Like many Ontario and Quebec communities, its small town politics may have caught up to it. That's when its Mayor was arrested and charged with fraud, conspiracy and breech of trust. While I do not know the outcome of the case, I'd bet the town could use some good news.. and press.
So here is a start. Saint Remi did not get quite the attention the Mayor got, and probably never got any attention whatsoever, That is a shame. It should have. It is the home town of one of Canada's and indeed North America's war heroes.
Baptismal papers verify that on 9 Feb 1844 a baby was christened to the Caile family. It would be the last of 7. The boy's name was Piere Ovla Caile. He would spend his youth on the farm and in by the mid teens he may have been in the care of a grandmother. This women wove him a very nice homespun suit and, possibly because the farm was not producing much in the way of income he was sent away from home to make a living.
Wearing his proud new duds, he made it by one means or another to Malone New York and visited with an older brother. Making his kin jealous of his suit both went off to town to get another for the older boy. But enroute a chance meeting with a man changed his life. He was a recruiter for the Civil War effort and soon Ovla was swearing an oath and signing up with the Union federal regiment known as the 14th US Infantry. (This was the very regiment that a Lieutenant by the name of Townsend served as the adjutant. You may have read elsewhere on this site that this man was instrumental in creating the Medal of Honor a few years later.)
While wrong, the name Ovila Cayer would stick with this boy till death and even beyond... on his grave marker. But during the Civil War years and also beyond most just knew him as "Frenchie."
Cayer would serve with distinction through out 2 terms of service and six years in unifom. He would be interviewed for a book and was quoted saying that...
"I was in the following general engagements: Gaines Mills, Savage Station, Malvery Hill, Harrison Landing, Second Bull Run.
At the last named battle I picked up the flag of our battalion, and carried it through the engagements at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness and the Weldon Railroad, where I was taken prisoner, but I saved the flag by putting it under the shirt of a private and sending him to the rear. When this happened all of the officers of our battalion were killed or wounded and I had been ordered by General Ayers, commanding brigade, to take command of what men were left.
We were all made prisoners and were confined in Libby, Belle Illes, or Salisbury, NC until March 1865.
My medal was awarded for gallantry in action during the engagement at Weldon Raitroad."
When Cayer died in California in 1909, at Salinas, he was buried and had a very impressive marker erected at his place of rest. But it did not have any indication on it that he was a Medal of Honor recipient. This was rectified when a women in California who had spend considerable time locating unmarked MOH graves discovered his and made the appropriate arrangements to have the inscription added to his marker. She also arranged to have a most impressive ceremony to unveil the updated marker and give him the appropriate military send off for a war hero.
I was quite honoured to have the chance to visit the marker a few years back.
During that ceremony, part of the events included the removal of the national flag, often drapped on the stone to be unveiled. This flag is then folded up in a most impressive ritual by the military and then presented to the most senior representative of the country present and he/she then presents it with a few kind words of thanks for the hero's service, to eldest direct descendant attending the service. After this was done it was in turn presented to the Canadian Consulate Generals' office at San Francisco, with the promise that it forever be on display for the public to view at those offices. Whilst in California I had the honour of not only visiting the consulate, but also in seeing this very flag on display with some materials about Ovila Cayer.
As Sott McKenzie sings in his song... If you go to San Francisco... make sure you visit the Canadian Consulate General's office, and ask to see the flag ...and never mind wearing a flower in your hair... hehe,
By the way, on Thursday of this week it will be 104 years since Ovilia Cayer passed away.