ROY, ROUËR (baptized Joseph-Rouaire-Audibert-François; the forms Joseph-Rouer and Rouer-Joseph are also found), lawyer and civil servant; b. 7 Jan. 1821 in Montreal, son of Joseph Roy* and Émélie-Sophie Lusignany (Lusignan); m. there 22 Jan. 1857 Corinne-Herminie Beaudry at Notre-Dame church, and they had a son and seven daughters; d. 27 July 1905 in Montreal.
Rouër Roy’s father was a prosperous merchant in Montreal. His mother, who was of Italian origin, was related by marriage to the French noble family of Rouer de Villeray. Rouër did his classical studies at the Petit Séminaire de Montréal and in 1838 decided on a career in law. He began his training with the solicitor general of Lower Canada, Michael O’Sullivan*, who was appointed chief justice of the Court of King’s Bench for the district of Montreal in October 1838. Roy continued articling under the direction of the new solicitor general, Andrew Stuart*. In February 1842 he was called to the bar and he then went into practice in his native city.
Roy played an active role within his profession. In 1858 he was an examiner for the Lower Canadian bar, a position he held again in 1861, 1866, and 1868. Syndic of the bar from 1866 to 1869, he was elected to the library committee of the Montreal bar in 1864, which he chaired from 1881 to 1899. From 1887 to 1889 he served as bâtonnier of the Montreal bar (in place of Alexander Hutchison Lunn, who had declined the honour) and on 1 June 1888 he was elected to the same office for the bar of the province of Quebec for the year 1888–89. He had been made a qc on 12 Feb. 1864.
On 9 April 1862 Roy was appointed joint city attorney for Montreal, with Henry Stuart, whose brother Andrew* was a puisne judge in the Superior Court of Lower Canada and whose father had been Roy’s mentor. On 18 June 1875 the municipal council, on the recommendation of the finance commission, decided to create a legal department, which would have its offices at city hall and would be under the direction of a chief counsel. Roy became the first head of this “Law Department” on 22 Dec. 1875 at an annual salary of $4,000. From then on he devoted his time to serving the municipality. His career was filled with important lawsuits and he argued cases before every court, including the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, in defence of the city’s interests. In May 1880 he was given an assistant, Léandre-Joseph Éthier, who had studied under him and would later succeed him. On 30 Dec. 1897 Roy, who was now nearly 77, advised the municipal council of his intention to give up his duties that very day. On 7 Jan. 1898, however, he was retained in the capacity of consulting city attorney, at an annual salary of $2,000.
Roy had a full personal life as well. He was regarded as a distinguished Latinist, possessed considerable skill in translating from the Greek, and spoke fluent English. He held the office of vice-president of the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Montreal. A Catholic, he was a churchwarden of Notre-Dame parish in 1870.
From her father, former mayor of Montreal Jean-Louis Beaudry*, Roy’s wife had inherited a residence on Rue Sherbrooke at the corner of Sainte-Famille, where Roy lived with their family until his death on 27 July 1905. He was buried two days later in Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery. The first head of the city’s legal department was given an impressive funeral, which was attended by many representatives of the bar and the city. On 14 August the municipal council passed a motion paying tribute to the memory of Rouër Roy “after a long, diligent, and honourable career almost wholly devoted to the service of the city. For 43 years he was its able and dedicated solicitor, protecting and defending its interests with outstanding zeal and talent and with unquestionable honesty.”
AC, Montréal, État civil, Catholiques, Cimetière Notre-Dame-des-Neiges (Montréal), 29 juill. 1905. ANQ-M, CE1-51, 23 févr. 1819, 7 janv. 1821, 22 janv. 1857. AVM, Dossiers de personnel, J.-R. Roy; Procès-verbal du conseil municipal de Montréal, 18 juin, 22 déc. 1875; 14 août 1905 (resolution no.59). Barreau du Québec (Montréal), Tableau de l’ordre des avocats, 1904–5. BE, Montréal, Testaments, no.16925. La Patrie, 29 juill. 1905: 21. Atherton, Montreal, 3: 91. Pierre Beullac et Édouard Fabre Surveyer, Le centenaire du barreau de Montréal, 1849–1949 (Montréal, 1949). J. D. Borthwick, Hist. and biog. gazetteer, 171–72; History of Montreal: including the streets of Montreal, their origin and history (Montreal, 1897), 68–70. A. W. P. Buchanan, The bench and bar of Lower Canada down to 1850 (Montreal, 1925), 152. Canadian men and women of the time (Morgan; 1898). Cyclopædia of Canadian biog. (Rose and Charlesworth), 2: 667. Directory, Montreal, 1905. Lamothe, Hist. de Montréal, 424–31. J.-J. Lefebvre, “Tableau alphabétique des avocats de la province de Québec, 1765–1849,” La Rev. du Barreau (Montréal), 17 (1957): 291. Maréchal Nantel, “Bâtonniers de Montréal,” BRH, 39 (1933): 223.