First colonists in the Eastern Townships

Colonization of the Eastern Townships started with Loyalists coming from New England  after the Versailles Treaty sanctioned the independence of the United States, in 1873. After American revolution these Loyalists were considered as enemies, so their possessions were confiscated in most cases.

Thus many Loyalists came to settle in Canada, and as many as 10 thousand of them settled in the Eastern Townships. One of the main reasons of the settlement was the plan of the government of Lower Canada (Quebec) to make this area as an English-speaking region. Land was granted to few people and some of those beneficiaries kept terrains for speculation. The situation prevented the French-Canadians from settling in the townships.

Some Loyalists however, came here to live and to develop this countryside. They built lovely houses and massif mills over the rivers, they founded churches, gardens in the Brithis traditions and opened roads. Thus nice villages were born in the Eastern Townships.

We can mention brothers Cornelius and Gilbert Hyatt as the most important colonists of that era, who founded Sherbrooke and a few hamlets.

After the war of 1812-1815, between the Great Britain and the United States, the Canadian government decided also to create a few fortified villages along the border, so these lands were granted to a number of veterans of the war, mostly English speaking people.

Later, in the middle of the 19th century, French-Canadien come here, after Reverend Antoine Racine, parish priest in Stanfold (now Princeville) and future first bishop of Sherbrooke, published a pamphlet titled calling to lift the obstacles to the colonization of the Eastern Townships by French-Canadians.

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