Family of Captain John Fraser - 78th (Fraser) Regt.
The family of Captain John Fraser of the Culbokie family, uncle of Simon Fraser the explorer (1776-1862), is naturally of great interest to his descendants. The general consensus has been that John Fraser, Field Train Department, was a son of Captain John Fraser of the 78th Fraser Highlanders. It is hoped that this story will illustrate how easy it is to fall into the trap of accepting the work of others who may not have had access to vital information which will make any research beyond that questionable ancestor, useless.
In LAncêtre John Fraser au Québec published by LAncêtre, Bulletin de la Société de généalogie de Québec (1984, p. 359-61), Serge Bouchard outlined the ancestry of his wife, Edith Fraser, a seventh generation descendant of Captain John Fraser.
I John Fraser Marie-Claire
II John Fraser Monique
III John Fraser Agnès Legendre
Lancêtre John Fraser a eu neuf enfants, dont John (fils) né le 20 juin 1768 à Montréal. Il est intéressant de remarquer que John (fils) est devenu militaire de carrière pour le Gent of Field Train Department of Foot de Montréal.
According to the register of Montreal Christ Anglican:
1768 John Son of Captain John & Mrs Clara Fleury Fraser born the 7th June & Bapt the 20th following. Sponsors: John Maxwell, Esq., Adam Mabane, Esq., Mrs Irwin.
1770 John Son of Captain John & Mrs Clara Fleury Fraser born the 12th May & Bapt the 17th. Sponsors: Doctor Hope, Mrs. Fraser.
The obvious question is why would the second son be named John, unless the first John had died before 1770?
Although no death record of the first John has been found, the register of Notre-Dame de Montréal records the death 15 Apr and the burial 16 Apr 1777 of the second John (Jean), aged six years and some months, son of the Honorable Jean Frazer, member of the legislative council and judge of common pleas, a former captain in his Majestys service, and Dame Claire Fleury Deschambeau. The other children were Catherine (1767), William (1771), Margaret (1773), Simon (1775), Josephte (1776), Marie-Claire (1778), Jane (1781) & Helen (1783). There is no reference to a son named John after 1777 in any documents related to the other members of this family. A document, dated 11 Jan 1796, related to the tutorship of the children of the late John Fraser, names Josette, 19 yrs; Fleury, 17 yrs; Hélène, 11 yrs. Curatorship to Marguerite, wife of Thomas Bonner, absent, out of province. Relatives: William Fraser, brother; Etienne Deschambeault, uncle; George Selby, cousin.
to a letter 6 Mar 1786 Montreal from J. Fraser, Judge of Common Pleas, he was in England
when he heard of the death of his sister-in-law, of Côteau du Lac, Quebec. [American Loyalist Claims, Vol. 1, p. 168, by
Peter Wilson Coldham (Washington, DC: National Genealogical Society, 1980)]
The following entries are taken from the register of the Montreal Garrison Anglican for 1815:
March 31st - Fraser - Buried: Elizabeth, Wife of John Fraser Field Train Dept., aged 39 years, died the 28th & was buried the 31st of March one thousand eight hundred & fifteen. By me, Geo Jenkins, Chaplain to the Forces. Witnesses: William Kane, Robert Skene.
July 3rd - Fraser - Married: John Fraser
Gent of the Field Train Department and Monique Daveluy dite La Rose of Montreal Spinster,
were married by Licence the 3rd of July one thousand eight hundred and fifteen. By me, Geo Jenkins, Chaplain to the Forces. This Marriage was so solemnized between us: John
Fraser, Monique Daveluy Larose. In presence
of: John Lyle, Robt Nelson.
Several documents, recently found by Paul Lessard, may shed some light on this union.
1st Aug 1817 - Power of Attorney given by John Fraser, Officer on half pay of the Field Train Dept., and by Monique Daveluy, his wife, to Notary Paul Edouard Daveluy, brother in law and brother. John and Monique were getting ready to leave for Edinburgh, Scotland. [Jean-Marie Mondelet, N.P. No. 4096].
Fraser, Field Train Dept., and Monique Daveluy had two children: Monique (1816) and
Jean-Antoine (1818). According to the 1818
Census by the Curate of the Catholic parish of Quebec, the Fraser family was living in a
rented house on St. Gabriel Street, Upper Town.
8th Feb 1825 at Montreal Monique Fraser is put under tutorship following the death of Notary Paul Edouard Daveluy. Monique, then about 9 years old, was his universal legatee. Her father was out of the province and her mother, residing at Rivière-du-Loup (District of Trois-Rivières = Louiseville) was declared unable to take care of her interests.
Monique Fraser died 11 Nov 1839, aged 23. Her brother Jean-Antoine Fraser married Agnès Legendre on 31 Jan 1842, by whom he had 9 children: Julie Claire (1842), Jean Gustave (1844), Siméon (1845), Omer Edouard (1846), Samuel Bernard (1847), Ludger Eugene (1849), Ernest Joseph Adesse (1851), Josephine Marie Alvine (1854) & Ludmille (1858).
marriage of François Siméon Xénophan Fraser (1845-1908) & Alice May Bothwell
(1853-1938) at Durham United was also recorded in St Pierre de Durham RC.
On Feb 18th 1908 The Sherbrooke Daily Record reported that Siméon Fraser, joint prothonotary, died of heart failure last evening. The chief mourners were Dr. S. B. Fraser, Fitch Bay, son of the deceased; Homer Fraser, Hartford, Conn.; Ernest Fraser, St. Croix, brothers; O. Couture, St. Croix, Registrar Lotbinière County; Edward and F. J. Bothwell, brothers-in-law. A brief biography noted he had studied at Ste-Anne de la Pocatière, Kamouraska, was Mayor of LAvenir in 1874 and moved to Richmond in 1884. His grandfather, Captain John, was lost at sea on his way to Scotland to visit his parents in 1819.
On 10 Sep 1908 Dr. Siméon Bothwell Fraser (1879-1927) married Alice Ethel Campbell, who died 2 Feb 1920 at Brownsburg and was buried in Richmond. According to The Sherbrooke Daily Record, the late Mrs. Fraser was the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Campbell. She leaves two brothers, Grant of the Boston Last Company, Richmond, and Colin of the Sterling Bank, Montreal, Miss Islay, teacher in the High School, Sherbrooke, her husband and two young sons some ten and eight years of age. Dr. Siméon B. Fraser died 19 May 1927, aged 47 years. The same paper reported: Word was received on Friday morning (20th) of the death of Dr. Robin B. Fraser [sic] of New York, son of Mrs. S. Fraser of this town.
Alice Mary Bothwell died 20 Apr 1938. She was survived by a daughter, Miss Hortense Fraser (1874-1954), who resided with her. The two other children were Alice, wife of Frederick R. Bigelow of St. Paul, Minn., and Dr. Siméon B. Fraser, who predeceased her. The grandchildren were Miss Eileen Bigelow of St. Paul, Minn., Mrs. O. H. Ingram of Nashville, Tenn., Campbell Fraser (born 1909) and Robin B. Fraser (born 1911) of North Bay, Ontario.
The following entry has been extracted from Les Vieilles Familles dYamachiche (Montreal: A.P. Pigeon, Imprimeur, 1900) with respect to Monique Daveluy (p. 262)
Monique, b 12 mai 1793; 1º m à John Fraser (i), officier du 76ieme régiment de ligne anglaise; 2º m 30 juin 1834, à François Roberge (veuf de Susanne Paradis).
(i) John Fraser a péri en traversant la mer, dans le but de revoir ses vieux parents. Cest le grand père de M le notaire S. Fraser, de Richmond, qui occupe une position distingué dans les cantons de lEst. M le notaire sera, parait-il, candidat aux prochaines élections fédérales dans le comté de Richmond et Wolfe.
If John Fraser died at sea in 1819, why was he declared outside this province in 1825? Several of his descendants believed he was lost at sea on 25 Oct 1831 while traveling on the Lady Digby in the Magdalen Islands.
A document found in the Court of Kings Bench proves that the marriage ended in 1820.
10th Aug 1820 Petition of Monique Daveluy Action against John Fraser, her husband, residing at Quebec. Grounds: Jealousy, Slander, Insult, Hatred, Harassment, Cruelty, Battery, Drunkenness. Monique and her 2 year-old child were thrown out by John Fraser a month ago. Claim: Separation of body, of residence and of estate. She abdicates the Joint estate. John must give her back 150 Pounds currency. She must be cleared of all the debts contracted by him, past and future. John must pay Alimony of 30 Pounds annually. Young Monique, not mentioned, was likely living with a relative.
4th Sept 1820 John Fraser was summoned personally by the Sheriff to appear in Court on 2nd October 1820.
2nd Oct 1820 Judgment book, Vol. 2, p. 443. Case No. 1057. The Action in Separation is subject to further investigation.
20th Oct 1821 Judgment book, Vol. 3, p. 1365. Case No. 1057. In the case of Monique Daveluy, wife of John Fraser, Half Pay Officer in the Royal Artillery of the Field Train Dept. The case is abandoned and dismissed. John had probably left Quebec.
This may explain why no other child was born after 1818 and why he was declared out of the province in 1825. By 1826 Monique was probably living with her brother Jean-Baptiste Daveluy, curate at St-Louis de Lotbinière, since she acted as godmother at a baptism at Ste-Croix de Lotbinière on 14th June 1826. What happened to John Fraser from 1820 to 1831? His death in 1831 now makes sense, as his widow married her second husband, a widower, in 1834. We may never know what really happened to John Fraser, but the events leading up to 1820 provide some clues.
Dec 1812 Military Papers C-1707, p.83 (Ottawa, Reel C-3840)
July 1813 Military Papers C-84, p.200 (Ottawa, Reel C-2645)
Oct 1813 Military Papers C-1221, p.189 (Ottawa, Reel
Nov 1816 Immigration: Canada from Scotland (Archives
Fraser, born c1779, is not mentioned in the document, dated 11 Jan 1796, related to the
tutorship of the children of the late Judge John Fraser who died in Montreal on 5 Dec
1795. Furthermore, if John Fraser of the
Field Train Dept., was born in Quebec and/or was a son of Captain (later Judge) John
Fraser, he would have had no reason to be crossing the ocean to visit his parents in 1819,
as indicated in the book on the families of Yamachiche.
Holliday of Saint-Romuald, QC was cleaning out some papers prior to moving to a smaller
home in the fall of 1998 and kindly sent us photos of the Fraser tombstone and close-up of
the transcription on the bronze memorial plaque at Mount Hermon Cemetery, which reads as
On 13 Sept 1820 John Fraser, Esq., Captain on the half pay of the 76th Regt., Bachelor, aged 29, was married (by license & with consent of her mother) to Frances, daughter of the late Francis John Dupont, Merchant - Spinster, aged 18. He was from Haldimand, Upper Canada. Their children from 1821-29 were born in Cobourg and from 1830-40 in Quebec where he died in 1841.
Captain John had a large family. His eldest son was Alexander Fraser (1823-1905), married to Martha S. Wyatt (1827-1909), whose third son was William John Fraser (1856-1922) noted above.
Very useful information, but how could Captain John Fraser born in Scotland c1790, have been a brother of Colonel Alexander Fraser of the 78th born about 1730? Also, the only Colonel in the 78th Regiment of Foot (Frasers Highlanders) was Lieut.-Colonel Simon Fraser of Lovat (1726-82) who raised the regiment in 1757.
It is possible that Captain John M. Frasers [unnamed] grandfather was a brother of Alexander Fraser of the 78th Fraser Highlanders although he could not have had the rank of Colonel when the regiment was disbanded in 1763. If that were the case, he could have been the Alexander Fraser, late lieutenant in the 78th, who traveled down the Ohio River and the Mississippi after the Pontiac Rebellion. After serving with the 9th, 20th & 34th in which he was gazetted a captain 11 Nov 1776, he was detached from his regiment to lead a company of British marksmen called Frasers rangers. He was gazetted a major in the 34th Foot on 18 Nov 1790 and promoted to lieutenant-colonel on 1 Mar 1794. On Sep 1st 1795 he was lieutenant-colonel of the 45th Regiment of Foot. According to the History of the 45th: 1st Nottinghamshire Regiment (Sherwood Foresters) by Col. P.H. Dalbiac, Late Captain 45th Regiment (1902), they were in the West Indies from 1795-1807, leading an uneventful life, but suffered terribly from disease. In 1797 and 1798, no less than 13 officers died, namely, Lieut.-Colonel Frazer; Captains Morrison and Hutchinson, etc "
According to the British Army Lists, John Frasers name appears continuously from the time he was gazetted a lieutenant in the 76th Regiment on March 5th 1805 to his promotion as a captain on Dec 25th 1817. The Army List for 1820 records that he was put on half pay Dec 25th 1818.
Although his age (29 in 1820 and 51 in 1841) places his birth c1790, his lieutenants commission in March 1805 raises the likelihood that John Fraser may have been older.
The 76th Regiment also included Alexander Fraser, Major, commissioned Sept 8th 1808, promoted Lt.Col. June 4th 1814; & Archibald Fraser, Assistant Surgeon, commissioned Dec 22nd 1808. Formed in 1787 for service in India, the regiment was there from 1788 to 1806, when they embarked for England. In 1808 they were sent to Spain; Holland in 1809; Spain again in 1813; to Canada in 1814 (Chambly, Plattsburg, St Johns); Quebec 1816-17, Kingston 1818, Quebec 1819-20, Kingston 1821, Fort George (Niagara) 1822; Montreal & Quebec 1826. The regiment embarked for Ireland in 1827. [ Historical Record of the 76th Hindoostan Regiment from its formation in 1787 to 30th June 1881, compiled and edited by Lieut.-Colonel F.A. Hayden, D.S.O., 2nd Battalion Duke of Wellingtons (West Riding Regiment), Lichfield, 1908]
14th November 1831
Lower Canada Land Papers 43227-29
Lower Canada Land Papers 43227-29
The Quebec Gazette of 22 June 1815 listed the arrival on the 21st of the ship Lord St Hellen, 50 days from Liverpool, to Hart, Logan & Co., general cargo pass. Mrs. Dupont, 4 children, & two adult males. Francis John Dupont died on 20 Aug 1816, aged 48. In the 1818 Census of the Parish of Quebec, Mrs Frances Dupont [whose maiden name may have been Dudley] was listed as schoolmistress. She died 25 Sep 1830, aged 61.
In the 1851  Census of Quebec City, St. Johns Ward, the children of the late John Fraser & Frances Dupont are listed as Episcopalian; Caroline, 20; Janet, 18; Eden, 16; Colborne, 14; Fredk, 12.
Jan 1879 - An Inventory following the death of Mary Ann & Sarah Dupont lists:
Mt Hermon Cemetery register notes that Eden Fraser was a Clerk and his death was
accidental. However, The Quebec
Morning Chronicle , Saturday, 23 Feb 1895, is more revealing:
Captain John's son, John Dupont Fraser (c1827-1892) and his wife Ellen Stott Redfern (1829-1910) had a large family in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Their children included: Ellen Ann Fraser (1854-1864); John Dupont Fraser (1855-1908) married Henrietta Wheeler; William Dudley Fraser (1856-1921) married Fanny Gordon; Harry Redfern Fraser (1859-1924) married Harriett Simpson; Arthur Frederick Fraser (1862-1953) married Henrietta Boydell; George Ernest Fraser (1866-1912); Edward Colborne Fraser (1870-1945) married Helen Ruthven Johnson; Charles Kenneth Fraser (1872-aft 1925) married, wife in London, England in 1953; Cecilia Gertrude Fraser (1876-1957) married Edward O. Grundy.
Harry Redfern Fraser was a well-known advocate, businessman, colonel and mayor. Lt.Colonel H. R. Fraser commanded the 53rd Regiment 1900-1905; in which one brother Captain E. C. Fraser, was a former officer; and another was Captain C.K. Fraser.
Sherbrooke Daily Record, Saturday, 31 May 1902 reported:
The witnesses at the marriage of Frank Dillon Tims of the City of Quebec, Gentleman & Bachelor and Caroline Dudley Fraser of the Town of Sherbrooke, Spinster, on 23 Oct 1852, was Thomas C. J. Racey [s/o Benjamin Racey & Ann Fraser, d/o Simon Fraser of Matane] and L. Fraser.
Quebec Morning Chronicle, 25 June 1901 reported:
In the Quebec Directory for 1861 Colborne Fraser (1837-1901) was Agent for Portneuf and Lorette paper mills; from 1864-70 Bissett & Fraser, paper manufacturers, was located at 12 and 14 St. Paul St., L.T. [Lower Town] In 1869 Colborne Fraser was Paper Maker of Quebec at the baptism of his eldest son Rowland Hill Fraser, who died in infancy. His family was still in Quebec in 1870 when Colborne Escott Fraser was born, but Louis Rowland Fraser was born in 1872 at Fort Gary (Winnipeg). In 1875 they sailed on the Samuel Plimsel to Australia, and Cecil George Fraser was born in 1877 in Sydney, NSW.
The baptism of Captain John's youngest son, Frederick Wyatt Fraser, indicates that a friendly relationship existed between the Fraser and Wyatt families as early as 1840. In 1879 Frederick W. Fraser was a merchant in Pictou, Nova Scotia.
Francis Fortescu Wyatt was born in Putney, England and lived in London before coming to Canada in 1820 as Royal Engineer and Overseer of the Kings Works at Quebec City in charge of maintaining the battlements of Quebec. By his wife, Mary Anne Parker, he had 13 children. Their eldest daughter Martha Susanna (1827-1909) in 1848 married Alexander Fraser (1823-1905); their youngest daughter Myrah (1840-1929) in 1864 married John Holliday (1823-1891), a native of Dundee, Scotland, who had worked in Ireland before coming to Canada about 1850.
In 1849 Alexander Fraser became a partner in his brother-in-laws company, J.J. Wyatt & Co; listed in the 1852 Quebec Directory as Fraser, Wyatt & Co., general merchants, Wyatts Wharf, St. Paul. In 1853 the partnership was dissolved; their third partner, John Lowndes had left, and Jeffrey James Wyatt was now at Halifax, although he took responsibility for the bankruptcy proceedings.
In 1859 John Holliday became a partner in A. Fraser & Co., fish merchants and agents for Coasting line of Steamers and agents for the Western Fire and Marine Ins. Co., and Canada Fire and Marine Ins. Co., St. Peter 99. With the death of John Holliday in 1891, his two eldest sons John and James acquired their fathers rights. In 1902 Alex Fraser & Co., discontinued the shipping business, which was then supplied by Holliday Bros., until it was taken over in 1921 by Clarke Steamship Co.
to The Quebec Morning Chronicle , 4th
Montreal Daily Star,
23rd June 1909 reported:
It is understandable how the compiler of the genealogies for the book on Yamachiche families could have confused John Fraser of the Field Train Department with John Fraser, late Captain of the 76th Regiment of Foot. Unfortunately, in the process, he has also no doubt succeeded in confusing several generations of their descendants.
The above article, with detailed genealogical charts, appeared in Canadian Explorer, December 2001.
This Feature was posted September 15, 2002
© Clan Fraser Society of Canada,
1998-2004. All rights reserved. Copying, transmitting, or storing
protected material by any means is forbidden, except for viewing the material
from specifically licensed sources, unless express, specific permission is
supplied by the copyright holder.