by Marie Fraser of Canada
Augustin Fraser [c1734-1779]
Augustin Fraser is a name not easily forgotten. During the World
Scottish Festival, held in conjunction with the 350th anniversary of
Montreal in 1992, a visitor to the Clan Fraser/Fraser Highlanders tent
at Ile Ste-Hélène produced a pedigree chart tracing her ancestry to the
Fraser Highlander who, she told us, had fought at Québec in 1759 and
married a French woman when the regiment was disbanded in 1763. Since
then we have collected a mountain of information on the 78th Fraser
Highlanders and Augustin Fraser, but his name cannot be found in the
In 1967 the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Samuel V. Fraser,
612 Carl Avenue, Salina, Kansas 67401, U.S.A., compiled "A Genealogy
of the Fraser Family of Beaumont, Province of Quebec, Canada". In this
50 page booklet, produced for family members, he described the children
of Augustin Fraser [1770-1861], in particular Fabien Fraser [1812-1863]
who moved from Cap St-Ignace, QC to Bourbonnais, IL in 1848. Fabien
raised a family of sixteen, and his descendants have spread all over the
U.S. and Canada.
Augustin Fraser's descendants have long speculated on his real name.
The challenge was to solve the mystery of Augustins Scottish name and
to locate documentary evidence of his status in Frasers Highlanders.
Fragasso, an author versed in the history and the genealogy of many
Scotch and Irish families, is descended from Augustin Fraser. The
following extract is taken from the English version of the original
series published in French, entitled "Our French Canadian Ancestors",
Vol. XXIII, p. 59-60, edited by Thomas J. Laforest:
Hundreds of the members of the army were named Fraser.
Were they all related? Not necessarily. Several persons, bearing
Gaelic names in the 1740s and 1750s, were offered food by Lord Simon on
the condition that they change their name to Fraser.
On 29 December 1739, Thomas Fraser married Elizabeth Fraser at
Inverness, in Scotland. Ancestor Augustin Fraser was established as
being their son. In order to confirm this fact, in the civil registry
the mother was called Elizabeth Fraser, while in the contract of the
notary Fortier they spoke of Elizabeth Bowl.
It is not necessary, however, to think that Augustin Fraser was the
only ancestor of the Frasers in Québec, there were several of them, but
he was one of the most important, notably in the region of Québec.
Augustin Fraser was a soldier, responsible to Malcolm Fraser, lieutenant
of General Hugh Cameron, under the leadership of Colonel Simon Fraser.
A detachment of the 78th Regiment of Fraser Highlanders spent the
winter of 1760-61 at Beaumont, very probably to gather wood for the
garrison of Québec. At that place, lived Marie-Françoise Adam,
daughter of the notary René Adam and of Marie-Josephte Maupas. Augustin
undoubtedly met the latter while his army was staying at Beaumont.
They were married at Beaumont on 14 November 1763; the pastor mentioned
the following phrase: " the said Fraser having had the permission of his
excellency Messire Murray according to the letter which I have secured "
They spent their first years at Beaumont. However, Augustin decided
to do business in the Lower-Town of Québec. Since he spoke impeccable
French, he had no difficulty in acquiring a good clientele. One thing
is certain, he was a person who loved to compromise. In all the
contracts consulted, he was defined as a "dealer, merchant, inn-keeper,
According to the Inverness OPR: Thomas Fraser and Elspet Fraser in
Abriachin were contracted to marry November 30, and were married
December 29, 1739. Moreover, Augustin Fraser died October 21, 1779
[written 1799 in error] and was buried on the 22nd in St-Étienne de
Beaumont, aged forty and some years [quarante et quelques années].
Augustins age at his death casts doubt on the reliability of the 1739
marriage, not on the identity of his parents. He was probably born
Cameron [c1730-1759] was not a general, but a captain in command of a
detachment of the 78th Regiment (Fraser's Highlanders), with Malcolm
Fraser [1733-1815], a lieutenant who kept a detailed journal of the
winter of 1760-61 at Beaumont. In a book on Beaumont, Pierre-Georges
Roy makes the statement: "It is highly probable that Augustin Fraser,
who settled soon after in the parish and founded the clan of Frasers,
was a soldier in the company of Captain Hugh Cameron." However, in
Captain Hugh Camerons Company, three Frasers were disbanded in Canada:
Corporal Roderick, Private John, and Private William.
Unfortunately, the best document on the origin and military service of
Augustin has probably been lost. According to the church record, the
letter of Mr Gramaché, secretary of James Murray, sent to the curate of
Beaumont for the 1763 marriage, was in the hands of Mr le grand vicaire,
secretary of the Bishop of Québec. A letter to the Archives of the
Bishop generated a negative response.
There is little doubt that Augustin met his future bride at Beaumont. A
son named Augustin was born in November 1763, at the time of the
marriage of his parents. Although the record of his baptism has not
been found, he was buried 25 May 1764, in St-Étienne de Beaumont, aged
about seven months. Another copy, not dated, notes the child is the son
of Augustin Fraser and Marguerite Adam, but this is a mistake
[Marguerite was Françoises sister].
According to a qualified researcher, familiar
with early Quebec archives, the assumption that the Scottish name of
Augustin was Hugh is based on the fact that a priest had changed the
name of Hugh Blackburn to Augustin Blackburn when he became Catholic.
Although the priest's decision to substitute "Augustin" for "Hugh" may
seem arbitrary, a more acceptable explanation is that the name that
appears as "Hugh" in English was spelled "Uisdean" or something similar
in Gaelic. This would sound like "Augustin" to French ears, which is
probably a natural explanation about how "Augustin Fraser" got his
French name. The researcher found a contract drawn up by notary
Antoine-Jean Saillant, dated 2 May 1767, between Charles Chrétien and
Augustin Fraser, stating that Augustin Fraser, merchant, residing at
Beaumont, was part of this contract, which was signed in two places by
The following extracts relate to Augustin Fraser's involvement during
the blockade of Quebec by the American rebels:
15th March 1776 : - Two Canadians sent to town in a canoe
by Hugh Fraser, at Beaumont, came to town and brought letters from
Fraser and others to the General. They bring favorable accounts of the
people below. The Rebels expect a thousand men and have sent
provisions to meet them.
17th March 1776 : - The men from Beaumont inform that the Rebels have
spread a report that the Plague is in town, and that we die in great
numbers The two men from Beaumont returned with letters, gazettes and
instructions to some of our friends below. 700, or thereabouts of the
Rebels seen in two bodies. Our men cautioned not to get in liquorthis
being St. Patricks day. [Journal of the siege and blockade of Québec
by the American rebels, in Autumn 1775 and Winter 1776, p. 17,
attributed to Hugh Finlay].
Samedy 6 juillet : - Appellé et complimenté Augustin Fraser sur son zèle,
affection et fidelité pour le service du Roy en lassurant que si le
metier de cantinier quil tient nétait incompatible avec la charge
dofficiers du Roy il en aurait été digne. [Reorganization of the
Militia, at Beaumont, p. 475-76, published in Rapport de lArchiviste de
la Province de Québec pour 1927-28].
Augustin Fraser was congratulated for his zealous and loyal service to
the King, and assured that he could have been an officer but for his
profession of tavern-keeper which was incompatible with the charge.
At the marriage of Angélique in 1799, she is described as daughter of
the late Augustin Fraser, cabaretier. A list of persons who have taken
out licences at the secretarys office, for retailing Spirituous Liquors
&c. December 4th 1766 [ Québec Gazette, 15 Dec 1766] includes William
Fraser, Parish of St. Pierres, South River; Alexander Fraser, St.
Johns near Québec; Hugh Fraser, St. Michel. The list of August 18th
1769 [ Québec Gazette, 24 Aug 1769] includes Hugh Fraser, St. Michel.
The list of April 27th 1779 [ Québec Gazette, 13 May 1779] includes
Augustin Fraser, Beaumont.
Augustin (Hugh) Fraser [c1734-1779] and
Françoise Adam [1742-1828] were married at St-Etienne de Beaumont on 14
Nov 1763. Their children were: Augustin #1 [1763-1764]; Joseph (Jean)
[1765-1844]; Françoise 1767-1848]; Augustin #2 [1770-1861]; Genevieve
[1773-1858]; Angélique [1775-1842]; Simon [1777-1855] & Thomas
[1779-1863]. Augustin Fraser #2 [1770-1861], by his first wife,
Marguerite Kirouac, had Ephrem [1799-1802]; Anselme [1801-1884]; Hubert
[1803-1872]; Euphemie [1805-1843]; Frederick -1893]; Desanges
[1809-1883]; Augustin #1 [1811-1811]; Fabien [1812-1863] & Augustin #2
The family tree of Augustin Fraser gives the date and location of birth,
baptism, marriage, death and burial of his children and grandchildren,
illustrating the benefits of diligent research. One of his descendants
has confirmed that these recent discoveries coincide exactly with the
handwritten family genealogy he has, dated 1876 & 1897. There is a
legend, passed down through Augustins eldest son Joseph Fraser
[1765-1844], that he and other descendants of Augustin Fraser would be
warned of the day and hour of their death.
In the morning of October 21, 1779, Augustin and his son
Joseph went to get their horses to plough their fields. Augustin
decided not to plough that day and the two men returned to the house
where Augustin announced that he only had a few hours to live: he would
die when the sun set. He put his affairs in order; he asked for the
parish priest (M. Descheneau). Just before sunset, Augustin got up
from his bed, looked through the window at the setting sun, then went
back to bed saying: "I only have a few minutes left." Just as the sun
disappeared below the horizon, he died.
Josephs son, Alexandre Fraser [1803-1877], was a contemporary of John
Fraser de Berry [1816-1876], the grandson of Malcolm Fraser of Mount
Murray who was instrumental in the establishment of the Clan Fraser in
Canada in 1868. A brief biography describes Alexandre Fraser : notaire
commissionné en Octobre 1830. Il habita la paroisse St-André, Comté de
Kamouraska, comme notaire, marchand et cultivateur jusquà lannée 1861
auquel temps il alla se fixer à Québec. Following the death of his
first wife, Julie Chassé, in 1838, Alexandre was married in 1841 to
Angélique Poncy, who survived him by two years.
In "Our French Canadian Ancestors," reference is made to Angélique
Fraser, who married Joseph Baucher dit Morency [widower of Elizabeth
of the latter, Sophie Baucher dit Morency, married Étienne-Paschal Taché,
who became first Minister of Lower Canada, fellow candidate of the Taché-Macdonald
government and father of the Confederation. She was the mother of
Eugene-Etienne Taché, author of the motto of Québec: Je me souviens I remember.
Benjamin Sulte noted the arrival of the Scots in Canada with a candid
observation: "The Scots conquered us, but the Canadian women conquered
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