This is a series of four articles written by T.R. Lee in 1964 and 1965 in the News and Views. Later he used some of this material for the book which he published in 1977 but the text is not identical to the corresponding passages in the book.
Know your town: The story of Baie d'Urfé, part 1, N&V Oct. 1964
Mounted on the wall of a centuries-old home for the aged in a tiny French village some 4000 miles from here is a copper placque about a foot square.
The message on it - in both French and English - reads as follows:
"Beneath this chapel lies François-Saturnin Lascaris d'Urfé, Marquis de Beauzé, Sulpician (1641-1701)"
"Born in, and priest of this parish, missionary in Canada 1668-1687, Founder of the Town of Baie d'Urfé, Quebec, Canada."
"This memorial presented to the village of Bâgé - le - Châtel by the Town of Baie d'Urfé in 1962, two hundred and sixty years after the burial service to d'Urfé in this very chapel."
Bâgé-le-Châtel, community so ancient that it possesses a church said to have been built by the Romans, lies just east of the famous wine City of Macon, not far from the border of Switzerland. In the days centuries ago when the d'Urfés were a power in the land Bâgé-le-Châtel was called Baugé, and it was the capital City of the region known as Bresse.
It was here, in a chateau, portions of which still stand, that the man whose name our community bears was born, son of the Marquis d'Urfé et de Baugé, friend of Louis XIV, member of one of the great families of France. It was here, after years of service among the Indians in a rugged, inhospitable New France, that he died and was interred in the chapel where he still lies, the plaque our Town presented only two years ago being the only indication of his presence beneath the unmarked floor, the only public record of his service and accomplishments beyond the seas.
François entered the seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris on April 1, 1660. The Order had been founded only 19 years earlier, in 1641, the year of d'Urfé's birth and one year before the founding of Montreal. D'Urfé was ordained in 1665 and served in France until 1668, when his wish to come out to Canada was granted. He spent three different periods in Canada until finally returning to France in 1688, where he died in 1701, at the age of sixty. It was on his third trip to Canada, in 1685, that he came to the area now known as Baie d'Urfé and established the mission which was the beginnings of the modern residential community we know today.
D'Urfé had come out with Msgr. St. Valier, who succeeded Laval as Bishop of Quebec. He was most anxious to be appointed to a parish and St. Valier reported back to France that d'Urfé had got his wish, that "he now conducts one of the most exposed to danger, with much zeal and eagerness." This was at Baie d'Urfé.
Father Antoine Guillemaud, who gave a funeral oration over d'Urfé's tomb in 1702, one year after d'Urfé's interment, told of d'Urfé's arrival in this area. He had been assigned, he said, to the Mission of Point St. Louis (today called Caron Point), "in a wooded area which he cleared himself." "There," Father Guillem aud continued, "he planted the first cross and built a church, a parish house and a few dwellings. He brought together a large number of Iroquois and other Indians whom he had converted to the Christian faith."
There d'Urfé ministered to the needs of the Indians, habitants and soldiers for some two years, when attacks by the Iroquois forced him to flee with his flock to the safer confined of the larger, fortified community of Montreal. Records in the archives of the city tell of the slaughter of some of Baie d'Urfé's first residents in the vicinity of what is now Caron Point and the Coop, and their burial by d'Urfé, and Father Guillemaud recounted a narrow escape which d'Urfé himself had during one raid.
"Having boarded a canoes, (a type of small boat he said, "on the St. Lawrence river, while on his way to meet some Indians, he was driven back by a band of about 30 Iroquois armed with muskets who unloaded them in his direction. But God who protects those who struggle in his name did not wish that he should be harmed. The pagans and the Indians having conquered the Parish of Point St. Louis (the parish was actually called St. Louis du haut de l'Ile-ed) by force of arms, our minister had to withdraw with his flock to the French Colony (Montreal)".
The Parish numbered about 20 families and when the area was abandonned in the face of the Indian attacks, it remained unoccupied until peace was declared in 1698. D'Urfé himself, as mentioned before, returned to France, filling a variety of appointments there until his death in 1701.
References for part 1
Know your town: The story of Baie d'Urfé, part 2, N&V Nov. 1964
D'Urfé's mission, which was the beginning of Lou's Baie d'Urfé, stood on what is known today caron Point. The site is occupied today by the homes Mrs. Camille St. Aubin (which has been up for male since the death of Mr. St. Aubin some time ago) and of Mr. Roy Foss.
The name Caron for the point is relatively contemporary, it having been called Pointe St. Louis in d'Urfé's days. The current name comes from Antoine Caron, who acquired the area in 1832 and who 38 years later turned it over to his son, Hilaire. The bay to the east still bears the name it bore nearly 280 years ago - Baie d'Urfé.
The first concession of the land was made in 1678 to Jean de Lalonde dit l'Esperance, Baie d'Urfé's first settler. But the Sulpicians, owners of the entire island of Montreal, made the grant subject to reservation of six arpents for the chapel d'Urfé was to build.
In the records of the Seminaire of St. Sulpice, in Montreal, an early drawing of the area bears a distinctive mark. "This mark," reads an explanation, "shows the reserved land called d'Urfé Bay, on account of the Abbé d'Urfé, who built the first Chapel of Ste. Anne's on that spot." "It shows further," says the explanation, "the place where formerly stood the Chapel of Ste. Anne's, occupied and ministered by Abbé d'Urfé, who has given it his name."
Nothing remains today of that busy little mission which served as church - school - hospital and general refuge, except rough outlines on the boundary of the Foss - St. Aubin properties which some say may be those of the foundations of the original chapel, which is thought to have been destroyed when the Iroquois ravaged the area during the years 1686-89.
But it was here that the frail french aristocrat, François d'Urfé, 4000 miles from the comforts of home, solemnized Baie d'Urfé's first baptisms, weddings and burials. It was on the Point, too, that the community cemetery stood, where Baie d'Urfé victims of the Iroquois were buried. This community's first vital statistics", in d'Urfé's hand and bearing his signature, are among the treasures of the archives of Montreal. The names of those slain by the Indians include de Lalonde himself, who was not only the first settler but also the area's first church warden.
Any doubt as to the location of the chapel and cemetery was pretty well wiped away roughly 100 years ago when excavating for a cellar was being done on the Point. During the excavation, it was reported, "the bones of 23 persons of different physique were discovered ... one bore a pretty brass crucifix, mounted in ebony .. on another was found a tin spoon, black pearls and a small cruicifix, and a brass medal in perfect state of conservation." Other finds included the bones of a child, a finger bone bearing a brass ring, and a tomahawk almost free from rust and which would still last a Indian for life." These bones where thought to include those of Christian Indians whom d'Urfé taught.
The human remains are believed to have been gathered together and re-interred in the same area. What has happened to the various other relics is not known. It is unfortunate that today's interest in our historic past did not prevail in the days before Caron Point was built up as it is today, when a careful "dig" could have been conducted, and a more detailed story of those earlier days made available.
The register in the Montreal archives, mentioned earlier, does tell us something of those rugged, bloody days. It was d'Urfé's responsibility, as curé, to maintain the record and some 13 pages of the register are signed ''F. D'Urfé, Curé", and cover the period Nov. 1686 - Nov. 1687, the first event recorded being a wedding, the last, the burial of a miller who apparently died a natural death. The fact there are no further entries after that date suggests that it was at that time that increasing Iroquois activity forced d'Urfé and his flock to flee.
References for part 2
Know your town: The story of Baie d'Urfé, part 3, N&V Dec. 1964
The cairn standing in the Coop area is an official historic-site marker, recalling that just across the road, at the tip of Caron Point, some 275 years ago stood d'Urfé's mission.
The cairn, unveiled in 1961 by François Collaveri, prefect of the department of Loire, home of the d'Urfés, contains stone from two d'Urfé chateaux in France, as well as from Caron Point. The stone from France was sent as a result of the personal interest of President Charles de Gaulle, and includes the two main corner pieces at the front of the cairn, on the bottom.
I would like to see another historic-site plaque mounted in the community, to those first Baie d'Urfé residents, who were slain by the Iroquois.
We know who they are because the deatils are carried in th turies-old records maintained by d'Urfé which are now in the archive of the city of Montreal.
The first entry in d'Urfé's register is the marriage on Nov. 29. 160 of Jean Baptiste Celoron, Esquire, Sieur de Blainville, lieutenant of detachment of the navy and Helene Picotte de Belestre, widow of M. de Brucy, lieutenant in the infantry, and one of the first landholders in the area. This was undoubtedly the first marriage performed at this place. and d'Urfé records that the vicar-general, M. Dollier de Casson, had dispensed them of the necessity of three banns being read. D'Urfé conducted the wedding.
He then records the death - Feb. 22, 1687, of Claude de la Mothe dit le Marquis de Sourdy, and his burial the next day on Pointe St. Louis (Caron Point). Next comes the baptism on March 1 of the first child born in the area - Marie Madeleine, daughter of Jean Thillard and Marie Madeleine Barbon. D'Urfé says the child was originally baptized at at home but then baptized by him in church. He notes that the child's godmother was Marie Madeleine la Londe, daughter of Jean de la Londe, first settler in what is now Baie d'Urfé and also first church warden. D'Urfé records that the godmother, wife of M. Guillaume Daoust, was unable to sign her name when so requested.
The same woman was godmother to Marguerite le Moyne (one of the truly great names in the story of New France) daughter of Nicolas le Moyne and Marguerite Jasselin, whom d'Urfé baptized on April 23. D'Urfé notes that the child's father couldn't sign his own name. D'Urfé, incidentally, refers to himself as ''priest of the parish of St. Louis". There are witnesses' signatures on most of the entries, many of the names being those whose descendants live on the west end of the island today.
FIRST IROQUOIS VICTIM
The first victim of the Iroquois was Jean Vincent, farmhand employed by M. de Blainville, who on Sept. 21, 1687, "was found beaten to death during the battle against the Iroquois". He also was buried at Pointe St. Louis. The death of five more men on Sept. 30 while fighting the Iroquois and their burial next day is recorded by d'Urfé. These included Jean de la Londe dit Lespérance, Baie d'Urfé's first citizen; Pierre Boynneau dit La Jeunesse; Pierre Pertuys, another of de Blainville's farmhands; Henry Fromageau and Pierre Pettitteau, also an employee of de Blainville. All were buried near the site chosen for the building of the Church of St. Louis du Haut de l'lle de Montréal."
Then on Oct. 18, two soldiers of M. du Cruzel were slain by the Iroquois. They were Jean Baptiste le Sueur dit La Hogue, about 21, and Pierre Camus dit la Feuillade, of the same age. Their burial, witnessed by d'Urfé
Last entry in this historic register records the death and burial, Nov. 17-18, 1687, of Louis Jets, miller, aged about 24, who was employed by M. le Ber, the man given permission to build a fort and mill end of the island. (Remains of tor Senneville and the windmill still stand.) Jean le Ber, merchant, and Paul le Moyne, Esquire, were witnesses, together with d'Urfé.
References for part 3
Know your town: The story of Baie d'Urfé, part 4, N&V Feb. 1965
From 1677 until 1685 the area which we reside was part of the Lachine parish
and known as Mission de Saint Louis du Haut de l'lle de Montreal.
It was served by Sulpicians operating out of Lachine.
In September, 1685 a separate parish was created, in from what is now Pointe Claire to the to end of the Island. The boundaries were determined as a result of a personal visit by Laval,
Bishop of Quebec, accompanied by Jean de Lalonde dit L'Esperance, first resident of the area, and first
Baie D'Urfe church warden, and representatives of St. Sulpice. D'Urfe was named first Cure.
In 1714, the name St. Louis was changed to Ste. Anne, so the story goes, because de Breslay,d'Urfe's successor, felt his prayers to Ste. Anne brought him safely home while lost in a blinding snowstorm. It eventually became Ste. Anne du Bout de l'Ile (rather than Haut) and it was from that parish that the town of Baie d'Urfe was carved out in 1911. The town of Ste. Anne's came first, then Senneville, then us, and the parish disappeared only relatively recently when the remaining chunk, lying along Ste. Marie Road and including the Macdonald College grounds, was annexed by Ste. Anne de Bellevue.
Baie d'Urfe was a railroad stop long before being officially created a town, but it wasn't called Baie d'Urfe, it was called Bayview. This was changed to the present name in 1902, and a grateful resident wrote to the Gazette, at that time, expressing appreciation of the railroads' action.
"Sir," he wrote, "it was with great pleasure that I recently noticed the announcement that our two great railways had cooperated in changing the name 'Bayview', a modern banality,to Baie d'Urfe, a revival of what appears to be an ancient, and is certainly a pictureesque (if that term is applicable) place name. I think it is worthy of the widest publicity also, that the change in question was made at the unanimous request of the residents of the locality affected without distinction of origin, and that the movement was originated and a petition asking for the change headed by the English-speaking residents."
"It is hoped that the example set by the residents on the Baie d'Urfe (which is the tiny bay west of the Town Hall, and on which George Fritz' farm fronts - Ed.) will be followed by other and more pretentious localities. The preservation and restoration of ancient and historical place names is a most worthy and strangely neglected public duty."
The writer; signing himself "Padus" confessed, however, his ignorance as to the origin and significance of the name, Baie d'Urfe, and asked The Gazette's "Old and New" Editor, John Reade, whether he could throw any light on the matter. In a following column, Mr. Reade proceeded to do so, and the general story of d'Urfe is known to most residents of the area today.
It was in 1911 that the petition or a number of residents of this area was granted and the Town of Baie d'Urfe incorporated. (By some unusual quirk, the original charter had d'Urfe spelled d'Urfee, which led to much confusion over the years. It was corrected by order-in-council some five years ago - Ed.) The incorporation was granted (Messrs Drapeau and Saulnier please note) "for the better administration of the said territory and the greater advantage of its inhabitants."
The "modern" founders of our community were: James Morgan, merchant, who provided the Town Hall park area, the Town Hall, Morgan Road, Morgan Park, and the turning area at the station; J. Alderic Ouimet, a judge; Alfred Brunet, ex-banker; James Birchenough, real estate agent; St. George Dillon, merchant, David A. Poe, engineer, whose son, Alex still resides here; Edward Maxwell, architect, father of Mrs. Montague Yates, a resident of the Town; William E. Davis, railway manager; Pascal Deslauriers, real estate agent; Olibrius Constantineau, manufacturer; Vivian de Vere Dowker, manufacturer, and Edward Gudewill, manufacturer, whose son, James; is a resident of the Town. Nearly all these gentlemen were summer residents only, but they laid the groundwork for the community we know today.
References for part 4
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