Arnprior, Renfrew County, Ontario: Archives

June 15, 2012

It was Friday, May 25, 2012 and my time in Renfrew County was coming to an end.  My last stop was Arnprior to visit the Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives.  There was a lot of construction around Arnprior and they had closed off Division Street and so I came into the downtown area via Daniels Street.

Arnprior’s Welcome

Driving down from Pembroke had not taken that long but I needed some food.  I learned that some Dairy Queens are just ice cream only with maybe a hot dog to offer.  If they are a restaurant they will say so on their sign.  It did take me across the bridge so I could see the Madawaska River a tributary of the Ottawa.

Arnprior’s downtown – Very charming!

Once my tummy was happy, I headed over to the museum which is a very big brick building with a tower.  You cannot miss it.  It is situated beside the Arnprior Public Library and shares a parking lot. 

The Clock and Museum of Arnprior

It took me a few minutes to figure out where the Arnprior Archives were located.  Yes, you guessed it.  In the basement of the public library. 

The Sign tells me were to go to find the Archives

Here is their website:  http://www.adarchives.org/ 

The Arnprior Public library is very nice and the lower flower was not what you would normally expect. 

Arnprior Public Library

The bottom floor was set up like a lounge and there was a Keira Coffee Machine waiting to be used.  There were stacks in the back area of books. A librarian sat at a desk apparently there to help.

The archives itself has two small rooms off this lounge area on the lower floor.  It was a little cramped.  I did manage to find a seat at a table.  They had the Index to the Upper Canadian Land Books so I reviewed them. These books are probably everywhere in Canada and consist of many volumes.  I was looking at volumes 5 and 6.

The archive has inherited the Renfrew County land records http://www.adarchives.org/apolrod.htm and I realized I would need a lot number in order to access them. 

The Index of Probated Wills in Renfrew County 1878 to 1969 was of interest.  Based on what I have learned our ancestors were very much on the move and had interests in one area and lived in another and even died like in Ottawa and Montreal and are buried there, so keep and open mind. 

They had cemetery records and I was very interested in the Albert Street Cemetery publication. 

I collected as much information as possible on Alexander MacDonnell the lumberman who settled at Sand Point.  I am very curious about his family origins and interested in his siblings. I have read there were six brothers and was told by someone else there might be eleven!  Several of his brothers received large land grants in the area, as well as on Calumet and Allumette Islands.  http://www.bytown.net/sandpoint.htm He first settled in Perth and then moved to Glengarry and then up to Sand Point.  He is said to have encouraged family to come and help him in his businesses.  Three of the brothers of this Alexander are said to have stayed in Glengarry and have descendants. 

I would like to thank the volunteers at this archive.  They were helpful, friendly and took good care of me.  I left a copy of my booklet based on this McDonald family blog for their library holdings. 

Next stop the Albert Street Cemetery and a close encounter with a ground-hog or was it a beaver?


The Pontiac Archives, Shawville, Quebec – One more Time!

June 14, 2012

Another view of the water tower – Timmy’s is everywhere

I began my day driving through Renfrew for it was time to head up to Pembroke after I finished up with the Pontiac Archives.  I wanted to explore the Quebec side of the Ottawa River on my way up north.

Renfrew’s Clock Tower – City Hall

I was now familiar with Bruce Road which stops at the light right by the Rocky Mountain House in downtown Renfrew.  I decided to end my stay in Renfrew by having breakfast there.  I had dinner the night of my tour of Allumette Island, Chichester and Sheen.  It has all knotty wood paneling inside.  Someone had placed figurines on the chandelier in the middle of the dining room area. I thought that was funny.  It was very homey and the food was good:  http://www.therockymountainhouse.com/ 

Storyland Road was not to hard to find and I was at the Portage Du Fort bridge:

More of the bridge to Portage Du Fort

The dam and power structures – Portage Du Fort

The drive to Shawville is lovely. 

One of many farms near Shawville

I was back at the Pontiac Archives and dug into the genealogies, this time focusing on collateral lines:  Poupore, LaCour/LeCour/Tebeau/Record/Ricard, Williams, Moor/Moore, Perrault, Leahy, Downey, Malone, Murphy, Burns, McPherson, Welch/Walsh, Frazer, Kennedy, Butler, Ryan, Ferguson, Sauvé and others.  These are the families that married into my great-grandparents Archie and Mary McDonell’s siblings families.  There was not as much information as I had hoped and not as far back in time that I had wanted.  I was looking at 1850 to 1901.

The Pontiac Archives is in Shawville which locates it further south in Pontiac and I have noticed that there is a concentration of documentation, histories and more from Fort Coulonge to Gatineau.  For some reason the upper Pontiac is less emphasized.  Why is that?

A REQUEST:  If you have ancestors who settled in Pontiac Counties please take a few minutes and print off or create a file that you can attached and send to the Pontiac Archives via their email or by mail.  Here again is their link:  http://www.pontiacarchives.org/  Don’t think that the Internet is the only way to spread the news about your family.  People are so impacted with information and lack of time they don’t always have that choice to be on the internet all the time or they don’t have that kind of access due to money concerns. 

Please send and or give them your family histories, I did!

I finished up at the Pontiac Archives and said my thanks you and goodbyes!  I was glad I had visited.

There was another restaurant and pub to the left of the library as you exit the front door that had a deck. It was on Rue Main.  I decided to try that for a different experience and it was great. Entering it through their door was a little odd. I cannot remember the name and I can’t find it online.  It had comfort food as well as a bar in the middle of the very long room.  I had worried about food but I can guarantee you will be able to get a good meal in Shawville. 

Here are a few more photographs of Shawville for your enjoyment.

Hotel de Ville – Shawville

After quieting my tummy, I headed up Hwy 148 (301).  This highway is wonderful.  It is a two lane road but it is in great condition.  I had no problems with driving along it.  Now that I know this, I can advise that if you want to stay somewhere other than Renfrew and drive to Shawville to do research at the Pontiac Archives you can do so without a problem.  The distance and weather might be a factor but the road is great.  Crossing the Ottawa can be done at Waltham, Portage Du Fort and at Qyugon you can take a ferry, otherwise you do have to come from Gatineau northwest or south from Waltham.  Hwy 148 follows the Ottawa River and if I had more time I would have done the whole tour.  Hwy 148 seems to end when it meets Hwy 40 near Pembroke after crossing Allumette Island.

Try this link for a very interesting information about road trips for the Outaouais area – the Quebec side.  You will have to do a little digging to find the various specific road trips for Outaouais:  http://outaouais.quebecheritageweb.com/attractions-and-tours  They are an online magazine of articles formation about the history of the towns, sites and more along the Ottawa (Outaouais) River and some photos.  I was very happy to find this website. 

Because of the time constraints I headed up to Campbell’s Bay to go to the Palais de Justice for Pontiac County (County courthouse).  It was open in the morning 9-12 and afternoon from 1-4 pm M-F and I had to get there quickly.  I figured I could double back to tour a little of Calumet Island after my visit to the Palais.  This website has the information about Quebec’s courts:  http://www.justice.gouv.qc.ca/francais/joindre/palais/cartes/campb-carte.htm

Palais de Justice, Campbell’s Bay – Rue John

My goal was to obtain printouts of the land lots that I had identified for several of my ancestors:  Archie, John his brother, and others that I suspected of being related. 

It was a little confusing to figure out which room to go to because I was finally hit with French as the only language. As you enter the building on your left there is sign that has the word “Ligne” in it and that is where I went to get these printouts.

The location board in the Palais de Justice Campbell’s Bay

The office were you obtain the land lot histories

The clerk was very nice and of course she started speaking in French till she realized I did not.  I had taken the time to write everything down so that she could just use my list.  We settled on the price of $4.00 for each printout and I asked for several.  She headed out instructing me to wait in the lobby and disappeared for about 15 minutes.  She came back with a stack and told me the last one didn’t exist.  My lousy handwriting made it look like another number so I corrected that and she kindly obtained the copy for me and didn’t charge me. 

Sigh!  This is where I made a big mistake.  I did not review the papers at that time.  I paid my money and asked her about accessing these documents and she said that I could do so online because that was were all the land records were.  It was not till much later that I studied them only to find out that they went back and stopped at early 1900.  I had thought I would get the lot history all the way back to the beginning circa 1850.  So they were all 1900 and to the present and only one showed me anything of value.  I was very disappointed and mostly frustrated.  I was hoping it would give me some information about Archibald’s early years. 

DO NOT DO WHAT I DID!  CHECK THE PRINTOUTS before you leave.  I am told that there was a fire in Hull in 1900 and that destroyed things?  I do not know how this affected the records for Pontiac County?  The online source for the land records may not go back far enough.  I don’t know?  I am still trying to figure out Quebec land records.  More on this topic in a later post. 

I did learn and confirm that the land records printouts are at this location or  all are online at the link given below.  I can access them even though I am a USA citizen.  She told me that they charge like a $1.00 so you do have to use a credit card to sign up to use the online system, but it is only for verification.  That was encouraging.  I knew about this website but hesitated to sign up.  I think I will take the plunge when I get home and see what I find.

I have tried to type this exactly as it was written on the summary sheet she gave to me. 

Pour toute information supplémentair, communiquez avec:

Service d’assistance â la clientéle de Foncier Québec: lundi, mardi, jeudi et vendredi, de 8h30 à 16h30 (mercredi de 10h à 16h30)  Téléphone: (418) 643-3582 Région de la Capital-Nationale 1-866-226-0977 Sans frais au Québec, en Ontario et au Nouveau-Brunswick.  Couriel: assistance.clientele@mrnf.foncierquebec.gouv.qc.ca

The clerk also gave me this url to go to. 

https://www.registrefoncier.gouv.qc.ca/Sirf/Script/14_06_01-02/pf_14_06_01_reglr.asp

The area along Rue Front in Campbell’s Bay has a parking lot right on the Ottawa River.  Actually I think that was what was distracting me and I was becoming very tired.  I love rivers and the Ottawa is as fascinating as others I have seen and especially because it was a big part of my great parents Archie and Mary McDonell’s lives and my grandfather Ronald’s, he grew up along its shores. 

I pulled my car into this parking area on Rue Front  and dallied enjoying the view. 

The Ottawa (Outaouais) River looking north

The Ottawa River (Outaouais) looking toward Calumet Island

There was a church across the street on Rue Front:

A Church in Campbell’s Bay – Rue Front Street


The Pontiac Archives, Shawville, Quebec

June 13, 2012

It was Tuesday, May 22, 2012 and this was the day I had looked forward to for a long time.  I have been wanting to  visit the Pontiac Archives in Shawville since I knew of their existence.  I was driving from Renfrew to Shawville via Portage Du Fort.  So I would be exploring the area on both sides of the Ottawa river and also learning about the treasures in this archive.

The Best Western was not offering a free breakfast like advertised on the website. I was a little unhappy about that for I had booked with them for this very reason?  So I went into Renfrew on O’Brien Road and came to the Flamingo Restaurant at about 8th.  They had an easy access and big parking lot.  Apparently they have not been rated well online, yet, I had a friendly waitress and a lovely breakfast that day.  I think I was amused by the name and the pink color of the building.  When I travel I like sit down restaurants where I am served or I can get my meal without too much of a hassle. 

Flamingo Restaurant, O’Brien Road

On the way up to Pembroke the day before, I had noticed Storyland Road and knew that was where I needed to turn to take the highway across the bridges to Portage Du Fort.  You can also go via Hwy 653 the Chenaux Road which Storyland meets up with.  When I did come to Hwy 653 I turned right and follow it to Hwy 301.

I had passed Storyland which was not yet opened for the season.  It is tucked into the forest on the left. It is a family theme park.  Here is there brochure:  

http://storyland.ca/photos/photo-archive/StorylandBrochure10.pdf 

There are some very nice views of the area from this road especially where you come to Riverside Road.  You can see across to the Quebec side.  Trying to find an elevated spot from which to view the Ottawa River is not an easy task.  If anyone has some suggestions that would be very nice for others. 

Looking east towards Quebec

The bridge to Portage Du Fort is very different from the one to Allumette Island.  The cars drive considerably slower and you get to enjoy the view.  You are driving across a dam or a series of dams and it gets a little tight in a few places for it is a two lane highway.   There are all these interesting green power structures in various configurations.  My husband who loves electricity would have been in heaven.  

Looking north toward the Ottawa

  

One of the dams across the Ottawa, Portage Du Fort

Once across these dams you come to Portage Du Fort.  You make your way passed the church and turn left onto Hwy 303 and head up past the St. James the Great Roman Catholic Cemetery.  It is  just as you climb a little hill and go almost around the corner and all of a sudden it is there so keep an eye out.

The Welcome Sign – Portage Du Fort

Portage Du Fort – A Church? on the Rue De L’Eglise N.

Here are some overview pictures of the cemetery:

St. James RC Cemetery? I hope?

More of the cemetery in Portage Du Fort

At first I thought the fields stretching out before me as I was driving along were lovely white flowers like clover, but when I looked closer I saw that they were hundreds of Dandelions gone to seed spreading out before me.  It was very pretty as long as you didn’t think about all those spores being introduced into the air.  My husband would have gone crazy! 

You travel along Hwy 303 till you come to Hwy 148 and turn right and Shawville is only about 2 kilometres to the south of this turn.  Here is a video by Duffy about a Trip to Shawville:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sxuBCkO6HM  It is very close to what I did up until he leaves Portage Du Fort.  There are some videos on YouTube about Shawville just make sure you choose Shawville, Quebec.  I found that accessing Google Images was a great way to get some pictures of an area and to orient myself before I went on this trip. 

I followed the lead of the car before and was soon on Rue Centre in Shawville.  It was not easy to spot the turn into the town of Shawville.  It was between some buildings in this shopping area along the highway. 

I found the Pontiac Archives in the Library building.  It was down from the main intersection on the south side of Rue Main in the library or more appropriately, bibliotheque.  I parked on the northern side of Rue Main and walked back to the archive.

Shawville Library, The Pontiac Archives are in this building in the basement

The Pontiac Archives is the repository for all things about Pontiac County, Quebec such as town records, genealogies, local history books, newspapers, maps, church and cemetery records, tax valuations back to 1857, and more. This is their website:  http://www.pontiacarchives.org/

This archive is cared for by a friendly group of volunteers: Elsie, Dorcas, Venetia, Margaret, Gwen and more.  They were very helpful and set about trying to find me information.  I gave them a booklet that was a condensed version of this blog about my McDonald family and the areas that were specific to Pontiac County and also Glengarry County where I think they came from.  It was enough to show where the family migrated to.  It will become part of their current collection.  Blogs are living breathing entities so more information will be added as time goes by but I think what I submitted to them will be good for quite a while and I did reference the blog url.

The main work area of the Pontiac Archives

Café 439 was across the street and it was delightful very nicely decorated. http://www.cafe349.com/en/home.html I had an egg salad sandwich and tea.  The waitresses would take orders in either English or French switching between the two languages with ease.  I live on the west coast of the USA so we do not hear French that often.  This was my first introduction to the real presence of the French language, besides the Quebec road signs.  I know… just indulge me please.  

Cafe 349

The rest of the afternoon I continued to study the Pontiac Archives holdings. Visitors were coming in and out throughout the day.  They do have a finding aid for their holdings that is placed on a small table in the middle of the main work room.  In the back is the microfilm and computer area in another small room.  They have a lunch room toward the front of the area.  So they are nicely set up.  The stairs are little steep but I think there is another access in the back of the area where the washrooms are located. 

More treasures of the Pontiac Archives in thru the door. That room has restrictions on access, just ask!

Venetia Crawford is a local historian, author and impersonator.  She is a volunteer at the archives.  She told me that she had tried view the remains of the Culbute Canal but the trail had lots of nettles and she decided that you would have to get a boat to go to the location of those parts that are still visiable.  My great-grandfather Archibald McDonell was the lockmaster for the Culbute Canal.  I have posted about his involvement with the Culbute Canal in the past on this blog.  This canal is in the channel between Allumette Island and Chichester Township (municipality).  It was abandoned in 1891 which was the last year that Archie had written he was lockmaster on the Canadian Census.  I was reading that there might have been a fire that caused some destruction in 1889. 

Venetia also pulled the municipal township maps which showed all the lots and number for Sheen, Chichester and Allumette.  This made it easy to identify where the lots for Archibald and John are located and hopefully more as I dig in deeper on the land records of the area.

I spent most of my time searching their files for genealogies and obituaries to see if I could find that one piece of information that would link my family to another and point back to Glengarry County.  I may not have been successful but I feel I learned a lot about what was available and what was not.  Of course, I have to review all my findings from this trip and you never know what I may have discovered. 

There had local histories and I studied the ones for Allumette Island and Sheen, mostly.  When they publish a book in this part of Quebec they have to write paragraphs or sections in French and then repeat them in English.  That was very helpful.  That is not always the case for some books are in French only. 

My day at the Pontiac Archives was coming to a close and I was ready to head back to Renfrew.  So I returned the way I came north on Hwy 148 to 303 and through Portage Du Fort.  I stopped at the park where there is a war memorial and a little lake.  There is a restaurant across the street if you are inclined. 

Portage Du Fort honors its military

A big beautiful house in Portage Du Fort

I decided to return to Renfrew.  I had discovered that I could exit into Renfrew by using Bruce Street which is north of the city and winds its way into town passing the St. Francis Xavier Cemetery where Father Joseph E. Et. Arthur Gravelle had been the priest for a number of years.  His fonds s are at the National Archives of Canada and here is a link to a finding aid: MG25-G 271, Finding Aid No. 1180.  He was an avid genealogist and kept records about the pioneers and families in the area of Renfrew and beyond, so you might want to check the contents at the link I provided. 

Time to get ready for the second day of research at the Pontiac Archives.

Portage Du Forts – Palais du Justice (City Hall)


Touring the Upper Ottawa Valley: St. Joseph on Allumette Island, Quebec

June 12, 2012

May 21, 2012  was Victoria Day in Canada and because many businesses would be closed, I used that day for touring the area of Pembroke, Allumette Island, Chichester and Sheen Townships.  It would allow me to just sightsee and tour land where my great grandfather Archibald and his brother John McDonell (McDonnald) had settled. 

I made my way past Waltham and across the bridge to Allumette Island following Hwy 148 south. I was heading back to Renfrew the town where I had lodging.  I did not stop in Waltham and explore.  There are some cemeteries in this area like the Ivy Hill Cemetery and Our Lady of Perpetual Help R.C. Again the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Group has publications for these cemeteries

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~onrenfre/Cem_Pont.html

The Gravemaker Gallery is at this link: http://www.gravemarkers.ca/quebec/pontiac/index.htm

The photographs of the tombstones is great, but not complete, so you do need to look at a transcription publication to get as many of the burials as possible and then look at the local church records if they exist for that area.  If funeral home records are available that can also add more information.  Take time to note the date of the transcribing of the cemetery, the older the better.  Make a note of the date of the  establishment of the church and cemetery and that will help you target the time period for your ancestor.  The earlier the burial the harder it will be if you find it, if at all.  If the person had money they might have moved to a bigger city like Ottawa and Montreal and died check around.  They may have migrated to another location like Archibald and Mary McDonell who died in International Falls, Minnesota.

The OCFA (Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid) is also helpful: http://ocfa.islandnet.com/

This is also a useful cemetery cite:  http://canadianheadstones.com/

As you cross the bridge fromWaltham there is an area that was once the location of the first church on Allumette Island.  It was neglected and then the bridge was built and that destroyed it completely.  It was thoroughly searched several years ago and nothing was found of significance. 

As I was heading south I spotted the spire of the St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church.  I turned left onto the road by the church sign – Rue St. Joseph and pulled in front of the church.  There was no cemetery in sight? Hmmm….? 

St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, Allumette Island, Quebec

I drove east a little further and saw the road sign for Chemin du Cimetière.  It was a gravel road that proceeded east in a straight line.  Well, why not give it a try?  So I drove along going slowly looking on both sides and spied what looked like a black iron fence in the distance.  It turned out to be a black chain link fence and there was the St. Joseph Graveyard nestled among some trees.  As you can see from the picture below it was a little ways down the road.

Looking west, the road to the cemetery

St. Joseph Graveyard, Allumette Island, Quebec

St. Joseph’s Cemetery – Overview

My day tour of the area was completed and it was time to get back to Renfrew and get some dinner and rest.  The next two days would be a visit to the Pontiac Archives in Shawville and more exploring on the Quebec side.

I will post more photos of the cemeteries I have visited as soon as I can get it done.  Use the links above to find more information about a cemetery in Pontiac County, Quebec.

UPDATE 7/8/2012:  Here is a complete set of the photographs for this cemetery.  These are overview photographs so you can get an idea about the location, size and care of the cemetery. 

St. Joseph RC Church & Cemetery

Touring the Upper Ottawa River: Sheenboro Township in Quebec

June 9, 2012

I am still sharing my May 21, 2012 experiences exploring the area above Allumette Island called Chichester and Sheen Townships.  There have been challenges to keeping up on this trip but don’t worry you will hear about my adventures, all three weeks, HA!

They call them municipalities. Everything is changing in Ontario and Quebec with the government districts and maybe all over Canada, so you will have to be diligent in your research of the locations if your family comes from here. They are consolidating and discarding the old names. This means that if you look at a map of today or the future the area you are looking for may have disappeared. These two archives can help with the new designations for the government districts.

The Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Society: http://www.uovgg.ca/

Pontiac Archives: http://www.pontiacarchives.org/

After visiting the Holy Spirit Missionary RC Cemetery in Nicabeau (Nicabong), I headed west on Ch. de L’Eglise.  According to my map it turned into Ch. Sullivan and Meehan. It was a long gravel road with no sign of habitation and a thick grouping of trees lining the side of the road.  It seemed longer but it was probably a little over 5 minutes and I came back to the Chapeau-Sheenboro Hwy.  I made the mistake of turning left. After a few minutes it became obvious that I was going east so I had to do a turnaround at a connecting road.  There was a white picture fence along this road, which was curious?

I headed northwest up the Chapeau-Sheenboro Hwy and passed the Sheen welcoming sign.  It was not long after that I came to Sheenboro itself.

Sheen Municipality Sign

The highway called the Chapeau-Sheenboro Hwy and becomes Ch. Sheenboro after the sign to the municipality. You pass several houses and buildings and the big white parish meeting-house and right behind all these buildings to the left is the cemetery.

Sheenboro, looking south, southeast

The church and its sign – St. Paul the Hermit

From the Back of the St. Paul the Hermit to the northeast

It is very easy to find.  In the above picture you see where you enter between the church on the left and the parish meeting hall on the right, then you follow the road down till you turn and yo see the car sitting there.  It is very easy to access this cemetery and the road through it means not careful maneuvering.

The cemetery is in a big meadow which has room for future burials.  When I visited again later in the week someone was firing what might have been a  canon?  It went off about three times with a loud “Ka BOOM!  I could not see anything because there is a thick grouping of trees and what looks like a stream that goes along the back of the cemetery.  I could hear the cattle making their complaints.

St. Paul the Hermit Overview

My goal was to find the particular gravestone of John McDonell (McDonnald)and Julia.  I found the tombstone after a little dithering and it was in great shape. It was in the northeast corner of the cemetery closer to the parish meeting hall.

John McDonald and Julia Record Tombstone

I believe this John McDonell to be the older brother of my great-grandfather Archibald McDonell.  He died in 1873. He was coming home from a little enjoyment of alcohol and must have fallen and cut himself.  They ruled it an accident.  This came from his obituary which was found by my cousin at a church archive in Pembroke.  Nothing more was said about his life other than his immediate family.  I had hoped it would reveal where he came from but it concentrated on the accident instead.   See my posted dated March 31, 2012, A Discovery:  Archie’s brother John McDonell, living next door in Sheen?

Julia’s last name is a problem.  I was talking with a genealogist in the Cornwall area and she is bilingual and said that LeCour could be mispronounced as “Record or Ricard” if said in French?  So she played with it switching from English to French? My cousin and I have the following names for Julia: Tebeau, Lacour, Record and Ricard.  This same genealogist was looked through a big book of marriages edition for male and female and we were not finding LaCour but we were finding LeCour. AUGH!

UPDATE July 7, 2012:  Here is a complete set of the photographs I took at St. Paul the Hermit Church and cemetery.  These are just overview photographs with some specific tombstones.  Go ehre for more individual tombstone photographs of the area:  http://www.gravemarkers.ca/quebec/pontiac/index.htm

St. Paul the Hermit RC Church & Cemetery

My next target was to see Fort William which is a historical site.  It was once a fur trading post. This article from Wikipedia is not too bad and describes the area:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheenboro,_Quebec

So I turned the car down Ch. Perrault another gravel road closed in on both sides by trees and not a living soul around. At least it seemed that way. The drive took about 5 minutes till I came to an intersection in a wooded area.  My first reaction was “oh dear,” what do I do now?  I then spotted signs by and on the tree across the intersection.  Nothing fancy, but good enough to tell you to go in that direction.

Fort William is across the Ottawa river from Petawawa or actually the Canadian Forces base above Petawawa. This is a very wide part of the river.

I proceeded down the road and spotted the gate with stone pillars.  It was closed up.  So people were parking their cars in the shade of some big trees and bushes and carrying their items to the beach area.  There was a sign on the gate stating that the Pontiac Hotel will open in June. You do have to walk a little ways to the beach area but if you are into beach bumming it is a good thing.  I am afraid my fair skin will not allow too much sun without burning.

People were enjoying the lovely hot sunny day and several boats were moored along the beach.

The road into the Fort William area after the gate

The beach

The Pontiac Hotel and beach area

The Fort William Beach

The Pontiac Hotel

There is a little church called St. Theresa of the Flower but I did not go there because at the time I had forgotten about it or did not realize its significance.  It is old and once was run by the Olate Missionaries.  Lachlan Cranswick has pictures of it on his website which I have mentioned before. http://lachlan.bluehaze.com.au/chalk_river/2006/jun2006/11june2006a/index.html

The Municipality of Sheen website has pictures of this church and more:  http://www.sheenboro.ca/community/churches.html

There is a two set publication at the Upper Ottawa Valley Genealogical Society Group library in Pembroke under the area of their publications. It is available for review:  http://uovgg.ca/index.html

Crosses & Shamrocks, Souvenir of St. Paul The Hermit Parish 1872 – 1997 Sheenboro, Quebec and St. Theresa of the Little Flower 1857-1997, Fort William, Quebec.  The second volume is an Appendix – Family Trees.  In the first booklet they give the history of these two churches.  The second volume has family pedigree charts with no sources and no index but they are families of the Sheen Township.

After I spent some time enjoying the people enjoying the beach at Fort William I made my way back along the road to the same intersection and decided to turn right.  Well this was Ch. Fort William and it came out at the place were I did my earlier U-turn to get to Sheenboro.  The one with the picket fence!  So if you are on the Chapeau-Sheenboro Highway and come to the Ch. Fort William take a left and you will be at Fort William a lot easier than me. Then at the intersection in the woods go left again.

Back on the highway of Chapeau-Sheenboro I headed east trying to find any openings in the trees and public areas where I could view the Culbute Channel but it was pretty densely covered from Chichester to Waltham where I turned and south – southwest and followed Hwy 148 over the bridge and back onto Allumette Island.

As you cross from Waltham to Allumette Island is the area that I believe was once called Church Point.  It is where the first church was located.  It is privately owned so you can’t really do any exploring without asking permission. I saw from the highway just a thick bunch of trees. My friend Elaine Brown said she was all over the area thoroughly  when she was putting her book on the St. Alphonsus church records together and didn’t find anything, it was lost to time.  Apparently when they built the bridge they destroyed the old burial ground in the process.  There had been a fire that swept the island and so they moved the church to a mid-point on the island, location unknown to me.  It was about the middle 1880’s that the St. Alphonsus Church in Chapeau was established.

Driving down Hwy 148 on Allumette Island is easy and the road is smooth.  You see a little more of the island’s beauty.  I did not get to Lac McDonald but I am told there were two, one in Chichester and one further up in Sheen.  Anyone want to go and take a picture and contact me?


Touring the Upper Ottawa River: St. Alphonsus of Liguori

May 28, 2012

St. Alphonsus of Liguori, Chapeau

The St. Alphonsus of Liguori church is located in Chapeau.  You cannot miss it because the spire reaches to the sky and can be seen from a far. There is a plaque on the front of the church and it explains the different spellings of this church’s name in French and in English.

Plaque on the Church in Chapeau

According to the information in the tourist brochures you can go inside this church daily but it was closed up on Victoria Day and there was no one around.  It might be worth calling the office in advance to make sure that this is true. According to a 2005 Pontiac Tourist brochure it reads:

“The church has the famous Casavant organ, beautiful stained glass windows, elegant sculptures and a sculpted apostolic scene, imported from France, a replica of the one at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.  The church was built to be the cathedral to the new dioceses, but it never was.”

Me and the church in Chapeau

What a riot.  I didn’t realize I was wearing my United States T-Shirt in Canada.  HA!

The cemetery is behind the church to the right and it is very large.

Warning:  It was hot and muggy and certain creatures were trying to eat me.  I got bitten at least five times.  So let this be a warning. I have been attacked by bugs in a cemetery before but never like this. Later in the week I came back armed with bug spray and wore a long-sleeved knit sweater with a hoodie.  They still got me under my hair on the back of my neck where I had missed applying bug cream. The photo above is before I was attacked.  I was told they were black flies!  The wound spreads and got real red and itched like crazy on and off. I think that the cemetery is a little swampy because I heard squashing sounds as I drove the side road area.

I am told that there are no longer burials in this cemetery unless there is a family plot that is open. You can enter in your car by the school and drive through the cemetery and around to a shady spot on the south side.

Overview of St. Alphonsus Cemetery in Chapeau

From the back of the cemetery toward the church, the stones face east.

You can obtain the records for this church either through the Family History Library on film or on-line.  At Ancestry.com under the Drouin Collection or get a copy of the book published by Elaine Brown which covers the deaths and burials:  St. Alphonsus of Ligouri, Chapeau, Allumette Island, Pontiac County, Quebec, Cemetery Inscriptions & Burial Recordshttp://www.personainternet.com/etbrown/alphonse.htm based on church records and the microfilms.

The Quebec Gravemarker site is at: http://gravemarkers.ca/quebec/index.htm

When I return from this trip I will publish more of my photographs for this cemetery where many of my great McDonald/McDonell family are buried.

UPDATE 7/9/2012:  Here are the additional photographs of my two visits to this cemetery.  There are duplicate photographs in some instances.  Some are overview and some are specific tombstones or groupings of tombstones. I concentrated on my family – McD, Sauve, Burns, Poupore, Payne, Kennedy and a few others.  I did not identify all tombstones or get detailed, it is a very big cemetery.  As I have indicated above there are others who have documented this cemetery with photographs and in publications that compare the graves to the burial records of the St. Alphonsus church.   See above.

St. Alphonsus Church & Cemetery, Chapeau, Quebec

Touring the Upper Ottawa River: Pontiac County, Quebec – Allumette Island and Chapeau

May 27, 2012

My tour on Monday, May 21, 2012 continues.  I headed east back out of Pembroke turning onto Hwy 148 east of the town by the Esso gas station.

There are three bridges that take you to Allumette Island and cross over Cotnam and Morrison Islands. The first is under going repair so there is a stop light that monitors the traffic.  The second comes quickly and you are then greeted by a big blue sign welcoming you to Quebec.  If you decide to take photos of the bridge, be careful for the auto’s speed along and don’t wait for anyone and there is not much space along the highway to walk safely.  Each bridge gives you different views of the Ottawa River.

Welcome to Quebec

The Ottawa off the 2nd bridge to Allumette Island

The next bridge is the one that finally places you on Allumette Island but the sign reads instead:  L’Isle-aux-Allumettes (below on the map it reads lle des Allumettes – there is a ˆ over the l.)

The Big Sign

The small sign for Allumette Island

Just beyond the sign is a grocery store and other businesses including a gas station and restaurant. It was very busy at this store and it was open even on the holiday.  I found a map titled  Outaouais/Gatineau which gives more detail. They feature cities on the Quebec side but not the towns I am interested in.  The Renfrew County Ontario side is on the map but some it blotted out.  It goes all the way to Hawkesbury, Ontario but emphasizes the Quebec side.  It is very interesting to me that they only feature certain communities.  Apparently when you are too small you don’t get mentioned?

Get your supplies here!

Hwy 148 travels up the eastern side of the island to Waltham and another bridge.  I turned at Ch. de Pembroke and headed for Chapeau 12 kilometres on the north side of the island.  It curves around and you are pretty much in the center of the island. Farms and fields stretch out on both sides of the highway and it is flat. First is the Dejardinsville sign which you can turn left and go exploring but I continued on to Demers Centre which is four corners filled with mostly lovely homes and at least one business.  I guess they call them hamlets?

The next stop for me was the what is called the new St. Alphonse Cemetery on the right side of the road. easily to spot but you do have to turn quickly or you can miss the entrance.  You can pull in through the gate/sign and drive through part of the cemetery. It was well-kept.

St. Alphonsus Cemetery

New St. Alphonse Cemetery overview

UPDATE 7/09/2012:  Here are additional overview photographs of this cemetery.

 

St. Alphonsus Cemetery (new)

During my trip I will stop at various cemeteries and take overview pictures of them.  There are websites that you can go to and get photos and listings of the tombstones and those buried there, as well as publications.  When I return from this trip I will post more photos and information about each cemetery that I did visit.

The journey continued to Chapeau which was very exciting for me.  As you enter Chapeau you will see their fairgrounds to the right.

Chapeau Fair

Chapeau is actually two levels, so when you come from the south you come to the upper level where the municipal building is located on Notre-Dame street and the catholic church, St. Alphonse is situated on Ch. St. Jacques with the library behind the church.  If you continue on Ch. Pembroke you drop down to the lower area next to the river and can cross the bridge to Chichester Township.

My first stop was the St. Alphonse Catholic Church where I dallied a while taking pictures of the church and the cemetery which is behind the church and over a block.  The church is very difficult to photograph because there is limited room to back up (cliff) and the spire is so tall so that is why this photo looks slightly distorted.

St. Alphonse Catholic Church

There is a green park area next to the church and it has their war memorial.

Chapeau’s War Memorial

Crossing the bridge to Chichester is a little less scary than the crossing from Pembroke to the island.  I was able to stop and take pictures and not fear for my life.  The Chenal de la Culbute is part of the Ottawa River which splits and circles the island with the major portion of the river flowing along the west and southern part of the island, while the northern part is the Chenal de la Culbute.

The Chenal de la Culbute to the east

Chenal de la Culbute – looking west

This was very exciting for me because my great-grandfather Archibald McDonell was the locks master.  The locks were operated from about 1870 to 1891.  The history books and articles keep changing the date when it was abandoned.  Archibald is listed as the lockmaster in the Canadian census for 1891 so I tend to think he was still involved at that date.  It was made of wood so a lot has rottened away.  I tried to figure out its location but failed.  I was told by a volunteer at the Pontiac Archives in Shawville that you would have to go to the remains by boat.

So I put out a challenge to someone who knows where the remains of the locks are in the Chenal de la Culbute and would be willing to take pictures for me.  Just leave a comment if you wish to contact me to help?  I am wondering if they widened the Canal and was told that there were a lot of dams.  When I first started research back in 1999 the Culbute lock was not mentioned nor did anyone know about it but I am seeing more on-line.  I will revisit later with additional information.

When I was preparing for this trip, I tried to find auto tours.  I stumbled onto this website for the Outaouais Heritage WebMagazine that has some very interesting articles and auto tours click on the Outaouais Pontiac Heritage tour and then go to the page 3 for more choices for tours.   http://outaouais.quebecheritageweb.com/attractions-and-tours

On the Chichester side you can look back toward Chapeau and you will see the beautiful St. Alphonse Church rising above the trees.  Driving along the Ch. St. Jacques going west and then returning you can see the spire in the distance.

Looking back to Chapeau


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