Joseph Brule Sr. came from Papineauville about the year 1847 and the family had originally come from below Montreal. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Brule Sr. had a family of six when they came to Billings Bridge, and several children were born after their arrival. After living on the Island at Billings Bridge for about three years, Joseph Brule went to work for his brother Thomas Brule who had a blacksmith shop at Byward market in Bytown.
The family occupied a shanty on Billings. At that time it was much larger than it is today as floods and other causes have worn away at the island. When Joseph Brule came to these parts Billings bridge was once a floating bridge. The bridge was tied to either shore with ropes. When the spring floods and ice came down the river the bridge was loosened at one end and allowed to swing to one shore until the ice and high water had gone. At such times those who were very anxious to cross, were taken over to the other side In scows.
Mr. Joseph Brule, says he did not see the floating bridge in operation, but when he was a small boy he saw the remains of it.
The first bridge was built by Billings across the Rideau River at Bank Street in 1831. Farmer’s Bridge later known as Billings Bridge was finally completed, linking Gloucester Township with Nepean Township and Bytown. By 1859 both the bridge and the community became commonly known as Billings Bridge. This early bridge was washed out and rebuilt in 1847.Further washouts took place in 1862, 1876 and 1913. In 1862 it is necessary to rebuild one end of Billings Bridge
Bridges at the time were more vulnerable to this, as they only had a clearance of about 1m above the water level. The concrete central span of the bridge collapsed 21 March 1913. Construction of a new bridge began in 1914. It was inaugurated 2 September 1915. The ceremony was conducted on the North bank of the river. The mayor of Ottawa then drove across the bridge, turned around without pause and drove straight back into town. ( Wikipedia)
June 6th, 1888 a Cyclone devastated large portions of Gloucester particularly near Billings Bridge.
Hawthorne and Ramsayville. In 1920 William Birch is the last tollgate keeper at Billings Bridge..
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