Violent history of Quebec's early Irish detailed in new book

Steve Cameron's second book, "Hill Tales: Still Searching," unearths forgotten murders and crimes of early Irish immigrants in an area southwest of Quebec City.

Steve Cameron's 'Hill Tales: Still Searching' unearths forgotten crimes from Quebec's early Irish immigrants

When Steve Cameron began researching the history of an area southwest of Quebec City, he was led down a path that introduced him to a cast of unsavoury characters, many with connections to the cemetery behind the St. James Anglican Church in Saint-Jacques-de-Leeds, formerly Leeds Township.

Cameron's stories, many of which are documented in his second book Hill Tales: Still Searching, reveal the mysterious and tragic connections to the family names on the grave markers.

Steve Cameron has spent years researching the violent history of an area southwest of Quebec City, where Irish immigrants settled in the early 1800s. Much of what he's pieced together from documents in the archives was published in his first book, Hill Search: The Robert Corrigan Story

Steve Cameron has spent years researching the violent history of an area south-west of Quebec City, where Irish immigrants began to settle in the 1800s. He told the CBC's Rachelle Solomon about his second book.

Violent times southwest of Quebec City

The years between 1833 and 1886 were particularly violent, with five murders in what was a young, emerging community. Cameron calls that time the "Wild East," comparing it to the Wild West.

Cameron is a co-founder of Coirneal Cealteach, an Irish history and heritage group based in Saint-Agathe-de-Lotbinère. It is responsible for that community's Celtic cross and stone circle, dedicated to the memory of the Irish who once settled in the area. 

As part of local historical conservation work, Coirneal Cealteach found the once lost St. John the Evangelist Cemetery on St. Margaret's Range, and preserved a section of the Craig's Road in St. Sylvester, which first connected Quebec City to Boston.

A book launch for Hill Tales: Still Searching is planned at St. James Anglican Church, at the Site patrimonial de Leeds, on Sunday, May 31, starting at 2 p.m.


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