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Eleazar David David (June 8, 1811 - February 1, 1887) was a Canadian cavalry officer, lawyer, and civil servant. He was the son of Samuel David, and grandson of Aaron Hart.

Contents

Biography

Early life

Eleazar David David was born in Montreal, Lower Canada to Samuel David, a prominent Montreal merchant, and Sarah Hart, daughter of Aaron Hart. His parents belonged to two of the most prominent Jewish families in Lower Canada.

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Career

He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1832. He practised in Montreal and became legal adviser to the trustees of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue. From the 1820s David served in the Royal Montreal Cavalry, and by the time of the outbreak of the rebellion in 1837 he was Senior Captain. His younger brother, Moses Samuel, served under him as troop cornet and adjutant, while another brother, Dr. Aaron Hart David, the future dean of the medical faculty of Bishop's College at Lennoxville, was assistant surgeon in the Montreal Rifles. At the battle of Saint-Charles-sur-Richelieu Captain David was in command of 20 troopers who acted as dispatch bearers and reconnaissance men. His horse was shot from under him and his services were mentioned in dispatches by Sir John Colborne, who shortly after the battle promoted him major. On December 14, at the Battle of Saint-Eustache, David was in command of 95 troopers of the Royal Montreal Cavalry and the newly raised Queen's Light Dragoons.

After the rebellion, David resumed his law practice and continued his rise in the provincial military establishment. In October 1839 he was appointed extra assistant adjutant general. However, in May 1840 he forfeited his social, legal, and military position in Montreal by eloping with Eliza Locke Walker, the wife of Captain Henry William Harris of the 24th Foot. David had formed a liaison with Mrs. Harris early in 1838, and when they fled to the United States they took with them her month-old baby, whom David later acknowledged to be his child. There followed ten years of exile in the United States, France, Italy, and the West Indies, during which David apparently lived on private means.

David returned to Montreal in 1850 with Eliza, his wife after Harris' death in 1849, and their five children. He was welcomed as a prodigal son, resuming his rank as major in the Montreal Cavalry, his law practice, and his role as legal adviser to the synagogue. From 1858 until 1863 David was registrar and treasurer of Trinity House, Montreal. He had been promoted lieutenant-colonel of the Montreal Cavalry by 1860 and was appointed assistant adjutant-general of cavalry in 1866.

Later life

In 1873 he was convicted of embezzling money from the Montreal Decayed Pilots Fund, a type of pension fund for retired pilots, which had been entrusted to him while he was treasurer of Trinity House. He was sentenced to two years in the penitentiary. Upon his release from prison in about 1876, he retired with his family to Coaticook where he lived until his death in 1887. Of his eleven children by Eliza, only four daughters survived him.

References


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