Didier Joubert (1771–1821) was one of the last millers to work in an era resembling the French seigneurial regime. Not only was he a great craftsman, versed in many construction techniques—carpentry, masonry—he was also a skilled miller and farmer. As the neighbouring land was cleared and farmed, the village grew, and with it the Sault-au-Récollet parish. Mr. Joubert’s income, and the profit he made for the Sulpicians, grew as well. He became wealthy enough to add to his activities a cider press at the heart of the village. He started its construction in 1806.
The cider produced at the time was somewhat different than the drink we know today. It was a beverage with a low alcohol content. Cider is easier to store than juice, which tends to ferment when not properly refrigerated. This would afford a longer shelf life to products from the island’s orchards, of which there were still many in the early 1800s.
After his death, Didier Joubert’s descendants did not take over the cider press, but rather converted it into a residence in 1842. The era of the miller-craftsman was over. In 1837, the Sulpicians sold the dike and its facilities to Pascal Persillier dit Lachapelle Jr., a typical entrepreneur of his time.
Stéphane Tessier explains the esteem the Sulpicians had for miller Didier Joubert
Video with transcript (EN). Subtitles available in English and French.