Good Shepherd Cemetery

The graves

Good Shepherd Chapel Cemetery, 
3951 Lost River Road

This small Protestant cemetery houses about twenty graves belonging to Laurel's pioneer families. More can be found seven miles away in the Scottish cemetery at Lost River because religious affinities and marriages strongly linked the two communities.

The Good Shepherd Chapel

Violet and Anthony Morrow on the steps 
of the Good Shepherd Chapel circa 1920.
Source: Table de la concertation des arts et 
de la culture de Wentworth-Nord (TCACWN)

In front of the cemetery stood 'The Good Shepherd' Anglican Church, built in 1890 on the land of James McCluskey. This modest wooden chapel replaced a first, more elaborate church destroyed by bad weather. Pastors from Lachute or Grenville were responsible for visiting the small chapels and remote hamlets. Many of the Protestants in Harrington County and in the Scottish and Irish community of Laurel spoke Gaelic, a language that the reverend had to master to attract the faithful.

Interior of the Chapel

The interior of the Good Shepherd Chapel restored by residents, 20th century.
Source: Répertoire du patrimoine culturel 
du Québec

The pastor's visits depended on the weather and the season, but did not prevent the small congregation of Laurel from meeting regularly in their chapel for Sunday worship. Attendance declined well into the 20 th century and the last service was celebrated by Reverend Hutchison in 1982. While simple in design, the detailed ornamentation of the chapel’s wood-paneled interior led to its inclusion in the Quebec Cultural Heritage Directory. Despite care and restoration efforts by residents, the chapel was still sold and dismantled a few years ago.

The paths of colonization

Detail of the 'Argenteuil County Road Plan' of 1876. The circle indicates the lots of the McCluskey family.
Source: BAnQ

In the mid-19 th century, every road extension or opening project drove settlers ever northward in search of land to settle. The selection of lots was done at the Crown Lands Agent's office. At that time, tickets of location were issued to limit speculation. The settler had to clear a specified portion of the lot within a period specified in the contract and start farming the land within the first two years. Once the conditions were met, he could become the owner of his lot and received letters patent if he paid the amount due.

To reach their lots in the future hamlet of Laurel, settlers could take two routes: the road from Dalesville, which went to Silver Lake via the St. Michael's mission, or the 'Scotch Road' which started in Grenville and went up to Lost River where a spur route led them south to Long Lake (Laurel Lake). 

The first Irish families

John Morrow's farm in the early 20 th century.
Source: TCACWN

Around 1860, Irish brothers James (1834-1913) and John McCluskey settled on 300 acres of land near the Lost River Road on lots 23 and 24 of the 7th Line. Around them, other families gradually settled: the Morrows, the McRaes, Morrison, Creswell, Chisholm, Beaton. In 1871, there were ten Scottish families, seven Irish and five French, including the Gauthier, Godon, Rochon and Tassé.

The first task that awaits the settler is the clearing of his land to sow as quickly as possible oats and potatoes that he will harvest through the stumps. He must also build a rudimentary cabin and furniture with the wood he has cut. Many will start making potash, the income from which will be used to buy basic necessities.

John Morrow

John, nicknamed Jack, Morrow in 1936
Source: TCACWN

In the mid-19 th century, George Morrow (1837-1920) settled on Lot 23 on the 8th line near Lake Argenté. He married Elizabeth McKinnley (1841-1886) and they had five children. The eldest, John, was born in 1864 and attended school until grade 3 with a few friends and cousins. In 1893, he married Sarah Ann Copeland (1872-1953) of Gore Township and the couple moved near Long Lake (Laurel Lake) on the Morrow family land. In 1911, John bought the McCluskey farm and remained there until his death at the age of 91.

Childhood friends

Florence, Aileen, Violet Morrow and Lena, in 1925
Source: TCACWN

John Morrow and Sarah Copeland had five children: Violet (1901-1975), Anthony (1902-1981), Nelson (1905-1950), Stanley (1910-1949) and Bertie (1913-1991). Anthony and Nelson left school early to work on the farm and later at the McGibbin sawmill in Pine Hill.

Childhood friends

Front row: Bertie and Stanley Morrow. Behind: Albert Lauzon, Laurence McRae, Donald Beaton and a friend, circa 1930-1940.
Source: TCACWN

Stanley and Bertie Morrow went to school together and hung out with the same group of friends. In the 1930s, Stanley, Nelson and their father were awarded the contract to open the roads from their farm to Fraser Lake to facilitate mail delivery. Bertie and Anthony would stay on the farm their entire lives. According to Bertie, there was no entertainment in Laurel in his youth, and to have a beer he and his friends had to go to Montfort or Huberdeau.

The Schoolhouse

The row school located on the McCluskey field on the Lost River Road, circa 1868.

The small English school was built before the chapel, shortly after the arrival of the settlers. Mr. McCullough, Mrs. Hammons of Lachute, Mrs. Saunders of Shawbridge and Mrs. MacTavish taught the first children of Laurel. As the school had no upstairs accommodation, the teachers boarded at the McCluskey home. In 1913, a second school was built next to the first by John Morrow, Matthew McCluskey, Julien and Joseph Millette. Decades later, it was moved to the municipal lot and converted into the town hall for the new municipality of Wentworth-North.

To keep the memory of its French and English pioneers alive, Laurel has incorporated their names into its toponymy such as Chisholm Street, Fraser Lake, MacTavish Street, Millette Road, Paradis Street and a few others that you will discover along your route.

Extract of
Historical Tour of Wentworth North

Historical Tour of Wentworth North image circuit

Presented by : Municipalité de Wentworth-Nord
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