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Dr. Henry's House (Photo - Ray & Diana Baillie)The first known non-Indian to penetrate the Arundel area was English-born Stephen Jakes Bevan, who made his living hunting and trapping furs as early as the 1820s. Settlers did not arrive in this area until much later. In 1857, Sidney Bellingham, MLA for Argenteuil, who did surveys and encouraged settlement, was given a large grant of land. Settlers began arriving from the Argenteuil-Lachute area in the late 1850s. There were no roads, so these early pioneers had to trek by foot, horse, and oxen to a land with a challenging climate and questionable soil. They were English, Scots, and Irish with names such as Staniforth, Cooke, McCrandle, Graham and Moore. The first settler was William Thomson from Scotland via Lachute. He opened his new farmland close to where Arundel is today.

Sidney Bellingham contracted men to build a house on the Fitzallan farm. The house pictured, with its unusual tower, was called “Fitz-Allan”, so it is likely that this is the 19th century farmhouse built by Bellingham. In the 1930s, Cyril “Doc” Flanagan, known by his friends as “the red dentist” for his socialist views, sought to buy this property. It was owned by a Catholic family named Filion, a barrier to the purchase since Catholics, at that time, were reluctant to sell to Protestants, and vice versa. The “Doc” got around this by buying the property through a French-speaking agent. He kept the farm, but Depression finances forced him to sell this house to his sister’s husband, Dr. R. B. Henry.

This was Dr. Henry’s home, office, and clinic from which he served the people of Arundel Township, both French and English, for forty-five years. A McGill graduate, he formed a community health centre, believed to be the first of its kind in Quebec. It was successful, but did eventually close. The old farmhouse is now owned by Jan Morgan, writer and publisher, who is the daughter of Dr. Henry.