch. Nationales du Québec, Centre d’arch. de Québec, CE301-S1, 1er sept. 1686.