Notes by Bernie Monaghan


An Irish brogue or a touch of Scottish burr in the center of French Canada is not unusual in Valcartier, a small village about twenty miles North of Quebec City.

On  Saturday Jan. 18, at 6 P. M. CBC-TV’s This Land of Ours series presents a filmed visit to this unique little village to learn something of its history , residents and life today.

Highlighting the program will be scenes of an old-time wedding and Shivaree.


Valcartier Village was at one time part of the Seigniory of St. Gabriel. It was conceded to Dr. Robert Gifford by Louis X1V, King of France, in April 1747.  Dr. Giffard turned the land over to the Jesuits before his return to France in 1767. Upon the departure of this religious Order from Canada, the seigniory passed to the crown and before long the land became a wilderness, a sanctuary for wild life and hunting grounds for the Huron Indians.


Valcartier opened for settlement in 1817 with the arrival of men ex­perienced in clearing forests. Many came from neighboring U. S. States – ex-soldiers, pensioners from the War of 1812. Later English, Scottish and Irish people came to farm the land.

By 1824, Valcartier had a population of 315 living on 1,670 acres of land. It was at this time that Adjutant Alexander Wolff settled in the district with his family. His descendants still live in Valcartier Village.

Christ Church, the present Anglican Church, was built on an acre of land donated in 1844 by the Hon. John Neilson, one of the four leading men of Quebec who had purchased the land from the government of Lower Canada in 1815. Neilson also donated the land on which the Catholic and Presbyterian churches are built.

Descendants of the original settlers of Valcartier still live in the valley and have retained many of the old customs as shown This Land of Ours. Raising of turkeys has almost completely replaced other types of mixed farming in the area.

Valcartier was produced and directed by John Lackie of CBC-TV’s farm and fisheries department. Host is John Foster.


On Sunday, August I7th, 1986 we had the pleasure of receiving at our church, at the 10:00 Mass relatives of a former pastor, Rev. Father Hermyle Barabe, who was Parish Priest here for eight years; from 1926 to 1934. The visitors included the priest’s sister, Simone Barabe and her husband Robert Bosse from Berthier en bas. Miss Barabe resided at the Presbytery with her  parents and her brother during that period. She was the church organist during all those years. She was also accompanied by her brother and daughter. Mrs. Bosse has been married for over fifty years, is at present 78 years old and is the mother of 10 children, 9 of whom are married.

She remembered and spoke of many of the parishioners at that time, few of whom are living today. She spoke of people who used to sing in the choir, she mentioned Rita Murphy (Mrs. Harold Kack) Pat Corrigan and Pat Kack among others. She remembered Mrs. Michael Holton, who at that time lived beside the church, also of Lepires, Adams, McLaughlins. Those of us who had the privilege of speaking with her agreed with her that it was the same church but not the same people.

Her brother, Father Barabe, was 31 when he arrived in Valcartier and thirty-nine when he left; he served in several parishes and died at the advanced age of 81 in 1983. He was fluent in English, having been assistant to Canon Maguire in Sillery before being named pastor of Valcartier.

On Sunday, September 21,1986, we had the pleasure of receiving at our church at the 10:00 o’clock Mass, Mr. Neville Hayes of Berlin, New Hampshire. He was accompanied by his wife and members of his family. They visited the cemetery and paid me a visit. They left me the history of the Hayes family. Mr. Hayes is the grandson of the late Fred Hayes and great grandson of the late Patrick Hayes & Martha McCoubrey.


In June of 1986, St. Gabriel’s Church, Valcartier, was the recipient of some beautiful pews , a gift from Miss Teresa Whelan. The pews were or­iginally manufactured in St. Jean de Port Jolie and shipped to a newly opened school in Port Cartier, North Shore. Port Cartier was formerly known as Shelter Bay. The school was under the direction of the Sisters of the Holy Heart of Mary, and Miss Whelan’s sister, Sister Mary Eliz­abeth (Eileen) was attached to the school at the time. When the Sisters left there in 1973, having been there from 1960, the pews were donated to St. Patrick’s Elementary School in Quebec City. When the Elementary School closed in 1986, Miss Whelan, who had been Principal of the school for a number of years, donated them to St. Gabriel’s Church and are now placed in the Sanctuary


When the Christian Brothers of St. Patrick’s School left Quebec City in the 1970’s, the chapel of the community had been endowed with some precious ornaments of the Altar. Among them was a chalice which was donated to St. Gabriel’s Church. It appears that the gift was made to our church by Mr. Gerald Kingwell, a former member of the Christian Brothers Order, and was commissioned to place the chalice in an Irish Parish. It seems that he chose Valcartier because some of his ancestors belonged to this parish and are interred here. This chalice was used in the celebration of the funeral of his mother Mrs. Samuel Kingwell, nee Frances McLaughlin, in August of 1984. The pastor, Rev. Father Maurice Delisle, 0.M.I., felt it would be appropriate to use this chalice on this occasion.

The Sacristy of the church converted into a Presbytery.The Sacristy of St. Gabriel’s Church was converted into a Presbytery during the winter of 1986. The work was undertaken and accomplished by John Goodfellow at a cost of approximately $40,000. The mobile home at the end of the parking lot which had served as a presbytery for a number of years was sold for the sum of $1000. The Sacristy, now the pres­bytery is one of the oldest buildings in the area, having been built and used as the first Chapel before 1839, when the first Church was built in 1852, it was moved to its present site on orders from the bishop at that time. When it was under renovation the hand-hewn timbers were exposed and the work of our ancestors could be admired. The parishioners are proud of their Rectory .


The way of the cross in our present church, built in 1911, was paid for through the efforts of the builder of the church, Rev. Aurelius Michaud. It is said that he begged the money from the vendors who used to sell their produce at the old Jacques-Cartier Market.


A new experiment in Christian Community Living will be carried out by the United Church of Canada as it opens a Retreat House in the Montreal Ottawa district.

Heading the new venture will be Rev. Richard D. De Lorme, of the Valcartier Portneuf pastoral charge, who is leaving this appointment to devote full time to the new project.

Retreat Houses, where Clergy and laity find rest and renewal of spiritual and mental energies are a familiar part of Catholic and Anglican church tra­ditions. In today’s hectic world the Retreat House fills the need for a place of quiet contemplation, a place where one has time to himself to think.

Mr. DeLorme, who leaves tomorrow to take up his new appointment, has been with the Valcartier-Portneuf pastoral charge for five years, arriving in July 1960 shortly after his ordination as a United Church minister.


A first appointment like a first job holds a special place for everyone and Mr. DeLorme is no exception. It will be with much regret that he will say good-bye to the people of the Valcartier-Portneuf pastoral charge. Though his flock was spread over a wide area covering Loretteville, Stoneham, Donnacona and Portneuf, every one of his scattered parishioners was a personal friend to this dedicated young minister. Truly, a traveling minister, “I seemed to spend more time in the car traveling from one place to another, ” Mr. Delorme said yesterday. He conducted services in churches at least twenty miles apart.

Beginning with St. John’s United Church in Loretteville at 9:30 A. M. he would proceed to Valcartier Village for the 11 A. M. service in St. Andrew United. The afternoon or evening would see him at either Stoneham or Portneuf The latter places would served on alternate Sundays.


His greatest surprise on arriving at Valcartier was its large English-speaking population. Valcartier is one of the few remaining English-language rural communities. He has many friends among the French Catholic clergy, the French Canadian populations of Quebec and Valcartier-Portneuf .


The United Church Retreat House will be tried out as on an experimental basis for a year. A site for it has not as yet been selected. Most likely spot will be in the Eastern Townships or the Montreal-Ottawa area. While a new venture for the United Church, it has been the subject of thought for some time by ministers, deacons and laity of the church.

Inspiration for the project was drawn from the Ecumenical House in Switzerland which Rev. DeLorme visited while in Europe in the winter of 1962-63.


Its establishment is most opportune at a time when the United Church and union with the Anglican Church is being contemplated. The Retreat House project has received much support from the United Theological College in Montreal. Summing up the feeling of the United Church towards the project, Rev. Delorme says, ” Many of us feel we are an activist

“In an Ecumenical age we feel we must develop in all aspects of the faith so that we can more easily understand those of other communions. I think it is most important as the United Church is contemplating union with the Anglican Church.”

While organizing the Retreat House, Rev. DeLorme will assist the pastor at Crownsville on a part-time basis. No successor has been named as yet to replace him at Valcartier-Poetneuf. A dedicated minister and a good friend to all, he will be hard to replace.

By Alice McGrath.


Dear Sir:

On the first days of July, Reverend Richard H. DeLorme left his Valcartier Portneuf Pastoral Charge to assume other functions in a distant area. It was a great loss for the Congregation he served faithfully for five years. His last service took place at St. Andrew’s United Church located at Valcartier Village, on Sunday night, June 27th and attracted people not only from the different United Churches in the neighborhood but also members of other Protestant Churches and a few persons of other faiths.

It was a tribute paid by them all to someone who believed in understanding not only between Christians but also among people of different languages and cultures. Reverend DeLorme will be remembered for his great qualities as a Pastor and as a friend by those who do not belong to his church but who had learned to respect and like him for his kindness and good will.

Quebec, July 1965.

And general business conducted on behalf of the Commissioners by M. Berthelot.


Many names from the first settlement are still common in Valcartier.

An early map dating from 1819 shows who many of these first settlers were Some of these names are still common in Valcartier and Quebec City, while some families have relocated, around Sherbrooke in the Eastern Townships, when Valcartier Camp came into existence during W. W. 1.

Other families relocated when Riviere aux Pins district was taken over by the Crown about ten years ago. Many of these families settled in the Ottawa district.

Many people have done research on this interesting settlement, but there are still many sources of information untouched. Genealogies may be traced in the Provincial Archives at Laval which has copies of all the church registers. Old copies of the Quebec Gazette and its successors may be obtained at Laval Library on microfilm or at the Parliament Library in Quebec.

The Neilson papers in Ottawa and Quebec are a rich source of information. There are bits and pieces scattered throughout local histories as well, but before time erases much of the history, the people of Valcartier should gather their own story and commit it to the printed page.

The publication of historical facts and anecdotes, pictures or other suitable material would be of interest to our readers

The names of some of the original settlers are to be found on a map drawn in 1819 by surveyor William Sax for the Governor-in-chief of the Province. Beginning at the Neilson property ( where once there was a ferry across the Jacques Cartier river) and traveling roughly north towards Riviere aux Pins you find the following names.

Lot # Left Side of Road Right Side of Road
1 reserved for mill site reserved for mill site
2 Joseph Purse (1821) Harris or Hinley?
3 G.J. Brooks W. M. Bethel, Sr. (1821)
4 Jeremiah Richaby (1822) James T. Rourke (9 May 1821)
5 N. Miller (Jan. 1822) James Abraham (9 May 1821)
6 M. O’Hara (16 Aug. 1822) Joseph Abraham (9 May 1821)
7 John Coote (16 Aug. 1822) Nicholas Abraham (9 May 1821)
8 W. McNamara John Abraham (9 May 1821)
9 Fitzpatrick Thomas Abraham (9 May 1821)
10 Fitzpatrick W. M. Bethel
11 M. Cassin James Abraham (4 Aug 1821)
12 D. Cassin Thomas Bethel
13 Curtis Billing John Bethel
14 Curtis Billing John Delaney
15 J. Abraham William Delaney
16 J. Abraham John Delaney, Jr.
17 Ed Monaghan
18 J. Abraham
19 W. Bethel


For instance have you heard the story of how one of the Todds was very strong and could pick up the organ single-handed and move it for the school teacher he was courting?


A summary by Keith Elias of a paper by Major CD Munroe, R C A

Before September 13, 1759, when the British General Wolfe finally took Quebec, France controlled a wide arc of land stretching from New Orleans through the Great Lakes to Quebec because of its hold over the St. Lawrence and Mississippi river systems. At that time these waterways were the only highways into the heartland of America.

The fortifications around Quebec, which stood upon the high ground over­looking the St. Lawrence, were the principal doorway into the northern river system. To open this door, Wolfe landed on the eastern tip of the Ile d’Orleans of June 27th 1759 with 8,500 very well trained troops, 49 warships, 32 other vessels that carried enormous supplies of food and ammunition, and 119 troop transport boats.

The French General, Montcalm, who had been forewarned of the impending invasion, had 17.500 troops including some friendly Indians, every available militia man ( the bulk of his force) , and trained Canadian and French regulars waiting for him around Quebec. even given his superior numbers, how­ever, Montcalm had no faith in his own troops in a European style, stand-up, open-field battle, and so wanted to prevent the British from landing anywhere along the north shore in force.

For this reason, Montcalm felt compelled to hold the entire 25 miles St. Lawrence front from Cap Rouge to the Montmerency river. To cover the shore he used his militia and other irregulars, while holding his trained units in reserve so that they could be moved quickly anywhere they were needed

Wolfe took Levis on the South Shore, directly across from Quebec, two days after he arrived. The French had left Levis undefended, and now during high tide and good wind conditions, English ships could move along the south shore without serious danger of being sunk. If Montcalm could have somehow held Levis then he would have been able to concentrate all his troops be­tween Quebec and the Montmorency River, thus shortening his defense line to only six miles.

During the summer the British raided, burned and pillaged all along the St. Lawrence, obliging Montcalm to spread his troops more and more thinly in order to protect the widely-separated communities that provided the food on which Quebec depended. At the same time the British warships cut-off food coming downstream from Montreal. Quebec was isolated.

The only major action to take place during the two summer months occurred just west of the Montmorency Falls. The British had held the eastern bank of the Montmorency River since July 3rd, but had not dared make the crossing since Montcalm. had more than two thirds of his forces just to the east of that river.

At 5:30 P. M. on the 31st of July under circumstances that are difficult to understand, Wolfe landed 1,500 troops just west of the Montmorency River. The movements of the English had already given the French many hours of ad­vanced warning during which they could bring up reinforcements.

The French began immediately to pick off the English who were stranded on the beech below them. In response the English soldiers rushed the well fortified  heights. Wolfe lost 433 dead and wounded. Only a sudden rainstorm that made the powder for the guns too wet to fire, prevented a total  Massacre. As a result of this debacle many English officers lost faith in their commander, while the French who suffered no causalities became over­confident.

The next significant event occurred on the 9th of September, when Wolfe was arranging to land the bulk of his troops five miles east of Cap Rouge. Unfortunately we do not know why Wolfe wanted to land so far east of Quebec , since all the entries in his journal after August 19th were destroyed, How­ever, whatever the reason, this threat drew three thousand French troops even further away from Quebec where they would soon be needed.

At two o’clock in the morning on September 13, 1759,  3,600 British troops moved quietly down river from Cap Rouge to Anse au Foulon, two miles east of Quebec. Sometime after 4 A. M. twenty-four picked British soldiers overpowered the French who stood guard on the heights above. A runner who escaped to warn the French command of what was happening was not believed because the English Navy had been shelling Beauport in order to make it appear that the next blow would actually be struck east of Quebec.

With his path cleared, Wolfe and his army quickly mounted the heights and silenced the nearby gun emplacements. By 8 A. M. the English were standing in a long thin double line stretching along what is now Cartier Avenue, from the cliffs which overlook the St. Lawrence to those that run below Chemin Ste-Foy .

Only about 5,000 French troops from Beauport were close enough to be brought up. These assembled in a line about 500 yards in front of the English At about 9:30 the French began an advance, but the untrained French troops fired out of turn and then stopped, breaking ranks to reload, or running for cover behind rocks, or laying down to fire from a prone position while their comrades advanced.

At 40 yards the British opened fire; first one line and then the other. After each volley the English loaded, advanced twenty paces, and then fired again, just as they had been trained to do during hundreds of drills. The battle was over almost as soon as it began. The French broke and ran al­though their losses May not have been substantially higher than those of the English, who suffered 58 dead and 600 wounded.

The garrison in Quebec held out behind the wooden stockade until the l7th of September, while the remainder of the still vastly superior French force withdrew.

Wolfe and Montcalm both died in the engagement. Another 500 British soldiers were to die during the first winter in Quebec from malnutrition, cold and dysentery, but despite a successful counterattack by the French in April of 1760, in which the English lost an additional 1,100 in dead and wounded, the return of British supply ships in the spring of that same year sealed the fate of Quebec.