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LeMESURIER, HENRY (sometimes spelled Lemesurier, but he signed LeMesurier), soldier and businessman; b. 17 Nov. 1791 on the island of Guernsey, son of Haviland LeMesurier, commissary general in the British army; d. 25 May 1861 at Quebec.

Following his father’s example, young Henry chose a military career; he served under Wellington in 1811 in Spain, where he lost his right arm. This wound ended his active service and caused him to enter the Commissariat Department in London. His new duties brought him to Canada at the time of the War of 1812. He left the army on half pay after the war, and on 3 Oct. 1815, at Saint-Denis-sur-Richelieu, he married Julie, daughter of Pierre-Guillaume Guérout, a merchant and representative for Richelieu in the first parliament of Lower Canada. The chaplain of the armed forces officiated.

Between 1818 and 1823 Henry LeMesurier lived at Quebec, and rapidly assumed an important role, principally as an agent for clients in the export of squared timber to the British Isles. He then set up the firm of LeMesurier and Company with William Henry Tilstone, a Quebec lawyer; in 1830, when he took Havilland LeMesurier Routh into partnership, the firm became LeMesurier, Tilstone, and Company. The same partners subsequently set up LeMesurier, Routh, and Company of Montreal, and, in association with John Egan*, John Egan and Company of Aylmer. To ensure the shipment of timber, LeMesurier chartered ships or used those he already owned. He had at least four ships built in the Quebec shipyards between 1825 and 1847. As deputy master of Trinity House at Quebec, then as master from 1846 to 1861, he also took an interest in the training and movements of the St Lawrence pilots and in the upkeep of lighthouses. In this latter post he received a salary of £250 a year until 1855, and from then on £300.

LeMesurier took an active part as well in the Quebec Committee of Trade, which in 1842 became the Quebec Board of Trade. He was one of its members from at least 1832, its president from 14 Nov. 1833 to 2 July 1838, and its vice-president in 1848–49, as well as being a member of the Board of Arbitration on several occasions between 1843 and 1856.

He was also involved in setting up and incorporating several companies: the Quebec Fire Assurance Company (1829), the Quebec Exchange (1830), the Quebec and Halifax Steam Navigation Company (1831), the Quebec and Lake Superior Mining Association (1847), the Quebec and Richmond Rail-way Company (1850), of which he was the director, the Quebec and St Andrews Rail-road Company (1850), and the Grand Trunk Railway Company (1852), of which he was one of the first directors.

After 1855 Henry LeMesurier gradually withdrew from business, and his son Henry entered the timber trade. He established himself at Sillery cove, and on 1 Jan. 1859 went into partnership with his brother Edward, as LeMesurier and Brothers.

After returning from England where he had stayed during the winter of 1860–61, Henry LeMesurier died suddenly at Quebec on 25 May 1861, at age 69. The Quebec Gazette described him as “affable in manner and possessed of all the characteristics of a gentleman of the Old School.”

Marc Vallières

ANQ-M, État civil, Anglicans, Garrison, 3 Oct. 1815. ANQ-Q, AP-G-219/1–4; État civil, Anglicans, Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (Québec), 28 May 1861; Greffe de John Childs, déc. 1836; Greffe de E. B. Lindsay, 22 mai 1826, 21 juin 1830; Greffe de L. T. McPherson, 29 mars 1830. Bas-Canada, Statuts, 1829, c.58; 1830, c.15; 1831, c.33. Can., Prov. du, Doc. de la session, 1845–61 (Maison de la Trinité de Québec, Rapport annuel); Statuts, 1841, c.92; 1847, c.69; 1850, c.116, c.117; 1861, c.99. Canada Gazette (Quebec and Toronto), 19 May 1855, 31 Dec. 1858. Le Journal de Québec, 28 mai 1861. Quebec Gazette, 27 May 1861. F.-J. Audet et Édouard Fabre Surveyer, Les députés au premier parlement du Bas-Canada [1792–1796] . . . (Montréal, 1946), 266–67. Canada directory, 1857–58. Montreal directory, 1843–73. Morgan, Sketches of celebrated Canadians, 234–35. Quebec directory, 1847–62. Hamelin et Roby, Hist. économique, 107. P.-A. Lamontagne et Robert Rumilly, L’histoire de Sillery, 1630–1950 ([Sillery, Qué., 1952]). Fernand Ouellet, Histoire de la Chambre de commerce de Québec (Québec, [1959]), 105. Narcisse Rosa, La construction des navires à Québec et ses environs; grèves et naufrages (Québec, 1897), 52. G. R. Stevens, Canadian National Railways (2v., Toronto and Vancouver, 1960–62), I, 87.

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

Marc Vallières, “LeMESURIER, HENRY,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 9, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed April 18, 2024, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/lemesurier_henry_9E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/lemesurier_henry_9E.html
Author of Article:   Marc Vallières
Title of Article:   LeMESURIER, HENRY
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 9
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1976
Year of revision:   1976
Access Date:   April 18, 2024