ADHÉMAR DE SAINT-MARTIN, ANTOINE (baptized Anthony), royal notary, clerk of court, process-server, and prison keeper; baptized 24 Jan. 1639 in Albi, France, son of Michel Adhémar, a bourgeois and legal practitioner, and of Cécile Gasche; d. 15 April 1714 at Montreal and was buried there the following day.
Among the troops who landed at Quebec with M. de Chastelard de Salières around 19 Aug. 1665 was a soldier named Saint-Martin who belonged to the company of M. de Saurel*. In Saint-Martin one is tempted to recognize Antoine Adhémar – all the more because it was at Sorel that the latter began his civil career as royal notary in 1668. (In all probability, therefore, Adhémar took part in the expedition into Mohawk territory.) On 3 Nov. 1673, when Governor Buade* de Frontenac appointed him “royal process-server and serjeant-at-law for the whole of Canada,” Adhémar was still living at Sorel, but he regularly received acts in the seigneuries of Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Sainte-Anne de la Pérade, Batiscan, Champlain, and even Chambly. He was about to go and set himself up at Champlain. According to documents dated 1681, 1682, and 1684, he added to his offices of royal notary and process-server those of prison keeper at Trois-Rivières, clerk of court, and sworn surveyor: enough to keep him busy!
Adhémar had married Geneviève Sageot at Quebec on 10 Oct. 1667, and it was at Champlain on 30 Aug. 1683 that she died at the age of 33, leaving him with four children. He remarried twice at Cap-de-la-Madeleine, where he seems to have lived from 1684. First, on 8 Feb. 1684, he wed Marie Sédilot, the widow of René Blanchet by her second marriage, who died soon after the birth of a daughter. On 20 Jan. 1687 he married Michelle, the daughter of the notary Jean Cusson, with whom he had a sixth child.
At the time of his third marriage Adhémar was preparing to move to Montreal, where he had been summoned by Dollier de Casson to replace Hilaire Bourgine as the clerk of the court for seigneurial justice. On 2 May 1687 Casson gave him his commission. Pursuing his career but confining himself now to his responsibilities as notary and clerk of court, Adhémar also devoted much attention to the interests of the widow and under-age children of his brother-in-law Jean Aubuchon, who had been murdered in 1685. A large number of deeds, in which he appears in his capacity as guardian, concern this estate. After acting as court clerk for the seigneurs of Montreal from 1687 on, he was transferred by a commission dated 17 Nov. 1693 to the new royal jurisdiction of Montreal, where he would remain until his death. For a short time in 1703, he held the office of acting lieutenant-general there.
On leaving the Trois-Rivières region in 1687, Adhémar had sold his land at Champlain to his brother-in-law, Jean Cusson; Jacques Babie* had bought from him his “two oxen and the cow which are at M. Cusson’s” for 140 livres. Thus, although he had made no declaration to this effect at the time of the 1681 census, Adhémar did have some cattle, and probably a few acres under cultivation. But he does not seem to have had a particular liking for the country, or rather he seems to have preferred the town atmosphere. In Montreal he rapidly became recognized as the notary of merchants dealing in furs and the coureurs de bois.
His correspondence, which has been partially preserved, shows that once he was in Montreal he continued to maintain relationships with the settlers at Champlain, particularly with the merchant Jacques Babie, and afterwards with the latter’s widow. From these documents we learn, among other things, that in the autumn of 1687 Adhémar, who had just settled in Montreal, was very ill, “and even in danger of dying” Adhémar was the confidential agent for Babie and many others, and was entrusted with the most varied tasks, which he undertook moreover with good grace.
Adhémar owned some houses in Montreal and lived in fairly comfortable circumstances. But he went after his debtors ruthlessly: the Registre du bailliage et des audiences enumerates no fewer than 155 suits that he instituted. Despite his efforts, the sums owing to him in February 1711 amounted to 2,066 livres, 8 sols, 3 deniers. The difficulty he experienced in recovering his money did not prevent him from being charitable: he was one of the first three directors of Montreal’s office of the needy (Bureau des pauvres), and in 1695, after the fire in the Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal, he subscribed 20 livres for its reconstruction. Obliging, hard-headed in business but responsive to those in distress, he was also a careful official who earned praise in 1690 for his record-keeping. Unfortunately the last years of his life were saddened by his differences with his son-in-law, Deniau-Destaillis. After Adhémar’s death, Deniau and Tessier, his other son-in-law, started a dispute concerning his estate that was taken before the Conseil Souverain.
AJM, Greffe d’Antoine Adhémar, 1668–1714; Greffe d’Hilaire Bourgine, 17 mai 1686, 27 juin 1689; Greffe de Pierre Cabazié, 27 déc. 1685, 27 déc. 1688, 21 août 1689, 18 oct. 1689, 29 avril 1690, 15 mai 1690, 13 avril 1691; Greffe de Claude Maugue, 5 nov. 1688, 2 juin 1695, 29 févr. 1696; Greffe de Pierre Raimbault, 16 févr. 1711; Registre du bailliage et des audiences. AJQ, Greffe de Gilles Rageot, 9 oct. 1667. AJTR, Greffe de Séverin Ameau, 24 déc. 1680, 20 juin 1683, 4 janv. 1687; Greffe de Jean Cusson, 8 févr. 1684. AQ, Antoine Adhémar; NF, Doc. de la jur. des T.-R., I, 28, 55; NF, Ins. de la Prév. de Québec, I, 387; NF, Ord. des int., VI, 66; VII, 5f. Jug. et délib., I, II, III, IV, VI. Recensement du Canada, 1681 (Sulte). A. Roy, Inv. greffes not., V, VI. Godbout, “Nos ancêtres,” 464f. Massicotte, “Les tribunaux et les officiers de justice,” BRH, XXXVII (1931), 127, 183, 188, 190. Mondoux, L’Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, 247. “Les notaires au Canada.” J.-E. Roy, Histoire du notariat, I, 147, 151f, 202, 221, 363, 382. Régis Roy et Malchelosse, Le régiment de Carignan, 103. Sulte, Mélanges historiques (Malchelosse), I, 104–17. Vachon, Histoire du notariat, 41, 43.
Bibliography for the revised version:
Arch. Départementales, Tarn (Albi, France), “État civil,” Albi (Saint-Salvy), 24 janv. 1639: archives82.fr (consulted 17 Oct. 2022). Bibliothèque et Arch. Nationales du Québec, Centre d’arch. de Montréal, CE601-S51, 16 avril 1714; Centre d’arch. de Québec, CE301-S1, 10 oct. 1667; Centre d’arch. de Trois-Rivières, CE401-S6, 8 févr. 1684, 20 janv. 1687; CE401-S7, 30 août 1683. Germain Lesage, “L’arrivée du régiment de Carignan,” Rev. de l’univ. d’Ottawa, XXXV (1965): 11–34.