TURGEON, LOUIS, notary, jp, politician, militia officer, and seigneur; b. 10 April 1762 in Beaumont, Que., son of Louis Turgeon, a merchant, and Marie-Françoise Couillard; m. there 23 Nov. 1796 his cousin Geneviève Turgeon, and they had four children; d. 26 Sept. 1827 in Saint-Charles, Lower Canada.
Louis Turgeon belonged to the fourth generation of a family living at Beaumont since the late 17th century. Shortly after he was born his father moved to Quebec. Louis attended the Petit Séminaire de Québec, as did his half-brother Pierre-Flavien* subsequently. He studied there from 1772 till 1782, and then articled to become a notary. Licensed to practise on 25 Sept. 1792, he opened an office near Quebec, at Saint-Charles, the place from which he would draw most of his clients, who were largely farmers.
Even during his years of notarial training Turgeon had taken an interest in the political life of the province. In 1790, for example, he had signed a petition for a non-sectarian university [see Jean-François Hubert*], and in 1791 he had come out against a plan to replace seigneurial tenure with free and common socage [see Thomas-Laurent Bédard*]. In 1804 he was elected to the Lower Canadian House of Assembly for Hertford, along with Étienne-Féréol Roy. Turgeon was an assiduous member and took part in most crucial debates in the fourth parliament, which lasted from 1804 to 1808. As a general rule he supported the Canadian party. In addition he participated, often as chairman, in committees dealing with such varied matters as the organization of the militia, navigation on the St Lawrence, assembly accounts, fisheries in the district of Gaspé, road works, the administration of justice, and weights and measures. In 1805 he introduced a bill that was passed prohibiting the sale of goods and alcoholic beverages on Sundays.
Turgeon ran again in Hertford in the 1809 election but was defeated by physician François Blanchet. His retirement from political life was temporary, since he was returned for that riding in the 1816 election. His parliamentary activity was, however, limited to sitting on a few unimportant committees. He quit the assembly in 1818 on his appointment to the Legislative Council.
In the uneasy year of 1794 Turgeon had signed a declaration of loyalty to the crown. He had received a commission as justice of the peace for the district of Quebec that year, and obtained similar commissions for the districts of Montreal, Trois-Rivières, and Saint-François in 1821, and for Gaspé in 1824. On 8 April 1812 he attained the rank of major in the Saint-Vallier battalion of militia. He served in the War of 1812 and in 1821 became lieutenant-colonel of the 1st Saint-Vallier battalion.
Turgeon had inherited part of the seigneury of Beaumont through his mother, who had died in 1768, and as a result of various transactions between 1816 and 1819 he became the principal seigneur. He personally managed his fief, which, by the time he took possession, had been almost entirely granted out, and he saw to it that the domain reserved to him as seigneur made a profit. In 1819 he was the agent in the parish of Saint-Charles for the Quebec District Agriculture Society.
Louis Turgeon had four children. His sons, Louis, who died in 1826, and Hubert, became notaries. One of his daughters, Geneviève, died in 1818; the other, Marie-Ermine, married the Patriote Louis-Michel Viger*. When he died in 1827, Turgeon, who was by then a widower, left the seigneury of Beaumont to his son Hubert’s first male heir. Hubert, however, had the right of possession and also inherited Turgeon’s other real and personal property, but he died the following year. Marie-Ermine received £3,000.
AC, Québec, Holograph will of Louis Turgeon, 22 déc. 1827 (see P.-G. Roy, Inv. testaments, 3: 148). ANQ-Q, CE1-4, 10 avril 1762, 23 nov. 1796; CE2-4, 4 mars 1818, 13 juill. 1826, 29 sept. 1827, 18 juill. 1828; CN1-230, 25 juill. 1793, 27 mars 1795, 4 juill. 1816. ASQ, Fichier des anciens. PAC, RG 68, General index, 1651–1841. L.C., House of Assembly, Journals, 1805–9, 1817. Quebec Gazette, 4 Nov. 1790; 24 March 1791; 27 Sept. 1792; 3, 10 July 1794; 27 Dec. 1804; 2 June 1808; 20 April 1809; 22 Feb. 1810; 27 April 1812; 23 Feb. 1815; 16 May 1816; 5 March 1818; 8 April 1819; 7 Sept. 1820; 7 June 1821. F.-J. Audet, “Les législateurs du Bas-Canada.” Desjardins, Guide parl., 129-30. Officers of British forces in Canada (Irving), 147–48. Turcotte, Le Conseil législatif, 93. P.-G. Roy, À travers l’histoire de Beaumont (Lévis, Qué., 1943), 35–38. “L’honorable Louis Turgeon,” BRH, 34 (1928): 255.