Going Together Like a Horse and Carriage: Rentier Marriages and Property Accumulation in Montréal, 1825–1903





This assessment of the social origins of Montréal’s rentier families in 1903 proposes a methodology for identifying and selecting rentier families based on common surnames, demonstrates the social and historical coherence of the selected families over time, and reflects on the importance of family for urban history. The majority of Montréal’s rentier families in 1903 were of popular class origins; they were not primarily the descendants of mercantile, seigneurial, or industrial wealth. Their social ascension to controlling a third of all rents accruing to people in this overwhelmingly tenant city was the product of strategies of accumulation that operated over generations. Marriage was a crucial building block of these fortunes.

Author Biography

Robert C. H. Sweeny, Université du Québec à Montréal

Robert C. H. Sweeny is Professeur associé in the Department of History at the Université du Québec à Montréal and Emeritus Professor of History at Memorial University of Newfoundland.