“Soon after Father Chiniquy had selected the spot for his new town, 50 families from Canada planted their tents around his. He placed not only the parish but the entire village under the patronage of the ‘good Sainte Anne,’ who was the patron saint of…the Canadian Province of Quebec,” wrote Lois Meier in her 1976 history, “The Saga of St. Anne.” She went on to quote Chiniquy’s account of that first settlement in late 1851:

“We were at the end of November and though the weather was still mild, I felt I had not an hour to lose in order to secure shelters for everyone of those families, before the cold winds and chilly rains spread sickness and death among them….

“When I saw that a sufficient number of houses had been built to shelter everyone of the first immigrants, I called a meeting and suggested that they direct their attention to the necessity of building a 2-story house, the upper part to be used as the schoolhouse for the children on week days and a chapel on Sundays, and the lower part to be my parsonage.”

Jack Klasey is a former Journal reporter and a retired publishing executive. He can be contacted through the Daily Journal at editors@daily-journal.com or directly at jwklasey@comcast.net.

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