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


Archie & Mary’s Children: John Archibald McDonald

March 3, 2011

Keith’s Uncle John Archibald McDonell was born 3rd of June 1869 in Chichester and baptized on 14 June 1869 at the St. Alphonsus Church in Chapeau. 

John's Baptismal Record pg 1

John's Baptismal Record pg2

Source:  Baptism, Marriage and Burial Index, St. Alphonsus Church, 1846-1920 FHL# B11, #1029797.  Also on Ancestry.com under the Drouin Collection. 

John was better known as “Jack” by his many friends and family.  He lived till the age of 80 years old and is buried in the St. Thomas Cemetery (part of the Forest Hill Cemetery group)  in International Falls, Minnesota next to his wife Sarah Maria Burns a local girl from the area of Chichester and Chapeau.  Sarah came from a very large family featured at this website by Elaine Brown – Murtagh Byrns and Sarah Grier Descendants:

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

Jack and Sarah had a rough time building their family.  I have only been able to find three names of children born to them but apparently there were more, maybe 5 that did not survive.  Keith had the pleasure of knowing one child that survived to adulthood.  Her name was Mary.

Jack (John) A. McDonell


McDonell and McDonell Marriage!

December 3, 2010

Keith’s grandparents, Archibald McDonell and Mary McDonell probably met in the Chichester area of Quebec in Pontiac County.  This town is across the Ottawa River in Quebec and north of Allumette Island.

On April 9, 1861 Mary and Archibald were married at the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Chapeau.  Their marriage record is found in the records of that church.   Information on the films for these church records is found at the Family History Library.  I featured them in my post dated March 23, 2010 or find the category to the right  under “St. Alphonsus Catholic Church.”

A. McDonell & M. McDonell Marriage

As you can see by this marriage record both Archibald and Mary were “McDonells.”  This brings forward the question:  Were they cousins?  I do not know for sure.  There were many “McDonells” who settled in Canada.  It was spelled in many different ways:  McDonell, McDonell, McDonald, MacDonald and older versions were Macdonell.  The Catholic priests of the St. Alphonsus church would spell it McDonell and McDonnell etc.

Here is the transcription of this document, as best I can make out:

“St. Alphonse Allumette Island 9 April 1861 after the banns of marriage have beene once published at the [prone] for mass in this mission between Archibald McDonell of this mission son of age of John McDonell and of Sara McDonell on the one part and Mary McDonell of this mission daughter of age of Alexander John McDonell and Ellen McPherson on the other part – a dispensation of two of the banns of marriage have been granted by us in virtue of a power accorded to us by his Lordship the Right Revd Doctor [Guignon] Bishop of Bytown and wherein no impediment have been discovered be the undersigned Priest of this mission have received their mutual consent to marriage and have giving them the mutual benediction at Saint Alphonse Allumette Island on this date aforesaids and on the presence of John McDonell and Rachael McDonell who have not signed.” [       ]Lynch, Priest.

The witnesses are Rachel and we know that name from the 1861 census as a possible sibling of Mary’s.  The other witness is John McDonell and I believe he is Mary’s other sibling but maybe even Archie’s sibling?  For now I will place John with Mary’s family.

I became curious as to the name of the Right Rev’d and found an “Archdiocese of Ottawa” website that has the history of the archdiocese at this link:  http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/diocese/dotta.html  I cannot find any name at this website that clarifies the name written in the marriage record for the Right Doctor _____ Bishop of Bytown.  So it must be a mispelling?

This marriage record tells me the names of the parents of Archibald and Mary.  Archibald’s parents are named as John and Sara McDonell, while Mary’s parents are given as Alexander John McDonell and Ellen McPherson.

You may be aware or not but “Bytown” is the old name for the city of Ottawa.  This is important when doing searches in the Canadian Census for the earlier years.

Here is an interesting website “Bytown or Bust:” http://www.bytown.net/

An there is also a museum at this link about Bytown:  http://www.bytownmuseum.com/EN/main.html  (this site can be read in French).

This Bytown  chronology looks interesting:  http://www.bytown.net/chronologicalbytown.htm

And of course Wikipedia has something to say:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bytown


Archibald McDonell Establishes Himself in Chichester!

October 20, 2010

Keith’s grandfather Archibald McDonell appears in the 1861 Canadian Census living in Chichester, Pontiac County, Canada East (Quebec).  He is living alone.

The 1861 Canadian census is on microfilm and was studied at a Family History Center back in about 2000.  This film’s condition was not good for  the names were blackened and hard to read; however, Ancestry.com now has this census in their collection and they have cleaned up the images so you can read them clearly.   

Source:  Archibald McDonald, 1861 Canadian Census for Pontiac Co., Canada East (Quebec) Page Starts with the name Angus (Augus) R. McDonald – page 135 (9), Image 133  (Chichester Township starts on Image 125 at Ancestry.com).

Line 28 Archie McDonnell, Carpenter, born U.C., Catholic, age 27, male, members of family 1, frame, number of stories 1.5, number of families, 1, second line – Log, one story 1, one family 1. Pg. 2 Quantity of Land attached 96, Carpenter, 12 months of labor, Value of business/manufacture 100.

The Canadian Government uses the following microfilm numbering system for this census as described by Ancestry.com.  I have used finding aids for the Canadian Census at libraries like the Cloverdale Library in Surrey, B.C. which has a wonderful Canadian genealogical collection.  Checking my notes indicate that film #C-1305 was used.

Ancestry.com’s description  – Canada. “Census returns for 1861.” LAC microfilm C-999 to C-1007, C-1010 to C-1093, C-1095 to C-1108, C-1232 to C-1331, M-1165 to M-1166, M-1168 to M-1171, M-556, M-874 to M-878, M-880 to M-886, M-896 to M-900. Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa.

The Family History Library also has its own microfilm of these Canadian Census.  The film number list below is the same as what I have written in my notes and page 135.

Family History Catalog:  QUEBEC Pontiac –  FHL US/CAN Census Area [ 517406 ]

In order to understand more about the area we are identifying in the Canadian Census of 1861 I turn to Wikipedia to assist me. 

Wikipedia has an article where they give a description and maps of Allumette Island.  This article points out the different spellings for the island in French.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L’Isle-aux-Allumettes,_Quebec 

Using Wikipedia we find more information on Chichester which is across from Allumette Island.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chichester,_Quebec 

We expand that to include the Pontiac municipality:  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontiac_Regional_County_Municipality,_Quebec

Here is a Gazetteer for Pontiac County at Rootsweb: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~onrenfre/gazetteer_Pont.html

The map below is from Microsoft Streets and Trips.  This map gives us an idea of what the area looks like where Archibald McDonell lived.  Click on the map to open it to a larger size for viewing.

Archie's Locations

This area will be of great importance in the family history and will include the town of Chichester and  Chapeau which is on Allumette Island.  The town of Pembroke is located south of Allumette Island in Renfrew County, Ontario.  The St. Alphonsus Liguori Church is located in Chapeau.


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