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Articles by Marie Fraser of Canada
Andrew Fraser - Megantic County

There is a story behind every family that settled in Canada in the early 1800s.  Researching your roots may be difficult if your immigrant ancestors came from Scotland, but what if they came from Ireland?

That’s a question asked by a descendant of Andrew Fraser and Mary Gillanders.  It turns out that Andrew was actually a son of Archibald Fraser, and a grandson of Andrew Fraser and his wife Sarah from County Donegal, Ireland who came to Canada about 1826 but, after two years of drought, moved to Broughton, Megantic County, Quebec. 

Andrew Fraser & Sarah

The oldest church record for this family is that of Charles, son of Andrew Fraser of the parish of St Mary District of Quebec, labourer, and of Sarah his wife, aged eleven months who died 3 May 1830.  Andrew Fraser Brother and Andrew Fraser Father signed at the burial in Quebec Anglican, which was recorded by Rev. Burrage of Levis, Missionary for Beauce and Megantic Counties.  St Mary was probably Ste-Marie de Beauce, near Frampton and Broughton.  The 1831 census for Megantic County, Broughton, 7th Range lists Andrew Fraser, 10 persons.  According to family tradition, Andrew Fraser Sr and his wife are probably buried at Trout River but no grave marker has been found.

Andrew Fraser Brother and Andrew Fraser Father signed at the marriage of Nancy (Ann) to John Rinehart on 17 Oct 1833 in Leeds Anglican. 

Ann Fraser & John Rinehart

In October 1841 Margaret Fraser married Nicholas Rinehart, although his relationship to John Rinehart is not known; they had six children.  In July 1850 James Fraser married Jemima Rinehart, d/o John Rinehart & Ruth Horton.  About 1855 both families moved to Oro, Simcoe County, Ontario.  It appears that Margaret and Nicholas died after the 1891 census.  James and Jemima had seven children.

Margaret Fraser & Nicholas Rinehart

James Fraser & Jemima Rinehart

In January 1844 Archibald Fraser married Mary Ann Stewart; neither could sign; witnesses: John Rinehart and James Stewart.  Archibald died in 1890, aged 69.  In the 1891 census Mary Ann was living with her son James.  She died 1894, aged 82 years, widow of Andrew [s/b Archibald] Fraser.  Present: John Fraser and Andrew Fraser.  Archibald and Mary Ann had seven children.

Archibald Fraser & Mary Ann Stewart

In June 1845 John Fraser married Agnes Gillanders, by whom he had 14 children between 1847 and 1875, all of whom married except Margaret who died young, and Benjamin who had been a locomotive engineer on the Quebec Central Railway and an engineer moving silt out of the Welland Canal.

John Fraser & Agnes Gillanders

In August 1847 Barnard Fraser married Ann McLean, by whom he had 8 children, including Alfred Richard Fraser who married his cousin Ann Fraser, d/o Archibald Fraser & Mary Ann Stewart.  She was Ann Hervey in 1847 but named Ann McLean thereafter.  Anna Frazer of Troutbrook died 23 Aug 1895, aged sixty five years and three months, and was buried on the 25th in Tingwick United.

Barnard Fraser & Ann McLean

There is some confusion with respect to George Gillanders, which might be explained if there had been two individuals of that name.  According to family tradition, Mary, d/o John Fraser, married 7 May 1885, George Gillanders, widower of Margaret Jane, d/o Archibald Fraser, and had three children by him, in addition to 8 stepchildren from his previous marriage. 

According to the register of Leeds Presbyterian, George Gillanders (1843-1915), s/o John Gillanders & Jane Mitchell, married 1st on 3 Aug 1865 Catherine Rinehart (1842-1878), d/o John Rinehart & Ann Fraser, by whom he had six children, including Henrietta Gillanders who married her cousin Jacob Fraser, s/o John Fraser & Agnes Gillanders.  George Gillanders, widower of Broughton married 2nd on 17 March 1879 Margaret Jane Fraser (1852-1927), d/o Archibald Fraser & Mary Ann Stewart.  The 1891 census for Beauce, Sacre-Coeur de Jesus lists 6 children from his first marriage and 5 children from his second marriage.  In 1901 George and Margaret are listed with 6 children.

George Gillanders, of Ascot Twp., County of Sherbrooke, farmer, died 1 March 1915 and was buried on the 3rd in Lennoxville Methodist; witnesses: Gertrude A. Gillander; Florence M. Gillander.  The Sherbrooke Daily Record notes he was aged 74.  Mrs George Gillanders (nee Margaret Jane Fraser), aged 75 years, died 14 April 1927 and was buried on the 16th in Lennoxville Methodist; witnesses: J.G. Beattie; J. Johnston.

Since George Gillanders (1843-1915) predeceased his second wife Margaret Fraser (1852-1927), it seems likely that Mary Fraser (1861-1930) married another George Gillanders, who may have lived in Vermont, where they were married 7 May 1885, and where she died.

Stories handed down in families sometimes tend to become a bit distorted.  Like the one that Andrew Fraser (1852-1903), s/o Andrew Fraser & Agnes Elliot, married, as his second wife, the widow Marjory Nutbrown.  Actually, his son Angus Wilfred Fraser married 11 Oct 1916 in Quebec St Andrew’s Presbyterian, Marjory Grace Nutbrown, by whom he had Clarence Wilfred Fraser, and a daughter Agnes.

It is hoped that this story will help to illustrate the complex relationships of the families who emigrated from Ireland to Canada in the early 1800s, and settled in Broughton, Megantic County, Quebec, before moving to other parts of Canada and the United States.

The above article was originally published in the Clan Fraser Society of Canada newsletter Canadian Explorer, June 2004, and may not be reproduced, without written permission.

Marie Fraser, Clan Fraser Society of Canada

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