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 this history is taken and translated.
Before the establishment of government-controlled schools, someone named Jean Béranger, who was educated, conducted school at his home, teaching the youth to read, teaching the catechism, and other important subjects. This explains why certain older people from past generations know how to read French, the only other language they know.
Mr. Beranger was a professed Trappist monk from the Grande Trappe in France and was one of the first religious Trappists who came here in 1825 to establish the Petit Clairvaux in Tracadie in Nova Scotia. He came from the department in Rhone. In religion, he took the name Father Bruneau (Bruno). He was unhappy at the monastery and decided to leave the religious life. Although only 20 years old, he stated his wishes, his superior asked him what was his preference the community or his wife. He chose the wife.
He left the community and spent some time at the presbytery at Tracadie. He was encouraged to take a school at Havre-à-Boucher and later at L’Ardoise.
To get the necessary approval for his new venture, he went to Rome. Having obtained what he had sought, he returned to America and set up at River Bourgeois. On July 12, 1841, he married Olive Landry and became the ancestor of all the Berangers who lived at River Bourgeois for 100 years and who were counted among the families most distinguished and educated of the parish. He was known by the name “Old Bruneau.” When the priest was absent on Sunday he said the mass but not the consecration. People invited him to their homes to sing the hymns.
In the history of River Bourgeois there was only one doctor, Dr. De la Villegue. He lived at Haut-de-Bras where today is the home of Mrs. Laura Bourque, widow of Simon Bourque, next to the “russeau du docteur” and where Jean Richard, father of the first wife of Abram Bourque, lived. The doctor’s children were named: Félix (Phil), Arcade, Alma, Tillie, and Marie. Some went to school at Haut-du-Bras at the same time as Simon Fougère (1892-1978) around 1902-1905. They did not continue to live at River Bourgeois. It was around the beginning of the century that this doctor lived in the parish for some years.
He died accidentally in a car with Maurice Fougère. Both of them were drunk. The car went off the cape in front of the home of Ben LeBlanc. Some believe that it was Maurice Fougère who caused the doctor to fall off the cliff.
Everyone knew that Maurice Fougére had the bad habit of often being drunk, too often, and to become stubborn.