Mes racines / my roots

Henri Césaire Saint-Pierre

Adéline Albina Lesieur

Napoléon Mallette

Louis Émery Beaulieu

Guillaume Saint-Pierre

Joseph Bélanger

Geneviève Saint-Pierre

Jeanne Beaulieu Casgrain

Jean Casgrain

Simone Aubry Beaulieu

Marcel Malépart

Jaque Masson

Édouard Trudeau

Rolland Labrosse

Jacques Cousineau

"Mes racines"


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1892 Biography of H.C. St. Pierre

This text is from the
Montreal History and Gazetteer,
pages 353-4,
by Borthwick (1892)


The subject of this sketch was born at St. Madeleine de Rigaud, 13th September, 1842. His father, Joseph St. Pierre, «cultivateur», having died when he was not much more than two years of age, C. Raymond, merchant of Isle Bizard, took charge of the child and reared him as his own son. At the age of twelve years he entered the College of Montreal, where he passed through his studies with success. In 1862, he left the College, and the young student, as his temperament shows even at this present day, full of energy and vim, wished to enter the Army of the Northen States. The War of Secession was in all its fury, but the wish of his friends and protectors was against it.

By the death of his protector he had to launch out on life’s journey by himself. Thus we find him at this time in Kingston, Ontario, studying Law in the office of the well-known James Agnew, Esq. As soon as he passed his examinations he returned to the States and enlisted in the 76th New York Volunteers, which formed part of the Army of the Potomac, and was sent to the front. In two months he became a Sergeant. At the retreat of General Mead he received a wound, and again receiving a wound at Mine Run, near Fredericksburg, which stretched him on the battlefield, he was taken prisoner of war by the enemy’s cavalry and transported to Gordonsville, not far from Richmond, the Capital. So it came to pass that his name was recorded on the battle roll as slain on the field of honor. A funeral service was even celebrated for him in the Montreal College and in St. Madeleine, his native place. It would be long to enumerate all the sufferings which he endured during thirtheen months in the different military prisons where he was confined, but by the evacuation of Charleston by the Army of the South in 1865, he at last attained his liberty. Pen cannot describe the joy, the pleasure, the delight when he once more appeared in his native land by his parents, by his friends and by the community at large, who had so long thought him dead and buried on an American battle field. In 1866, having been admitted to the study of his profession, he was successively in the offices of Messrs. Cartier, Pominville & Betournay, F. X. A. Trudel and J. J. C. Abbott, and in July, 1870, he was admitted to the Bar of the Province of Quebec. In 1871, he was associated with the Hon. Gédéon Ouimet, now Superintendent of Education. Mr. St. Pierre has never identified himself much with political or civic affairs, the duties of his extensive and ever increasing practice, especially that of the Criminal Courts, has taken up all his time and attention.

In 1874, he married Mlle. Adeline Albina Lesieur, daughter of Adolphe Lesieur, merchant, of Terrebonne, and niece of the late Judge T. J. J. Loranger, and of the present worthy representative of the name, Hon. L. O. Loranger, Judge of the Superior Court, Montreal. Madame St. Pierre is well known for her numerous acts of charity and her great reputation as a pianist, and like her husband, who is one of the most talented singers in Montreal, always ready to give her time and talents to aid any charitable undertaking. The Author speaks of them both when the presentation of a purse of money was made to the late Madame DeLorimier, of L’Assomption, the widow of the renowed Chevalier DeLorimier, who was the twelfth and last of the Patriots of 1837-8, who were hanged at the Montreal Goal in 1839. The world thinks not the less of her because of her actions that day to the widow of the patriot.

The first case which Mr. St. Pierre pleaded was in the Court of the Queen’s Bench, i n 1872. He defended three men accused of murder. It was a difficult case to handle, nevertheless two were acquitted and the third was pronounced guilty of assault on the person. He received an enthusiastic ovation at the conclusion of the trial. Many others accused of murder have been acquitted by his indefatigable means. One of the most notable trials was that of Ferrari, an Italian, who stabbed to the heart another countryman. In this trial Mr. St. Pierre was ably seconded by Mr. Donald McMaster, one of the brightest lights now of the Montreal Bar. The accused was acquitted. Again, a brilliant manifestation was given to Mr. St. Pierre after the proceedings were closed, and he was carried triumphantly to the Hotel Richellieu. In the case of «Caza», a celebrated trial in which Merrs. Geoffrion & Poirier were also engaged with Mr. St. Pierre, the prisoner was acquitted. This was made for Mr. St. Pierre a veritable triumph. Let me copy from a French publication what it says of this trial and result: «À cette occasion une personne dont je cacherai le nom, pour éviter de blesser sa modestie, fit publier, dans La Patrie, les vers suivants:

Il faut bien l’avouer: au Ciel et sur la terre
Nous avons deux puissants St. Pierre:
L’un siège avec éclat au port brillant des cieux:
L’autre, aux portes de fer des prisons de ces lieux.

Voilà bien la ressemblance;
Mais quant à ce qu’aux leurs ils peuvent garantir,
Quelle est donc la différence?
Eh!... l’un les fait entrer, l’autre les fait sortir!»

In the celebrated case of the Detectives, Fahey, Naegle and Bureau, his pleading for Bureau was one of fine oratory rarely heard within the walls of the Court House. There is also the case of Benson, tried for the murder of his wife, whom he had shot with a revolver, under the eyes of the deceased woman’s own child, aged twelve years. He was acquitted on the 16th March, 1889. The result thus obtained inspired the following lines from a friend of his:

De ce nouveau succès qu’il ajoute à tant d’autres
Je viens féliciter l’ami Santum Petrum,
Grâce à lieu Sir Benson passe au rang des Apôtres.
«Non licet omnibus adire Corinthum.»

Next comes the case of McGrath for the murder of Holden. McGrath had cut Holden’s throat with a razor. Mr. St. Pierre was assisted by Mr. McCormick. McGrath was found guilty of manslaughter, which was the plea offered all along by the defense.

Mr. St. Pierre was appointed Queen’s Counsel, January, 1889, and no man of the Bar of Montreal has achieved such a reputation as the subject of this sketch in the Criminal Courts. He stands side by side with Hon. J. A. Chapleau, who twenty years ago was the great criminal lawyer of the city. He is in the prime of life, and may he be long spared to be an ornament to the profession.

Jacques Beaulieu
Révisé le 22 juillet 2019
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