Hilaire Béliveau: Urban Realities – On to Montréal

Second of a seven-part series describing the real and imagined life of Hilaire Béliveau of Montreal.

In Québec (city), the Cadot family welcomed their third child, Célina on December 27, 1836. Célina would become Hilaire’s first wife in 1859. She was baptised in Notre Dame parish the following day and her godparents were Flavien and Caroline Bedard, her maternal aunt and uncle – both of whom were able to sign the register. Her older sisters were Marie Adelaide (born 1832) and Caroline Eléonore (born 1834).

By 1840, the Cadotte family are in Montréal, living in the western outskirts of Queens Ward. They don’t own their property – it’s leased under feudal tenure (seigneurial system) at 1 sous/arpent. Benjamin is a trader, and there are five people in his household: wife Adelaide Bedard and daughters Caroline, Adelaide and Célina.

Map of Montreal Wards in 1840
Montreal Wards 1840. Monrtreal Archives

Not appearing in this census are a daughter and son who both died young. Marie Rosalie, born in 1840. died just eight months after birth. In 1841 Louis Joseph joins the family but dies at five months old. Célina acquired another brother in 1842 with the birth of Pierre followed by Joseph Benjamin on March 17, 1843 and Francois Xavier Marie Joseph in 1846 who died two years later. Another sister, Marie Emilie, was born on May 2, 1849 in Montréal.

Later that year, Célina’s grandmother Angele Vallerand died at the age of 63, probably in Québec. Then the births of two more boys complete the family: Placide in 1854 and Louis Napoleon in 1858. Célina and her future husband, Hilaire Béliveau, are named godparents for Louis Napoleon.

With the Cadots initially located in Québec, then in Montréal, and the Béliveaus in St-Grégoire, how did Hilaire and Célina meet? As it happens, the parish registers for St-Grégoire contain many Cadots so it’s quite possible the two families were known to each other, despite living miles apart.

The Cadot family’s location in the relatively rural Queen’s Ward district was possibly connected to Benjamin Cadotte’s ties to the tanning industry as a leather trader or dealer. Côte-des-Neiges Road was within the upper limits of the ward and as early as 1737 tanners were attracted to the area because of plentiful running water. The Côte-des-Neiges area was beginning to develop into a village with large, established tanneries as the primary industry by 1860.

Life in mid-19th-century Montréal had its own share of civic disruptions. In 1844 violence erupted during a hotly contested Montréal byelection when reformer Lewis Thomas Drummond defeated brewer William Molson (1343 to 463). One man died and dozens of others were wounded.

In 1847 a typhus and cholera epidemic decimate the Irish refugee population, as well as many Montréalers, killing thousands. The epidemic even claims the life of John Easton Mills, mayor of Montréal, as he tended to the sick in the fever sheds.

On April 25, 1849, English-speaking protestors against the Rebellion losses bill in Canada East (a similar bill was passed for Canada West) quickly became a mob and set fire to the Parliament buildings in Montréal. The bill authorized compensation to people who suffered losses as a result of the Patriote uprisings of 1837-1838.

On July 8, 1852 more than 10,000 people were left homeless when the east side of Montréal went up in flames, destroying 1,100 houses. 20% of the eastern side of the city is devastated. The following year riots kill 40 people sparked by Alessandro Gavazzi’s anticlerical speeches at Montréal’s First Congregational Church (Zion Church).

Building in flames
Engraving by John Henry Walker, 1850–1885.
McCord Museum

Fortunately, it appears that all of these events had little effect on the Cadotte family – other than prompting lively discussion at the dinner table about the news of the day. We lose track of the Cadot family for a while after 1851 as they have not been located in the 1851 census.

THE BEAUDRYS OF POINTE-AUX-TREMBLES

The other family that will develop ties with Hilaire Béliveau is the Beaudrys of Pointe-aux-Trembles. Aglaë Beaudry was born on November 11, 1841 In Pointe-aux-Trembles, and she will become Hilaire’s second wife in 1882. She had two siblings at the time of her birth: Marie Odile (born 1839) and Camille (born in 1838). Aglaë was baptised at St-Enfant-de-Jesus church with Modeste Beaudoin and Monique Regnier as her godparents. Her brother Alfonse Baudry is born on September 20, 1844. Lastly, Zotique joins the Beaudry family on May 25, 1847 in Pointe-aux-Trembles.

The Beaudry family are farmers in Pointe-aux-Trembles, which is still a mostly rural community. The municipality is officially constituted as the parish of L’Enfant-Jésus-de-la-Pointe-aux-Trembles in 1845.

By 1851, Jacques Beaudry is a 33-year-old farmer living with his family in Pointe-aux-Trembles. In their single-story wood home are his wife, Elizabeth Bricault (44); Theophile (21) and Joseph Bricault (20) who are possibly relatives or sons from a previous marriage; their children: Camile (13), Odile (11), Aglaë (9), Alphonse (7) and Zotique (4). Aglaë and Alphonse are the only two attending school.

Sources

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