The Lacolle Blockhouse

History of the Blockhouse

St. George

The Lacolle Blockhouse.

In 1894, Frances Adelia Mosher purchased a piece of land in Lacolle. Frances Adelia was the wife of John Bullock, our gggrandfather. Lacolle is very close to Clarenceville, west just across the Richelieu River. On the property was an old, historic blockhouse. Frances lived there with her family until she died in 1931.It was then passed on to her son, Wilber.

The first blockhouses appeared in Acadia during the British conquest of the Acadians. After the conquest of Quebec, a chain of blockhouses was built around the city and at Lévis and Ste. Foy.

The use of blockhouses became a feature in Canada during the British regime. At least 25 blockhouses were built by the British between 1760 and 1840 to counter the threat of the Americans to the south. They were relatively easy to construct and man during a crisis and, once the danger had passed, they could be left until needed at a future time. Wood was easily available and inexpensive. The techniques to assemble them were simple and could be handled by soldiers. Because the upkeep of its armies and fortifications was a major expense for the British, the building of blockhouses was encouraged in view of the minimal costs of construction and maintenance.

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The Lacolle Blockhouse and the War of 1812

In New France, under the British, the lands of the upper Richelieu River began to be developed by seignors Moses Hazen and Gabriel Christie. Hazen was an arms merchant who assisted the British army during the conquest of New France. He was a friend of Gabriel Christie, a British officer.

Less than 30 years passed before hostilities between the United States and Britain were revived. Once again, the blockhouse became an important part of the defence of the Richelieu valley. There were never more soldiers in the Richelieu than during 1812. Thousands of soldiers were part of a defensive plan to assure the protection of Montreal They proved very effective and repulsed all American attempts at invasion. The war of 1812 came to a close in 1814 and once again, the blockhouse went into disuse.

The land on which the blockhouse is situated changed hands many times. In 1765, Lieutenant-Colonel Gabriel Christie acquired the Lacolle Seignieury from the nephew of Daniel-Hyacinthe Liénard de Beaujeu. In 1893, it eventually ended up in the hands of Charles Brewster, a dental surgeon from Montreal.

In 1894, Brewster sold part of lot 5 to Frances Adelia Mosher. This parcel contained the blockhouse.

In 1915, her son, Wilber Bullock was given the property by his mother. Our aunts and uncles would visit Lacolle and remember their father's uncle, Wilber, as well as the blockhouse. He had cabins and a store on the property and one of my aunts tells about the treats they often were given at the store when they visited. In 1946, Wilber sold the property and by 1950 it was purchased by the Quebec government and established as a Quebec historic site.


1. Le blockhaus de Lacolle: histoire et architecture By: Filion, Mario. Gouvernement du Québec, Ministère des affaires culturelles, 1983

2. Photo: The Lacolle Blockhouse from Ada May Derick sent to me by her daughter.