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History of the Eastern Townships

History of the Eastern Townships

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Published by: Nancy on Feb 21, 2012
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History of the Eastern Townships,province of Quebec, Dominion of Canada:civil and descriptive: Chapter II
Day, C. M. (Catherine Matilda), 1815-1899
Under the hand and seal of Sir Robert Shore Milnes, a warrant was issued for the surveyof a tract of land in the district of Montreal, bounded north by Farnham, east by Dunham,south by St. Armand, and west by the seigniories, bearing date of May 7th, 1801; whenafter the preliminary forms it was erected into a township named Stanbridge, September1st of the same year, and granted to Hugh Finlay and his associates, viz, John Cutting,Hannah Kellar, Clark Reynolds, Edward Martindale, Solomon Dunham, AdamSchoolcraft, John Bockus, Willard Smith, David Partolo, Caleb Tree, James Martindale,Mathew Kemble, John Boomhower, Luke Hitchcock, Jacob Boomhower, GriffinReynolds, Benjamin Reynolds, Frederick Whaler, Thomas Wrightman, Mathew Saxe,Joseph Smith, John Ruiter the younger, Stephen Lampman, Adam Clapper the elder,Moses Westover the elder, Peter Cutler, Peter Rosenburgh, Adam Clapper the younger,Henry Clapper, Peter Krans, Michael Lampman, Christopher Cartwright, John Hogle the.elder, Philip Kruller, John Ferguson the younger, Frederick Kemmerman, AlmondCartwright and Thos. Douglas.From what has transpired respecting the proprietorship of land in Stanbridge, it wouldappear that comparatively few of them made "Actual settlement" upon the lands drawn;and that consequently many tracts reverted to the Crown.The first locations in this township were made as early as 1797, when Nathan Andrewscame in from Rhode Island and settled here. The same year Caleb Tree with his familycame from Williamstown, Mass. These two pioneers settled near the site of Stanbridgevillage. The latter left a large family, some of whom retain the old homestead. About theyear 1800, William Wilson from Waterbury, Vt., became owner of the lot on which issituated the mill privilege and where the main part of the village now stands, when hebuilt both grist and saw-mills, and put up the frame of a building which was long kept asa public house. The first country store was opened here by Ebenezer Hart, about the year1810. Ebenezer Martin built the first tannery here in 1808. In March 1820, John Bakerfrom Barre, Vt., started the wool carding and cloth dressing business; and being a skillfulmechanic, not only made the machinery required in his own works, but also for otherestablishments of the same kind; no small undertaking when considered in connectionwith the fact that then it was exceedingly difficult to obtain the necessary materials andtools for such work.
The early settlers of Stanbridge had their share of the difficulties incident to pioneer life;particularly during cold and unproductive seasons. Some who are now living, rememberthat as boys they used to be sent on horseback to Saxe's mills in Highgate, Vt., for
Virginia corn
(brought there by boats on the lake) for which they had to pay three and ahalf or four dollars per bushel; and then to convey it through the woods over wretchedroads, one bushel at a time.Before reaching Stanbridge, the mountain range which comes from the South intoCanada, seems to have "
melted into a plain,
" as the land in the township is level,generally soft timbered, some portions low and marshy, and altogether better suited to theproduction of grain and vegetables than for grazing. The most considerable stream of water is Pike river, which enters at the south-east from St. Armand. This stream is socalled from the kind of fish found most plentiful in its waters; and it appears that theIndian and Frenchman as well as the English speaking settler, had each a name for itsignificant of this fact. Frequent rapids occur in its circuitous course through thetownship, which afford numerous mill sites, many of which have been improved by theerection of machinery. Grout Creek coming north from St. Armand, falls into Pike riverat Bedford.The assessable property of Stanbridge is valued at $1,066,920. This may appear a highfigure compared with the valuation of property in other townships; but can no doubt besatisfactorily explained to the inquirer. One fact which will of itself throw light upon thispoint has already been mentioned; viz: the existence of numerous valuable mill privilegesalong the course of Pike river. The number of legal voters is 787. An assessment or twomills on the dollar is levied on the rateable property for the support of schools. Thegovernment grant averages from $400 to $425 per year. Beside two academies, aretwenty-one elementary schools under control of the commissioners, and also severaldissentient schools, as a proportion of the inhabitants are French Canadians. A RomanCatholic parish named "
 Notre Dame des Anges
" has been formed in Stanbridge forecclesiastical purposes. There are in all eight post offices in the township, which will beindicated in their respective localities; also five grist mills, five tanneries, and fifteen ormore saw-mills.
Before the war of 1812, little had been accomplished toward effecting thegeneral settlement of this part of the township; yet some few openings had been, made inthe wilderness, and a grist-mill built on Pike river at this place. This however, was carriedoff by a flood, and was not rebuilt till 1815. At that early day the standing forests inStanbridge were valuable or would have been so, had there been a market available forthe timber. In 1820, a large tract was destroyed by a fire which had been accidentallyignited, and spread north from St. Armand.The village of Bedford is by no means compactly built, fife buildings being scatteredprincipally along the left bank of the stream which is here quite rapid.As Bedford is the
of Missisquoi County, the building containing court andcouncil rooms, registry office, &c., is located, here. There is an English church which
was erected about the year 1832. The first missionary here was the Rev. Mr. Robertson;two others subsequently officiating for a short period each; when in 1842, the Rev. JamesJones took charge and continued to reside here till 1854, at which time he was succeededby the Rev. G. Slack, present incumbent.A post office, several stores, an academy, public houses, mills, tanneries, a number andvariety of manufacturing establishments, and some eighty dweIlings, help to make up thevillage.Taking Bedford as a centre, about four miles to the east is
Stanbridge village
, near whichthe first locations in the township were made. In December 1834, a weekly Newspapercalled the "
 Missisquoi post 
" was started here and published three or four years, and a postoffice was opened in 1836. The Wesleyan Methodists have a society and house of worship here, which was built in 1861. A two story brick building for an academy waserected in 1854, since which the school has been in successful operation.The first Episcopal church which was built here in 1829, was taken down in 1860, to berebuilt, enlarged and improved; and when entirely completed, will present both externallyand internally, a fine specimen of church architecture. The Rev. John Constantine isincumbent. Stanbridge village also contains a banking and exchange office, three stores,two public houses, a tannery; grist-mill, the never-failing smaller mechanics' shops, andsome forty inhabited dwellings.
is a small but thriving place, one and half mile down the stream fromStanbridge village, and about three miles a little north of east from Bedford. The firstopening in the forest was made here in 1799, by Jacob Seagel, many of whosedescendants are now living in the township. About the year 1814, George Saxe built thefirst saw-mill in the place; and the first oat-mill in Lower Canada, was built here in 1827.A foundry was established here about thirty years ago by H. W. Rice, which has been insuccessful operation since, and more recently important additions have been made to theworks by Messrs. M. & C. A. Rice. The Messrs. Lambkins have extensive shops and thebest of machinery for preparing house-building materials, and are also largely engaged inthe manufacture of furniture of every variety of style and finish. There are also mills anda cooper-factory in the place. A post office was opened here some years since.Two miles west of Bedford is
, or
Stanbridge Centre
; and five miles a little to theeast of north, is
 North Stanbridge
Stanbridge station
is situated two miles west of Bedford, in the midst of an open andcultivated section of country, its general appearance indicating a village in its incipientstages. Beside the railway station, it has a post office, several stores, a public house, andsome ten or twelve dwellings.
Large tracts of land in Stanbridge were at one time owned by F. A. DesRivières, Esquire, (a French gentleman, as the name indicates) from whom it descendedto his sons, Messrs. F. W. and Henri Des Rivières, who were natives of Canada, and

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