COUAGNE, THÉRÈSE DE (Poulin de Francheville), b. 19 Jan. 1697 in Montreal, daughter of Charles de Couagne*, a merchant trader, and Marie Gaudé; d. 26 Feb. 1764 at the Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal.
Thérèse de Couagne, who was the daughter of one of the richest merchants in Montreal, married a young and active Montreal merchant trader, François Poulin* de Francheville, on 27 Nov. 1718. The previous day she had signed her marriage contract in the presence of the governor of Montreal, Claude de Ramezay*, and of several other members of Montreal society gathered in the home of her stepfather, Pierre Derivon de Budemon. To the communal estate, to which Poulin de Francheville contributed 8,000 livres, she brought a dowry of 2,500 livres from the assets of the succession of Charles de Couagne, who had died in 1706.
Not until her husband’s death on 28 Nov. 1733 did Thérèse de Couagne, who had always lived in a milieu of merchant traders, become interested herself in business. Being François Poulin de Francheville’s sole heir, since their one child had lived only a month, she wanted to carry on her husband’s work. He had left her all his fortune, including the family house in Rue Saint-Paul in Montreal and a 160-acre farm in the parish of Saint-Michel, which included 15 acres of land under cultivation, 15 acres in pasture, a stone house, a barn, a stable, and a cowshed; in addition he left her the shares he held in the Saint-Maurice ironworks. On 19 Dec. 1733 Mme Francheville undertook to respect the obligations which her husband had assumed towards the Saint-Maurice ironworks. Consequently she formed a new association with her husband’s former partners, his brother Pierre Poulin, a merchant in Quebec, Ignace Gamelin* Jr, a Montreal merchant trader, François-Étienne Cugnet, the director of the Domaine d’Occident, and Louis-Frédéric de Bricault* de Valmur, Intendant Hocquart*’s secretary. But after a little less than two years of operation the partners returned their licence to work the iron mines to the king, since they had ascertained that they were not “able to continue working the aforementioned mines because of the considerable amounts of money that must be put up.” In 1736 the ironworks passed into the hands of Cugnet and his partners. Mme Francheville also engaged in commercial activities, it seems, advancing money to merchants in need of funds.
Mme Francheville was not able to live for long in the two-storey stone house in Rue Saint-Paul on the shore of the St Lawrence; it was destroyed on 10 April 1734 in a fire that was set by her negro slave [see Marie-Joseph-Angélique*]. She apparently had her house rebuilt on the same site, since she was living in it in 1741, and in 1764, shortly before her death, she leased it for a yearly rent of 1,000 livres.
The day before her death, which occurred at the Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal on 26 Feb. 1764, she dictated her will to the notary Pierre Panet*, leaving 700 livres to two of her nieces, her silverware and linen to the community of the Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal “in consideration of the good care” that she had received. On 26 Feb. 1764, in accordance with the provisions of the will, Thérèse de Couagne was buried beside her husband in the chapel of Saint-Amable in the church of Notre-Dame de Montréal.
Like many other widows at that time [see Agathe de Saint-Père], Thérèse de Couagne played an active role in the economy of New France by taking in hand her deceased husband’s business.
AN, Col., C11A, 61, ff.131ff.; 110, ff.93ff. ANQ, NF, Coll. de pièces jud. et not., 1036; NF, Dossiers du Cons. sup., Mat. crim., VIII, 237; NF, Registres du Cons. sup., registre criminel, 1730–1759, ff.24ff. ANQ-M, Greffe de François Comparet, 25 janv. 1747; Greffe de C.-R. Gaudron de Chevremont, 19 déc. 1733; Greffe de Michel Lepailleur, 26 nov. 1718; Greffe de Pierre Panet, 25 févr. 1764; Documents judiciares, 15 mai, 4, 21 juin 1734; Registre d’état civil, Notre-Dame de Montréal, 19 janv. 1697, 27 nov. 1718, 30 nov. 1733, 26 févr. 1764. “Aveu et dénombrement pour l’île de Montréal,” APQ Rapport, 1941–42, 16, 146. “Recensement de Montréal, 1741” (Massicotte). P.-G. Roy, Inv. jug. et délib., 1717–1760, IV, 390; Inv. ord. int., III, 44, 46.