formerly the Archives and Collections Society  

Settlers to Prince Edward County

A historical examination of who they were and why they came[*]

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Page 2 - Kente Mission

Two priests travelled to Prince Edward County in order to set up a Sulpician mission among the Iroquois at the Cayuga village of Kente in 1668. The exact whereabouts of Kente are unknown, though archaeological evidence suggests it was just off the shore of Consecon Lake. Abbé Trouvé and Abbé Fénelon were sent by Bishop Laval from their home in Montreal to establish the Kente mission. The Cayuga wanted protection from the French. The Cayuga were part of the Iroquois Six Nations who were enemies of the French. But the Cayuga had never warred with the French and were afraid of being attacked if they did not ally themselves with the French. It was an easy journey for their Native guides, but the two priests were not used to such physically taxing activity. They canoed through dangerous rapids and portaged through the deep woods. Trouvé and Fénelon were weary after just one day of travelling, but continued for twenty-five more in their fatigued condition. It was winter when the Abbés arrived. They built a small hut that was divided into a chapel and living quarters, which they withstood the entire brutal season in. For all their hard work and uncomfortable living, the Abbés’ Sulpician mission was largely unsuccessful, because "it cost a great deal to maintain and produced very little in return. In 1674, the Kente mission lost the faith of Governor Frontenac, who complained that it failed to assimilate Natives. There was also ongoing animosity between the Fathers in Montreal and the missionaries at Kente. Neither party could agree on the correct way to run the mission. The Sulpician mission may not have been disciplined enough as a whole. Sulpicians are not forced to take vows of poverty or obedience. Therefore the missionaries’ dedication to their religion might not have been strong enough to continue the mission. Natives had begun to leave the area in search of better hunting by 1680, and Abbés Trouvé and Fénelon deserted the mission they had worked so hard to build in the same year.


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* [back] - This project was developed by Isabel Slone (one of the Society's 2007 "summer students") and was in part funded with a grant from Young Canada Works, in part with a grant from the Municipality of the County of Prince Edward, and in part with this Society's research funds.

Revised: 11 November 2007