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The Gaspé Valpys

Perce, Quebec Canada

 

 

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April 8, 2006

 

The School at the Beginning of the Century: as seen by RÈnÈ LÈvesque, who formed and led the Parti Quebecquois

"As for the school it was miserable shack, a one room school house, more than a kilometre from home. Some winter days, with a blizzard whipping snow in my face, I remember walking backwards all the way. We would pile our scarfs and windbreakers around the red-pot stove in the middle of the room, and they would send up a cloud of steam so thick the teacher could hardly see. Behind this screen sat the whole gang of us, jostling, joking, and throwing paper planes, which made Miss Gorman nervous, and, by the end of the day, hopping mad. Did we learn to count? A little, in spite of everything. To write? Little enough. To speak? Yes, and both languages at once. To read? It wasn't necessary. Electricity hadn't yet entered our lives, but we had beautiful oil lamps of which the light could be raised or lowered at will.

 

Opinions of the Loyalists

"At first, O'Hara wanted to reduce the power of fish merchants like Charles Robin and help the Loyalists become strong, independent farmers and fishermen. But he quickly became disenchanted with the Loyalists after dealing with them; he found them to be quarrelsome, ungrateful, and unruly malcontents. Robin and O'Hara came to think the same way on many things.

(David Lee, The Robins in GaspÈ)

 

In fact they(the Loyalists) had bet on the wrong horse and they left when the cause was lost. Still others opted for the north simply because they were offered land and provisions. According to the governor of Nova Scotia, John Parr, "most of those who came to Shelburne, an important landing place, were not overburdened with loyalty, the catchword they used.

(Craig Brown et al, Histoire gÈnÈrale du Canada, BorÈal, 1988.)

 

I dare say that I have ambiguous sentiments toward the Loyalists, their loyalty to the king and the Union Jack, their fervent allegiance to the hierarchiacal contitution of Great Britain, their deliberate refusal of democratic principles.

 

(Philip Resnick, Daniel Latouche, "Lettres ‡ un ami quÈbÈcois - RÈponses ‡ un ami Canadien. MontrÈal, BorÈal, 1990.

 

They(the Loyalists) had been graciously offered a chance to settle a stretch of coasts uninhabited and unknown, but which would immediately be known as Charlie, fortress city of the old country on the border of Scotland. In that way roots and nostalgia could be perpetuated. As for the roots, they were, in their own way, as resistant as ours. These ancient tribes of Beebes, Astles, and Chisholmes, among other, which were of Huguenot descent, had been tempered by so many forced pilgrimages, from France to England, to Holland, to America. And what about those whose ancestors had followed Cromwell to colonize poor Ireland, which hasn't recovered yet. In short, they were a distinguished lot, knotty and tough.

 

RÈnÈ LÈvesque, Attendez que je me rappelle.

 

"From one season to the next we ran free between the forest and the sea. Galloping across the common fields and climbing up over the railway tracks, we would reach the wharf, and on either side of it, one of the best beaches in the township, which remains almost unknown even today. On the right the water was sandy beige, so not very deep. There, one after another, we learned to swim. You were simply thrown off the wharf, where GÈrard or another big boy looked after lifesaving if necessary. We swallowed buckets, but made it on our own. Paddling our legs like a dog, pushed here, pulled there, we finally grabbed the ladder.

 

This was the town of less than a thousand souls, where involuntarily I spent my first years. True little belly buttons of the world, very very Wasp, microcosm of a blissfully dominant minority. The whipping post had disappeared but the courthouse was still there with its pint-sized prison under the rule of Sheriff G. who had returned from the 1914-18 war minus an arm but assured of job security. Caldwell's General Store stood at one end of the street and LeGrand's at the other, with the Red and White grocery in between considered rather suspect because its owner was also the preacher of some new ambulant sect, obviously invented in the sixties. As if our good half dozen "meetings" were not enough: The United Church, The Baptist, The Presyterian, The temptingly secretive Masonic Lodge with its second-story windows(at the same level as the tree in front but we could never see anything), and, dominating the ecumenical jungle the establishment Anglican Church whose Pope or Popes lives at Buckingham, and from where the Reverend could keep an eye on the big white and yellow high-school next door.

 

RÈnÈ LÈvesque, Attendez que je me rappelle

 

The Beginning of New Carlisle

 

"When O'Hara(1) included PaspÈbiac in the Loyalist allotments, Robin quickly appealed to Lieutenant-Governor Cox. He met Cox(2) personally to discuss the matter, and he wrote him a series of persuasive letters explaining why a fishery required a large tract of forested land adjacent to its curing facilities. This land was needed as a convenient source of wood. Wood was needed not only to erect dwellings and store housed but also the stages and flakes(3) on which the cod was dressed and cured; wood was needed to build shallops from which the fish was caught, to make barrels in which fish oil was sold and to repair the ships which took the product to market; and wood was needed for fuel for the people who lived at the fishing post.

 

Robin's arguments must have convinced Cox, for within a month his agent, Felix O'Hara, removed the land adjacent to the PaspÈbiac barachois from that intended for Loyalists. They moved West to begin the settlement of New Carlisle.

 

Felix O'Hara was born in Ireland and came to live in the colony of New York in the 1750's. He was in charge of the Loyalist settlement in the Bay of Chaleur.

(2)Haldimand, governor of QuÈbec, wrote later to Cox emphasizing the importance of not allowing Charles Robin to establish a monopoly on Chaleur Bay.

(3)The stage consisted of a wharf and a warehouse in which the cod was kept in salt.

 

T.J. CADWELL STORE

Thomas James Caldwell had this store built in 1875, where he sold dried goods. In 1920, he gave the store to his son, Lee Caldwell, a merchant like his father. Recently, the building was transformed into a restaurant known now as "L'Heritage".

HAMILTON HOUSE

This house was built in 1852 to replace the first villa which had been destroyed by fire. This house was turned into a museum where people can visit and see the old furniture and how things where done.

 

CALDWELL HOUSE

Andrew Caldwell built this house at the end of the 19th century. It was moved from its original site on Oriental Street during the summer of 1992 to insure its safety, near the property of the Hamilton House.

 

THOMPSON HOUSE

Former home of Judge John Gawler Thompson, it was built around the year 1875. The new owners have renovated the house keeping its original style and made it into a Bed & Breakfast.

 

CHRISTIE'S ROCK

Where did this Rock get its name? In the year 1840, a Christie family owned the land near the rock. Today, this rock is still as popular as it was at the time. To some, it's the challenge of reaching the peak, to others it's the quiet swim or suntanning just off the rock.

 

THE WHARF

Between 1880 and 1881, the central government favoured the fishing industries and constructed a launch n New Carlisle. Schooner and steamers from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia assured at irregular intervals shipments of merchandise to and from the wharf.

 

R…N… LEVESQUE HOUSE

Built in 1905, this house was owned by Dominique Levesque (RÈnÈ's father) until 1939. RÈnÈ was raised here until the age of 17. In 1979, he came back to visit his native home. The house has had some changes made to the outside; however, the inside still has its same aspect.

 

PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

The Presbyterian faith goes back to 1798. In 1820, the first church was built and in 1925 following the union the church became the United Church of Canada. After the union, members decided to keep their Presbyterian faith and built another church which was dedicated on the 18th of June, 1930.

 

UNITED CHURCH

Until 1925, this was the Presbyterian church. Following the union, on June 10th, 1925, it became the Zion United Church. The oldest tombstone in the cemetery behind the church is that of Sarah Caldwell,

dating 1323.

 

TREMBLAY HOUSE

Judge MÈnalque Tremblay built this house around 1870 and lived in it until his death in 1911. In 1914, the house was sold to the National Bank which used part of the house as its branch until 1925, when John Gedeon Dallain bought it. It is still in the Dallain family.

 

LE MAISTRE HOUSE

In 1890, Gordian Francis Maguire built this house. On September 3rd, 1930, Pierre-…mile CÙtÈ became the new owner. During World War II, the residence was used as the headquarters for their regional army reserve. In 1952, the house was sold to the "Le Maistre" family.

 

WATERWORKS

In 1931, a waterworks system was installed on the Le Maistre property. It linked the Le Maistre house, the Chaleur Bus Garage, law offices of Sheehan and Levesque and the courthouse. Later on the system was expanded to the Sheehan and Mitchell houses.

 

SCHOOL RESIDENCE

In 1920, the missionary women of the Presbyterian church built this residence. Young girls of the region attending the academy, stayed here. The building still stands on its original site and is used for another purpose.

 

 

NEW CARLISLE HIGH SCHOOL

The first school was built around 1860 by local residents at a cost of $400. In 1915, it was demolished and replaced by a new building, which became the first High School on the GaspÈ coast.

 

ANGLICAN CHURCH

Most of the Loyalist who came to New Carlisle in 1784 were Anglican. Around 1820, the Anglican faith was officially recognized and the first registers were kept. The first church was believed to have been a log cabin on the common.

 

SHEPPARD HOUSE

William Sheppard built this house on a rock in the early 1800's. It was sold to Kenneth Doherty in 1848 and a few years later, it was sold to the present owner who is a law officer.

 

KELLY HOUSE

John Hall Kelly's father, Maser James Kelly, built this house between 1859 and 1864. John Hall Kelly was raised in this house until he went off to college in Memramcook.

December 23rd 1933, New Carlisle had a radio station - CHNC (signifying Charles Houde, New Carlisle). CHNC always played an important part in the evolution of communications and electronic media of the region. Today, CHNC disposes a power of 10,000 watts.

 

CATHOLIC CHURCH

In 1878, a first church was erected for the catholics; however, its existence was only for a short time as it was destroyed by fire. The second church, being completed in 1890, consisted of a steeple containing eleven bells weighing 1,496 pounds. The present church was built in 1953, the steeple and bells were replaced by a steeple with 3 bells imported from France.

 

COURTHOUSE

In 1872 this courthouse was built in the location that is now the municipal park. It was destroyed by fire on August 29, 1968. In 1963, New Carlisle obtained a new courthouse East side of the village land that had once belonged to John Hall Kelly.

END