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LOEDEL, HENRY NICHOLAS CHRISTOPHER, surgeon, army officer, doctor, apothecary, and landowner; b. c. 1754, probably in Hesse-Kassel (Federal Republic of Germany); m. 30 Jan. 1784 Marguerite Gamelin, daughter of Pierre-Joseph Gamelin* and Marie-Louise de Lorimier, in Montreal, and they had 12 children, 2 of whom died in infancy; d. 14 Jan. 1830 in Montreal.

Henry Nicholas Christopher Loedel arrived in the province of Quebec in 1776 as surgeon to a corps of German auxiliaries who had come to fight the Americans. After the 1783 Treaty of Paris put an end to the war between the American colonies and Great Britain, Loedel settled in Montreal.

On 1 Jan. 1784 Loedel went into partnership with one of the most eminent surgeons in Montreal, Charles Blake*, to practise medicine and engage in the pharmaceutical business. This partnership was frequently renewed, and also involved a number of real estate transactions. It proved highly profitable and probably was the basis for Loedel’s comfortable circumstances. The shop where the two doctors prepared their medicines was in Loedel’s home. They were assisted by youths to whom they taught surgery and pharmacy. Nothing is known about Loedel’s medical training, but he was the first to obtain a licence from the medical examiners for the district of Montreal, who had been appointed under a statute of 30 April 1788 and one of whom was his friend Blake.

In 1799 Loedel offered his services in a serious typhus epidemic that was raging among the soldiers of the 41st Foot. For two months he fought to cure those affected. Finally he himself succumbed to the disease. It took four long months of convalescence before he could again attend to his affairs, and his health was permanently impaired. To these vicissitudes was added the difficulty he experienced in collecting his pay from the army. He complained bitterly about this matter in a letter to Governor Sir George Prevost* in 1813. In addition, he said, the rate of exchange deprived him of a third of his salary.

Loedel was prosperous enough to have two of his sons educated in England; Henry-Pierre and Pierre-Charles became doctors. The first was to be the co-founder of both the Montreal General Hospital and the Faculty of Medicine of McGill College. Before returning to Lower Canada he had given medical care to the Duke of Wellington’s troops at Waterloo. The second son recounted later that he himself had been on board the Bellerophon when it carried Napoleon to St Helena.

Loedel seems to have had rather substantial real estate holdings. With Blake he owned a two-storey stone house on Rue de la Capitale near the Place du Marché; another one on Rue Notre-Dame; a property with a house, stone stable, orchard, and wood-lot that supplied his firewood, on Montreal Island south of the faubourg Québec; and a second very large piece of land at La Prairie on which there were two log houses and two stables. As well, Loedel lived in a splendid two-storey stone house with a storeroom and a cellar; he added a third storey in 1817 and put ten windows in on each storey. His wife had brought as her dowry a house on the corner of Rue Saint-Paul and Rue Saint-François-Xavier. In 1818 the government had granted him 600 acres in Godmanchester Township in recognition of his services as an officer.

A member of the upper middle class and a prominent doctor, Loedel died of an attack of apoplexy on 14 Jan. 1830. He had been ill for more than a year. In keeping with his express desire he was buried in his friend Blake’s vault in the faubourg Sainte-Marie. Blake had been godfather to two of his children, to whom he bequeathed 800 acres in Upper Canada. After Loedel’s death his widow went to live with their son Pierre-Charles.

Gilles Janson

ANQ-M, CE1-51, 4 déc. 1784, 20 févr. 1786, 21 nov. 1792, 18 août 1794, 19 juin 1796, 3 mai 1798, 3 mars 1800, 19 janv. 1802, 12 sept. 1803; CE1-63, 30 janv. 1784, 14 janv. 1830; CN1-7, février, avril 1828; janvier, mai 1829; CN1-29, 30 janv. 1784; 7 févr. 1786; 30 avril 1787; 14 nov. 1788; 3 juin 1790; 23 sept. 1793; 16 mai 1794; 2 déc. 1795; 18 janv., 13 mars 1797; 5 févr. 1800; 29 mai 1802; 12 déc. 1803; CN1-134, 3 févr. 1817, 10 mars 1828; CN1-185, 17 avril 1802, 8 févr. 1803, 19 févr. 1807; CN1-187, 22 déc. 1814; CN1-189, 23 févr. 1785. AUM, P 58, G2, 1801–9. PAC, MG 11, [CO 42] Q, 16–2: 555–60; RG 4, B28, 47: 28–29; RG 8, I (C ser.), 187: 52–53; 206: 36–37; 207: 4–6. Abbott, Hist. of medicine. M.-J. et G. Ahern, Notes pour lhist. de la médecine. J. J. Heagerty, Four centuries of medical history in Canada and a sketch of the medical history of Newfoundland (2v., Toronto, 1928). Louis Richard, “La famille Lœdel,” BRH, 56 (1950): 78–89.

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Gilles Janson, “LOEDEL, HENRY NICHOLAS CHRISTOPHER,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 6, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed June 1, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/loedel_henry_nicholas_christopher_6E.html.

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Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/loedel_henry_nicholas_christopher_6E.html
Author of Article:   Gilles Janson
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 6
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1987
Year of revision:   1987
Access Date:   June 1, 2023