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Alfred Lévesque, the Temiscouatan bootlegger


Portrait of a large family

The Lévesque family visiting the Sisters of Saint-Rosaire, Rimouski. Source: Marthe Lévesque.

Alfred Lévesque was born on January 22, 1893 in Frenchville, Maine. He was the son of Damase Lévesque and Élise Cyr. Damase was a baker known for his good business sense. On September 25, 1916, Alfred married Albertine Collin, a native of Saint-Hilaire (N.B.).

A man and a woman strike a pose in the street

Alfred Lévesque and his wife Albertine Collin in the years 1925-1930. Source: Corporation du Patrimoine de Rivière-Bleue.

Albertine Collin, daughter of Pierre Collin and Anne Cyr, was born June 6, 1895 in Saint-Hilaire, N.B. where she grew up. Her father was said to have been involved in smuggling alcohol following her marriage to Alfred. The family residence was known as a place where alcohol was distilled and hidden.

It was probably during those years that Alfred met the notorious bootlegger Maxime Albert, also from Saint-Hilaire (N.B.), with whom he began his illicit activities.

Portrait of a middle-aged man

Portrait of Maxime Albert. Source: Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph.

A handsome and strapping young man, Alfred Lévesque quickly established himself at the head of what would become the largest smuggling ring in Eastern Quebec. In his personal notes, Father David Thériault, his most fervent opponent, describes him as follows:

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Georges Mars, a journalist from Quebec City, wrote as follows about the biggest and most likeable bootlegger this country has ever known: “A secret association of 2,000 small time bootleggers. About 500 stolen cars. 800 employees. An army of nearly a thousand workmen carrying rifles, revolvers and knives. The police have been bought. Influential politicians protect criminals. Murderers on the loose… all of the above has been written to introduce you to… Fred Levesque…”

A formal portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Lévesque

Alfred Lévesque and Albertine Collin. Source: Corporation du Patrimoine de Rivière-Bleue.