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Dessaulles, Papineau, Leman and Béique Families Fonds (P010)

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Letter written by Louis-Joseph Papineau to Marie-Rosalie Papineau Dessaulles (detail), 1816. Dessaulles, Papineau, Leman and Béique Families Fonds P010, P010/A4,3.1 © McCord Museum

When doctors were scary
"We would all be better off without the suffering of Aunt Lartigue and her two doctors, who are more disturbing than her illness. She has been sick in bed for 15 days, weakened by the blood-letting, and will get even worse if she is not cured soon. Casimir is going to go to Paris; he is borrowing some money and I am acting as his guarantor. He wants to further develop his skills as a butcher by spending ten to twelve months at the charnel house known as the Paris general hospital, where two thousand patients are constantly subjected to all the trials and tortures that thirty doctors and their 400 disciples can dream up. When he returns, he will set up practice in Maska [Yamaska] or anywhere else he can do the most damage and make people sick.”

Did Louis-Joseph Papineau suffer from latrophobia or nosocomephobia? This sardonic anecdote suggests that the politician was afflicted with an irrational fear of doctors and hospitals. In fact, this passage from a letter he sent to his sister Marie-Rosalie demonstrates the widespread distrust of purveyors of medical care that still prevailed in Quebec during the first half of the 19th century. And yet, this period marked the beginning of the great clinical revolution that gave birth to modern medicine.


P010 Dessaulles, Papineau, Leman and Béique Families Fonds. - 1737-2003. - 296.2 cm of textual records and other documents.

Biographical Sketch

The families that are the focus of this fonds marked the history of Quebec in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and are closely associated with the seigneuries of Saint-Hyacinthe (Montérégie) and La Petite-Nation (Outaouais). Here are some of the most well-known members of these families.

Born in Quebec City, politician JEAN DESSAULLES (1766-1835) inherited a large parcel of land in the Saint-Hyacinthe seigneury in 1814. He married Marie-Rosalie Papineau, the sister of Louis-Joseph, in 1816. The couple had six children, including Louis-Antoine (1818-1895) and Georges-Casimir (1827-1930).

MARIE-ROSALIE PAPINEAU DESSAULLES (1788-1857) was the youngest daughter of Joseph Papineau, and the wife of Jean Dessaulles. After her husband died, Marie-Rosalie agreed to give the seigneury to her oldest son, Louis-Antoine Dessaulles.

LOUIS-ANTOINE DESSAULLES (1818-1895) was a renowned politician, author and journalist, a member of the Liberal party and Mayor of Saint-Hyacinthe from 1849 to 1857. Following an expensive misadventure involving the construction of a railway line in the region, Louis-Antoine had to sell the seigneury in 1867. In 1875 he left the country permanently for Europe; he died in Paris in 1895. Married to Zéphirine Thompson, he had one daughter, Caroline (baptized Caroline-Angélina), who married Frédéric-Ligori Béique.

GEORGES-CASIMIR DESSAULLES (1827-1930) was the youngest son of Jean Dessaulles and Marie-Rosalie Papineau. In the 1850s, convinced that the estate was being mismanaged by their older brother Louis-Antoine, Georges-Casimir and Rosalie-Eugénie (1822-1902) demanded that the Saint-Hyacinthe seigneury be subdivided into three equal parcels. The share given to Georges-Casimir was named the Yamaska seigneury. Georges-Casimir pursued a career in politics (he was notably Mayor of Saint-Hyacinthe from 1868 to 1897 and became a senator in 1907), in addition to being President of the Bank of Saint-Hyacinthe (which he founded in 1874) for many years. In 1857, he married Émilie Mondelet, who died in 1867. In 1869, he got married again, this time to Fanny (baptized Frances Louise) Leman, the daughter of Dr. Dennis Leman and Honorine Papineau. He had two girls and one boy (Alice Beaudry, Henriette Saint-Jacques and Arthur) with his first wife and five children with his second wife (Rosalie, Fanny, Emma, Casimir and Henri).

HENRIETTE DESSAULLES SAINT-JACQUES (1860-1946) was the daughter of Georges-Casimir Dessaulles and Émilie Mondelet. In 1881, she married Maurice Saint-Jacques, with whom she had seven children. Following her husband's death, she began a prolific career as a journalist, writing for numerous newspapers, including Le Devoir. Although renowned for her lively, informed writing during her lifetime, she also achieved prominence after her death, with the posthumous publication in 1971 of her diary, Fadette : Journal d’Henriette Dessaulles. Also published in English as Hopes and Dreams, The Diary of Henriette Dessaulles, in 1986, this work offered an intimate portrait of young Henriette from 1874 to 1881.

A surveyor and notary by profession, JOSEPH PAPINEAU (1752-1841) acquired the La Petite-Nation seigneury between 1801 and 1803. In 1809, he added Île Roussin to his holdings and managed his land with the help of his son Denis-Benjamin.

LOUIS-JOSEPH PAPINEAU (1786-1871) was the son of Joseph Papineau and Marie-Rosalie Cherrier Papineau (1756-1832). Thanks to his leading role in the 1837-1838 Rebellions, this lawyer, military man and politician marked the collective memory of Quebecers. Although he took over the administration of the La Petite-Nation seigneury in 1817, he did not in fact live there until he returned from exile in France in 1847.

Merchant, civil servant and politician DENIS-BENJAMIN PAPINEAU (1789-1854) was the younger brother of Louis-Joseph. He was also the administrator of the La Petite-Nation seigneury until 1817. His marriage with Angélique-Louise Cornud produced nine children, including Joseph-Benjamin-Nicolas, a surveyor (1814-1898), and Agathe-Honorine Papineau Leman.

ANGÉLIQUE-LOUISE CORNUD PAPINEAU (1785-1870) was a friend of Marie-Rosalie Papineau Dessaulles, and married her brother, Denis-Benjamin Papineau, in 1813.

The daughter of Denis-Benjamin Papineau and Angélique-Louise Cornud Papineau, AGATHE-HONORINE PAPINEAU (1818-1891) married Protestant physician Dennis Leman in 1837. The couple had two children, Joseph Leman (1842-1885), also a physician, and France Louise Leman (1844-1914), before Dr. Leman died an early death in 1846, following a bout of tuberculosis.

CAROLINE-ANGÉLINA DESSAULLES BÉIQUE (1852-1946) was the daughter of Louis-Antoine Dessaulles and Zéphirine Thompson. A prominent social activist and feminist, she also co-founded (with Marie Gérin-Lajoie) the Fédération nationale Saint-Jean-Baptiste, the first Francophone alliance of women's groups.

Scope and Content

This fonds chronicles the lives, work and relationships of members of related families, including some who profoundly affected the political, social and cultural landscape of Quebec in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Focussing primarily on the Dessaulles, Papineau, Leman and Béique families, it also touches on several related families like the Guimonts, Bourassas and Beaudrys.

The work of author and journalist Henriette Dessaulles Saint-Jacques, activist Caroline-Angélina Dessaulles Béique, poet Marie Saint-Jacques Guimont and politicians Louis-Joseph Papineau, Georges-Casimir Dessaulles and Frédéric-Ligori Béique is extensively documented. There are also records pertaining to the administration of the Saint-Hyacinthe seigneury.

The fonds consists mainly of correspondence between several members of these families, whose writing styles can sometimes exhibit remarkable refinement, freedom of expression and humour. These letters cover several generations and help create a comprehensive family portrait. While reflecting strong family ties and long-lasting deep friendships, these missives also provide a window into the innermost thoughts of certain individuals and frequently evoke the social, political and cultural climate of 19th and 20th century Quebec.

The fonds also includes several documents from Senator Georges-Casimir Dessaulles (personal notebooks, diplomas, family and business correspondence and documents related to his estate), the diary of Henriette Dessaulles, seigneurial documents (survey reports and land grants), genealogical and biographical records, poems and other miscellaneous texts.

Photographs of various Dessaulles, Leman, Papineau, Bourassa and Guimont family members, postcards, engravings, reproductions, maps and plans, a crucifix, two locks of hair and other printed items complete this collection.

Language: The documents are in French, English and Latin, but primarily in French.


The fonds is divided into the following series, subseries and files:

  • P010/A Dessaulles Family
    • P010/A1 Dessaulles family seigneuries
    • P010/A2 Dessaulles family official documents
    • P010/A3 Jean Dessaulles
    • P010/A4 Marie-Rosalie Papineau Dessaulles
      • P010/A4,3 Letters written by Louis-Joseph Papineau to Marie-Rosalie Papineau Dessaulles. - 1803-1857. - 1 cm of textual records.
        Digitized documents: Part 1 - Part 2

        Scope and Content: This file consists of over fifty years of correspondence between Louis-Joseph Papineau and his sister Marie-Rosalie Papineau Dessaulles, illustrating their strong attachment to each other.

        Language: The documents are in French.

    • P010/A5 Louis-Antoine Dessaulles
    • P010/A6 Catherine-Zéphirine Thompson Dessaulles
    • P010/A7 Rosalie-Eugénie Dessaulles Laframboise
    • P010/A8 Émilie Mondelet Dessaulles
    • P010/A9 Frances Louise (Fanny) Leman Dessaulles
      • P010/A9,5 Letters written by Louis-Antoine Dessaulles to Fanny Leman Dessaulles. - [1864-1895]. - 1 cm of textual records.
        Digitized documents: Part 1 - Part 2
      • Scope and Content: This file chronicles the friendship between Louis-Antoine Dessaulles and his sister-in-law and second cousin Fanny Leman Dessaulles, as illustrated in more than thirty years of letters sent by Louis-Antoine.

        Language: The documents are in French.

    • P010/A10 Georges-Casimir Dessaulles
    • P010/A11 Henriette Dessaulles Saint-Jacques
      • P010/A11,12.1 Le Sceau (The Seal). - n.d. - 1 textual record ; 28 x 21.5 cm.
        Digitized document: Part 1 - Part 2
      • Scope and Content: This annotated manuscript of an unpublished, unfinished short story by Henriette Dessaulles Saint-Jacques illustrates the legendary journalist and author's creative literary process.

        Language: The documents are in French.

    • P010/A12 Casimir Dessaulles
    • P010/A13 Henri Dessaulles
    • P010/A14 Emma Dessaulles
    • P010/A15 Marie Saint-Jacques Guimont
    • P010/A16 Ernest Guimont
    • P010/A17 Suzanne Morin Raymond
    • P010/A18 Other Dessaulles family documents

  • P010/B Familles Papineau, Leman and Bourassa
    • P010/B1 Joseph Papineau
    • P010/B2 Marie-Rosalie Cherrier Papineau
    • P010/B3 Louis-Joseph Papineau
    • P010/B4 Denis-Benjamin Papineau. - 1808-1848. - 0,5 cm of textual records.
      Digitized documents
    • Scope and Content: This subseries documents Denis-Benjamin Papineau's correspondence with various members of his family, including his wife Angélique-Louise Cornud and daughter Agathe-Honorine Papineau, who was married to Dr. Dennis Leman.

      Language: The documents are in French and English.

    • P010/B5 Angélique-Louise Cornud Papineau
    • P010/B6 Louis-Joseph-Amédée Papineau
    • P010/B7 Lactance Papineau
    • P010/B8 Joseph-Benjamin-Nicolas Papineau
    • P010/B9 Agathe-Honorine Papineau Leman
    • P010/B10 Denis-Émery Papineau
    • P010/B11 Marie Papineau Beaudry
    • P010/B12 Dennis Leman
    • P010/B13 James Dennis Leman
    • P010/B14 Henri Bourassa
    • P010/B15 Joseph Leman
    • P010/B16 Polyxène Beaudry Leman
    • P010/B17 Polyxène Honorine Leman Mathys
    • P010/B18 Augustine Bourassa
    • P010/B19 Other Papineau, Leman and Bourassa family documents

  • P010/C Béique Family
    • P010/C1 Caroline-Angélina Dessaulles Béique
    • P010/C2 Frédéric-Ligori Béique
    • P010/C3 Paul Béique

  • P010/D Iconographic Documents from the Dessaulles, Guimont, Papineau, Leman and Bourassa Families
  • P010/E Maps and Plans

  • P010/F Miscellaneous Printed Items

 

Last update: August 30, 2017