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  • Rebecca Drew

Spreading our Wings for the 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July! Whether you are reading this on the 4th or not, it doesn't matter. The independence of the United States should be celebrated everyday. Here at Floramont, we are celebrating by spreading our wings and forging another path, somewhat like the colonists of the early United States did during that fateful July in 1776. How?


Hummingbird Flying in Sky

Okay, so it's not like signing a Declaration of Independence, but the idea is to get even closer to cultivating our roots by visualizing, and perhaps one day visiting, the places where our ancestors lived. While cultivating the roots of our heritage, there will be an increased emphasis on mapping the locations of where our ancestors grew crops, supplementing their diets with findings from forests and streams. A few historical maps have been shared in this journal already, such as the one in the article about Acadia.


Also, it seems that many of our ancestors grew the same things, like potatoes and apples. Mapping adds another dimension to their stories, though. We can find out what other native vegetation grew in an area by comparing maps with the descriptions and sketches provided by botanists of their eras. Like the map of Samuel Champlain's residence, we can see the basic outline of gardens. We can see the locations of vineyards and ponds from centuries ago, as you will see in an upcoming article.


Of course, how can we talk about historical mapping without adding one to this article? In honor of the 4th of July, this map shows the path Benedict Arnold took when marching to Québec. Even though Britain requested Québec citizens to form militias against the troops of the United States, many of them, particularly the Beaucerons of Lower Canada, chose to help the American cause. Some of these sympathizers fed Arnold's troops, even allowing them to plunder the wheat supplies belonging to the British-sympathizing seigneurs. The map below shows the path Colonel Arnold took on his way to Québec.

Year 1775 Map Benedict Arnold's Route to Québec
Map courtesy of Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec

Britain eventually sought revenge by tracking down some of the Québeckers who sided with the Americans. However, Britain was unable to subdue all of the citizenry, for many of the Beaucerons, including some of my mother's ancestors, chose to become citizens of the United States over a hundred years later. It is interesting to ponder what Colonel Arnold encountered as he crossed the border into Québec. What a relief to encounter people generous with their crops and bread, especially during the frigid winter! It's also nice to know that today, Québec, Canada, and Britain are deemed allies with the United States. And that's your little history lesson for today. Have a Happy 4th of July!


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