This snuffbox belonged to Father Thomas Cooke while he was parish priest in Caraquet and Tracadie, New Brunswick (1818-1824).

This object remained in the region for over 100 years. Father Trudel, the donor, a priest in Bathurst, first corresponded by letter with Father Albert Tessier in April 1934 to offer him this souvenir. Given the positive response from the museum curator, the precious object was shipped and came to join our other treasures.

Thomas Cooke was born on February 9, 1792, in Pointe-du-Lac, a suburb of Trois-Rivières. His parents had welcomed a son into the world a year earlier, also named Thomas, who was born in January 1791 but died at the age of five months.

On September 6, 1790, Isabelle Guay married Thomas Cook (spelled without the “e” at the end). The latter was of Irish origin. He was the son of Jean Cook and Marguerite Morrey. He would have made the trip to Lower Canada illegally. Upon his arrival, he learned the miller’s trade and worked at the Pointe-du-Lac mill. He died in December 1808. Isabelle died in 1806.

Fortunately, when his father dies, the young Thomas had almost finished his studies. He attended the colleges of Nicolet, Quebec City, and Saint-Hyacinthe. He was ordained as a priest by Msgr. Joseph Octave Plessis on September 9, 1814. Thomas began his ecclesiastical career as a vicar in Rivière-Ouelle, a small parish between Kamouraska and St-Jean-Port-Joli, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River. At that time, he also acted as a secretary to Msgr. Bernard-Claude Panet, who, while he was coadjutor bishop of Quebec, was also the parish priest of Rivière-Ouelle.

Then, in the autumn of 1817, having gained a few years of experience, Thomas Cooke left for New Brunswick. Subsequently, he was entrusted with the parish of Jeune-Lorette (1824-1835) and that of Trois-Rivières (1835-1852). Appointed vicar general and, seventeen years later, elected first bishop of the diocese, Msgr. Cooke retained his office until his death.

With the support of noteworthy people, Msgr. Cooke founded the Collège de Trois-Rivières in 1860.

In 1867, he spoke out in favour of the Confederation of Canada. He passed away on April 30, 1870.

Donation from Father Alfred J. Trudel

Musée Pierre-Boucher Collection

1977 391 C