Cowansville Quebec

Cowansville Quebec

Mayors -- House histories -- Families (alpha) -- families

Cowansville, Quebec is located where the Yamaska River could be dammed in several places.  The water power was used to run the machinery of early industry.  Three villages were located at this place.  They are Sweetsburg, Freeport, and Nelsonville.  Eventually,  they combined and got the new name Cowansville.  All these villages were in the Township of Dunham, Quebec.
The town of Cowansville was named after Mr. Peter Cowan, the first Postmaster of Cowansville.  He built his home on the west side of Albert Street.  The last grist mill which was just next to the present dam was built in 1839 by Mr. Carty and Mr. Cowan.
Industrialization took place in what was then called Freeport.  It was an area where the Footwear Factory is located.  The industries of Freeport continued to grow and change ownerships and made a great variety of products well into the 1900's.  The sawmill boasted of an only saw of it's kind in the Townships.  It was used to saw logs, and shingles were also made as well as butter tubs and sap buckets as a production.
In 1870, the Railroad from Farnham to Newport was built.  It was called the South Eastern Railway.  Other services were available in the 1800's.  The first newspaper in Cowansville was established on the same site of what is now the Bank of Montreal.  This establishment is called "The Observer" and printed by Mr. John Massie.  A few other owners were Mr. John Barker in 1895 and Mr. W. Cotten in 1908 who were the editors and publishers.
The Yamaska River was bridged by a covered bridge at South Street.  It was the first in Cowansville and the first of three covered bridges in Cowansville of which only the one in Freeport (Bell St.) still remains.

The following is a list of Mayors of Cowansville from 1907 to 1974 according to the History of Cowansville:

1907-1909   Mr. William G. Brown 

1911-1920   Mr. W. F. Vilas   

1925-1929   Mr. George Walsh  

1935-1937   Mr. E. H. Johnson    

1939-1941   Mr. Walter Bell      

1947-1949   Mr. Carl Brock  

1951-1955   Mr. E. Boisvert     

1974-           Mr. Rosaire Raymond
1909-1911  Mr. Enoch Buzzell

1923-1925  Mr. Robert Curley

1929-1935  Mr. N. A. Halley

1937-1939  Dr. S. Perron

1941-1947  Mr. E. A. Boisvert

1949-1951  Mr.  L. Brault

1955-1974  Mr. Descourdy

These are excerpts from a CD of Historical Homes in Cowansville, Quebec from The Société d' Cowansville published with permission

You can right click on any of the images and save them to your computer where you man enlarge them as needed. Look at files

If you have any questions or comments about any of the families in the town of Cowansville please write me at  Also doing research for names Pickle, Bell, Vail, Booth, Armstrong, Scott, Ramsay, and Knott. Ethel Bell Dessert

Some Families

Bell, Walter --  Booth, William E .-- Draper, Frank -- Jones, William H.-- Mignolet, Janine  --  Miltimore, Arthur  --  Scott, William F. -- Vail, Micah

Winchester, Augustus


Addresses in Cowansville


203-205, rue Albert
530, rue Albert
71,   rue Ayers
280, rue Ayers
167, chemin Belanger
455, rue Bell
174, rue Bromby
107, rue Church
113, rue Church
115, rue Church
120, rue Church
130, rue Church
224, rue ChurchMiltimore, Arthur
327, rue Church
339, rue Church
186, boul Dieppe
399, chemin Fordyce
110, rue Germain
134, rue Hillcrest
138, rue Hillcrest
104, rue Jacques-Cartier
1471, boul Jean-Jacques Betrand
117, rue JohnDraper, Frank
125, rue John
500, rue Montée Lebeau
104, rue Nord
138, rue Nord
210, rue Nord
572, rue Nord
737, rue Nord - Bell, Walter  - photo
167, boul Pierre Laporte
437, boul Pierre Laporte
400, rang Plouffe
434, rang Plouffe
215, rue Principale
221, rue Principale
234, rue Principale
305, rue Principale
306, rue Principale
334, rue Principale
717, rue Principale - Winchester, Augustus
738, rue Principale
789, rue Principale
804, rue Principale
822, rue Principale
825, rue Principale
826, rue Principale
901, rue Principale
905, rue Principale
1009, rue Principale
1011, rue Principale
1012, rue Principale
1014, rue Principale
1015, rue Principale
1016, rue principale
1023, rue Principale
1025, rue Principale
1029, rue Principale
1037-1039, rue Principale - Scott, William F.
101, rue Riviére
125, rue Riviére
137, rue Riviére
465, rue Riviére
490, rue Riviére - Mignolet, Janine
508, rue Riviére -Jones, William H.
554, rue Riviére
557, rue Riviére
594, rue Riviére
606, rue Riviére
717, rue Riviére
2015, rang Saint-Joseph
2048, rang Saint-Joseph
2098, rang Saint-Joseph photo
2128, rang Saint-Joseph
2368, rang Saint-Joseph
410, rue Sud
953-955, rue Sud
966, rue Sud
986, rue Sud
1105, rue Sud
1115, rue Sud
1159, rue Sud
105, rue William
107, rue William
120, rue William
124, rue William - Vail, Micah
288, rue William
309, rue William

Other properties

Newspaper office "The Observer"

Yamaska Hotel - newspaper article

The Yamaska Hotel was built in 1879-80 by John J. Bell,  covered bridge builder and architect.  It was originally built as a house for Mr. Frederick T. Hall.  This house was called the Bellmont house and still exists.  Since about 1949, it is known as the "Yamaska Hotel" at 150 Pine Street, Cowansville.
Cowansville Townhall



Here is a Summary about some of the people who resided at some of the pictures of houses in Cowansville, Quebec.  Some were farmers, teachers, jeweler, printers, doctors, their wives and children who made up this fine community of Cowansville, once know as Sweetsburg, Freeport, and Nelsonville.


Mr. Frank E. Draper who lived in 117 rue John owned and operated a jewelry store on Main St.  In his ad in the newspaper “The Observer” for Nov 1907, he sold watches, lock bracelets, silver thimbles, Dalton China and Japanes China, Toys, Books, and Diamond rings.  The family of Alfred Deschamps also lived in the same house in 1919.


Augustus Winchester lived in 717 rue Principale.  It is one of the oldest houses in Cowansville built by him.  It is the site of a scene in a movie call “Human Chain” starring Anthony Hopkins filmed in 2002-2003.


Janine Mignolet, a well known TV actress lived in 490 rue Riviere in 1959.  In 1974, she also lived in 434 rang Plouffe.  She starred in these tv series, “Symphorien (1968), “Cré Basile” (1965) “Petit monde du pére Gédéon, Le”, “Famille Plouffe, La” (1953) and a few others.  Ms. Mignolet was born in 1929 and died in 1944.


Mr. William F. Scott lived in 1037-1039 rue Principale in 1892.  He was a veterinarian.  Lafayette Jones lived there in 1902.  He was a harness maker, then a bailiff, a merchant and a farmer.  In 1901, he was a jailer and his wife Mrs. Jones was the hospital matron of the jail in Sweetsburg, or what is now known as Cowansville.


Mr. William H. Jones and his wife Amelia Jane Booth and family lived in 508 rue Riviere which was once known as the Ruiter farm.    Mr Jones bought the house from his father John Jones Sr. in 1884 and remained there until their death.  They had several children, Guila Wm., Howard, Mabel, and Carl.  Mrs. Jones died in 1908 and the eldest Guila carried on with the work in the home.  Mr. Jones died in 1934.  Miss Guila Jones has always been active in the social life of the vicinity and in church groups as well. 


William Edward Booth and his wife Mary Ellen Jones raised their  family in the house at 737 North St.  He was born in Montreal on Jan 1853 to William Booth and Eliza Booth (daughter of Thomas Booth and Catherine Taylor of Shefford.)The Booth and Taylors are longtime pioneer families in Shefford.  William worked for a while as a printer for the town newspaper “The Observer” and also as a salesman for Indian Blood Remedy according to an ad in the local newspaper.  He died in Cowansville on 6 April 1918.  He and Mary Ellen were stepsiblings as Eliza Booth married 2nd. Husband John Jones.  Their house is still standing in Nord St.  William E. Booth kept a diary in 1877-78 at age 24 that talks about a lot about  families in the area of Dunham, Shefford,, and Farnham and his experiences growing up.


Mr. Walter Bell b. 1871 and d. Dec 19, 1966 on his 95th birthday lived in Main St. (house not pictured). He was married to Mary Spencer.   He is the son of John Bell and Julia Bell.  His father was a builder and architect in Cowansville.  Walter Bell was mayor of Cowansville in 1939-41.  He was also an insurance agent and a merchant and owned a dept store in Main St.  He was partners with Mr. Frank Hulburd, then Mr. Issac Kerr.  He was known to set off to Montreal in his horse and buggy to pick up supplies for his dept. store in Cowansville.  According to an article in the 1907 town newspaper  he was secretary of the Cowansville Brass Band assisted by the Montreal and Local Talent.  Other members of the brass band committee were George Johnson, H. A. Webb, C. Copeland, David Dion, and John Larocque. 


Mr. Arthur Miltimore b. 1866 d. 1917, a farmer, and his wife Alice Weir Scott lived in 211 rue Church.  He is the son of Ebenezer Militmore and Orpha Ingalls.  He is originally from the town of Brome, Quebec.  His children are Evelyn, Orpha, Ebenezer, and Carl, who were all born in Cowansville. He later moved to Illinois where he worked for The Singer Sewing Machine Company and lived there till he died in 1917.   Mr. Miltimore’s parents and grandparents lived with the Scott families in what was later called  “Scottsmore” so named for both families. 


Mr. Micah Vail b. 1839 (a farmer) and his wife Mary Elizabeth Bell lived in 124 rue William.   Mr. Vail is the son of Edward Vail and Anna Scott of Dunham.  His wife Mary Bell’s parent’s are Horatio Bell and Jane Booth of Bromont.  Their children are Frederick (who was quite an artist)  Lizzie, Mabel, and Annie.  Daughter Mabel m. Archie Short and daughter Annie Vail worked for many years at the Bell Telephone Co. in Cowansville.  Mr. Vail died in 1908 and buried at the Vail Cemetery.