Pierre Levasseur dit Lespérance
(by : Roger Levasseur)
Pierre Levasseur dit Lespérance was born in Saint-Leu and Saint-Gilles parish, Paris, France around 1627. He came to Québec in 1651 and there he married Jeanne Chaverlange, from Bourges, France, on October 25, 1655. Pierre and Jeanne had seven children: four girls and three boys.
His parents Noël and Geneviève Ganche or Gaugé were parishioners of Saint-Leu and Saint-Gilles church which is situated in the city of Paris, France.
Pierre first settled on the island l'Ile d'Orléans near Québec City where he worked in good faith and in the hope of being given concession of the said land, according to a notarized act. In 1663, he abandoned this way of life due to hardships he and his family encountered and they returned to Québec City. He was master builder.
To him and his brother Jean we owe the formation of the first union in Québec, "the brotherhood of carpenters of Madame St. Anne." The objective of brotherhoods was to regroup workers of a same trade. Many carpenters came to Québec in the early days of colonization to construct buildings; since they were members of brotherhoods in France, they established similar groupings in their new homeland.
Amongst the sons of Pierre and Jeanne Chaverlange, Pierre is the only one who had descendants. Antoine, the middle son may have been a soldier. Their youngest, François married Marie Madelaine Larue on December 19, 1694 in Québec. This couple did not have any children.
Pierre II first married Madelaine Chapeau. Three children were born from that union. His second marriage was with Anne Ménage (Mesnage) on March 18, 1696 in Québec. Together they had 16 children.
Like his father, Pierre Levasseur II is also a master builder. In turn he passed on to his sons his trade. Amongst them we find Pierre-Noël Levasseur who became a master sculpture. Many master pieces are attributed to him of which the alter-piece and the pulpit in the chapel of the Ursuline Sisters. During this time the Levasseur worked in collaboration. In the registry of accounts of that time mentions such as «Paid to the Levasseurs for a tabernacle, a statue….» Many of these masterpieces have been stored to this date.
Amongst Pierre and Anne Ménage’s sons we find:
- François Levasseur dit Chaverlange a master builder in Québec.
- Pierre-Jacques Levasseur dit Carmel a builder and merchant. He settled in Boucherville. His descendants adopted the Carmel surname.
- François-Louis-Borgia Levasseur a carter lived in Québec. His descendants adopted the name Levasseur dit Borgia and eventually they retained the name, Borgia.
- François-Ignace Levasseur became a priest. He carried out his ministry in Lotbinière, in Champlain, in Cap-de-la-Madeleine and in L’Ancienne-Lorette.
- Denis-Joseph, to whom we attribute the largest number of Pierre Levasseur’s descendants. Like his father and grandfather, Denis-Joseph was a carpenter. However, since business was not very good in Québec, he moved to Trois-Rivières. He married Jeanne-Charlotte Couturier from Saint-François-du-Lac on February 4, 1738. Together they had nine children. Denis-Joseph realizing that his trade as a carpenter was not as rewarding as in his first years in Trois-Rivières, encouraged his children to become farmers. One of his boys, Joseph settled in Bécancour; François went to Saint-Angèle de Laval across the St. Lawrence River from Trois-Rivières and Jean-Baptiste settled in St. Grégoire. Denis-Joseph died in Trois-Rivières on October 15, 1792.