Established in Québec City by Jean-Claude Panet (1719-78) in 1740, and in Montréal by his brother, Pierre-Méru Panet (1731-1804) in 1746, for generations the Panet family has made a remarkable contribution to Canadian legal, political, religious and above all, military life. Shortly after his arrival in Canada Jean-Claude Panet, a private in the TROUPES DE LA MARINE, became a royal notary, and later one of the 2 first Catholic judges of the Court of Common Pleas under the British regime. His son, Bernard Claude Panet (1753-1833), became bishop of Québec in 1825. Another son, Jean-Antoine Panet (1751-1815), a notary and seigneur of Bourg-Louis, became the first speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada (1791-94; 1797-1814), member of the Legislative Council (1815), judge of the Court of Common Pleas (1794-97) and a militia officer who participated in the defeat of American arms in 1775-76.
Jean-Claude Panet's grandson, Elzéar-Alexandre Panet's son, Philippe Panet (1791-1855), was also a lawyer, member of the Legislative Assembly (1816-20; 1830-32) and the Executive Council (1831), judge of the King's Bench and a captain of the VOLTIGEURS CANADIENS, who fought the Americans during the War of 1812; his second son, Louis Panet (1794-1884), was a notary, member of the Special Council of Lower Canada (1837-41), member of the Legislative Council (1852-67), member of the Legislative Council of Québec (1867-84), a senator (1871-74) and lieutenant-colonel of the 1st Battalion of the Québec Militia (1857-69). Philip Panet's son, Charles-Eugène Panet (1829-98), a lawyer, senator (1875) and lietenant-colonel of the 9th Voltigeurs de Québec (1869-80), was deputy minister of Militia (1875-98). Six of his 7 sons by 3 marriages also held high military rank: Col Antoine Chartier de Lobinière Panet (1865-1926); Brig-Gen Alphonse-Eugène Panet (1867-1950); Maj-Gen Henri-Alexandre Panet (1869-1959); Col Charles Louis Panet (1870-1955); Col Arthur Hubert Panet (1877-1944); and Maj-Gen Edouard de Bellefeuille Panet (1881-1977), a distinguished military tradition which continues into the seventh generation, and which has established the Panets reputation as "Canada's Foremost Military Family."
Pierre-Méru Panet's Montréal branch of the Panet family followed a familiar pattern. Pierre-Méru Panet himself became a royal notary, judge of the Court of Common Pleas (1778-84), a member of the Executive Council in 1791 and a militia officer who fought the Americans in 1775-76. His son, Pierre Louis Panet (1761-1812), was also a notary, member of the Legislative Assembly (1792), member of the Executive Council (1801) and a judge of the King's Bench (1795-1812); a second son, Bonaventure Panet (1765-1846), was a member of the first Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada and fought in the War of 1812. Pierre-Louis Panet's son, also called Pierre-Louis (1800-70), became a judge of the Court of the King's Bench.
Other Panet descendants through the maternal line in the Taschereau, de Bellefeuille, MacDonald, de Lobinières and Harwood families, reinforce the Panet's distinguished record in Canadian public life.