- A Court Case -
Dissolution of a Business Partnership
The facts as presented:
Proceedings were intiated in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on the second day of the third week in December, 1910. Martha J. JEUNE's Petition to have the court dissolve her business partnership with Samuel MERSMAN was first read before Mr Justice LATCHFORD. The newspaper notice that brought this to a wider audience was a short, seemingly innocuous article that appeared in the "Toronto Daily Star' on Tuesday the 20th of December.
Could any more detail be discovered about the court case itself, and the major players in the case?
The records consulted:
Toronto City Directories published between about 1890 and 1911 were crucial to understanding much of the background, but vital records from Ontario, and Massachusetts and Michigan in the USA, were also important. A variety of census records from locations in Canada and the US were searched for and examined. And, of course, of principal interest were the court records themselves, held at the Archives of Ontario. A variety of 'metalwork' journals and newsletters provided some background on the companies concerned.
Martha Jane [nee ALLEN] Jeune was born on Quebec's Gaspe Penninisula in 1852, She married there in 1874, and travelled with her husband and their growing family through Montreal and Sherbrooke, Quebec, before settling finally in Toronto, Ontario, by mid-1891. In Toronto, some time between the fall of 1906 and 1910, Martha Jane entered in to a business partnership with Samuel Abe Mersman. Samuel had been born in Russia in 1880, and emigrated to Boston, Massachuesetts, USA, in 1896. He Petitioned for US citzenship in Massachusetts in 1906, married in Cambridge, Mass, a few weeks later, then moved to Toronto. By 1910, he was employed at the 'Ontario Brass & Copper Company', where Martha Jane's only son - Aubrey Edwin Havelock Jeune, appears to have been a manager. But this was not the business concern that Martha and Samuel had partnered over, rather their concern was the 'Canada Brass Manufacturing Company'. The equipment and assets of the 'Ontario Brass & Copper Company' were sold in June of 1910, and moved to Brantford, Ontario. Aubrey Edwin Havelock Jeune became the manager of the 'Canada Brass Manufacturing Company' some time after 1910, and by early 1911, Samuel Mersman and his family had moved from Toronto to Detroit, Michigan, where Samuel soon reverted to his oldest occupational association - he was identified in 1940 as being a 'wholesale poulterer's helper'. Mr Justice Latchford was Francis R Latchford, who in 1910 was the Puisine Justice of the Supreme Court of Ontario. Mr. Justice Latchford's 'Benchbooks' covering the period of this case have survived - at the Archives of Ontario. The Archives' catalogue of holdings also shows that the original Petition, Affidavits, Declarations and Evidence associated with the case can be accessed there, as can be a separate set of files which relate to the final Judgment in the case. Unfortunately, because of current COVID-19 mitigation regulations, access to these and all records at the Archives is severely limited at present. An examination of the relevant documents must be postponed until the Archives of Ontario is more fully opened to external researchers.
Read a pdf version of the full story here (it opens in a separate window).
---- Project 211214 (completed 27 December 2021)