Thursday, July 7, 2016

10 Part Series on Major Fires of Saint-Hyacinthe (Part 2) September 3, 1876


"Those who have learned the terrible misfortune that has befallen on Saint-Hyacinthe in which The Courier was one of the many victims of yhis horrific fire. On September 3rd all our equipment burned, as well as our presses, sheets of Agriculture Journal and Farmer's Journal and we could not save our account books, some volumes of mail , a few boxes, and a small part books from our library.

Having to buy presses and other new hardware, is very difficult, it will take a few weeks; before we can resume the regular course of our publication and we are counting on the sympathy of our subscribers.

We have the courtesy of our colleague Union to offer our subscribers the sad story of the terrible conflagration Sunday and he please accept our thanks.

We are overwhelmed by fatigue and pain in the soul that we draw these lines.

Alas, our charming little town of Saint-Hyacinthe has just suffered a terrible misfortune, that Divine Providence spreads over an entire population at the least expected moment. Quebec suffered terrible setbacks, St. John was partially destroyed, but the fire we suffered is the most disastrous ever seen in the history of the country, given the population and extent of Saint -Hyacinthe. The fire has swept in and devoured all before it and we do not exaggerate by saying that nine-tenths of our city is a heap of ashes.

The fire broke out Sunday at two o'clock in the afternoon, in a building leased by Magloire Blanchet , on Des Cascades, back to the printing of the Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe.

The weather was fine and a light breeze helped to spread the flames further. At the time of the fire water from the aqueduct was lacking as in Saint John since the morning, the ducts had been closed, in order to effect certain transactions.  instant was  Like all the surrounding houses were wooden, the water was missing and  the organization of the fire was very incomplete, it became impossible to put out the fire and when the water was finally available the devastation was too expanded to isolate. Then we can say it was a stampede. The wind having risen carried the flames, a great distance.

Archambeault the house, the beautiful block Kéroack, touts our stores around the market, the market itself disappeared in a cloud of smoke.Despite vigorous efforts, the house rented by Bank of Saint-Hyacinthe offices was also devoured by fire, as the Post Office. The further Merchants Bank suffered the plight of others. The magnificent homes of Girouard were not spared the elegant villa that Dr. St. Jacques had just erected in front of the bishop, the lovely home of Mr. Sheriff Taché, as Mr. LG de Lorimier, prothonotary, the offices of Messrs. Bernier, Bachand and Richer RE Fontaine, the notary Guertin, were swept away in a few hours.

About four o'clock a steam pump arrived by special train to Montreal and Montreal brave firefighters were pressed into service. Their efforts were first directed to the great factory of shoes Compagnie de Saint-Hyacinthe and Mr. Mills. Langie and Fréchette. They managed to control the flames that consumed the surrounding houses. Fortunately they preserved this great building, as if it had burned, establishing Larivière & Frère body going there, and maybe the mills and cloth factories and manufacturing company of shoes Saint- Hyacinthe.
We are only three stores and no resources to feed all these people who is in the streets, homeless and without food. Oh how great is our pain and that Providence was severe in punishment that was inflicted. Already blacks were well tested by the financial crisis in the country; our brave working population had, it seems, enough days of trials and tribulations. At the approach of winter here it was reduced to poverty and no shelter.

It is not without tears we see the poor suffering mother with the most cruel anguish, the child ask the food she can not give him the honest and private workers the fruits of his savings. Doubtless God who so distressed we find consolation for our misfortune and we will send the help of generous hearts.

Fortunately, our communities were spared. Also do we see with our recognition Grey Sisters, sisters of the convent of the Presentation be the first to provide assistance to transport objects, and comfort the afflicted. It was beautiful to watch the dedication and efforts of these holy women in the midst of danger, and last night our religious houses received all these people who came to beg for shelter. Many found refuge for the night in churches. Do not forget the priests of our seminary and the diocese and the Dominican fathers who multiplied to assist the population. May God give them a hundredfold what they have done for the needy.

The streets where the fire has passed are the St. Joseph streets, Saint-Hyacinthe, Sainte-Anne, Saint-Denis Mondor, Piety, Holy Mary, Concorde, St. Paschal, Williams, Cascades, Saint-Antoine, Saint Marguerite du Bord-de-water, St. Francis, St. Simon, St. Louis, St. Michael and St. Casimir.
On St. Simon Street stood only four houses near the river; street Bord-de-water the two houses, the Saint-Louis Street, 4 houses, St Mary Street 9 houses. In the beautiful Concorde Street, in the space between the Rue Saint-Antoine, and the bridge from the center, there are only 5 houses. The Saint-Antoine Street only four houses standing. The fire stopped at the Yamaska ​​avenue, near the river, for lack of homes to power it.

Many houses and households were insured, but we can not specify an amount. It is difficult to give the amount of losses. Some believe the one million and a half dollars.

The city map we publish our readers will be aware of fire disasters.
Yesterday morning the post office opened in the registration office and two banks have also started their operations: The Bank of Saint-Hyacinthe, on Girouard Street in the house once occupied by the judge Chagnon, and the Merchants Bank in the part of the remains of Mr RP Duclos facing on Girouard street. All papers and bank values ​​were saved.

A convoy was shipped from Montreal yesterday morning with bread and other provisions for the suffering population. It circulates a rumor going to say that there had been loss of life, but that is not true.
We do not believe the attack on the Herald to belittle our people, by insinuating that innkeepers retailed liquor while their house was on fire.

(Translation may contain errors)

(c)2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson

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