Jacques Billaudeau Fisherman and Hunter
“Our French Canadian Ancestors”, Book 13, by Thomas J. Laforest,
The founder of the Canadian Billaudeau families had a particular weakness: he liked to hunt and fish. This distracted him from the work on his farm and from clearing his land, which he willingly entrusted to his servants. This also gave him a small additional income which was greatly appreciated.
Therefore, on 9 February 1664 (21), a judgment from the Sovereign Council of New France mentions a lawsuit by Louis Couillard de L’Espinay against Jacques Billaudeau and his neighbor Antoine Pepin dit Lachance. The plaintiff asked that the defendants be ordered to return to him a moose which they had “taken”, and that Claude Guyon, his partner, had actually killed. (22) According to Couillard, Billaudeau and Pepin had taken and removed the carcass. Jacques admitted that he had indeed “taken” a moose in the woods; he drove it down to the bank where Guyon. got a shot at it. As for himself, he was content with the head, but he did not understand what the plaintiff meant when he stated that he only made his accusation the next day. In the end, the Council decided to send the parties out of court and to settle the suit without costs.
Ah, those quarrelsome ancestors! Much ado about nothing, as Shakespeare said.
On 20 October 1681 (23), Jacques formed a partnership with Jean Langlois and Antoine Cadde, merchant of Quebec, to go fishing and hunting in the seigncurie of La Riviere de la Madeleine, territory that Cadde had obtained from Frontenac on 31 May 1679. The Seigneur requested Langlois and Billaudeau buy or build themselves a suitable barge for the purpose of a long journey, for which he would pay each of them ten livres per year. However, a judgment by the Sovereign Council dated Monday 23 December 1686 informs us that difficulties occurred in this Partnership.
The contract of 1681 had been declared null (for not having been executed in time) by the bailiff judge of Saint Laurent on 6 July 1683. Judgment confirmed on the following 17 November by the Provost of Quebec, and on the subject of which Cadde had brought an appeal to the higher court. The Council denied this appeal, ordering that the judgment be carried out according to its terms and conditions. Billaudeau was authorized to break his contract, while Cadde and Langlois would continue it, if they so desired.
Several years later, more precisely on 7 June 1694, the notes of Louis Chambalon mention another contract, this time between the navigator Francois Frichet and the Sieurs Baudouin and Labonte (24). All three were associated with Jacques Billaudeau and Jean Moricet in an agreement to fish during the present year.
(21) JDCSNF, Volume 1, page 117.
(22) “Lever” in old French means, among other things, to partition.
(23) Record of Gilles Rageot.
(24) Gervais Baudouin, Lieutenant of Surgeons at Québec, and Gilles Couturier dit Labonté