CHINIC, MARTIN (baptized Cheniqui, he signed Chinnequy in 1791 but was using Chinic by 1794), merchant, jp, and office holder; b. 10 Jan. 1770 at Quebec, son of Martin Chenneque* and Marie-Louise Grenete; m. first 15 Nov. 1791 Julienne-Claire Enouille, dit Lanois, and they had a son and four daughters; m. secondly 20 Jan. 1817 Marie-Antoinette Bourdages, widow of Louis Dubord; d. 28 March 1836 in the St Lawrence River.
Martin Chinic followed his father into small-scale mercantile and shipping business in Lower Town Quebec. By July 1792 he was a merchant on the Place du Marché (Place Notre-Dame), but in June 1795 he was a clerk of “Mr. Caldwell” (probably Henry Caldwell*). During the period 1794–1806, and evidently on his own account, Chinic registered at least three vessels, one with Louis Borgia (a merchant and neighbour of his father), and conducted a trade in the sale of flour, biscuit, spirits, “imported goods,” timber, cordage, sailcloth, and other commodities.
The presence of the Chinic family in Quebec’s business circles, though not dominant, was constant through most of the 19th century. Martin’s son, Joseph-Martin, entered business in January 1815 with a future brother-in-law, Alexandre-Augustin Vézina, as a commission merchant and auctioneer, and later with another relation, Joseph Measam. In 1816 Martin Chinic, François Quirouet, and his brother, Olivier Quirouet, formed a partnership as auctioneers, brokers, and commission merchants, one of a number of such businesses serving Quebec’s position as a major importing and trans-shipment centre. Four years later Quirouet, Chinic et Compagnie was dissolved, but Chinic and Olivier Quirouet flourished until 1826 as auctioneers, shipping agents, and commission merchants on Rue du Sault-au-Matelot under the name of Chinic et Quirouet.
By the early 1820s Chinic had achieved a position of some prestige within Quebec’s community of Canadian businessmen. On about 18 occasions between October 1820 and April 1824 he was appointed weekly director of the Quebec Bank, in which he was a shareholder. (A third of this bank’s directors were French-speaking between 1818, when it was founded, and 1835.) In 1826 he petitioned, unsuccessfully, for eventual appointment as king’s auctioneer. He was on the committee of the Education Society of the District of Quebec [see Joseph-François Perrault] (1821), received a commission of the peace for the Quebec district (1826), and was appointed a commissioner to establish a market in the faubourg Saint-Roch (1831). As well, he was a trustee of the fabrique of Notre-Dame parish. Widely respected, Chinic was among several Canadians belonging in 1829 to a newly formed branch of the Society of the Friends of Ireland in Quebec. Six years later, he presided at a banquet which formed part of celebrations to revive devotion to St Louis.
Joseph-Martin Chinic died prematurely in 1828, leaving his father to raise his sons, Joseph-Martin and Guillaume-Eugène*; the latter became a prominent hardware merchant, the fourth generation of the family in business at Quebec. On 28 March 1836 Chinic drowned in the St Lawrence. His body was recovered on 1 April and the following day was buried in the cathedral. The inventory of his goods suggests that he was dealing in cloth, spirits, and other articles at the time of his death. Chinic evidently did not die in prosperity, since his widow renounced her succession as being “more onerous than profitable.”
ANQ-Q, CE1-1, 10 janv. 1770, 15 nov. 1791, 20 janv. 1817, 2 avril 1836; CN1-49, 26 sept. 1826; CN1-116, 1er mai 1820; 4 oct. 1827; 24 juill. 1834; 9, 20 avril, 3 oct. 1836. AUM, P 58, U, Chinic et Quirouet à Eustache Soupras, 27 sept. 1824. PAC, RG 8, I (C ser.), 76: 122, 162; 603: 101; 1695: 13–14; RG 42, E1, 1382: 44, 47, 56; RG 68, General index, 1651–1841: 245, 642. “Les dénombrements de Québec” (Plessis), ANQ Rapport, 1948–49: 32, 87, 131, 182. Quebec Gazette, 1794–1824. Quebec Mercury, 16 April 1816. Vindicator and Canadian Advertiser, 12 May 1829. Marianna O’Gallagher, Saint Patrick’s, Quebec: the building of a church and of a parish, 1827 to 1833 (Quebec, 1981). P.-G. Roy, Les cimetières de Québec (Lévis, Qué., 1941); Toutes petites choses du Régime anglais (2 sér., Québec, 1946), 1: 274–75; “La famille Chinic,” BRH, 45 (1939): 207–10.