Hubert Prévost the entrepreneur: In business

Third of an eight-part series describing the real and imagined life of Hubert Prévost of Maisonneuve.

It’s around 1871 that Hubert appears to have established himself as a building contractor. Dozens of transactions are recorded from this point that document construction contracts, financial obligations, payment receipts, tenant leases and more. The volume of documents provides a rich record of business dealings yet seems to generate more questions than answers as to the successes or failures he encountered. A closer study may yet reveal some of those answers.

In the 1871 Lovell directory for Montreal and area, we find business listings for Hubert Prévost and some of his relations:

  • Prévost H., carpenter, 318 Visitation Montreal [Hochelaga area. This is likely Hubert père.]
  • Prévost Hubert~ jun. Joiner living in Pointe-aux-Trembles
  • Prévost Eugéne, stonecutter in Ste-Genevieve [parish of Montreal, this is likely Hubert’s brother]
  • Prévost Jos. laborer, 28 St Lawrence St. [likely Hubert’s brother]
  • Reeve George, hotelkeeper & Reeve Olivier, hotelkeeper (Pointe-aux-Trembles) [Olivier Reeves is Hubert’s brother-in-law].

On the personal front, Hubert received $100 from his brother-in-law Charles Reeves that appears to be a donation to Alvina, possibly as part of the dowry described in her marriage contract.

Some of Hubert’s business dealings are with family relations. One example is a contract with Louis Troie dit Lafranchise (his brother-in-law) who agrees to have a house built by Hubert on rue Mygnon in the Ste-Marie district of Montreal. The document specifies the purchase price ($900) and terms for payment at 6% interest. This appears to be the first record of Hubert’s business dealings. He will go on to buy, develop and sell several lots in Hochelaga and Maisonneuve.

Map of Pointe-aux-Trembles

Map of the town of Pointe-aux-Trembles, c. 1875

Hubert also provided a loan of $400 to George and Olivier Reeves for their business use. They promise to repay the loan in one year (from May 1). As a security they mortgage some land 2 arpents wide by 40 arpents deep and a second property in Pointe-aux-Trembles 20 feet wide by 70 deep bounded in front by rue Ste-Anne, in back by the cemetery, and on the sides the Chemin de péage [toll road] and the property of Narcisse Allaire.

Hubert purchases a lot from Hippolyte Reeves that is 74 feet wide by 130 feet deep, located in the seigneury of Montreal, with a building already built. It is facing the St-Laurent river and adjoining properties are owned by Jean Bte Brien, Frs H Puran [?] and the heirs of the late Gabriel Monette. The purchaser agrees to pay seigneurial fees going forward and to pay 750 livres, old currency on the next St- Michel [Sept 29] without interest.

Then Hubert sells a lot, also in the seigneury of Montreal, with a frontage of 43 ft on the toll road and 150 ft deep, bordering properties owned by himself, A. Laporte on one side, and Robert Turcotte and Jean-Bte Gervais on the other side, to J. B. Dufort. Hubert Prévost will construct a building 12 x 24 in the same style as that of M. Turcotte with an outhouse (4′ square), a staircase and enclosed gallery. The work is to begin on May 1. The buyer will pay all future seigneurial fees and $1250.

Early in 1872, Hubert’s brother-in-law Louis Troie took a $400 mortgage loan on half of a two-storey brick house from Hubert. The debt is related to their agreement made in April 1871 to build a house for Troie.

On May 4, 1872 Charles Reeves, Alvina’s father, makes the final payment of 400 piastres regarding the donation he promised his daughter in 1865 – either as a dowry or an advance on her inheritance.

In 1876, Hubert and Alvina draw up their wills before notary Octave Regnier. Only Hubert’s copy has been found, but it’s likely Alvina’s contains similar provisions. Hubert’s will also lists a number of specific stipulations:

  1. To pray for his soul and commend him to God
  2. That his debts be paid
  3. That He be buried in the parish cemetery in Pointe-aux-Trembles
  4. He leaves his belongings and property to his wife
  5. If his wife and heir remarry, she must undertake an inventory and valuation of the estate
  6. If one any of their children die, their successors inherit on their behalf.

Sources

  • Fonds Cour Supérieure. Greffes de notaires; Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, Montréal, Québec, Canada.
  • Hopkins, H.W. Atlas of the city and island of Montreal, including the counties of Jacques Cartier and Hochelaga from actual surveys, based upon the cadastral plans deposited in the office of the Department of Crown Lands. http://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine/
  • Lovells Quebec directory 1871. Library and Archives Canada. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca
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