The Surviving Villages


Iroquois, like the other villages, was settled in the late 1700s by United Empire Loyalists, primarily from the British military. A post office was opened as early as 1827. The fledgling village also included a steamboat landing, mill, a couple of stores and a tavern. The first stone schoolhouse was built around 1840. By around 1845 it was replaced with a much larger school built by John Carman. John Carman, although not wealthy, was well travelled, had an immensely high regard for education, and figured very prominently in Iroquois' school system until the end of his life.

IroquoisTown view [ca. 1903]

The name Iroquois was chosen in 1857 when the village was officially incorporated. Prior to that, the village was unofficially known as Cathcart and also as Matilda, after the post office. Other people who played important roles in Iroquois' history were John Ross, a former warden and store owner and Philip Carman (John's older brother) who served as a Justice of the Peace, and John Laing who forced the issue of Iroquois' incorporation, following a dispute over school boundaries.Ironically Philip Carman's son Albert, one of the worst pupils in the school, later rose to become shool principal and also head of the Methodist Church of Canada. Another of Philip's sons, James, a former businessman, also turned to teaching and served as principal of the same school for a number of years, before being forced out due to political reasons. Other prominent citizens included William Elliot, a former brewer and flour mill owner who came from Mille Roches and Robert Lowery, a sawmill owner,

By the early 1850s, Iroquois' citizens enjoyed both water services and a library. In 1855 a new Episcopal Methodist church was built closer to the centre of town, and the former church site on Point Iroquois, taken over by the Wesleyan Methodists. An Anglican church was constructed in 1864 and a small Presbyterian church, in 1874. A Town Hall was added in 1875 and the school replaced with a larger building in 1876. Education got a further boost with the addition of a high school in 1888. Later on electricity was provided by one of two power plants.

Like Morrisburg, Iroquois was well-documented photographically throughout its history. An aerial view of the community from 1919 shows a booming and prosperous village. The attractive shoreline and Point Iroquois were popular with tourists during the early 20th century.

The entire village of Iroquois was inundated during the Seaway project. The community was rebuilt on a new site about one and a half kilometres north of the flooded village. A total of 152 of Iroquois' buildings, mainly houses, were moved to the new town site. The Iroquois Dam and Lock #7, located just south of the new village, formed a major part of the Seaway project.

One mainstay of Iroquois' industries was the Caldwell Linen Mills, founded in 1923. By the 1950's the mills were owned by Dominion Textile. The company chose to stay with the community and relocated their facilities close to the new town site. They remained a major employer in the area until recently when the mill closed.

Today Iroquois supports a couple of local industries and continues to thrive.