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Price, Henry Edward & Helen Muriel (Gilmour)


Henry Edward Price 1869 – 1954 & Helen Muriel (Gilmour) 1879 – 1952

Henry Edward (Harry) Price was born in Zemita, Chile in 1869, the second son out of seven children of Henry Ferrier Price and Florence Stoker Rogerson.
As with all his brothers and sisters, he was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church and had Roman Catholics stand proxy for their godparents. Little else is known about their childhood in Chile. At the age of eleven in 1880, he and his older brother William were sent from Chile to Wolfesfield in Sillery, Quebec to live with their uncles and aunts so they could be educated to take over the company, as none of the three Price Brothers and their sisters then living at Wolfesfield was married or had children. At the time the two boys arrived in Canada, they only spoke Spanish. As the aunts and uncles forbade them to speak Spanish to one another, they learned English in a hurry. From the stories Henry told his children, they were quite lonely.
Henry attended Trinity College School, Port Hope from 1884 to 1888. After leaving TCS, he lived with his parents (who by then had moved to Canada from Chile) while attending Osgoode Hall Law School from which he graduated. Afterwards, he articled at the firm of Blake, Lash and Cassels, in Toronto. During the mid to late 1890s, he moved to Quebec City to become corporate legal counsel for Price Brothers and following the death of their uncle Evan John in 1899, his brother William became President of Price Brothers.
Helen Muriel Gilmour was born in Quebec City in 1879 as the first child of John David Gilmour and Helen Shamberg Fraser. She was usually known as Mimi or Muriel and had two brothers Kenneth and Dudley born in 1881 and 1882 respectively.
Her family had founded Allan Gilmour and Co. in Quebec in the 1820s. Muriel was the granddaughter of John Gilmour, a contemporary of the original William Price who arrived in Quebec in 1810 and was an equally renowned lumber merchant. Her mother, Helen Fraser, came from Port Hope in Ontario and was related to the Wotherspoon and Cumberland families. Much of Muriel’s childhood was spent in Port Hope, her mother’s hometown, where she was educated.
Harry married Helen Muriel Gilmour in 1901 at St. Andrew’s Church in Quebec. He had to ask her three times to marry him before she finally accepted. All of their ten children, starting with Helen Florence were born in Quebec between 1902 and 1921. Their youngest daughter Joan died of diphtheria or scarlet fever in 1924.
Harry was instrumental in founding the Quebec Golf Club, one of North America’s oldest. In 1915, it was compelled to move out of the Plains of Abraham and east to its present-day location near Montmorency Falls. In 1934, King George V granted it the privilege to add the “Royal” prefix to its name. In the winter Harry was a keen curler.
They lived at 2 St. Denis Ave, 16 St. Denis Ave., and 269 Laurier Ave. At the time they were comfortably off, as their daughter Helen spoke of trips to Europe in 1913, 1921 and 1928. The wedding of her sister Enid to Sydney Williams at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in 1929 was a grand occasion.
In the early 1920s, they were given the use of the house Casa Nueva (also known as the Harry Price House) in Tadoussac by Sir William Price after Harry and William’s mother, Florence Rogerson Price died. The only condition was understood to be that when their sister Terry was in Tadoussac she would stay at Casa Nueva and not next door at Fletcher Cottage.
Harry was the Corporate Secretary of Price Brothers until the time of the depression when they lost their money with the bankruptcy of Price Brothers in 1933 because of their stockbroker's inability (or deliberate decision not) to sell all their investments when requested. During the depression, they had to take in boarders, but they never let their old Nanny go. She stayed with them until they both died when she went to live with Ida Price. Helen stayed with them for quite a while, as did Milly until she went off to Europe to join the war effort in 1941. Jimmy also remained with them until both his parents died. In 1948 they gave Jimmy the family house in Tadoussac in appreciation for all he had done for his parents.
As a result of the financial difficulties, Muriel set up an investment account for all her children and grandchildren, which was managed by her son Jimmy, a stockbroker. This account continued throughout the lives of her children until 2008.
During the 1940s tragedy unrelated to the war struck as three of their children died within five years. First Gilly was killed in an industrial accident at the Price Brothers mill in Riverbend in 1940. Evan was killed in an airplane accident in 1944, on his way to a funeral for a family friend. That same year Iso died in Ottawa after a long illness. During the war when their fathers were away in Europe, Harry visited all his Williams and Smith grandchildren every night to wish them good night.
Many of their grandchildren remember Harry and Muriel in Tadoussac in the years after the war. Stories abound of Harry buying ice cream cones for his grandchildren on Cartier Avenue in Quebec or right before their lunch in Tadoussac. He also cheated while endlessly playing patience. They remember Muriel in Tadoussac for giving herself her daily needles for her diabetes after boiling them and yelling at Harry who was ten years older to tell him what he was supposed to be doing next. Some of their grandchildren lived with them while finishing the grade twelve high school courses they needed to qualify for post-secondary education. They celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary in November 1951.
Helen Muriel died in Quebec in 1952, when she suddenly collapsed on the way to bed with only her deaf husband in the house at the time. Help arrived shortly afterwards, however, when her son Jimmy arrived home. Henry Edward died at the Jeffrey Hale Hospital in Quebec in 1954.

Greville Price

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