Jean-Baptiste Potier Dubuisson | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Jean-Baptiste Potier Dubuisson

Jean-Baptiste Potier (Poitiers) Dubuisson (du Buisson), army officer, interpreter, organist (born 1646 in the diocese of Amiens, France; died 27 March 1727 in Montreal, New France).

Illustration of an officer of the Carignan-Salières Regiment, 1666

Original by L. Rousselot, 1931. 

Early Life

Jean-Baptiste Potier Dubuisson was born to Pierre-Charles Potier Dubuisson, a captain in the French army, and his wife, Hélène de Belleau. Both Jean-Baptiste and his sister Marie-Charlotte emigrated to New France early in their adult lives. Marie-Charlotte sailed in 1660 and married that year (see Filles du Roi). Jean-Baptiste left for New France in 1665 as a member of the Carignan-Salières Regiment.


Jean-Baptiste Potier Dubuisson spent several years as an officer in the Carignan-Salières Regiment. The force of about 1,200 French soldiers was tasked with defending French settlements against the Haudenosaunee (see Iroquois Wars). The King of France recalled the regiment in 1668, but Dubuisson was one of many soldiers who stayed in North America.

In 1670, Dubuisson married Élisabeth Jossard of Paris in Quebec City. As members of the petite noblesse, the couple had good social standing in New France. They would have eight children.

Between 1670 and 1698, the Dubuisson family lived in New England. Jean-Baptiste worked as an interpreter between the English and the Dutch. He and his wife posed as Protestants and achieved standing among Huguenot refugees. Dubuisson aroused suspicion of being a spy for the French. (At that time, France and Britain were adversaries who competed for territory in North America.) Dubuisson later revealed that, while living in New England, he had several of his children baptized by Catholic priests who were in hiding from the British.

The Dubuissons returned to New France around 1700, settling in Montreal.

Organist for Notre-Dame Church

According to historical records, Jean-Baptiste Potier Dubuisson appears to have been the first regular organist of Notre-Dame Church (where the Notre-Dame Basilica would be built) in Montreal. He held this position from 1705 to at least 1718. His successor c. 1721–34 was Charles-François Coron.

Dubuisson died in 1727 in Montreal.

Further Reading

External Links

New France
Quebec City