Hubert Prévost the entrepreneur: Power couple

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

By the time of the census in 1891, Hebert and Héloise were living with Sem Alexandre and Alphonsine (Alvina’s children) and Joseph Hubert, their son. Also resident at their house were two labourers, Noel Roussel a widower and Amée Belec. Sem is also listed as an employee (most likely working with his father). Hubert’s daughter Eugenie Appoline is living next door with her husband J.B. Foisy.

In the latter half of 1890, Héloise becomes more involved in the business. It’s not known what prompted this shift in strategy, but it is certain that Héloise’s name increasingly appears on property transactions. Hubert also guarantees a mortgage of a property in Héloise’s name.

Hubert wins a substantial contract to build a Presbyterian church and school at the corner of Adam and Letourneau streets in Maisonneuve. The church was expanded in 1908, but later burned to the ground in 1925.

In 1891 Hubert forms a business partnership with Elzear Benoit, another contractor, called Prévost & Benoit. The business will provide all the necessary trades for building construction.

In October 1891, the town of Maisonneuve contracted with the Royal Electric Light Company to provide an electric light service for the municipality. Prévost & Benoit also signed a contract with the town for the construction of the electric light station and residence. The project faced legal challenges as an injunction was issued to stop work on the site, which was quashed by the courts. Then force was used to stop employees from working. The issue was that the town did not have the charter authority to grant the contract. The company (Royal Electric) sued and won a judgement for $4,861 with interest against the town.

It’s not certain what, if any, compensation Prévost & Benoit might have received from the settlement, or whether they sustained losses as a result. Whatever the cause, things started to go downhill in early 1892. First Hubert’s creditors were advised in a demande de cession notice of his impending bankruptcy. In April, bankruptcy proceedings got under way and an auction of business assets took place on April 26, 1892. Many of his lots in Hochelaga and Maisonneuve are put on the auction block to pay off creditors.

To make matters worse, the town of Maisonneuve brought a suit against Prevost & Benoit, demanding that the contractors stop work due to poor workmanship and materials used, and not meeting the specifications of the contract.

On May 2, 1892, Héloise forms H. Provost & Cie as sole proprietor. She is also recorded buying some of the auctioned properties from her husband’s bankruptcy sale. The lots in question appear to include the location of Hubert’s lumber mill. More interestingly, Hubert’s bankruptcy proceedings, the formation of a new carpentry business, and the purchase of the mill all took place just days before the town of Maisonneuve brought their suit against Prevost & Benoit.

Perhaps the few bright spots for Hubert that spring were the birth of a granddaughter, Antoinette, to son Michel and Ernestine Belliveau, and the marriage of Hubert’s son Sem Alexandre to Louisa Collin.

school building
Ecole St-Joseph

Their annus horribilus behind them, in 1893 Héloise purchases four lots on Ste-Catherine Street from Alphonse Desjardins for $1,800. Hubert then wins a contract from les Commissaires d’ecoles d’Hochelaga to build the first primary school in the ward. The school probably stood on the corner of Dezery and Duquette streets.

On May 8, 1893, Héloise’s father, Laurent Napoleon Desautels dit Lapointe dies in Mascouche. He is buried a few days later in the church crypt with Hubert attending as a witness.

In 1894, Héloise begins to have her own business issues. She has four lots in the Quartier Ste-Marie area on Ste-Catherine St which will be auctioned in October to pay for back taxes and an unpaid sidewalk assessment. Héloise reaches a settlement agreement with the town of Maisonneuve for her unpaid assessments about a year later in July 1895. However, her properties are still listed for sale in the papers of August 10 and again that fall. About that time they moved from 29 Desjardins (now occupied by Napoleon Turcotte (carpenter), John Wilson, Pierre Prince and Alcide Gendron (carter).

His son Michel is still at 1 Desjardins Street and Hubert still has a saw mill at 5 Desjardins. By 1900 the extent of Desjardins St now reaches to Ontario St. to the north.

The same day that Hubert’s father dies at 88 years old, Héloise arranges for a five-year mortgage with 10% interest on four lots for $2,900. The money is borrowed from the estate of Sir Georges Etienne Cartier, politician and Father of Confederation. Sir George Etienne Cartier’s estate was substantial enough that a group of executors managed the assets in order to provide an income for his heirs.

Hubert seems to have taken a less visible role in his contracting business. It could be that his son Sem had taken over or, judging from Héloise’s property buying and selling activities, living off profits from flipping property. Another possibility could be that the Prévosts were in financial difficulty. Without a deeper investigation of all the contracts this couple generated, we may never know.

We do know that Hubert kept an interest in municipal affairs. 1896 was an election year and Hubert Provost was one of many who signed a public endorsement of the candidacy of J.C. Robert for reelection as alderman for the Ste-Marie district of Montreal.

That same year, Héloise unloaded the troublesome lots on Ste-Catherine Street for $7,017.60 to A. Duperrault.

In 1897, the mill on Desjardins Street seems to have been leased to Tremblay & Gingras, who are now listed as operating 3 Desjardins as a saw mill and the property at 5 Desjardins no longer has any name associated with it.

Héloise’s mother Marie Olive Guerray dies on March 18, 1897 at the age of 79 in Mascouche.

The Prévost home on Desjardins Street, built by Hubert, is still in use today (current address is 591-605 rue Desjardins) . In May 1988, Héloise once again takes out a mortgage on the property from Joseph Desrosiers for $3,500 and again in June from the Cartier estate for $5,000.

row houses
Prevost-built row houses on Desjardins Street.

Still active in municipal affairs, Hubert was a member of a group tasked with setting a value for compensating owners of land to be expropriated to open up rue Lafontaine. Their report was submitted to the city for in 1899. But it appears that collecting honorariums for providing expertise to the town isn’t easy. On November 30, 1900 several businessmen file a writ of summons against the town for $395.

The town makes a settlement offer of $26 each, which was refused. Prévost is quoted saying “Tu peux les garder“. Two days later, the men file their claim in Quebec Superior Court.

Hubert attended two marriages in 1900. First his daughter Alphonsine married Wilfrid Alphonse Godin in Montréal, then his son Sem Alexandre, widowed, married Philomene Limoges, also in Montreal. All his children by Zoe Alvina have by this time left the nest.

The 1901 census gives us a picture of Hubert’s situation. He is still listed as an employer and living on his own means. He runs his business from home and earned $4,000 in the previous year, certainly a very respectable income for a member of the manufacturing bourgeoisie. Both Hubert and his son Joseph Hubert were bilingual.

More grandchildren arrived. One in 1901 to Sem Alexandre and Philomene Limoges, who had just purchased a lot on Adam Street (possibly for building his own home). Another, Marie Blanche Jeanette, was born in 1902 to Michel Hubert and Ernestine Belliveau and Gaston, to Sem and Philomene in 1902.

In April 1902, Hubert prepared a new will. In it he directs:

  1. That his debts and funeral costs including masses be paid by his executor
  2. His property (including any encumbrances) on Ste-Catherine street (including buildings) is bequeathed to his six children by Zoe Reeves, in consideration of their legacy from her estate. If they refuse, the property reverts to his general estate.
  3. The remainder of his belongings are bequeathed to his second wife, Héloise. If she predeceases him, then the estate goes to their son Joseph Hubert.
  4. Some notes about proceeds of sales to pay debts incurred in good faith (such as mortgages).
  5. He names Héloise as his executor.

The witnesses to his will were the Chief of Police Thomas O’Farrell and Urgel Vanier, shoe merchant. Hubert died the following month on May 3, 1902 in Maisonneuve. He was buried in the parish cemetery in Pointe-aux-Trembles. In addition to his three sons and brother Zotique, his funeral was attended by many of Maisonneuve’s business and civic leaders – including Mayor Trefflé Bleau, who was one of his pallbearers.

His obituary in La Presse reveals much about the service he gave to his community:

  • Deacon and founder of his parish in Pointe-aux Trembles
  • Vice-president of the Montreal St-Vincent-de-Paul society
  • School trustee
  • Alderman/town councilor.

Sources

Hubert Prévost the entrepreneur: City builder

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

In the years following Confederation, Canada felt the effects of the Long Depression that afflicted world economies, particularly England. Between 1874 (the year the Montreal Stock Exchange was established) and 1896 there was widespread unemployment and a rise in bankruptcies. Protectionist policies in the United States and Britain hurt trade, and demand for Canadian resources and goods slumped. Despite this, industrial expansion in Montreal’s new east-end towns was getting well under way, led by prominent French-Canadian businessmen and landowners like Hudon, Barsalou, Viau, Desjardins and others. When the depression ended, investment from Britain resumed in Canada, immigration grew and manufacturing expanded.

For almost 100 years Montreal was the financial capital of Canada with many ‘emerging tech’ businesses like railways and telecommunications establishing their headquarters there. Banking and leading businessmen were early adopters of the telephone and by the end of 1880, Montreal was the most wired city in Canada – with 546 telephones in use.

Hubert’s business was expanding into multi-family dwellings and some commercial projects. He also had several business dealings with Victor Hudon, one of Hochelaga’s leading industrialists, who established a large cotton mill among other businesses. It’s also clear that not all of Hubert’s contracts went smoothly, as there are records regarding dispute settlements and lawsuits.

In 1881 Hubert and Alvina’s family of six children are recorded in the census as living in the district of Hochelaga (Montreal) in the village of Côte-de-la-Visitation. They have four children attending school: Michel, Sem, Ezilda and Alphonsine.

Two years later, Hochelaga was annexed to Montreal. That spurred a group of French-Canadian landowners to found Maisonneuve – a city inspired by the City Beautiful movement . Its developers planned to build grand civic buildings and factories – and at one point Maisonneuve became known as the “Pittsburgh of Canada”. Judging from the numerous property transactions and contracts for work in the area, it’s clear that Hubert Prévost was among those early industrialists of Maisonneuve.

In 1882 Victor Hudon was expanding his textile manufacturing business and planned to build a new mill (St. Ann Spinning Co.) with authorized capital of $300,000 and an exemption from taxes for 25 years from the town council of Hochelaga. Hubert Prévost was among those named to the board of directors. V. Hudon’s mill and the St-Ann Spinning company later merged to become the Hochelaga Cotton Mill.

Cotton mill
Proposed plant for Hochelaga Cotton Mill

Victor Hudon’s mills were an important part of the area’s economy. In 1874 it employed 250 workers – including many women and children, some as young as 10. Conditions were harsh – a situation that led to a Royal Commission in 1888 to investigate child labor in the mills. It was learned that many children worked barefoot because they had no shoes, most had not attended school and the majority could neither read nor write. While the factory still carried Hudon’s name at the time of the commission, he no longer owned the business.

Article in Gazette

On June 11, 1883 an application to form a joint stock company is announced led by Victor Hudon and with Hubert Prévost and others as provisional directors. The stock offering is for 2,000 shares of $100 each. The company is called La Compagnie de Filature Saint-Joseph, Beauharnois and will manufacture cottons into various fabrics.

It seems that the Beauharnois town council were willing to grant a tax exemption to the new mill for 20 years, a subsidy of $8,000 and free access to hydroelectricity. They also committed to purchase $80,000 in shares of the new company. But for some reason the project never got off the ground.

In 1883, Hubert’s father, now 76, decides to make provisions for himself and his wife Lucie in their old age. He made a living donation to his son Eugene in advance of his inheritance of a lot in Pointe-aux-Trembles for his use (possibly the family home). In return Eugene must clothe, feed and lodge his parents. If they can’t perform these duties satisfactorily, then the property reverts to the parents and they may sell it to pay for their ease and care.

Quebec Gazette clippingOn December 26, 1884, Hubert (fils) achieves a measure of status when he is among a group of men who are named Justices of the Peace in the District of Montreal. He holds this post until 1894 and only appears to have been active during 1889, when he heard seven cases.

In 1885, Hubert begins to focus on public sector projects. He submits a bid for the construction of a market – one of six firms to bid on the construction contract. His bid of $19,800 was unsuccessful, and just $1 higher than the winning proposal.

Zoe Reeves obituary clippingOn March 14, 1886 Zoe Alvina Reeves passed away afer a long and difficult illness. Could she have been a victim of the smallpox epidemic of the previous fall? That epidemic killed 1,391 Montrealers, 1,286 of which were French Canadian, despite a mandatory smallpox vaccination program that was protested by angry mobs. Her death was announced in La Presse.

Less than a month later, their oldest daughter, Alvina, is the first of the children to marry. Her husband Joseph Christin appears to also have had an interest in property, as the name Christin is tied to some lots in St-Mary Ward.

In September, probably in accordance with Alvina’s will, Hubert arranges for an inventory and valuation of their matrimonial property. The inventory provides a good insight into their means and the degree to which Hubert’s business was entwined with the household finances. The home had an office, sitting room, dining room, kitchen, and bedroom on the main floor. Upstairs were three other bedrooms and an attic space. There was also a workshop, outbuilding and barn.

Apart from the usual array of household furnishings and small goods were the following items:

  • A piano made by L & E Fisher of New York ($250)
  • A wine press and bird cage ($2.50)
  • A carriage (voiture) valued at $60 along with an assortment of wagons and a sleigh
  • Two horses – un presque ruiné ($100)
  • One cow ($20)

The total valuation of their communal property was $1,168.70.

Zoe’s personal belongings (such as clothing) were divided among the daughters and not included in the inventory. The inventory took seven hours to complete on the first day.

The next day, Charles Reeves and Joseph Chretien (husband of Alvina Provost) supervised another inventory session in Maisonneuve. Before that got underway, Hubert added a declaration to the effect that he undertook on behalf of Alphonse Desjardins the construction of 6 houses in the Pie IX area of Maisonneuve for the sum of $7,880 – due the following April. Because he did not keep records of actual expenses incurred to date for the work, he proposed a separate evaluation to assess the amount of profit/or loss to be added to the inventory valuation. The valuators assessed the value of the work completed to date at $4,730 and the remaining work at $3,150, with a calculation of the expected profit. The result, along with other building materials added $1,399.10 to the estate valuation.

The inventory continued a third day with an accounting of finances (cash and deposits $10.20). Money owed (from business transactions and property rentals) amounted to $5,154.67, of which $1,500 was expected to be a write off (Victor Hudon). As a note to the evaluation, Hubert intended to sue the School Board for $1,000 for breach of contract. He had a life insurance policy that he paid over 25 years amounting to $1,000; Zoe also had a life insurance policy of $1,000 which was claimed.

On the liability side, debts totaled $11,811 consisting mostly of loans related to business and property transactions. Zoe’s funeral costs were $67.72 and the notary fees for the inventory were $142.25.

Real estate holdings accumulated during their marriage included:

  • Property in Point-aux-Trembles with house, workshop, barn and other buildings in good condition
  • 5 lots in Pointe-aux-Trembles without buildings
  • 4 lots in Hochelaga Village
  • 3 lots in Hochelaga with houses
  • 1 lot in Hochelaga on Notre Dame Street

The inventory concluded on the fourth day with a review of titles and legal documents and additional declarations by Hubert regarding:

  • The donation of $500 from Zoe’s parents per the marriage contract
  • Property in Hochelaga that was sold
  • Additional bank deposits of about $2400
  • About $4000 in payables due
  • Additional debts bringing the total owed to $16,080.80

On September 21st, there was a double wedding in Pointe-aux-Trembles. Brother and sister Michel and Eugenie are married the same day in Pointe-aux-Trembles. Michel marries Ernestine Belliveau daughter of Hilaire and Marie Célina Cadotte; and Eugenie marries Jean Baptiste Foisy, son of Urgel and Elmire Lavoie.


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

Hubert Prévost the entrepreneur: An urban generation

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

The Prévost and Reeves families were probably well-acquainted as Hubert and Alvina were not the first Prévost-Reeves union to take place. Several years before Alvina (aka Zoe) married Hubert (fils), she appears as a witness (the first time we see her signature) to Hubert’s sister Lucie’s wedding to Olivier Reeves – likely a cousin.
Did their courtship begin at this wedding? Did Alvina catch the bride’s bouquet (assuming that custom was followed)? We’ll never know. Their marriage would still be some years ahead. On the other hand, Hubert (père), twice a widower, tied the knot a third time in 1856 with Julie Forest in a wedding that took place in St-Roch-de-l’Achigan.

As Hubert (fils) and Alvina reached adulthood, urbanization and technological innovations were changing the fabric of urban life. In Hubert’s line of work, duplexes started to make an appearance in Montreal. Now ubiquitous, these two-story buildings became the housing standard and were a solution to providing low-income tenants with affordable housing. Other construction and public utility innovations included: iron or steel structures, elevators, electricity, natural gas service, streetcars and traffic lights. All of these accelerated the growth of suburban areas as industries moved farther out of the core and supporting infrastructures improved, aided by grand civil engineering projects like railways, canals, municipal water works and the Victoria bridge which opened in 1860.

In the east end of Montreal, these changes were pronounced and rapid. Industrialists and politicians embraced and encouraged modernization projects. In 1867, on rue Notre-Dame est, Catelli opened the first pasta manufacturing facility in Canada. The east-end area became home to cotton mills, shoe manufacturing and other mechanized factories.

The 1861 census provides a bit more clarity into the Prévost and Reeves families, both living in Pointe-aux-Trembles. Hubert (fils) is still at the family home (he will be married in the following year). He, like his father and brothers, is listed as a carpenter/joiner. The family of seven is living in a single-story house of wood construction. The Reeves are living in a single-story stone two-family house. Charles Reeves is still farming, and the household includes Alvina’s grandfather, Louis, who is 84 and retired, as well as her aunt Christine Reeves and uncle Hyppolyte Reeves.

Much of Pointe-aux-Trembles is rural in1861. An atlas of the city and suburbs of Montreal clearly shows the extent of the land Charles had under cultivation, about 191 arpents bordering on the St-Lawrence River. Nearby is the 186 arpent farm of cousins Joseph and Olivier Reeves (the husband of Hubert’s sister Lucie in 1855).

Map of Pointe-aux-Trembles
Detail from 1878 Montreal atlas showing rural land partitions in Pointe-aux-Trembles

1862 kicked off with the wedding of Hubert’s sister Dorimene to Louis Lafranchise in Montreal. Not long after, on May 1, 1862 Hubert and Alvina prepare for their nuptials by signing their marriage contract at the home of her parents with some family members present. Hubert is working as an entrepreneur menuisier – a business he will grow over the coming years. The contract details the property and goods each will bring to the marriage, including some tools of Hubert’s trade. With some exceptions, they will enter into a community of property agreement. The contract also stipulates how property will be disposed of if one predeceases the other, with or without children. The future bride signed as Zoe Reeves.

On May 12, Hubert & Alvina were married at St-Enfant-Jesus church in Pointe-aux-Trembles. Both the bride and groom signed the register, along with the following witnesses: Olivier Reeves (relationship to Alvina not defined, husband of Hubert’s sister Lucie), Charles Reeves (Alvina’s father) and Charles Reeves (her brother) as well as Leandre Tessier, presumably a friend. Before long, their first child is born. Marie Alvina arrives on September 20, 1863. Her godparents were grandparents Charles Reeves (Alvina’s father) and Marie Julie Foret dite Marin (Hubert Sr.’s third wife). The children of Alvina and Hubert will be the first generation in this family line to grow up in an urban setting.

In May 1865, Alvina’s brother Charles Reeves marries Justine Lamoureux. Hubert and Alvina sign the register as witnesses. Sadly, barely three years later, Charles is a widower and returns to the alter, with Hubert as a witness, to marry Emma Laporte on January 14, 1868.

In the fall, Alvina and Hubert have a second child, Michel Hubert, who is born on September 30, 1865. This time the godparents are the other grandparents: Hubert Prévost (père) and Zoe Desautels, Alvina’s mother. On February 9, 1867, Eugenie Appoline Prévost was born. Her godparents were Hubert’s sister Lucie and her husband Olivier Reeves.

On March 14, 1868, Sem Alexandre Provost, Hubert and Alvina’s fourth child, was born. His godparents were his uncle and aunt, Charles Reeves (fils) and Emma Laporte, his second wife. Next, a daughter, Marie Ezilda Prévost, was born on August 11, 1869. Her godparents were her aunt and uncle Dorimene Prévost and Louis Lafranchise. Another daughter was born on November 2, 1870 – Alphonsine Hortense – only to die about nine months later on August 9, 1871. it appears that her grandfather witnessed her burial (usually the father is the witness) as the register notes that Hubert Prévost could not sign. Hubert (fils) was known to be literate.

By the time Alvina and Hubert’s last child, Marie Alphonsine, was born on March 10, 1873 , the Hochelaga district of Montreal was expanding rapidly and its population almost quadrupled. Over the next decade, road and tramway expansions, cotton mills, a tobacco factory, and other industries meant jobs for many workers – and they needed housing, creating opportunities for those in the construction trade. New roads were laid out – such as Pie-IX Boulevard and Jeanne-d’Arc street – and the growth of railways meant terminals and shops were set up in western Hochelaga. This rapid growth came with some challenges. Municipal finances were drained by the construction of infrastructures such as streets, sewers and an aqueduct, so the idea of facilitating urbanization by annexing Hochelaga to Montreal took hold.

The newly constituted Dominion of Canada’s first census was taken on April 2, 1871. In just 10 years, Hubert and Alvina’s household grew to include six children. Their three oldest children are attending school.


Sources