Douglastown

Douglastown is a lovely little village founded in 1861 on the south side of the Saint-Jean River estuary in the Gaspesie Region. In New France in 1632 Nicholas Denys gains title to the entire littoral of the St-Lawrence, from Canso Straight to Cap-des-Rosiers.

The first Customs Office was open here in 1776. The same year, Sir Charles Douglas commands the British fleet which broke the American Blockade of Quebec. It seems the small village was named after this admiral. Its first inhabitants were Loyalists, coming from the United-States.

They built the first chapel on the sandbar at Douglastown in 1801. People contribute materials and work on the construction of this small chapel, dedicated to the Twelve Apostles. In 1815, a British frigate, the Penelope, breaks up on the shore near by. In 1847 the vessel Carrick sinks at Cap-des-Rosiers and hundred of passengers die in the wreck. Only eight people survive.

According to the 1841 census, the records give fifty families for Douglastown. Thirteen years later in 1854, the reverend M. Sasseville, in a report transmitted to the bishop at Quebec notes that "the population of Douglastown is mixed; composed of a few Irish, Irish descendants, Canadians, Jerseyais, but that the Irish element predominates.

There are five English speaking Canadian families and four protestant families. Though most understand French, the practice of preaching in English has prevailed. The new generation understands only English and, with the passing of the older generation, the rests of the French language will disappear."

In 1860 the Gaspe Bay mining Co. digs the first two oil wells, one of them at Douglastown and the other on a branch of the York River. Nowadays, Douglastown is a popular tourist destination for many Quebecers and Americans who enjoy its sandy beaches.

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