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HODGINS STORE AND THE IRISH PROTESTANTS OF SHAWVILLE

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Downtown Shawville. Hodgins’ Store is at the far left. (Photo - Matthew Farfan)Irish Protestants have made their mark in Quebec both in religion and in economic life. The earliest settlers in the Shawville area were Irish Protestants from County Tipperary who came to Quebec after the Napoleonic Wars. Many Protestants wanted to leave their homeland and find another life away from the constant religious conflict. Some in the Pontiac, in Clarendon for example, prevented Irish Catholics from obtaining land for this very reason. It is no accident that Shawville remains one of the very few towns of any size in Quebec without a Catholic church. The town still has an active Orange lodge which flies the Union Jack.

The advent of the railway made Shawville the shopping mecca of the Pontiac. The two mid-19th century Hodgins stores are landmarks in the town. Besides running the general store, seen here [far left], G. F. Hodgins ran a brickyard and augmented his income buying grain and other produce from local farmers, then re-selling it to the lumber companies in the Ottawa Valley. Although regarded by some as intolerant, Irish Protestants are among those who have helped to build Quebec.