Thanks to Norm De Merchant for some of the
information listed here
If you have any information on the history of these places, or on early settlers in each town or village, please let me know! Thanks.
Baker Brook is a village located at the confluence of Baker Brook and the St.John River. Its first settlers were American lumbermen who moved up to Madawaska Territory from the Kennebec River Valley in Maine.
In the late 1820s and 1830s this area became part of the dispute over the border between Maine and New Brunswick (For information on the border dispute, go to my Boundary Dispute page.) Following the decision to draw the border along the St.John River itself in 1842, these Americans apparently moved to the US side, in what is today St.John Plantation and St. Francis, since they appear in the 1850 US Census in Hancock Plantation.
"Baker Brook 9 mi SW of Edmundston at the mouth of Rivière Baker-Brook. Post Office Baker's Brook Creek 1847-1851, PO Baker's Brook 1851-c1885; PO Gagnon c1885-1893, Jean Gagnon, postmaster; PO Baker Brook from c1893. Village incorporated 1967. First called Chatauqua by a priest, then Sainte-Emelie." (Rayburn)
"Claire 15 mi. SW of Edmundston. PO Middle St Francis
c1885-1893; PO Clair from 1893. Village incorporated 1966. Named
for Peter Clair (1817-1902), who came from County Clare, Ireland.
His descendants are prominent residents of the village."
"Connors 25 mi. SW of Edmundston. PO Upper St Francis c1885-1897; PO Connor 1897-1947: PO Connors 1947-1958. Named for Robert Connors (c1835-1895) from Nova Scotia". (Rayburn)
Edmundston also known as Petit-Sault, or Little Falls
Edmundston PO Little Falls 1847-1851; PO Edmundston from 1851. Incorporated city 1952. Named for Sir Edmund Walker Head (1805 - 1868) Lieut. Gov. of NB 1848 - 1854, who visited Little Falls in August of 1850. Formerly called Little Falls (Petit-Sault) for falls at the mouth of the Madawaska River. Frequently misspelled Edmunston. (Rayburn)
Edmundston or Petit-Sault was part of the parish of Saint-Basile
until 1872, when a chapel was build on land donated by Francis
Rice. Priests came from Saint-Basile to Petit-Sault, until 1880,
when the parish of the Immaculate Conception (Immaculée
Conception) was separated from Saint-Basile.
"Rivière Verte 9 mi. SW of Edmundston at Rivière Verte. PO Green River 1864-1907 PO Lynch 1907-1910, Mary A Lynch postmistress; PO Green River Station 1907- 1935; PO Riviere-Verte from 1935. Village incorporated 1966. Commonly called Green River in English." (Rayburn)
Although Saint-André was not established as a parish until 1901, the area that now comprises that parish was inhabited much earlier than that. In the 1851 census of Victoria County, within Andover Parish the "French Settlement" was populated by French-speakers, like the valley upstream. This "French Settlement" was located along the St.John River in what is today the parish of Saint-André. The village of St-André was first populated around 1860. "The Laforge, Levesque, Michaud, Page, Poitras, Rioux and Saint-Amand families are among the first founding families." (source: Upper St.John River Valley site of the University of Moncton at Edmundston,, at http://www.cuslm.ca/madvic/eandre.htm)
"Sainte Anne 8 mi NW of Saint Leonard. PO Quibus c 1885-1898; PO Ste-Anne-de-Madawaska from 1898. Village incorporated 1966. Formerly known as Andre Settlement." (Rayburn)
Formed as a parish in 1872, parish registers start in 1886.
Saint-Basile was founded in 1785 by early Acadian settlers. It is the site of the church serving the parish of Saint-Basile le Grand, which was established in 1794. Saint-Basile served the entire Madawaska region on both sides of the Upper St.John until 1838, when St.Bruno in what is today Van Buren was founded, and then 1843, when Ste-Luce in what is today Frenchville.
"Saint Basile 5 mi. E of Edmundston. PO St Basil 1852-c1885: PO Upper St Basil c1885-1911; PO St Bazil 1911-1938; PO St Basile from 1938. Village incorporated 1966." (Rayburn)
"Before the arrival of the first French people in the region of Saint-François, the entire territory was occupied by Americans who had taken possession of the land around 1820. These people, originally from the Kennebec Valley, came for the pine forests which are found in the region. Their names were Wheelock, Bacon, Studson, Hannawell, Powers, Harford, Bartlett, Webster, Maddocks. The first French settler in Saint-François was Firmin Cyr." From: Information on the foundation of the parish of St-François de Madawaska
"Avant l'arrivée des premiers Français dans la région de Saint-François, tout le territoire était occupé par des Américains qui avaient pris possession des terres vers 1820. Ces gens, originaires de la vallée du Kennebec, étaient venus à cause des forêts de pins que l'on retrouvait dans la région. Ce sont les Wheelock, Bacon, Studson, Hannawell, Powers, Harford, Bartlett, Webster, Maddocks. Cependant, le premier colon français de Saint-François fut Firmin Cyr" source: Information sur la fondation de la paroisse de Saint-François-de-Madawaska
"Saint François 19 mi. SW of Edmundston. PO Webster's Creek 1847-c1885, Augustin Webster, postmaster; PO Winding Ledges c1885-1901, named for rapids in Saint John River; PO St François de Madawaska from 1901. Village incorpoarted 1966. Former CN Station Ledges, established 1891." (Rayburn)
The parish of Saint-François was founded in 1859, when it separated from Ste-Luce. The church was built in 1850 and served by priests from Ste-Luce until 1859.
also known as Albertine
"Saint Hilaire 6 mi SW of Edmundston. PO c1885-1947 and 1968-1970; also PO Albertine 1893-1968. Village incorporated 1967. Saint-Hilaire Parish Established 1877. Named for the church built in 1868 on land donated by Hilaire Cyr. Bishop James Rogers named the church for Saint Hilaire, former bishop of Tours." (Rayburn)
Saint Hilaire was part of Sainte-Luce parish until 1868, when it was detached and became a parish in its own right, in large part because of the border that had been drawn in 1842, dividing the community at the river. Resident Hilaire Cyr donated 10 acres to the parish for a church, cemetery and rectory.
"Saint Jacques 5 mi NW of Edmundston. PO Silverstream c1885-1903. PO St Jacques from 1903. Village incorporated 1966." (Rayburn) Settled c1831 by retired soldier James McDonald, who was granted land for his participation in the war of 1812. The first French settlers arrived about 1823. [Thanks to Luc Charette for this information]
"Saint Leonard PO Grand River 1847-c1880; PO St Leonard Station c1880-1926; PO St Leonard from 1926. Town Incorporated 1920. Named for Leonard Reed Coombes, settler c 1840." (Rayburn)
Until 1838 Saint-Leonard was part of the parish of Saint-Basile . In 1838, St Bruno parish broke off. In 1854 a chapel was built at St.Leonard, served by priests who came from St.Bruno; the first parish registers date from this year. In 1868 Saint-Leonard became a parish in its own right. The following year the parish bought land from Leonard Coombs. The church was constructed on the land and opened in 1876.
Source for history of Roman Catholic parishes, web site of the Diocese of Edmundston (which also has a map showing the parish borders): http://www.diocese-edmundston.ca/annuaire-2001-2002/sommaire/zones-pastorales-et-paroisses/zones.pastorales.et.paroisses.htm
Return to Upper St.John Valleys communities page
Last revised 4 Mar 2015