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Birdie, The Saga of Nigger Rock


That all who journey past be touched; “Yea ever heard about Nigger Rock,” the old man asked? Before I could answer, he continued to speak. “Yea know that black runaway slaves are buried there.” Have you ever heard of the underground railroad? “That railroad for your information was not like the one they have in Montreal now, the one they call the Metro…” “…those poor runaway slaves came all the way to Canada in order to be free, but…” “…there was a black woman,…she went by the name of Birdie,” the old man continued. “I think we need to make Birdie proud.”the old man added, after he had read her poem. Who is Birdie? What does she have to do with Nigger Rock? Read her story, and as the old man said,..“make Birdie proud”.

Grandpa Bob

Eastern Townships Saint: Lily Esther Butter


Lily Butters was the wife of a World War I vet and farmer. She and her husband had immigrated to Canada from England in 1929. In 1947, at the age of 53, she founded a centre in Austin (East Bolton), Quebec for mentally disabled children (including many Down Syndrome sufferers) and named it in memory of her dead son, Cecil. She continually expanded her farmhouse until the centre housed over 400 children by 1966. Her influence is still felt today by hundreds of (past and current) beneficiaries, parents and Butters employees. This is Lily’s story: the beginning, the crises, the triumphs, the end of the original Butters centre and the rebirth of Lily’s legacy through new Butters organizations.

Françoise Hamel-Beaudoin

Eeyou Istchee


Thirty-five years ago, the Quebec government signed a landmark accord with indigenous peoples in the northern reaches of the province after it initiated the first of several large-scale hydroelectric projects in James Bay. Since then, the once-nomadic Cree of the region have undergone dramatic changes in their way of life. Today they reside in self-governed modern communities. But the bush and the traditions that evolved there remain central to their identity, as Eeyou Istchee: Land of the Cree so eloquently bears witness. This book is the most comprehensive photo essay ever produced on the Cree people of eastern James Bay. It features more than two hundred photographs by Louise Abbott and Niels Jensen, along with a trilingual text based largely on interviews with Cree residents. The sensitive images portray the annual cycle of activities among the Cree, including summer gatherings, the fall moose hunt, winter wellness journeys (or “winter walks,” as they’re often called), and the spring goose hunt. They also highlight the flora, fauna, and geography of Eeyou Istchee, as the Cree call their far-flung territory.

Louise Abbott

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Even the Owl is Not Heard: David Thompson’s 1834 Journals in the Eastern Townships of Quebec


Editors Barbara Verity and Gilles Péloquin recently discovered that world-renowned explorer and map-maker David Thompson explored and surveyed part of the Eastern Townships in 1834. His previously unpublished daily journals are transcribed and annotated in this ground-breaking and superbly illustrated work.

Excerpts from Thompson’s Eastern Townships journals of 1834:

May 25: A fine morning and day. By 11 am got the Skow and everything up. The Men much fatigued, let them rest until after dinner, when we set off… As usual a series of Rapids, in which we saw many Salmon Trout, and caught 24 of them…. The general character of the River to day, is low land near the River, the Points particularly so, on the Bay sides of the River. The Land soon rises with Pines, and some hard wood, with moss covered boulders of Rock of all sizes, heavy to clear, and no ways tempting to the Farmer, but behind appears a fine Country of hard wood.

June  17: Our Provisions are now so reduced, that I got the whole collected and put  close by me and insisted upon every one living wholly upon the Fish caught by  angling.

July 2: As Louis, our Indian, crossed, for only one could  cross at a time, this Bridge gave way. The last Tree thrown broke from the  violence of the Current, his Pack and Axe went to the bottom and he had to swim  for his Life.

Praise for Even the Owl Is Not Heard:

“Barbara Verity and Gilles Péloquin are to be congratulated for having added a fascinating and important new chapter to the historical geography of the region. Succeeding brilliantly in combining their extensive biographical research with a thorough and meticulous treatment of Thompson’s original journals, they have brought his travels through the landscapes of the Townships in the 1830s vividly to life in his own words.”

Derek Booth, Historical Geographer

“Even the Owl Is Not Heard contributes greatly to our  understanding of David Thompson’s later years. It enhances the record and  deepens our appreciation of this incredible Canadian. I only wish this work had  been available when I was writing my biography of Thompson.”

D’Arcy  Jenish, Author of Epic Wanderer: David  Thompson and the Mapping of the Canadian West

“We  are indebted to Barbara Verity and Gilles Péloquin for their painstaking work  in bringing to life one of the later and lesser-known episodes in the career of  the great surveyor, David Thompson: his 1834 survey of the Eastern Townships  for the British American Land Company. The qualities for which Thompson is  renowned–his careful observation, vivid prose and spirit of inquiry–animate  his journal of survey, as we follow him from the hoar frost of early May,  through sultry July, to the sleet and snow of mid-November. Thompson’s writings  are clearly presented, and supplemented with several of his letters, while  Verity and Péloquin’s expert annotations and informative sidebars bear witness  to their deep knowledge and evident love of the terrain of the Townships.”

Bill  Moreau, Editor of The Writings of David Thompson

Barbara Verity, Gilles Pélloquin, Illustrations by Denis Palmer


Fifty Years, But Not Yet Extinct


Limited Edition!Readers will learn that since 1955, members of the St. Francis Valley Natualists’ Club have done more than just watch birds. They identified the Johnville Bog and the Kateville Marsh (L’Ïle du marais) as very special ecosystems and were influential in having them proclaimed conservation areas. They have worked to educate children and the general public to love and respect nature.Graphs and spreadsheets of evolving bird populations, news clippings, photos and carefully researched information make this a fun-to-read book and an important contribution to local history.

St. Francis Valley Naturalists’ Club

Growing Up in Knicky Knocky Quebec, Gordon C. Parsons


Knicky Knocky, in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, was settled in 1836 with immigrants from England and Ireland, including my ancestors, the Parsons.  There were no more than 20 families living there at its peak.
My children, and now my grandchildren, always enjoyed me telling them stories about my childhood growing in Knicky Knocky. They suggested that I should write the stories down for future generations to enjoy, which I have now done.

The book contains a collection 57 of these stories, each illustrated by photos and images. Some of the most popular stories are: Dale’s Pet Rabbit, The Famous Bear Cubs, Clash of the Titans (Kenny Herring and Bruce Kerr), Willard vs the Sawmill Workers, A Generous Friend (Wayne Martin), The Fortune Teller, “Taking Care” of Barry’s Hens, Those Tough Doughertys, and Who did you vote for Doris?

Guide to the Private Archival Fonds & Collections of the Eastern Townships Research Centre


A catalogue of the 271 archival holdings of the Eastern Townships Research Centre an accredited institution developed by Bishop’s University to motivate and support original research on the Eastern Townships.The guide contains descriptions of collections of individual and organizations pertaining to the Eastern Townships including some important ones up until 2007. A gold mine for researchers as it lists textual records including diaries, records, maps, photographs, artifacts and other visual items. The guide also gives the user information on how to use the book and all the necessary contact information and how to go about accessing research material at the ETRC archives.

Jody Robinson & Sophie Morel