GADOIS, dit Mauger, JACQUES (he often signed J. Gadois Mogé), silversmith and merchant; baptized 22 Aug. 1686 at Montreal, son of Pierre Gadois*, armourer, and Jeanne Besnard; m. on 21 Sept. 1714 in Montreal Marie-Madeleine Chorel de Saint-Romain, dit d’Orvilliers; buried 24 Nov. 1750 in his birthplace.
Jacques Gadois adopted the surname Mauger, probably in memory of his grandmother Louise Mauger, wife of Pierre Gadoys*, who was the first settler to receive a land grant at Montreal. At the time of his wedding in 1714, Gadois was already a silversmith, as his marriage contract and wedding certificate, signed the same day, attest. These two documents, however, constitute the only proofs that Gadois practised that craft. Several pieces of work are attributed to him, among them a cup and a goblet in solid silver which are preserved in the convent of the nuns of the Congregation of Notre-Dame in Montreal and which bear the stamp M.G. Some other pieces of silverware bear a similar stamp: MG/fleur-de-lis/MG/fleur-de-lis; but there is nothing to indicate with certainty that these stamps really correspond to Gadois’s mark. It is not rare to encounter such problems in studying silver work of the 18th century. Indeed, no document has preserved a registry of the silversmiths’ stamps, a gap which a professional guild in New France could probably have prevented.
Gadois spent his whole life in Montreal. According to É.-Z. Massicotte*, he is believed to have lived until the 1721 fire in a house in Rue Capitale, in the busiest commercial district of the period. Towards 1741, according to a census taken that year by the Compagnie des Indes, he was living in Rue Saint-Paul. Several documents from Montreal notarial registries, and deliberations and decisions of the Conseil Supérieur, show not only that Gadois spent his life in the Montreal region but that he was a merchant there for more than 27 years. Between 1721 and 1748, in fact, Gadois signed a great number of contracts in which he is always described as being a merchant, dealer, or bourgeois of Ville-Marie. The same is true for all the lawsuits in which he was involved during this period. This activity would in large measure explain why only scanty information can be found about his career as a silversmith. It is quite possible that Gadois forsook his art early to concern himself solely with business. A document taken from the account books of the church of Notre-Dame de Montréal for 1729 could, however, cause doubts: it is a list of pieces of silverware (a cross, a crucifix, and a censer are mentioned), and it bears Gadois’s signature. Despite some views to the contrary, it is not obvious that the person signing was the creator of the pieces: the person signing is described in the document as “churchwarden in charge of the fabric fund and parish council of the parish church of Ville-Marie,” and it was probably in his capacity as churchwarden rather than silversmith that Gadois, dit Mauger, signed.
Even if Gadois’s artistic career was short, it must not be overlooked, for only a few people were adept in the silversmith’s craft in New France. The Musée du Québec owns a silver soup-spoon which bears the stamp attributed to the silversmith and also the monogram C.H.L.B. and the arms of the Chevalier Le Borgne.
ANDM, Livres de comptes, 1724–1735. ANQ-M, Greffe de Michel Lepailleur, 21 sept. 1714; Registre d’état civil, Notre-Dame de Montréal, 21 sept. 1714. IOA, Dossier Jacques Gadois, dit Mauger, orfèvre. “Recensement de Montréal, 1741” (Massicotte). Tanguay, Dictionnaire. Langdon, Canadian silversmiths. Gérard Morisset, Évolution d’une pièce d’argenterie (Collection Champlain, Québec, 1943). Traquair, Old silver of Quebec. Marius Barbeau, “Deux cents ans d’orfèvrerie chez-nous,” RSCT, 3rd ser., XXXIII (1939),