Municipality and Services Leisure Activities and Outings Presentation and History
Lumbering and farming were the principal occupations in the township. The industries of the township were saw, grist, clapboard and shingle mills installed on the North River. A large part of the east end of the township was still well timbered. The west end was nearly all settled, with good farms and progressive farmers.
Many of the first settlers in Island Brook were of Irish descent, mostly Protestant but others were Catholic.
In the records and archives, we can also see many names of Scottish and English origins amongst the inhabitants at that time, like many townships around that have been populated the same way. Others seem to have emigrated from other regions of Québec or United States.
Newport was erected as a township on July 4, 1801. The first settlers had a hard time in the beginning, the crops were not as good as expected at that time and around 1815 many of the inhabitants left the township.
After 1820 some of the old settlers returned and around 1830, shortly after the first school was started and new roads and bridges were built, new settlers began to arrive.
On the 1st of July 1855, took place the Erection of the United Townships of Newport, Ditton, Chesham, Clinton and Auckland. In 1870 settlement progressed rapidly for a while. On March 20, 1875, the township of Newport became a separate municipality once again.
History repeats itself strangely in 2003 when the township of Newport is united to Cookshire-Eaton, only to gain back its autonomy in 2006. This time the government will refuse to Newport the title of township, so from now on it is officially called the Municipality of Newport.
Today, the hamlets that compose the municipality of Newport are Island Brook, Randboro, Lawrence Colony and St-Mathias-de-Bonneterre.
The existing Town Hall in the hamlet of Island Brook is there since 1872.
In the early days, Island Brook was a busy little community with several businesses operating. Farmers came in from outlying areas to attend church on Sundays and do business on week days. After hard beginnings, the soil was finally very productive and crops gave large returns. Potatoes were especially prolific. A very popular drink in those times was potato whiskey, which was nearly as free as water, and was looked upon as a nourishing drink.
The first houses were made of logs, many of them with no convieniences. Generally one room, one window, and in some cases, no floor. Some log houses were sheathed with boards, had floors, were partitioned and shingled. Coupled with this was often a scanty larder, depending on game for food. The men had to walk miles through the forest to the nearest grist-mill and carry flour home on their back. Fruits were plentiful. These menfolk were nearly all good hunters, while some made hunting and trapping a business.
As time passed, bigger, warmer and better houses and other buildings were constructed. The settlers were community minded. They were always willing to assist their neighbours when one of them needed to build a barn, so there would be a barn-raising bee when neighbours would gather to help.
In the Spring when the water was high, there was a river-drive. Pulp wood was floated downstream from where it was cut to as far as the Pulp & Paper Mill in East-Angus.
There was many different businesses in Newport at that time too : A Cheese Factory, Maple Sugar Producers, General Stores, Blacksmiths, Woodworking Shops, Stone Mason, Tinsmith, Cobbler and Harness Shop, etc. Many of those businesses are long gone now but new ones established in the municipality since then.