Powel, Robert Hare

Powel Family who built the Bailey house

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The Powel Family

Window: Robert Hare Powel – 1825 – 1883
Amy Smedley Powel – 1825 – 1908 (husband and wife)
Julia de Veaux Powel Peters – 1851 - 1904 (their daughter)
Plaques: Henry Baring Powel - 1864 – 1917 (their son)
L/Corp. Herbert de Veaux Powel – 1890 – 1915 (son of Henry Baring)

Note: It seems best to place the Powel family members together, because they are little known now, but were very significant to Tadoussac early on. The Powel family came from Pennsylvania. A window in the church is dedicated to Robert Hare Powel, his wife, Amy Smedley Bradley, and their daughter Julia. There are also two plaques, dedicated to Robert and Amy’s son, Henry and to Henry’s son, Herbert.

The Powel family came from Pennsylvania.
Robert’s father - John Powel Hare (April 22, 1786 – June 14, 1856) was an American agriculturist, politician, art collector and philanthropist. He was born John Powel Hare and was adopted by his mother's widowed and childless sister, Elizabeth Willing Powel. He legally changed his name to John Hare Powel when he attained his majority and inherited the immense fortune of his late uncle, Samuel Powel. He was educated at The Academy and College of Philadelphia and after college joined a counting house. As part of his job in mercantile affairs, he traveled to Calcutta and returned at age 22 with twenty-two thousand dollars as his share of the profit.
Robert’s mother - Julia De Veaux was the daughter of Colonel Andrew De Veaux. She and John married in 1817. They had seven children: Samuel, De Veaux, Henry Baring, Robert Hare, Julia, John Hare Jr., and Ida. The couple and their young family lived on the Powel family farmland known as Powelton, in west Philadelphia, where John began efforts to improve American agriculture.

Robert Hare Powel married Amy Smedley Bradley. Amy was born on June 11, 1825, in Chester, Pennsylvania. Together they had 6 children: Julia De Veaux 1851 – 1904
William Platt 1853 – 1854
Robert Hare jr. 1857 – 1931
Amy Ida 1858 – 1923
De Veaux 1861 – 1936
Henry Baring 1864 – 1917
Robert and Amy purchased land in Tadoussac in 1865 from Willis Russell and built a house next door to him (The Bailey house). The adjoining lots were connected by a gate and Mrs. Powel visited Mrs. Russell every afternoon. These Rhodes, Russell and Powel properties were referred to as “our three cottages” by the men and the three of them often played whist together in the evening. Mr. Powel was said to be “the life of every party and they were very generous and hospitable to young people from Tadoussac who visited them in Philadelphia, not least some of Col. Rohodes’s sons who worked in Mr. Powel’s rail yards.
Both Robert Powel and Willis Russell were charter members of the Marguerite Salmon Club. There were a number of other charter members, all American, Willis Russell being the only Canadian.
In 1906 the house was sold to the Piddington brothers - Sam & Alfred.
In his obituary, taken from The Daily News of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, it is said that Robert was a great coal operator.

This obituary about Robert was taken from the Daily News – Huntingdon Pennsylvania.

Robert Hare Powel, the great coal operator, died suddenly at Saxton, Bedford county, on Monday evening last. His death was caused by indigestion. He had eaten freely of new corn and cucumbers on Sunday evening, and during the night he was taken sick with cholera morbus.
On Monday morning he was unable to get up and continued to grow worse until about 7 o'clock in the evening when he expired. Dr. Brumbaugh, of this place, had been summoned, but the train did not arrive at Saxton until five minutes after Mr. Powel died.
The intelligence of his sudden death was received here the same evening, and could scarcely be believed, as he had been well on Saturday and was in the best of health. His remains were brought here on Tuesday and sent on Day Express to Philadelphia, where he resides.
Mr. Powel's loss will be greatly felt in this section. He was the first to penetrate the semi-bituminous coal region in this county, and the first to ship the coal to the east. He continued to develop not only the vast deposits of coal but of iron and while wealth accumulated as the result of his foresight and sagacity, he sought other channels for investing his means, thereby giving employment to thousands of workmen.
He was honest and honorable in business transactions, plain and unassuming in manner, a self-made man.

Julia De Veaux (Powel) Peters – 1851 – 1904
Julia was born in 1851, in Pennsylvania, to Robert Hare Powel and Amy Smedley Powel. She was the oldest of the six children. Her family lived in Philadelphia and spent time in Quebec City and during the summer, in Tadoussac. Julia’s father was a good friend of William Rhodes and Willis Russell and he built the house that later became the Bailey’s.
Julia was the same age as Godfrey and William Rhodes and William Russell, and they spent some happy years growing up together. Their family houses in Tadoussac were in a row next to each other. Julia was very popular and outgoing. The boys led an active outdoor life, boating and fishing, and she would join them, rowing up the Saguenay and sometimes camping overnight at St Etienne. The girls had their own tent.
In the evenings when the young gathered at the Powel’s or Russell’s houses for dancing and singing, Julia was featured doing waltzes, gallops and the “jig” with the group. At a Grand Concert and Charade held at the Hotel on July 22, 1870, Julia was one of the performers along with Godfrey Rhodes, Jim Gordon and Pete Meredith.
Julia was actively involved with the Tadoussac Chapel and sang in the choir on Sundays with Godfrey and Willie.
When her family were in Quebec City she joined in the social life of parties and teas, came for dinner at Cataraqui and played cards in the evenings with the Rhodes, and Russells. One day, according to Godfrey, “she drove the cart like a bird and broke a shaft, jamming it at St. John’s Gate”.
Julia married Samuel Winslow Miller Peters from Virginia in 1874 at age 22, in Pennsylvania. Samuel was born in July, 1847, in Virginia, United States.
They had 2 daughters - Mary Louisa Miller Peters 1876 – 1958, and Amy Powel Peters 1882 - 1924.

(Compiled by Michael Alexander, based on “Godfrey’s Diary”)


Henry Baring Powel – 1864 - 1917
Henry was the youngest of Robert and Amy’s 6 children. He was born in Haddon, Camden, New Jersey on Oct. 16, 1864. He married Edith Elizabeth Smith in 1888 (daughter of Robert Herbert Smith and Amelia Jane Smith and had 4 children:
Robert Hare 1888 - 1964
Herbert De Veaux 1890 - 1915
Blanche Valliere 1899 – 1990
Harcourt 1896 – ?
Henry Baring passed away on Dec. 6, 1917, in Chicoutimi.

Lance Corporal Herbert de Veaux Powel - 1890 – 1915
Nothing is known of Herbert’s earlier life when he must have come to Tadoussac along with his family. He became a soldier in the 2nd Company, 2nd Battalion, Eastern Ontario Regiment, 1st Brigade of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and was a Lance-Corporal during the beginning of World War 1. He went missing at the Battle of Langemarck during the second Battle of Ypres, on the western front. This was a battle in which the German army released its first gas attack. There was also heavy shelling and his body was never recovered. He is believed to have died on April 22, 1915. He is commemorated in the First World War Book of Remembrance and there is a cross for him at the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres.

Herbert’s parents are listed as being Henry Baring Powel and Edith Elizabeth Smith (above) but on Ancestry.ca they are listed as having only 3 (as above but not including Herbert). Is it possible that Herbert was an adopted nephew or listed them as guardians or next of kin?


Alan Evans & Michael Alexander

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