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Water bucket

As there is no running water in the houses, people use this kind of wooden bucket to collect water from the well. Each morning, water is drawn and a reserve is made for the day. The metal handle of the bucket is attached to a rope connected to a pulley, which allows the container to be lowered into the well. The filled buckets are then typically left on a bench near the house entrance for easy access.

No home is built without access to fresh drinking water. On a farm, there are usually two springs: one near the house and one in the field. This house has an interior well, which indicates that its owners were quite wealthy. The wells are more often located outside, meaning that, in the winter, the ice must be broken regularly to draw water. In the city, water is drawn from public fountains.

As opposed to France and other parts of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, people in the colonies are not afraid to drink water, which is generally very safe. Water is also used for food preparation, laundry, and housework, as well as for personal hygiene, although bathing is generally avoided until the 19th century.

Other sources of water supply include rain and streams. There are beliefs that stream water, drawn at Easter or the first rain in May, as well as the water of St. Jean-Baptiste Day, had virtues.


Date: 19th century

Origin: North America

Owner: Site historique de la maison Lamontagne.


Delâge, D. (2006). Microbes, animaux et eau en Nouvelle-France [Germs, animals and water in New France]. Globe, 9(1), pp. 113–139. https://doi.org/10.7202/1000800ar

Desrochers, C. (2010). La Maison Lamontagne: Une Architecture, un Héritage [Maison Lamontagne: An architecture, a heritage]. Site historique de la maison Lamontagne.

Hardy, J.-P. (2001). La vie quotidienne dans la vallée du Saint-Laurent [Daily life in the St. Lawrence Valley]. Septentrion.

Illustration: Water bucket