1851 Census - Valcartier, Quebec

The 1851 Census is sometimes referred to as the 1852 Census.  This is because the Census did not take place until January 11, 1852.  The enumerator ordered to count everyone who was in a particular house on that day or who would normally have been living there.  There was even a column named "Residence if Outside of Limits" which was to count travelers, lodgers, etc. who might be at the house that night.  Therefore, certain people may occur in two different censuses.  This actually happened for one of my ancestors, Thomas Cassin.  He lived in Valcartier and was listed there with his family, but then I also found him in the St. Edmond census (a few miles away) listed without his family.  Under the Out of Limits column, he was listed as living in Valcartier, indicating he spent the night in St. Edmond.

An Agricultural Census as well as a Personal Census was conducted in 1852.  The Agricultural Census only included the Head of Households. Links to both transcriptions are below.

This is the general description of the area that was required to be written by the enumerator and included in the body of the Census.

General Remarks of the Enumerator, John Navin

For the 1851 Census of Valcartier, Quebec (Enumeration District #11)

Taken Under Act 14th & 15th, Vict. Chapter 49

I have divided the Parish of St. Gabriel de Valcartier onto 1 Personal Enumeration District; the blanks headed "Personal Census Enumeration, District No.”  and paged from 1 to 28 inclusive, for the said personal Enumeration District - which is bounded on the South by the Parish of St. Ambroise - on the East by the Township of Stoneham, on the West by the Seigniory of Fossambault, and on the North so far as has been surveyed. 

The River Jacques Cartier cuts the parish, the scenery very pleasant and picturesque. Various other small streams are in abundance. The Parish is divided into the 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5th Concessions, and part of Fief St. Ignace, and these Concessions are again subdivided into No. 1, N.W. side of Riviere aux Pins, & No. 1, 2, 3, S.E. of said River which (with an irregularity of the Numbers from 1 to 50 on the blanks) has cost me incredible pain to effect a good Census. 

I attempted to divide the parish into 7 Enumeration Districts in accordance with a sort of division which has been made in reference of School Districts (which was the cause of the writing on the heading of the blanks) but I found that such a mode of procedure would result in great confusion. 

The first tree was cut down in 1816. The progress of the Parish (or Settlement) has always been and still is greatly retarded from the imperfect state of roads as refers to the settlers on the South East side of the River Jacques Cartier (and in reference to the settlers on the North West side of said River), the yet more the imperfect state of the roads and want of a bridge across said River. 

In the Parish there is one Roman Catholic Church built of wood, capable of accommodating about 300 persons. There is also a splendid new Church of stone of Gothic order of architecture in progress. These are erected upon a portion of land of about 8 arpents, a donation from the late A. Stuart, Esq. There is also a Protestant Church (English) of wood, capable of accommodating about 200 persons, erected upon one arpent of land, a donation from the late Honourable John Neilson, and likewise there is a Presbyterian Church capable of accommodating about 150 persons (vacant) erected upon a portion of ground about three arpents, a donation also from the aforesaid donator. There is a manse in progress. 

The general character of the soil is variable, answers the various purposes of agriculture very well, with judicious management when the seasons are favourable. There are 6 sawmills within the Settlement.  I could not arrive at any correct information respecting them. The importance of their produce is very trifling. There is also an Oat Meal Mill, the Miller pays 15 pounds rent per annum, and has received the sum of 32-5; product for his labour. Cost of the Mill 900 pounds – 1˝ hands usually employed.  The owner of one of the above sawmills told me that he had given the necessary in­formation to the Enumerator of the Parish of St. Ambroise. There is one thrashing mill in the Parish of  2 horse power, cost 50 pounds.  

There is one stone dwelling house in the Settlement. There is a small inaccuracy in some of the columns 31, respecting the houses as not being inserted in the corresponding lines of said columns. There is one Post Office in the Parish; three schools in operation, under control of the Board of Education. The Government aid for erection and repairs of schoolhouses not being obtained by Valcartier for some years past, renders the schoolhouses rather uncomfortable. 

The Parish contains 649 Roman Catholics, 453 Protestants (English), 290 Presbyterians; 763 males, 637 females; farmers 192, labourers 178.  B. Canadians 821, F. Canadians 75.  The whole number of souls in the Parish 1400; of male births 36, female 32; male deaths 10, female 14; usually attending school 75 males and 51 females. 

The blanks headed Agricultural Census, Enumeration District No. and paged from 1 to 5 inclusive form the Agricultural Census of the Parish of St. Gabriel de Valcartier (commonly called the Settlement of Valcartier) . The writing on the heading of these blanks is accounted for as above. 

The quantum of land held by the occupiers amounts to 29,649 acres; under cultivation  9,642 ˝ acres; under crops  6,914˝ acres; under pasture 2,734 acres; under wood 20,006˝ acres; peas 279˝ bushels; oats 30,415 bushels; buckwheat 127 bushels;  potatoes 79,857 bushels; turnips 2,613 bushels; hay145,090 bundles; wool 962˝  lbs.; sugar 770 lbs.;  flannel 126 yards; timothy seed, 36˝ bushels; carrots 13 bushels; barley 17˝ bushels;  rye, 90˝ bushels; horses 301; milk cows 782; bulls 152; heifers and calves 400; sheep 327; butter 38,467 lbs.; beef fattened 390˝ cuts;  pork 771˝ lbs. 

N. B. I have omitted in the above Personal Census to remark that I have met with only one Negro. As there are several occupiers of land in the Fief St. Ignace, I have inserted their property in Column 56, under the heading "Remarks", and there are also several occupiers who hold property both in the Seigniory of St. Gabriel and St. Ignace, I have inserted their portions of property held in Fief St. Ignace above mentioned Column 56 of the Agricultural Census; paged with numbers 1, 2, & 3 of said Census. 

As respects the Circular dated Quebec November 1851 and signed S.S. C. Loughton (?) Secretary to the Bar (?) submitting to you the following questions. 

  I. Lands

I answer the several queries as follows: 

1.     varies in different parts, nearly one half of a sandy nature and the other of a clayey loam, generally good by judicious care 

2.     loamy

3.     to a good extent, insufficiency of roads

4.     fall ploughing - lst oats, 2nd potatoes, 3rd oats, and laid down with timothy  and clover seeds

5.     Oats, potatoes and hay

6.     None

7.     Stable manure.


             II. Labour

1.     1/3 with board, 2/6 without 

2.     A few, plough Scotch (commonly called Wilkee’s or Ker’s)

3.     4/ per diem

4.     Pounds 6, per annum

5.     No


            III. Livestock

1.     Horses – No.   15 pounds.  Pleasure - none – cost of keep 12 pounds, export none.

2.     Oxen – many – value 6 pounds.   Cost of keep 5 pounds.  Slaughtered not many.  Method of fattening – hay and potatoes.

3.     Cows, Teaswater and Ayshires. Few of these breeds in Settlement in the following same value – 6 pounds – produce 100 pounds butter per annum – sold none.

4.     Sheep – Canadian cross - ?  Not much?  Long wool?  Hay?  2/6 & 4 lb - ? yes.

5.     Hogs, ?Not much. ?Canadian crossed.  Potatoes? 2 pounds ?many

6.     Bees – None?


IV.  Feeding

? Horses, hay & oats?  12 lbs.  Cattle, occasionally green & ripe.  Swine – cooked – hay.  Timothy & clover abundant as noticed in the volumes of the above Census.


V.  Dairy

          Good - ?much.  ?weekly @ 8 pence per pound.


VI.  Crops

          Weeding as far as practicable – weeds:  Blind nettle, spring Marguerite, etc.

?Good - ?plenty.  ?plenty.  ?some wells.  ?Birch, maple, beech & spruce.  Hemp, none. See the columns in the census relative to these articles.  1 - ?oats 2/2/3 produce 10 fold.  Wright 3 lb. average weight of wheat  60 lb., price of oats 1/6 6.15 May harvest uncertain.  The cause of failure of crops – unknown.  Price of straw 12/6 per 100 knots.


VII.  Gardens or Orchards

          Few or none.


VIII.  Miscellaneous information.

Quarries and minerals – none in operation but several indications – 1851 a wet season.  Several Charlybeate springs in the limits of the Settlement of Valcartier.  I have omitted to state the labour saving machines in use – the reaping cradle is becoming very general.

Thus with the utmost care and attention within my power, I have completed the personal and agricultural census of the settlement of Valcartier.


John Navin


Transcribed by Bernie Monaghan, 1980’s

Edited by Patricia Balkcom, 2015

Source:  1851 Census of Canada East:  St. Gabriel de Valcartier, Quebec County (Enumeration District 11, P. 1 - 56).  Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.        

The transcription of the Agricultural Census can be found here.

The transcription of the Personal Census can be found here:  (many thanks to Audrey Henderson for the many hours of tedious work)

Tips for viewing the PDF files.

1. On the top menu bar, make sure the view size is set to 100% or higher (May need to be as high as 200% to see clearly)

2.  Be sure to scroll all the way across to see all the columns and scroll all the way down to see all the pages. (Or can flip from page to page from the top menu bar of the PDF Reader)


Valcartier Page 1 - 10

Valcartier Page 11 - 20

Valcartier Page 21 - 30 

Valcartier Page 31 - 40

Valcartier Page 41 - 50

Valcartier Page 51 - 56