Gabriel Caron (1808-1895):

One of the first French-cana­dian set­tlers in Len­noxville

Sherbrooke Record - - LOCAL NEWS - By Gérard Coté (LAHMS) and Jean­marie Dubois (Uni­ver­sité de Sher­brooke)

Around 1953, the City of Sher­brooke opened a street in the Collinsville part of Sher­brooke, to the south of Drum­mond Road (now Galt Ouest). It was named Caron, after Gabriel Caron, the founder in 1858 of the So­ciété Sain­t­jean-bap­tiste du Diocèse de Sher­brooke. But be­fore all else, Gabriel Caron was one of Len­noxville’s pi­o­neers.

Gabriel Caron was born in Rivière-du­loup, De­cem­ber 18, 1808. In 1831, he was one of the first French-cana­di­ans to set­tle in Len­noxville. He was a well-to-do black­smith, hav­ing the means to buy con­sid­er­able amounts of land. In 1844, in St. Colom­ban Par­ish (now Saint­michel Cathe­dral), he mar­ried Marie Op­por­tune Royer (1826-1912). They had 13 chil­dren, all born in Len­noxville: Charles-olivier (1845), Ge­orge (1846), Gabriel God­froi (1848), Ém­i­lie Emma (1849), Her­mine Blanche (1850), Jean John Ludger (1853), Joséphine An­toinette (1855), Jean-philippe (1857), Al­bert Édouard (1860), Philippe Al­fred (1862), Ge­or­giana (1863) as well as twins Eugénie and Eugène Pros­per (1865).

From 1845 to 1861, Gabriel Caron owned the land where the fol­low­ing year John Bar­ney Pad­don would be­gin to de­velop the Up­lands es­tate. Start­ing in 1851, on the east side of the St. Fran­cis River, he lived on a farm that he had bought from Elim Warner. There he planted an av­enue of wil­lows – hence Wil­low­dale, the name of his home and farm. This is also the name of the present street run­ning on that site. Caron’s home is still stand­ing there, at 220 St. Gabriel Caron.

Fran­cis Street. He also cleared five acres on land on île Marie, where plough­ing matches were held. The is­land is now a camp­ing ground. Gabriel Caron likely farmed his 700 acres un­til they were bought in 1881 by Her­bert Ernest Bieber (1845-1920). An in­volved ci­ti­zen, Gabriel was a jus­tice of the peace, a mem­ber of the As­cot School Com­mis­sion, one of As­cot Town­ship’s over­seers of roads in 1844-1845 and an As­cot town coun­cil­lor from 1858 to 1861 and in 1870. Fi­nally, in 1871 he was elected a coun­cil­lor of the new town of Len­noxville. In 1879, Gabriel Caron was pres­i­dent of an agri­cul­tural as­so­ci­a­tion set up in Sher­brooke for the farm­ers of As­cot and Or­ford town­ships. He died Fe­bru­ary 11, 1895 and is buried with his wife in Saint­michel Ceme­tery.

Mimi-shea Street is named for one of his great-grand-daugh­ters, by his son Jean Ludger: Eugénie Mimi Shea (19121985). She was a prom­i­nent Town­ships mu­si­cian and played a great part in the artis­tic life of Sher­brooke.

(COUR­TESY OF HUGH ERNEST BIEBER, RICHMOND, QUE­BEC)

Wil­low­dale, the former res­i­dence of Gabriel Caron at the be­gin­ning of the 1880’s.

(SO­CIÉTÉ SAINT-JEAN-BAP­TISTE DU DIOCÈSE DE SHER­BROOKE (1958) AL­BUM SOU­VENIR : SO­CIÉTÉ SAIN­T­JEAN-BAP­TISTE DE SHER­BROOKE 1858-1958. SHER­BROOKE, P. 32)

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