Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day 7: Last Day on the French Canada Tandem Tour!

Day 7 Cowansville to St. Bernard de Lacolle
Rides of 45 or 51 miles

This is an amazing day of riding on mostly flat country roads, returning to St Bernard. Bike through Mystic, to see the imposing twelve sided barn built by the Walbridge family. Enjoy this barn, now a museum and national heritage site.  Ride along Lake Champlain, into the US, with its wonderful lakeside views and restaurants. We pass old stone buildings and wonderful countryside in Vermont and New York. Then we return over the border to Canada and St Bernard.

More roosters! Québec loves roosters! This one protect the garden - 
A scare rooster!

Eight sided barn in Mystic

Another covered bridge over the Brochette River

Brochette River translates to Pike River

At the covered bridge we met and spoke with this young man riding his bike.  He was a farmer who now allows his son to direct the family business. He told us he came to this area of Stanbridge sixty years ago from Belgium.  He was a teenage soldier in WWII and remembered well the Battle of the Bulge.  He farmed the corners near the covered bridge and his wife cultivated a beautiful garden across the way.  Now days he suffers from macular degeneration -  but gets around on his bike.  He pointed out the locations of the sawmill, now gone and an area in the Brochette River where there was a small dam to power the mill.  He told us Charlotte Trottier Desrivières, née Guillimin, the wife of James McGill, founder of McGill University in Montréal, was a native from these parts.   Set back in the woods off the road was a "mansion" (it was- I could see it from the road) that had something to do with Charlotte and McGill....

Searching online I found this site in French from the Notre Dame de Stanbridge site.  The Google translation is..not very good but here it is...

Malmaison in Notre-Dame de Stanbridge



Family Desrivières
In 1801, King George III conceded to Hugh Finlay, 31.000 acres in the western part of the Township of Stanbridge.
Hugh Finlay died the same year and it is James McGill, who became owner of the concession.
James McGill, born in Glasgow, Scotland (1744) had married Marie-Charlotte Guillemin, widow of Joseph Amable Trottier said Desrivières, who had left two son, François and François-Amable Hyppolithe.
James McGill died December 19, 1813 and bequeathed to the "Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning," $ 40,000, and its ownership of Burnside for the construction of a College or University. (McGill University in Montreal was built in 1821).
François-Amable Stanbridge inherits the territory of the death of his adoptive father, his brother Francis Hyppolithe died following a duel in 1799.
In 1830, François-Amable, in turn, dies and bequeaths to his two son François-Henri Guillaume and all his possessions and conceded the territory of Stanbridge formerly Hugh Finlay.
1842-1877: "Malmaison"
Both the son of François-Amable Desrivières then settled around 1841, this territory loyalist with the aim to grow their business, which consists in treating wood, grain, flour, and later in transport their goods by train. (1860)
At the place called "Malmaison" on the river called "Pike River" a village is formed and a community develops. A dam is built across the river to enable a sawmill and a gristmill on both sides of the River. A bridge is needed to enable residents and workers to go to one or the other mills. Desrivières then build a chapel, a station (the Central Vermont Company), a general store, post office, school, and that a community is formed, so that by 1848, the place called "Malmaison" the name of the family residence Desrivières, which now has more than 200 people, is constituted as a municipality is that of Our Lady of the Angels of Stanbridge, as the first mayor with Mr. Henri Desrivières, the the most influential man of the time. The latter was also the prefect of the Corporation of the County of Missisquoi, a position he held in 1856 and 1857.
This town, one of the first to be established in this part of the Province of Lower Canada, which included lots numbers 1 to 146 of the eighth concession of 31,000 acres Sabrevois and the Township of Stanbridge, administer this great country for over forty years until March 21, 1889 while the Government of Quebec  formed from the same area three new municipalities: Stanbridge-Station, St-Ignace de Stanbridge and Notre-Dame de Stanbridge.
Stanbridge St Charles or "couture": 1850 - 1889
A two and a half miles north of Malmaison, there was a craft center known as St Charles Stanbridge which is commonly called "couture", the name of the largest owner of the place.
Joseph Couture, (son of Julien) was an ambitious and enterprising man, who, seeing the prosperity of other villages and towns Stanbridge, decided to establish several companies around the power of water given to him by the Pike River.
Enjoying a water level higher than at Malmaison, the small craft center of "couture" has been growing faster than the first and has been gaining importance in industry, commerce, population and this at the expense of Malmaison.
Thus in 1880, there are between each other: a flour mill, a sawmill, a carding mill and a large plant tissues, all properties of Joseph Couture, and to complete the "picture" a butter factory, a tannery, a blacksmith shop, several general store, a post office, a school and a beautiful new church opened December 25, 1879 at midnight mass.
Proud of a growing population, St Charles de Stanbridge, March 21, 1889 became the Municipality of Notre-Dame de Stanbridge.
On June 27, 1913, a Decree of Council of the Government of Quebec annexed to the Municipality of Notre-Dame de Stanbridge lots numbers 1 to 105 of the Lordship of Sabrevois belonging to the Municipality of Notre-Dame des Anges, which was dissolved the same days.
Notre-Dame de Stanbridge was the first town in several areas: in fact, this is the first municipality was incorporated in the Province of Lower Canada, it is here that the first Catholic church was built in 1843 and is the first village of the township of Stanbridge to have had a predominantly French-speaking population in the nineteenth century, a territory reserved only for English-speaking Loyalists.
By the way of our day or was located Malmaison ie Desrivières in the row, near the covered bridge, it is difficult to imagine that this site was once a hub of activity for the family as significant as Desrivières for the 200 people who lived there and it drew the resources necessary for their well being.
As against the village of Notre-Dame de Stanbridge, some activity still prevails. While progress has eliminated the majority of companies of the nineteenth century. The place will remain peaceful and "pastoral" as the circular tourist. The river, which is for giving so much power hydraulic continues to delight us and make our village a better place to live.
My sources: Album of the centenary of Notre-Dame de Stanbridge
Missisquoi, a Store of Memories, Vol. XII

Then I found, on the same site, photos of the mill, the general store, and the busy community that once thrived near the covered bridge!  Everything the old veteran was talking about to us was about how, at this very corner we were on, there was once a thriving commercial  community. Time passes; it all changes.  The mill, the store, the commerce have all disappeared... but he remembers so well and we, passing by for a brief moment on our tandem, can only gasp for the meaning and the memory.

Good day Québec!
Until the next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment