JUCHEREAU DUCHESNAY, ANTOINE-LOUIS, army and militia officer, politician, seigneur, office holder, and jp; b. 18 Feb. 1767 at Quebec, eldest son of Antoine Juchereau* Duchesnay and Julie-Louise Liénard de Beaujeu; half-brother of Jean-Baptiste Juchereau Duchesnay; d. 17 Feb. 1825 in Beauport, Lower Canada.
Antoine-Louis Juchereau Duchesnay belonged to the sixth generation of a family resident in the colony since 1634. His great-grandfather, Nicolas Juchereau* de Saint-Denis, was ennobled in 1692. It was through Ignace*, the third child of Nicolas, that the Juchereau Duchesnay name was carried on. Ignace’s uncle, Joseph Giffard, bequeathed him the seigneury of Beauport, which went by right to Antoine-Louis in 1806.
Juchereau Duchesnay studied at the Petit Séminaire de Québec from 1776 till 1785. In 1798 he joined the Royal Canadian Volunteer Regiment as a lieutenant. This regiment had been raised two years earlier to replace British troops needed elsewhere. Although it was disbanded in 1802, he evidently did not give up his military career, since on 21 Nov. 1809 he succeeded Pierre Marcoux* as assistant to the adjutant general of the Lower Canadian militia. It was no small task at the time to assemble and instil discipline into the militia. The general population did not always show much eagerness to respond to a call-up, and improvisation was apparently often the rule in the early military manœuvres. Juchereau Duchesnay, who had acquired the rank of lieutenant-colonel, received complaints on the matter from his subordinates, who in 1814 were quartered at Rivière-du-Loup with their men. No doubt he learned not to become discouraged by these problems, for on 24 Oct. 1816 he took command of the Beauport battalion of militia, following in the footsteps of his father, who had earlier held this post.
Concurrent with his military activity Juchereau Duchesnay was closely associated with the political life of Lower Canada. On 6 Aug. 1804 he was elected for Hampshire riding to the Lower Canadian House of Assembly. Six years later Governor Sir James Henry Craig* appointed him to the Legislative Council and he retained this office until his death. He became an honorary member of the Executive Council on 6 Jan. 1812, and then a regular member on 18 Jan. 1817. Meanwhile, on 1 April 1813 the Quebec Gazette announced that he had been granted commissions of the peace for the districts of Quebec, Montreal, and Three Rivers.
In the course of his career Juchereau Duchesnay held various other commissions. On 29 April 1813 he replaced François Vassal* de Montviel as commissioner in charge of militia transport for the District of Quebec. Three years later he was appointed commissioner for the building of churches and presbyteries in the same district. In 1817, following the disastrous harvest of the previous year, he was made a commissioner to carry out a law for the relief of parishes in distress in Lower Canada, as well as commissioner for purchase of seed grain. In 1821 he was appointed to the board of trustees of the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning, which administered the public schools in Lower Canada [see Joseph Langley Mills].
Juchereau Duchesnay’s social background, his interest in public affairs, and the prestigious posts he held helped make him one of the important citizens of the Quebec region. His prominence in turn brought appointment to a committee that ran the public meeting held at Quebec on 14 Oct. 1822 to protest against a plan for union of the two Canadas [see Denis-Benjamin Viger*].
Juchereau Duchesnay died suddenly at the manor-house in Beauport on 17 Feb. 1825, a day before his 58th birthday. In 1819 he had been a pallbearer at the funeral of the Duke of Richmond [Lennox*]. At his own funeral on 22 February most of the members of the Lower Canadian legislature were present in the Beauport church, when the archbishop of Quebec, Joseph-Octave Plessis, paid him a final tribute.
On 11 Feb. 1793 at Deschambault, Juchereau Duchesnay had married Marie-Louise Fleury de La Gorgendière, who was to die of cholera at Beauport on 2 July 1832. The couple had seven children – three sons and four daughters. The eldest, Antoine-Narcisse, followed his father’s example and embarked upon a military career. He inherited the seigneury of Beauport but was obliged for financial reasons to sell it in 1844. Charles-Maurice and Elzéar-Henri* were both called to the bar but neither practised law for long. Charles-Maurice died at the age of 35, whilst Elzéar-Henri turned to agriculture and became a member of the Legislative Council and a senator. Only one of the couple’s daughters, Louise-Sophie, reached adulthood and she married Bartholomew Conrad Augustus Gugy*.
ANQ-Q, CE1-1, 19 févr. 1767; CE1-5, 22 févr. 1825; CE1-25, 11 févr. 1793; P1000-54-1047. “Lettres de noblesse de la famille Juchereau Duchesnay,” BRH, 28 (1922): 137–41. Quebec Gazette, 12 Nov. 1812; 1 April, 20 May 1813; 24 Oct. 1816; 13 March, 10 April 1817. P.-G. Roy, Les avocats de la région de Québec, 145; Fils de Québec, 2: 137–39. Turcotte, Le Conseil législatif, 69–70, 85–86, 228. Thomas Chapais, Cours d’histoire du Canada (8v., Québec et Montréal, 1919–34; réimpr. Trois-Rivières, Qué., 1972), 3: 122–23. P.-G. Roy, La famille Juchereau Duchesnay (Lévis, Qué., 1903); “La seigneurie de Beauport,” BRH, 9 (1903): 149–52.