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Joseph LeRoux "The Patriot"

"The aftermath"


Many patriots after being through defeats and arrest were completely humiliated and deluted. Many a time, an immense feeling of failure was invading their mind. They were completely broken down and could not speak about it.

What one may conceive Joseph’s personality, as of the past, he did not let these gloomy thoughts invade his mind. After a few days. He must have straighten up and started all over again with his habitual eagerness. Joseph might have gone to cut wood (as a lumberjack) as soon as the next winter.

The Deported were send away from Montreal on ship on September 26, 1839 and arrived in Australia on February 24, 1840; they were not allowed on land before March 11, 1840. Many died during the sea voyage. In Australia, they were compelled to work, some picked up stones, some broke stones and some transported these broken stones on roads, other worked according to their trade. It is only in 1844 that the authorities began to grant some return permits to Canada. Some of them had to wait till 1848.

Mister PRIEUR came back on September 12, 1846. After seeing and meeting his family, he went to meet parents of those whom he knew of being dead during the exile so to talk about those deceased. He used to keep his diary during all these years. Upon his return, he even wrote a book that made us know the misery and loneliness that him and his compatriots went through these hard years. Life was not easy. As for Joseph as for all other farmers. Agriculture was in bad shape. Land brought little rendering and automn crops have been neglected. Money was rare.

According to notary acts, it seems that Joseph was the object of a legal seizure of goods around 1840. Around these years, he would have abandoned his farmland to go live in U.S.A., as many did to forget the hardship and hope for better days.

In August 1842, He came back to Saint-Timothée to complete legal acts pertinent to his farmland. He completed a donation and a power of attorney in favour of his step-brother Charles. He lived in U.S.A., for a few years only. In 1844, Joseph completed more legal acts that places him in Saint-Timothée. For a long time, the English government wanted to unite Upper and Lower Canada. At all time, French-Canadians opposed to it, because they felt that this move was just another way to assimilate them and by this mean, make them (the French-Canadians) loose their language and their religion.

In 1840, the union of Upper and Lower Canada became a legal reality, and even against the best judgment of the clergy, John Neilson, Louis-Hyppolyte Lafontaine and Étienne Parent opposed it vigorously and debated without any result. Around and/or within these years, England acknowledged and studied Lord Durham’s voluminous report; England recognize the fact that the actual crushing attitude of the canadian government led to nowhere and would not bring any solution to the problems in Canada. Government revised its positions and attitudes, and brought many changes to its politics regarding French-Canadians and specifically towards farmers and mostly towards seigniories. Gradually, the tenants of land (under the old seigniorial system) acquired rights and could buy their land at very reasonable prices and could become more independent. (in 1856, the seigniorial regime was completely abolished).

During the 1850’s years, the government was favoring economic development, by improving the means of transportation and other sound decisions. New roads were being built and railways were being constructed. Government also invited businessmen and wealthy people to patronize French-Canadians. On the 1851 official census of Saint-Timothée, one may see Joseph’s name and his family, which counted 10 members who were living in a one story wooden house. On February 1852, Joseph LeRoux would have definitively sold all his farmland rights to M. Lynch Fleen, and official documents were completed at the office of notary Harnois.

Around 1845, government wanted to develop the Eastern Townships. Thus, the government favours settlers who accept to establish in "WOTTON township" (14 Km east of Asbestos and 40 Km north of Sherbrooke) ; the government give to each a farmland of 50 acres. At the beginning, it was mostly English who would ask for these farmlands, they would ask for more than one and would speculate; they would sell these once more at very high prices. When the government realized this fraud, it imposes a high taxe on uninhabited farmland. This move from the government deter these English who established and they went away. It is Patrick Brady who was the first settler to establish himself on a permanent base at the village in 1849. He is known as Wotton’s first pioneer. A short time after, a dozen of French-Canadian families came from everywhere to joint him; a man by the name of Archambeault from Saint-timothée was in that first group. It is most probably during summer 1852 that Joseph LeRoux profit also of this opportunity; to obtain a farmland of 50 acres free to go and settle in Wotton. At 48 years of age, Joseph and Euphrosine still have enough courage and eagerness and energy to start again to colonize another farmland. It was on horse drawn wagon that they moved. Just think the LeRoux family with her belonging, on a horse drawn wagon going to Wotton. From Saint-Timothée to Wotton, there is a distance of 200 Km. Euphrosine must have prepared some food supplies for that trip. Nevertheless, given the fact that the transportation would last many days et that the family was numerous, they has to ask for help during the transportation. Following the usual custom, they would stop at farmer’s places to ask for hospitality. The farmer would offer his barn to sleep and the farmer’s wife would give a full plate of food for the family. Sometime they would have to change horse because the animal was too tired and would refuse to go again; men would negociate the exchange of horses either for a little money or some of Joseph’s family belonging carried on the wagon. Joseph and Euphrosine needed lots of determination and strengh to get involved in such an adventure. The road was long and ardeous, on top and above, there were the children who would become impatient because of the fact they were limited inside the wagon; road were not opened everywhere, they would have to pass sometimes in swamps or on river edges. Finally, the family arrived in Wotton because that is where Adèle (our ancestor) did settle later on as an adult and married Joseph Perreault. The Joseph LeRoux’s family must have been welcome by the Archambeault family which they already knew, and it is most probably at the Archambeault’s place that the Lerouxs have been living, pending the time the men would build a house in fourth country road. They had to begin to cut the trees to make space. Dad would say:"they push back the forest".