book cover

Up To Rawdon
© 2016, Daniel B. Parkinson

Rawdon Yesterday & Today

The expression "plus ├ža change" or "the more things change the more they stay the same" illustrates for me a fact about some parts of the Rawdon countryside. These photographs by Richard Prud'homme, of Rawdon, are taken from his website and illustrate contemporary Rawdon. However, with one's imagination, they may also represent scenes not unlike those witnessed by the early settlers.

You may click on each image to view a larger version of Richard's evocative work (then use "back" button to return to this page); copies of these phots may be ordered directly from his website.

Much of Rawdon looks today as it did when the earliest immigrants forced their way through the bush to the lots assigned to them for settlement by the Crown. Some were on the northern edge of the St. Lawrence flood plain and many more were on the southern margin of the Laurentian Shield. The forest would seem dark and foreboding to those accustomed to the green open countryside of England and Ireland.

In 2012, most of the settlers' farms have been long-abandoned. They were quickly covered first with poplar and cedar followed by spruce and pine. Some land has been reforested by tree planters but often it is nature's own cycle of regrowth.

This barn, from the late 19th or early 20th century, was built from boards and typical of the style which soon succeeded the earliest log built stables. Its steep roof helped to deal with the heavy winter snows and would have needed to be cleared of snow if the build up was heavy and wet or turned to ice.

For those who settled in the low flat areas of the First and Second Ranges of the original Rawdon Township there would have been swamp and marshland to deal with. The families situated in the rockier upper ranges found small lakes and swampy areas, as well.

For those located to the rugged mountainous Laurentian Shield there were hills with fast running streams. The photo at right has an old-style tent which one might imagine to be of the type set up by one of the many British ex-soldiers who received grants at Rawdon. There were isolated small lakes throughout the northern ranges of Rawdon.

One cannot neglect the effect that winter played in the lives of the citizens of Rawdon in the past and still today. The photo at right recalls the Reverend Mr. Seaborn's account of winter travel given in Part Two of Up To Rawdon. Modern technology would have improved Seaborn's access to his parish.

The quickly passing years have seen the re-growth of woodland which is now harvested for pulp or timber instead of potash. When cleared, it closely resembles the "chopping" done in days of old. The valuable hard woods which provided timber and were burnt for potash are mostly gone.