BARRAT, CLAUDE, clerk of court and notary at Placentia (Plaisance), Newfoundland; b. c. 1658 at Troyes; d. after 1711.
Claude Barrat married Jeanne Quisence at Saint-Malo in 1681. A census made in Newfoundland records his presence at Saint-Pierre in 1691; two years later he was employing ten lads who were learning the fishing trade. On 15 March 1696, on the recommendation of Governor Brouillan [Monbeton], he was appointed notary and clerk of court at Placentia. He continued to concern himself with fishing, but things went badly. He embezzled a sum of money, and as a result he was dismissed from office by Joseph de Monic, administrator in Brouillan’s absence. His wife then went to Acadia, where she set up a business and kept a tavern at Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal, N.S.). Brouillan, now in Acadia, endeavoured to obtain for Barrat the position of clerk of court at Port-Royal. In the meantime Barrat had secured his reinstatement, but Monic did not want to let him leave before he had paid his debts.
Madame Barrat continued to live at Port-Royal, under the governor’s protection: he sent soldiers to work for her, and entered the name of her son, who was still a small boy, on the muster-roll of the garrison. Mathieu de Goutin and Abel Maudoux, the parish priest of Port-Royal, in agreement for once, cried shame: Madame Barrat diluted by half the wine she sold to the soldiers, and she lived at the governor’s house. The bishop of Quebec intervened, and the king ordered her to be sent back to her husband. She preferred to go to France in 1704. Brouillan went there also on leave, but died on his return to Acadia the following year. Madame Barrat returned to Port-Royal, thinking she would rejoin him there, but Justinien Durand*, the new parish priest, asked that she be sent away a second time.
At Placentia Claude Barrat, who was still in debt, sold his house in 1706. His possessions were seized in 1708, and he gave his son a power of attorney to settle his affairs. Barrat went to France and requested that his son succeed to his office, but the latter was deemed unfit for it. According to the censuses taken at Placentia, Barrat, his wife, and two sons were still living there in 1711.
Claude Barrat’s minutes as a notary and some of his official acts as clerk of court have been preserved. But his wife’s romantic adventures have brought him more notoriety than his notary’s pen.
AN, Col., B, 19, f.29; 23, f.164v; 25, f.63v; 29, f.380v; C11C, 1–2; C11D, 4, ff.109, 316; 5, f.197; F³, 54, ff. 425–26; Section Outre-Mer, G1, 467/1; G³, 2053, pièces 69, 139, 144. Coll. de manuscrits relatifs à la N.-F., II, 417. “Recensements de Terreneuve et Plaisance,” SGCF Mémoires, XI (1960), 79, 84; XIII (1962), 244, 247.