Thursday, July 10, 2008

Book Report/The Pioneers of Inverness Township

The Pioneers of Inverness Township, Quebec
An Historical and Genealogical Story
by Gwen Rawlings
nonfiction, 1979
finished, 7/10/08

This book was the perfect start to The Second Canadian Book Challenge, Eh? for it is about my personal connection to Canada. Of all the ways I have thought of myself, pioneer was never one of them. Yet, I come from pioneer stock - though not in the way I've always considered pioneers - people from the eastern United States heading west. My pioneers are those from Northern Ireland who helped settle part of Quebec. The author writes:

Several factors account for the homogeneous nature of Megantic County descendants. All of the county's settlers came from Ireland and Scotland in the period 1819-1835. The settlement of the county began and ended in this period, with no later influxes of settlers from Britain or elsewhere. Secondly, all the neighbouring counties were settled by French speaking descendants of the Habitants. There were no main roads and no cities in most of the townships of Megantic County. It was, for one hundred years, isolated culturally and geographically from the rest of English speaking Canada. Many Megantic boys learned that their nationality was not 'Irish' or 'Scottish' in 1940 when they enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces.

My father's naturalization papers from 1944 say that he was British. Now, maybe that's the way Canadians were known then, but after reading the above, I wondered if it was the same thing - his ancestors were from Northern Ireland, which was and still is, British.

My Grammy's grandfather was one of the first immigrants to settle Inverness. It was neat to read her name, and see her whole family tree. Then when she married my grandfather, whose mother was one of the first settlers, it was great to see where I came from. There were names which I've just heard of over the years, and others that I knew so well.

I'm not a genealogical person. I'm never going to trace my ancestors, but I did enjoy reading this little book about where they all came from. There was a photo of my uncles and aunt in their school days, years after my father, their brother had left school.

The author gives quite a bit of historical information about the area, and talked about it as she knew it when the book was written. She did an incredible amount of work putting this together, and generations to come will be thankful to Gwen Rawlings.


  1. In the last challenge I read a similar book about by mother's hometown (Ramea, NL) and genealogy. There is something compelling about exploring one's roots this way.

  2. This information must be so nice to have. If anyone in your family was interested in doing geneological reseach they have a great start.

  3. How wonderful to be able to read about your forebears! I am going to read a book about the Scots in Newfoundland for the challenge - no relations, though.

  4. my family is also from inverness i was wondering what the surnames were of the first families that settled there my family are watss/patterson/mcney

  5. I know this post is rather old but my ancestors come from Leeds & Inverness also. i also am wondering who the names of the founding families were. Mine are Church & Bailey. I am also related to Patterson, Davidson & Nutbrown. not sure if any of these families still live there . I really enjoy the recipes that you post as I am interested in recipes from the area, cookbooks & blogs if you happen to know any of this thank you. Nancy A

  6. i am related to the watts, patterson, mcney families. elaine w

    1. Hi Elaine I think it is very possible that we are related. Nancy

  7. I am looking for some stories about the farmers from Megantic county that rode the rail in the 1920-1930 west to help the farmers with their crops. My grandfather was one of them but there is no one left to tell us the stories. I have a picture of the work crew and some of the equipment that they used. My family is part of chapter 6 in The Pioneers of Inverness Township.


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