11 June 2011

Frasers Part 14 (Inverness)

Another gasp at finding the origins of my Inverness-shire John Fraser. Let’s take a different tack. Who were the associates and neighbours of John Fraser on the Rivière Rouge at St Andrews East in Quebec?
Attention to the “FAN Club”can be effective for uncovering clues to ancestral roadblocks.

The seignory of Argenteuil was sold by Louis Panet on 24 May 1793 to Patrick Murray, Major in the 60th regiment, “former commandant of Fort Detroit.”[1] Furthermore, says the website, the seignory was again sold in 1803 to “Mister James Murray” and in 1808 to Sir John Johnson (some of the documents are posted online). Murray encouraged Scottish settlement in the area without organizing any migrations. A few prior inhabitants were there by 1800, a mixture of Canadiens, Loyalists, and New Englanders. The compiler of the principal local history did not always mention origins, generally or specifically.[2] Occasionally cemetery inscriptions provide such information.[3]

John Fraser’s two eldest sons married daughters of a nearby farmer, John McMartin. Local lore says John McMartin was from Glenlyon, Perthshire, settling at River Rouge by 1802.[4] Among many community activities, McMartin presided over the formation of the County of York [Quebec] Agricultural Society in 1826; his “fine old homestead” moved out of family hands in the 1890s. Another McMartin family was from Stirling, Perthshire.in 1830.[5] The Dewars came from Glasgow in 1804.[6] Other Scottish families were from Ayrshire (McAdam 1849), Argyllshire (McCallum 1820), Perthshire (McEwen 1818, Young 1825), and so on.
Comte d’Argenteuil (http://comte-argenteuil.com/ACe.htm).

In other words, Rivière Rouge was not a cluster of families that arrived at the same time from the same overseas community. Settling slightly farther afield was Angus McPhie from Fort William, Inverness-shire, upriver at Chatham in 1802.[7] John Cameron also came from Fort William about 1802, putting his roots down in Côte du Midi. He was an early witness for Fraser family baptisms. That may be as close as I come to an Inverness-shire link. Fort William was in Inverness-shire’s southernmost parish(es) of Kilmallie & Kilmonivaig.

For a time the churches and shops and services of St. Andrews village became a centre for outlying clusters—Riviere Rouge, Beech Ridge, North River, Côte du Midi, Carillon, Geneva, and so on upriver as they developed. Irregular visits from Presbyterian clergy commenced about 1815; prior to that, Anglican clergy were sometimes available. Most of the Scots seemed to be interchangeable witnesses at each other’s marriages and child baptisms. Many descendants of the pioneer families had moved on in every direction by the time Thomas published his book in 1896, when the demographic of the place had altered.
The land records I have been able to obtain with regard to John’s tenure are minimalist seignorial entries with no illumination of the parties involved. John bought his property claims in 1806 from Alexis Campeau and someone called Newton, from Stephen Tuttle in 1818, and more in 1824 from Campeau. Some were likely absentee owners. Tuttle was likely connected to a documented Loyalist family, and for some time lived on the next lot to John.

John Fraser was still living at the age of 84 in the 1851/2 census.[8] Among his neighbours on the agricultural schedule were various McMartins and other familiar pioneer names—Gray, Dochstader, Cameron, Wales, Stackhouse, and many more, without creating an incredibly long blog post. Old John Cameron was still alive too, at age 88 ... where the census revealed his wife’s name as Catherine McIntyre.[9] Well, what a coincidence (gleeful smile), since my John’s wife was Margery McIntyre! I don’t know enough about these McIntyres yet, but there was a total of only three in that enumeration. John Cameron’s first “appearance” was at the baptism of John Fraser’s daughter Anne in 1812 by Anglican minister Rev. Richard Bradford.

Another neighbour in the 1851 census raised a flag that will need addressing in a future “Fraser (Perthshire)” blog post. Meanwhile, this exercise did yield some tidbits to explore. Endless, isn’t it?
[1] Alain Chebroux, Comte d’Argenteuil (http://comte-argenteuil.com/ACe.htm).
[2] Cyrus Thomas, History of the Counties of Argenteuil, Quebec and Prescott, Ontario (1896; reprint Belleville, ON: Mika Publishing, 1981).
[3] Suzanne LeRossignol and Pennie Redmile, compilers, St. Andrews East Protestant Cemetery (Pointe Claire, QC: Quebec Family History Society, 1990-1991).
[4] Thomas, History of the Counties of Argenteuil ..., 86-88.
[5] Ibid., 148.
[6] Ibid., 82-86; 164.
[7] Ibid., 95.
[8] 1851 Census Canada East, district 33, Deux Montagnes, subdistrict 526, ED 11, parish of St. André, sheet 46, stamped p. 91, John Fraser household; LAC microfilm C-1147. Also the Agricultural return for same, sheet 2, stamped p. 99; LAC microfilm C-1147.

[9] Ibid., sheet 21, stamped p. 41, John Cameron household. Also Agricultural return, ibid.

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