Jean-Joseph Trestler was born in Mannheim in 1759. In 1776, at age 17, he was hired as a mercenary serving the British Crown to fight against the American invasion. After spending seven years in the Army, Mr. Trestler was dismissed. He then worked as a street vendor in Montréal for two years.
Around 1786, he bought a property in the Seigneurie de Vaudreuil, on the Ottawa River. As soon as he arrived, he opened a general store. Around 1791, he had a potash factory built. Lender, then involved in the fur trade, Mr. Trestler will become very wealthy and influential. He married a Quebecer, Marguerite Noël in 1785, and from this first marriage, four daughters will be born. Unfortunately his wife died in 1793 and the two older ones died a few months later. The two survivors, Catherine and Magdeleine, will be disinherited for having married against her will to clerks from the general store, hence the legend of the ghost of Catherine, who on occasion, it is said, returns to the scene ...
In February 1794, he married in the second marriage a German, Marie-Anne Josephte Curtius, who gave him four sons.
After having built, what would become, the central part of the house in 1798, he added the part “West” (vault and warehouse) in 1805 and the “east” part in 1806 (two bedrooms which will become the current living room). The house will therefore have had this dual function of commercial house and bourgeois residence. Mr. Trestler saw his status as a notable strengthen when he was elected deputy for York in 1808. Less fortunate in politics, he would only be a member of the Assembly for one year. Jean-Joseph Trestler died in 1813 and he was buried in the crypt of the church of St-Michel de Vaudreuil.
In 1951, the house was sold to Donald Taylor, president of St-Raymond Paper. In 1969, it was designated an “Architectural Monument of National Importance” by Indian and Northern Affaires. Purchased and restored by Judith and Louis Dubuc in 1971, it was a designated “Bien culturel et monument historique” by the ministère des affaires culturelles du Québec. In 1984, the property was acquired by the Fondation de la Maison Trestler thanks to the financial support of the Macdonald Stewart Foundation and Parks Canada. The Fondation de la Maison Trestler subsequently embraced the mission of promoting the development, outreach and accessibility of La Maison Trestler.
Born Johann Joshef Tröstler
(1759 - 1813)
Son of Jean-Joseph Trestler
& Marie-Anne Josephte Curtius
(1798 - 1871)
Sir Antoine Aimé-Dorion
Husband of Iphigénie Trestler
(1818 - 1891)
Daughter of Jean-Batiste Curtius-Trestler
& Wife of Antoine-Aimé Dorion
(1825 - 1855)
Two of his sons (Michel-Joseph and Hennry-Daniel) passed away before him. Nonetheless, his son, Jean-Baptiste Curtius, a physician-surgeon, became his mother's confidant following the death of his father and was appointed the administrator of the Trestler properties. The only son to marry, his five children passed on the Trestler name. A daughter, Iphigénie, married Sir Antoine-Aimé Dorion, who was the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada immediately before Wilfrid Laurier, and served as Deputy Premier for a short period of time, during which he used the house as his secondary residence. The town of Dorion, which separated from Vaudreuil in 1891 (the year of his death), bears his name.
Eulalie Dorion (one of Iphigénie’s daughters) married the Honourable Christophe-Alphonse Geoffrion (1843-1899), a famous Montréal lawyer. They lived in the central section of the home. Between 1860 and 1880 the Trestler heirs divided the land and other items they inherited in 1813. The main house was kept but it was subdivided into three sections and turned into summer homes where the Tooke, Nash and Béique families lived. In 1927, the house was purchased by securities broker, Gustave Rainville, who used it as a secondary home. Major changes were made at that time.