It is 1904 and Paul and Angelique Bedard are moving to Laconia. They live in a farm in the town of St. Perpétue, Québec in Canada. St. Perpétue is 45 miles northeast of Montreal. Paul, Angelique, their parents and 4 other brothers and sisters are moving to Laconia to have a better life.
The Bedard family has no car. They ride a hay wagon 45 miles to Montreal. They ride a train 240 miles from Montreal to Laconia. They walk from the train station to a tenement house.
The Belknap Mill makes socks. Their father Maurice can walk to work. He will work as a boarder. He will put socks on a board in a steam chamber. He will also ring the bell in the mill. He will ring the bell at 6 a.m., noon and 6 p.m. He will work 6 days a week.
At 6 a.m. the next day, Paul and Angelique hear the bell ring. Their father is already at work. At noon, they hear the bell again. Their mother prepares a hot lunch. Paul and Angelique carry their father's lunch in a pail to the Belknap Mill. Soon Paul, Angelique, and 2 other brothers and sisters will also work at the Belknap Mill. Their mother will take care of the younger children.
This story was written by educator, Chris Lewis, with funding from the Institute of Museum & Library Services. It is loosely based on records of the LaPlante family, who moved from Sainte Perpétue to Franklin about 1903. The images are from the Morin Collection, Belknap Mill.