PEUVRET DEMESNU, JEAN-BAPTISTE, soldier, secretary to Governor Jean de Lauson, notary and clerk of the seneschal’s court, seigneurial attorney for the Compagnie des Indes occidentales, receiver for crown lands, chief clerk and secretary of the Conseil Souverain, seigneur; b. 1632 at Bellême (France); d. 1697 at Quebec.
Son of Marie La Garenne and Jacques Peuvret, king’s counsellor and criminal lieutenant for the fiscal subdivision of Le Perche, Peuvret received a sound education which permitted him to play an important role in New France. He arrived as a soldier in Canada on 12 Oct. 1651, along with his brother François who was drowned on 24 June 1657.
In 1653 Peuvret was acting as secretary to Governor Jean de Lauson. Then, from the end of 1653 till the summer of 1657, we lose sight of him temporarily. Perhaps he took a trip to France. In any event, in July 1657 Peuvret became notary and clerk of the seneschal’s court of Quebec, which offices he held until the summer of 1659.
Peuvret was certainly in high favour in Quebec, since he married there on 10 July 1659 Catherine Nau de Fossambault, the widow of “the late Messire Louis de Lauson, knight, seigneur of [La] Citière,” son of the former governor. Catherine Nau came from a family that had been ennobled in 1605. Her father, Jacques Nau de La Boissière et de Fossambault, had first been treasurer of supplementary war expenses for the province of Languedoc, then king’s counsellor and receiver-general of finances for the province of Berry. Having come to Quebec with the intention of becoming a nun hospitaller, she had married the son of Governor Lauson the same year she arrived (1655). Shortly after their marriage Peuvret and his wife returned to France, and came back to Canada in the autumn of 1661.
For Peuvret a new career was about to begin. On 18 September 1663 he was appointed chief clerk and secretary of the Conseil Souverain, an office which he held until his death, except for the period from 19 Sept. 1664 to 6 Dec. 1666, when he was removed from office by Governor Saffray de Mézy for having supported the policy of Bishop Laval*. To these already important offices were added, on 1 May 1666, that of seigneurial attorney of the Compagnie des Indes occidentales, and, about 1670, that of receiver of crown lands.
To all these titles Peuvret added another, that of seigneur. From the Lausons he inherited the seigneury of Gaudarville; he was in addition the owner of an arriere-fief on the Île d’Orléans by virtue of a grant from the Compagnie de Beaupré dated 12 March 1661.
By his marriage with Catherine Nau, Jean-Baptiste Peuvret had five children, one of whom, Alexandre*, succeeded him as chief clerk of the Conseil Souverain and as seigneur of Gaudarville. Another, Marie-Catherine, a god-daughter of Governor Rémy de Courcelle, married Ignace Juchereau* Duchesnay, seigneur of Beauport, in 1683. Jean-Baptiste married his second wife, Marie-Rogère Lepage, on 16 Oct. 1681.
Peuvret died at Quebec on 23 May 1697.
AJQ, Greffe de J.-B. Peuvret, 1653–59. APQ, Ins. Cons. souv. Jug. et délib., passim. Berneval, “Les filles venues au Canada de 1654 à 1657,” BRH, XLVI (1940), 344. Azarie Couillard Després, “Louis Couillard de Lespinay,” RSCT, 3d ser., XVIII (1924),