Monday, August 8, 2011

A Page from Montreal History

Original handwritten deed dating  from 1891 for the sale of what is now 276 May St., Verdun.

Sometimes I get to brush up against history as I go about my business as a real estate agent.  The vendor of the property at 276 May St., Verdun has a stack of deeds going all the way back to when the land was originally subdivided into building lots back in 1891.

The spidery cursive has faded somewhat over the last 110 years, but it is still legible.  If you read all the deeds you get a sense of the evolution of a neighborhood, because each deed has the name and occupation of both the seller and the buyer.  This property passed through the hands of a career military man  to a mechanical superintendant and later from shopkeeper to a mechanic and from him to a labourer and then to a nurse's aide and so on and so on.

What I like about this particular deed is that many of the names, probably obscure in their time, now have deep roots and resonance in Verdun and neighboring Point St. Charles. I quote:

On This Sixth day of March, one thousand eight hundred and ninety one.  Before the undersigned Public Notary for the Province of Quebec, in the Dominion of Canada, residing in the City of Montreal Came and Appeared John Samuel Knox of Rozel, Ryde, Isle of Wight, England a Lieutenant-Colonel in Her Majesty's service, in his capacity as sole Executor of and universal legatee under the Last Will and Testament of the late Robert Knox of Rushbrooke, near Coleraine, in Ireland.
 Knox, Rozel, Ryde and Coleraine are all names of nearby streets in the Point.   Mr. Knox sold the land to an Edward May of New Brunswick.  In turn Mr. May gave his name to the street on which he built a string of stout and respectable stone and brick houses.  The house I'm selling is near the corner of May and Rushbrooke.

The things you can learn if you just stop to read the fine print.

By the way,  the original deed of sale specifies that the buyer cannot build a slaughterhouse, tannery or soapworks on the premises. I guess NIMBYism - Not In My Back Yard - is not a 20th cerntury invention.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating! I love this stuff. Do you have more deeds? I bet you could do a really interesting history of the place just by looking at deeds and the evolution of real estate ownership.


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