Alan Edward Rafuse

Alan Edward Rafuse was born and raised in Mille Roches, Ontario. He was a Great Lakes Freighter Seaman.





“When they were cutting down all the trees and the Seaway … The river was still there but they had started cutting down trees and moving buildings and all this.

And, on the south side, there was a point. When you were coming down the river, there was a point and there was one big lone pine tree on that point and there was a period, a certain course you were steering, you headed … the pilot would tell you to steer on the pine tree.

So I was coming down there the last trip and when he mentioned, he says, ‘Steer on the pine tree.’ I looked out and there was no pine tree. They’d cut it down.

So I questioned him, ‘What pine tree?’ So he looked out and he noticed the pine tree was gone.

That was the first time I’d seen a grown man cry.

And that was his last trip.”


Alan Edward Rafuse

Alan Edward Rafuse was born and raised in Mille Roches, Ontario. He was a Great Lakes Freighter Seaman.





“When they were cutting down all the trees and the Seaway … The river was still there but they had started cutting down trees and moving buildings and all this.

And, on the south side, there was a point. When you were coming down the river, there was a point and there was one big lone pine tree on that point and there was a period, a certain course you were steering, you headed … the pilot would tell you to steer on the pine tree.

So I was coming down there the last trip and when he mentioned, he says, ‘Steer on the pine tree.’ I looked out and there was no pine tree. They’d cut it down.

So I questioned him, ‘What pine tree?’ So he looked out and he noticed the pine tree was gone.

That was the first time I’d seen a grown man cry.

And that was his last trip.”



Video Interview 1



Video Excerpt: Alan Edward Rafuse, Lost Villages Historical Society Schoolhouse, Long Sault, Ontario. August 14, 2013

Video Interview 2



Video Excerpt: Alan Edward Rafuse, Lost Villages Historical Society Schoolhouse, Long Sault, Ontario. August 14, 2013

Video Interview 1



Video Excerpt: Alan Edward Rafuse, Lost Villages Historical Society Schoolhouse, Long Sault, Ontario. August 14, 2013

Video Interview 2



Video Excerpt: Alan Edward Rafuse, Lost Villages Historical Society Schoolhouse, Long Sault, Ontario. August 14, 2013

Video Interview 1



Video Excerpt: Alan Edward Rafuse, Lost Villages Historical Society Schoolhouse, Long Sault, Ontario. August 14, 2013

Video Interview 2



Video Excerpt: Alan Edward Rafuse, Lost Villages Historical Society Schoolhouse, Long Sault, Ontario. August 14, 2013

Video Interview 1



Video Excerpt: Alan Edward Rafuse, Lost Villages Historical Society Schoolhouse, Long Sault, Ontario. August 14, 2013

Video Interview 2



Video Excerpt: Alan Edward Rafuse, Lost Villages Historical Society Schoolhouse, Long Sault, Ontario. August 14, 2013

Summary

In the first video Alan Edward Rafuse describes his last trip down the old canal as a Seaman before the new St Lawrence Seaway was opened. One of the navigation markers was a lone pine tree; on that last trip the pilot tried to find and steer on the pine tree - but it was gone, it had was cut down. He recalls the pilot crying, and never making that trip again.

In the second video Alan recalls his first trip up the Seaway. As his ship steamed upstream from the Eisenhower Lock the Captain called him to the bridge to help steer the ship on the new lake that had flooded were his place used to be. He only realized after a while that the Captain was joking as the new navigation had been laid out with buoys on newly created marine charts.

Bio

Alan Edward Rafuse was born and raised in Mille Roches, Ontario. 

His father was a canal boat captain on the system of locks and canals that predated the St Lawrence Seaway. Alan also became a Seaman working on Canal and Great Lakes freighters both before and after the Seaway was established. He is a powerful story-teller with a wealth of experiences and anecdotes about the politics of the Seaway and its impact on those lived in the Sunken Villages.

He now lives in Cornwall, Ontario.

Summary

In the first video Alan Edward Rafuse describes his last trip down the old canal as a Seaman before the new St Lawrence Seaway was opened. One of the navigation markers was a lone pine tree; on that last trip the pilot tried to find and steer on the pine tree - but it was gone, it had was cut down. He recalls the pilot crying, and never making that trip again.

In the second video Alan recalls his first trip up the Seaway. As his ship steamed upstream from the Eisenhower Lock the Captain called him to the bridge to help steer the ship on the new lake that had flooded were his place used to be. He only realized after a while that the Captain was joking as the new navigation had been laid out with buoys on newly created marine charts.

Bio

Alan Edward Rafuse was born and raised in Mille Roches, Ontario.

His father was a canal boat captain on the system of locks and canals that predated the St Lawrence Seaway. Alan also became a Seaman working on Canal and Great Lakes freighters both before and after the Seaway was established. He is a powerful story-teller with a wealth of experiences and anecdotes about the politics of the Seaway and its impact on those lived in the Sunken Villages.

He now lives in Cornwall, Ontario.



The Sunken Villages interviews give voice, sometimes for the first time, to the memories, emotions, experiences and reflections about what happened when the construction of the Seaway flooded the St Lawrence Valley. These first person accounts are reviving a history that has been officially ignored and largely forgotten.

July 1, 1958 is remembered as Inundation Day around Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, NY. At 08:00 a controlled explosion tore open a cofferdam. Four days later an area that had been home to 7,500 people disappeared under the waves of Lake St. Lawrence, part of the newly created St. Lawrence Seaway.

On the Canadian side, 12 communities, some dating back to the 1700s, were affected. Maple Grove, Mille Roches, Moulinette, Sheeks Island, Wales, Dickinson’s Landing, Farran’s Point and Aultsville were entirely destroyed. Iroquis was demolished and moved a mile to continue on in name. About half of Morrisburg – including its waterfront and most of its business district and main street – were levelled.

On the American side, in St Lawrence County in upstate New York, Croil's Island, Louisville Landing, and Richards Landing ceased to exist, and parts of Waddington were dismantled.

The Sunken Villages interviews give voice, sometimes for the first time, to the memories, emotions, experiences and reflections about what happened when the construction of the Seaway flooded the St Lawrence Valley. These first person accounts are reviving a history that has been officially ignored and largely forgotten.

July 1, 1958 is remembered as Inundation Day around Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, NY. At 08:00 a controlled explosion tore open a cofferdam. Four days later an area that had been home to 7,500 people disappeared under the waves of Lake St. Lawrence, part of the newly created St. Lawrence Seaway.

On the Canadian side, 12 communities, some dating back to the 1700s, were affected. Maple Grove, Mille Roches, Moulinette, Sheeks Island, Wales, Dickinson’s Landing, Farran’s Point and Aultsville were entirely destroyed. Iroquis was demolished and moved a mile to continue on in name. About half of Morrisburg – including its waterfront and most of its business district and main street – were levelled.

On the American side, in St Lawrence County in upstate New York, Croil's Island, Louisville Landing, and Richards Landing ceased to exist, and parts of Waddington were dismantled.