The Militia

Before the confederation of the provinces the defence of the colonies, including Lower Canada was in the hands of the British Government maintained troops in each province supported by  local militia.

The militia was present in Rawdon very early on. In 1822 Rev. Burton’s mission was to minister to the militia and settlers in the new township. All men of 18 years of age were obliged to serve a given number of days per year. In time of strife their obligation was augmented according to the need. 

The barracks was on Church Street, between 3rd and 4th Avenues. Recently found documentation points to the original building being a church built under the auspices of Rev. Burton on lot 16 of the 1st range.
With the village site being on the 5th range a new church was built on that site.

Burton was transferred back to Ireland and the village site designated on the 5th range the church on 1st range was no longer in use. The building was said to have been sold to the government and moved to its present site.
At the time of the scuffles of the so called Papineau rebellion, a company of trainees was readied to defend the government. A company was sent from Rawdon to Montreal, St Eustaches, etc.
Several locals attained the title of Captain including Dean Burns, and Samuel Smiley. (Philemon Dugas had received his title in the American War of Independence as had most likely Jeffries.)

The barracks was on Church Street, between 3rd and 4th Avenues. Recently found documentation points to the original building being a church built under the auspices of Rev. Burton on lot 16 of the 1st range. 

With the village site being on the 5th range a new church was built there and Burton’s church was abandoned.

Burton was transferred back to Ireland and the village site designated on the 5th range the church on 1st range was no longer in use. The building was said to have been sold to the government and moved to its present site. 

At the time of the scuffles of the so called Papineau rebellion, a company of trainees was readied to defend the government. Members of the local militia were sent from Rawdon to Montreal, St Eustaches, etc. 

The men walked to the assigned area carrying their food, bedroll, and ammunition on their backs.

Several locals attained the title of Captain including Dean Burns, and Samuel Smiley. Philemon Dugas had received his title in the American War of Independence as had most likely Jeffries. 

The Military Barracks in Rawdon

Following a land survey made of this territory in 1797 by the government, and only a few years later, this building was erected by the government to be used as a barracks and drill hall for soldiers. 

Sleeping quarters were in the basement and the ground floor was used for training. The company billeted here were known as the Argenteuil Rangers. Local names appearing in the ranks were those of Copping, Sharpe,Tinkler and Rowan; all familiar names in the community today.

Apparently Mr Sharpe had attained the rank of captain and the story relates it was he who rode on horseback through the village in the small hours of the morning shouting, ” To arms!” in a most voluminous voice. 

At that time the Fenian raids were going on in Upper and Lower Canada, and Mr Sharpe had been ordered by his superiors, to muster together at this site all the manpower available as a band of Fenians was on the march to the area.

The victorious side in this particular skirmish is not known.

Another interesting feature about this building is that the basement also contained a cell where unruly soldiers or captives could be detained for punishment or correction.

Still another tale is of a large bonfire built on this site. It was so huge that people from the surrounding countryside thought the homes of the villagers must be burning, hence they came rushing in by horseback or oxen, as their mode of travel might be, only to find news had come through of the signing of the Armistice bringing to a close the Crimean War fought by Russia against Great Britain, France and Turkey.

The war in South Africa had ended in 1856 and the villagers had gathered to celebrate and announce the victory of Great Britain and her allies.