French-Canadian Immigration to

North Adams


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The migration of French-Canadians to the United States began around the 17th century. The migration might have begun when Samuel de Champlain, who is the founder of France, killed three Iroquois Indian chiefs. Since this event, over four million French-Canadians came to this country. Most of the immigrants that came, went to New England.

"By far the largest influx of French- Canadians to the U.S. after 1850 was to New England, which by the end of the century seemed to anxious Yankees in the danger of becoming at last part of New France, despite their ancestors' victories over the French and Indians. About the middle of the century the migration from Quebec, which at first had been seasonal, began to become permanent and to increase as the newcomers found steady work in the brick yards and textile factories of New England's expanding industrial economy" (Notre Dame North Adams, Massachusetts 5).

The French-Canadians that settled in North Adams, Massachusetts were from areas southeast of Montreal. They were also near the U.S. border, usually about 25 miles. The population of French-Canadians in North Adams went from almost non-existent to about 25% of the total population in 1909.

As they came to a new place, they brought a piece of their culture, their church. At first they had to share a church that was mostly made up of Irish, but eventually they saved up enough money to purchase their own. The French-Canadians paid $2,500.00 to build the Notre Dame de Sacre (The Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart). It was finally completed in the year of 1888.


The City of North Adams, Massachusetts, which the French-Canadians migrated to for employment in the mills.  

[ Picture is courtesy of ]