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Dragons in the Rebellion of 1837-1838

In 1837 through 1838, French-Canadians rebelled agains the British rule. Members of both the Saint-Denis Dragons, and the "Southern" Dragons were active in the famous rebellions, an incredible story, well worth the study, but much too complicated to detail here. The important fact is, though, that upon the end of the rebellions, the British reprisals were some of the most horrible for those very communities inhabited by the Dragons.

Saint-Denis had been the place of the only successful battle for the French, and afterwards was pretty much destroyed. The southern villages were the center of a second attempt at the rebellion, and they suffered the same fate. The Dragons of those southern villages fled, establishing themselves in northern New York. A look at the map shows that Rouses Point, Champlain, and Chazy were the most accesible towns in New York, and indeed, were the homes to many Dragons in the years to come. (Directly across Lake Champlain, in Vermont, are the towns of Alburgh and Isle LaMotte: they also became the homes to Dragons, but to date, the family ties have not been established)

Following are transcriptions of documents relating to Dragons in the Rebellion.

* Joseph Dragon: Farmer of Saint Denis: He produced before the Commission of Losses a claim for 461 pounds, for properties burnt by troops, but this claim, after having been reduced to 267 pounds, was finally rejected by the commission, since the claiment had been implicated in the rebellion. He admitted, during his interrogation, as having been at the battle, and having fought in the house of Madame Saint-Germain. ---Commision de Pertes, 1852, no 313
From Patriotes de 1837-1838 by Aegidius Fauteux (Montreal, 1950) translation by Ric Dragon

* In the issue of September 1997 of L'Ancêtre (Vol. 24, # 1), in the chronicle "L'Événement de 1897" (Jacques Saintonge), where the author picks a few articles of the newspapers a hundred years ago, there was this short note on Louis Ethier dit Dragon, pp. 23-24 (10 septembre 1897):

Mort d'un patriote de 1837 - Il était un des plus ardents

M. Louis Ethier dit Dragon qui vient de mourir à Montréal à la demeure de son fils, M. E. L. Ethier, fut un des patriotes de 1837-1838. Il était de Saint-Valentin, paroisse qui a fourni tant de patriotes. Il fut l'ami intime de Lucien Gagnon, Gagnon l'"habitant" comme on l'appelait généralement. Monsieur Ethier était connu, à cette époque, sous le nom de "Capitaine Dragon".

Avec Gagnon, il a été l'âme du mouvement populaire de 1837 dans les paroisses de la frontière. Il était à Lacolle et à Odelltown où il se battait bravement. Pendant ce temps-là, sa maison était saccagée, ses troupeaux enlevés, sa famille chassée. Après la défaite lorsqu'il vit que tout était perdu, il partit pour les Etats-Unis où il se livra à l'agriculture. En 1845, l'amnistie ayant été accordée à tous ceux qui avaient pris part à l'insurrection, il revint dans le pays reprendre possession de ce qui restait de ses biens. M. Ethier est mort à l'âge de 93 ans.

courtesy Guy Frechet, Société de généalogie de Québec

Last Updated 14 November, 1998

 
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