Added on Mars 11, 2019 – The French-Canadian Genealogist
The village of Hammond was founded at the end of the 19th century when Loyalist descendants from the St-Lawrence River valley settled an area just east of present-day Hammond. This area was called “North Indian” – not to be confused with “South Indian”, which became the village of Limoges. Before the arrival of the first settlers (Miller, Armstrong, Price, Candiff, McLean, Butler, Cooper, Watson and Kinnaird), the area was already being cleared of its pine forests. The lumber was sent to England and used mainly in the construction of ships. Around the year 1880, other settlers arrived – the Carrières, Éthiers and Guindons.
A rail line linking Rockland to Limoges brought more workers to Hammond and facilitated the transport of lumber and other agricultural products. The rail line, owned by J.R. Booth of Ottawa, was called Canada Atlantic and was used for over 50 years for the transportation of merchandise. This branch of the rail line was called the Grand Tronc. Gradually, most of the forests in the area were replaced by agricultural lands.
The Hammond Train Station, 1898
A post office opened its doors on December 1st, 1895 with W. F. Empey as its first postmaster.
In 1896-1897, the Canadian Pacific railway extended its Montreal-Alfred line to Ottawa, which passed through Hammond. We don’t know exactly where the name Hammond came from, but early tales claim that the name belonged to one of the surveyors that worked on the railway expansion project, and that his name was pulled out of a hat.
After this project was completed, Hammond had two train stations in Hammond-proper, one in Cheney and two railway lines that crossed each other. Here, Séraphin Bourgon constructed a hotel aptly named the Junction. It had 10 rooms, a tavern, bar counter, kitchen, dining room and a showroom. The rooms were rented by travellers (who mostly came by train) and were also used by the Gendron family. If they ran out of the room, the children were sent to sleep in the attic. The bar counter could seat 4 patrons, who had the choice of various spirits and clear whisky. In the tavern, Molson, Black Horse or Brading beer could be purchased for 30 cents – by men only, as women were not admitted. The showroom was exclusively used by travelling salesmen who would showcase their wares and merchandise that could be brought in from Montréal.
The Gendron Hotel in 1920
A general store was soon opened by W. F. Empey and M. Merrill, followed by a blacksmith shop built by Jack McAuley. George Cardiff opened a cheese shop catering to both Hammond and The Brook (which became Bourget in 1910). At this time, the population of Hammond was mostly anglophone and Protestant. The Catholic families in the area (Butler, Franche, Shane, Brownrigg, Collins, Éthier, Brière, Carrière, Guindon, St-Jean, Bélanger, Legault, Gendron, Poupart, Smith, Lamarche, Roy, Touchette and Valade) had to make their way to Clarence, Bourget or Sarsfield to attend church. In 1902, they erected a building which served as a chapel, school, and community hall. Still, baptisms and marriages had to be celebrated and recorded in Bourget.
Thomas Butler in 1890
In March of 1911, a delegation from Hammond made their way to Ottawa in order to petition the Episcopal Corporation of Ottawa for the village to get its own parish. The request was granted, and Ludger Archambault became the first visiting priest for the parish of Saint-Mathieu of Hammond. About a year later, on 30 March 1912, James and Margaret Butler sold the land on which the current church and cemetery stand for the sum of $635. Construction on a new church began in May 1912, under the architectural direction of Charles Brodeur. Contractors Daoust & Bélanger were in charge of the project – which they committed to complete by December of the same year, for a total cost of $12,895. The new church was completed on 7 September 1912, along with a presbytery, and it was blessed by Archbishop Gauthier on 12 January 1913. The initial building was made of brick and measured 110 feet in length, 47 feet in width and 38 feet in height. 16 panes of glass were included in order to let natural light flow in.
The new church and presbytery, 1912
A fire devastated Hammond on June 13th, 1914, destroying a large part of the village. Strong winds helped flames spread quickly to neighbouring houses and buildings. The flames reached a black earth field, where it is said it burnt for a month.
In 1920 a new 2-story school was built, complete with (cold) running water and a wood stove for heat. About a decade later, grades 9 and 10 were added. Again, students who wanted to continue their education had to go elsewhere – usually Rockland and Plantagenet. In 1948, the École Saint-Mathieu was built, including 2 classrooms, an office, electricity and hot water heating. Eventually, a third classroom was installed in the basement, before an expansion was finally undertaken in 1959 to add 2 more classrooms.
A second devastating fire affected the village in 1941. However, because most of the male residents of Hammond were volunteer firefighters, most of the village was saved.
The public school, 1920
Did you know?
- Hammond’s wooden sidewalks were replaced around 1920.
- Cheddar cheese “Made in Hammond” was exported overseas during World War II.
- Ronaldo Guindon founded the “Hammond Egg Grading Station” in 1940. He and his wife Ida could grade over a million eggs per year!
- René Gendron became the proprietor of the Junction Hotel in 1955.
- Electric-powered street lights were installed around 1960.
- The first resident to obtain a TV was Jean-Paul Lalonde.
- The first mechanic was Bruno Gendron.
- The first nurse was Ethel Cayer Watson, who obtained her diploma after her husband’s accidental death.
- The Caisse Populaire opened its doors in 1975.
- Hammond Golf opened for business in 1980, when it was converted from a pig farm to a golf course. The original house on the property, built in 1909, is called the Obéline Léonard House.
- Pope John Paul II Regional Catholic School was opened in 1986.