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Le Courant

Automne 2020 | 22

Father Jean-Baptiste Chartier

Father Jean Baptiste Chartier

Jean-Baptiste Chartier was born at La Presentation in the Monteregie region in 1832 and became the priest of Compton in 1863. He moved to Coaticook five years later where he became the first parish priest of the parish of St. Edmond. Shortly after his arrival, he saw to the construction of a chapel, a school, the convent known as the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, as well as housing for large families.

                                       Église St-Edmond

Coaticook was known at the time as being a good place to find industrial and commercial work which attracted many French Canadians. They were an unskilled workforce but appreciated by the factories at the time. The Rev. Chartier took these people under his wing and offered them a place to stay, an education and even a job. This led to the establishment of the Coaticook Lumber Company in 1872.
A seasoned businessman and builder, his economic and real estate projects were to be found in the areas of St. Anne, St. Jean-Baptiste, St. Edmond, St. Paul and St. Joachim Streets, these same streets as laid out by the priest himself.

Such investments required a great deal of money. The Rev. Chartier had no choice but to enlist the assistance of banks and credit companies to help out. Unfortunately, from 1872 to 1879, the country underwent a significant time of economic recession. Coaticook was not to be spared with this development. The Rev. Chartier was forced to sell his assets in 1875. Sadly, the Rev. Chartier resigned himself to the situation and had to declare bankruptsy. The convent, the chapel and the presbytery, as well as The Coaticook Lumber Company were taken over by the financial institutions in 1876. The parish would be able to buy back the religious buildings several years later.

Jean-Baptiste Chartier bade farewell to Coaticook in 1877 and became priest at St. Ignace, Stanbridge and St. Madeleine. He died at the venerable age of 85 years in 1917.

Although his presence in Coaticook was of a short duration, from 1868 to 1877, the Rev. Chartier greatly contributed to the social and economic development of our city as well as to the establishment of many French Canadians throughout the Eastern Townships.

Crédit : Ville de Coaticook

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