Saturday, September 20, 2014

Glengarry County Archives


 Glengarry County Archives

The archives will officially open to the public on September 26th at 1:30pm with an official ceremony followed by tours of the facility and displays of historical records. Everyone is welcome. 

The Glengarry County Archives is the largest repository of historical records in Eastern Ontario and contains the foremost collection of history about Glengarry County in Canada. Incorporated as a municipal corporation in 2013, the archives is the official repository for the records of North and South Glengarry Township governments and is  mandated to preserve the  records of individuals, businesses and organizations  from the settlement period to the present. 

The archives will provide free access to the collection of Glengarry records with photocopying services also available. 
212 Main St N (GDS) Alexandria, Ontario K0C 1A0 
Phone: 613-525-1336 
County Archivist: Allan J. MacDonald 

 Hours of Operation: After September 26th, the archives will be open to the public every Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00am to 3:00pm. 

 WW1 Display Updates
The World War I and Williamstown exhibit continues to grow. Since its official opening on Aug. 26, we have received additional artteacts on loan as well as expressions of interest from several others. Special thanks to Gordon Ferguson, who just last week week brought in many items of historic signififcance that had belonged to his uncle, John Ferguson, who was killed in action. 
The exhibit runs until Remembrance Day and there is no admission charge. 

What are the museum's hours these days? Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm, as well as Thursdays, from 2 pm to 4 pm for the popular "Tea and Cookies." We can also make special arrangements during the week for school tours, or if you have special guests, etc. And if you should happen to see Lisa or George III doing something outside, she will more than likely invite you in, regardless of the day of the week or the hour of the day. 

We have also tweaked our webpage and invite you to check it out at: 

Our approach of asking for items the museum needs has cut down expenses. In fact, Historical Society President, Robin Flockton was incredulous that such a professional exhibit as World War I and Williamstown could be mounted for so little cost. 

This week, readers, we are asking for plates. Little plates for tea; larger plates to serve the cookies on. Matching china not important! 

Hello Everyone,

Now that the heyday of summer is over, we are only sending out our newsletters periodically.  Sue Harrington has been mandated to read the dictionary and the thesaurus in between so that she can be our on-call wordsmith as needed.  Our other newsletter lady, Joyce Lewis, is far and away overseas and absolutely enjoying her time there, so I am not sure we are getting her back anytime soon.  Well, not exactly true.  She will return shortly, and, I am sure, regale us with fascinating stories during our Thursday Teas.

Speaking of warm beverages, I am planning on serving warm cider on chilly days to people who drop in to the Museum.  Or we could do Cider Saturdays ... I like it!  Cider Saturdays it is then, pending the acquisition of (free or very reduced price) cider that is!  So please get your apple connections texted, phoned or emailed and let us know what they can do for us!  Bonus points if you use an iPhone to find cider for us (ha ha: get it ... Apple product for an apple product...).

On that note, I am signing off.

Have a great week,

Lisa Ellis, M.A.
Nor'Westers and Loyalist Museum
19651 John St.
Williamstown, ON   K0C 2J0
 Glengarry History, Nor’Westers and Loyalist Museum 
19651 John Street Williamstown, ON K0C 2J0 
Phone: 613-347-3547 

posted by Alex W Fraser, 9/20/14
Courtenay, BC

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Louis C Woods 1835-1907, Prescott Ontario

Received this e mail recently, from Sue who is looking for a Louis C Woods.   Any comments or suggestions of helping Sue.   AWF

Hi, Alex—

Like you I have followed my genealogy since my school days! I have mom’s side fairly done going way back into Scotland, Wales, England, Switzerland, Germany. My dad’s side has been a little more difficult as he had been adopted but this was what sparked my interest in genealogy.

My dad’s birth mom died shortly after childbirth and he was raised by his Aunt and Uncle adopting him as an infant and those became his parents. He was always curious about his birth mom’s side of the family and we would often talk of it. 
Through the years we were able to locate his mom’s parents, and even to his great grandparents. His great grandma’s had side could go way back into England. But we were stuck on his great grandpa Louis C. Woods b.about 1834. This is the relative my dad was told by his family doctor about. Louis died in the area in 1907, my dad’s doctor was old and very well could have known Louis.

So family stories are not always, most often are not likely to be accurate which is why I am trying so hard to find his great grandfather’s parents. I can find on 2 marriage certificates their names which are very similar on both of the marriage certificate so I would think these are accurate. 

Augustus Woods and Eliza or Elizabeth Rose Woods (sometimes the “s” was left off), his latest marriage certificate indicates he was born in Prescott Canada West. The census dates range from 1832 to 1841. 

He spoke French, did not read or write. He came to the United States in 1862, married here in Mosinee, Wisconsin in 1867 to his first wife. The census indicates his native tongue by his daughter and first born son was French, but his other 2 kids said it was English. 

The story was that my great great great grandpa had been part French Canadian part Native American Indian. That he was a voyageur, but in the census records in Wisconsin, and for a few years in Kansas, he was a farmer, or a laborer. The town of Mosinee, Marathon County, WI and the Wood County he lived in was along the Wisconsin River. There were trading stations in the area. But, I can not find information to prove this or disprove this.

So, that is my story or most of it.

I am having a hard time going through what is available from Ontario/Canada records as so much of this is written in books by people such as yourself. I cannot afford to buy every book just to see if I have an ancestor listed. Most books probably wouldn’t list them. 

As you have written so much about this early county which Prescott had been formed from I am wondering if you could spare some advise. If I cannot afford to buy all the books, I cannot get up to Canada for the time it would take to research all the sources, would it be best to give up and leave it as it is unknown. I am not sure how much it would cost to hire a professional genealogist for something like this either. 

I am hoping to here back from you with some guidance.  I would most certainly appreciate any input. 

My USA Scottish Ancestors are from the Peter (b1744) and James Farquarhson(b 1770) of Knockando, Moray, Scotland whose son John(1805) and wife Elspet came to the USA moving to north/central Illinois, their kids changing the last name to Ferguson.

I hope you can guide or help me.

Sue  <susie921 @>

Contact Sue directly  if you can assist in her request. Thank you.

NB:  my questions is is this a reference to the town of Prescott, Ontario on the St Lawrence River or Prescott County just south of the Ottawa River.. It is easy to mix up these two references to Prescott.

Also, it is hard to determine with the information stated what books would be helpful in solving this request without  further specific details. AWF

An update from Sue 9/6/14


Thanks so much for the quick response.

Alex, this would be too easy if I knew which one of the 2 Prescott location he was from. Or, which religion he was. He had 2 civil marriages no church marriage. His service sounds as if it was at a school hall and the pastors are listed but I have not been able to figure out which religion they were affiliated with, perhaps Methodist is the closest I can discern. I am not sure if he had any religious affiliation. I suspected the French name to be either Bois or DuBois, Brisbois was another thought as they were in Wisconsin. There were 2 obituaries just indicating he came from Canada as a young man. And, both listed a different pastor attending his service. The cemetery he was buried at is not affiliated with any church, they actually listed his son as being buried which really is Louis C Woods. 

There was a Louis Wood dit Bois in a early area census who was from Canada. There is a Native American Treaty signed listing a Louis Wood son of this Louis Wood and wife Siaska a HoChunk(formerly Winnebago) Indian that would have been born in 1834—same time frame of my Louis Wood unfortunately, I cannot get birth certificates to prove these are the same. And, my Louis Wood came reportedly came to the USA or Wisconsin in 1862—-interesting there was a huge Dakota Sioux Indian incident in Minnesota in 1862 which dispersed the Indian’s even further with some of the HoChunk just on their own returning home to Wisconisn. But then there is the parents he listed as Augustus and Eliza or Elizabeth Wood certainly not the names related to the 1/2 Native Indian yet following the story told my dad. 

I have been searching and searching. Unless I make a stretch of the early names say as Louis Auguste Wood dit Bois, called Auguste because of son Louis and Saska is the native american name perhaps she was Elizabeth or Eliza for her Christian name if this existed. 
But there is no documentation to prove this is the case, my Louis Wood was listed as white on the census, death and marriage records which could be if he choice to follow a white lifestyle. His death certificate mom was listed as Sarah but he had a daughter Sarah. 

I will probably have to check both Leeds and Grenville along with Prescott to see if I can find his family line. He was alone in the US no other Wood family, well I shouldn’t say that. I have met 2 other people also researching him who absolutely do not agree with my Native Louis Wood idea, vehemently so. 

One related researcher is 1/2 a relation from his second wife Louis’s second wife, his great great grandfather was raised by his wife’s family. He has searched as long as I but not able to discover which Prescott or Louis’s parents. 
The other related researcher lists a Augustus Wood married to Mary Catherine Campeau who arrived in the area about 10 years later, into the same county and town. At first I thought they were brothers perhaps. This Augustus had a son who married one of Louis Wood(s) daughters. This would mean they were cousins which was possible, I guess. And, Augustus Wood’s (married to Mary Catherine) father was also named Augustus Wood but was to have been married possible to a Anne. Mary Catherine Campeau’s parents were Louis Compeau and Margaret Frey and this older couple also had another son, brother to Mary Catherine Campeau, both listed as born in 1860 in Perth. As Mary Catherine’s father—but I see no sources to provide proof.
I hope this wasn’t too confusing, 

Any way you can guide or be of assistance?


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Angus MacDonald & Janet MacDonald, right names, wrong people

Angus MacDonald & Janet MacDonald, right names, wrong people

Received this query that was posted on Ancestry to review and comment on.

As shown below the query is from a KenMac48 and concerns the family of an Angus MacDonald and his wife Janet MacDonald.

My, Alex W Fraser,  comments, observations, conclusions are listed below and are subject to further clarification and correction.

Remember that these Comments, observations & conclusions may or may not agree with your perspective on the family names & information listed below.

post 1;
McDonald / MacDonald's of Glengarry
pastedGraphic.png kenmac48  (View posts)
Posted: 15 Aug 2014 10:55AM
Classification: Query
Surnames: McDonald, MacDonald, Graham
Seeking information on Roderick MacDonald who married Isabel or Elizabeth Graham at St Raphaels on August 24th 1848. Isabel died in August 1860, 8th-Lot 26 Lancaster.

I'm attempting to see if this Roderick and Isabel are my 4th Great Grantparents. In order for them to be, they need to have a son Angus MacDonald, born in about 1776, Inverness, Scotland. He died 18 October 1853 in Lochiel, Ontario. On November 28, 1826 he married Jennet or Janet MacDonald at St. Raphael's, Ontario. She was born in about 1787, Inverness, Inverness-shire, Scotland. She died 28 August 1858 in Lochiel, Ontario.

Any help will be much appreciated !
Post 2;
pastedGraphic_1.pngRe: McDonald / MacDonald's of Glengarry
pastedGraphic.png talmacdonald143  (View posts)
Posted: 15 Aug 2014 1:06PM
Classification: Query
Angus MacDonald, born in about 1776

Do you mean 1876 ?

Post 3;
pastedGraphic_1.pngRe: McDonald / MacDonald's of Glengarry
pastedGraphic.png talmacdonald143  (View posts)
Posted: 15 Aug 2014 1:20PM
Classification: Query
Forget about the first message I think I now see what you mean. You say that Roderick's son was Angus but I think you mean he was the son of Angus.

The marriage info from St. R. show Roderick to be the son of Angus MacDonald and Elizabeth MacDonell Lot 26 - Lancaster 8th.

Post 4 
pastedGraphic_1.pngRe: McDonald / MacDonald's of Glengarry
pastedGraphic.png kenmac48  (View posts)
Posted: 15 Aug 2014 1:27PM
Classification: Query
I don't think so...I have 1776 recorded as his birth year and 18 Oct 1853 as date of death.. Do you believe this is not possible ? 

My 2nd Great Grandfather, John MacDonald 1806 - 1875 married Anna Bathurst 1818 - 1907 on 03 Nov 1840 at St Finnan's, Alexandria.

I'm truly a novice genealogist therefore it's possible I am wrong.


Post 5;
pastedGraphic_1.pngRe: McDonald / MacDonald's of Glengarry
pastedGraphic.png kenmac48  (View posts)
Posted: 15 Aug 2014 1:42PM
Classification: Query
Oops sorry Tal...I sent you a reply before reading your above message.

I also have Roderick to be the son of Angus MacDonald and Elizabeth. 

My records show that Angus and Elizabeth were born and died in Scotland, exactly where in Scotland unknown. In addition to Roderick they had sons John and Alexander. 

However my predicament is knowing if Roderick MacDonald and Isabel or Elizabeth Graham are in fact my 4th GG.

Thank you so much for your efforts to help me. It is most apprecated.

My, Alex W Fraser, comments, observations   from post 1
“Seeking information on Roderick MacDonald who married Isabel or Elizabeth Graham at St Raphaels on August 24th 1848. Isabel died in August 1860, 8th-Lot 26 Lancaster.

I'm attempting to see if this Roderick and Isabel are my 4th Great Grantparents.”

AWF Observation
Roderick MacDonald & Isabel Graham Lanc 8C N26 did have a son named Angus who married a  Janet MacDonald in 1826, namely
from St Raphael’s RC BMD 1826 marriages
November 28th 1826, after 3 publications of banns made in this parochial church, were joined in marriage by me the undersigned priest, Angus MacDonald, who has attained the age of majority, son of Roderick MacDonald and of Elisabeth Graham on the one side and Jennet MacDonald being minor daughter of the deceased Angus MacDonald and of Margaret MacDonell on the other side. Alexander MacDougald, Hugh MacDonald and several others were present at the celebration of this marriage. 
Angus MacDonell ptr 

Here Angus’s mother is listed as Elizabeth, rather than Isabel, the first glitch in this journey.

Likewise from Post 1, “Angus MacDonald, born in about 1776, Inverness, Scotland. He died 18 October 1853 in Lochiel, Ontario. “ This Angus is not the son of Roderick MacDonald & Isabel Graham as shown in his death record,  from St Finnan’s RC BMD 1853 deaths Alexandria, Ontario
D15 Angus McDonald
On the 18th day of October 1853, I the undersigned interred in the cemetery at Alexandria, Angus McDonald son of John McDonald and Christy McDonald of the shire of Inverness aged 77 years. Witnesses Allen Williams, Donald McDonald and several others.
John R Meade

This Angus MacDonald married a Janet MacDonald and they lived in Lochiel 1C N3 and this Janet died in 1858    from St Finnan’s RC BMD 1858 deaths 
D5 Janet McDonald 3 - 1st Lochiel
On the 28th August 1858, The body of Janet McDonald, wife of the late Angus McDonald [tailor] 3-1st Lochiel was interred at Alexandria. Present John Chisholm & Alex’r Bathurst.

AWF observations
Now based on info in Post 3  
“The marriage info from St. R. show Roderick to be the son of Angus MacDonald and Elizabeth MacDonell Lot 26 - Lancaster 8th.”
This is correct, namely
from St Andrews Presbyterian/United Church BMD WMST 1792 Marriages

from St Raphaels RC BMD 1848 Marriages
M14 Roderick M’Donald & Isabel Graham
At St Raphaels on the 24th day of August 1848, Roderick M’Donald of this parish, Lanc 8C N26, major son of Angus McDonald & of Elisabeth McDonell on the one part; & Isabel Graham also of this parish Lanc 8C N26, daughter of Thomas Graham & of Margaret Graham on the other part; after 3 proclamations of bans at St Regis by the rev’d Roderick McDonell about 56 years ago before they were married by Mr Bethune, Williamstown, no impediment being known were joined in marriage by me the undersigned priest in the presence of the undersigned Mary McDonald & Catherine McDonald.
[signed] Mary Macdonald
             Catherine McDonald
John Macdonald priest & curate of St Raphaels.

AWF observations 
Now based on the info in Post 4  “My 2nd Great Grandfather, John MacDonald 1806 - 1875 married Anna Bathurst 1818 - 1907 on 03 Nov 1840 at St Finnan's, Alexandria.

”This Angus & Janet had a son John who married an Anne Bathurst in 1840
From St Finnan’s RC BMD 1840  
The same day (3rd Nov. 1840), was married by me the undersigned priest, after three publications in this Church without any opposition having been found to their marriage, John M'Donald son of Angus McDonald and Jennet McDonald in the 1st con. of Lochiel: to Miss Ann Bathurst, daughter of William Bathurst and of Margaret McIntosh in the same con. of Lochiel. Were present Alexander Bathurst, Angus M'Dougald, John M'Donald and several others. 
J. M'Donald, P.P. 

12/09 awf
from St Rapahels RC BMD 1818 Baptisms
B88 Anna Bathurst
The 9th day of August 1818, I the undersigned priest and vicar of St Raphaels baptised Anna born the 14th of July of the lawful marriage of William Bathurst and of Pagy MacIntosh. Sponsors Angus MacDonell and Catherina MacDonell.
J. MacDonald    p

The above indicated that John was born in 1806. Since there is no reference to any baptisms in St Raphael’s BMD of children of any Angus Mac/McDonald/ell & Janet/Jane/Geny/Jeannette Mac/McDonell/ald before 1827,. The reference here, 1827 is to an Angus & Janet in 5th Lochiel with dau Flora. This Angus & Janet may or may not be a 3rd set. [ I could have missed finding an earlier reference] then it is assumed at present that the John who married Anne Bathurst was born in Scotland in 1806. Likewise John parents  Angus & Janet were also born & married in Scotland ca 1800-1805. 

Thus, if this John who was born in 1806, died in 1875, the son of Angus 1776-1853, of Loch 1C N3, then the Angus ca 1795-1865 in Wisconsin the son of Roderick MacDonald & Isabel Graham of  Lancaster 8C  who married a Janet MacDonald in 1826 could not be the father of the John born in 1806.

from Fr John’s Diary of Deaths 1819-1866 & 1839 Census in Part, 1992, edited by Alex W Fraser
APR 11 1865 Angus MD, in Wisconsin, son of Rod from Lanc 8C N26, of Angus of Hugh.

This a very good example of how easy it is to get the right names and the wrong people at the same time.  These Couples of  “Angus MacDonald & Janet MacDonald” regardless of how the last name is spelt,  are two different families.  

One lived in Charlottenburgh and or Lancaster, 8th concession, the other in Lochiel 1st concession.    There is a reference to an Angus & Janet MacDonald living in Charlottenburgh township 8th Concession who had a son Angus born in 1836. 

How many Angus & Janet MacDonald are we actually dealing with? Did one or more of these Angus & Janet’s move around as labourers? Are we mixing up 2 or 3 sets of them?

One of the fathers of Angus 1776-1853 was John ca 1742-ca 1800; & the other Angus  ca 1795-1865 was the son of  Roderick  ca 1764-1855. 

One of the Angus’ was born about 20 years before the other. 

These comments do leave room for more research to get done, as well as getting any missing gaps of family information for these sets of Angus & Janet MacDonald can be filled in correctly, to see whether or not my conclusions still stand up to and with that found new family information.

Hoping this will be of use.

take care and God Bless
Alex W Fraser
Courtenay, BC
Aug 25/14   jars924 @

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dalkeith History Society update

 An update on the Dalkeith History Society

Hello Everyone

send this  on to as many contacts as you possibly can
its good for people to know what a little town can do and you never know it might very well bring in some ticket to one & all

Vankleek Hill  has live Radio on wed evening
and I was privileged-on behalf of DHS-to be interviewed last wed evening
Jean Sarrazin, Host of the radio show  wanted  know all about DHS  and the Upcoming Kitchen Ceilidh-and to share it with the listening community

here is the link
Once this page opens up select "Listen to the Aug 20th, 2014 Show – Hour Two"

Keep the Kitchen Ceilidh"in conversation" when you are out and about". Our goal is to sell out
and we can only do that with your help

The Kitchen Ceilidh promises to be a dynamic fun packed evening-come watch,come participate but come on your own, bring a friend, a group.We extend a warm welcome to each and everyone

remember Ashley will be playing on home turf-she and her group are renown and so is Paddy Kelly
and Louise Stephenson  is making a name for herself in the Zumba fitness world. The Scotch River Fiddles are NEW(2012)

ONCE MORE: Ashley MacLeod & Kelsey McDonell,Scotch River Fiddles,Paddy Kelly, Zumba Fun, Food 4DCatering, Doorprizes, Bar Glen Roadhouse, Dance Floor.  Bring your own instrument Jam
Tickets available:Scotiabank: Vankleeek Hill, Maxville & Alexandria: Fassifern. The Review

Your support and enthusiasm for DHS activities and projects is much appreciated. we hope you had and will continue to have fun
many thanks to Scotiabank and The Review for their spomsonship
Frances Fraser

Dalkeith History Society

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Tentative Schedule

September 4, 2014 “Reflections on Archie Robertson Malcolm Robertson Alexandria and the Normandy Landings”

October 2, 2014 “Nutfield Trust” Sandy Campbell Williamstown

October 16, 2014 Special Members Meeting, GHS Business Williamstown

November 5, 2014 “Christmas Leave Robin Flockton Alexandria
Cancelled – CEF in UK”

December 4, 2014 “Behind the Scenes at Penny Bateman Williamstown
the British Museum”

January 8, 2015 “Permafrost” Donaldson MacLeod Alexandria

February 5, 2015 “George III and the Lisa Ellis Williamstown
Canadian Connection”

March 5, 2015 “D.A MacDonald and Dane Lanken Alexandria
the Montreal Waterworks”

April 9, 2015 “Glengarry’s Postal David Anderson Williamstown

May 7, 2015 Annual General Meeting TBA Alexandria

June 11, 2015 GHS Picnic TBA

Alexandria Meetings at the Church-on-the-Hill
Williamstown Meetings at the Nor’Wester’s and Loyalist Museum.

Admission: Members $5
Non-Members $10

Posted by Alex W Fraser
Courtenay, BC

Friday, August 1, 2014

St. Regis Roman Catholic Church

St. Regis Roman Catholic Church

What follows are my contributions to the book, The History of the St. Regis Catholic Church, which was written by my mother, Rosemary Bonaparte, to raise money for repairs of the old stone church here in Akwesasne in the 1990's. As part of the research, I was allowed to wander about the basement and steeple of the aging monolith ala Indian Jones. There have always been legends about the mysterious basement, which is really just a crawlspace made up of a series of stone walls running at regular intervals across the width of the church. To get through these walls, you had to crawl through a whole in the center. Between each wall is a dirt floor strewn with rocks left over from construction. There are no lights other than what you bring with you. Naturally, my flashlight hit a rock about halfway through and went out. Now, I thought I knew the color black. We all think we do. Well, until you've been in the basement of the St. Regis Catholic Church with no flashlight, you don't know black!

The steeple was another horror story. All of the stairs gowing up there had long rotted away, if they ever existed, and were now replaced by rotting wooden ladders. By some miracle I was able to make it up to the top. It's got quite a view up there, one that would have been strategically important back in the old days, having as it does an unobscured view of a long straight of the St. Lawrence River out toward Summerstown. We would have been able to spot those French women coming for miles.

Of course, the money we raised help to restore the roof and steeple, though the basement was largely left the house of horrors that I experienced. I understand that the steeple has been configured in a way that will prevent moisture from getting in, so it may be next to impossible to go back up there to enjoy the view. I also understand that they have installed a hunchback to prevent anyone from going up there.

The St. Regis Catholic Church has always been a major landmark for those who traveled the St. Lawrence River. The crews of sailing ships passing through this area from the direction of Montreal would spot the church from miles away and know that they were approaching a narrowing of the St. Lawrence River and the infamous Long Sault Rapids. The church itself, a plain yet dignified edifice of stone in the Recollet style, was for many years the only one in the region, drawing by the sound of its bell hundreds of natives and European settlers to Mass conducted in Mohawk with a unique Mohawk choir. It stands at the tip of a peninsula formed by the St. Regis and St. Lawrence Rivers, it’s steeple facing northeast, tall above the trees and houses behind it.

Today the visitor to St. Regis is much more likely to come by car, having come from the southwest via Hogansburg. By that route they are robbed of the impressive sight of the old church rising out of the trees on the banks of the river, like a mother duck waiting to take her young out for a swim. Approaching it on land, the church now seems much more remote, almost hidden from the world, it’s many trees hiding much of it in shadow.

For over two hundred years the church has served its community with a rock solid dependability, but those two centuries have taken their toll. Although it seems fortress-like and indestructible from the outside, the careful eye discerns a completely different reality when exploring the interior, especially in the steeple. Moisture has decayed the visible mortar holding the stones together so much that it seems as if one ring too many from the triad of bells would surely bring the belfry toppling down. Slate shingles break off from the roof from time to time, their sharp corners sticking inches into the ground like daggers. Ancient electrical wiring snakes its way along the walls and in hidden places, the electricity flowing through it a constant threat should the snake ever decide to "shed its skin." Hundreds of bats have made the attic the most popular "hang out" in St. Regis, thoroughly soiling the insulation on the attic floor. To completely restore the church to its former glory would take a massive effort, a king’s ransom in cash, and a good breathing apparatus for every man on the job.

That such an effort has already been launched is not surprising. Akwesasne Mohawks are devoted to the historic old church and have been fundraising for almost a year. They have raised over $150,00 to date by holding craft fairs, silent auctions, a fiddler jamboree, raffles, and events too numerous to mention. While an estimate on just what it would take to restore the building is not yet complete, it has been hinted that three or four times that amount would ultimately be needed. While some may be daunted by the prospect of raising so much money, there is no doubt that this goal will eventually be attained. This old church, assembled by Mohawk hands 7 generations ago, has been a silent witness to the major events of our ancestors’ lives--the baptisms, the confirmations, the weddings, and the funerals. From cradle to grave, this church has been a consistent presence in the lives of Akwesasronon. It’s walls still echo with the sound of departed choir members. To have it decay before our very eyes without trying to preserve it would be unthinkable.

The Founding of the St. Regis Mission

The founding of the St. Regis Mission and the construction of the first church took place against the backdrop of a major war in North America, the conflict known as the Seven Years War and the French and Indian War. This global conflict between the superpowers of the day, France and Great Britain, was particularly divisive to the Mohawk people, who had alliances with both. For years before the war the French encouraged more of the Mohawk and their Iroquois brothers to move to the St. Lawrence River Valley, while the British encouraged those that had already moved to the St. Lawrence to come back. Kahnawake, the Mohawk community known to historians as Caughnawaga and Sault St. Louis, was by this time already overcrowded. Another mission village, Sawekatsi, (also known as Oswegatchie and La Presentation) had been established in 1747 by the French at what is now Ogdensburgh, New York. This mission attracted numerous Onondaga, Oneida, and a few Cayugas and Mohawks, but by 1754 it too was getting overcrowded and an epidemic had broken out. With the prospect of more Mohawks coming north to live in a community that could not support them, the French authorities agreed to allow the French clerics to start another mission village about halfway between Kahnawake and Sawekatsi upriver of Lake St. Francis (a particularly wide tract of the St. Lawrence River.) This village served a two-fold purpose: first, it strengthened the southern frontier of the French colony from English incursions, and second, it got many of the people at Kahnawake away from the vices of nearby Montreal. As one French official described in a letter dated October 31, 1754:

. . . My negotiation with the Mohawks succeeds admirably, as you will see by their propositions, but they cannot settle in the village of the Sault St. Louis, because the lands in that quarter are exhausted, so that more than thirty families belonging to that mission, being unable to collect wherewithal to feed themselves, are going to settle at Lake St. Francis, twenty leagues above Montreal, on the south side, where there are very good lands; the Mohawks have agreed with these thirty families to go and settle their village at this place, whither a missionary will accompany them; this change, which costs the King only the erection of a saw-mill, that will furnish it abundantly wherewith to build the cabins, becomes very advantageous to the Colony, in as far as it will be easy in time of war, to be informed of all that might occur in the direction of Choueguen; besides, La Presentation, and this new village on Lake St. Francis, the Sault St. Louis and the Lake of Two Mountains, will form a barrier which will protect the government of Montreal against all incursions, because in that weak quarter, the troops that might be sent thither, will always be supported by these Indians.
I have dwelt much on the consideration of this new expense, though very trifling, but have reflected that if I had ordered the thirty families in question, to remain at the Sault St. Louis, I could not avoid having to feed them, which would cost an immense sum. . . . (NYCD 10:264-265)

While there is some debate about the early origins of the community, historian George L. Frear has pinpointed the arrival of the Kahnawake Mohawks and their priests, Father Antoine (Anthony) Gordon and Father Pierre-Robert-Jean-Baptiste Billiard, in the fall of 1754, and the establishment of the mission on June 16, 1755, right around the time that many of the people they left behind were heading out on the war path with the French to battle the English and their Iroquois allies in the Lake George area. Of these early arrivals, only a few are known to have served the French as scouts and combatants during this conflict, first at the battle of Fort Bull and later at Oswego.

By the time the war was in its final stages, the defeat of France seemed inevitable to the Mohawks of the St. Lawrence. They sent peace envoys to negotiate with the British army that was then preparing to descend their river for the final conquest of New France. When the British forces and their Iroquois allies passed through Akwesasne on August 1, 1760, they stopped at Akwesasne to smoke the pipe of peace. At least ten Akwesasne men volunteered to help guide their bateaux through the treacherous Lachine Rapids further downstream, and were later awarded medals for their service.

The Church of Logs and Bark

The St. Regis church in those days was described in one historical account as being not much different from the homes of the Mohawks. In the words of 19th century historian Franklin B. Hough,

. . . Among the first duties of Gordon was the erection of a church, which was built of logs and covered with barks.
This humble and primitive temple of worship, was made to serve the double purpose of a church and a dwelling, and one end of the hut was partitioned off for the residence of their priest.
There being no bell, when the hour of worship arrived, an Indian went through the village from hut to hut, and announced with a loud voice the hour that they might assemble for prayer. . .

. . . Soon afterwards a small wooden church was erected on the ground now occupied by the priest’s garden, which was furnished with a small cupola, and contained a bell. . . . (Hough 1853: 114-115)

The Churches of Wood

Since the priests were allowed to purchase a saw-mill for the new community, the "longhouse" church was quickly replaced with a more tolerable chapel made of hewn logs, probably not much different from the recreated mission at St. Marie Among the Iroquois in Liverpool, New York. While this is only speculation, the church itself may have been made of vertical, squared timbers, topped by a steep roof with bark-covered shingles, and surrounded by a rugged palisade of sharpened logs. Tradition states that this old wooden church was located in the small courtyard and garden next to the present rectory. It burned to the ground in the early 1760’s, taking with it the earliest records of the mission and a relic of Kateri Tekakwitha that had accompanied those who came from Kahnawake.

Eventually the church was rebuilt, but the missionary, Father Anthony Gordon, left the mission in 1775 and died not long after, leaving St. Regis without a resident priest for many years. In the fall of 1783, Father Denaut, pastor of Soulanges, was sent by Bishop Briand of Quebec to St. Regis for four weeks. In November of that year he wrote his report:

. . . I examined the church, the mill and other buildings belonging to the mission and found everything in a state of dereliction and crumbling away. I requested repairs to the mill even before getting any instructions from you, because of the rigors of the oncoming winter season. I believe the mill may last for many more years.

As for the church, I recommended only what was necessary to prevent its further deterioration. Anything more would be useless. The Indians set up a fund of 9 or 10 thousand dollars for God and their missioner and said they were ready to start work right away if they got word from your Reverence. Many families of the St. Louis Rapids (Caughnawaga) would be ready to come, to get away from the drinking and debauchery prevailing in their present surroundings. The Indians own land stretching from 9 to 12 miles, besides many adjacent islands, that are very large, very beautiful and of very fertile soil. The missioner is sole master of all, with all income meant for him and has specified no land whatsoever is to be granted to any Frenchman. . . . (Guay: 3-4)

Repairs were eventually authorized, but the community wasn’t to get a resident missionary until 1785 when Father Roderick McDonnell arrived. The growing community was soon in need of a much more solid and roomy place of worship, and so construction began on the basic structure of the stone church that is there today sometime around 1792.

The Church of Stone

Elders say that Mohawk men, women, and children were part of the effort to construct the massive stone edifice on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. Tons of limestone were quarried and shipped in, and massive logs were procured in the Thousand Islands area near the community of Sawekatsi. The church was completed in 1795. The rectory was constructed in 1800. According to tradition, Father McDonnell, who oversaw this massive effort, as well as the construction of a sister church in St. Andrew’s West, was interred, pharoah-like, beneath the church at St. Regis when he passed away in 1806.
This stone church hadn’t changed much by the 1850’s, when Hough visited St. Regis to gather information for his book on local history. He described not only the church but the activities associated with it:

. . . The present church is a massive stone building, of ancient and venerable appearance, the walls nearly four feet thick, the windows high, and a door in the middle of the sash, for ventilation, after a custom prevalent in Canada. Across the end of the church opposite the door is a railing, and beyond and elevated above the floor of the church, is an ample space for the altar, and the various fixtures of the catholic worship. The altar is unusually decorated with gilding and ornaments, and the interior of the church is adorned with paintings and prints of religious subjects. . .

A gallery extends across the end of the church over the door, for the accommodation of strangers and others, and in the body of the church near the wall, are a few seats for the singers. The greater part of the Indians, during worship, kneel or sit upon the floor, and the appearance presented to a stranger by the striking uniformity of dress and attitude, which he notices on first visiting the church during service, is very impressive.

Preaching is performed in the Mohawk dialect of the Iroquois language every sabbath, and all the ritual of the catholic church is observed with scrupulous care. (Hough 1853:124)

It has been suggested that the original structure of the church was much simpler than it is today. In 1863, Father Marcoux hired a construction company in Coteau du Lac to build a bell tower to house the church’s three bells. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by winds from a fierce storm a few weeks later. The two small bells were destroyed and the larger one was cracked in the collapse. The community pooled their annuity and interest money to have the work done to repair the bell tower and replace the bells, which was eventually done. As luck would have it, however, this was only an omen of what was to come.

Around 3 a.m. on April 1, 1866, the people of St. Regis awoke to the news that fire was raging through their church. The fire, suspected to have been caused by a faulty stove pipe, destroyed the interior, collapsed the roof, and weakened parts of the massive, four-foot thick walls. The two bells were also destroyed when part of the bell tower collapsed. The church was eventually restored, thanks to the persistence and contributions of the Mohawk community.

The fire, it turns out, may have been an omen for yet another calamity, this one occurring in February of 1867. The St. Regis River became jammed with ice and flooded Akwesasne. It destroyed many homes, injured several people, and forced the evacuation of the village of St. Regis. Eventually the homes were repaired, but the expense only served to delay the completion of the church until 1872.

Today one can discern the various stages of construction, destruction, and reconstruction simply by walking around the church. It is most evident around the upper parts of the bell tower, where it rises above the roof. In those days it had four stone finials at the top, much like the Catholic Church in Fort Covington today, and only later acquired the gleaming tin spire and matching finial coverings that characterize it today. The arched, Gothic windows were also a new addition, replacing the windows with a more rounded top from the previous era. Like the community it served, the church itself was changing with the times.

The old church continued to face threats from the ravages of nature in the 20th century. Another ice jam threatened to bring the bells tumbling down again on January 21, 1935. With prayers to St. Joseph, the church narrowly escaped the damage caused by the massive blocks of ice that demolished Mohawk homes along the river. Father Bourget, the missionary at the time, awoke at 3 a.m. to what he thought was an earthquake. He assessed the situation and ordered the bells of the church to be rung to warn the community. One family didn’t know of the danger until a block of ice burst through their door, forcing them to escape before another block of ice wedged itself beneath their house and lifted that side of it off the ground. Several large chunks ended up near the church and rectory, which might have been damaged had the river not eventually receded. A statue of St. Joseph was placed next to the rectory after the flood to thank him for his intercession during this catastrophe.

A Mohawk elder who was interviewed for this project recounted her childhood memories of an earthquake that shook the region in the 1940’s. It left a big crack in the road directly in front of the church so deep that when she and her friends dropped rocks into it, they never heard them hit bottom. To this day, road crews have to patch it up with asphalt. The crack leads directly beneath the church’s bell tower from the direction of the rectory. How the old church survived this quake, we don’t know. It was either due to divine intervention or the church’s superior Mohawk construction, which some might say are the same thing.

The St. Regis River has jammed up several times since then, and an ice storm occurred as this book was being prepared that encased the church in a thick sheath of ice. Mass had to be canceled due to the threat of falling ice from the steeple. Yet the biggest enemy of this church has been time, and the years of normal rainfall that have seeped into the mortar that binds it all together. The bells of St. Regis tell us, "there is work to be done."

The Early Pastors of St. Regis

Father Pierre-Robert-Jean-Baptiste Billiard was born in France in 1723. He entered the Jesuit order in 1743 and was ordained in 1753. He was royal geographer at Quebec from 1753 to 1754. He was an assistant at Kahnawake and became the missionary of St. Regis from 1754 to 1757. Billiard died in Kahnawake in 1757 at 35 years of age.
It was Billiard who accompanied the Kahnawake Mohawks under Karekohe to settle Akwesasne in the fall of 1754. During his time the earliest churches were constructed, the first being of logs and bark, the second a wooden chapel that served double duty as a church and residence for the priest.

Father Antoine Gordon was born in France in 1717, became a Jesuit in 1736 and was ordained in 1749. He taught at the College de Quebec from 1749 to 1751, became vicar at Kahnawake from 1752 to 1755, priest there from 1755 to 1757, and was the priest-founder of St. Regis Mission from 1762-1775. After several brief charges, Gordon retired to Montreal in 1777 and died on June 30, 1779.

Gordon, as priest of Kahnawake, is credited as the founder of the St. Regis Mission although it was Billiard who actually accompanied the Mohawks to the new village. When the British descended the St. Lawrence to conquer New France in 1760, they are said to have encountered Father Gordon and another group of Kahnawake Mohawks on their way to Akwesasne. During Gordon’s time he had to grapple with the conflicts created by the arrival of refugee Abenaki from the St. Francis Mission at Odanak as well as accusations that he had secured the title of Akwesasne’s land from the French king and then hid it from the Indians for his own personal gain. Gordon’s letters to British colonial figures, preserved in the Sir William Johnson Papers, represent some of the most important primary documentation on the early years of Akwesasne history. As well, the earliest existing registers of baptisms, marriages and funerals at the St. Regis Mission are in his hand.

Upon Gordon’s departure the mission at St. Regis was without a regular priest for five or six years, possibly because of the American Revolution. Visiting priests during this period include Father Denaut of Cedars in October of 1784, Father Lebrun, of Kahnawake, in January and September of 1785, and on occasion by Denaut’s replacement at Cedars, Father L’Archambault.

Reverend Roderick McDonnell, a Scottish priest at St. Andrews, Ontario, was the next to leave his mark at Akwesasne, starting in December of 1785 and ending with his death in 1806. During his time here the massive stone church was constructed as well as the rectory. McDonnell went back and forth between Akwesasne and St. Andrews, Ontario, where he oversaw the construction of a "sister church" to the one at St. Regis.

The next priest was Father Antoine Rinfret, who served from October 1806 to 1807 (some sources say 1809), followed by Father Jean Baptiste Roupe from November of 1807 to 1813. Roupe was born in 1789 and died in 1854. During his time at Akwesasne the War of 1812 broke out between Great Britain and the United States. A British detachment was stationed at St. Regis in the fall of 1812. This was attacked by an American force from French Mills (now Fort Covington, New York) a short time thereafter. Roupe is said to have been taken prisoner during this incident.

Father Joseph Marcoux was to succeed Roupe in 1813. During his time at Akwesasne the War of 1812 continued to be a cause for concern with the death of numerous young men and chiefs in battles across Upper and Lower Canada. A violent civil war broke out in Akwesasne over the divisions caused by this war and a large number of those who favored the British were forced to relocate to various islands in the St. Lawrence. This was also the era of crop failure due to the eruption of a volcano. Father Marcoux left in 1819, having witnessed some of the most difficult times of our history.

The next to arrive was Father Nicholas Dufresne in 1819. He was priest until 1825, when he removed to the Sulpician Seminary in Montreal and then to Kanesatake (also known as Oka and the Lake of Two Mountains) where was to serve as missionary for the next ten years.

Dufresne was followed at St. Regis by Father Joseph Valle from 1825 to 1832. During Valle’s time, the church was to receive a few gifts from the King of France and the Pope, secured by Torakaron, or Joseph Tarbell, an Akwesasne Mohawk. These included a rosary and paintings of St. Francis Regis and St. Francis Xavier. A sum of gold, a set of books, and a silver plate for the service of the church were also given to Torakaron, but these were stolen by his non-native "escort" upon their arrival in New York, leaving Torakaron stranded and without the means to come home.

In the spring of 1829 small pox killed great number of Akwesasne Mohawks, followed by Asiatic cholera and typhus fever in June of 1832 which claimed as many as 134. This was what greeted Father Francis Xavier Marcoux, who succeeded Valle. Marcoux’s tenure was to be the longest of any at St. Regis, over a half a century in duration, and it was one of much hardship. There was an outbreak of cholera and smallpox that killed 29 and 30, respectively, in 1849, followed by another typhus epidemic that occurred the following year. It was this Marcoux who helped deflate the wild claims of the Reverend Eleazer Williams that he was the "Lost Dauphin" of France, and proved to be quite a challenge to a Methodist mission at Akwesasne. Marcoux was a major source of historical information on St. Regis gathered by Franklin B. Hough for his A History of St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties, New York (1853).

The next priest was Father Moise Mainville, who served from 1883 to 1895. He gave extensive testimony about Akwesasne life to a commission appointed by the New York State Legislature in 1888.

Father J. P. Bourget was to follow Mainville in 1895. He is still remembered vividly by the elders of Akwesasne for his strictness, his passion for the Mohawk language, and dedication to the education of our youth. He spent a total of forty two years in the Land Where The Partridge Drums.

posted by Alex W Fraser
Courtenay, BC 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Gravestones of Glengarry 1976 - 2014 Summary

Gravestones of Glengarry  
1976 - 2014 Summary

These 14 volumes of Gravestones of Glengarry represent a total of 9,762 markers with a combined name index  of 41,628 entries and 4,023 pages total.

Volume 15  Master Name index will be around 41,000 entries in the name index. This will consist of tentatively 1,000 or so pages when printed out. Vol.15 is still be worked on and will be announced when completed

The following now have or will shortly have a complete set of Gravestones of Glengarry Vol.1 to 14 

National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh Scotland

The Glengarry Archives. Williamstown, Ontario

The SDG County Library Cornwall, Ontario 3 sets of which 1 was donated

Mid Continent Library, Independence MO

Library Canada & Archives, Legal Deposit  2 sets

Volume  14,  Lonely stones 2014 see list of the 24 cemeteries above, listing approximately 848 markers with 2220 entries in the name index with a total of 317 pages

Volume  11,    Kenyon Township 2013  consists of 3 parts. Part 1  Vol. 11 Maxville - St Elmo;  Part 11 Vol. 12 Dunvegan; Part 111 Vol. 13 St Catherine - St James  These 3 volumes list over 1605 gravestones plus index of additional files representing about  11,631 name entries in the combined Name index, plus an additional 893 name entries for the Clark Barrett work of ca 1980. These 3 volumes have a total of 1043 pages

Volume  10,  Martintown - Apple Hill  2013   is the 10th volume in this series  listing   6 cemeteries, 923 gravestones representing  3,119 entries in the combined Name index 320 pages total

Volume  9,  Salem Precious Blood  2013   is the 9th volume in this series  listing   2 cemeteries, 461 gravestones representing  1,384 entries in the combined Name index
165 pages total

Volume  8,  Dalhousie - Glen Nevis  2011   is the 8th volume in this series  listing   4 cemeteries, 495 gravestones representing  1,565 entries in the combined Name index  225 page total

Volume  7,  Lochiel - Glen Robertson  2011   is the 7th volume in this series  listing   4 cemeteries, 544 gravestones representing about  1,783 entries in the combined Name index. 200 pages total

Volume  6,  Breadalbane  2011   is the 6th volume in this series  listing   5 cemeteries, 346 gravestones representing about  2597 entries in the combined Name index which includes the Peter Stewart Diary & Marriages. 250 pages total

Volume  5,  Kirk Hill  2010   is the 5th volume in this series  listing the 3 cemeteries in Kirk Hill, Ontario, 1140 gravestones representing about  4790 entries in the combined Name index list. 354 pages total

Volume  4,  Alexandria   2008   is the 4th volume in this series  listing the 4 cemeteries in Alexandria, Ontario, 1230 gravestones representing about 4,900 entries  in the combined name index. 350 pages

Volume 3, Green valley - St. Raphaels  is the 3rd in the series volume and 10 years late [1988 ]  in getting published, due to my trying to earn a living so I could pay my bills and carry on this project in the hope of helping you solve your  family history. Lists 3 cemeteries 482 markers with a combined Name index of 1,510 entries. 155 pages; Update to Family Linkages 210 pages

Volume 2, South Lancaster to Bainsville, was published in 1978.  copies of this volume are still available and like volume one  sales have come from all directions and likewise on a slow basis. Volume 2 lists about 854 markers representing about 3,325 names, from  5 cemeteries.  311 pages
In the work done in 1978 for St John the Evangelist cemetery "Church in the Wild wood" there were only 19 gravestones listed. When I did the BMD for this church in 2009, I updated the cemetery listing as well, that listing has 78 markers, Thus the names on these additional 59 gravestones are not included as part of this summary, as yet.

Volume 1, Williamstown, was published in september 1976. The response has been favourable, yet slow. this volume is now out of print. Orders for this volume have come from all corners of North America and beyond. It did take 10 years for the 500 copies printed to get sold. Volume 1 lists about 834 markers representing about 2,804 names, from 4 cemeteries.  278 pages

The above 14 volumes represent a total of 9,762 markers with a combined name index  of 41,628 entries and 4,023 pages total.

Thanks for the support

take care and God Bless
Alex W Fraser  - Rhoda Ross
Courtenay, BC