JUCHEREAU DE SAINT-DENIS, CHARLOTTE-FRANÇOISE, known as Comtesse de Saint-Laurent, daughter of Nicolas Juchereau* de Saint-Denis and Marie-Thérèse Giffard; baptized 4 Feb. 1660 at Quebec; d. 28 Dec. 1732 at Quebec and buried on 30 December.
On 27 Feb. 1702 Charlotte-Françoise, acting with the king’s approval, purchased for the sum of 41,333 livres in French currency the Île d’Orléans, which had been sold by Bishop Laval in 1675 to François Berthelot, king’s secretary. When he had been ennobled, Berthelot had managed to have the island raised to the countship of Saint-Laurent. When she had acquired possession of the island, Charlotte-Françoise Juchereau took the title of countess, which she retained after her marriage with La Forest [Dauphin]. She arranged for her eldest son, born a Pachot by her first marriage, to bear the title also. Having been unable to meet her obligations to Berthelot, however, she had to engage in long legal proceedings, both in Canada and in France, to which she made several trips, and she proved to be a stubborn litigant. Her long struggle in the courts lasted from 1704 to 1713. Having exhausted legal means without success, she abandoned her proceedings only when the king ordered her explicitly to do so, and to return to Canada. The case, which was finally decided in Berthelot’s favour, seems to have contributed to the dismissal of Ruette d’Auteuil, the countess’s brother-in-law, who had taken up her defence against Raudot.
A large number of notarial acts drawn up between 1698 and 1704 show that Charlotte-Françoise Juchereau was an energetic and enterprising businesswoman. Having obtained separate maintenance from La Forest in 1702, with his authorization in due form to act on his behalf, she continued to carry out transactions of all kinds (sales, purchases, loans, borrowings, ship charters, building contracts) in her own name and through straw men; the sums involved were at times considerable. Meanwhile she kept a careful watch over her children’s interests. Nevertheless, she was sometimes in financial straits: in 1704, to honour a debt she owed Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville, she had to sell all her personal goods located on her properties on Île d’Orléans; in 1705 she sold to René Lepage, the seigneur of Rimouski, her fief on the Métis River, which she had inherited from her first husband.
On 17 Dec. 1680, she had married at Beauport François Viennay-Pachot*, a seigneur and businessman left a widower by the death of Jeanne Avamy; Charlotte-Françoise bore him 16 children. On 11 Nov. 1702 she was married again, this time to Captain Dauphin de La Forest.
Charlotte-Françoise earned for herself an unflattering reputation: Portchartrain considered her a “dangerous woman,” whereas Raudot called her a “haughty and capricious” merchant who thought that as a countess she could do anything she wished. “People might perhaps have forgiven her vanity and her usurping of the title of countess,” he added, “if she had at least paid her bills.”
Charlevoix, Histoire (1744), I, 465. Jug. et délib. PAC Report, 1899, 213. Tanguay, Dictionnaire, I. 328, 457. P,-G. Roy, La famille Juchereau Duchesnay, 15–18. P.-B. Casgrain, “Une autre maison Montcalm à Québec (1759),” BRH, VIII (1902), 329–40. Ignotus [Thomas Chapais], “Notes et souvenirs,” La Presse (Montréal), 5, 19 avril 1902. “Les Juchereau Duchesnay,” BRH, XXXVIII (1932), 409. P.-G. Roy, “La famille Viennay-Pachot,” BRH, XXI (1915), 336–42.