Settlement of Bourg Louis
by D. Clark McIntosh
Most of the research contained in this section was written in the mid 1970s. The work, observations, and data collected was used for my undergraduate thesis for the Geography Department at McGi11 University.
The original seigniory of Bourg Louis is situated along the St. Anne River amongst the rolling foothills of the Laurentians, in the current county of Portneuf. The Southern half of the seigniory was once a thriving community of English speaking settlers. All that remains today is the Anglican Church and an occasional English name on a mailbox. The dilapidated condition of the farmsteads portrays the marginality of the soils and the distant market. There is only one farm under cultivation today compared to over eighty in 1871. This farmer must supplement his income by working at another job. The pulp and paper mill provides local employment for most of the English people who now live in Chute Panet.
"Yet fifty years ago, every inch of the way led past cultivated land; dotted with comfortable farm houses. Every farm once supported a large family and the now neglected property was valued so highly that a boundary dispute might be the cause of a bitter feud between the kindliest of neighbours, " (Dunn).
The Huron Indians were responsible for the settlers coming to the St. Raymond area, by the tales of the wonderful valley abundant in game and fish, with great mountains of timber, and the rivers for travel by canoe. The site of St. Raymond was where the Indians had made camp. The first settlers were Jason Dery, Alexis Cayer, Pierre Plamondon, and Ignace Dery who were lured from Ancient Lorette by the Indian tales. They spent several summers clearing the land returning before winter. They lured other settlers with glowing tales of the lush land and room for one hundred or more settlers. They returned to live using logs for bridges, and barges to cross the larger rivers. The Indians were angry at their loss of good hunting grounds and did some pillaging.
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SEIGNIORY
Marquis de Beauhamois, the Governor of New France and the Indendent, Gilles Hocquart initially granted the seigniory of Bourg Louis on May 14, 1741 to Sieur Louis Fornel. The grant was a parcel of land with a southern frontage of two and three quarter leagues and a depth of three leagues, (note: one league is approximately two miles or 3.2 kilometres). To the East was the seigniory of Fossambault and to the South the seigniory of Pointe-aux- Trembles, while the north and west were wastelands. The soils, according to the early nineteenth century surveyor Bouchette, were "tolerable good", that is strong loam.
Having neglected his seigniory and paying homage Quebec City, Fornel lost the Antoine Panet. Panet had to British crown as well as by the British which enabled timber, military installations, 1829, Panet was forced to the seigniory because of held this section of property Langlois in 1831. Langlois's construction of a road from site of the Anglican Church settlers.
':':'!1! duties of settling the ;...~ to the Chateau St. Louis in ~ " property in 1777 to Jean swear his loyalty to the agree to restrictions imposed
them to confiscate land for
buildings and so on. In
auction the Northeast half of
neglect. Danielle Arnoldi
until he sold it to Pierre
first task was the Pont Rouge to the present in Bourg Louis to induce
The first Panet, Jean Claude Panet (1719-78) arrived from Paris in 1740, and settled in Quebec City. Shortly after his arrival in Canada Jean Claude Panet, a private in the Troupes de la Marine, became a royal notary, and later one of the two first Catholic judges of the Court of Common Pleas under the British regime. His son, Bernard Claude Panet (1753-1833) became bishop of Quebec in 1825. Another son, JeanAntoine Panet (1751-1815), a notary and seignior of Bourg-Louis, became the first speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada (1791-94; 1797-1814), which was an historic occasion that was depicted by artist Charles Huot on walls of Legislative Assembly. He was also a member of the Legislative Council ( 1815), judge of the Court of Common Pleas ( 1794-97) and a militia officer who participated in the defeat of American arms in 1775- 76.
His son Bernard Antoine was also active in politics. He married the English speaking Harriet Antill, widow of Dr. Charles Black. Edward Antill Panet, son of Bernard, was the next seignior of Bourg Louis. He had a son also named Bernard Panet was the father of Mrs. Charlotte Denis. He was born in 1852, sent at the age of five to a relative, Judge Aylwyn where he received an English education at McGill to become a notary . He practised in Montreal for three years before returning to Bourg Louis - St. Raymond for 46 years. He was active in local politics and legislative life. With friends he founded the Tourilli Club. His first wife was Marie Louise Terroux - they had 13 children. After the loss of his first wife, he married Marie Louise Van Felson. He converted his religion to Protestant at his wife's urging. He and his wife are buried at the St. Bartholomew's Anglican Churchyard located in Bourg Louis, PQ.
The French habitants had developed the long lot type of settlement where the river provided the first means of transportation. The land was about 3 acres wide by 30 acres long, yielding a fairly densely populated region. This land division system still marks the countryside. The "rang" system was developed as population pressures gave way to agricultural expansion. A road parallel to the river was built and a second line of settlement was started, then another et cetera. At the time of the British conquest in 1760, the good agricultural lands of the St. Lawrence Lowlands were occupied. Bourg Louis was divided in an according manner, and extended three ranges back from the St. Anne River.
The British devised a plan to surround the French Canadiens located in the St. Laurence lowlands, and this plan pushed for the settlement of the lower Laurentians and the Eastern Townships. These areas were divided into township settlement patterns, and were to be open only to English settlers! The county of Portneuf was an exception to this rule for the majority of the arable land was already divided into seigniories. Therefore, the entire county is more or less all long-lot type of land division. The seigniors holding the Northern seigniories were however obliged to let only English settlers into their regions. The establishment of Valcartier on the border of Portneuf and Quebec counties in the early 1800s, was the beginning of the English speaking peoples in the region. Many of these settlers were soldiers remaining behind after the War of 1812, and other British people wishing to live near the garrison at Quebec City. By the latter 1850s, a circle of English settlers, mainly Irish and Scottish, extended around Quebec City from the town of Portneuf to Ste. Brigitte de Laval in the county of Montmorency.
The county of Portneuf had no uniform settlement pattern for the mountains, rivers, and lakes made this difficult. The physical environment played an important role in shaping the settlements and dictating whether the farm would be successful or not. The climate is cool and humid throughout the year; the southern part of the county being a little warmer. The south also has less snowfall and a longer growing season, however being short. The yearly temperature average at Donnacona is only 4 degrees Celsius, and the annual rainfall is over 100 cm. of precipitation.
In 1820, the seigniory of Bourg Louis officially opened for settlement, growing rapidly and becoming a fairly good farming area. The son of Antoine Panet, Bernard, and his English wife Harriet Antill, on their inheritance of the seigniory in the early 1830s, energetically undertook the settlement of Bourg Louis by meeting the emigrant ships as they arrived at Quebec City. Harriet was the widow of Charles Blake (or Black). She went down to the port in Quebec City to try and convince the English-speaking immigrants to move to the seigneury of Bourg Louis. Her efforts were somewhat successful, as by the autumn of 1833 several families were located there. They apparently first went to Newville and Pont Rouge, before finally arriving at Bourg Louis. This attempt to lure settlers was in the Panet's interest as the more people that settled on the seigniory, the more annual "rent" was to be collected for the lease of these small farms. It wasn't until the early 1900s that these farmers were finally allowed to purchase individual farms. Some farmers paid by instalments, which did not end until the 1960s.
The first pioneers that arrived here had to cut down the dense growth of trees covering every inch of their new land. "The straightest and soundest logs were used as timber for the dwelling, which at first were only one room cabins. The most vital part of the house was its fireplace, a vast stone structure. Not only did it provide warmth and light for the household, but by it all the cooking was done. The unwelcomed forest at least provided plenty of fuel and it was used lavishly. Fields were cleared for cultivation. After the trees were chopped down, the stumps were left to rot so that they could be easily removed The cut timber was piled in great heaps, and burned, the ash furnishing excellent fertiliser, (Highland Settler).
The first settlers were faced with starvation, so most of them tried to plant and harvest a crop the first year they were there. Wild game, and fish in the rivers was abundant and supplemented their diet.
In 1833 Langlois was successful in recruiting newly arrived Irish Protestant settlers fleeing from persecution in Ireland. They were each given basic provisions, seeds, tools, and a one hundred acre (40 hectors) grant of land. This group homesteaded around the "Mountain" in the community know as "New Guernesay". Aided by Protestant charities, a wooden church (The Wesleyan Methodist) was quickly built in which Langlois acted as missionary.
Bourg Louis was predominantly settled by Irish Catholics, which were concentrated in the southern half of the seigniory , while the protestant Irish, English and Scottish were centrally located. Thus, there was a visible spatial separation of the two religious communities. The French entered Bourg Louis about the same time as the English, but not from the same direction, as they used an east-west route from Ste. Catherine to Lac Sergent and on to the site of St. Raymond. By 1832, St. Raymond had become one of the largest towns in Quebec with 180 families. The French-speaking group began "spilling over" from the St. Lawrence Lowlands in the 1830s and 1840s and entered Bourg Louis from the south. Therefore, by the 1850s, the English speaking community had been surrounded by the French, further dividing the community between French and English, and Protestant and Catholic.
The community at Bourg Louis grew in size and by the 1850s it was yielding a new generation. All the land that could be planted was done so. Some farms were better off then others because of their location. Some farms were located on a "mountain" where the soil was sandy and rocky . Others had swampy, poorly drained land. However. there was one area that had good soils with a mixture of sand and clay - along the banks of the St. Anne River. The dozen or so farms located here had some of the best soils in Bourg Louis.
The picture to the left was taken from the "Mountain" looking north " over the St. Anne River Valley towards St. Raymond. The farm below belonged to the Clark's, and since 1988 belongs to the Gilpin's.
In 1871 Bourg Louis had a total of 3,243 people or which 2,609 or 80.5 percent were French. The French settled town of St. Raymond accounted for more that three-fifths of the French population. The 634 English-speaking residents had maintained their English language enclave in the southern half of the seigniory. At this time only four French families existed in this community. The Irish element in the English speaking community accounted for 85 percent of the population. Looking at the religious breakdown in the following table, it shows that either 60 percent of these Irish were Protestant.
TABLE: Population Characteristics 1871
Source: The Census of Canada, 1871
a) Ethnic Origin:
English and Scottish 89
b ) Religion
Roman Catholic 2830
By 1871, all the land suitable for agriculture was under cultivation. Some farms were better off than others because of their location. As farming was carried out on a variety of soils, disparities in the success of farms were apparent. The farmsteads usually consisted of the main house, barn, stable, and tool or work shed. Some had a second kitchen used for storing and grinding grain and baking for their own use. Ice houses were common and were packed with ice from the river during the spring, usually lasting all summer. A milk house was present for the processing and storing of milk for the farm. These farmers were self sufficient, growing and hand-making most of their needs.
These subsistence farmers made the best of everything they had. The animal manure gathered during the winter would be used as fertilizer on the fields in spring. The bush and woodlands would be used as firewood, and the cedar trees as pickets. Space was also valuable, and most of it was used to the utmost. In the main house, the cellar would be used for the storing of the vegetables and jams over winter - it was an ideal place this was a natural refrigerator. The cellars were usually made from stones, filled with mortar. The floor would be just the dirt. Potatoes and root crops would be thrown on the floor, and usually covered by dirt - which was usually gravely - sand. The ladies dresses, after they wore out, were used as potholders and patch quilts. When rain would fall during harvest time, the men would put on a hat and coat, and go pick berries rather than waste time.
Wheat was probably the first crop grown here, as most of the St. Lawrence Lowland in the 1820s was engaged in this activity . The transformation to mixed farming was undertaken during the wheat crop failures of the 1830s and 1840s. The better than average farm had from ten to fifteen milk cows, three to seven horses, twenty to thirty young stock (cows and horses), several pigs, turkeys, chickens and sometimes a dozen breeding sheep. These farms depended on livestock for three purposes: 1) the dairy cattle for producing milk butter, and cream for their own consumption 2) the lambs, hogs, chickens, turkeys, and young stock to be used for meat; and 3) the surplus products which could be sold in the distant market of Quebec City. The sheep had many purposes; for meat and for their wool and tallow for candle wax. All the fields were planted in grain and had to feed the animals during the long winter months. During the summer every farm grew its own vegetables on a small plot located near the house. Jams and wines were made from wild berries and crab apples while maple syrup was tapped from the sugar bush in the spring.
The women would work as hard as the men in these times they would be responsible for milking the cows in spring and harvest time, work in the vegetable garden, help with the harvest and planting, collect the eggs as well as her housework. They were responsible for getting the water from the well, keeping the kerosene lamps in working order, and making candles. Cleaning, cooking and raising children were their main tasks. The women folk would also weave and knit and make their own clothes as well as foot wear (out of animal hides). The sheep were sheared in the spring; the wool was washed, carded, and spun into yarn on the spinning wheel. It was then dyed into various colours and knitted into warm garments for the family.
The men would work long and hard hours. In the fall they would have to harvest the crops and get them into the barn. When this was done, as well as the ploughing, they would go off into the bush and begin to cut his winter supply of firewood. The winter months would be spent
mostly in the barn or their workshop mending the equipment, cleaning the stable. Plus bringing the fire wood from the wood lot and pile it by the house. The spring was dedicated to planting, and the summer the men would tend to the crops and mend the fences. The farmer's work was, and still is, year round.
One must not get carried away by the apparent richness of this area, as one must remember that the market was forty miles (64 .4 kilometres) away and the farms were more often than not located on poor soils supporting a slightly more than self-suflicient agriculture. Population pressure caused by large families, marginality of soils coupled with large portions of land totally useless for agriculture, combined forces and led to a near poverty level for many farms.
THE SOCIAL LIFE
What held this community together was a need for good neighbours. The people in these parts helped each other as much as they could. Groups of men would gather and help one another build a home or a barn. The neighbours would help each other during winter to cut wood. This is one characteristic that the descendants here today have never lost. Just recently, there was a farmhouse that had burned to the ground. All the neighbours helped build a new one and supplied these people with clothes and the local store supplied new furniture and food.
Winter used to be devoted to gaiety, to milling frolics, dances, church meetings and visiting. Hayrides were popular. The people would go out and visit one another every evening after their chores were finished and play cards and other games. Children accompanied their parents when visiting friends, and were rocked to sleep on a comfortable lap beside a cosy fire. The women had always wondered what had kept the men occupied for so long when they were putting the horses in the stable. It so happens that any cup of cheer was usually stashed away in a handy hayloft! The people were a close knit, strong and hard working breed that under went many hardships in this, their new land.
These early settlers were also religious, for their faith 'played an important part in sustaining them during their first experiences in a strange country, " (Dunn) . The social values and teachings were still present in the community, and this strong sense helped bind them together.
The church was a good 3 to 5 miles for some of these farmers to come by horse and buggy. The turn out was usually very good despite the hardships of getting there. People were brought up by a strict Victorian code; cards were never played on Sunday. Sunday's were days when everyone got dressed up in their Sunday suits, and couldn't get dirty. The children weren't allowed to carry the youthful joviality. Bible readings were a nightly must, as well as saying their prayers upon their knees.
The traveling missionary, Reverend William Wait, first served St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church, built in 1840. "The historic church and cemetery stand seemingly divorced from civilization in wooded surroundings... « (Quebec Diocesan Gazette, 1961).
A school was attached at the back of the church and was taught by the resident clergyman. A Wesleyan Methodist Church and graveyard were also located in Bourg Louis across the road from the Anglican Church. The first Wesleyan register started in January 1834, but the names found in the book were from other areas. The church register starts in earnest during the 1864 time period.
The Irish Catholic population had no church of their own and belonged to either the St. Raymond or St. Basil parish. The services were given in French, with exceptions being made in English for special occasions such as weddings, baptisms and funerals.
Three Protestant range schools consisting of one room each were present in 1871. The Irish children attended the English elementary St. Basil Road School. A four-mile walk to school was not uncommon for the children, and because they were required to help on the farm, the children never attended regularly, and seldom had more than a grade five education
Families that were listed in the 1871 census as Methodists
Robert and Rachel McComb Livingston
James and Eliza Proctor
Daniel and Elizabeth Fisher
John and Margaret Young Proctor
William and Mary Borland McElrea
James and Matilda Smith Livingston
Jacob and Sarah Smith
Alexander and Almira Murphy Smith
Mathew Johnston and Mary McComb
John and Marguerite Davidson Smith
John and Mary Jane Johnston
James and Matilda Carmichal
Thomas and Catherine Carmlchal
James and Marguerite Dean
Andrew and Catherine Davidson McCorkell
Moses and Frances Aran?
J ohn and Anna Carmichal
A total of 97 people including the children and parents living with them
Wesleyan Methodist Church, Portneuf, PQ July 1864- June 1879
William Adams 1864-1868
Richard Kerf 1869-1869
Henry Maxwell 1869-1870
J. P. Lewis 1870-
J. Elliot -1874
T. Wilkinson 1874-1876
Fred Francis 1876-1879
William Marcham 1878-1879
Adams and Hewton, Barrow and Smith, Carmichael and Smith, Carmichael and Smith, Carmichal and Thompson, Dalgleish and McDonald, Fisher and Livingstone, Hall and Patchell, Gendron and Hall, ,Johnston and Hewton, Smith and Davidson, Turner and Ellis, Woods and Hewton.
Brown, Ann (Hartle )
Carmichael, Annie (Thompson)
Smith, Alexander John
Adams, Eva G.,
Armstrong, Mary M.
Armstrong, Thomas J
Abraham, William J.
Betts, Charles Henry
Brown, Walter Hopper
Calbac, Mary Ann
Carmichael, Mary Ann
Clark, Elenor Devina
Clarke, Mary Ann
Dalgleish, Mary Jessica
Laing (Lang), Elizabeth
Lavigeur, Joseph Alferd
McBane, Sarah Alice
McCorkell, Robert Andrew
McCune, Mariah Margaret
McN eil, lsabella
McNeil, Mary Gory
McPherson, William James
Elizabeth Hirena + Albert Pyle Aunt Kat
Smith, Sarah Elizabeth
Ward, Matilda Jane
This list of names is very interesting as most of these families were from Valcartier and Riviere aux Pins communities. It makes me think that the church may have been located in Bourg Louis, but the minister may have traveled a fair distance to service some of the out of the way communities. They would have been too far to come for a service as the roads were poor and the distance over 20 miles.
Bourg Louis was always at a disadvantage, for the isolation of the community stifled any progress in agricultural development. Any surplus produced suffered because of the lack of markets. Quebec City, the first market area was located forty miles away; a long distance in those early days. People traveled first by foot, until a road was built in 1831, allowing the travel of horse and buggy. Sleighs and snowshoes were common means of transportation in the winter months. The long journey to market, usually made in the fall, would take a few days. The "halfway house" located near St. Augustin, provided a meal and a place to rest for the weary travellers.
In order for the farmers to sell their meat, the animals had to be taken to Quebec City alive, for there was no means of keeping the butchered meat fresh. Occasionally the farmers would pool their livestock and drive them to the market at Quebec City. However, most trips to market were to sell produce. The farmer usually traveled alone and carried grain vegetables and other foodstuffs on his back. With the money he received for the farm products, the farmer would buy items he could not make or grow on his farm. Some of the most common goods sought were flour, raisins, spices, sugar and tea.
The roads improved through time; therefore the market at Quebec was more readily available. The building of the railroad through St. Raymond in 1887 brought the market even closer, whereby this community was allowed to expand and prosper.
As the picture shows on the right, scows were used to forge the river. This one is located on the St. Anne River, about one mile below the village of Chute Panet connecting the "Elm Flats" area with the River Road. This scow was in existence until in the 1980s.
As the market was so distant, bartering from door to door was a frequent occurrence. The trading of eggs, butter, meat, berries, and crab apples was customary amongst the local people. This was successful because some farms were better suited to certain activities than others, therefore, people could trade for the required goods they did not have themselves.
The photo on the left is a shot of the Clark's lower field, not far from where the scow came in. The picture on the right is an example of the roads of the 1930s. This was the main road I call the River Road. The St. Anne River is on the right hand side, and the cluster of trees is camouflaging the Clark home.
TOWN OF ST. RAYMOND
St. Raymond is a town in Portneuf County, on the Ste. Anne River, 34 miles West of Quebec City. St. Raymond was founded in 1842 and named in honour of St. Raymond Nonnat, whose anniversary is celebrated on August 31 st. the day the first parish priest was chosen. The town was incorporated as a village in 1898 and as a town in 1957. It has a paper mill and saw mills and serves a considerable farming industry in the area.
St. Raymond is located in the foothills of the Laurentians. It is the most populous of all the municipalities of the MRC of Portneuf Occupying a territory of more than 684 square kilometers, this significant centre of regional service owes its development on the abundance of its natural resources. Located in a privileged natural environment, this city became with the passing of years a significant crossroads for the activities of recreation and holiday destination.
St. Raymond is located on the trail formerly utilized by the Indians, which used the many courses of waterways to reach their territories for hunting and fishing. Known formerly under the title of Seigneury of Bourg Louis, this territory was opened to colonists in 1830. Less than ten years later, the parish of Saint-Raymond-Nonnat was born.
At the time of its canonical erection in 1842, the territory was put under the patronage of Saint Raymond-Nonnat, in reference to the date of appointment of the first priest. This denomination was taken again at the time of the civil erection of the parish, in 1845, and remained the same until 1958, where the Nonnat name was dropped. In 1898, part of the territory was detached from the rest of the seigneury to create the village, which reached the status of city in 1957. The current city results from the fusion of the two municipalities in 1995.
Due to the superb location of St. Raymond, and the development of sawmills, lured the building of the first railroad built from wooden rails in Quebec. Inaugurated in 1871, the Gosford Railroad was abandoned in 1874, then rebuilt using steel rails. Today, this old railway right of way has been abandoned for many years and is now used as a multipurpose entertaining track.
RED LETTER DATES:
1842 St. Raymond Novat - 180 families, with a catholic church present, Hugh Robson first cure
1855 Bad stonn destroyed many buildings in region.
1858 Fire ravaged much of town of St. Raymond
1879 Built railroad to Lake St. Jean from Quebec, using wooden rails
1887 Built aqueduct on hill using wooden pipes
1889 Built new Tessier bridge over the St. Anne River at St. Raymond
1891 Moulin a scie et Moulin a farine later turned into paper mill
1896 Built first part of convent
1899 Fire destroyed 40 houses, the church and part of the convent.
1903 Hotel de Ville built near the river
1909 Built college near l'ecole St. Joseph
As early as the 1830s, Bourg Louis was one of the first English speaking settlements to lose its English majority. The distance to Quebec City and to the other English communities made interaction with the "outside" difficult; hence, Bourg Louis remained isolated. The expanding French culture quickly surrounded the English locality, and as early as 1851, it constituted 74 percent of the total population. The English community however, managed to survive within the seigniory, reaching its peak in 1861, and holding a constant population base over twenty years. That is not to say that families were not leaving, but as the second and even third generations were being born, there were less families that remained with more people per family.
The 1880s saw the beginning of the net decline of the English-speaking people in Bourg Louis. Reasons for departure from the area were national phenomena: mainly farm abandonment and the lure of the cities. This trend continued in the 1890s as a 41 percent decline in actual population occurred. The opening of the west and the railroad construction boom were the main destinations of the residents. The Irish tended to move towards the industrial towns of the Northern United States.
What were the reasons for the decline in farms? Why were lands abandoned? "The folk ways of the settlers yielded place to the machine, and the rural settlements lost their population to the modem city which the machine created The dominant desire of the settlers had been to gain possession of land, which they could call their own, to make an independent living on it, and to raise families in the security offered by rural life. Within two or three generations the descendants of such pioneers sought new goals, (Highland Settler).
The industrial revolution and the lure of the cities took the young from the area. “They could escape the long daily hours of labour on the farm, and find easy work, ready cash, the latest conveniences and the fashions, " (Highland Settler).
People left for lumbering, the pulp and paper mills, and the good rich soils of the Prairies or the United States. The paper mill in the Chute took a lot of men from their farms. It provided a steady income and created an incentive for many of the youth to stay away from the farm. There was a growing restlessness. The healthy and rapid increase in population within the families of settlers contributed to the depopulation, for there were too many mouths to feed with such a marginal farm. "Large families strained the farms beyond what they could stand. The soil, worked and reworked with out any scientific system, became impoverished under the constant strain of producing food for so many people, "(Highland Settler). "The infield, or the fields closest to the dwellings, received most of the manure and was continuously cropped. The out fields farther away were manured only during Summer and autumn, when cattle were kept in folds over night, "(Article by R. Louis Gentilcore). The least fertile farms were abandoned first, and then as they left, more people followed.
The improved transportation facilities brought goods in from the large cities and these goods began replacing local goods. This community was too far from Quebec City to be able to supply her at any profit. The transportation costs incurred were too high. The farmers turned to the local market in St. Raymond, but this wasn`t profitable, for ther was too much of a surplusd, and the goods were not bought. Today, in the town of St. Raymond, the costs of food are more expensive than they are in Quebec City and Montreal. It has got to the point that this farming community has imported food and turned to other activities such as the paper mill, sawmills, gristmill and other activities. The farming carried on in this region is solely for dairying and supplying the local markets with milk and related products.
"The men who migrated to the city became pompous, the women snobbish, and girls excessively stylish, " (Highland Settler). The people did miss their home, but after they saw the city and the better education and money and so forth, these people became what they felt as superior to their 'cousins' in the country. When they would return to the farm, they would look down on the people's customs, dress, and behaviour. It wasn't so much an attachment to their old working and social customs, but an attachment to the countryside and the love of beauty and clean air with plenty of room to wander and be free. It was the hatred for the crowds and greed and pollution that made these migrants to the city 'homesick'.
The farmers on the farms may have complained of hardships and poverty, "but they love the beauty of their surroundings,. they live a tranquil life, secure in the knowledge that they will never starve or be unemployed, as their city cousins may be, they enjoy good health and are able to raise their children in a Clean environment. They envy the city dwellers - their conveniences, amusements, and luxuries, but they are glad to avoid the noise, smoke, dust, dirt, congestion, and frenzy of the city, " (Highland Settler).
The climate, the poor soils, the distances to markets, isolation and poor educational opportunities were factors constantly working against these peoples - which played a big role on the demise of this community.
TABLE: Population Decline of Bourg Louis (St. Raymond) Source: The Census of Canada, 1851 - 1971
YEAR ENG. POP. % CHG. IRISH BRITISH FRENCH
1851 442 na 406 32 1259
1861 647 46.4 605 39 2255
1871 634 -2.0 537 89 2609
1881 651 2.7 494 109 3018
1891 573 -12.0 -------- 537 ------- 3503
1901 339 -40.8 252 87 1945 A
1911 236 -30.4 137 89 2290
1921 165 -30.1 108 48 2109
1931 135 -18.2 20 114 2237
1941 b 126 -6.7 50 73 2523
1971 55 -56.3 -------- 70 -------- 2650
Note: a) In the 1901 census, the village ofSt. Raymond was separated from the rest of the municipality.
b) The census years 1951 and 1961 havw no breakdowns.
At the turn of the century, the Prairies were opening up, and a large amount of the people emigrated there. The Irish population trended to go to the United States, as they were not loyal to Britain. Assimilation was also present in rural Quebec where the dominant group with the institutions usually took on the lesser group that had none. A good example of this was the Irish Catholic population in Bourg Louis, as they were assimilated into the French culture, for they had no religious or education institutions of their own. So, instead of sending their children to English speaking Protestant schools, they opted for the French speaking Catholic religion and education. Religion in these early times was more important than the language barrier that exists today. Another interesting factor among the British people, the Irish especially, was their awareness of education. They wanted their children to be well educated, and pushed them to do so. As a result, a common experience throughout Quebec you will find many of the Irish people went to the cities for higher learning. These people became highly mobile and talking with these people, they have travelled quite considerably and worked at many different trades and locations. In conclusion, these people had no use for rural life anymore, and once they left, most never returned, except to visit.
The English speaking population in 1921 was only 30 percent of what it had been 30 years earlier. French families soon filled pockets of vacated land. This process has continued and is still evident today. The Irish population was the bulk of the English-speaking sector and with its rapid decline, hastened the overall break-up of the community. The Great Depression lessened outmigration slightly as money and jobs were scarce, whereby the self-sufficient farms became a blessing. Notice in Population Decline Table that the English and Scottish population returned to Bourg-Louis to live out the depression.
THE BUILDING OF THE RAILROAD
A branch of the present Canadian National railroad was put through to St. Raymond in 1879. With this mode of transportation, one would expect an increase in industry and trade. The English sector of Bourg Louis petitioned for a station so that their livestock and farm produce could be loaded into boxcars and transported to the market at Quebec City. This facilitated trade by making the market more accessible. However, the railroad also provided an exit for the younger people to leave the area, seeking employment, adventure and a longing to travel; many never returned.
There was a station located on the back range. The Sissons had a profitable sawmill located just below the railroad bridge, which crossed over the Portneuf River. This station was also used to ship lumber and fire wood to Quebec City.
(The picture to the left is the site of the sawmill. You can see part of the bridge crossing the river . This railroad has been removed, and the rail bed has been paved and now used for biking, roller skating etc.)
Besides agriculture, local sawmills and the cutting of pulpwood were the leading employment opportunities. Several private sawmills were located wherever water power was available, of which only one enterprise located on the Portneuf River was English. There was a small pulp mill located at Chute Panet (then called Pallet Falls) that had been converted from the old gristmill that used to serve the community. This mill employed several men, from both the French population to the north and the English from the south. The picture to the right is the site of a saw mill owned by the Garvin's. It was located further downstream on the Portneuf River where it crossed the road that lead to Lac Sergent.The pulp mill at Chute Panet burned down in 1891 and experienced financial difficulties after it was rebuild, and closed in 1900. A new pulp and paper mill was opened under new management in 1904, however, because of the lack of financing, it too was forced to close in 1905. The News Pulp and Paper Company Limited bought the company and opened for business in 1909. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the mill shut down once again. The government granted a federal charter in 1935, providing incentive to create steady employment. The company took on the name of the St. Raymond Paper Limited in the same year. Wages during the "hard years" of the depression were as low as forty cents an hour ($3.20 per day). This mill employed up to 125 workers, most of whom were French living in the village of Chute Panet.
The only English sawmill located in Bourg Louis experienced problems in the 1920s, and because of poor management, the company went bankrupt while attempting to convert to a pulp mill. With the availability of this local employment during the late 1800s and early 1900s. skills were acquired providing a training ground that facilitated out-migration. As these labourers sought higher wages. These people were a fairly migratory population and worked in many of the paper mills in both Quebec and Ontario.
The impact of the First World War on the young population was inevitable. Many of the young soldiers that returned from the war were not satisfied with the life of farming. They had traveled the world and experienced another way of life. Their restlessness led them to seek employment in the growing cities.
When a community begins to lose its population the institutions it maintains become burdensome - gradually, schools and churches begin to fold. The "back-range" school was the first to close in 1895 with the other two schools on the "front-range" and the "mountain-range" closing in 1921. School was then taught from a house in Chute Panet. With the aid of a government grant, a new schoolhouse was constructed in 1939. In 1953, this school closed along with the St. Basile Road School, in which the Irish children attended. (I believe the old school house in the Chute has been converted into a home and is still currently being lived in).
The only schooling that is available now for the English Protestant children is that of French schools. Other than that, they are transported to Quebec City by bus, which for some requires a two and a half hour ride there and back everyday. The parents of these children have a hard time to get involved in school affairs because of the distances. The Irish elementary children had fewer problems for in the 1970s, they attended an English section of the French Catholic School in Pont Rouge, a town nearby.
The Anglican Parish of Bourg Louis has still survived, although it lost its resident minister in the 1930s. The replacement reverend commuted from Portneuf to give service. With the minister living outside the community, he was unable to be as active and be involved with the parishoners. The Anglican Parish has been maintained although many difficulties and hardships have been encountered by both the minister (who, since 1972, comes all the way from Valcartier) and the people who are now mostly elderly for their health and the climatic conditions dictate when and where they are able to go. There were only 41 English-speaking people left in this parish as of 1974, and irregular church hours have been posted. Services are given every two weeks in winter and often at different times during the day - sometimes at 9 A.M., 3 P. M., or 7 P.M.
One interesting but sad circumstance is evident in the old church. There is but a single couple sitting on the left hand side of the church, the rest sit on the right. The present population still maintains the same seating arrangements in the church as that of their forefathers. What once was a full congregation with young and old alike, has become a place of worship for the few that remain. The church is usually cold in the winter because the furnace is not turned on until the minister arrives, which is usually only a short time before the service. The minister does not have the time to go from farm to farm and mingle with the people because he lives forty miles away,
The Wesleyan Church closed at the turn of the century from lack of support. The graveyard remained until after World War 11 when many graves were moved and others became overrun by trees. According to Mrs. Freda (Gray) Roberge, the actual church building was moved during one of the World Wars to the Camp Valcartier to be used as a social hall. The site of the church and cemetery were located on the south end of her property. All that remains today are fragments of the stones and the odd sunken mound. The pine trees now cover the area.
As the population decreased because of marginal soils and the lure of the cities, the institutions declined because of the dwindling residents and the lack of funds to maintain them Further decline in population took place because of the lack of nearby education and religious facilities causing the fragmentation of the English in the community. The infiltration of French fami1ies into the vacated 1ots provided more incentive for the Eng1ish to leave.
"As the English families began moving out of this community, the French began moving into these marginal lands bypassing, infiltrating, or incorporating the thin line of English language communities, "(Article by Peter Brooke Clibbon)." The poor soil, drainage and market conditions, in combination with the extreme isolation of certain parishes and attractive employment alternatives further to the south (the pulp and paper mills, et cetera), have resulted in a massive withdrawal from the land and the closing of a number of parishes. "
"There has been a vastly improved education, improved communications, a general awareness among young people of the existence of vocations more attractive than farming, " (Clibbon).
THE COMMUNITY IN THE 197Os
By 1976, Bourg Louis was the remnant of a once thriving English community. There were only 45 English people remaining, most of whom lived in Chute Panet. The residents consist of retired farmers, unmarried's, the active and retired mill labourers and their families. The figure below shows the age groups of the population. The community appears to be on its "last legs" of existence, as it is not replacing itself. There are no children under 10 years of age.
FIGURE: Population pyramid of English in Bourg Louis (1976) Source: Field Work.
3 3 4 3 4 1 0 4 0 Mean average age = 52.3 'l"-::
81-+ 1 71-80 5 61-70 2 51-60 5 41-50 3 31-40 3 21-30 1 11-20 3 0-10 0
FEMALES males = 22 females = 23
d (c ( &:)' ( tI
CHUTE PANET (26)
Gilpin; Don, Beverly, Douglas, Allyson Gilpin; Austin, Ethel, Grant ~
Gilpin; Lomas, Gladis f,.. pyle;-~ Florence ;.
pyle; Frank ,...
Smith; Ernest, Gertrude 1
Livingston; Hilda I
T :-.:--~.~-, 'T'----
Edgely; Bernard, Brenda Aiken; Joseph, Dorthy 1Cross; Mr IIlld Mrs. Francis; Mr.
FRONT RANGE: (5)
Roberge; Tony, Freda, Heather, Brent, Darcy )(
MOUNTAIN RANGE (3)
Edgely; Albert, Violet 1'-
Edgely, Margaret "-
BACK RANGE (2) pyle; Jim, Gladys ~
CORCORAN'S ROUTE (0)
RIVER ROlJfE (9)
Clark; Edgar, Doris 1"-Smith; Violet, Gilbert
Hewit; Florence t
Pitt; Mr. and Mrs., 2 children
Of the eighty farms that were present one hundred years ago, only a handfull have remained in their ancestor' s hands. The only English farm that is still under cultivation is not a descendant of the pioneer. There has always been a marked difference between the French and English societies. The differences in the religions played the key role. The French had much larger families than the English, thusly tended to be poorer with more mouths to feed. An equilibrium exists today, as both peoples accept the others prescence. The English people have all learned to speak French to enable themselves to be understood.
The community life as it is now, is fading drastica1ly. Television has replaced the evening social calls, and has become one of the most important things in their lives. Some of these people plan their day to fit into the television schedule. This is evident especia11y with the older generation. Their families have all left to different areas of Canada and the United States, and television is a way of passing the time for them. Telephones have also helped in deteriorating social life: one doesn't have to travel a mile to visit anymore; one just has to telephone.
There is only one organisation that has survived in this community, The Women's Guild. This group was started around 1925 (perhaps before, but not in living memory). The guild goes on, but has been interrupted from time to time as its members are getting older and participation is dependent on their state of health. The Women's Guild had a very good reputation for their annual community dinners (French and English) and the selling of local arts and crafts and other fund raisings for the church. Even this isn't as effective as it once was, for discussions of the last night's television shows, and as far as stopping the meeting so that they can watch a television show, has interrupted the major issues of the meetings. A Golden Age Club is not present in the
English sector of the population. However, the French have an active club at St. Raymond, in which the English do not wish to participate.
Tills community takes an active interest in public affairs in Canada, as it always has. The men talk over politics, and still get into arguments over whom to vote for. Other activities of the women are reading, gardening, quilting and other sewing work. The retired men poke around outside doing odd repair jobs here and there, and keeping themselves busy.
What these people look forward to the most is the return of their children to visit. One of the nicest and most heart-warming experiences is when the family returns for Christmas. It shortens the winter months, as well as giving these warm and friendly people great joy.
Before 1972, the post office was located in a house in Chute Panet where people had to pick up their mail. With the advent of the rural route system, starting in 1972, the citizens finally received door-to-door delivery. Garbage was thrown in the river, buried, burnt, et cetera until 1975 when garbage pick-up started.
The majority of the farms were about the 100-acre size, but the trend has been towards large scale farming operations, which were becoming more evident as larger farms are able to mechanise much more efficiently and produce more economically. The two major crops grown are potatoes, and tree farms where old farms are planted with trees to benefit the future of the paper industry in the region.
RECREATION AND TOURISM
Recreational development has been a recent phenomenon to Bourg Louis. Most of the development has been as recent as the 1960s, as the urban dwellers of Quebec City seek land for summer cottages. The front range" in the southern section of the old seigniory was developed about ten years ago with encroachment from the south. Many artificial lakes have been built and are now surrounded by cottages. The "back-range", near St. Raymond has seen urbanisation in the form of cottage dwellings and the placement of trailer homes.
Tourism, however, is not new to this region, as several lodges and sporting clubs for hunting and fishing north of St. Raymond have existed for nearly a century. The great natural beauty of the Laurentians, with its beautiful lakes and abundant game will undoubtedly see tourism and recreation flourish, hence, more land will be transformed for recreational purposes. The development of the tourist industry into Portneuf County has depended on the urbanisation of Quebec City. As Quebec City grew there became a greater demand to get out of the city and wander into the wilderness to get away from it all'.
The first form of recreation was hunting and fishing where lodges played the dominant landscape feature. Improved transportation networks resulted in further attempts of recreational development. The first networks were the rivers, where only a limited number of men traveled by boat into the interior to hunt for recreational purposes. The first roads were used, but because of their poor condition, the developments were never very far from the city
The first major breakthrough to recreational development was the opening of the railroad in 1887, which went to St. Raymond and continued north. This opened up the three major lakes of this region to Quebec City residents; Lac St. Joseph in 1887, Lac Sergent in 1896 and Lac Sept lIes in 1912. The first developments were summer cottages where the water front was an important factor. St. Raymond and Riviere a Pierre were important points of embarking for hunters and fishermen. Many private clubs were established near these areas m the Laurentians.
The physical environment has greatly altered the landscape to suit recreation hunters. There are thousands of clean glacial lakes, along with mountainous terrain and the remoteness of the region makes it ideal - and it is still vastly underdeveloped
The rural economy before 1950 was based on agriculture and lumbering. After this time, the tourist boom flourished, and is now in the process of changing the rural economy into urban oriented tourists and recreational based. The peak of this industry is long weekends and of course - the summer holidays
"Recreation tends to obliterate completely the existing economic structure based upon agriculture, replacing it with an entirely new structure. The primary unit is no longer the family farm, nor the focal point the market town, but rather the vacation home and ski or beach resort. The declining farm incomes are very seldom supplemented by recreationists, but rather urban hunter, picnickers, and in particular, snowmobilers, cause material damage and make an ever increasing annoyance to farming by recreation. While recreational development in no way prevents agricultural decline, it does slow or reverse the trend towards rural depopulation, by providing alternative sources of employment, " (Rajotte).
SUMMARYOF THE COMMUNITY
In conclusion, Bourg Louis suffered the consequences of its relative distance and isolation from the other English communities. Because the population never exceeded 650 people, and as the Irish consisted of 85 percent of these, when the Irish migrated from the area the community was left in a fragmented state.
The marginal soils of many of the farms coupled with the large families to feed yielded a type of rural poverty, or at best, self-sufficiency. Bourg Louis has been a product of the industrial expansion and urbanisation process that has occurred throughout Canada as the lure of the cities and the better life attracted many of the young. They learned skills in the local pulp mills, then searched for better wages elsewhere. The institutions declined as did the population, producing more incentive to leave.
The environment of this marginal farming community molded these people into a life of poverty, if farming was their only source of income. The poor soils and climatic conditions caused many of the farms to be abandoned. Industries were developed in the area and the role of the farmer became one of a labourer in a mill or another vocation. Farming has all but disappeared in this region altogether, except for a few farms that supply the local area with fresh milk. There are also a few farms that sell beef and pork.
The people's actions were different from their attitudes in that many were forced from their beloved life on the farm, to work in industry in order to survive. They left for the city, but their hearts remained in the country. Those people of which I had a chance to talk with, all think of this area as home, and often talk about it with pride.
The love of country-life is still present along with the love of luxury in this community. The older people have lived through poverty, and some have experienced more wealth than others. So, in this little community of Bourg Louis, there remains a small population from another age, in which time will erase into fond memories.
THE COMMUNITY in the YEAR 2000
There are only three families that still belong to the Anglican church in Bourg Louis. Mrs. Freda (Gray) Roberge, with her daughter and son, and grandchildren, Mrs. pyle (living in Chute Panet), Donald and Beverly (Clark) Gilpin and their son Douglas Gilpin. Once a month Mr. Graham Jackson, a school teacher in Quebec City, comes to read a service to this congregation, along with the Anglican Church in Portneuf According to Freda Roberge, there is often only five people in the church - all her family. Her son takes care of the churchyard, and her daughter takes care of the funds.
CIVIC NUMBER 740- was the residence of Mr. Willie Garvin. The second occupant was Mr. Frank Pyle. Today the owner is Mrs. Eileen Cameron.
Civic Number 729: was the house of the Livingston's. Before moving to this place, they lived on the mountain. It was eventually became the home of Mr. Paul Jobin.
CIVIC NUMBER 750- resided Mr. Pierre Parent. It was eventually the home of Mr. Hector Jobin. Today, Mr. Berube lives there.
CIVIC NUMBER 764- lived Mr. B. Martel. The second resident was Mr. Edgar Walsh. Today it is owned by Mrs. Albert Pyle.
CIVIC NUMBER 785 -lived Charlie Smith and his family.
CIVIC NUMBER 795- lived Mr. Gedeon Marcotte, nicknamed T.G. by all who knew him. He moved his house and his family from Ste-Anne Range of St. Basile via the little dirt road called "groundhog" to Chute Panet. The definition of groundhog road: ground too poor to cultivate. I remember picking wild berries around the old house foundation. What memories!
CIVIC NUMBER 804 - lived the Johnston family and followed by the Gray's (Fred).
CIVIC NUMBER 814 -lived Ernest Barrette and his family.
CIVIC NUMBER 824 - resided Austin Gilpin and his family. He was the brother of Lomas Gilpin. The two houses situated at 814 and 814 along with the land had once belonged to my great uncle Edouard Hardy.
CIVIC NUMBER ??? - Mr. Arthur Smith and his father Coleman Smith moved their house which had been situated near the little river Sept Des and St. Patrick Range. Their house burned down. Since this sad event, the land has remained vacant.
The small range of St. Patrick was the original route. Many families resided there, such as Coleman Smith and his son Arthur along with the Hoye family. Catherine Hoye was three years old when she arrived from Ireland accompanied by her mother. She married Alexandre Corcoran, grandfather of Mr. Earl Corcoran.
CIVIC NUMBER 838 - lived members of the Grenon family and followed by Gregoire Plamondon who bought the house without living in it. In 1946, it became the property ofMr. M. Plamondon and his family.
CIVIC NUMBER 833- Ralph Garvin was the brother of Willie. Their father was the owner of a shingle making mill near Lake Sergent. During this era all the roofs were made of thin cedar boards. It is the oldest mill in all of St. Raymond. The Seigneur Panet owned lots of land in this area.
CIVIC NUMBER 843 - Mr. Eugene Grenon, Mr. B. Mooney, Mr. L. Gilpin, then M. Edgeley lived here in this order .
CIVIC NUMBER 853 - Mr. Raymond Corcoran. Leo Barrette was the brother of Ernest who came from the Grand Rang near the Claire Fontaine which became "Dion Moto Inc." in 1998.
CIVIC NUMBER 877- Owned by Walsh, the Lemay.
CIVIC NUMBER 883- Owned by Willie Walsh and his family.
CIVIC NUMBER 872- Walter Corcoran and his family.
CIVIC NUMBER 893 - Mr . Norman Henderson along with his father, known by everyone as little Bob.
CIVIC NUMBER 888- Mr. Harry C. McArthur, then Lew Corcoran, then Armand Moisan, and now by Mr. J.L.F. Nobert.
CIVIC NUMBER 899 - Felix Moulierat. Michael-John Corcoran. Albert Corcoran. Mr. J. Germain and his family.
CIVIC NUMBER 909- Mr. Joseph Germain, known as "Ti-Jos"
(little Joe) by everyone.
CIVIC NUMBER 937- Ernie Smith, his wife and their two daughters; Mae and Ruth. Mr. Smith built his house himself. His trade was carpenter/plasterer. He was the son of Dave Smith who was from the mountain.
CIVIC NUMBER 924- Mr. R. McKay then Mr. R. Gingras.
CIVIC NUMBER 953 - was Big Bob pyle. This house was the residence of the Keelers. It was transported upstream from the rapids, bearing their name. The rapids were situated at the extreme west of St. Raymond and Ste Catherine. During the summer months we did some great trout fishing in the Keeler Rapids.
CIVIC NUMBER 959- Mr. Napolean Bureau and his family.
CIVIC NUMBER ??? - was the school - "School of the English". It was torn down. In front of the English school was the Club House for the skaters and the hockey teams. This house has also served as a school.
CIVIC NUMBER 1010 - THE BOARDING HOUSE - Unique in its own way in all of Hampshire County which today goes by the name: Portneuf County. This house was the property of M. Eugene Moule-Rrr-Rat; everyone during this period pronounced it MOULE-Rrr-RAT. This dwelling was used in many ways: a school, a general store, a rent, a hotel and as a boarding house. In my opinion, this house should be classified as a historical monument and returned to its original appearance. I wish that the people of Chute Panet approach the authorities and have this house preserved.
CIVIC NUMBER ??? - The house near the Ste Anne River bridge was the residence of the Jones family and their son Eric. During the years of 1850- 1860 it was the residence of the miller Mr. Elie Corriveau and his wife Louise Vachon. Mr. Elie Corriveau was the brother- in-law of my great-grand father Michael Corcoran who had married Marie-Anne Vachon. During these years the road ran along side the river up to civic number 1467 by the Michael rapid.
The original residences of Mr. M. Corcoran and Mr. T. Sisson were situated along the river. Eventually the Sisson house was moved near the residence of Mr. Curtis Clark. Mr. Curtis Clark's house became that of Mr. Edgar Clark and eventually that ofMr. Donald Gilpin and his wife Beverly Clark. Its civic number is 1467.
Retracing our steps to the boarding house and retaking the present road
CIVIC NUMBER 1021- Mr. Willie Gray - Mr. Noreau - Mrs. M. Beaumont
Mr. Beaumont, Mr. Lagace, Mr. Pare and Mr. Cantin resided in similar houses, all in a row, being of the same style.
CIVIC NUMBER 1051 - This was the house of the Brown family and eventually it became the property of Mr. Gregoire Planondon who operated the post office and general store on this site.
CIVIC NUMER 1071- Mr. Drolet
CIVIC NUMBER 1087- Mr. McKinnon
CIVIC NUMBER 1091 - Mr. Arthur Vachon and his family. One of his sons, Jos, was our hockey referee. His whistle was always frozen. In other words he didn't whistle very often.
CIVIC NUMBER 1109 - Mr . Pierre Vachon, nicknamed Pit, was the brother of Arthur. Their father was Louis Vachon. Don't forget there were three consecutive Louis Vachons.
CIVIC NUMBER 1121 - The little school where all the students, even Mgr Alex Vachon, St Raymond's most illustrious son, started their studies here. It is situated behind the actual house.
CMC NUMBER 1140 - Mr. William Darbyson - Alex Corcoran - Olivier Potvin - Isidore Potvin - Robert Potvin
Along route 354, on the present day site of the Hydro Quebec station, there was a house and a little brook filled with gold fish. Today it is dried up.
CIVIC NUMBER 1181 - Louis Vachon was a carpenter and a farmer. Eventually his son Joseph Alexandre Vachon who married Mary Davidson lived in this residence. Everyone knew them by their first names Mary and Jos. Their son Alexandre, later known as Mgr Alex Vachon, was born in this house. Later on, this house was inhabited by the families of B. Plamondon - Messrs. Germain and Genois.
CIVIC NUMBER 1232 - Mr. Joseph Dyon (now spelled Dion) and his wife L. Picare (now spelled Picard) and eventually Louis Corcoran - Annie Corcoran - known in our days as Mrs. Ayotte.
Now, we arrive at the residence of my grand father Michael Corcoran Jr. He was the son of Michael Corcoran Sr. He was a farmer, plus he had a barber's chair at the front of the house. He had a passion for the violin. He played at square dances and the Irish Jigs on festive occasions. Upon his return from Chicago with his wife Caroline Cayer, he built his house from 1905 to 1906. At the request of the last owner Damecour, the firemen of St. Raymond burned down his house during the winter of 1998.
CIVIC NUMBER 1467- Mr. Sissons - Mr. Curtis Clark who left it to his son Edgar Clark - Mr. Donald Gilpin and his wife Beverly Clark. Recall that Mr. Sisson was Mr. M. Corcoran Sr's neighbour along the Ste Anne River on the site of the old route in 1854. Now we have reached the McElrea's (big Willie and small Herbie). Between the two farms was the road going towards the mountain. Afterwards, we had the farms of: Tomlinson, Davidson, Gaudet, Germain, Borgia, Kelly, McHugh, Marcotte, Paquet, Boutet, Magloire or McGuire.
CIVIC NUMBER 2000- Mr. Onesime Germain and his family. They were very courageous as they went over 5 kilometres on foot to get to school. When they wanted to go to church in St. Raymond they travelled a distance of 10 -1/2 kilometres by horse and buggy. Alas! The children gathered wolf's claw or club moss in abundance as well as wild berries on abandoned properties during the years 1937 to 1947.
We have now reached the limits of St. Raymond, Ste Christine and St. Basile via the little dirt road, amongst the little white birches and the old grey moss. A route I will never forget!
N.B. In 1937- 1947 there were no civic numbers in the countryside.
Returning to the farms of the two McElrae brothers and taking the old route over the mountain. After crossing the Little Bear Creek, we climb a part of the mountain road where we pass the Henderson farm - Emmit and Arlington.
The next farm was that of Mr. George Edgeley who had acquired it from the Livingstones. The neighbouring farm was that of Richie Morrow and later ofMr. Hughes.
At the corner of the Mountain Range, there was a school near the communication tower. We then arrive at the paternal house of the Henderson's. Vivian and her mother return every year and spend the summer here. Next it was the homes of Bill Darbyson Clifford and Florence Tomilson the Williamson's the Penders the Forsyths Dave Smith and his son Ernie Charley Smith the blacarry Connolly Bob Smith Charlie Smith the Turners. We have now reached the swampy land called Turner Swamp. At last we have come to the Grand Rang (route 365). Near the Anglican Church was Jack Gray. He had the oldest post office in the region. He served Bourg Louis, a part of the Grand Rang along with the Mountain Range. During this period the mail was delivered starting from Cap Sante then to St. Basile, Rang Ste. Madeleine and Bourg Louis which became St. Raymond.
In this era the county of Hampshire (called during the early English regime) which later became the County of Portneuf, was totally managed from Cap Sante: the roads, the churches, the mail, the bridges, the schools.
Panet Road became the First Range, then the Front Range, to le Grand Rang and finally Route 365.
ROUTE CORCORAN - Corcoran's Route was known by everyone under the name of the Chute Crossing. In 1822, Thomas Corcoran and his wife along with their son Michael (aged four) left Ireland for North American. They passed by New York, Montreal, Quebec City, and Bourg Louis- today called St. Raymond since 1842.
It is at the comer of the property number 626 and 661 that they built their house, more precisely at about seven hundred feet from the paved road. Formerly it was the site of Mr. Robert Lemay's cottage.
The little range was a crossroute betWeen Corcoran' s Route and the Mountain Range. On this route tWo houses were built of which one was for Mr . George Corcoran and his wife Annie Mooney. Eventually they moved to Montreal. On this route we could reach the charcoal ovens of George Cayer and his son Willie who today lives in St. Raymond.
THINGS I REMEMBER AS A CHILD
I often thought about what it took to be a farmer that had a bad back, or chronically sore feet. There were no chiropractors or even doctors that could remedy the situation. The work of a farmer was not one of calling-in sick. If the crops weren't in on time, the family could starve to death. Often these people would break an arm or leg, and the bones were never set properly resulting in a permanent limp or other disability .
I used to help prepare my grandparents vegetable garden on the Victoria Day weekend. This was a large garden used to produce enough vegetables to last them until the next harvest. The vegetables not used for eating were used to make pickles or stews. They had a large freezer to store the frozen vegetables. Harvest time was especially busy with the preparing the produce for freezing and the making of pickles, jellies and jams.
There was a cold cellar with a dirt floor for storing the root vegetables. The eyes on the potatoes would grow about three feet long. It used to amuse me - these small potatoes with several roots spreading and intertwined with others.
When my grandfather decided to plant another large garden with only potatoes, created a lot of work. The garden had to be turned over - fertilized, and rows had to be rilled. Then the pieces of potato planted. The black flies were always a problem. They were unbearable on days without a wind. He would build sludge fires in large oil drums that would produce smoke to help drive these pests away. We would also have to cover as much skin as possible but they would always find their way under and bite. This smoke couldn't have been healthy to breath. As the potatoes grew it was my job to pull the larger weeds out and to pick off the potato beetles and put them into ajar.
The road in those days was gravel. A truck would pull a contraption built of heavy wood to try and smooth the gravel out. On dry days a vehicle would drive over these roads creating a thick dust cloud. This dust would fill the house. As the road became busier and more and more truck traffic - this problem became a constant irritation. As the government banned using the river to float logs to the paper mill, more and more trucks were used to transport the logs.
My grandfather would purchase used oil from the local gas station or pay someone to spread oil over the patch of road in front of the house. This would be very effective keeping the dust down for a while. He would get so mad if he paid to have this done then it would rain and wash the oil away.
Growing up in a small town only about two hours away, we use to go to the farm often for the weekend. We would also spend part of our summer holidays here.
The roof on the house was made of tin, a fairly versatile material that could be painted; in their case it was always painted red. It was always exciting when it rained as it reverberated and at times this would be deafening.
Drinking water was always a problem. The only palatable water was located beside the bank of the St. Anne River. The water was always scarce and a precious commodity. In the spring the river would rise and often cover the well thus making it undrinkable. Large containers were kept so when this happened, the neighbours were called upon for water. Also, there was an electric pump located in the cold cellar to pump the water to the house - a fair distance. This pump seemed to always go on the frits, especially when company arrived. Also, the pump was at the mercy of power outages - which seemed to happen often.
The electrical storms were frightening here. I could never understand why the thunder seemed louder and the lightening strikes brighter. These storms were watched with amusement but also respect and fear. The barn, the highest structure around, was always feared would bum down. I remember a tree behind the barn was hit and looking at it the next morning and was amazed that the lighting had split it in half- but left it standing
Large barrels were used to collect water from the eve's troughs that would be used to water the garden.
Organic matter was composted and the other garbage was either thrown in the river or behind the garage into the swamp.
There was an old "outhouse" built behind the garage. My Dad was the only one I ever saw using it. He was a regular. It must have been 100 years old. It finally rotted out and toppled down the hill into the swamp. We often laughed at the possibility that he could have been in it. Living in the city (Montreal) I was impressed that my grandparents could go into any store in the village (St. Raymond) and purchase just about anything on credit - a tab. I would tag along with my grandfather when he received his pension cheque and would go into town and make his way to the different establishments paying money towards his tab. They all knew his name and all seemed very friendly. Some people would speak English to him, and others only French. He would communicate in both languages - I thought he was perfectly bilingual, but in hindsight I believe he communicated to get by, but was not really fluent in French.
I always loved sitting in his large Meteor (1954 model I think) as he drove over his fields along the fence line. I thought his car could go anywhere. He didn't care if it got scratched or got mud on it. He was practical !
I do not remember my Grandmother going outside much. She did not like the hot sun and especially the insects. She was always busy inside. There were times that the St. Anne River would overflow its banks. The house was built on high ground, but the lower field and road would often be covered in water. One time we arrived and could not drive throUgh the flooded road. We required the use of a rowboat. I remember my Aunt and Uncle with hip waiters on leading the boat through the water. Great fun for a kid, but I'm sure a great inconvenience for the adults.
When my Grandfather required wood for any project, he would sometimes have a tree cut down and sawed into planks. One year one of the large spruce trees along the drive way either had blown down, or was cut down. I remember my Grandfather and Father trying to dig out the huge stump. They decided to use dynamite to blow it out. My Dad lit the fuse and ran like I've never seen before, to shelter where we were all huddled waiting for the explosion. We weren't disappointed. It was very loud and Shook the house breaking windows. They only did this once.
One of my favourite stories of the good 01' days, is: "One evening a young man came calling to see his girl friend who lived a good mi/e up the mountain road. He visited for a time, and while he was there a bad snowstorm had b/own up. Being the peop/e they were, they asked this young man to spend the night, for they didn't want him to have to return home in the storm. He was very shy and hesitated to answer. He excused himself and disappeared into the storm. He was gone a long time, they thought. Too /ong to be using the 'out-house 'I They were concerned. Final/y a knock was heard at the door. There he was, standing there with his nightshirtl He had gone all the way home to get it and come back. "
" Irish colonists faced hard times with cheer and prayer "
Article by Alex P. Corcoran
Quebec Chronicle- Telegraph
Wednesday, March 13, 1996
"I dedicate this little work to the memory of my ancestors: men and women of strong faith and courage. They faced the difficulty of pioneering cheerfully, with prayer, laughter and song."
The English government had protected Canada from invasion by the sea by building the fortifications of Quebec, but it was still worried about possible invasions from the land. Therefore, the British government decided to encircle Quebec with colonists from the old country. South of the St. Lawrence River, Frampton, Saint Patrick's and Saint Sylvester were settled. North of the river, settlements were made at Saint Basile, Saint Madeleine's, Bourg Louis, Valcartier, Saint Catherine's and Stoneham.
In 1815 the British government offered free transportation, land, tools and rations to encourage immigration to Canada. Most of these English colonists lay in the county of Portneuf. Its area was about 50 miles by 35 miles. Most of the colonists were Irish. The Seigniory of Bourg Louis was often referred to as "New Ireland".
There were also English, Scotch and American colonists. The latter were United Empire Loyalists who emigrated from Connecticut in the U.S. after the American War of Independence. Some of the colonists were veterans of the British Army. They settled in and around Valcartier and Saint Catherine's.
R. Coughtrie located in Valcartier in 1816. John Neilson and Andy Stewart came in 1817. E. Hale brought colonists to Portneuf in 1821. In 1823 Peter Robinson brought over five hundred Irish Catholics. In 1824 there were three hundred souls at St. Catherine's. Colonists were not wanting. It is estimated that in 1825 at least 50,000 souls wished to immigrate to Canada from the Old Country .
All of the above history has been culled from "The Storied Province of Quebec", pages 393 to 408.
Saint Raymond was the principal village of Portneuf County. The parish church was set up canonically on May 25, 1842.
To bring lumber to Quebec City, the old Gosford Railroad was built in 1874. Originally it had wooden rails.
The Quebec and Lake St. John Railway was laid in 1883. Many Irish left their farms for the time being and worked on the building of this railroad. Among these was my grandfather, Charley Murphy, with his team of horses. There were railway stations at Valcartier, Saint Catherine's, Bourg Louis and Saint Raymond.
By the second half of the 19th century , we find many Irish Catholic families and some Protestant families settled along the roads from Saint Basile to Saint Raymond. May I recall some of these names, begging pardon for any I unwittingly remit.
Michael McClintock was once Mayor of Saint Basile.
Michael Fitzgerald was one of the old timers. One day he yoked up his bull with his carefully woven straw harness to kayle (visit) with a friend. He tied up the bull in his friend's stable. But when he went to go home, he found that a loose cow had eaten the straw harness.
There was a famous sailor, Jim Smith, who married the daughter of the celebrated "Trickey" Gaffiley. The latter lived to be 114.
There was Cindy McGann and the Shannons, Burns, the Dillons and Pickfords. John Pickford came from Ireland. He had six daughters. There were the Turleys, Bill and Carried, and the Powers, John Ned, Maurice. John Power married one of the Turley girls whom I forgot to mention.
There were the Smiths, Paddy Hennessey, the numerous McClintock clan, Will Burns, Art Bums, Pat Cleary, Dick Cleary. Mike and Charley. A Jim Cleary married Dolly Pickford (probably should read Polly after Polyanna). It was Jim whose marvellous memory helped me write this story. There was old Jack McCarthy, Jerry McCarthy, Alex Robitaille, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Lawless with Jim and Annie. Nor should I forget the Livingstones and the Camerons.
Up the Front Range way you could stop off at the Mooneys' and have a cup of tea with Mike, Maggie, Jack and Ned. Nearby, Jack Gray kept the post office. Further up the Front Range road you could stop at Maggie Russel' s and pick up your letters. She kept the post office for years.
Pat Russel was there and Jim Love who married Maggie Russel. Ellen Connolly kept house for them and Jim Love who married Maggie Russel. Ellen Connolly kept house for them. Further on you found the Gilchrists and the Reasons (sib Rezin's).
On the Back Range road you came to Harry Piles ( sib Henry Pyle) who owned a gristmill (this fact is probably not correct). A Smith family lived up near the Bourg Louis Station. On the other side of the tracks lived Tom Dean and family.
At the little English Church going to the right you were on the back range road but going to your left you were on the road to the Mountain Range. After traversing Turner swamp and climbing a sandy hill you came to the old Turner Homestead. It was still there when I was a boy. Further on you passed the Smiths: Matthew, John, Big Bill, Mat, Martha and Charley. Climbing another sandy hill on the right you passed Bob Smith's where he lived with his daughter Maria and son Wilbur. On the left you passed Larry Connolly's forge. Ned and Ellen lived with him. Old Ned could do anything for you: build you a house or dig you a well, shoe your horse or cure your sick cow. He was much in demand.
Just above Larry Connolly's farm you came to the farm owned by my grandfather, Charley Murphy. Just before you began climbing a rocky section of the road you passed the excellent farm ofDave Smith. His son Ernie and I were friends.
Further up the mountainside you came to Jacob Smith's and not far from him on the other side of the road was George Hedgeley (sIb Edgeley). Further on were the Hendersons, Williamsons and Davidsons.
The Mountain Range was predominantly a Protestant settlement. But Larry Connolly with his son Ned and daughter Ellen were allowed to settle because Larry was a blacksmith and they needed one. Charley Murphy was allowed to settle because he was related to the Smiths. He was a convert, the rest of his relatives having been Protestants.
On the Front Range Road up towards St. Raymond, you passed the homes of the Hoyes and the Corcorans and the Vachons. This was the cradle of the Corcorans. At this point on the St. Anne River, now called Chute Panet but in those days Point Base, was a dam furnishing power and light for the paper mill. Here many worked and learned to be millwrights or paper makers. Further up the Front Range Road before it dipped into the long and steep Dairy Hill, you came to the home of the Davidsons.