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THE RAILROAD ERA BEGINS

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Théophile Thibodeau became curé of the parish of Ste. Agathe in 1878 and simultaneously homesteaded a large peninsula at the far end of Lac des Sables. He was the community’s spiritual leader during Ste. Agathe’s most difficult years. He inherited a parish that was just discovering that the fields would not yield, and the local farmers were either leaving or looking for other ways to make a living. Several of these hard-working pioneers built hotels. While the clientele consisted to some degree of vacationers from the city, there were also the migrants flowing north to the promised land of Curé Labelle. These mixed populations and mixed demands created mixed values and the most contentious issue that Curé Thibodeau had to deal with was the temperance movement. On the one hand, there were those who wished to forbid the sale of alcohol and on the other, there was the growing commerce available to those who could furnish the needs and desires of the new market.

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