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Excursion to Fort Covington - September 17, 2005

Fort Covington is a small quiet and not very well known village in the north of New York State in the USA. But Fort Covington did have a period of great prosperity in the 1822 to 1832 era. From 1820 to 1830 it's population soared from 1,000 to over 2,900 becoming larger than Malone. Very well situated between "The Little Salmon River" and "The Big Salmon River" the village is a natural port on entry and of exportation for the county east of the St. Laurence River. In 1824 we could find 49 mechanics, 3 wheat mills, 2 wool carding machines, 1 iron plant, 1 nail manufacture, 3 tanneries, 2 general stores etc...

It's there that a group of 31 Richer dit Laflèche found themselves on Saturday September 17th to go back in time and follow in the footsteps of their ancestors. A pleasant visit to the "Reading Center" of Fort Covington allowed the group to meet two dynamic historians who are very proud of their village: Jackie Harvey and Elizabeth Mount. They received us with great enthusiasm. After listening to a short and interesting presentation on the history of Fort Covington or "French Mills" as it was known back then, we had the chance to consult the old records of births, marriages and deaths and look at old maps of the village dating back to 1857 and 1876. The building in itself is quite interesting: a former Methodist Church, with metal walls and old wood floors, now transformed into a library and reading center/museum. Our visit continued to St-Mary's Catholic Church built in 1837 who has on it's grounds an old cemetery. (Vincent and Marie-Anne were probably married there). A stop to the 2nd catholic cemetery gave us the chance to see where the Richer dit Laflèche ancestors are buried. We then continued to Drum Street, where Vincent lived and his brother Joseph had a store in 1857 where he made and sold metal rings for the wood barrels. Having returned to Canada, we stopped at the Quinn's Inn in an old stone building in St-Andrews West for a quick lunch, followed by a visit across the street to the cemetery where are buried the great explorer Simon Fraser and the first Prime Minister of Ontario, John Sandfield McDonald. All then parted after a most satisfying visit to the land of our ancestors.
Thank you to all those who participated

Dianne Laflèche-Diotte

Reading Room - Fort Covington NY

Jan Laflèche with Elizabeth Mount - looking for Vincent's death record

Mary Ellen LaFlèche - looks at the marker of her ancestor

Our budding genealogist - Félip Duval

The monument - Laporte/LaFlèche

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