KÉROUAC (Kirouac), LÉON, school-teacher; b. in 1805 at Saint-François-de-la-Rivière-du-Sud (Montmagny County), L.C., son of Charles de Kérouac and Josette Blanchette; m. on 11 April 1836 at Saint-Marc (Verchères County) Éléonore Létourneau; d. 21 Feb. 1880 at Montreal, Que.
Léon Kérouac was a school-teacher at Saint-Antoine-sur-Richelieu. On 23 July 1845 he was elected president of the Association des Instituteurs of the district of Montreal (Belœil section). La Minerve of 7 Aug. 1845 stressed the importance of this association, and Dr Jean-Baptiste Meilleur gave it resounding praise in his Mémorial de l’éducation du Bas-Canada. For many years Kérouac devoted himself to teaching the children of the Richelieu valley. On 4 March 1857, at a banquet which brought together the teachers of the École Normale Jacques-Cartier (Montreal), the superintendent of the Council of Public Instruction, Pierre-Joseph-Olivier Chauveau*, sat Kérouac beside him as the “senior among the schoolmasters present”; yet he was only 52.
On 28 Aug. 1857 Léon Kérouac was nominated as a member of the Association des Instituteurs of the district of the École Normale Jacques-Cartier. From the time of the creation of the first normal schools, the superintendent had strongly encouraged the formation of these associations “connected with the École Normale Jacques-Cartier or Laval.” They met at the normal school at least four times a year: pedagogical questions were the principal topics of discussion, and teachers were invited to give lectures on methodology, pedagogy, psychology, and teaching methods. Matters relating to the welfare of the schoolteachers were also talked over. The Journal de l’Instruction publique gave accurate reports of each of these meetings.
The same journal reports in 1857 that for nine years Kérouac had contributed to the teachers’ pension fund (£1 a year). In 1856 a law had authorized the superintendent to deduct from his budget “a sum not exceeding 500 louis to help in forming a fund for the support of the teachers of the common schools of Lower Canada who had become old or exhausted by their work, provided always that no teacher [had] a right to a share of the said funds if he [had] not contributed to such a fund the amount of at least one louis a year.” This contribution was optional, and a number of schoolteachers, alleging their poor salary as a pretext, refrained from contributing to the pension fund. On several occasions Chauveau complained of the teachers’ indifference in this respect.
Kérouac was deemed to be a teacher of great experience, very attached to his profession, conscientious, a man who took on the duties and obligations prescribed by the school laws and who stood out among the teachers as a leader.
AJM, Registre d’état civil (notes biographiques fournies par J.-J. Lefebvre). JIP, mars 1857, 71; août 1857, 163; sept. 1857, 187. J.-B. Meilleur, Mémorial de l’éducation du Bas-Canada (2e éd., Québec, 1876), 280–82. La Minerve (Montréal), 7 août 1845. L.-P. Audet, “P.-J.-O. Chauveau, ministre de l’Instruction publique, 1867–1873,” RSCT, 4th ser., V (1967), sect.i, 171–84.