Hamlet of Kingscroft
Kingscroft, North of Highway 141, bears the name of its founder IRA King. In the 1940s, Kingscroft was the thriving Centre of the francophone community established in the western part of Barnston Township. The evidence is shown in the erection in 1950 by Mr. Omer Veilleux of the only road cross on his property near Kingscroft, at the intersection of Route 141 South between Burrough’s Falls and Coaticook.
The origin of the name Kingscroft
The name of this hamlet in the Municipality of Barnston-Ouest is reminiscent of one of the pioneers of the place, IRA King. The latter opened an Inn around 1810 and named it King’s Corner or King’s Tavern. These designations were in use for some time.
Later on, the town added the English word Croft which means a small enclosure or a meadow adjoining a house. Kingscroft became, in 1883, the name of the post office. The latter was closed in 1969. In 1904 a religious service opened, known primarily as Saint-Wilfrid-de-Kingscroft, or simply Saint-Wilfrid. Father Wilfrid Lussier, a former parish priest of Saint-Édouard de Coaticook (1877-1887), served this mission for several years.
The end of the nineteenth century witnessed the expansion of the francophone community of Kingscroft. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the hamlet offered a full range of services, including the school built in 1928. The Church, with its large basement, was the Centre of the community's activities. People gathered there for “the pictures,” to applaud amateur theatre performances, or to listen to visiting artists.
Despite the demographic thrust and dynamism that Kingscroft experienced in the 1940s, some decline, however, was felt due to the shift of activities to larger settlements (the Agricultural Cooperative and shopping to Ayer’s Cliff, Coaticook and Sherbrooke).
In this regard, Kingscroft, like Way's Mills, was "stuck" between the more and more extensive areas served by larger activity Centres. The hamlet suffered greatly during the next twenty years. The general store closed its doors in 1967, the school in 1968, and in 1974 the Diocesan authorities decided to stop serving the parish and close the Church. The parishioners strongly contested this closure, but they succeeded in saving the Church. Despite the constant efforts of the community, the Church definitively closed its doors in January 2019.
Cécile Dessaint Veilleux (1904-2001)
Like many women of her time, our tireless pioneer who lived to the ripe old age of 96 used to say that work does not kill!
Her work ethic is a legacy left to her family because, in addition to her 11 children, her descendants today include 36 grandchildren, 79 great-grandchildren and 26 great-great-grandchildren.
Madame Veilleux had an extraordinary life course. Born of a Swedish mother who arrived at age 18 in Ayer's Cliff and a father from a Beauce family, it is only in primary school that she learned French. Unlike the children of her time, she was baptized in her early teens and two years later, with her sisters, attended the wedding of her parents according to the Catholic rite.
To learn more about the history of Madame Dessaint Veilleux, we invite you to visit the site on the Pioneer Trail that pays tribute to her.