Touring the Upper Ottawa: Chichester Township, Pontiac County, Quebec

My great-grandfather Archibald McDonell settled in Chichester Township.  His brother John McDonell lived in Sheen Township which is farther west but they are right next door to each other.  When Archie married Mary McDonell in 1861 he added more family and a great many of them lived in Chichester and on Allumette Island.

The bridge from Chapeau takes you into Chichester township and over the Culbute Channel.

Chichester Township Sign

Once passed the sign you come to a three corner area with a big sign pointing to the right (east)  for Waltham and to the left (west) to Chichester, Nicabeau, Sheenboro.

Highway signs for Chichester and others

When I was preparing for this trip I was all over Google searching for information about this area.  There was a lack of travel information but there was one person a Lachlan Cranswick who had posted photos and information about his visit to this area.  Lacklan was from Melburne, Australia and unfortunately he died suddenly but someone has preserved his website.  The photos are a little big and take a while to load.  So you do need to be patient.  His website explains his death and more.  His photos were a big help. There is a warning that the information may be old.

http://lachlan.bluehaze.com.au/chalk_river/2006/jun2006/11june2006a/index.html

I used other methods to learn about this area like Google Earth, Google Images, my Streets and Trips mapping software and other Google searches like finding Lachlan’s website.  I even went on a search for Quebec road signs so I could see what they looked like using Google images.  I was surprised to see that other people are just as fascinated. My Dad would be proud!

Lepine’s store is on your right.  I did not investigate his holdings but out front are all these machines and it looks like he also has trailers under the road signs.  I turned to the left and proceeded west.  It was not going to be easy to find vantage points of the Culbute Channel and any remnants of the old canal for there are houses and farms along the edge of the river and side roads like Riverside, Squirrel Point Road and Duck Lane.  I was a little hesitant about driving down them and opted for other areas that were more open like a boat launch off Ch. Chichester and took some photos of the channel.

Boat Launch of Chichester

Culbute Chnnnel, part of the Ottawa River

This Ch. Chichester is the name on the south side of the highway and Ch. Nicabeau on the northern side.  I turned right and headed north following the road to the right up to Ch. Malone and turn left up Ancien de Nicabeau road.  My goal was the Auberge Norfolk (County Kitchen).  According to my friend, and almost cousin Elaine Burns Brown, it is the former home owned by the Burns and McMahon family, her family.

My connection to this home is through Sarah Mariah Burns who married my great-uncle John Archibald McDonald (Jack), brother to my grandfather Ronald S. McDonald (R.S.), both are sons of Archiie and Mary McDondll.  Boy would I love to hear the story of home these two met.

Auberge Norfolk is in lovely country.

Norfolk Country Kitchen

The Main House for Norfolk

Maybe the kitchen?

In order to stay and eat there you have to call and make an appointment/reservation 819-689-2588.  They have a website:

http://www.aubergenorthfork.ca/index.htm

This link is at Elaine Brown’s website showing the Burns-McMahon home and the view taken in the Fall. It will also link you to her family history website regarding the Burns Grier families and more.  There is a Burns mountain that you can go up on and take photos but I was not familiar with were that was so mine are strictly from the Auberge Norfolk looking west.

http://www.personainternet.com/etbrown/map.htm

Here are my photos – just click on the photo to make it bigger and then use the back button to return to this post:

Looking west from Norfolk

Lovely views

The road to Norfolk

I headed back the way I came turning to the left as you see in the picture above. There is a lake as you drive this road but I am not sure the name of this one.  I thought it Lac Poupore but that might be a little further west.

Coming up on the mystery lake?

Lac Poupore, maybe?

Chichester the town/hamlet is about 2 kilometres west from the Chapeau bridge and what I call the three corners.

There are lovely homes and at least one grocery stores, maybe two, along the highway.  There is a small white house with a red roof and that is the Culbute Museum.  It does not open till June so I did not get to visit. I am told there is a giant family chart of the Poupore family up on the wall.  Across the street is a Stinson’s which is another big white house with the post office and it was also closed up tight but there was a friendly bear to greet you.

Culbute Museum, Chichester, Quebec

A little fun!

Chichester, Quebec

From the Auberge Northfolk and the lake I actually headed up to Nicabeau along Ch. Nicabeau to Ch. de Eglise (accent over the E) and turn right and went pasted the old weathered school building with a big sign – Stay Out!  I almost turned south on this road but when I saw that it was a dirt road with a grass median I decided to back up and do a U-Turn and that is when I spotted the Holy Spirit Mission RC Cemetery off the road across a field sandwiched between a building on the left and a farm on the right.

The Holy Spirit Mission RC Cemetery is a middle-sized cemetery.  It had a wire fence and a gate which was locked with a chain.  It was a good thing there was a fence for cattle were making their way along the northern side going west through the trees.  I didn’t venture too far for another cow was laying down chewing its cud and I didn’t want to spook it.   I don’t believe I have family in this cemetery.

Acoording to my map it is Ch. Poirier on the left where the cemetery is located. I believe another building was next to it that might have been a bible study church?  Ch. Poirier and Ch. de Eglise are one road with different names whether you turn right or left from Ch. Nicabeau.  Note there are various spellings for Nicabeau so don’t let that throw you.

There was no sign but it did look like it was being cared for the grass was cut.  The picture shows that it is set back from the road so note the tree on the right second over is about where the road is located.  So that means if you are driving east you need to look left.

Looking toward the road from the cemetery

Here are some overview photos of this cemetery.  The Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group (see link on the right side of this blog) has publications covering this cemetery and more.  There are also photos online of the tombstones.  I will post more when I return home.

http://gravemarkers.ca/quebec/index.htm

Holy Spirit RC Cemetery

UPDATE:  July 7,  2012:  Here are the additional photographs for this cemetery.

Holy Spirit RC Cemetery

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