Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Mylott in 19th Century Whitehall

Robert Millot, alternatively spelled  Mailot or  Maylotte and finally, Mylott can be found in the 1850 census of Whitehall, New York working as a farm laborer on the Rathburn farm on the outskirts of town. Exactly when he arrived from Québec, we do not know.  What attracted the young man to this town at the southern end of Lake Champlain? Looking around Whitehall today, it would be hard to tell.  What did Whitehall look like in 1850?  When Robert Millot came into Whitehall,  he found a town bursting with activity, jobs, commerce and crime but, at that time, only a few French Canadians.  For several decades the region was the farmland of New England descendants.  With the opening of the Champlain Canal, Whitehall quickly became the center of economic activity in the north county attracting many new immigrants because it offered many new opportunities.  It was so busy and bustling, it even became the center of a fictional story entitled Ship Fever Times.

Below are several stereoscopic views and a few panoramic scenes of Whitehall in the 19th century, helping us to imagine the Whitehall  Robert Millot saw when he arrived.

A viewer, typical of the ones used to view the images below

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Visit to Québec City circa 1949

Before the Eisenhower interstates were built, motor trips to Québec City from Cohoes took more than one day.  This trip recorded in the filmstrip below, sometime in 1949 or 1950, went through New Hampshire instead of along Route 9 and the Champlain Valley in New York to Montreal.  (there's more footage of that segment of the journey still to be posted).  Probably the family was more intent on making a religious pilgrimage to St Anne de Beaupré than visiting Montreal so the northeastern route through the White Mountains to St Anne was reasonable and more like a week long vacation.

Al Rivet probably held the Kodak camera, while his father Emile and stepmother Malvina Hamel enjoyed the cruise on the St Lawrence and the silhouette of the Hotel Frontenac, the tall dark building in the filmstrip.  The scene quickly changes form Quebec City to the Shrine of St Anne de Beaupré, the Scala Santa, the convent grounds and the busy parking lot!

Years later as a child, I would accompany these adults on this pilgrimage many times and follow the tradition of ascending the stairs of Santa Scala on my knees while praying the rosary - in English.