Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Old Canada Road Kennebec-Chaudiere International Heritage Corridor

  • Some of my French-Canadian ancestors traveled and settled along the Old Canada Road from Beauce, Quebec to Waterville, Maine.  The road begins in Beauce, Quebec, then in Maine in the Jackman area and follows the Kennebec River through Skowhegan, Waterville, southeast to Phippsburg, Maine.  My great-great-grandparents (Henri-Jean Poulin/John Pooler and Sophie Lacombe) were married in Waterville, Maine in 1838 (civil marriage) then had a church marriage (known as a rehabilitated marriage) back at St. Francois d'Assise in Beauceville, Beauce, Quebec Canada.  At least one of their sons, my great-grandfather Charles Pooler (Poulin) was born in The Forks.

  • There is a Historical Society preserving artifacts of this region.  It was recently featured in the newspaper in a very interesting article about its history.
  • Canada Road Artifiacts Find a Home - Bangor Daily News article May 5, 2011  
  • Web Cache with photographs
  • Excerpt:  "Six hundred years ago, the region was home to Wabanaki and Iroquois Indian tribes. Over a period of centuries, the tribes developed a network of trails and portages between the upper Kennebec River in Maine and the Chaudiere River in Quebec. Benedict Arnold and an army of 1,100 were among the first white men to see the road in a failed 1775 quest to capture Quebec."    
  • Maine cattlemen searching for a market in Canada, French-Canadian settlers from Beauce to Maine, and military units and spies during the Canadian Civil War in 1837 also utilized this route.   
  • "Old Canada Road — which in Canada is known as Old Kennebec Road, Rodrigue said — is also part of the Kennebec-Chaudiere International Heritage Corridor, which stretches from Quebec to the mouth of the Kennebec River in Phippsburg."
  • Links for the Old Canada Road Historical Society 
Old Canada Road Historical Society Website 
Preserves the history of the upper Kennebec valley via donated photographs, postcards, cemetery records, artifacts and family histories, etc.  They have many out of print or scarce books on the region.  The upper Kennebec Valley includes the regions of Solon, Embden, Bingham, Concord, Moscow, Pleasant Ridge, Caratunk, Carrying Place, The Forks, Pierce Pond, Lake Parlin, Jackman, and Moose River.   
The Society is located at 16 Sydney Street in Bingham, Maine.  

(207) 672-3440

Open Fridays, 1 - 5 PM and
Saturdays, 11 AM - 4 PM
Facebook Page
Photograph of their location in Bingham, Maine
Link to Photographs on the Maine Memory Network  
Bibliography - Some resources for historians and genealogists 
Calendar sale $7.00
Other Sites on the Old Canada Road and Kennebec-Chaudiere International Heritage Corridor
Genealogist Robert Chenard's Overview
Kennebec pdf about the region 
Along the Old Canada Road book 
Beauce society (in French)
"This is the website of Societe du Patrimoine des Beaucerons. The website is in French. The Societe has a small archives and library located in St. Joseph de Beauce. They have books, materials and maps related to the history of the Beauce district. "
Travel of the Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway
Motor Home 2 day trip of the Old Canada Road
Visit Maine Tourism site for the Old Canada Road featuring search for nearby places and businesses 
Maine Scenic Drive of the Old Canada Road 
Frommer's travel site on cruising the Old Canada Road 
"One such (hidden byway) is the Old Canada Road, a National Scenic Byway, which runs along US Route 201 for a scant 78 miles in northwestern Maine. Starting at Lakewood, it ploughs northwest to the Canadian Border at Sandy Bay, through gorgeous forests and along the Kennebec River, following the river trading routes of the Abenaki Tribe and the path followed by Benedict Arnold, when he was on our side and led soldiers up the river to lay siege to the French settlement at Québec. The area is now mostly working forest, but villagers and country people alike concentrate on helping visitors play, with outdoor adventure the two key words. The area is so remote that it's not even mentioned in standard guidebooks...."
Trip Advisor: Old Canada Road 
Have fun, everyone!

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