18034: Eastern Townships, Quebec

The Eastern Townships, also known as the St Francis River District, is an area of Eastern Quebec in what was once Lower Canada that particularly attracted large numbers of immigrants from Lewis and Harris. The Lewis settlers inhabited an area of 50 square miles between the St Francis River and Lake Megantic, with the principal settlements at Lingwick, Whitton, Hampden, Winslow, Bury and Scotstown. Land was initially distributed by the British American Land Company.

The Eastern Townships were first settled by English and Irish homesteaders, but this settlement failed to take root. The first Lewismen in the area came from Mealista in Uig in 1838, with further influxes in 1841 and 1855. The area was largely English- and Gaelic-speaking during the 19th century and Hebrideans at one time accounted for a third of the population. However as more French settlers arrived the culture shifted and most Hebridean families had departed by the 1930s, principally for Ontario, Alberta and the United States.

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