Woonsocket, Rhode Island, was the fourth largest Franco-American town. It also had one of the highest percentage of French Canadian population in all of New England (60%).. There were five French-Canadian parishes in the city by the 1920s.
The Franco-Americans of this city had at least two great claims to fame: one of their own, Aram-J. Pothier, born in St. Jean Chrysostôme, Quebec, after having been the Lieutenant-Governor for a short period of time, was elected governor of the State of Rhode Island on six occasions between 1908 and 1928. The other important event is that this city was the epicentre of the Sentinelle affair, and the Church illustrated above was the parish church of Mgr. Charles Dauray, a fierce opponent of the Sentinellistes. The movement was led by another famous citizen, Elphege-J. Daigneault, a lawyer, born in Woonsocket, and who was the president of lAssociation Canado-Américaine and publisher of La Sentinelle.
© 1999 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College