GASCHET, RENÉ, surgeon, seigneurial notary, seigneurial judge; b. c. 1665 in France, son of Pierre Gaschet and Hélène Bourgina from Poitiers; m. on 22 Aug. 1694 Françoise Phélypeaux in Quebec; d. 9 March 1744 at Saint-Vallier (Que.).
We do not know the year of René Gaschet’s arrival in the colony. In 1693 he had been living in Quebec for some time, for on 5 Feb. 1694 the provost court of Quebec rendered a judgement in his favour which freed him from his contract as “journeyman-surgeon” with the surgeon Timothée Roussel*. The court sentenced the surgeon to pay Gaschet 25 livres for three months’ services. Subsequently Gaschet himself practised as a surgeon. On 7 Sept. 1694, however, Gervais Baudouin*, lieutenant to the chief surgeon Félix de Tassy, contested Gaschet’s competence before the provost court. Gaschet had to sit for an examination, which he passed, it seems, since he continued to practise his profession.
After his wife’s death in 1698 Gaschet left Quebec for Montreal. He stayed there several years; in 1711 he was back in the Quebec region. On 11 January of that year Olivier Morel* appointed him notary and judge in his seigneury of La Durantaye. The seigneurs of Beaumont and Bellechasse in turn appointed Gaschet notary in their seigneuries, one on 20 February and the other on 14 March. The new notary immediately found himself in competition with the royal notary Abel Michon, commissioned on 1 April of that year to practise from Pointe-Lévy (Lauzon) to Kamouraska, a territory which covered the three seigneuries. In the next two years Gaschet succeeded in entering 23 deeds in his minute-book, but his competitor drew up 62 deeds. On the other hand, Gaschet held a power of attorney for the seigneurs of La Durantaye and received nearly all the contracts for land grants for the seigneury of Beaumont. He registered his last act on 29 Dec. 1743 and died at Saint-Vallier on 9 March 1744.
Like many other notaries of the French régime, René Gaschet had practised another occupation before exercising the profession of notary. He had been penniless when he gave up surgery; at his death in 1744, after more than 30 years as notary, his situation had scarcely improved.
ANQ, Greffe de Louis Chambalon, 18 déc. 1696; Greffe de René Gaschet, 1711–1743; Greffe de Guillaume Roger, 18 août 1694. É.-Z. Massicotte, “Les chirurgiens de Montréal au XVIIe siècle,” BRH, XXVII (1921), 46. A. Roy, lnv. greffes not., XVI, 10–95. P.-G. Roy, Inv. coll. pièces jud. et not., I; Inv. ord. int., I, 117, 173, 250; II, 240. Tanguay, Dictionnaire. Ahern, Notes pour l’histoire de la médecine, 243–48. J.-E. Roy, Histoire du notariat, I, 176–78.