CLOUET, MICHEL, merchant, militia officer, politician, office holder, and jp; b. 9 Jan. 1770 in Beauport, Que., son of Joseph-Marie Clouet and Marie-Joseph Bergevin; m. 15 June 1801, at Quebec, Marie-Josephte Lalime, under-age daughter of the late Michel Lépine, dit Lalime, a seaman; they had no children; d. 5 Jan. 1836 at Quebec and was buried four days later in Beauport.
Michel Clouet in all likelihood spent his childhood and adolescence at Beauport, but nothing is known of this period in his life. There is also a dearth of information about when and how he came to be a merchant. In 1796 he was keeping a general store on Rue de la Montagne (Côte de la Montagne) at Quebec, and in October of that year he joined merchant François Huot* to found Huot et Clouet, a retailing company. The partnership came to an end after a year, and Clouet continued in business on Rue de la Montagne for himself. In 1805 he specialized in selling hardware. His store was at the corner of Rue Buade in a house he leased from the seigneur of Sainte-Marie, Gabriel-Elzéar Taschereau*. His enterprise was soon thriving. In 1810 he was able to buy the house from Taschereau’s heirs, and subsequently he took on clerks, including his nephews Étienne Parent* and Georges-Honoré Simard*.
During the War of 1812 Clouet saw service as a captain in Quebec’s 2nd Militia Battalion; he was later promoted major. He also enjoyed government patronage. For example, in 1815 he became a commissioner to oversee the demolition of the old market at Quebec. In 1828 he was made a justice of the peace for the district of Quebec, an appointment renewed in 1830 and 1833. By 1833 he was a commissioner responsible for the building of the Marine and Emigrant Hospital.
Clouet was also involved in social concerns. He subscribed to the Fire Society and the Quebec Emigrant Society. In 1817 he contributed a sum for the building of a road between the Plains of Abraham and Cap-Rouge. During the terrible cholera epidemic which swept the town in 1832, he became a member of the Quebec Board of Health and headed a benevolent society that was trying to organize help for impoverished families afflicted by the dread malady.
On 22 Oct. 1822 Clouet was elected to the House of Assembly for Quebec, which he represented with John Neilson. Although he remained a backbencher, he was assiduous in his attendance and took part in numerous committees set up to study various bills. His precarious health forced him to give up his seat on 23 Aug. 1833, at 63 years of age; he was replaced by Louis-Théodore Besserer*.
Michel Clouet died at Quebec on 5 Jan. 1836. The funeral was held in Notre-Dame cathedral, and his remains were buried in the parish church in Beauport. His wife inherited the entire estate. She gave up the retail business and put her money into rentes constituées (secured annuities) and bonds. She also invested in real estate, buying several properties in Beauport which she leased to farmers. Shortly before her death she moved from Rue Buade to the home of her nephew, Georges-Honoré Simard, where she died on 4 Oct. 1849. Her fortune, estimated at more than £2,500, was divided among Clouet’s 8 brothers and sisters and his 45 nephews and nieces.
ANQ-Q, CE1-1, 15 juin 1801; CE1-5, 9 janv. 1770, 9 janv. 1836; CN1-116, 23 oct. 1849, 23 mars 1850; CN1-208, 5, 7, 15 nov. 1836; 21 janv., 2 mars, 21 juill. 1837; 13 févr., 24 mars 1838; 27 août 1844; 24 sept. 1846; CN1-230, 11 oct. 1796, 14 juin 1801, ler déc. 1808, 7 août 1810. PAC, RG 68, General index, 1651–1841. Le Canadien, 4, 6, 9 juill. 1832. Quebec Gazette, 24 July 1794; 30 June, 7 July, 17 Nov. 1808; 13 March 1817. Desjardins, Guide parl. Officers of British forces in Canada (Irving), 143. F.-J. Audet, “Michel Clouet,” BRH, 36 (1930): 28–29. “Michel Clouet, député de Québec,” BRH, 44 (1938): 224.