Ephrem Boudreau was born in River Bourgeois in 1905. After his classical studies, he spent three years at agricultural school. 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.

He wrote Riviere Bourgeois from which this history is taken and translated.

Fr. Magloire Turcotte, who was vicar at Arichat from August 1, 1867 to April 11, 1868, made entries into the parish records which extended from November 26, 1867 to April 11, 1868. He died in Montreal on January 17, 1872.

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On May 16, 1869, Fr. Louis-Romauld Fournier, who had arrived at the diocese of Arichat, registered a baptism at River Bourgeois on May 16, 1869, that of Jean-Théodore Cordeau, son of Lucien and Elisabeth Samson. There are only a few other entries by him.

The parish registers begin in 1840, but there was another dated 1839. Here is a note found at the beginning of the 1840 register:

“See the register of 1839 for the last two entries.”

There are two names, Désiré Bourque and Etienne Dugas, newly baptized, whose names, were scratched out, undoubtedly because they were re-entered in the register of 1840.

The parish of River Bourgeois received canonical recognition on August 8, 1869 under the patronage of Saint Jean-Baptiste with the first resident priest Fr. Guillaume-Marin LeBlanc. This is the date of the first entry by Fr. LeBlanc in the parish register, and this is considered the official date for the founding of the parish.

Priests and missionaries were rare. In these young parishes, there were small chapels visited from time to time by certain itinerant missionaries posted at Arichat for example; or these small missions were serviced by the more important parishes.

As we have already seen, there were only 30 families at River Bourgeois in 1824 and only about 40 in 1828 as affirmed by Fr. Jean-Baptiste Potvin, priest at Arichat, in a letter to his bishop, Monsignor Panet of Quebec. In 1827, he wrote to the bishop insisting on being named priest at River Bourgeois and L’Ardoise.

The historian, Johnston, states that there was a church (or let’s say a chapel) at River Bourgeois from 1825. It was located, according to the older people, on the property at one time belonging to Thomas (Toumas) Samson at the entrance to “La Rivière” and very near the dyke where the current lighthouse stands directly to the south of the present church.

The second chapel was built a little farther from the water and a bit south of the location of the present church and the house of Thomas Samson which was no longer there in 1950. This second chapel was on the same spot as the first, the land of Thomas Samson which had been left to him by his father Abram.

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Don Boudrot is a retired English teacher, currently an author and historian living on Isle Madame.