And now we come to the story of the marriage of Rosanna Ouellette to Richard Holden in 1841, at La Passe, across from Portage du Port. That story, now told by 102-year-old Mrs. Holden, is a great one. It tells of the finest and most romantic wedding likely ever held in the Ottawa Valley.
It will be recalled that in the story of Rosanna Ouellette’s courtship, Pa Ouellette permitted his daughter to marry at 17, but stipulated that she was to stay at home till she was 20. And now about the wedding. Pa Ouellette, being fairly well off and having only one daughter, decided that her wedding was to be a “bang-up” one. First off, Mrs. Ouellette had the girl measured at La Passe for her wedding dress. Then the measurements were sent to a Montreal dressmaker with instructions that a blue silk dress (and outfit to match) be prepared. White shoes and white silk stockings were ordered.
Then at home the preparations were begun in earnest. First of all, invitations were sent far and wide to relatives and friends of the family. The invitations were sent as far north as the Pembroke district, and south as far as Bytown. They were sent over into Quebec province and over 200 guests were invited. Arrangement were made with neighbours to host the guests from far away. Pa Ouellette put up sheds in which to house and feed guests also.
The boy and girls of the neighbourhood became a committee on decorations. From the house to the little frame church was at least a mile. It was decided to decorate this mile of road with cedar and small balsam trees. The trees were to be made pretty with coloured ribbons, which were brought from Bytown. The church was also to be decorated. These plans were carried out to the letter. Pa Ouellette hired three women of the neighbourhood to cook and serve meals so that Ms Ouellette could enjoy the festivities.
For the vehicle (wagon) which was to carry the bridal pair, a team of fawn coloured horses were borrowed. When the wedding day came on Aug. 9, this team was decorated with wild and garden flowers. The wagon was also decorated with flowers.
Finally came the wedding day. It was clear and warm. The bridal procession left the Ouellette house at 8 a.m. Most of the people walked on foot behind the bridal pair. There were over 150 persons in the procession. At the front of the procession was a local fiddler who made appropriate music. In the procession also were two good neighbourhood singers (men), who sang solo in the church and led the general singing which marked the return journey.
After the wedding all went to the home of the bride, where a fine banquet was served. Pa Ouellette had killed chickens, turkeys and a fine big hog. The table, to use the old expression, fairly groaned with good things. After dinner the guests began to dance in the barn on a floor especially put in by Pa Ouellette.
In different spots outside, enthusiasm prevailed. Supper came and then the dancing was resumed till dark.. At daylight the neighbours went home. The outside guests went to their lodgings. The next night everybody was back for more dancing. To make a long story short, the celebration was kept up nightly for a whole week. Then the outside guests began to depart to their homes, having duly voted the wedding of Rosanne Ouellette to have been the finest they had ever heard of.
One guest said to Mr. Ouellette: “I am afraid this will cost you something Mr. Ouellette.” “Ah,” said the fond parent, shrugging his shoulders, “what if it does? What are a few hundred dollars, when you have only one daughter?” “Certainement”, said the guest. “C’est Vrai.” We trust we have given a proper picture of what took place, for it was certainly some wedding that was talked about for years in the Ottawa Valley.
After things had quieted down the newly married bride and groom went to the Holden home over in *Chichester, where for three weeks the pair were the guests of Mrs. Holden, the mother of the groom. These three weeks proved another long round of dances and general festivities. When, at the end Rosanne returned to her parental roof to stay there for three years, as per her father’s stipulation, she was a mighty tired bride.
In another article, all being well it will tell how in 1851 Mrs. Holden went to a farm of their own in a valley near Trout Lake near the back of Chichester. They say that the Lake valley was one of the most lonesome places in Canada. The experiences of the 20-year-old bride in her log cabin there formed an intensely interesting story better than the stories told. That comes on Monday.
Chichester is a township municipality and village in the Canadian province of Quebec, located within the Pontiac Regional County Municipality. The township had a population of 368 in the Canada 2011 Census.
Chichester is located along the north shores of the Ottawa River across from Chapeau on Allumette Island.
Its settlements include Chichester and Nichabau. Nichabau, also known as Nicabeau or Nichabong, is a scenic hamlet located northwest of Chichester in what used to be referred to as Poupore’s Limits. It is noted for its great number of square log homes.
Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and theSherbrooke Record and and Screamin’ Mamas (USACome and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.