As part of Halloween, we present horrifying events that have marked the history of Lévis.
1) The hanging of Marie-Josephte Corriveau (1733-1763)
A true story has become a horrifying legend in Quebec. Marie-Josephte was born in Saint-Vallier in 1733 into a farming family of 11 children. At the age of 16, she married a young farmer named Charles Bouchard. By the end of April 1760, her husband died of "treacherous fever" and she remarried 15 months later with farmer Louis Étienne Dodier.
On the morning of January 27, 1763, he was found dead in his barn with many injuries to the head (apparently hoofs received from his horses). The British military authorities ordered an investigation. Marie-Josephte and her father Joseph were arrested by the fact that Dodier was, in his lifetime, in bad terms with his wife and his father-in-law.
On March 29, 1763, their trial began at the Ursuline convent before an English military court. It ended on the following April 9th. Joseph was convicted of murdering his son-in-law and sentenced to death. On April 15, Marie-Josephte was confronted with her father's statements during a new court martial appearance. She confessed to killing her husband twice with a hatchet while sleeping because of the abuse he was subjected to. The court found her guilty and was hanged around April 18 at Buttes-à-Nepveu on the Plains of Abraham.
His body was transported by canoe to Pointe-Lévy (Lauzon sector) to be exposed in a cage on the royal road (the current rue Saint-Joseph and at the corner of the rue de l'Entente) until May 25 . It was the busiest road south of Quebec City. The cage was found in a pit in the Pointe-Lévis cemetery in 1851 and was in the United States, including Salem, for more than a century until 2013. For several centuries, the area would be considered as " haunted ", because it would hear string noises, especially in the residence at the corner of these streets.
2) The horrifying hanging of the thief Jean-Baptiste Monarque in 1827
On September 29, 1826, a daring flight took place at the Saint-Joseph-de-la-Pointe-de-Lévy presbytery (Lauzon sector). The parish priest Michel Massé was awoken by the breakage of a window around 1:30 in the morning. Two armed men accompanied by masked accomplices entered. The priest was sequestered and threatened with death in the dining room for his refusal to provide the key to the safe. He obeyed and more than 1,800 louis ($ 12,000 nowadays) were stolen. On June 5, more than 47 louis were stolen from the presbytery by a man named Bougie.
On October 12, boatmen discovered boxes containing money stolen from the mouth of the Chaudière River. After a month and a half of investigations, 12 individuals were incarcerated, but 5 were denounced by the accomplice Patrick McEwen, alias Patrick Daly. A man named William Ross, imprisoned in Montreal, mentioned that his accomplice Pierre Beaudry had attended the Bougie trial and that he had seen Father Massé leave with a large sum of money. The gang of thieves was formed in Trois-Rivières by Ross with Ellice, Benjamin Johnson, and brothers Jean-Baptiste and Michel Monarque. The band fled to Quebec City by canoe to reach the Anse-des-Mères and share its loot, the Plains of Abraham.
Ross, Ellice and Johnson were hanged in front of the Quebec City Prison on April 21st. On April 24, the Monarque brothers were brought to Pointe-de-Lévy to go to the scaffold located in front of the grounds of the current convent of the nuns Jesus-Marie and near the presbytery. Michael, the youngest of the brothers, was pardoned by Governor Ramsay, but he was sentenced a few years later for another robbery and deported to Bermuda. However, Jean-Baptiste suffered a horrible death due to an inexperienced executioner who had not taken his measures properly. The poorly fitted rope slipped and the knot missed out. Jean-Baptiste had his neck lacerated and he fell into his blood. He suffered a severe haemorrhage, but he managed to get up on his own to ask for forgiveness aloud. He went up without help on the scaffold. At the second attempt, the rope was misplaced and the knot slipped under her chin. The hanged man struggled for several minutes, suffering violent convulsions. The executioner pulled him violently by the feet while his deputy tightened the noose around his throat. This is the most barbaric execution on the Levis territory.
Source: Archives of the Lévis History Society.
3) The Haunted House on Fraser Street in 1929
In 1929, the notary Antoine Fradet bought this house located at 39, rue Fraser (today the 6245) in Old Lévis. This residence belonged to James Lawlor (1848-1919), a very colorful Irishman who owned the former Kennebec Hotel in the Quebec-Lévis crossing area. Mr. Fradet had just married Mme Thèrèse Pelletier and he bought this house. As soon as they arrived, the newlyweds were disturbed by scary and intense noises that were heard in many places. They heard doors and drawers opening and closing forcefully, the sounds of chains dragged and struck with force, furniture turned upside down in the attic, coal falling into the basement, and metal objects hitting the furnace of the house. cellar.
In 1975, Mme Pelletier wrote in his memoirs: "One day that I was alone (…), I heard a terrible crash in the attic of the house and, I thought a pile of old frames, left there by the old owners, had tumbled. I'm waiting for my husband's arrival to see what caused this unusual noise. We did not see anything disturbed (…); these noises began again and often woke us up at night. It seemed as if the coal was pouring into the cellar or someone was knocking on the furnace with a big iron poker. Each time we went to see, and each time everything seemed to be in order. (…) So it lasted a few weeks, sometimes the noise was in the attic, sometimes in the cellar.
They understood that the house was haunted when Mr. Fradet, white as a sheet and trembling, said he heard a noise in the dining room as if the drawers of the buffet opened and closed violently. He went to his parents-in-law's home in Lauzon and went to Levis College to ask for the help of a priest friend. He recited prayers of exorcism and blessed the house from the cellar to the attic. Mr. Fradet paid masses for the souls who needed it and everything stopped afterwards. Was it the ghost of Mr. Lawlor? He died at the Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis on June 24, 1919 and his wife Helen Walsh died on June 4, 1929. They had no children. So this strange story has marked in its own way the story of Lévis.
Source: Archives of the Lévis History Society.
4) Exhumation of a child's corpse to steal his clothes
On August 15, 1905, an unprecedented crime was told that it was said to have been committed in a parish that is not 100 leagues from Lévis and whose name is unknown. It would be a terrible breach of burial. A well-known person in a parish would have exhumed during the night the corpse of a young boy who slept his last sleep in the parish cemetery. Horror! He would have stripped him of his clothes and brought them to his house to put on one of his children. Others have said that there is a case of vengeance in this macabre story.
Text by Vincent Couture, historian-archivist
You can consult the Facebook page of the Lévis History Society by clicking right here and the website by going to right here.
You can also read our texts produced by the Société historique de Québec by clicking right here and by Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec by clicking right here.