CCHA Report, 7 (1939-40), 55-70
Men are forever drifting down the slow stream, and most of their deeds, like themselves, pass into oblivion; it is well while the opportunity is at hand to save as much of the record as possible for posterity. In preparing the present paper any English-speaking man or woman who has in any conspicuous way aided the growth of the Church in the Eastern Townships has been deemed a suitable person for these pages. To the heroism and uncomplaining industry of these pioneers who hewed out homes in the wilderness, and little by little overcame the obstacles of nature, are we indebted now for our thriving Catholicity and to omit a record of their labours and select only for permanent record the deeds of our priests, who came upon the scene when most of the rugged work was done, would be singularly unjust.
What is known as the Eastern Townships is, unlike almost all other Quebec regions, a political division rather than a natural one, for it includes all the level land of the St. Lawrence plain, as well as the hilly country of the Appalachians. The name applied to this part of Quebec was to distinguish it from the Western Townships on the North Shore of the St. Lawrence. Twelve counties go to make up this region, whose names tell something of the story of their different origin from the other parts of the Province, Arthabaska, Brome, Compton, Drummond, Megantic, Missisquoi, Richmond, Shefford, Sherbrooke, Stanstead, Wolfe and - an exception, which was carved from Compton within the present century, - Frontenac.
The first reference history makes to the subject of Europeans who had visited the region is in 1690. In this year Governor Frontenac of New France sent three expeditions to New England and one of these commanded by Hertel of Trois Rivières passed through here to go from the Valley of the St. Francis to the Connecticut River. In 1750 Major Rogers and his soldiers fought against the Indians at St. Francis and at the Grand Forks he went up the Magog River and followed the west side of the Lake to escape the vengeance of his enemies. This remarkable region was utterly neglected during more than half of the history of Quebec - the period when the French held Canada, when only the stray traveller or the wandering Missioner had penetrated its forest depths. The settlement of the Eastern Townships in the beginning was by United Empire Loyalists, although for a time the British deemed it better to keep the district as a sort of "No Man's Land" between Canada and the revolting colonies. However, in 1791 the country south of the St. Lawrence was surveyed in townships and granted to settlers. The actual settlement of the Eastern Townships progressed in several steps, or was characterized by several phases. The first may be dated as beginning about 1792. This phase continued over two decades. The pioneers of this period came principally from New England. The second period was that following the end of the Napoleonic Wars: 1814 may be taken as an approximate date. This was also the period when the former soldiers secured many of the concessions. The third phase began in 1830, when emigration organizations induced the migration to this area. With 1850 begins the real development and my paper brings this development to the end of the nineteenth century.
John Mulvena can lay claim to having been the first Irish Catholic to come to the Eastern Townships. John was the first to cross to the new country, Canada, and build his home in these parts. He was born in 1785 and was almost fourteen when the 1798 Rebellion was in progress. At that time the form of conscription used, and the age of a soldier, was judged by the size of the man. John was big for his age and considered big enough to carry a pike so he was taken in on the side of the party first discovering the recruit. This was not to his liking, and he made up his mind that be would leave Ireland. Emigration at this time was mostly to the United States, so John and two neighbouring boys walked into Belfast in the Spring of 1807, a distance of about 45 miles. They had intended to sail for New York, but to their regret they learned that a blockade had been commanded by the British and this order in council forbade ships sailing to the United States, who were then helping England's enemy, Napoleon. Consequently our young travellers took the first boat available, and landed in Quebec. Young Mulvena secured a job working for his board during the first winter at the home of Jacob Mountain, the first Anglican Bishop of Quebec. He formed a friendship with Mr. Mountain that continued for the rest of their lives, and when the Bishop was on his visits in later years to his Parish in Richmond, he used to stop with the Mulvena family.
The Spring of 1808 came along and he was promised a job by a person who had brought in cattle for sale in the Port of Quebec. This man had come from Hiatt's Mills in the Eastern Townships and was about to return home. They both took a boat as far as Port St. Francis, and then along the River following a path that had been cut to make a road. The journey from Port St. Francis to their destination took two days and three nights. They had food and blankets with them, but the food ran out. When they reached Front Town of Shipton (Richmond), they asked for something to eat at a log house where dwelt a family whose name was Cushing. This house was close beside the brook that entered the St. Francis River near Maine and Craig Streets in Richmond. Mrs. Cushing stated that her husband had left that morning, with some corn in a canoe, down the river to Port St. Francis, to have the corn ground into meal. She said she would get them something to eat, and she did. I think Mrs. Cushing would qualify for the original short order cook of the Eastern Townships, for she started by pounding some corn with a plumping mill, making a corn cake which was baked in the coals of the fireplace, along-side of a fresh fish. The first nights were spent in the open. They reached and crossed the Magog River in a heavy rain, and spent a night in a vacant barn or building, not far from the River. John Mulvena first worked for a person named Ball, for four years. The winters were spent looking after some cattle on the west side of the river. John soon ran out of clothing and had to spend much of his time tying to mend his only remaining socks. He finally had to wrap his feet in strips of rags, and, according to his own statement, this was quite comfortable. His day's work started at sunrise and ended at sunset; he judged noontime when the shadows of a certain tree fell on the one door of the log house. This log building was situated where the Lansdowne Market is today in Sherbrooke. Only a few buildings were around the place. He later worked in a mill at the mouth of the Magog River. This was the first saw-mill and later became a grist-mill owned by the Honourable W. B. Felton. This young Irishman can lay claim to having been the first Irish Catholic to come to where the City of Sherbrooke now stands. He lived here between 1808 and 1812. In 1812 he helped to drive cattle that had been rustled in from the States. He travelled down the St. Francis through the Townships of Shipton by the Craig Road through the Quebec Ferry and delivered his cattle into an enclosure in Upper Town, Quebec. It seemed that there was quite a lot of cattle passing through the Port of Quebec for the markets of England. The boats were so slow and small, that much of the space on these boats was taken up with feed for the cattle. Having booked on one of these cattle boats in 1812 he finally reached his old home, Ireland, and remained home for two years. In 1814 he returned to Canada, and soon afterwards bought the old Captain Wales Farm at Richmond, on the bank of the St. Francis River. In order to register the deed of the Farm he had to walk from Sherbrooke to Richmond and on to Three Rivers. The first year on the farm, in 1816, was a very bad one, so severe, indeed, that there was ice along the banks of the River until the month of August. John's brother, Hugh, reached Canada during the early summer to help with the farm work. He had a gun with him, an old Flint Lock Musket, and this aided both these young men to hunt. Their first potato patch refused to grow and the two young boys dug up the potatoes and ate them along with some fresh fish. John again returned to Ireland, married there, and with his wife, Mary McQuillan, his father, his brother Henry, and his sisters, returned to Canada.
Hugh Mulvena married Brigit Ryan, and was given a farm about three miles from Richmond on the Craig Road. This farm is still owned by a descendant of Hugh. Henry Mulvena married Mary Clarke of Donegal, Ireland; they settled on the old Mulvena Farm in East Sherbrooke. Then when Father J. Raimbault came as the first missionary into the Eastern Townships, from Drummondville in 1818, he lodged and said the First Mass, in what was later to become Richmond, at the Mulvena Home. This house, or part of it, is still standing near Richmond.
The second English-speaking Catholic to come to the Townships was the founder of the Griffith family of this district. This was Joseph Griffith, born in the County of Kilkenny, Ireland, who in 1812 left Ireland to come to Canada and brought his wife, Joanna O'Brien, also of Kilkenny. They arrived at St. John's, Newfoundland, and later came to Drummondville; then on to Sherbrooke in 1826. They had a family of seven sons and three daughters. Mary Mulvena, who had married a Mr. John McKenty, was a sister of John Mulvena and her four daughters married four Griffith brothers, thus uniting these two families. The eldest Griffith child, Sarah, married John Dundin of Lennoxville, a farmer. They settled in Huntingville and had a family of ten children, whose descendants are still in that vicinity. The eldest Griffith boy, Joseph, married Bridget Frances Bryan of St. John's, Newfoundland. They settled in Eaton, and it was at their home that the First Mass in that Township was celebrated. The bureau, which served as an altar for the Holy Sacrifice, is now in the home of the late W. H. Griffith. Joseph had two children, a boy, the late John J. Griffith, well known in Sherbrooke, and a girl, still living, who resides in Montreal. John married Ann McKenty of Richmond. He was a successful merchant and the first Catholic Mayor of Sherbrooke, elected in 1875. He was again elected Mayor in 1881. The block bearing his name and still standing, built on Dufferin Avenue, was the first large business block of its kind erected in this district, and people from all over the Townships drove into Sherbrooke to see it. Mary Anne married Terrence McGovern of Waterville. He was a railroad contractor. They had four children, two sons and two daughters. One of his grandsons is the Reverend Erle Bartlett, former Rector of Loyola College, Montreal. William married Mary Brooks, daughter of George Washington Brooks. After her death he married Margaret Gallagher, daughter of Daniel Gallagher of Stanstead. He was an advocate and practised in Sherbrooke for many years, later becoming Secretary-Treasurer of the City. They had six children, three boys and three girls: William Henry, druggist; Frederick, who succeeded his Father as Secretary-Treasurer of the City; and Frank, who moved to New York. Margaret, the eldest daughter, married John Leonard, K.C., lawyer, and later Prothonotary of the Superior Court of the District of St. Francis. The other daughters were Emma, who married a H. R. Buzzell of Abbotsford, and Bella, who died in childhood.
Edward Griffith lived in Richmond and had one son by his first wife, who died in early manhood. He had four children by a later marriage. Mrs. McGovern, wife of a prominent Montreal Doctor, (J. J. McGovern,) is a descendant of the Sherbrooke Griffiths.
The third Irish Catholic to come into the Townships was Michael McCabe of Armagh, Ireland. He moved to Canada in 1816, with his three older boys and settled at Wickham, P. Q. The first home that they built is still in the family. The famous Sister McCabe of the Grey Nuns, one of the Founders of the Sacred Heart Hospital in Sherbrooke, was a descendant of this McCabe family. It might be interesting to tell an incident in the life of Patrick McCabe, one of the descendants of the original Michael, who was an officer in charge of a company of soldiers during the Revolution in 1837. While he was away from home a stranger knocked at his wife's door and asked for something to eat. While partaking of the food he noticed the woman crying. He said, "My good lady, you seem to be in trouble". She answered, "Yes sir, I am in trouble, my husband has gone to the War". He then replied, "Dear Woman, don't cry any more, the War is over." A day or so later it was discovered that the stranger was Papineau on his way to the States.
Among these McCabes was John, who married Nancy Maher and had seventeen children. The McCabes of Windsor are the offspring of this union. Nancy Maher McCabe is living at the age of 87, no doubt the oldest living pupil of Mount Notre Dame Convent, Sherbrooke.
Some of these Mulvenas, Griffiths, and McCabes may have been at the home of Ann Maria Valls of Minorca, wife of the Honourable William Bowman Felton (who was not a Catholic), when the First Mass in the Sherbrooke District was celebrated in 1816. The Feltons had come to Belvedere about 1814.
John Dearden came to Canada with his wife in 1817. They were not originally Catholics but their two sons, James and George, married Catholic wives, joined the Catholic Church and brought up Catholic families. They settled near Windsor Mills on the land which today remains in possession of the family. The land upon which St. Philips Catholic Church stands was given by the Dearden family.
Edward Cotter, another early settler, travelled with his family from Quebec to Sherbrooke by ox-team. He arrived in Sherbrooke in 1818 and built a house and store at the foot of the hill, near the present Magog River Bridge, not far from the present Post Office. Mary Ryan was his wife, and of this union were seven children. Cotter was the first tailor in Sherbrooke. Whenever Father McMahon visited his Mission be stayed at the Cotter home.
John Brazel, who in 1823 settled at Eaton; Bernard Donohue and his wife, Lucy McCabe, who in 1822 settled in Stanstead; along with Daniel Gallagher and James McCroken, may be considered pioneers of Eaton.
Peter Brand and his wife deserve mention in the Catholic history of Eastern Canada. In 1824 this couple donated six acres of land to Father Holmes and helped to build a log chapel. The land was part of their homestead, close to the old Craig Road on Brand's Hill, about four miles from Richmond. The Chapel was blessed by Father Powers in 1828. The first child baptized in this chapel by Father McMahon was a Mulvena, the son of Hugh Mulvena and Brigit Ryan. In Shipton we find that the Conway family arrived in 1825. In looking over the register at the Cathedral in Sherbrooke, Mr. Frank Conway, a descendant of this early pioneer family, was pleased to find that one of the first marriages performed in St. Columban Church by Father McMahon was that of Bernard Conway to Nancy McCullough.
John and Patrick Barry came to Sherbrooke district in 1828 and bought one hundred acres of land, known as lot 16 of the 9th Range of Ascot. John bought Patrick's share of the property in 1835. John's wife, Mary McAvoy, on the death of John married Martin Collins, who had come from County Clare, Ireland, 1850. Thus the full 100 acres passed into the Collins name in 1850 and continued in the family until 1912 when it was sold to a real estate agent, who divided it into building lots and it is now known as Collinsville. There were five children born of the marriage of John Barry and Mary McAvoy. The eldest son, William, born in 1836, married Annie Mulvena, sister of John and Henry Mulvena of this city. Six children were born of the Mary McAvoy Barry and Martin Collins union: of these one still lives in the person of Anne Collins, now Mrs. Horace Weston of Marbleton, P. Q. Miss Irene Collins of Sherbrooke, is the only descendant at present bearing the Collins name in Sherbrooke. She is the daughter of Francis Collins, who married Bridget Tuite, of Leeds, P. Q., also a child of an early Pioneer.
All these early settlers were most charitable and their helpfulness to each other may be illustrated by the following instance:
John Boyle and his wife, Sara McGookin, with an infant child arrived in Canada in 1832, after a stormy sea voyage of some six weeks when the passengers were forced to throw all their personal belongings overboard in order to save the vessel. Landing in Quebec they found their way to Richmond, where they were received by the Mulvenas; after resting there for a while they were brought to Sherbrooke by these kind friends and received here by Mr. Thomas Griffith, who in turn conveyed them to Stanstead, where they were awaited by Mr. James McGookin, Mrs. Boyle's brother, who had preceded them to this country in 1823.
The pioneers mentioned so far were the actual first settlers of Catholic stock during the first two phases of this brief history, from 1792 to 1830.
The most rapid phase of the early growth in population, especially among Catholics, was from 1830 on.
Bernard Reilly, who was married in Ireland to Mary Kavanagh, came to Canada about 1832. All their children were born in Sherrington, where there was a considerable Irish settlement. Father W. S. Reilly of St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, Md., the second priest ordained from St. Patrick's Congregation, Sherbrooke, was a descendant of this family, as were also the Brodericks and the Saint-Laurents of Compton. When Father Reilly was studying at the Grand Seminary at Montreal he paid a visit to Sherrington about 1896 and found an almost deserted village. He met an old-timer, Jerry O'Connell, and enquired about a certain descendant of the O'Connell family - "What became of your Brother Willie?", asked Father Reilly... "Willie, wasn't he a fine boy! .. Poor Willie is dead... buried down there in the graveyard and no one thinks any more of Willie than if he had been the last old Frenchman of the place". This little story brings out a sad note in the history of the early Irish settlers. Many of them did not learn the French language and thus did not mingle with French Canadians, and gradually left Canada for the United States.
John Campbell, who was an Anglican, became a Catholic at the time of his marriage to Marie Vitaline Berthelet, a girl of seventeen who spoke no English. Campbell was a Scotchman. The late Firmin Campbell is a descendant of this John Campbell.
It is pleasing to note that one of the descendants of the Scotch Campbell married one of the descendants of the first pioneer settler in the deserted village of Sherrington. This pioneer was John Murray, who came from County Armagh, Ireland, and is the forefather of the Murray stock, now living in Sherbrooke. John Murray went into the grocery business and one of the oldest stores in East Sherbrooke, the Murray Grocery Store, has been in the family for years. Mr. Bernard Murray, who married Kathleen Campbell, is now the owner of this store.
It is consoling in reading over the records of the Townships of Eaton to witness fidelity in such families as Corrigan, McMurray, Donohue, Timmons, Gaughn, Heaton, Cassady, McDonald, Noonan, McKenna and Keenan. I could not find just what time John Keenan came to this part of the country, but his tombstone marks him as dying in Bury in 1833. All these families came to Canada during the third phase of this history.
Michael Brady of Monaghan Country, Ireland, came to Canada in 1834 with his family and settled on a farm in Durham Township. Michael operated a freight business between Quebec and Richmond. He was among the first Church Wardens and the corner-stone for the Church was taken from his property. Michael's daughters both married men named Murphy and Miss Agatha Murphy of Sherbrooke is a descendant of one of these families. Miss Claribel Mooney is a decendant of Michael Brady, as are also Mrs. H. R. Unsworth; Dignan Brady of Sherbrooke; Miss Aileen Brady, Windsor Mills; Mrs. T. J. Bonner, Montreal; and Rolland Brady, Drummondville, who are all children of Bernard Brady and Maria K. Conway of Windsor Mills.
Maurice Galvin, with his three brothers, John, Patrick and James, came to Canada at the beginning of the third phase of emigration to the Eastern Townships. These brothers settled in 1835 at Norton Mills, near the American Line. They all worked at the building of the Grand Trunk Railway. The three brothers became foremen on construction work and later became section bosses. Maurice Galvin later settled in Lennoxville and was a tailor in this district, competing with the original tailor, Cotter, for thirty years. He married Anne McFarland, whose family came to Hatley from Vermont. Eight children were born of this union. This Mr. Galvin while working at his trade in Lennoxville made caps for Sir A. Galt. He always claimed that this Father of Confederation had an over-sized head.
Thomas Doyle and his wife Mary Doyle came to the Townships from Wexford, Ireland, and settled on a farm on the Belvedere Road. Valuable minerals were supposed to be found on this property, so they sold their farm and with the money invested in real estate in Sherbrooke on Marquette St., opposite the Fire Station. This farm originally owned by the Doyles has been lately acquired by the Government for a Camp for soldiers. Thomas Doyle died in 1864 and good Chief Robert Davidson looked after the finances of Mrs. Doyle until she died. Bishop Racine of Sherbrooke made his first visit to the Doyle home when lie came to Sherbrooke.
The population of Sherbrooke in 1834 did not exceed 200 souls. It was, however, increased about this time by many immigrants, brought out by the British American Land Company.
While Sherbrooke started to grow due to this organized effort, other centers also showed growth, and we find among those who came about 1830 to Richmond such pioneers as Daniel and Michael Curran, Thomas and George McDerby, Patrick, Michael and James Commuskey.
It is interesting to try and connect the different early pioneer families. William Henry Keenan, who was born in Richmond in 1861, is a son of John and Rosie Keenan, who came to Compton County in 1831. This John Keenan may be the pioneer who is buried in Bury with his tombstone dating 1833.
William Doherty came to Canada in 1833 from Roscommon County, Ireland. He felt a definite inclination toward farming so it was not long till he ventured forth to take possession of 300 acres from the British American Land Company in the vicinity of Mount Orford. With a friend he made his way to his land. It was late in winter. Wrapped in the proverbial travellers blankets they invaded the most promising snow-bank and made it the shelter for their first night, on the new property. William Doherty's holding soon increased to 1000 acres. His land extended from Sherbrooke City limits to the Rock Forest road. He had one of the biggest homes in the district, the "Big House", as it was known. He was most charitable, being the first to subscribe to the first Sherbrooke Parish. He was one of the biggest benefactors when the first hospital was opened in 1864. In fact, all through the district the bounty of the "Big House" was proverbial.
The first council meetings of Orford were held in the Doherty home. A room on the second story was the first School and the eldest daughter the teacher. William Doherty had nine children. He died in 1884 - his wife predeceased him in 1871. Peter Henry, George and William John, moved to the United States. James J., who remained on the farm, married Margaret Anderson, of Montreal. They had five children. A Danish emigrant harvester, a phrenologist, foretold their great musical talent. They moved to Sherbrooke in 1884. Thomas Keville, youngest son of William, survives and is over 80. He married Adelina Richard, of Wotton, studied law, became private secretary to the Honourable Sydney Fisher, Minister of Agriculture, Laurier Régime, and later became expert in Canadian wheat production and commerce, representing Canada several times at the International Congress in Rome, Italy. He resides in Ottawa, Ont. Other descendants in the Eastern Townships are Benedict J., Josephine (Mrs. L. E. Codère), and Margaret (Mrs. F. J. Doherty), of Sherbrooke.
In the year 1834 two young brothers J. D. and J. S. Maguire left their native land - Sligo, Ireland, - to seek their fortunes in Canada. One of these boys was the father of John Samuel Maguire who built up a large cab business in Sherbrooke. When John was five years old his mother, Mary Bradley, died. So the father brought the child to Quebec to live with his brother. On leaving school John first went to Montreal and later came to Lennoxville to work for Frank Buck as office clerk in his hotel. John married a Miss Mary Beacon. Being a great lover of innocent pleasure, he bought a steam boat which he named "Enterprise". He organized parties aboard and soon went into the business of aiding local transportation. He was an original type of man and as there were no telephones John placed black-boards in different parts of Sherbrooke where people could write their orders for Cabs. John would go the rounds and call where cabs were wanted. Thus he started the extensive business in which he was engaged until his death. He drove the Bishop on his pastoral visits throughout the Eastern Townships for years. John was the one to be chosen to collect names for the list that was to instigate the proposal of the Sherbrooke Parish. He was one of the first wardens of St. Patrick's Church, Sherbrooke. He organized the first St. Patrick's Day Parade in Sherbrooke.
Lieut. Maurice Shea (Order of Isabella) fought in Wellington's campaign in Flanders and in the battle of Waterloo, and later at St. Sebastian. He came to Canada in 1838 and settled in Sherbrooke. He lived to be 98 years old. Three of his children - Walter J. Shea, of the McCormick Mfg. Co.; Mrs. John Dwyer; and Mrs. M. Sweeney live in Montreal; their sister, Mrs. Shufrue, lives in Boston. Besides these there are eighty-two living descendants: twenty-one grandchildren, fifty-six great. grandchildren, and five great-great-grandchildren, all living in the Province of Quebec. Mrs. Alice G. Stanford of Montreal is a descendant and two of her sons are Jesuits in Canada to-day.
In the year 1840 two of the first settlers to move into Brome County at East Farnham, on the Yamaska River, were William Murphy and his brother James. Mr. William Murphy cleared the woodland and erected his home on the road between Farnham and Cowansville Center. He married Margaret O'Connor, who had come from the County of Wexford, Ireland, with her brother Michael. Mr. and Mrs. William Murphy were valiant pioneers; their true Irish faith enabled them to overcome the many obstacles and to endure the fatigues of farm life. Mr. John Murphy, who is the father of Reverend Mother St. George, Ursuline Convent, Stan. stead, and of our esteemed citizen, Mr. George Murphy, inherited the Paternal homestead, and enlarged it by the purchase of two adjoining farms. He was a frank, loyal, and noble-minded man and was exceedingly kind to the poor. When the French Canadians commenced to settle in his vicinity, he did all he could to assist them and make them feel at home in the neighbourhood. Mr. Murphy first married Jennie Butler, youngest daughter of Patrick Butler and Mary McNeil, respected pioneers of Sweetsburg. Mrs. Murphy died in 1887 and Mr. Murphy remarried Miss Elizabeth Steele, sister of the late Daniel Steele. - The father of the two Murphy's, William and James, likely came to Brome earlier, for his grave monument marks him as dying in 1837.
Patrick Hackett, who left the town of Fintona, County of Tyrone, Ireland, in 1834, spent a few years at Prescott, coming to Granby about 1840 and opening a general store on the present site of the Granby "Leader. Mail Office". He married Mary Griffin of that town. Incidentally, he gave a tract of land for the present Catholic Cemetery in Granby. The late Judge M. F. Hackett, who succeeded Mr. Justice Lynch, was one of his sons, and John T. Hackett, former Member of Stanstead County, and Winfield Hackett of Montreal, are the sons of this eminent Judge.
Marcus Doherty, one of the Judges of the Superior Court, was born in Dungevin, County Derry, Ireland, in 1820. He was sent by his Mother to a paternal uncle, Reverend James Doherty of Vermont, in 1832. Young Marcus attended St. Hyacinthe's College, and, after a few years at the University of Vermont, he started to teach in the Academy at Frost Village near Waterloo, County of Shefford. He can be said to have come to the Eastern Townships about 1842. Judge Doherty married the sister of James O'Halloran, who had come to Cowansville in 1843. The Honourable Charles Doherty, Minister of Justice in the Borden Government, was their son, and his sister married Henry Mulvena, our late distinguished Magistrate. Father Marcus Doherty, S.J., of Toronto, Ont., is the son of the Honourable Charles Doherty.
Thomas Hackett, a first cousin to Patrick Hackett, settled in Milton in 1850. He built his house and store there, which building has been continuously occupied by members of his family ever since that time. He became Mayor of the Township. Of his children three entered the religious life. The eldest entered the Community of the Presentation of Mary at St. Hyacinthe in 1869 and was Superior at Coaticook Convent. The second daughter also entered the religious life, and John Peter, who was ordained to the Priesthood in 1891, was Curate at Waterloo for several years and later became Parish priest of the Immaculate Church in Winchenden, Mass, for a period of over thirty-five years. One of Thomas' sons, Francis James, studied medicine and was graduated in 1892. He taught anatomy in the Medical Faculty of the University of Bishop's College, prior to its amalgamation with McGill. This eminent doctor is still practising in Montreal. Michael William, who was also a son of this pioneer, followed a most successful business career. He is VicePresident of Frank W. Horner & Co. A sister, Catherine, is still living in the old homestead.
Mr. and Mrs. John Power, with their children Ellen, Ann Mary, Patrick, Richard and John, came to Canada from Kilfenora, County of Clare, Ireland, in 1840, prior to the Potato Famine of 1845, and landed in Stanstead county in the Fall of 1840, having spent two and one-half months in land and sea voyage. Mr. Power had been a teacher in Ireland. and, having anticipated a terrible famine, removed himself and family from Ireland, never to return again. Upon his arrival in the Township of Stanstead, the family settled on a farm, without money or implements. The voyage consisted of six weeks on sea, three weeks at Grosse Isle on account of sickness of the Yellow Fever, during which time the whole family was cared for by the Indians, taking almost a week to arrive at Stanstead from Quebec. Mr. Raymond Frégeau, M.P.P., and Mr. Albert Frégeau of Rock Island, P. Q., are descendants of this pioneer Power.
Around 1840 a number of families came from Ireland and settled on the eastern side of Lake Memphremagog. Among them were, John Donohue, Hugh Smith, Thomas Cassidy, Patrick McNamara, Thos. Smith, James Gallagher, Patrick Donigan and his four sons, Owen, Patrick Jr, David and Joseph. These families took an active part in the developments of the outlet, which is now Magog, and it was at their insistence and due to their efforts, that a Catholic Mission, later to become the Parish of St. Patrick's, was established at Magog.
The first settler of Wotton was an Irish Catholic, Patrick O'Bready, who married Odile Pelletier. He occupied every local public office of importance. Father O'Bready of St. Charles Seminary of Sherbrooke is a descendant of this pioneer.
At this time, also, there came to Coaticook four families from Ireland, all of them tailors: Joshua Reid, Andrew Moss, James J. O'Neill and Daniel Mullins. James O'Neill was a character; he used to sign his name J. J. O'Neill, T.B.G, and when asked what "T.B.G." stood for, would reply, "Tailor by the Grace of God." Daniel Mullins was the first English. speaking Catholic to be elected to the Coaticook Council, while his brother Michael Mullins was the first in this vicinity to get a hundred acres of land from the Government for having at least twelve children. - Mr. Mullins, M.P. for Wolfe County. is one of their descendants.
Mrs. John Bradley came to Canada in 1845 from Roscommon County, Ireland. She landed at Quebec and settled at Inverness. Mrs. John Bradley's grandmother was a niece of Blessed Oliver Plunkett, who was accused of treason and martyred July 11, 1681. A relic of this martyr has been in the family these long years and is now in the possession of Miss Elizabeth Bradley of Sherbrooke.
Another very old pioneer of whom there is no record as to his actual arrival in the Townships, but whose tombstone at Kingsey Falls bears the date of February 3, 1845, is Mr. Bernard Quinn, whose descendants still live at Windsor Mills. One of his descendants married Mr. M. R. O'Donnell, who was a child of another pioneer, and their children are Hugh and Leonard, and Mrs. Earnest Spafford.
Stanley Unsworth and his wife, Mary Hatton, came from Liverpool in 1850. Two descendants, James and John, had the honour of a Command Concert for Queen Victoria, both being gifted musicians. This musical tradition of the family has been carried on, for Marguerite Belanger, a descendant, was the first music teacher at Mount Notre Dame Convent. Robert Unsworth was one of the founders of the Harmony Band, and Hatton, son of Robert, has always taken a keen interest in the choir of St. Patrick's Church, Sherbrooke.
The final phase dates from 1850 to the beginning of the present century. It is not within the scope of this paper to include all the. families; - this would be too colossal a work. These emigrants were forced to leave Ireland at this time due to the famine of 1846.48 and the story of their hardships, through suffering of ship-fever, has been told often in the records of the Irish Emigrants to North America. This period was really that of the railway development of the Townships, and many Irish came as ordinary labour men, "hewers of wood and drawers of water."
Michael O'Malley and his wife Bridget Dempsey arrived in Melbourne before 1850. He finally purchased land in Cleveland Township. They were the parents of James O'Malley, who was later to become Member for Tasmania, and Speaker in the Commonwealth Parliament of Australia.
Donald and John Bonner, brothers, came to settle in Richmond about 1850.
Michael and Daniel Sullivan, brothers, settled in the Township of Cleveland after the railroad was built to Richmond in 1851.
The McQuillan family arrived about 1860; they also purchased land in Cleveland.
Another family I must not forget was the Linahen family. David Linahen came to Richmond before 1850. This David was the great grandfather of our Reverend Father Linahen.
Amongst others were the Skerry family who settled in the Township of Kingsey about 1845, and we might also mention at this time Andrew Donnelly, a railroad contractor, who helped to build the old St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad through the Townships.
John O'Gorman, an earlier settler to Canada, came from Burn's, County of Carlow, Ireland, in 1853 and settled in Quebec, and later moved on to the Fourth Range of Shipton.
Thomas McMahon and his wife, Bridget Considine, came to Canada in 1855 from County Clare, Ireland, and settled in Sherbrooke. Of this union were two sons, Patrick and Dennis McMahon. One of his descendants married the late P. J. Wolfe of Sherbrooke.
Between the years of 1860, a group of Irish Catholic families settled in Upper Melbourne, on the western shore of St. Francis River, seven miles from Richmond. Among them were Edward Lamb, Patrick Daley, Ambrose Shea, Peter McManus, D. J. McKenty, Bernard Conway, Patrick Conway, Thomas Todd, Dennis Gleason, John Maguire, John Keenan, Thomas McGee and John Healy.
These brave Irish families had nothing but their great faith, courage and goodwill when they cut through dense forests, where no white man had ever inhabited, to build their homes. Thomas McGee is the father of our beloved Pastor, Canon McGee.
Michael McNamara, who married Catherine McGarey, was born in Ireland, came to Canada in 1854, and settled at Bedford. Of this union was born Michael, who was well known through Missisquoi County.
John Millet, Sr., and his wife, Elizabeth Terrill, sailed from the City of Waterford, County Waterford, Ireland. The voyage was made in a sailing vessel and required 16 weeks for the crossing. They arrived in Sherbrooke in the same year and resided here the remainder of their lifetime. Elizabeth Terrill had an uncle, John McAuley, who left Belfast, Ireland, in 1860 and settled in the Townships. Mr. Dick Millet of Sherbrooke is a descendant of these early settlers.
The late Senator Tobin was the son of Patrick Tobin and Helen Hanley, who came from Limerick, Ireland in 1851 and settled at Bromptonville in 1859. Mr. Ashton Tobin, well known lawyer of this city, is a descendant of this branch of the family.
Another name which is well remembered in our midst is that of John McManus. He and his wife, Elizabeth Caldbeck, were among the early settlers. The late William John McManus, who married Kathleen Shea, is a descendant. Of this union there was one daughter, Mary E. Norine.
Some of the oldest Irish settlers of the Eastern Townships who came during this phase of emigration were the Tuites, Monahans, Faleys, Donahues, and Barretts, who settled in the wild woodlands of Leeds, formerly called "The Handkerchief". To get there they had to walk from Quebec, a distance of about 60 miles, along trails through the woods, carrying their luggage and other belongings on their backs. They would walk each Sunday a distance of 20 miles through the woods to the nearest Church. Most of these families later settled in Thetford Mines.
St. Mary's Parish, which is a part of North Ely Township, shows in its records the first Catholic settlers to be John M. Morrissey, John Edward Morrissey (who came from Kerry, Ireland in 1851; - the latter is the grandfather of Professor May Morrissey of Sherbrooke), John Murphy, James Healey, Hugh Carlin, Dennis Carlin, Thomas Dalton, Patrick Long, Thomas O'Connell, Michael Dohan, Miles Forbes, Michael Rahill and Denis Carroll.
An interesting feature of the early Catholic History of the Townships, was of course, the building of churches. For instance, the question of building a Chapel at Eaton was discussed from 1835 to 1851, during which time Mass was said at the home of Thomas McClary, who had offered a piece of land on his farm for a Chapel, but had no money. In 1837, a petition was sent to the Bishop of Quebec and it is interesting to sort out the Irish signatures
Thomas McClary, Owen Fallon, John Brazel, Patrick Kelly, John Kennedy, John Keenan, Mary Brazel, Michael Knight, John Lyons, Catherine Mulligan, May McClary, Charles McCafferty, Peter Owens, Dennis Boyle, John McGivney, Francis Rafferty, John MeNully, Dennis Ford, James Clark.
These petitioners could never raise more than $200 and their plan had to be postponed. However, the idea of a Church took shape again in 1851, but in favour of Eaton Corner. The Bishop of Quebec contributed one hundred dollars from the funds of the Propaganda of the Faith, and soon there was enough to start a church.
Another note of historic importance is the remarkable fact that the material progress of the Catholic Church in the Eastern Townships was not wholly due to Catholics, for in the records of various parishes are found large contributions made by our non-Catholic friends. For example, the Cookshire Church shows a contribution offered by a Mr. A. Baily and a Mr. James Frasier; a Mr. Horace H. French donated a piece of land near his house for the Church; John Henry Pope, M.P., gave a large donation; Dr. Hopkins greatly aided the internal organization of Catholics; Notary Mackie's wife took up a subscription among the Protestants of the town. This generosity is to be found throughout the whole records of the early Church in the Townships and perhaps no other section of the country has enjoyed such a broadminded spirit, due to this beautiful Christian fealty.
I would like to mention here that Doctor Cornelius Phelan, nephew of Bishop Phelan of Kingston, Ont. came to Waterloo in 1870, and soon became the leading physician in the town.
Mr. Daniel McManamy was born at Quebec in 1839, and came to Sherbrooke in 1869 to meet many of his fellow Irishmen, and later to become a leader in this City. He was without doubt our most outstanding English Catholic Citizen, being Mayor of Sherbrooke in 1893, Member of the City Council from 1892 to 1913. When he came to Sherbrooke he met such old families as the Currans, the McGivneys, John Maguire, the Griffiths, the Mulvenas, the Brodericks, the Cotters, the Murrays and the Pools, the Redmonds, the Rodeys, as well as the Thomas Reids, the Collins family, the Heneys, the Dennerys, the Maurice Sheas, the Branswells, James Glynn, Thomas Flannery, Daniel O'Boyle, Unsworths, William Riley, the John Campbells, the Stensons, the Hewitts. These all comprised the Irish population. We might also cite the Tracys, of whom the late William Tracy was a well known lawyer in our midst, and his brother was the first Priest to be ordained from St. Patrick's Parish.
The first and only Church to be built in the Eastern Townships, totally Irish as to race and English as to language, was St. Patrick's Church at Sherbrooke, although the first Church in Sherbrooke, as well as in most of the towns of the Townships, was built by the Irish labouring men who had moved into the district at the time of the building of the Grand Trunk Railway.
These Irish pioneers obtained permission from Bishop Racine to start a Mission Church and they bought the Methodist Church property located where now stands the new St. Patrick's Church. In the Summer of 1887 the Bishop appointed Father Fisette as their Pastor. The first bride and groom to pray within the walls of the new St. Patrick's Mission were my own mother and father, - my father, J. H. Walsh, having come to Sherbrooke in 1881 and having married Mary Hawkins in. June, 1887. Father Fisette was the son of an early English-speaking Catholic family and around him might be centered the whole story of the pioneer English Catholic History of the Townships.
St. Patrick's in Sherbrooke became as it were the hub, and most of the families that had moved into other parts of the Townships as pioneers soon had their descendants praying before the altar of this shrine. The hand of Father Fisette built and guided St. Patrick's Parish for a half century and, too, it was his zeal that nursed and fostered it, his lips that prayed for it from infancy to growth. All the joys and sorrows, trials and achievements of his people were his also and the little Church now stands as a monument of stone to the zeal of this true, noble priest. It may be said that the history of Father Fisette is the history of Sherbrooke, for Sherbrooke grew with him and he with it and the two were intertwined in a lovable union that can never be forgotten.
The labour, the time and the pains spent in securing data for the sktech herein contained has been greater than would be believed, and the more so, since accuracy of statement of fact and chronological order of Lents have been so rigidly aimed at. Dates and facts have all been verified, either by reference to Church records or to the families themselves. For the most part, the call to the cooperation of the public in furnishing for records has been cordially responded to. The enterprise has been a bit tedious but it will supply a record that should not be let die. If it preserves the names of worthy men and women, who brought Christ to district, it will have well repaid the time, the anxiety, and the pains have been expended upon it.