Ephrem Boudreau was born in River Bourgeois in 1905.
After his classical studies from 1922 to 1928 at the seminary at Trois Riviere, he spent three years at agricultural school at Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatiere. Here he earned bachelors’ degrees in arts and one in agricultural science. In addition, he acquired a diploma in Social Sciences from l’Universite de Laval in 1935.
In 1980, he published in Editions d’Acadie, Moncton, the history of the trappists in Nova Scotia (1823-1919) entitled Le Petit Clairvaux. He also authored Riviere Bourgeois from which the following history is taken and translated.
One cannot determine precisely the date when the first permanent settlers came to Rivière-Bourgeois, but as early as 1752, the name Rivière-Bourgeois was known. In that same year, Sieur de la Roque, surveyor for the king, who was conducting the census of Ile Royal (Cape Breton) and Saint Jean (P.E.I.), mentioned Rivière-Bourgeois. He gave a description of the area but recorded no names since no one lived there.
Although de la Roque perceived no inhabitants at Rivière-Bourgeois, he did note in his report some at la Briquerie, which is part of the parish of Rivière-Bourgeois today, but at that time it was attached to Port Toulouse (St. Peter’s). Sieur de la Roque states that the inhabitants of Port Toulouse took advantage of the cord wood in the River Bourgeois area which explains why the place was known, though it was uninhabited.
A few years later, in 1758, Charles des Champs de Boishébert, during his tour, mentions Rivière-Bourgeois. He returned to Louisbourg with the idea of harassing the enemy who were a threat to the fortress. The following is what he wrote in his journal regarding the Louisbourg campaign:
“We departed on the first of August (1758) for River Bourgeois with the vehicles we had brought from Miramichi;
“We found the schooner that M. de Vaudreuil [Governor of Canada] had sent to determine the situation at Louisbourg and I ordered the captain to remain hidden at this river until the frigates pursuing me in the passage had entered and crossed over to the St-Pierre islands (in the Bay of St-Pierre).
“The English would not imagine that there would be French ships along this shore and I left for the passage with all the families of St-Pierre.”
Not far to the west of Quétique Island, around 1920-1925, was a small colony that, due to its particular situation, was quite isolated from the rest of the parish. This area is still referred to as Les Etangs (ponds). There are, in fact, two ponds there that connect to Le Petit Passage. It was there that the first inhabitants of Rivière Bourgeois settled between 1770 and 1775.
For many years, there was no transportation by land and the only means of travel was by water. Since Les Etangs were on the passage and at the entrance to the river, it was only natural that that the first settlement would be there.