The Roads of Hemmingford

Excerpts from: Hemmingford Hundred Years of Hope and Challenge 1799-1999 – April 2024

As in most of the other regions of this new land, the roads that the new settlers developed started as foot tracks between shacks, houses and settlements. Naturally, the first to travel and to make tracks in this area were the local tribes of Indians. It would seem reasonable that they travelled along the height of land, now route 219 between St. Edouard and Barrington on their travels between Kahnawake and Lake Champlain in the vicinity of Rouses Point, New York.

From Barrington, they would probably veer southeast along present-day Fisher Road, passing along Bogtown and Roxham on the way. Indian artifacts have been found along Fisher Road and Bogtown.

This article will confine itself to the present Hemmingford Township and Village. N.B.: When this book was published in 1999 it was noted: “You have noticed a peculiarity of the names of the roads around Hemmingford, none of them bear the name of a Saint. None are named after a tree, a flower, an animal, etc., except for Back Bush Road.”

The actual naming of the Streets and Avenues in the Village of Hemmingford appears to have started around 1958, but in the description of each, the date will be noted if it is known. ROUTE 202 EAST To the best of our research, this road never had any appellation except East Road. In the village, it was called Station Street and when the Village Council decided to name the streets, they stuck ‘Champlain’ onto it, possibly because the Champlain Milk Company had purchased the plant from Fournier and Stewart. ROUTE 202 WEST Originally, this road was known as the Ryan Road, because of the three Ryan families living on it. In the late 1930’s when Martin Fisher was the MLA for Huntingdon County and Provincial Treasurer, he was instrumental in having Route 202 among others, reconstructed and paved. ROUTE 219 SOUTH John Scriver petitioned to improve Hemmingford roads. (In 1832 and 1834 grants were received for the construction of this road). For all practical purposes, it was built on, or beside, Scriver property from the New York state border to the then Scriver’s Corners, because Lots 105 and 106 were the property of Col. John Scriver. In effect, in its initial stages, Route 219 was a private trail to unite the Scriver families.

This road starts at the Village corner and progresses to the Township line near Sherrington. In 1817, the legislature passed an act to provide for better communication in the County of Huntingdon. A contract for cutting out a road from La Tortue (St. Edward) to the Hemmingford line was taken by Col. John Scriver for $2,000. It was nine miles long and crossed three swamps which had to be crosswayed. The work was of a difficult nature, but by October 1819, the contract was fulfilled and the amount paid. The new road was exceedingly rough and one or two seasons passed before wheeled vehicles used it. The swamps, once so difficult to span, now comprise the finest agricultural land in the province. The prosperity of Hemmingford dates from the opening of this road.

From the beginning, this street was known as Main Street South and Main Street North or South Street and North Street, starting at the corner and was so recorded on postcards and various other documents including many references in the Village Council minutes.

At the Council meeting of July 27, 1959, it was moved and seconded to make the following change to street names: Fortin Street be changed to Barr Street. The change from Fortin Street to Barr Street was a bit of puzzle, as no one remembers the street being called Fortin Street. Admittedly the Fortin & Frère building was just west of it, and some people may have referred to it as Fortin Street because of that proximity, but the motion clarified the matter. The Barr name was selected, because the short street that eventually became Barr Street, which led to two houses located less distant than present Goyette Avenue, was named after Mr. and Mrs. James Barr, who had owned that piece of territory for a long period of time.

On April 1, 1958, the document was signed which transferred the land necessary for the development of Bouchard Street, which was purchased from Leo and Hermas Fortin. About three months later, on July 14, 1958, the Hon. Paul Dozois approved the opening of the street at a width of 50 feet, English measure. This land has been owned by Notary J.B.A. Bouchard for many years from the early 1930’s so the street was named in his honour. Previously, the land had been owned for many years by the George Keddy family. To be continued . . .