Siffroi Pottier’s Belleville


Siffroi Pottier of Belleville was a man of two countries, three occupations, and many names. Born in 1872, he was baptized Henri Sifroy Pottier at Sainte Anne’s Church in Ste. Anne du Ruisseau. In the Canadian census returns Siffroi appeared in 1881 as Henry Porter, in 1891 as Henry Potier with occupation shoe maker, and in 1901 as Jeffery Potier with occupation trader. In 1893–1897, when construction crews were building the Coast Railway in the Belleville area, Siffroi photographed the work and stamped the reverse of several railway photos with “J. H. Porter Photo / Lynn, Mass.” In 1899 the Belleville correspondent to the Yarmouth Light newspaper mentioned Siffroi, in connection with the construction of his new home, as Jeffery H. Potier on 8 June and as Jeffery H. Porter on 5 October. Sainte Anne’s Church recorded that Henri Siffroi Potier and Marie Jessie Potier were married on 15 September 1900. Although Siffroi moved to the United States ca. 1908, he rented his Belleville property, and so on 8 November 1917 the Yarmouth Light’s Belleville correspondent reported the painting of the house and shop of Jeffery H. Pottier. Eventually Siffroi returned to Belleville in the early 1930s; but he returned yet again to the United States where he died in 1937. [1]

References and Notes

    [1] My introduction is based on: Peter Crowell, “Some Additional Notes on Siffroi Pottier,” The Argus, vol. 15, nos. 2–3, Summer–Fall 2003, pp. 70–73; and Peter Crowell, “An Additional Note on the Spelling of Siffroi Pottier’s Name,” The Argus, vol. 15, nos. 2–3, Summer–Fall 2003, p. 73.

    [2] For the discovery of Siffroi Pottier’s 114 glass plate negatives, see Ralph Surette, “Siffroi Pothier –– Belleville’s Remarkable Photographer,” The Argus, vol. 15, nos. 2–3, Summer–Fall 2003, pp. 66–74.

    [2] I thank archivist Peter Crowell, of the Argyle Township Court House and Archives (ATCHA), for providing access to photographs by, and archival material concerning, Siffroi Pottier. All photographs labeled ATCHA are copyrighted; please contact the Archives if you wish to acquire copies.

William Day (1 January 2016)