The Aroostook Roads

  1. Location and Background
  2. Under the French and British Regimes
  3. The First Acadian and Canadian Immigrants
  4. The Development of Madawaska
  5. Borderland Tensions
  6. Military and Commercial Roads
  7. War Avoided
  8. New Immigrant Waves
  9. A Bi-Directional Route
  10. Sources

  1. A Bi-Directional Route
While much is known about the coming of Acadians and Canadians to Aroostook County by way of the Temiscouata Portage Road in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, less is known about the use of the Aroostook Roads system by French Canadians later in the nineteenth century. It is known that by the 1830s the first francophone families had reached Bangor while the Aroostook roads network was still under construction. Over the next two decades approximately one hundred additional families would settle around Bangor, while over the next four decades thousands more would find their way into the industrializing communities further to the south such as Waterville, Lewiston, and Portland. Just how many of these immigrants came by way of the Aroostook Roads system is difficult to say. While kinship ties between Acadians and Canadians played an important role in the colonizing of Madawaska and Aroostook County, less is known about how such factors influenced immigration further south. Additionally, most roads are bi-directional. We see in the autobiography of the French-Canadian Félix Albert that during the mid- to late-nineteenth century he crossed and re-crossed the borders between Québec, New Brunswick and Maine on several occasions to cut wood, sell merchandise and bring back to Québec capital (cash) and stories of the people and events he saw during his sojourns in Maine. How did such two-way interactions impact on the communities at the northern terminus of the Aroostook Roads system? Obviously, there are many questions yet to be answered.
The autobiography of Félix Albert is the story of one French-Canadian who in the mid-nineteenth century left a parish just north of Lake Temiscouata, in the St. Lawrence Valley, and came to work and trade in Maine by way of the Temiscouata-Aroostook Road system.

Source: Félix Albert, Immigrant Odyssey.