Family History - George Leroux and Eileen O'Connor

Bells of St Regis

The Bells of St-Regis

The Catholic Church in St-Regis, on the St-Regis/Akwesasne reserve predates the St-Anicet, Quebec church by around 100 years, and was the earliest Catholic Church in South West Quebec, established as a Catholic mission village established south of Montreal by French Jesuits. There are very likely ties to St-Regis from both the O'Connor and Leroux sides of the family.

When a church was built in 1700, the parish priest told his congregation that a bell was needed. The Akwesasne collected furs and pelts which were sent to France. A bell was bought and shipped to Canada.

Unfortunatly the vessel was intercepted by the British (this occurred the Third Indian War/Second Intercontinental War/Queen Anne's War) and taken to Salem, Massachusetts. The bell then purchased by a church in Deerfield, Massachusetts and installed there. In early 1704, a French-led raid, using a coalition of French soldiers and a variety of Indian populations, including several Akwesasne from St-Regis participating, who had learned of the fate of the bell. The attack was carried out 28 February, 1704. About 47 Deerfield residents were killed and around 112 taken captive. The bell from the church was recovered and carried to present day Burlington, Vermont, where it was buried. The bell was recovered in the spring and installed in the church in St-Regis.

.The above was extracted from "From Niagara Falls to Quebec" by William S. Hunter, Jr. published in 1857. While an interesting tale, I haven't been able to find any verification of it, and it is likely just that, an interesting tale. The first priests came to the area in 1754 and the Church that Hunter saw was actually built in 1795.

The story is interesting because there was an actual raid on Deerfield on 28 Feb. 1704. One of the children captured was was Sarah Allen, who eventually married Guillaume Lalonde and is my 6th Great-Grandmother.