Chaudière Falls

Chaudière Falls

A Novel of Dramatized History

eBook - 2017
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On March 7, 1800, Philemon Wright, a farmer from Woburn, Massachusetts, arrives on the north shore of the Ottawa River in Hull Township in Lower Canada. On September 1, 1860, on the south side of the river in the united province of Canada, Queen Victoria's son, Prince Albert Edward, lays the cornerstone for Canada's Parliament Buildings on Barrack Hill in Ottawa.While the novel dramatizes the real events that unfold between those two dates—-Wright's determination to establish a community of farmers, the political scheming that results in Ottawa becoming Canada's capital—-it's also the story of immigrants struggling for survival in a new world. Among them, Jedediah Jansen, who is ten years old when his family arrives with Wright's party. Jed marries, enters the volatile timber business, is overwhelmed by both, and his life spirals out of control.The settlers' attempts to establish a peaceful community are further exacerbated when the government in York (Toronto) refuses to confer legal status on Bytown (Ottawa). And because its inhabitants resent the civil authority of Lieutenant-Colonel John By, Commanding Royal Engineer for the Rideau Canal, the lawless settlement is rampant with self-serving politics, religious bigotry, and barbaric violence.
Publisher: Los Gatos : Smashwords Edition, 2017.
ISBN: 9781370270125
Branch Call Number: E-BOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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fairhall4346
Oct 16, 2018

Ottawa author David Mulholland's latest novel, Chaudière Falls, is a gem of a book for readers who glory in dramatized history. He seamlessly meshes a romantic novel with a meticulously researched history of what was formerly known as Bytown, Wrightsville, Aylmer, New Edinburgh, and Billings Bridge.

The author fleshes out such historical figures as Philemon Wright, the American pioneer who founded Hull Township, Lieutenant-Colonel John By, the Commanding Royal Engineer in charge of building Ottawa's Rideau Canal, Bytown's primary land owner Nicholas Sparks, intrepid stonemason Thomas McKay, and Braddish Billings.

The reader learns about the hardships and perils of the Irish navvies whose labour built the canal, the lumbermen who hurled down mighty pine trees and built the rafts that transported them to market, the violence in Bytown by the Shiners, which surpassed the reputation of America's wild west, and the intense rivalry between the burgeoning towns of York/Toronto, Kingston, Bytown/Ottawa, Montréal, and Ville de Québec to become Canada's National Capital.

All in one enthralling story!

Charles Fairhall
Aylmer, Québec

t
tobitatsu
Aug 17, 2017

I found Chaudière Falls to be an intriguing portrayal of how truly difficult and dangerous life was in the 1800s in what is now our national capital. The characters---fictional and historical---come alive on the pages of the book. It's educational, but not pontificating. I learned a lot. The author's detailed research really pays off. It's a great read! I certainly recommend it.

Norman K. Takeuchi
Visual Artist

w
WendyEM
Aug 14, 2017

This dramatized history relates in gripping detail how a lawless lumber town became the civilized capital of the nation. The author’s superb research brings to life the heart-breaking challenges faced by the men and women who founded Bytown, including Colonel John By, the determined engineer who built the Rideau Canal that was to become the region’s military and economic lifeline. David Mulholland skillfully and feelingly relates the enormous obstacles By and his Master Stonemason Thomas McKay faced, and solved, through their ingenuity and persistence. Not the least of these challenges was the construction of a bridge over the turbulent Big Kettle, the churning bowl of water at the base of the Chaudière Falls, whose implacable elemental power resonates throughout the novel.
Mulholland takes us inside the sad plight of the Irish labourers on the Canal who undertook the backbreaking and dangerous labour of cutting through two miles of rock, at least sixty feet deep. We enter into their tragic and brief lives, marred by disease, crippling and often-fatal accidents, poverty and prejudice. We meet the thuggish lumber king Peter Aylen, who recruited disaffected, unemployed Irish navies to form the Shiners, a gang contemptuous of civil order and of the value of human life that terrorized Bytown residents for years. One of the book’s most chilling scenes shows the Shiners ousting the official toll keeper from the Chaudière Bridge; then hurling those who refuse to pay their exorbitant tolls to their deaths in the boiling Kettle below.
Chaudière Falls draws us into the equally tumultuous political fight of Reformist leaders seeking to throw off colonial controls, and Bytown’s own fraught efforts to win recognition as an incorporated community. Mulholland vividly depicts the community’s striking transformations, with the building of the Market Square, Notre-Dame and Christ Church Cathedrals, the arrival of the Grey Nuns and the founding of the Bruyère Hospital, the ever-growing variety of shops and artisans on Rideau Street, where geese, pigs and cows once roamed free amongst pedestrians, and ultimately, the rise of the new capital’s Gothic Parliament Buildings on Barrack Hill.
Through his fictional protagonist, Jedediah Jansen, who from boyhood onward seeks emotional refuge on “his” rock overlooking the Chaudière Falls, Mulholland shows us the physical and emotional toll the lumber industry took on an individual. Jed’s life is marked by risk, financial uncertainty, violence and the loss of loved ones. The long, hard seasons in the bush tax his marriage, resulting in a tragic train of events and his troubled quest for redemption.
Readers will find plenty to reward and amaze them in this superlatively well-researched book that illuminates Ottawa’s painful and painstaking development, and introduces the countless men and women who made its growth possible.

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