BADEAUX, JOSEPH, militia officer, notary, landowner, jp, office holder, politician, and seigneur; b. 25 Sept. 1777 in Trois-Rivières, Que., son of Jean-Baptiste Badeaux* and Marguerite Bolvin, daughter of wood-carver Gilles Bolvin*; d. there 12 Sept. 1835.
Joseph Badeaux followed in his father’s footsteps and took up the notarial profession. On 13 Nov. 1792 he began articling with his brother Antoine-Isidore, who was also a notary. He finished his clerkship on 1 Nov. 1797 but had to wait until he came of age to apply for a commission to practise. He was granted one on 1 Oct. 1798.
With this document in hand, Badeaux set up an office in Trois-Rivières. In 1799 he took Nicolas-Benjamin Doucet* as a student clerk. The following year, on 9 June, he married Marguerite Dumont in Trois-Rivières; she died in 1801 while giving birth to their first child. On 16 May 1802, at Quebec, Badeaux then married Geneviève Berthelot, daughter of Michel-Amable Berthelot* Dartigny, a notary who served as a commissioner for the Jesuit estates, and sister of Amable Berthelot*, a young lawyer who had come to Trois-Rivières to practise law. The couple were to have at least 14 children. On 23 July 1800 Badeaux had become district agent for Trois-Rivières of the commission set up that year to manage the Jesuit estates after the death of Jean-Joseph Casot*, the last member of that order in the province; this post netted him 10 per cent of the sums collected. In May 1801 he had received a commission as president of meetings of inhabitants to regulate the common of Trois-Rivières.
Through the years Badeaux became one of the most prominent figures in Trois-Rivières. His many and various responsibilities furnish the proof: chief cantor, with “a voice that would have filled an enormous cathedral and that ‘shattered the windows’ of the parish church,” justice of the peace for the district (his first commission dated 1803, the last 1833), collector for the fabrique (1804), churchwarden (1806), commissioner to receive the oath of allegiance (1812, 1833), sheriff (1813), commissioner for the improvement of internal communications (1815, 1817), member of the board of examiners of applicants to be inspectors of flour and meal (1818) and of a similar board for the posts of potash and pearl ash inspectors (1818, 1830), one of five commissioners appointed by the governor to supervise repairs to the church of Trois-Rivières (1818), and finally, commissioner for the building of churches and presbyteries (1819, 1820). On 18 Feb. 1823 Badeaux was named royal notary, a title that was largely honorary but none the less accorded him the exclusive privilege in Trois-Rivières of receiving contracts to which the king was a party; he was given a new commission on 11 Dec. 1830, after William IV’s accession to the throne.
In addition, Badeaux rose through the militia: commissioned a lieutenant in 1798, he was promoted captain in the Trois-Rivières battalion of militia in February 1812 and served with that rank during the War of 1812; he was made a major in 1822. Badeaux was also active in politics. His first two terms as a member of the House of Assembly for Trois-Rivières, from 18 June 1808 till 1 March 1810, coincided with a tumultuous period in the parliamentary and political life of Lower Canada [see Sir James Henry Craig*]. Most of the ridings then had two members, and he was elected in 1808 with Ezekiel Hart*, who had been expelled from the assembly earlier that year because of his Jewish faith, and in 1809 with Mathew Bell* because Moses Hart*, who sought to succeed his brother, failed to get elected. According to the listing of members’ affiliations published by the newspaper Le Canadien in October and November 1809, Badeaux sided with the “government party.” Moreover, during the brief and single sessions that constituted the fifth and sixth parliaments, he almost always voted with the bloc in power and was one of the four Canadians who opposed making judges ineligible to sit in the House of Assembly [see Sir James Henry Craig; Pierre-Amable De Bonne*]. Badeaux ran in the 1810 elections but was beaten by Bell and Thomas Coffin*. Six years later he was returned for Buckingham, which he represented until February 1820; he sat for Trois-Rivières again from July 1820 to July 1824, and finally for Yamaska from October 1830 to October 1834.
All these occupations, however, led Badeaux to neglect certain duties, notably that as agent for the Jesuit estates commission. In January 1823, while recognizing that Badeaux himself was highly respectable, the commissioners found themselves obliged, after several warnings, to relieve him of his office.
Concurrently with his professional life and public activities, Badeaux was involved personally in numerous financial matters. Landed property, such as town lots, lands, or seigneuries, drew his attention particularly. His most important purchase was probably that of half the seigneury of Courval, made in 1815. It seems that although he handled large sums, he often found himself in a difficult position financially. His business dealings with Moses Hart, for example, were often strained and gave rise to interminable lawsuits. In 1829 Badeaux was obliged to sell Hart his share in the seigneury.
Joseph Badeaux practised as a notary until his death in 1835, following a short illness, a few days before his 58th birthday. His funeral in Trois-Rivières was attended by a great many people, and he was buried in the parish church. “As a man of the law,” La Minerve observed, “M. Badeaux had won the public’s confidence; he stood out particularly through his willingness to oblige those of his fellows who found themselves in need.”
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