The Old Craig’s Road

By Taylor McClure, Special to The Record

Up until the beginning of the 19th century, there was very little settlement in the area south of Quebec City and the St-Lawrence River, the future site of the Eastern Townships. Development of this part of the province was slow and steady. It wasn’t until 1791 that the Eastern Townships were formed as a result of the Constitutional Act. Land was distributed and managed under the seigneurial system along the St-Lawrence River and people slowly started to settle in the area. By the end of the 18th century, over 200,000 people were settled on the seigneuries along the St-Lawrence River and in the cities of Quebec, Montreal, and Trois Rivières. However, the Eastern Townships continued to remain widely under populated. With the arrival of James Henry Craig in 1807, Governor General of Lower and Upper Canada and Lieutenant Governor of Lower Canada, he began to shake things up in Lower Canada. He believed that it was important to develop the area south of the St-Lawrence to attract British settlers. The English population was overwhelmed by the French majority and Craig wanted the situation to change. He wanted to build a road throughout the area that would allow English settlers to make their way from the British Isles and the United States to settle in the Townships. See full story in the Wednesday, Sept. 18 edition of The Record.

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