L’Islet Foundry

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From: http://www.uqtr.uquebec.ca/~bougaief/Culture/textes/famiforg.htm – translated by google

Among the great families that have marked the history of the Mauricie, it takes that of McDougall. The ancestor of this family, John, arrived in Scotland in 1833. Accompanied by his wife, Margaret Purvis, he moved to Trois-Rivières. They then have two children, a boy and a girl.

John McDougall began working in a brewery. Later, he became trader opening a store at the corner of streets of Plato and the River. Later, the store will be moved to the rue des Forges.

In 1895, he became mayor of the city of Trois-Rivières. Three years later, he ran in the provincial election in the riding of Trois-Rivières, but was not elected.

John McDougall was mainly a prominent businessman. In the 1850s, he was president of the Gas Company in Three Rivers. In 1858, we find him director of the Company railway from the north shore. In addition, it has a lot of land.

In the early 1860s, McDougall is very interested in the steel industry. In April 1863, he purchased the Forges de Saint-Maurice, the former owners Andrew Stuart and John R. Porter had declared bankruptcy a few years ago.

Also in 1863, McDougall acquired the Forges de l’Islet, located 4 km from the Forges du Saint-Maurice. Under his leadership, the two forges back to life. They receive several contracts and production is well underway.

About 200 men worked for two forges. Some worked in the production of charcoal, others ore mining and ironmaking in two blast furnaces.

To connect the forges were built to smooth a path on which wagons pulled by horses run. Thus carrying the ore in the Mount Carmel area and pig iron produced in the blast furnace of the Islet. Went to the river, loading ore is transferred onto the banks to be transported to the Forges du Saint-Maurice and the Port of Trois-Rivières.

In order to feed the blast furnaces wood charcoal, John McDougall bought several lands in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec. Charcoal is a need to reduce the fuel ore.

In 1867, McDougall joins four of his son to operate the forges. The new company is named after John McDougall & Sons. When the father died in 1870, the son keep the company. In 1873, began a serious economic crisis. The company has difficulty but still works somehow.

The company is forced to close the doors of the Forges of Islet in 1878. We continue to produce the Forges du Saint-Laurent until 1883. That year, the Forges close permanently. It’s the end of the first blast furnace in Canada, built in New France in 1733.
In 1872, the McDougall family has 75 members. All have left the area of Three Rivers in the late 19th century.


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