Missisquoi Museum Launches Laurent Busseau’s Book The Fenians Are Coming

Missisquoi Museum Launches Laurent Busseau’s Book The Fenians Are Coming
Red Sashes with captured Fenian artillery in 1870. 

HISTORY. To commemorate the Fenian raids in the Frelighsburg and Saint-Armand area 150 years ago, the Missisquoi Historical Society (MHS) invites Townshippers interested in local history to the launch of historian Laurent Busseau’s new book, The Fenians Are Coming. The result of seven years of research, the book will be launched on Sunday, June 12 at the Missisquoi Museum’s Cornell Mill in Stanbridge East. 

Jim Ferrier, special collaboration

“It is with a great deal of pleasure that the Missisquoi Historical Society introduces, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Fenian raids in our territory, a short chapter of our long history that all too often slips by forgotten,” says MHS President François Reid.

“The fruit of long and meticulous research, this book, The Fenians Are Coming, is a detailed and abundantly illustrated work, filled with newly-discovered and never-told stories.” In honour of this event and to further commemorate the Fenian raids, The Fenians Are Coming is also the theme for the Society’s 2016 exhibit.

The Fenians were an Irish-American secret society working to establishing an independent Irish republic. They instigated an ultimately unsuccessful rebellion in Ireland in 1867 and abortive raids in England in 1867 and Canada in 1866 and 1870. The group’s 1866 invasion from Vermont was repulsed by militia sent from Montreal. A larger second raid in 1870 at Eccles Hill was soundly defeated by 40 local farmers who had formed a home guard called the Red Sashes (Les Écharpes Rouges).

Busseau is a historian with a Master’s degree in history and a diploma in journalism from Université de Montréal. A history consultant under the label Historien sans frontière, He is often asked to speak at the university’s Belles Soirées events and has also produced courses for the Université de Sherbrooke, including The History of the Eastern Townships and The History of Lake Champlain. Busseau is also the author of several publications on prohibition in Quebec and the Fenian invasions of 1866 to 1870, and writes articles for various specialized magazines.

Now living with his wife and twin daughters in Dunham, Busseau began this book project back in 2009 to complete a historical panel at the Eccles Hill Memorial site, which he created with the help of the late Judy Antle, then archivist at the MHS. The book is being published by Éditions Histoire Québec as the first publication in the Missisquoi Historical Society Collection.

The launch of Laurent Busseau’s book The Fenians Are Coming takes place on Sunday, June 12 at 1:30 p.m. in the Missisquoi Museum’s Cornell Mill at 2 River Street in Stanbridge East. You are asked to RSVP to Pamela Realffe by Thursday, June 9 at prealffe@museemissisquoi.ca or 450-248-3153. 

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