Four years in the making, DOWN BY THE RIVER’S EDGE is Susan Gagnon’s examination of the recent closing of Otis Mill, in Chisholm, located at the south end of Jay, Maine, where she grew up with her extended French-Canadian family. The story begins in the 1850s, when French-Canadians walked down from Quebec to Farmington, Maine to work as seasonal farm laborers, returning back to Quebec after the harvest season, and repeatedly coming back to the region until they had enough money to bring their entire family there. The story records generational oral accounts of retired papermakers whose families immigrated from Canada and the Maritime Provinces, Italy and Eastern Europe and their cultural struggles as the first Roman Catholic residents in the region, their lives immersed in the trinity of their new community: the Androscoggin River, which powered the mill, the Otis Mill which supported their large families, and the St. Rose of Lima Church, where they built the brick and mortar of a new community. Unrated. 60 Min.
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