Friday, June 3, 2016

Saint-Raymond, Quebec

The seigniory of Bourg-Louis, which includes the territory of Saint-Raymond, was initially occupied by the Huron. Their round hut was only a few feet away from the current location of the presbytery. The seigniory was jointly owned by Bernard-Antoine Panet and Peter Langlois. The two men encourage the colonization of Sainte-Anne river valley. Four couples from Ancienne-Lorette were the first to rise to the challenge:

  • Alexis Cayer and Jane Skinner
  • Pierre Plamondon and Louise Déry
  • Pierre Duplain and Esther Robert
  • Joson Déry and Marguerite Hamel
It was in the spring of 1831 that the four men first left their home for the land the Huron had told them about. Once arrived, they shared the land among themselves. They spent the summers of 1831 and 1832 clearing the land. The four men went back to Ancienne-Lorette during the winters. In 1833, the women came with them to help prepare a permanent settlement. Other people subsequently came from the Ancienne-Lorette region.

As families arrived from l'Ancienne-Lorette, Irish communities developed in parallel in the Grand Rang sector. The first Scottish and Irish settlers arrived in the early 1830s. They came by sailboat to Quebec City, and were allocated lots in the seigniory of Bourg-Louis. Harriet Antill, an English-speaking woman married to Bernard-Antoine Panet, attracted hundreds of Irish people who were fleeing the famine in their country. The Irish colony soon built the Saint-Bartholomew chapel, two schools, a post office, a grain mill and a paper mill.

Formation of a town

Saint-Raymond was civilly erected on 18 June 1845.  


Church of Saint-Raymond built in 1900

A first Catholic church was built in 1844 on the river bank. The cemetery, before it was moved, was located near the chapel, also on the river bank. The first burial took place on 28 September 1844.
The first church was lost in a fire on 10 January 1858. A small granite church was built to replace it. However, after 40 years, despite successive improvements, the second church became too small for the ever increasing population. In 1900 began the construction of a third church south of the second one. The third church, still in use today, is a neoclassical work of art. It was built with granite from Rivière-à-Pierre. The plans were drawn by Georges-Émile Tanguay, architect of the city hall of Quebec City. The first mass was celebrated in 1902.

Wood industry

Logging started in 1850. Timber was brought to Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade by log drivers on the Sainte-Anne River. It was then sent to Quebec city by schooner.
The construction of a railroad in 1880 stimulated the growth of the wood industry. The first pulp and paper plant, owned by T.L. Jackson, opened in 1888. Napoléon Piché opened the first large sawmills in 1890 and 1904. By 1900, Saint-Raymond counted 21 (mostly small) sawmills. Logging, log driving, and lumber production became important sectors of the economy.

Late 19th century

In 1886, the population had grown to 3807.
In 1895, a flood caused a lot of damage.
Saint-Raymond lost some of its territory when its smaller neighbours Sainte-Christine and Saint-Léonard were created, in 1895 and 1897 respectively.
As the number of pupils kept increasing, the Sisters of Charity convent (le couvent des Sœurs de la Charité) was erected in 1896.
To better fit people's needs, Saint-Raymond was divided in 1898 into two municipalities: the village and the parish.
On 25 June 1899, a fire started in the middle of the village. Forty houses burned, leaving sixty of the families living on Saint-Joseph street homeless. The houses were rebuilt within three months. The municipality later bought a fire pump and formed a volunteer firefighter program. On 12 June 1907, another fire started at Siméon Martel's house on Saint-Joseph street. Pushed by the wind, it reached Napoléon Moisan's house and other neighbouring houses. The firefighters' efforts limited the damage, but 20 houses were lost.

In 1992, Saint-Raymond celebrated its 150th anniversary.
When the city and the parish fused in 1995, Saint-Raymond became the most populous city of Portneuf.

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