Lordship Pachot Métis

Historical documents, Unclassified

History: The Parc de la Rivère Métis
Canadian Heritage

Lordship of Métis
René Lepage, Sieur de Sainte-Claire
Joseph Drapeau

Colonization in the region of the St. Lawrence estuary has long been an unfinished business. It was only towards the end of the 18th century that development began to be significant. The development of the La Mitis region began around 1800.

It was to François Vienney Pachot, a prosperous merchant established in the 1670s in Quebec, who was granted on January 7, 1689 the lordship of Métis with a league of frontage, to be taken on either side of the river, on a league deep. Seen as one of the directors of the Northern Company, Pachot initially had commercial intentions for his lordship since he set up a post there to fish for cod, whale and seal and to trap with the Amerindians.

The first lord of Métis died in 1698. His widow then sold, for 300 pounds, the lordship to Mr. René Lepage who already owned the lordships of Sainte-Claire and Rimouski. The latter acquires, at the same time as the seigneury, the fishing and trapping rights attached to it. He too therefore exploits the land for commercial purposes rather than for the establishment of settlers.

Following the death of René Lepage, his children took possession of the land and bequeathed it to each other for a few generations. No development is taking place on the Pachot stronghold. One hundred years after Pachot obtained it, the territory still has neither mill nor inhabitant. Remoteness is one of the causes that explains the slow development. Until the mid-19th century, it took several days of navigation to reach the region. It was not until 1827 that the road between Quebec and Métis became passable by cart or carriage.

In 1790, Joseph Drapeau of Quebec prepared to acquire the Lepage estates, because they owed him money. After some political debates started by some of the heirs, the Lepages claiming their share of income from the properties, Joseph Drapeau became lord of Rimouski and Métis after obtaining the remaining rights in the Pachot fief. Like Pachot and Lepage, he acquired these lands for commercial purposes rather than for colonization.

The territory remained very sparsely populated until 1820. Towards the end of the decade, it began to generate income for its owners because intense forestry activity was carried out there. William Price and Michel Larivée were the two concessionaires to settle there and begin logging. Until 1836, logging took priority over colonization. It was after this time that we really began to colonize the stronghold.

In 1830, the Drapeau sisters signed a contract with William Price for the exclusive rights to cut pine and spruce on the ungranted lands of the seigneury. He will renew his lease for 10 years. With all this exploitation, Métis became an obligatory stopover for sailboats transporting wood to Great Britain and North America. It was then that settlers came to establish themselves and formed the different villages that we know today.