Religious Practices and beliefs in late 19th and early 20th Centuries in Northern New York State

Description of religious ceremonies and traditions in an isolated mill town in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains ca. 1900, Roman Catholicism, French Canadian and Prostestant traditions.

Religious Beliefs

21/08/2011

Religion

The people we interviewed for the history of Reynoldston uniformly thought that the majority of the community’s residents were Catholic. The Reynoldses and Trims, however, were Protestant, and there were those who practiced no religion at all. As no church was ever built in Reynoldston, religious instruction rested primarily with the family.  Devout Catholics required children to join in recitations of the Rosary and go to West Bangor for religious instruction for first communion and confirmation. Similarly for Cathoics all weddings were in churches outside of Reynoldston.   Allen Bordeaux and Philias Moquin hosted Masses for the community in their own houses.  In the late 1920s an elaborate outdoor Mass was held on the Reynolds property (see photo). Devout Protestants, such as Pheobe Reynolds, recited Bible passages to their grandchildren.  Occasional Protestant revival services were held in the Reynoldston schoolhouse


Masses in Homes

Mass in 1929 on Front Porch of Reynold's home at the Mill - Priests came to Reynoldston, NY monthly to say mass in homes for the largely Catholic Community

 

 Ann Desparois & Eleon Bordeaux

Mr. Bordeaux:  When the priest comes up to say mass, he would do that. (Allen Bordeaux acted as an altar boy) They even had it in their house They had it from house to house…mass once a month.  They would go around from Catholic home to another Catholic home,  wherever there wasn’t sickness or a lot of children …That is what they did, they had the mass in their homes.

Mr. Bordeaux:  People in the Reynoldston area would all come to go to mass or church.    

Mrs. Desparois:   Oh yes. That was a mission.  Well, this is a mission church from St. Augustine’s.  I think St. Edward’s is a mission church.  You see there was a lot of people up there at one
time and so the priest would go up there… Father Lauzon was one of them. 

Ann Desparois & Eleon Bordeaux oral history interviews  1969 tape 1 p. 5.


Reynolds Family were Protestants:  

Beatrice Reynolds Beaman

(Bea’s Grandmother)… the main thing she taught us was the Bible.  And I think I learned more about the Bible just going out in the woods Sundays and walking with her  than I ever did in Sunday school and I can remember a lot of it to this day just hearing her quote…We go along through the woods and she would quote whole big long passages to us.  Something made her think of them or something she been telling us…talking to us about. You see the Bigelows… her brother was a Methodist Minister… Andrew and I think they were brought up really very close to the church and I always understood that when my grandmother and grandfather were married they stepped up at the end of a service and went down to the front of the church and were married.  Of course in those days they didn’t have to get a license.

Beatrice Reynolds Beaman oral history interviews 1970 Tape  9. p.3

Haidee Rushlaw

(Mrs. Orson Reynolds)  Yes and she used to read her Bible a lot…(out loud) …she used to quote a lot of it to me.   Her clothes were usually dark…I guess that is what she wanted.  Her colors were usually dark though….

Haidee Rushlaw oral history interviews 1970 Tape 3 p.1


Roman Catholics

Lilllian Bordeaux Prue:

When they went to church they used to go by wagon and they used to put some boards across for seats you know.  And everybody who wanted to go to church from up there, they used to take.   Now my grandfather used to be the one usually took them all.  They went to Brushton. (inaudible) They never went too often.  They didn’t go every Sunday by any means or anything like that.  But never in the winter…but in the summer time, they would go a few times in the summer. And they would take everybody along who wanted to go, down to. We always did that even years fterwards.  Nobody up there had any horses, had any way. Grandpa would always take them.  Even after that, they had a big Surrey, what they used to call, you know a surrey with a fringe on top you hear tell about. They had one of those….and beautiful horses.  Grandpa always had beautiful horses.  They used to take what it would hold.  Take on one Sunday some, other on another Sunday.  But that was to Bangor.

Lilllian Bordeaux Prue oral history interviews  1970 tape 3  page 6

 Mrs. Delia Moquin

Old Mr. Bordeaux was supposed to be a priest you know. He trained for one and wore the dress for three year.  Yes, some people said he is wearing a dress that isn’t But he was a good old man.   We had mass at his house at first.  The first mass we had was at the Bordeaux house.  He would serve the priest and answer the priest in Latin.  He was well educated.  He was a nice old fellow.There were thirty-two catholic families up there.   Had mass at my house for fourteen years.  Once a month in the summer time.  Then Mr. Bordeaux died… From there it came to my house.  Yeah and then he would come up at Christmas time, between New Years and Christmas to make
our Christmas. He would always come for Lent too.  Every spring…

Mrs. Delia Moquin oral history interviews  1971 tape 1 p. 22


 List of Catholic Priest who served Reynoldston   

Rev. Henry Cormerais                    1902 – 1907

Rev. Joseph St. Jacques                  1907 – 1908

Rev. Joseph R. Lauzon                    1908 – 1918

Rev. John M. McIntyre                   1918 – 1928

Rev. Francois Cormet                     1928 – 1938

Rev. Louis Brison                             1939 – 1948

Rev. Gerald Kellogg                         1948 – 1954

Rev. Fred Shue                                 1954 – 1961

Rev.  Weir                                         1961 – 1969

Parish of St.Augustines was incorporated in 1887 by Bishop Wadham

St. Edwards was bought in 1902 and was formerly an Episcopal Church


Funerals 

Mrs. Delia Moquin

No they would lay them out in the home.  I helped to take care one woman, Mrs. (Allan)Bordeaux..   Mrs. Bombard and I was there when she died, so they wanted us to lay her out.  (laughter) We laid her out and washed her all over and we dressed her the way they wanted us to and we put up sheets all around the walls and we made a regular little room for her.  Yep, white sheets… made a little room for her to lay out.  Oh, we had her fixed up nice. Laid her out, must have had some… can’t remember it has been so long you know.  Poor Mrs. Bordeaux.  And all the kids were there, but they wanted us to do it.  Tell us what to do and the way she wanted.  She had everything, the clothes all ready and she told them all the way she wanted to be fixed up and all that.  So they told us what to do… Yes. They had candles.  The priest would come up and bring the candles I think.  I think he did.  The priest came up that time.  Oh Collins was there. He drove the priest up that time.  The priest came up and said a prayer for her.  They wanted to put her in Catholic ground I suppose and she wanted to die Catholic.  Oh, he was making his visit come to think of it   He was making his visit and he stopped there.  Somebody told him that she wanted to die Catholic there.  She had her Rosary beads there and all that.   Oh yes, we had a coffin up there.  I’ll never forget.  I don’t want to put that on.  They had the door blocked up in the winter when she died.  One door was all that they could take her out.  It was boarded up.  So they had to take her out through the window.   We laughed it was all they could do.

Mrs. Delia Moquin oral history interviews tape 1, p.25-26 

 

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