Yesterdays of Potton

This publication is the Web edition of the book cited below. The original bilingual edition has been reorganized in two separate documents to facilitate reading in both languages.

Serge Normand
Webmaster,  January 2012

Données de catalogage avant publication (Canada)
Leduc, Gérard, 1934-
Rouillard, Paul, 1933
Potton d’antan – Yesterdays of Potton
Les débuts d’un canton – The Beginnings of a Township
ISBN 2-9805510-0-7
Dépôt légal, Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, 1997
Dépôt légal, Bibliothèque nationale du Canada, 1997
Legal deposit, National Library of Canada, 1997


During 1996 the Potton Heritage Association Inc. held an exhibition of old photographs of local interest. Having seen it, several people suggested they be published as a book. The seed was planted. What better way to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Potton Township in 1997. It was decided to include a section on the history of the Township from its beginning when King George III signed the Letters Patent on October 31, 1797.

This historical review covers events in Potton from 1797, with photographs providing a living testimony spanning a period from about 1890 to 1950. They vividly illustrate and pay tribute to all those who worked to develop and shape our cultural heritage.

The Potton Heritage Association is proud to join with the many residents and descendants of the early settlers to celebrate this bicentennial. This is an opportunity to bring forth not only dates, events and anecdotes, but to illustrate how the fabric of this society was woven by many people of different ethnic and religious origins who chose, as I have, to live in Potton for its surroundings of exceptional beauty.

For me, this look into the history of Potton was a most gratifying and moving experience. The reading, research of names and places and events, both joy fid and occasionally tragic, has given me a much deeper appreciation of Potton. There is still much to explore and to discover about our past and, in a work of this nature, may I ask the reader to overlook any inaccuracies or omissions.

The Association is especially grateful to Paul Rouillard for his enthusiasm and knowledge of the area. Without his help this work would have not seen the light of day. The Potton Heritage Association hopes this book will enable the people of Potton to better appreciate its roots and, as a result, promote pride in its future.

Gérard Leduc
June 7, 1997

Notes to the reader :
Figures in brackets refer to the catalogue of old photographs following the appendices. Names given in brackets refer to references listed at end of text.

Geography of Potton Township

Potton Township is located in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and its dimensions were set as a square of about I6krn (10 by 10 miles). A road map dated 1881 is presented in Appendix 1. Its border to the south is the State of Vermont, to the east, Lake Memphremagog, to the north, Bolton Township and to the west, the Sutton Mountains. It is a rural territory administered by the Municipality of Potton Township located in Mansonville. In addition, there are several hamlets on the shores of Lake Memphremagog: Leadville on the southern border, Knowlton’s Landing to the north and Vale Perkins in between. At the southwest corner of the Township is Dunkin (formerly West Potton) and near the Border is Highwater (formerly Mansonville Station).

The landscape is a hilly extension of the Appalachian mountains with a hardwood forest cover. Lake Memphremagog is one of the dominant natural features of the landscape and had a determining role in the history of Potton. In the interior there are two small lakes, Sugar Loaf Pond and Fullerton Pond. The latter is an impoundment held by a masonry dam built around 1911 and therefore does not appear on the 1881 map. The three major streams are the Missisquoi River which crosses the Township from North to South as it flows towards Lake Champlain, Ruiter Brook which runs into the Missisquoi taking its source in Fullerton Pond and, finally, Mud Creek which flows into the south branch of the Missisquoi.

A map of New York State dated 1779 calls the Missisquoi “Deep Still wr” (water) probably indicating a deep river with quiet waters. It is far from the truth when one knows the rapids in Bolton and in Mansonville and the very shallow stretches during the summer months. Missiskoui, a name most likely of Native origin, labels the southern branch on that map.

There was a very active agricultural life in Potton, mostly with dairy production, which is much less active today. Fertile land is still farmed and one can enjoy a varied landscape dominated with vast open valleys and scenic mountains.

The Natives in Potton

The origin of the Eastern Townships goes back to the old Buckinghamshire County which included lands from south of the St. Lawrence River to the U.S. border. The limits were the Chaudière River to the east and the Richelieu River’s French seigneuries to the west. This territory would be subdivided by the British colonial administration in the 1790’s when surveying began. Natives were largely the only occupants. In historic times the Eastern Townships were inhabited by the Abenakis but Iroquois probably extended their territory as far as Cowansville. The Abenakis who were the victims of the English settlements had to abandon their traditional lands further to the south and move several times following periodic wars between French and English colonists.

At the end of the 17th century the French first gave them lands along the Chaudière River. However, as in many other cases elsewhere in Quebec, they were displaced again. The mission, called St. Francis, was moved to the mouth of the St. Francis River, at a location called Odanak. There was another Abenakis settlement in the area, in Swanton, Vermont, at the mouth of the Missisquoi River on Lake Champlain.

Except for the St. Francis Mission, the Abenakis had little influence on the landscape of the Eastern Townships as their activities were limited mainly to hunting and fishing camps. In 1796, Joslah Elkins from Peacham, Vermont, reported Abenaki campsites in Potton.

The Abenakis were caught between the warring English and French who were seeking to control territories south of the St. Lawrence. This was the “French and Indian War” as Americans called it, one that was often fought as guerilla warfare and the French used the Abenakis to launch raids against British New England settlements. Men, women and children who were taken prisoner were brought back and integrated into the French colony. In 1757, Fort William Henry on Lake George was attacked by the Natives and a massacre ensued. There were retaliation raids and one of these was very costly for the Abenakis.

The St. Francis Mission was attacked in the fall of 1759 by Rogers’ Rangers and most people at the Mission were killed. These were mercenaries who had left New Hampshire and were led by Robert Rogers, an illustrious figure of American history, who supervised his training camp on Rogers Island in the Hudson River.

The First Years of Potton Township

The American Revolution and the Loyalists

Except for the presence of a few Abenakis, the Eastern Townships remained uninhabited until about 1790. The American Revolution which ended with the treaty of Versailles in 1783 was about to change the course of our history.

The thirteen American colonies became independant, but the Loyalists who had remained faithful to the British Crown found themselves pursued and persecuted by the Patriots. They had to flee into exile. Thousands settled in Nova Scotia and in Ontario whereas about 2,000 came to Quebec, mainly in the Sorel and Gaspé areas. A small number became squatters at Missisquoi Bay and petitioned Governor Haldimand to obtain official land grants along the Border. The British were reluctant to allow these expatriate Americans to settle near their former country where they still had relatives and friends against whom it would be difficult to fight in case of war between America and Canada.

One of these well known Loyalists was Capt. Hendrick Ruiter of Dutch origin who fought the American rebels in the Albany, N.Y. area. Along with the misadventures of Generals Carleton and Burgoyne in their fight with the rebels, Ruiter had a misfortune of his own: he lost two fingers from his right hand.

To escape the rebels he hid in the woods for three months. He then reached St. Jean alone, leaving his wife and two sons at the mercy of the American rebels. In 1880 he pleaded with Governor Haldimand to allow his wife and children to enter Canada. The request was granted. The family however had to spend a long time at the Caldwell Manor, a sort of refugee camp near Missisquoi Bay. It was not until 1796, in recognition of his loyal services to the British Crown, that Ruiter obtained his land grant in Potton.

Surveying and the First Settlers

Under pressure from the Loyalists the British Government was forced to begin land surveys (2). Jessie Pennoyer was commissioned to survey Potton in 1792 and it was on October 31, 1797 that King George III signed the Letters Patent for Potton Township. The name Potton is of British origin and we share the name with a manor in England dating from 1366. There is also a village called Sutton nearby.

It was not until July 28, 1803, that the subdivision or Potton Township was officially signed by King George III. During that time people could not wait for the official acts to arrive and so began settling the area. Many American squatters, ex-soldiers of the Revolutionary Army and Loyalists settled throughout the Eastern Townships. In Potton, a list of early settlers in 1796 named 57 households including some 300 people. These figures come from the Public Archives of Canada (PAC) and were recopied by Mrs. Mildred George for the Brome County Historical Society. This list is reproduced in Appendix 2.

These figures show a larger number of settlers than was presumed until now. For example, an 1803 census of Potton (PAC General Census) reports only 184 people and 34 families. Methods of census taking varied. The information was either gathered on site, which seems to have been the case here, or was estimated from the number of lots conceded or purchased.

It was indeed only in 1803 that the cadastral subdivision was enacted. It is obvious the squatters’ names did not appear on the cadastral lists but there were many who had responded to Governor Allured Clark’s 1792 Proclamation inviting Americans from neighbouring states to come and settle the wastelands of Canada.

We do not know who made the above mentioned lists but they appear authentic. The sources are credible (PAC) and we were able to verify the truth about certain names. Robert Manson is listed as a miller in 1825 which was the case. Nicholas Austin’s name appears on the Bolton list for 1794 and this corresponds to his known whereabouts.

Vale Perkins

In 1780, Nicholas Austin, a rich Quaker from Dover, New Hampshire, asked for a land grant on the shores of Lake “Mumphry Magog” for himself and his 74 associates. Shortly afterwards, without authorization, he hired men and settled in Vale Perkins near the site of the Landing where Natives began their portage towards the Missisquoi River (following a trail between Vale Perkins and Mansonville).

He built a log cabin (1), cleared 1300 feet of land from the lake, and went as far as freeing the Missisquoi River of fallen trees to make it navigable down to Vermont. He spent over 600 dollars in this undertaking (Epps, 1992), a very large sum in those days. For example, Austin was given £ 20 (about $50.00) to open a road between the US border and Bolton in 1792 (Shufelt, 1965).

To his dismay, Austin was ordered to leave by Lord Dorchester because his settlement had not been authorized. In 1792 he resettled in Austin Bay, Bolton Township, and Samuel Perkins took over the abandoned site the following year.

West Potton – Dunkin

Another important land grant was conceded to Hendrick Ruiter who received 2,400 acres. However, he had to defray large sums of money for surveying and titles whereas, in 1797, Laughland McLean, Capt. 84th Regiment, British Regulars, was granted 8,400 acres in Potton free of any charges. This is only one example of the many difficulties encountered by the Loyalists in their quest for a place to settle. They were up against rampant political favoritism and corruption among civil servants.

In 1796, at age 50, Hendrick Ruiter settled (7) near the brook that bears his name and the place became known as West Potton. The name was changed in 1895 in honor of Christopher Dunkin the first member of Parliament for Brome County after Confederation.

Ruiter was an entrepreneur. He built the first mills in Potton and also had a whiskey distillery near the Brook. He also established the Ruiter Settlement Cemetery in 1797 where he buried his two year old son. In 1819, Ruiter himself died at age 80 and was buried near his son (9, 10).

South Potton – Highwater

Elsewhere in Potton Township, the first settlers occupied places near the Border where Highwater is today. It was then called South Potton. Moses Elkins had left Peacham, Vermont, and arrived in June 1797 with his family, a pair of oxen and a cart. Two other men joined him and they started to clear land with a few Natives. Able Skinner, another pioneer, helped them.

Another well known family, the Perkins, also settled in South Potton. Peter Perkins II was the great-grandson of Edward Perkins who, in 1629, left Ufton Court, Berkshire, England, to come and live in New Haven, Connecticut. During the summer of 1793 Peter Perkins and his family – his wife Anna Ames and two sons, Peter III and Samuel – chose to build on a meadow along the Missisquoi River. The following spring they were caught by a flood that brought water to the rafters of their log cabin. Hence Highwater! They abandoned that site to settle on higher ground close to Mansonville at a place called West Hill Center. They were followed by the Fullerton, Elkins, Norris, Capt. David Blanchard, Clark and Jersey families. Later, Samuel went to Vale Perkins to settle the site left vacant by the departure of Nicholas Austin. He had three sons, Cyrus, John and Ebenezer, who lived and died there.

Meig’s Corner

In the fall of 1798 another hamlet came into being with the development of Meig’s Corner, located between Highwater and Mansonville at a place where a north-south road crossed the Missisquoi River and the present-day route 243 (79).The pioneers of Meig’s Corner were Jacob Garland and Jonathan Heath, and the hamlet rapidly expanded adding a new school in 1809. Other new businesses included a store operated by Levi A. Coit, and two distilleries, one belonging to the Heath family, the other to David Perkins. It would seem that, then as today, distilleries were quite important!

North Potton

The north of Potton Township was slow to be settled and even today forest still cov-ers most of the area. In the interior, the first farms were established along Peabody Road between 1819 and 1826. The southern portion of Sugar Loaf Pond Road did not open until about 1870 and in 1881 part of Schoolcraft Road still appeared on the map only as a brush path. The Schoolcraft, Traver-Bradley and Reilly farms were established around 1890.

However, Knowlton’s Landing soon became an important transit point and was the location of the first post office in Potton around 1820. As early as 1805, a Joseph Bouchette map shows a road leading from Knowlton’s Landing going west through the Bolton Pass. It was used by the stagecoach travelling between Montreal and Boston. The journey took travellers through Copp’s Ferry, the former name for Georgeville on the east shore of Lake Memphremagog.

Georgeville was settled in 1797 by Moses Copps who operated the first ferry linking Knowlton’s Landing. Ferry landing wharves were of Federal jurisdiction and their names changed with whatever party ruled in Ottawa. The Knowltons were Liberal supporters and gave their name to the Landing but when the Conservatives came to power it took the name of Tuck’s Landing in honor of rheir supporter, John Tuck, a ferry operator.

Two well known families in Knowlton’s Landing were those of Levi Knowlton and of John Tuck. The latter, who married Moses Copps’s daughter from Georgeville, was nicknamed Uncle John and occupied many jobs: ferry operator, postmaster, custom broker, innkeeper, municipal coun¬cillor. He lived to the age of 93 and was still working in the Post Office (17, 49).

The Knowltons, a Loyalist family, first settled in Stukely. Levi Knowlton and his 12 year old son, Miles, established the Knowlton farm near the Landing of the same name. They also built the Pine Lodge (14) later sold to John Tuck and which is now L’Aubergine inn.

Another place in the north of the Township became famous with the discovery by Nathan Mills Banfill, in 1828, of the sulphur springs at the base of Mount Pevee near the border of Bolton Township and was first called Bolton Spring. It would later become the site of the Potton Springs Hotel which we will discuss later.

The northwest corner of Potton, including the headwaters of Ruiter Brook, has remained in its natural state until the present except for some logging. A beautiful lake, Fullerton Pond was created by the construction of a masonry dam which measures 175 m in length (about 400 feet) and is an excellent example of heritage industrial technology. It is said to have been built around 1911 by Sheldon Boright then the owner of the surrounding forest.


Origin and First Buildings

Potton Township was first settled at the end of the 18th century and, as seen before, in 1796 its population numbered about 300 residents. However, Mansonville only got started around ten years later and was not known by that name. Bouchette’s maps of 1805 and 1846 give names of early villages in the area but none named Mansonville. Yet, in 1839, a military map by Col. Charles Gore calls this colonial settlement Manson’s Bridge.

It appears that the water power of the Missisquoi River contributed to the development of Mansonville. On May 27, 1803, a parcel of land, lot 9 range 5, where most of the Town is located, was granted to Abraham Ruiter, Hendrick’s son. Other sources say Hendrick was the owner. The same year, Joseph Chandler and John Lewis, who are considered the first settlers, purchased this lot and began the construction of a sawmill. In 1807 the first school in Potton was built on the east side of the river and there was, presumably, a bridge to reach it.

Note :

There is an apparent Quaker influence in the pioneers’ given names reported above as, according to tradition, these were chosen by the father for the newborn child from the first name encountered upon opening the Bible.

The Manson Family

In 1811, Chandler was sole owner of the mill and sold ir the same year to Robert Manson, a Loyalist, whose name appears on the 1796 census (Appendix 2) and who would give his name to the village. Manson build a grist mill on the east side of the river just below the bridge. In 1829 James, Robert’s son, built a carding and a tannery mill.

The Anglo-American War of 1812 slowed down development and several citizens went back to the United States. In 1824 business picked up again and William Manson, Robert’s brother, opened a store and a tavern. Then, in 1836, Christopher Armstrong opened a hotel offering “entertainment for man and beast”. In those days, hotels were called “Houses of Public Entertainment”. James Manson bought it in 1866 and ran it under the name of Manson’s Hotel. Around 1850, William gave a portion of his lot for use as a common which remains today as Place Manson in the center of Mansonville (26, 27).

James Manson built the first general store in 1824 and the first Town Block where the Town Hall stands today. This building, erected in 1834 housed the Eastern Township Bank (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce today) established in 1904, the offices of the Municipality, the Customs and a hair dresser. It burned down in 1910.

One of his sons, David, built the Manson House in 1875 at the corner of Bellevue and Vale Perkins roads (36, 37). He took over the store and rebuilt the second Town Block which kept the same occupants until the second fire in 1923 (25, 132). A prominent public figure, David Manson was Mayor of Mansonville in 1875, a conservative MP, a founding member of the Mansonville Masonic Lodge (33) and Grand Master of the Great Masonic Lodge of Quebec. He died at the age of 88 on February 9, 1929. Obviously this was a most important and influential family who, for over a century, played an important role in the economic and political destinies of Mansonville.

Other Renowned Pioneers

In this brief review of the origins of Potton one should not forget to mention the roles the Boright and the Oliver families played in the economics of Mansonville.

The Boright brothers, Nelson and Sheldon, had a farm on the east side of the river and a store in the village where the Axep grocery is today. Sheldon taught arithmetic at School No. 7 (109) and was Mayor from 1896 to 1900. He supposedly built the Fullerton Pond dam around 1911 and, upon his death, was the richest real estate owner in the Township.

Another businessman of importance was William Oliver, who was of Scottish descent. He came from Farnham Center in 1870 and opened a general store (92) at the location of the second house down from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. The family lived in the house which is next to the bank. There were two sons, William and Carleton, who ran the store and became, one after the other, members of the Legislative Assembly in Quebec City. William owned the big house which is now a B&B just a little further down Main street.

The Status of Mansonville

The Village grew as the industrial, economic and administrative center of Potton Township whereas the hamlets kept a rural way of life based mainly on farming.

According to Shufelt, (1965) the name of Mansonville first appeared on a regional map by Hiram Corey in 1845 where the village is called Potton Corner – Mansonville; mills were also indicated. This name is confirmed in the Canada Directory for 1851-1852 as Potton or Mansonville and on a map of the Eastern Townships by Walling (1864) in which a plan of the village is labelled Mansonville (Potton) (see Appendix 3).

It was on July 1st, 1855, that the Municipality of Potton Township was incorporated according to the Municipalities and Road Act of 1855 which also stipulated that it should be  governed by a Mayor and six councillors. At that time, there were about 150 persons in the Village (Directory 1857-1858) and in 1855 the first Mayor was G.B. Rolleston who served for a term of one year. The list of all mayors up to the present is shown in Appendix 4.

The Economy of Potton

In the early days the economy was largely dependent on natural resources which led to the establishment of several mills.

The Mills

Hendrick Ruiter built the first sawmill and gristmill on Ruiter Brook. The area of Vale Perkins has seen several mills with two on the Brook of that name. It is, however, in Mansonville that the construction and the operation of mills was most diversified and lasted the longest. As early as 1803 Chandler and Lewis built the first mill at the foot of Mill Street (formerly the COOP). A sawmill was built across from it on the east side of the river and two others were built further downstream. A second dam located under the bridge supplied the necessary power. According to the Walling map of 1864 (Appendix 3) Mansonville had one clothing mill, two sawmills, a grist mill and a tannery.

Later, in 1903, Charles Brouillette installed a power plant located on a small island between the COOP mill and the bridge. The beginning of electricity in Mansonville took a romantic note as the power was first turned on just before Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. This hydro-electric plant and the island were later owned by the Mansonville Utilities.

Over the years the various mills changed owners and function (30,31) but they all met their fate at the same time. In November 1927 a devastating flood swept away the two dams on the river. In addition, buildings carried by the raging waters demolished the covered bridge which was located at the site of today’s bridge.

It was the flood of the century which destroyed a great deal of property in Vermont and drowned many people. To give an idea of the downpour, the water level in Lake Memphremagog rose by more than three meters (130,131). Mansonville was suddenly deprived of its five mills, electricity and its only bridge. It took several months before power could be brought in from Newport and later from North Troy, Vermont.


As everywhere else in the Eastern Townships agriculture ensured a living to the first settlers of Potton (62-67). The climate, topography and soil conditions were not conducive to commercial production. However, pasture and hay supported a thriving dairy industry including several butter and cheese factories (4, 67). Sheep farming has also been important. In 1832, there were more than 1,000 sheep as compared with 400 cows and 400 pigs (Bouchette, 1832 as reported by Archeobec, 1993). Today, sheep farming has now completely vanished probably due to unfavorable climatic conditions.

This agricultural economy, once thriving, could not face the competition from the industrialization of the vast farmlands of the Montreal area nor the manpower losses through emigration towards the urban centers in the U.S. as well as in Canada.


The wood industry was the key to Potton’s economy (68, 69). The beech-maple forest with good stands of conifers not only supplied the lumber needed for local construction but rapidly became a means of wealth through export to the United States. An example of this industrial exploitation was by the Singer Sewing Machine company who established a logging village along the Ruiter Brook to obtain wood for its cabinets. The place was called Singerville and had all the essential conveniences for the loggers (70, 71) None of it is left today.

Timber was transported by various means: e.g. roads, sleighs (72, 73), waterways and, later, by rail (69). The MJssisquoi River was used to float softwood towards the mills in Mansonville or Richford, Vermont, and rafts of logs were floated on Lake Memphremagog towards Newport, Vermont.


The Eastern Townships harbor rich mineral deposits including iron, copper, lead, gold, silver, etc. Mines played an important role in the past but have little or no value today. Potton Township was no exception as several small mines were worked.


There was a copper mine located on the west side of Hogsback Mountain (74). At the beginning of the century, the Memphremagog Mining Company operated the mine until around 1915 and extracted about 800 tons of ore. It was later abandoned (Bancroft, 1915).


There is an unused mine located south-east of Mansonville. It has one horizontal shaft, two lateral ones and one vertical. It was briefly worked at the beginning of the century.

Lead and Silver

Below Owl’s Head, to the south, was a lead mine which gave its name to Leadville, a hamlet at the south-east corner of the Township near the Vermont border. The entrance to the mine was on the lake side, on the beach.

Mining prospecting tn 1862 revealed rich deposits of lead and silver. The mine was operated by the Glen Falls Mining Company with only 15 men but closed after a short time due to lack of funds, never to reopen (Darrah, 1977).

Steatite or Talc

Along the Missisquoi River Valley, on its west side, there is a long serpentine deposit of the steatite type, commercially known as talc. Some deposits were identified in 1860 and a first mine was operated by Bakertalc Inc. in the south of the Township and gave its name to Chemin de la Mine. A second mine operated for years to the north near Bolton, and recently, an open pit mine operated for a few years west of route 243 between Traver and Peabody roads.


Before any colonization could take place, roads had to be built (75) so that people could reach their lots by animal drawn carts. Roads would also promote business exchanges and the movement of goods and materials. With remarkable speed the road network, ferry services on the Lake and, later, railways developed.


The Land Committee granted Nicholas Austin land in Bolton Township in 1792 and a road from the U.S. border to Bolton was built that year, a distance of about 18 km (11 mi). Joseph Bouchette’s map of 1805 describes this road as well as another leaving from Gibraltar Point in the direction of the Bolton Pass to the west. In 1800, another map, this one by Duberger, shows a road coming from North Troy and heading through the south of Potton towards Sutton and St. Armand. In 1839, a military map by Col. Charles Gore depicts the main roads: Leadville-Mansonville-West Potton and the other, North-South which is the present route 243. Gore’s map calls Mansonville “Manson’s Bridge” and another military map of 1863 labels the Leadville road as “King’s Highway”.

There was another purpose for the roads of that period as one has to appreciate the military context. In 1812-1813, Canada lived under the threat of an American invasion and, later, during the 1837-38 Rebellion some rebels were finding sympathy south of the Border and there were a few incursions into Potton. In this context, it is worth remembering that at the time of the 1837-38 Rebellion a small military force was raised called the “Potton Guard”. It was under the command of Thomas Gilman and carried out drills on Place Manson. There was also a squad of mounted men called “The Troop” which scouted the area (Taylor, 1937).

There was a long and difficult border to protect and military maps were a necessity to guide soldiers in reaching strategic places in case of attack. Indeed, the road coming from the west could have easily brought reinforcements from the St. Jean and Fort Lennox garrisons on the Richelieu River.

Finally, a map of 1863 and the one of 1881 (Appendix 1) illustrate the roads of the time which covered a total distance of about 190 km (115 mi) as compared with about 155 km (93 mi) today. What is remarkable is that the road network of Potton was virtually completed in 1839 at a time when its population barely reached 800 people and draft animals counted about 100 horses and 200 oxen (Bouchette, 1832, as reported by Archeobec, 1993) and, in the middle of the 19th century, there were no specialized construction workers in the area (Tremblay, 1986). It is difficult to imagine how all of these roads and bridges (303 79, 80) were built with such a limited work force.


In 1860, the beginning of the Civil War in the United States and the demand for copper for the war industry stimulated the working of several copper mines in the Eastern Townships and the development of the railways. In our area, the Dillonton and the Bolton Mines south of Eastman (along route 245) were favored by these events but the ore was first hauled to Waterloo by horse drawn carts.

The war was over by 1865 and, in 1870, the Missisquoi and Black River Valley Railway Company built the first stretch of the railroad between Potton Springs and Richmond, Quebec. By that time, the South Eastern Railway serviced the southern section of Potton with a station at Mansonville Station, the former name for Highwater. In 1888 a new company, the Orford Mountain Railway (OMR), obtained a charter to develop the railroad. In 1907, the track between Potton Springs, Mansonville (81) and Troy Junction, Vermont, was inaugurated. In 1910, the Canadian Pacific bought the OMR and maintained service until 1936 (82). This railroad transported copper ore, hay, lumber, fire wood and pulp wood. There was also a passenger service with four trains a day, two in each direction (Phelps, 1967).


Lake Memphremagog played a predominant economical role for all the Canadian and American communities along its shores. Despite being in the interior, Potton Township has an interesting shipping history. Together with the railways, the lake ferries provided the most reliable means of transportation given the uncertain conditions of the early roads.

As soon as 1797, Moses Copps, the founder of Georgeville, inaugurated a ferry service between his settlement, then known as Copps’ Ferry, and Knowlton’s Landing to service the stage-coach passengers travelling between Boston and Montreal via the Bolton Pass. A map by Hiram Corey (1845) mentions a “horse boat ferry” where three horses worked a treadmill that drove paddle wheels (15) (Mackenzie, 1996). In winter, an ice bridge ensured travel between the two shores.

Later, several steamboats sailed the waters of Lake Memphremagog and the most important ones were:

  • The Mountain Maid (1850-1892) a steamer with one paddle wheel.
  • The Lady of the Lake (1867-1917) (84), a steamer with two paddle wheels acquired celebrity. Sir Hugh Allan had it built in Scotland. It was shipped in parts to Montreal, transported by railroad to Sherbrooke and then by wagons to Magog where she was reassembled and launched in 1867.

The Lady of the Lake provided a ferry service between Magog and Newport with a number of stopping places on both shores. In Potton, she docked at Knowlton’s Landing, Château Ruisseau, Vale Perkins and at the foot of Owl’s Head for the Mountain House vacationers (see Appendix 6). She sailed for 50 years before retiring in 1917.

During this period other boats also provided service either for business or pleasure. They were the Minnie (1877-1881) a catamaran steamer with one paddle wheel and the Nora the only one which supposedly sank in the lake. Finally, the Anthemis, a propeller driven steamer (85) competed with the Lady of the Lake for some time sailing from 1909 to 1954 (Jacques Boisvert, 1997, personal communication). Two other boats are shown in Hildreth (1905): the steamer Yioco and the “gasolene” launch Island Queen.

Lodging in Potton

Looking at the number of hotels built here, Potton seems to have been very popular with travellers and vacationers. In the middle of the 19th century the improved economy encouraged business travel. At the same time, the fashion for summer vacations was growing among wealthier peo-ple. Potton offered three types of lodgings: the coaching inns, the village hotels and the summer resorts.

The Coaching Inns

There were two stop-over places, one in Knowlton’s Landing for travellers on the Montreal-Boston route. It later became the Pine Lodge operated by John Tuck and is today L’Aubergine (14). In West Potton (Dunkin) the Wayside Inn (8) hosted travellers journeying between North Troy and St. Jean.

The Hotels

There were several hotels in later years but most were destroyed by fire. In Mansonville, there was the Mansonville Hotel across from the Common (24, 27, 28, 105) which dated back to 1836 when it opened under Christopher Armstrong. In 1864, the Walling map (Appendix 3) shows a hotel belonging to J. Manson which was located at the site of the Mansonville Hotel destroyed by fire in 1983. The present day Giroux & Giroux Hardware Store (91) began its life as a hotel called the “Windsor” and was built around the end of the 19th century.

Highwater has seen many hotels over the years not only for the presence of a railway station but also, no doubt, due to the era of Prohibition in the United States. So it became an inviting watering hole! Among the several hotels were the Highwater Inn (106, 133), the Highwater Hotel, the Stanley House (107), the Tourist Garden and, not the least famous, the John’s T. House with cabins in the woods built to accommodate the oldest profession of all times. This amenity was also very popular for games of Black Jack and also popular with the customers from south of the border where the legal drinking age was older.

One should not forget Ufton Court in Vale Perkins. In 1915, the David Perkins’ family house (108) was transformed into a boarding house with 14 rooms. In addition, there were a number of cottages. During the peak of the summer season 40-50 guests could enjoy their vacations on Lake Memphremagog. For entertainment there was the Sugar Bar.

Most hotels had a good dance hall and floor shows and it was great fun to do the round of hotels until the wee hours of the morning. And to do it again the next evening!

Summer Resorts

With Lake Memphremagog and its spectacular scenery, its mountains and wide open valleys, Potton would soon become a strong attraction to tourists. Three hotels of international reputation thrived here: Potton Springs Hotel, Mountain House and The Château da Silva.


In 1828, Nathan Mills Banfill, age 14, was working in a field and, wanting to quench his thirst, looked for a source of water. He came across a trickle of water with a very special taste and odor. This was the sulphur springs. This discovery led to the springs becoming known for their curative powers (103). At once it became very popular and an early hotel in the area, the The McMannis Hotel in South Bolton, prospered with the “spring lodgers”.

On July 4, 1862, businessmen from the Eastern Townships arrived to celebrate the Potton Sulphur Spring and C.F. Haskell, from Stanstead officially named it the Mount Pleasant Spring. This official name was soon forgotten and Potton Springs has been used to this day. In 1875, the sulphur springs became truly famous with the construction of the Potton Springs Hotel by N.H. Green. It was later bought by J.A. Wright and enlarged in 1912 to accommodate 75 guests at a rate of two dollars per day (102). The springs enjoyed an international reputation for their therapeutic properties in the aiding of liver, kidney and stomach ailments and muscular and inflammatory problems.

The hotel took advantage of the nearby Orford Mountain Railway and a covered plat-form was built for the convenience of arriving and departing travellers (82). People came from the United States, Europe, Western Canada, Montreal and, of course, from the Eastern Townships to bathe in it, drink it and even take some home with them (103). Business went well for a time but guests gradually became fewer and the depression of the late 1920s probably hastened the decline of the Potton Springs Hotel. J.A Wright sold the place to K Latin in 1930 but fire levelled the main lodge on December 12, 1934. Arson was suspected as the hotel was empty, only being operated in summer (Taylor 1937, O’Neil, 1989).


This luxury hotel was located on the shores of Lake Memphremagog at the foot of Owl’s Head on the south side of the mountain. It was first built in 1845 but destroyed by fire in 1855. It was rebuilt and offered exceptionally comfortable and pleasurable vacations to its guests (95, 96, 97). Ferry boats, the Mountain Maid and the Lady of the Lake (84, 96} took vacationers to the hotel.

The Mountain House was owned by Charles D. Watkins from New York City and the three story hotel had 75 rooms with running water. The dining room (98) overlooked the lake and meals were probably accompanied with house wine from the hotel vineyard. One could also enjoy lawn tennis (100), bowling green, croquet, fishing on the lake (101) or a hike up Owl’s Head. There were also indoor entertainments including a well furnished billiard room (99). In the evening, guests were invited to sail across the Lake on a small steamboat to go to the opera near the entrance of Fitch Bay (personal communication from David Perkins).

On October 11, 1899, a worker was melting tar on the kitchen stove when he forgot it and fire destroyed the hotel which was never rebuilt. We owe these historic photos of Mountain House to the famous Montreal photographer William Notman.


A little heard of place bore the prestigious name of Château da Silva as a summer resort hotel built in the late 1870’s by a Montreal Frenchman about 5 kilometers north of Vale Perkins on the shores of Lake Memphremagog. The Belden map of 1881 (Appendix 1) names the location as Revere House, a hotel with a wharf. The place is now the site of the Ruisseau Château Campground. It was short lived as it was also destroyed by fire.

Life in Potton

One cannot explore the history of Potton without looking at its socio-cultural and religious life reflecting its population growth. According to the census lists recopied by Mildred George and kept in the archives of the Brorne County Historical Society the population grew as follows:

Date Persons
1796 287
1825 319
1842 795
1851 1707
1871 2178
1881 2380

In this context it becomes interesting to look at the history of schools and churches in Potton.


Potton Township had as many as 18 Protestant schoolhouses scattered throughout its territory, thus making schooling readily accessible to most children. They were identified by numbers (photos 109 to 119), but commonly known by names such as Garland, Sweat or the Mansonville Station School which was next to the train station in Highwater. In addition, there had been eight Catholic schools with two in Mansonville. The list of all English and French schools appears in Appendix 5.

The first school dates back to 1807 and was built as a result of a petition in 1802 by Hendrick Ruiter, James Poison, Benj. Barnett, Daniel Jones   (41)   and others to Sir Gordon Drummond, Administrator-in-Chief of the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada. It was located near Fred Korman’s present house on the Vale Perkins road a short way east of the Missisquoi River. Another schoolhouse was built at Meig’s corner in 1809.

There was the Sweat School (No 7) (109) where the brothers Luke L. and Henry C. Knowlton taught. Built around 1840, this schoolhouse also served as a church and the classroom had a choir loft in the rear and a pulpit doubled as a desk used by the teacher. There were long benches with a board on top on which to write. Other benches without a board were for the students who did not know how to write. Pupils from different school levels were all taught in the same classroom.

Life was not easy for the teachers who had to rent a room in the neighbourhood, split firewood, heat and cleanup the schoolhouse. Brooms were not provided and children would collect cedar or hemlock branches and fasten them to a stick.

Some of the teachers made history. A few were Emma J. Paintin (No. 6), Abner W. Kneeland (No. 6) and Kate Magoon who taught for several years at the Jones school in Vale Perkins (No. 12) (112, 114, 118). She was very strict and refused a half day off offered by the school inspector Rev. E.M. Taylor because she insisted that the children needed all available time to learn!

The first school in Mansonville was not built until 1825 and that with the encouragement of Robert Manson. In 1893 it was replaced by the Model School (113), a name changed in 1901 to Intermediate School which reflected higher schooling levels.

A number of anglo-protestant schools were already abandoned by the end of the 19th century and, of all eighteen that there were, only seven were still functioning in 1935, indicating a gradual decrease in population. At the same time, as the French Catholics were increasing in number, the abandoned schools changed denomination. Today, one protestant school remains in Mansonville with about 35 students. We owe this interesting information on the early schools in Potton to the Rev. Ernest M. Taylor (1937) who was a school Inspector.

The French speaking Catholics only arrived around 1860 and did not have schools available everywhere. These youngsters had to go to English schools closer to home and several never learned French. In Mansonville, the first Catholic school was built in 1880 at the site of the Legion Hall. It burned and was rebuilt at the same place in 1922 (128). The nuns of the Filles de la Charité congregation taught school from 1924 to 1956 in this building and then in the present new school. There was also a boarding school operated by the nuns in the former church (the 1st one) from about 1907 to 1922.

The Protestant Churches

The pioneers of Potton were, for the most part, Baptists, Methodists and Anglicans. Before the construction of churches, visiting missionaries or “circuit riders” as they were called usually held religious services in private homes or schoolhouses. Here, as compared with other pioneering places in Quebec where chapels were usually built first, early settlers placed schooling before religion.

In 1844, the Female Benevolent Society of Potton, begun by the Baptists, was instrumental in building a non-denominational meetinghouse at Chapel Hill Cemetery near Meig’s Corner. In 1881 it was still there but has since disappeared.

To get an idea of the social environment in which early church ministers were involved, the Rev. Thomas Chapman, in his journal of 1849, writes about the Mansonville settlement and states that “the Rechabites had done a great deal of good for Potton,… it was one of the most drunken and degraded places possible a year ago, …on a public day you might see thirty or forty persons the worse for drink!”

Chapman adds that the community has become dry again; that the number of houses has doubled and the people have been restored from brutes to human beings again (Shufelt, 1965). These observations contrast sharply from the eulogic and romanticized commentaries usually written about early settlers’ life styles but was no doubt close to the truth for this frontier village.

In 1847-48, the Baptists built a church in Mansonville which was sold to the Church of England in 1856 (122). It was demolished and replaced in 1902 by the present St. Paul’s Anglican Church (123) This red brick building was unique for Potton at that time. The Baptists went back to Chapel Hill and, later, moved to the north of Mansonville at the corner of West Hill Road (125). Dunkin or West Potton had two churches built at the end of the 19th century and both are still there. In 1876, Rev. Elder Reynold built the Evangelical Second Advent Church also called Union Church and used until I960 (126). At the same time Archdeacon Kerr built the Anglican Church which became the Dunkin school in 1923 and then a private house in 1951.

In the meantime, the Methodists continued their ministry throughout the Township using private houses and schools. In 1873 they established a mission in Mansonville and, in 1879, the New Connection Methodist Church was built on the site of the present United Church. It was destroyed by the great Mansonville fire on March 3, 1893 and rebuilt in 1894 (124). In 1925, the Methodists merged with several other religious denominations to form the United Church of Canada (Bailey,1973)

The Catholic Church

Shortly after the arrival of the first Catholics in the area, from 1866 to 1880, a mission serviced by priests from Sutton was founded. The first Catholic Church (127) was established in 1880 and the parish was formally incorporated on October 13, 1880 under the name of St. Cajetan. The first church served the parishioners until 1919 after which it was moved across the street where it is now the house of the Carrier family. Anew and larger church (128-129) was then built but burnt down March 17, 1950 (134, 135), (Anonyme, 1982).


Like the schools, the cemeteries were plentiful in Potton numbering at least twenty. Cemeteries are silent but eloquent witnesses of the past. While enabling you to locate ones ancestors and the dates of birth and death, a walk among the tombstones can tell you a great deal more. This is where one can see how difficult the settlers lives were. In their poverty and misery, disease caused many child deaths. Many newborns died at birth along with their mothers. Hygiene and good nutrition would only be properly recognized in the 20th century when the relationship between diseases and microorganisms were understood (Gratton, 1993).

The first cemetery was established in Dunkin by Hendrick Ruiter in 1797 (9) to bury his two-year son. He was buried there at the age of 80 in 1819 (10). The oldest person in our cemeteries is probably Charles Aiken who died at the age of 104 in 1962 and was buried at the Ruiter Settlement Cemetery in Dunkin.

Mansonville has two cemeteries across from each other. The older one probably dating back to the early days of Mansonville is used by Protestants and is where, among others, Robert Manson and the well-loved Dr. Gillanders (59) lie in rest. The other is for Catholics and only dates back to 1925 when their former cemetery was moved from a site on West Hill Road. Other cemeteries have only a few graves such as the Potter Cemetery and Colonel Burbank’s with only two tombstones Also, tradition tells us of many unmarked burials scattered here and there at a time when people were simply buried in the woods. One such story tells of the Kelly sisters buried on Leverett.

Potton Before Potton

One could not end this summary of the history of Potton without referring to the First Nations who lived here. They left a number of legends which are recorded below. There are also countless numbers of stoneworks which are not yet fully explained but deserve some attention. We will describe a few examples thereafter.

Native Legends

Several Native legends have survived and they shed some light on a past which has otherwise been largely wiped out by the European conquest. Some of these legends did not arise from Potton territory but they are part of our geographical or cultural environment.

Roger’s Rangers

After the Odanak massacre the starving Rangers could not find any animal game and they scattered on their way back home. They were pursued by Abenakis and legends report two incidents, one inside Potton Township and the other on Lake Memphremagog. The first skirmish may have taken place at the top of Traver Road near the location of the old Bradley farm. There, some Rangers may have been killed and others, as prisoners, taken back to Odanak and tortured to death (Epps, 1992). This suggests the presence of roads, or at least trails, allowing the Rangers to penetrate deep into wooded areas.

The other encounter is said to have taken place on Lake Memphremagog near Skinner Island. As the legend goes, the Rangers became surrounded by Abenakis but they headed for cover in the cave (138) located at the northern end of the island. The Abenakis believed the cave was inhabited by a serpent-like water monster and fled (Stanstead Journal, 1853). The Rangers were thus saved by Memphre, the name given today to the legendary creature!

Skinner Island takes its name from a famous smuggler, Uriah Skinner, who supposedly stored his loot on the island and he himself hid in the cave to escape customs officers. The legend says that his skeleton was found there (Bullock, 1926). It should be remembered that the floor of the cave was, at that time, well above water level. In 1825 a dam was already in place on the outlet of Lake Memphremagog on the Magog River but a much larger one was built in 1 883 which raised the water level of the lake by more than two meters (six feet) (Gaudreau, 1995).


A native chief had brought his tribe together on Long Island in anticipation of his wedding to the beautiful maiden Winona, “Spirit of the Morning”. At that moment, the priestess from Mystic Island showed up and asked that Winona be given to her chief, Manitou, who lived on us Haunted Island. Otherwise all kinds of calamities would strike his tribe. Winona left and no gift could console the despaired chief. One day, there was a great storm on the lake and he paddled off in his white canoe. Although his empty canoe was found he was never to be seen again.

The legend goes on to say that following this tragic event a very large stone was sent by the spirits from the portal of the Manitou to console the afflicted tribe. It appeared at the southern tip of Long Island and it was so well balanced on its base that one could rock it with one hand (Bullock, 1926). The “balanced rock” was still a curiosity of Lake Memphremagog at the beginning of this century (Hildreth, 1905). The rock is still there but not balanced (139). Either someone or the ice has tipped it over.

Owl’s Head

The name of this mountain has been associated with Potton for a long time and its legend well known. It was named after a native chief by the name of Owl because the shape of the summit reminds one of his head (Bullock, 1926). For the Natives, the name of Owl was probably much more prestigious than simply that of a bird as can be implied by the discovery in Peru of the burial of an Inca king wearing a necklace made of tiny silver owls (Heyerdahl, 1990).

Another interesting legend associated with Owl’s Head was related by Arthur Aiken and David Perkins. This mountain contains lead and a mine was worked. At the time of the first settlers the Natives knew of a lead deposit on the north side of the mountain. They would cut the lead with axes and trade it with the white men at a place near the present day Owl’s Head marina. No one ever located the cache and the Natives disappeared with their secret. It appears to have been a vein of native lead, a term that describes natural deposits of heavy metals in a pure state.

Even today, the mountain keeps a certain mysticism as every year, at the time of the Summer Solstice, the Free Masons climb to the top for their initiation ritual. This outdoor lodge was officially established in 1857.

The Indian Rock of Potton

At the base of Owl’s Head, in Vale Perkins, one can see the well known Indian Rock (136) which has intrigued the local population for generations. This stone owes its interest to the numerous petroglyphs (inscriptions) engraved on it which have yet to be deciphered. It has been interpreted as relating to an Abenaki raid against Vernon, a British settlement in Vermont (Auger, 1977). Further comments on this stonework are given below.

The Vale Perkins Road

The road between Vale Perkins and Mansonville is said to have been a portage path followed by the Abenakis between Lake Memphremagog and the Missisquoi River then on to Lake Champlain, the Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean. As far back as the mid 18th century this path was named the Carrying Place (Shufelt, 1965).

Along this road Mr. Leverett Jewett once found a stone projectile point and an ancient metal comb.

Mount Beckie

Although located in Bolton Township this mountain is a part of the Potton landscape with its prominent round top just north of Pevee mountain. In a poem, Marguerite McNeil (1980) tells us that the Natives left a treasure at its top.

Lake Road near Ruisseau Château

Along the road one can see a very large boulder where, according to a legend reported by Kenneth Jones, there was a treasure buried by the Natives. We found no gold nor jewels but interesting petroglyphs on a rock suggesting a place to watch the sunrise at the time of the solstices and the equinoxes, also called an archaeo-astronomical site. Was this the treasure?

Mount Hogsback

On the hillside of the mountain is an old copper mine worked in the early 1900s. Far from the old mine shafts there are many small earth hummocks which, according to Larry Ethier, are old Indian graves. There are also many unexplained cairns or old stone monuments nearby.

Fullerton Pond Road

In one of the most isolated areas of the Township there is, deep in the forest, a rectangular basin that has been carved out of the rock ledge most likely for some ancient rituals. This was shown to us by Mr. Lee Tinker who first saw it with his father who would be over one hundred years old today and who claimed that it was of Native origin.

The Meaning of These Legends

Legends are the memories of people and, from reading these narratives, it is rewarding to see that the Natives have left a living legacy of their passage with the pioneers of Potton who perpetuated them for us. We are grateful to those who have kept these legends alive and passed them on to us.

Native Stoneworks

There are numerous examples of various kinds of unexplained stoneworks which have attracted the attention of people sensitive to their environment. We will briefly describe two kinds: petroglyphs and cairns.


One, but not the least of these unresolved mysteries, is the so called Indian Rock of Potton (136) discovered about 75 years ago but still a point of discussion as to who inscribed it and when. It was discovered by David Perkins in 1927 who, as a boy, fished in the Vale Perkins Brook. It attracted his attention because it bore many petroglyphs, or engraved inscriptions, that mystified him. Even today researchers have not yet been able to decipher these markings.

This stone was called Indian Rock because people had surmised that it had been marked a long time ago by Native Americans. Others have considered the evidence to be that of an ancient Celtic presence because of the similarities that exist between some of the markings and the Ogham script which was used by the Celts. The matter has not yet been resolved but the author firmly believes that they are indeed Ogham characters, but of Native origin. The explanation for the presence, in Vale Perkins, of an ancient script from across the Atlantic remains a mystery to be solved by further research.

These petroglyphs are not unique since several other marked stones were discovered on the Jones site in Vale Perkins as well as in many other locations in Potton Township.


Another type of stone structure widely seen in Potton are cairns or stone monuments. They are very numerous and are found in forests, in fields, and sometimes at the top of mountains. They were initially thought to be old stone piles from fieldstone clearing but archaeological research has demonstrated that they are ancient monuments which were carefully built. Most have a quartz stone on top which suggests a ritual intent (137) and all those investigated contained small amounts of wood charcoal thus permitting radio carbon dating.

Investigations of some of these cairns in a forest at the White site revealed dates of 1500 to 1800 BP (years before present) and 400-600 BP at the Leigh-Smith site on Sugar Loaf Pond Road(Leduc, 1991).

The area contains many other structures of ancient human origin such as old stone foundations, stonewalls, stones aligned on sunrises or sunsets at important dates. Let’s just emphasize that we are facing a new dimension of our past which suggests the presence in our area of one or several Native civilizations culturally and technologically much more advanced than what has always been recognized for Early Americans. These sites are important and deserve to be protected.




Anonyme. 1982. Histoire d’une paroisse, St-Cajetan, d’un village Mansonville, d’une Municipalité, Potton. Publié par un comité de citoyens. Mansonville. Qc. Can. 151 pp.

Archéobec. 1993. Inventaire du potentiel archéologique du site Jones (Bgfb-6), Vale Perkins, canton de Potton, automne 1992: le moulin, le dépotoir et le monticule de pierre. Société de recherche et de diffusion Archéobec. Montréal. 99 pp + annexe.

Auger, L. 1977. A tale was told at Potton Rock. Yesterdays of Brome County. Brome Co. Hist. Soc. Lac Brome, Qc. Can. Vol. 3. p. 40-49.

Bailey, M.F. 1973. A History of Mansonville United Church.Published by the author. Mansonville, Qc. Can, 77 pp.

Bullock, W.B. 1926. Beautiful Waters: Devoted to the Memphremagog Region. Memphremagog Press, Newport VT. 208 pp.

Bancroft, J.A. 1915. Report on the copper deposits of the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Department of Colonization, Mines and Fisheries. Quebec.

Darrah, L.J. 1977. Early mining in Brome County. Yesterdays of Brome County. Brome Co. Hist. Soc. Lac Brome, Qc. Can. Vol. 3.  p 188-198.

Epps, B. 1992. The Eastern Townships Adventure. Vol. I: A history to 1837. Pigwidgeon Press, Ayers Cliff, Qc. Can. 239 pp.

Gaudreau, S. 1995. Au fil du temps. Public par l’auteur. Magog, Qc. Can. 239. pp.

Gratton, A. 1993. R.I.P. dans Potton. Potton, hier et aujourd’hui. Association du patrimoine dePotton Inc. Mansonville, Qc. Can. p. 12-13.

Hildreth, D.W. 1905. Beautiful Memphremagog. Express & Standard,Newport, VT. Reissued in 1987, Pigwidgeon Press, Ayers Cliff, Qc. Can. 105 pp.

Leduc, G. 1991. No! Gladden and Royer didn’t build these stone mounds in Potton. New England Antiquities Research Association. XXV, p. 50-60.

Leduc, G. 1991. Potton on the Rock: Towards a new archeology inthe Eastern Townships. Yesterdays in Brome County. Brome Co. Hist. Soc. Lac Brome. Qc.Can. Vol. 8. p. 147-156.

Leduc, G. 1996. West Potton-Dunkin 1796-1996. Association du patrimoine de Potton Inc. Mansonville, Qc. Can. 9 pp.

Mackenzie, K. 1996. Indian Ways to Stagecoach Days. Pigwidgeon Press. Ayers Cliff, Qc. Can. 128 pp.

McNeil, M. 1980. Traver Road. Yesterdays of Brome County. BromeCo. Hist. Soc. Lac Brome, Qc. Can. Vol. 4. p. 143.

O’Neil, J. 1989. Potton Springs Hotel (p. 95) Dans Promenades et tombeaux. Libre Expression. 232 pp

Phelps, M.L. 1967. Valedictory for the “Orford Mountain Railway”. Yesterdays of Brome County. Brome Co. Hist. Soc. Lac Brome, Qc. Can. Vol. 1. p. 67-74.

Stanstead Journal, Oct. 10, 1853. Stanstead. Qc, Can. Skinner’s cave.

Shufelt H.B. and others. 1965. Glimpses of the Township of Potton  Mansonville. Lore and Legends of Brome County. Brome Co. Hist. Soc. Lac Brome Qc. Can. p. 54-61.

Taylor, Rev. E.M. 1937. History of Brome County Quebec. Vol. II. Brome Co. Hist. Soc. & John Lovell & Son, Montreal. Qc, Can. 297 pp.

Tremblay, L. 1986. Les débuts du canton de Potton. Rapport inédit du Ministère des Afffaires Culturelles du Québec, Service de l’aide-conseil. Québec, Qc. Can. 10 pp.



We wish to extend our gratitude to the many people who have contributed to the production of this book. First we wish to thank the following donors for their generous financial contributions:

  • The Municipality of Potton Township,
  • The Townshippers’ Foundation,
  • Bois Champigny Inc.,
  • Giroux & Giroux Inc.,
  • Hunstman Chemicals Company of Canada Inc.,
  • Owl’s Head Development,
  • Pierre Paradis, MNA Brome-Missisquoi,

Among the many people who assisted us with gathering information may we mention Miss Marion Phelps, archivist, Brome County Historical Society for providing access to the archives and to Mr. Jacques Boisvert from the Lake Memphremagog Historical Society for his enthusiastic assistance on anything that pertains to the history of Lake Memphremagog.

Brian Timperley, Peter Downman and Barbara Taylor have spent many hours proof¬reading the English manuscript while Mrs. Helene Trudeau and Mrs. Gertrude Leduc reviewed the French version. Most sincere thanks are adressed to them for their important contribution and also to Jean Soumis for his invaluable assistance.

Thanks also to Andrée Gratton for her participation in the gathering of the old pho-tographs for the 1996 exhibition, to Studio R.C. in Magog for its photography work and to Mr Gilles Chabot of Imprimerie CRM for his collaboration and patience.

Appendix 1

Road map of Potton Township in 1881


Appendix 2

Census of Potton Township in 1881


Appendix 3

Layout of the Village of Mansonville on the Walling map. 1864.


Appendix 4

List of Mayors of the Municipality of Potton Township (Mansonville)

G.B. Rolleston 1855-1856
William Perkins 1857
Horace Green 1858-1861
Mark L. Elkins 1862-1865
Jas. Austin 1867
Robert Manson 1868-1873
Mark L. Elkins 1874
David A. Manson 1875
Mark L. Elkins 1876-1878
John Bisbee 1879
Levi A. Perkins 1880-1889
Rockwood J. Jones 1890
N.F. McKay 1891-1895
Nelson Boright 1896-1900
Lyman Knowlton 1901-1902
Simeon Sargent 1903
Jas. A. Peabody 1904
Leonard Bourne 1905-1908
Claude N. Boright 1909-1912
J.M. Manson 1913
Dr. E.H. Henderson 1914-1922
A.B. Bailey. 1923-1926
J.A. Giroux 1927-1930
A.B. Bailey. 1931-1934
J. Gédéon Giroux 1935-1938
Dr. Henry E. Gillanders 1939-1942
F.A. Jewett 1942-1944
L.P. Brouillette 1945-1948
H.W. Sullivan 1948-1952
Hilaire Picotte 1952-1956
Harry H. George 1956-1960
Adrien Laplume 1961-1964
Fred Korman 1965-1969
Adrien Laplume 1969-1973
R.B. Armstrong 1973-1977
André Marcoux 1977-1989
Jacques Marcoux 1989-1993
André Marcoux 1993-1997

Appendix 5

List of French and English schools in Potton Township.

Écoles françaises catholiques

  • Pensionnat tenu entre 1907 et 1922 par les religieuses dans 1’ancienne (1ère) église devenue la maison Carrier.
  • Couvent de Mansonville situé sur la rue Principale dans l’édifice de la Légion.
  • Maison située au coin du chemin Traver et de la route 243.
  • Chemin de 1’Étang Sugar Loaf au coin de Peabody (aujourd’hui disparue).
  • Chemin de 1’Etang Sugar Loaf près du lac. Cette école fut d’abord de langue anglaise et fut donnée à la Commission scolaire
    catholique avant 1889.
  • École Laliberté No. 5 située au coin des chemins Leadville et Laliberté.
  • École Ste-Thérèse No. 4 située sur le chemin Province Hill près du chemin Laplume.
  • École Christ-Roi No. 7 à Highwater. Maintenant une maison privée, 93 route de Mansonville.
  • Chemin Ruiter Brook près de la ferme Newell.

English Protestant Schools

(in History of Brome County, Vol. 2, by Rev, E.M. Taylor. 1937)

  • No. 1 West Potton-Dunkin. The “little red schoolhouse” operated from 1881 to 1923. It was moved to the Anglican Church and
    functioned until 1951.
  • No. 2 South Hill or Mansonville Station next to the railway station (Highwater).
  • No. 3 Province Hill near the covered bridge.
  • No. 4 Branch. So-called because it was located near a stream flowing into the Missisquoi River at Meig’s Corner.
  • No. 5 Mansonville. Later merged with the intermediate school.
  • No. 6 Blanchard’s located at the corner of Traver Road and Route 243. It was later used by the Catholic School Board.
  • No. 7 Sweat or Fidler’s. This schoolhouse (on Route 243, halfway between Traver Road and South Bolton) was built around
    1840. It was large, had a choir loft at the back and served as a church.
  • No. 8 Garland. Was located on White Road on the west side and north from West Hill Road.
  • No. 9 Larned’s. Mr. Gerald Ratzer’s home on Fitzsimmons Road.
  • No. 10 Maxfield or Leadville on Owl’s Head Road.
  • No. 11 Owl’s Head, on Owls Head Road at the foot of the mountain.
  • No. 12 Jones or Vale Perkins at the corner of Peabody Road and Chemin du Lac.
  • No. 13 Gordon’s at the corner of Vale Perkins Road and Chemin Bombardier.
  • No. 14 Magoon’s School, later called Record’s, and still later the Turner School. On Peabody at the corner of Schoolcraft
    Road, The building was later moved on the next farm to the north on Schoolcraft Road.
  • No. 15 Located between Mansonville Station (Highwater) and North Troy line. Abandonned before 1889.
  • No. 16 Drew’s near Knowlton’s Landing. Abandonned before 1889.
  • No. 17 Sugar Loaf. Located on Sugar Loaf Pond Road near pond. It was later given (before 1889) over to the Catholic School
  • No. 18 Queen’s Highway School. It was located on the Leadville Road towards Newport whichbore the name of King’s or Queen’s


There was also a school on West Hill at the corner of Fullerton Pond Road. Today it is a private house.

Appendix 6

Map of Lake Memphremagog
showing itineraries of ferries and location of landings


Source : Beautiful Memphremagog, Hildreth (1905)

Catalogue of old photographs