PIUZE, LIVERIGHT (at birth he was named Traugott Leberecht Behzer), surgeon and apothecary; b. 5 Feb. 1754 in Warsaw (Poland); m. 14 Nov. 1786 Marie-Anne Aubut in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière (La Pocatière), Que., and they had 14 children; d. 22 April 1813 at Rivière-Ouelle, Lower Canada.
Liveright Piuze spent part of his childhood in Warsaw and then lived in Dresden (German Democratic Republic), where his family moved around 1763. There, from 1767 to 1772, he trained as a surgeon and apothecary under the guidance of one of his father’s close relatives. Having finished his apprenticeship, he decided to seek his fortune in the British colonies, and on 18 Sept. 1773 he arrived in Philadelphia, Pa, after a long crossing in the Britannia. He quickly set up an apothecary’s shop in that city and bought a small plantation near the Susquehanna River. In December 1776, some months after the War of American Independence had begun, he served as an assistant surgeon, first in the revolutionary militia and later at a hospital in Philadelphia. At the urging of some friends he left the American army and decided to settle in the Mississippi valley. After a number of incidents in which he almost lost his life, he was captured in February 1779 by an Indian tribe from the Delaware valley, who handed him over to Mason Bolton, lieutenant-colonel commanding the British forces at Fort Niagara (near Youngstown, N.Y.). Suspecting Piuze of being in the pay of the Continental Congress, Bolton sent him to Montreal, Que., on 9 May to be locked up. He was imprisoned at Fort Chambly until April 1780; he then went to Quebec, where he received a certificate as a surgeon from Dr Hugh Alexander Kennedy, inspector general of hospitals. After serving for some months as a surgeon on British navy vessels in the St Lawrence, he obtained his discharge on 19 Jan. 1781 and decided to settle in the province of Quebec.
Piuze almost immediately went to live in Rivière-Ouelle – a village without a doctor since 1761 – with the intention of establishing a medical practice. He was able to win the confidence of the local population in short order and had no difficulty fitting into rural society. On 1 Jan. 1786, ten months before his marriage with Marie-Anne Aubut, he renounced Lutheranism to embrace Catholicism; the act of renunciation was signed in the presence of Bernard-Claude Panet*, parish priest of Notre-Dame-de-Liesse at Rivière-Ouelle. In 1789 his medical competence was recognized by the Quebec Medical Board, which issued him a licence to practise as a surgeon and apothecary. In addition to his doctor’s fees Piuze secured income through the purchase and sale of properties at Rivière-Ouelle; in 1788 and 1793 he sold two houses, with grounds and outbuildings, the first for £140 and the second for £228.
Little is known of the rest of his career, except that in the period 1806–8 he sued a merchant and tavern-keeper by the name of Ignace Lassare in the Court of King’s Bench of the District of Quebec, accusing him of having practised medicine illegally and of selling medicaments without authorization. After hearing witnesses testify that the accused had attended patients at Kamouraska, Rivière-Ouelle, and Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière in 1806, the court imposed a fine of £20 upon Lassare.
In 1814, a year after the death of Piuze, Dr François Fortier came to take his place. Several of Piuze’s children settled in the Rivière-Ouelle region. Rémi, the eldest, served as a notary at Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière from 1808 to 1867; Édouard-Ferdinand remained in his native village where, following in his father’s footsteps, he practised medicine.
A copy of Liveright Piuze’s account in English of his adventures from the time he left Warsaw until his arrival in Quebec in 1780 is at ANQ-Q, P1000-80-1666. A translation into French by J. R. Piuze was published in BRH, 25 (1919): 334–66.
AAQ, 42 CD, I: 46. ANQ-Q, CE3-12, 14 nov. 1786; CN1-178, 16 sept. 1793, 2 juin 1794; CN1-256, 9 Sept. 1788; CN3-11, 13 nov. 1786; T6-1, Cour du banc du roi, 26 sept., 16 oct., 1er nov. 1806; 3 févr. 1808. BL, Add. mss 21789: f.41; 21805: f.128; 21843: ff.48, 62 (copies at PAC). Quebec Gazette, 6 Nov. 1788, 2 May 1793. Le Jeune, Dictionnaire, 2: 446. Quebec almanac, 1792: 155. M.-J. et G. Ahern, Notes pour l’hist. de la médecine, 444–45. Georges Desjardins, Antoine Roy, dit Desjardins (1635–1684) et ses descendants ([Trois-Rivières, Qué.], 1971), 217–37. P.-H. Hudon, Rivière-Ouelle de la Bouteillerie; 3 siècles de vie (Ottawa, 1972), 219. Gabriel Nadeau, “L’ancêtre des Piuze,” SGCF Mémoires, 6 (1954–55): 94.