The Astonishing Rise
of Guillaume [William] Renaud

Guillaume Renaud is especially noteworthy because of his astonishing and rapid rise up the social ladder. Having arrived in Canada in August, 1665 as a simple soldier in Carignan's regiment, in which he was a member of Colonelle's company, he was let go in 1667.

He first obtained a job as a domestic worker in the home of Leandre Chartier de Lothiniere, who was the civil and criminal lieutenant general [lieutenant-general civil et criminel] of the senelchalsy [seneschal's jurisdiction] of Quebec. Chartier de Lothiniere owned a large tract of land, of which Guillaume Renaud became the tenant farmer. However, the attraction of the land and the desire to become someone were evidently irresistible for your ancestor. In 1668, he married Marie de la Mare and settled in the village of Saint-Bernard in Charlesbourg.

The early years seem to have been quite difficult, since in 1681, after thirteen years of clearing and planting, your ancestor had only eight arpents [one arpent equals roughly one acre] under cultivation and two animals with horns.

Guillaume Renaud was not without education. He probably spelled phonetically like most of his contemporaries, but he had nice handwriting, as we can tell from his signature in contemporary documents. Sometimes he wrote his name "Renaut," and sometimes "Renaugt".

Guillaume Renaud was respected by his contemporaries. Thus, he became churchwarden in Charlesbourg, a position he occupied from 1683 to 1686. Somewhat later, in 1704, the Jesuits, who were lords of Notre-Dames-des Anges, needed a financial prosecutor [procureur fiscal] in order to administer justice in their domain, and conferred this responsibility on your ancestor, Guillaume Renaud. He must not have exercised this responsibility for long, for he died in Charlesbourg five years later.


The above biographical statement of Guillaume Renaud was translated from Dictionnaire National des Canadiens François by Lucien Deschenes & Laurettta Trudel.

Translation provided by Dr. Christine Reno (Wife of Guillaume's 8th great-grandson) of Vassar College.

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