Category Archives: Quebec

Enjoying the Long Weekend? Thank Franco-Americans for New Year’s Day

  New Year’s Day (le jour de l’an) is traditionally a special holiday for Franco-Americans, with a history stretching back through Canada and France. Some American observers thought it resembled Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into one day that held religious, familial, and social significance. A reporter for the Lewiston (Maine) Evening Journal visited a Franco-American family in […]

For French Scientist-Priests, Eclipses Were Teachable Moments

In 1616, one of the most famous conflicts between science and faith occurred in Rome. The Italian scientist Galileo, who had built on the work of Dutch astronomer Nicholas Copernicus, was being challenged by the Inquisition of the Catholic Church. An inquisitorial commission found unanimously that the theory of heliocentrism was not only “foolish and […]

A New England Mardi Gras – The International Snowshoe Convention of 1925

“Fun for all, and all for fun,” was the verdict of one local newspaper; “a Mardi Gras” reminiscent of the pre-prohibition era, according to another. On the weekend of 7-8 February, 1925, eight hundred French Canadian snowshoers descended on the city of Lewiston, Maine (population 30,000), for two days of revelry and winter sports. The festivities, […]

The 14th Colony – Maine and the Invasion of Canada, 1775

This past week saw the celebration of Independence Day in the US, of course, but also Canada Day north of the border. Over the winter of 1775-6, Maine was the setting for an audacious but ultimately failed bid that, if successful, would have had drastic ramifications for the history of both countries. Colonel Benedict Arnold, […]

Daniel Mitchell’s Decade Among the Abenaki

One Saturday evening, in the early spring of in 1752, three boys were bringing home the cattle from the common pasture near the meetinghouse in North Yarmouth, Maine [1], back to Benjamin Mitchell’s farm. It should have been a relatively routine chore for the lads, aged seven, eleven and twelve.  But at the intersection of Main Street and […]