Mathieu Léveillé

c. 1709 - d. 1743


Mathieu Léveillé was an executioner in Canada from 1733 to 1743, originally a Black slave.

After the death of the executioner Pierre Rattier on August 21, 1723, the colonial authorities of New France searched the colony in vain for a successor to him. Three years later they asked the minister of the Marine, Maurepas, to find a hangman for Canada in France. Maurepas replied, suggesting that they buy a Negro from Martinique, but quickly thought better of this idea and sent them a certain Gilles Lenoir, an inmate of the Hôpital Général of Paris. Gilles Lenoir was a confirmed drunkard and had to be kept in prison all year long. He proved useless as an executioner and was sent back to France in the autumn of 1730. Finally, on October 12, 1731, the colonial authorities decided to take "the necessary measures to obtain a Negro from Martinique to act as executioner". On March 24, 1733 Maurepas asked Jacques Pannier d’Orgeville, a royal official in Martinique, to send to Quebec the Negro slave requested by New France. On August 1, 1735 the treasurer general of the Marine, Barthélemy Moufle de La Tuillerie, paid 800 livres to buy Léveillé and send the slave to Québec to serve as executioner.

Léveillé had scarcely arrived in Québec when he was hospitalized at the Hôtel-Dieu on July 31, 1733. Intendant Hocquart thought he would make Léveillé happier by buying a West Indian wife for him. When she arrived in Canada in 1742, Léveillé was ill again. For fear of infecting the fiancée, the intendant wanted to wait for the executioner to recover before giving permission for their marriage. Léveillé's condition, however, grew worse. On September 5, 1743 the hangman was again hospitalized, and four days later he died at the Hôtel-Dieu. He was buried in the hospital cemetery on September 10.

The colonial authorities then decided to have his fiancée baptized Angélique-Denise and to put her up for sale.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mathieu Léveillé died on 9 and was buried on 10 September 1743 in the Hôtel-Dieu, Québec. (1)

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There are two other documents that might be related: one a female black slave, the other a native slave.
Native Slave: Marguerite Angélique Sauvagesse belonging to Mr Boucault, baptized at the age of seven years, on 27 March 1743.
Black Slave: Louise Négresse belonging to Mr Geanne who died on 21 and buried on 22 March 1743. (1)

(1) Drouin Documents copied from the Parish Registers of Québec.