GenWeb de la Basse Côte-Nord

Quebec Lower North Shore GenWeb


Le GenWeb de la Basse Côte-Nord est une composante du GenWeb du Québec et du Canada GenWeb.

The Lower North Shore GenWeb is part of the Quebec GenWeb and the Canada GenWeb Projects.


Mail and Mail Couriers

By Sharon Chubbs-Ransom


Early mail delivery along the Quebec Lower North Shore was haphazard at best. For many generations the mail arrived by the trading schooners from Halifax and Quebec City. Government year around mail service wasn’t initiated until the late 1870s, close to 1879. By that time there were several people like William Henry Whiteley with enough political persuasion to lobby for year around mail service. Thus a service that would be the main stay of the people arrived.


Joseph Hebert 1839-1919 the first mail courier on the Lower North Shore is a character of legendary proportions on the Coast.  He settled on the Coast maybe as early as 1860 and married Rachel Mauger.  They lived at Mutton Bay.  He was known to be fearless and tough. He was short and stocky of stature. He was dark of complexion with a huge thick black beard. The early winter route was by snowshoes and dogteam over sea ice and rivers. He was not afraid of sleeping under the stars and was known on many occasions to have done so with his komatic turned over for protection and his dogs for warmth. His dress was rough, coarse attire, mackinaw trousers, warm woolen sweaters, canvas duck jackets and up to ten pairs of woolen stockings into long knee length sealskin boots.


In the later years as Joe Hebert got older he began subletting to Samuel John Robertson III and thus began another legend. For the next 35 years Sammy John carried the mail by dog team in winter and by boat in summer from about 1900 into the 1940s. These men were not just mail carriers they were excellent navigators, sailors and boatsman. They were used to hard work and extreme conditions. They carried passengers as well because for many it was the only means of travel. Some will recognized mail carriers who followed these were Joe Joncas, Fred Jones, Norm Jones, Len Jones and Russell Robertson. In those early days there were no post-offices. The mail carrier would distribute the mail to the rightful owners.


In the early 1900s post masters and mistresses took up sorting and distribution of mail. These were local people with limited education. Many like Martha Harding at Harrington, Louisa Gallichan at La Tabatiere and Mr. Fequet at Old Fort are still talked of today. For most of these people the post-office was a part or room in their house. There were few or no luxuries like separate offices, you practiced your trade and did what you must to get the job done.

Date entered on the Web: 13 March 2005



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Thank you to the previous coordinators, Sharon Ransom and Marc-André Gosselin, for their excellent work !
We are looking forward to reading your suggestions and comments. / Il nous fera plaisir de lire vos suggestions et commentaires.

Dernière mise à jour: 13/10/2016

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Suzette Leclair, Provincial Coordinator, Quebec GenWeb Project