Dewart, Russell and Ann (Stevenson)
Ann (Stevenson) 1915 - 2008 & the Rev. Russell Dewart 1901 - 1997
Ann de Duplessis Stevenson was born in 1915 at 83 rue d’Auteuil in Quebec City, the daughter of Florence Louisa Maude Russell and Dr James Stevenson. The Stevenson sisters (Margaret, Ann, and Elizabeth) spent their childhood summers in Tadoussac staying at their grandmother's house in the village, the original family cottage Spruce Cliff built by their great-grandfather, Willis Russell in 1861. In 1922, Ann’s father, Dr Stevenson, had their own cottage built for his family in Languedoc Park on land given to them by their cousin, Erie Russell Languedoc. This cottage now remains in Margaret's family and is owned by Margaret's son, Dennis Reilley.
In the late 1920s, Dr Stevenson built a second cottage nearby which now remains in Elizabeth's family (the O'Neill house). In 1938, Ann married a Bostonian, Russell Dewart - coincidently her third cousin (Ann was a direct descendant of Willis Russell and Russell was a direct descendant of Willis's brother, William Russell). When one of Russell’s sisters was getting married in Boston, Ann was sent to represent the Canadian branch of the family and was met at the train station by her future husband, Russell.
Later, in the 1940s, Ann and Russell Dewart purchased Tivoli, the third Stevenson cottage (now the Dewart house). Tivoli has an interesting history. Shortly after World War I, Erie Languedoc had two square log cabins from the golf course moved on rollers to Tivoli's present location where she joined them together and rented it out. It was then bought from Erie Languedoc by Professor Maclean from Rochester, NY, who named it Tivoli. In 1945, Ann and Russell purchased the cottage from the professor and continued summering there every summer with their six children, Timothy, Alan, Brian, Ted, Beth, and Judy. Many years later, in the mid-1980s, Russell and Ann built their own little chalet across the road from Tivoli.
Among Ann's additional pleasures were stimulating and philosophical conversations, exchanging aphorisms, delving into history, reading and writing, brisk walks, and sharing a cup of tea. Ann’s time spent with family at her summer home in Tadoussac was a source of great joy and spiritual renewal. She authored a self-published memoir Nose to the Window which included reflections, poems, letters, and anecdotes of her rich and vibrant life including much history of early Tadoussac and growing up in Quebec City.
Russell Dewart, was asked to tell of his life for his 50th college anniversary and part of what Russell wrote is below:
“… after getting a delayed degree at Harvard, I took the rather conventional business route of selling everything from rubber boots to investment counselling. The salesman whom my long-suffering wife married turned up a few years later in the pulpit with a round collar, but with few of the other less discernible attributes usually associated with the Ministry. I regard this complete change of direction as one of the many paradoxes of my life and makeup.
Having entered the Episcopal Seminary in Cambridge at the age of forty-three it was hard for me to believe that I had spent twenty-three years as a parish priest when I retired (for the first time). While a clergyman’s life can be parochial and unexciting, I have found it a most challenging profession and one that is deeply rewarding.
Perhaps the reason I say this is that the greatest joy I find in life is through my relationships with people of all ages and conditions - beginning of course with my own family and friends. The church records tell me that it has been my privilege to be called on to baptize, marry or bury some 1600 souls, and to present another 800 to the Bishop for Confirmation. These occasions for most individuals, as well as other times of tragedy and joy, are crucial and searching experiences. They are times when the clergyman is allowed to share some of the most significant moments in a family’s life together. For him, they provide the unique opportunity to do what he was ordained to do – to walk along with his people as one who serves. Because of this, and for what he himself has learned from them – these times are never forgotten.
My entire Ministry has been here in Massachusetts - at Epiphany, Walpole; Grace Church, Chicopee, and St. Peter’s, Beverly. Since retiring in 1967, I have served part-time at the Old North Church in Boston where my father was Rector fifty years ago, and more recently as Interim Pastor at St. John’s, Beverly Farms. Throughout these years I have been blessed beyond measure with the kindness and appreciation of so many people in return for what little I on my own might give. God does work in mysterious ways.
Other activities during the past fifty years have centred largely around my family and home. Since the war, we have spent some part of most summers at our cottage in Tadoussac, Quebec – where the Saguenay River joins the St. Lawrence. It is here where my wife came as a child and where we as a family have spent some of our happiest days. Now our children return there with their children and friends – to the place they consider their first home.
We acquired our present home here, a small, cosy, New England house built originally by one Jeffrey Thistle, a planter, in 1668. Jeffrey built well but there is enough to keep me busy and happy in caring for his clapboard house and half-acre of land. It is here we expect to live out our days with occasional visits to our six children, and possibly further travel abroad if the spirit moves and the conditions are favourable.
But we are quite content to remain where we are. There is a good stack of Vermont hardwood outside for our fireplaces; there are some fish left in the ocean a half-mile away. And we are surrounded by friends. Fortunately, Ann and I still enjoy good health and, most of the time, our sense of humour. We are able to pursue our individual interests and to look forward not to vegetating, but to making the most of what time is left to us in being useful and helpful to others in our own particular way. The Lord has been good to us; our life together has been a full and happy one.”
Russell Dewart served faithfully as a summer rector for twenty-one years (1953-1974). He died in 1997 and Ann died eleven years later in 2008. Both are buried in the family plot in Mount Hermon Cemetery, Quebec.