was born in Tourouvre in the Province of Perche in Normandy. On March 6, 1648 he signed a contract to work in New France with notary Chouaiseau in his native town. He was to work for 3 years and have free passage to and from Quebec.
The first records of Nicolas in the New World are as a godfather on February 27, 1649. In 1651, he was made Captain of the Militia in Cap de la Madeleine; he would later possess the same title in Batiscan. What did this position entail? Basically it made him the administrator of the Seigneury. He had military duties such as training the men and leading them into battle. He followed the orders of the Seigneur. The position gave him the title of "Sieur".
The date of Nicolas Rivard's marriage to Catherine Saint Père is disputed with 2 different dates quoted: November 25, 1652 and June 21, 1653. When they married Nicolas was about 35 and Catherine 18, already a widow. It is known that Nicolas with his brother-in-law Pierre Guillet sold to Gilles Trottier the land on the Cap (Séverin Ameau, November 24 1652) that had belonged to Mathurin Guillet, the first husband of Catherine. Nicolas and Catherine had 10 children.
Pierre Boucher, the Governor of Trois Rivières, had a Chapel built in his yard. It was 20 feet square. It was disassembled and then rebuilt on Cap de la Madeleine on the exact spot where the second church still stands. Claude Herlin, March 7, 1661, records the purchase of this chapel by Nicholas Rivard. Nicolas and his wife, Catherine stayed in Cap de la Madeleine until 1666 when, Rivard acquired 2 land concessions from the Jesuits, one in Batiscan and the other on the I'ile Saint-Eloi in the river across from the other. Both properties were equal in size, 2 x 40 arpents.
The census of 1666, showed Nicolas Rivard and his family living on the Cap.
Nicolas Rivard d.t Lavigne, 42 ans, habitant Catherine Saint Pere, 30 , sa femme enfants: Nicolas, 12; Jeanne, 9; Jullien, 7; Francois, 5; Pierre, 4; Marie Madeleine, 3; Michel Rivard, 3 mois, fils Et Jacques...25 ans, domestique.
They moved to Batiscan in 1668 where they remained for the rest of their lives. On May 25, 1669, Bishop Laval confirmed Nicolas in his home. The bishop asked Germain Morin, the first Canadian born priest to establish a parish in Batiscan. The first Churchwarden elected on June 26, 1670 was Nicolas Rivard de Lavigne. He would be re-elected to this post seven more times.
Between June 26, 1670 and June 3, 1674 gatherings were held at the home of Nicholas Rivard. The first church in Batiscan was built sometime within these dates. It would become the parish of Saint Francois Xavier. It was considered a mission initially. On July 25, 1682, Nicolas instigated on behalf of the people of Batiscan a notarized grievance (Adhemar) demanding a permanent parish priest. It took several years for only in 1684 was church approval granted.
Jeanne Patenaude writes in the "Memoires de la Societé Genealogiques des Canadiens Francais - Volume 8, 1963" :
"Nicholas Rivard had traits of character and aptitude which involved him in protecting the public welfare. On a few occasions, the Archives tell us in detail how he took the initiative to defend the common interest of the citizens of Batiscan. Often the reports were expressed in these terms: Nicolas Rivard, Sieur de la Vigne, knowing how to read and write, acting for and in the name of all the colonists being their procurer and defender ask, etc... and the petitions were addressed to the Intendant, to the civil and religious authorities, etc ...In 1676, he appeared before the tribunal to plead the case of the colonists because they were dissatisfied with the "alignment and boundary markers placed by surveyor Jean Guymon due Bison." After a rather sharp exchange between Nicolas Rivard, "procurer and plaintiff", and the representative of the King, an order, signed on October 13, 1676 in Trois Rivières by Bouvinet, was published, to the effect that the boundaries would be re-examined by the surveyor Jean La Rouge, to the satisfaction of all interested parties. Nicolas was to examine the deeds of the habitants to see that justice was done. As the complaints were settled, Rivard was recognized as a truly good lawyer."
The census of 1681 in Batiscan states:
Nicolas Rivard 60 ans Catherine Cerupe, sa femme 45 ans enfants: Nicolas, 28; Jeanne, 25; Julien, 24; Francois, 22; Pierre, 20; Madeleine, 18; Michel, 16; Jean, 13; Catherine, 7; Antoine, 5. 4 fusils; 5 betes a cornes; 25 arpents en valeur.
In 1682, Nicolas was involved in a class action suite against Francois Dupré, parish priest of Batiscan, involving a supplemental tax. A Royal ruling had been issued concerning this in May 1679. On September 5, 1682, the people of the parish learned it was useless to oppose the Crown on this issue. Opposition lead to fines or capital punishment!!
Nicolas continued in his duties of Captain of the Militia till he was 81 years old in 1697! He passed away and was buried in Batiscan on July 1, 1701. Catherine Saint Père, his wife died 8 years later in Batiscan on June 28, 1709.