NOAD, HENRY JOHN, businessman; b. 1812 in England, eldest son of John Batson Noad and Rachel Street, of Woolwich, Kent; d. 18 Aug. 1870 at Montreal.
In 1819 or 1820 Henry John Noad’s father settled with his family at Quebec, where he opened a grocery and liquor store. In 1824 he formed a company with Richard Rogerson of Upper Canada for the production and sale of potash. The family environment therefore encouraged an aptitude for business.
Henry John’s beginnings in business are somewhat obscure. As early as 1831 he owned a store in Lower Town, and in 1833 he was a clerk in the employ of Charles-Félix Aylwin, a Quebec merchant. At the end of the 1830s he went to live on Rue Saint-Paul, where he traded in flour, corn, coal, oil, and wood, both on his own account and as a commercial agent. In 1854, with other Quebec businessmen, he financed the operations of James Tibbits, a shipbuilder, and acquired several ships assigned to the St Lawrence River trade. In addition, he purchased, rented, and sold various properties and pieces of land in Quebec. From at least 1845 on, Noad carried on his business under the firm name of H.J. Noad and Company, in partnership with his brother-in-law, William Henry Jeffery.
As well as managing his own undertakings, Noad was a member of several groups of entrepreneurs whose names became known when the following companies were incorporated: the British North American Electric Telegraph Association (1847), of which he was a director; the Quebec and Trois-Pistoles Navigation Company (1853); the Quebec and Saguenay Railway Company (1854); the St Lawrence Navigation Company (1861); the Quebec Marine Insurance Company (1862); the Quebec Elevator Company (1863); and the English and Canadian Mining Company (Limited) (1865). He was also a director of the Quebec Forwarding Company, the Quebec Exchange, and several savings banks. Most of the enterprises in which he invested time and money showed he had an entrepreneur’s readiness to take risks as much as concern for diversifying his investments.
Henry John Noad also played an active role in the Quebec Board of Trade: he was a member of the board’s council from 1841 to 1862, treasurer from 1844 to 1853, and president from 3 April 1854 to 7 April 1856. This continuous participation in the activities of the Board of Trade well illustrates his prestige in the business community of Quebec.
On his father’s death in 1843, Noad assumed responsibility for his family, the youngest child, James Street, being 11. Subsequently his three brothers successively left Quebec to settle at Montreal, where they embarked on various commercial ventures.
For reasons difficult to understand, linked perhaps with some nervous instability, Henry John Noad retired from business in the autumn of 1861. H. J. Noad and Company consequently was dissolved on 2 Dec. 1861 and placed in liquidation. William Henry Jeffery, Noad’s former partner, then set up with James Street Noad the firm of Jeffery, Noad and Company, which took over the affairs of H. J. Noad and Company. On 28 Oct. 1864, Jeffery, Noad and Company was dissolved in its turn, and Jeffery withdrew, paying Henry John the sum of $140,000, the sole indication we possess of the scope of Henry John Noad’s operations. On 2 May 1865 James Street and Henry John formed J. S. Noad and Company, which lasted only a year.
On 26 Nov. 1862 Noad had bought for $3,000 a 125-acre farm on the Rivière Saint-François, at Melbourne in the Eastern Townships. There he spent the last eight years of his life. On 18 Aug. 1870, while visiting his brother James, in Montreal, Noad took his own life with a revolver, by a bullet through the heart. At the coroner’s inquest, the jury returned a verdict of death by suicide in a moment of mental derangement. His remains were shipped to Quebec by steamboat on 19 August, and the funeral was held on the 20th.
Henry John Noad, a bachelor, left a sizable fortune of about $70,000, numerous properties at Quebec, his farm at Melbourne, and a property at Swindon, Wiltshire, England. These assets were divided among his family. His youngest brother James inherited the business.
Henry John Noad’s career is interesting in so far as it allows us to know more about the methods by which businessmen of British origin acquired their wealth. A close study of the notarial contracts made between the principal Quebec merchants would doubtless add a great deal to our knowledge of them, both as individuals and as a social group.
ANQ-Q, AP-G-219/1–4; État civil, Anglicans, Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (Québec), 1 Sept. 1820, 20 Aug. 1870; Greffe de William Bignell, 6 août 1840, 4 janv., 6 nov., 2 déc. 1843, 28 oct., 26 nov. 1864, 2 mai 1865; Greffe de N. H. Bowen, 1852–65; Greffe de W. D. Campbell, 20 oct. 1854, 2 mars 1859, 15 nov. 1860; Greffe de William De Léry, 9 juill. 1833, 29 nov. 1838; Greffe de S.-I. Glackmeyer, 1852–65; Greffe de L. T. McPherson, 1833–56; Greffe de Louis Panet, 21 sept. 1824, 8 août 1831. Archives judiciaires, Saint-François (Sherbrooke, Qué.), Greffe de G. H. Napier, 26 nov. 1862. Can., prov. du, Statuts, 1847, c.82; 1852–53, c.247; 1854–55, c.35; 1861, c.99; 1862, c.71; 1863, c.23; 1866, c.90. Canada Gazette (Quebec; Toronto), 10 Jan. 1852, 1 April 1854, 4 Jan. 1862. Le Canadien, 22 août 1870. Gazette (Montreal), 19 Aug. 1870. Montreal Daily Witness, 19 Aug. 1870. Morning Chronicle (Quebec), 20 Aug. 1870. Canada directory, 1857–58. Langelier, List of lands granted. Montreal directory, 1843–47. Quebec directory, 1847–62.