History of Embrun/Saint Augustine-de-Catherine/Life in Saint Augustine-de-Catherine from 1845-1848
Saint Augustine-de-Catherine: Life in Saint Augustine-de-Catherine from 1845-1848
The Lumber Industry
The Lumber Industry was extremely dominant in Saint Augustine-de-Catherine from 1845-1848 and for many years after. Every day lumbermen would set out from their homes and chop trees near the settlement. These trees were loaded onto wheelbarrows. At the end of the day, the lumbermen would wheel the wood they chopped to the dock. At the dock, there was a huge room used for storing lumber. Every Tuesday boats would load as much lumber as they could as well as some people if they needed the transport and travel to Hull by way of the Castor River to the South Nation River to the Ottawa River. The journey was six and a half hours. Boats bound for Saint Augustine-de-Catherine would set out from Hull on Thursdays. Boats could not run during the Winter months, so lumbermen would stop working until Spring every winter.
Flooding became a problem in 1846, when the settlers experienced their first flood. So, they decided to expand the dock to a height of two stories. They placed an extra large window on the second story. There, boats would depart out of this window. The settlers built this in 1846 so that their lumber industry wouldn't have to stop for too long. Many people disagreed and said that it was a waste of time and money expanding the dock. However, each year these disagreements grew less and less common as the floods happened again in 1847 and 1848 and continued for years after. The floodwaters, however, didn't stretch far enough to reach the actual settlement, although in 1848 the extent of the floodwaters nearly reached the southernmost log cabin.
Little is known about government administration of St. Augustine-de-Catherine during the 1845-1848 period, as Russell Township (where Embrun is situated) was not incorporated until 1854. During this time, the area was part of Ottawa District (which became Prescott-Russell County in 1849), which de jure would have administered Saint Augustine-de-Catherine prior to 1854. However, there are no references to any form of government in pre-1848 Saint Augustine-de-Catherine other than the citizen's council. Therefore, it is likely that although Ottawa District/Prescott-Russell had nominal authority, it was not exercised due to Saint Augustine-de-Catherine's remote location far from the rest of Ottawa District. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that government rule appeared to have strengthened after 1848 (when the road was built).