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Hart, Aaron

HART, AARON

HART, AARON (1724–1800), early settler in Canada. Hart was a native of London of Bavarian-born parents. He immigrated to New York via Jamaica about 1752. At the time of General Jeffrey Amherst's capture of Montreal in 1760, Hart was a civilian supplier to the British troops. He stayed in Canada, settling in Trois Rivières, where he acquired considerable property and engaged in the fur trade and other commercial pursuits. As seigneur of Becancour, Hart recruited a militia battalion which bore his name. The second post office established in British Canada was located in his home, with Hart as postmaster. He played a leading role in the public life of Trois Rivières and was considered responsible for developing the town into an important trading center. The Hart family was identified with this city for more than a century. To avoid marrying outside his faith, Hart sailed to England and married his cousin Dorothea Catherine Judah, whose brothers had also settled in Trois Rivières. His prayer book reveals that he was an Ashkenazi Jew and kept his family records in Yiddish. By the time he died, Hart was reputed to be the wealthiest man in the British colonies.

bibliography:

Rosenbloom, Biogr Dict; R. Douville, Aaron Hart (Fr., 1938); A. Tessier, in: Cahiers des Dix, 3 (1938), 217–42; S. Rosenberg, Jewish Community in Canada (1970), index.

[Ben G. Kayfetz]

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