Aaron Ezekiel Hart - Biography
Aaron Ezekiel Hart (June 24, 1803 – September 26, 1857) was a Canadian Jewish barrister, lawyer, militia officer, office-holder, and son of Ezekiel Hart. He was the first Jewish lawyer in British North America, and the first Jew to be called to the bar in Canada.
Aaron Ezekiel Hart was born June 24, 1803 in Trois-Rivières, Lower Canada to Ezekiel Hart and Frances Lazarus.
In 1824, at the age of 21, he was the first Jew to be called to the bar in either of the Canadas. His singular position was short-lived, however, since the following month a distant cousin, Thomas Storrs Judah, was similarly called, as was Thomas’s brother, Henry Hague Judah, four years later. His cousin Aaron Philip Hart, son of Benjamin Hart, was admitted to the profession in 1830, his future brothers-in-law Eleazar David David and Moses Samuel David in 1832 and 1837, and his own brother Adolphus Hart in 1836.
He first filed claims against some censitaires of the seigneury of Bélair, and then from 1825 to 1833 frequently worked as counsel for Moses Hart in court.
On December 21, 1826, Hart became an ensign in Quebec’s 3rd Militia Battalion. He was made a lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion of Quebec County militia on March 17, 1831, and then captain on June 4. Finally, on April 1, 1857 he was appointed major of the 1st Battalion of Saint-Maurice militia. The American Jewish Historical Society has a record of his admission to the Société pour l’Encouragement des Sciences et des Arts en Canada on June 14, 1827 and to the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec on March 17, 1831.
In 1836 he transmitted the challenge to a duel from Clément-Charles Sabrevois de Bleury, a member of the House of Assembly for Richelieu, to Charles-Ovide Perrault, the young member for Vaudreuil, who would lose his life the following year at the battle of Saint-Denis on the Richelieu.
On November 1, 1849, he married Phoebe David. After practising at Quebec for many years, he settled in Trois-Rivières. In July 1852, John Beverley Robinson appointed him commissioner for receiving affidavits in Lower Canada. He was very attached to his father, Ezekiel, as well as to the Jewish community, and he was a faithful member of the Montreal synagogue, to which he gave financial support.
Aaron Ezekiel Hart died September 26, 1857, at the age of 54. He was buried in the Prison Street cemetery at Trois-Rivières, but his remains were reinterred, stone still intact, in the cemetery of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews in Montreal, in 1909.