The theme of this blog is Frampton’s first Protestants. Frampton is most thought of as being an Irish Catholic settlement. Yet many of Frampton’s first settlers were Protestant. In fact, in the 1825 Lower Canada census, about half of the residents were Protestant and half were Catholic. It wouldn’t be until the huge influx of Irish Catholics in the late 1820s that the Catholic majority would be established.
Credit for being the first Protestant in Frampton Township must go to the first wife of Frampton’s first settler Andrew Murphy. Andrew Murphy married his first wife, Mary Mackie on September 5, 1809 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Quebec City. This would be one among many examples of marriage between Catholics and Protestants in Frampton. Mary Mackie went with Andrew Murphy to settle on lands in Frampton Township around 1816. She died in 1817 and Andrew remarried a Catholic.
The first Protestant settlers appear to have been from England, not Ireland. The Thomas Kell and John Hodgson families from England settled in Frampton Township in 1817. Both of these families have long established histories in the Frampton vicinity and married into the many Irish families. Thomas Kell and his wife Ann Colpitts had at least eight children that lived with them in Frampton. Some of their descendant families were among those who later emigrated to California. John Hodgson and his wife Hannah Maria Brown had at least four children that lived with them in Frampton. John Hodgson was a militia officer and his son Thomas Hodgson was a Justice of the Peace. The Hodgson would go on to be major land owners in Frampton Township.
The John Ross family arrived from Belfast, Ireland around 1820. John Ross and his wife Elizabeth Thompson’s sons Adam Ross and Andrew Ross would be prominent Frampton citizens. Andrew Ross would be Frampton’s surveyor, making his first survey in the Township in 1830.
The large family of William Wilson and Isabella Thompson arrived before 1825 from Tullocheasley, County Antrim, Ireland. This was a very significant Protestant family of at least six children. Daughter Margaret Wilson was married to William Bartholomew. Daughter Isabella Wilson was married to Hugh Bradley. Daughter Martha Wilson was married to William Morrow. So all of these Frampton Protestant families came from County Antrim as well. Isabella Thompson is found listed in the 1825 and 1831 Lower Canada census, merely as the widow Wilson.
The William Bartholomew and Hugh Bradley families arrived probably around 1823. William Bartholomew and Margaret Wilson had at least six children living with them in Frampton. Hugh Bradley and Isabella Wilson had at least nine children living with them in Frampton. These two families were very prominent in the activities of the Springbrook (Christ Church) Anglican Church. Probably more of their descendants can be found in the Springbrook cemetery than any other families.
William Wawne and his wife Sarah Litch settled in Frampton Township in 1821. It isn’t known where he was from but he was prominent in the Township’s early activities. He was Frampton’s first militia officer. He was also named with Gilbert Henderson as an administrator for construction of a bridge over the Etchemin River to East Frampton in 1829. He was also an early school commissioner and a trustee for the first Protestant church (Springbrook). He disappears from Frampton records around 1841.
William Ware was Frampton’s first surveyor who took up lands in East Frampton around 1823. In the 1825 Lower Canada census, he is listed in the Parish of Ste. Claire in a household of one. In 1831, his household included 11 persons. Other than his survey records, vert little information about his life in East Frampton has been found. He may have been only a part time resident.
There were several other Protestant families found in the 1825 census. Joseph Gathwaite (spelled Garwitts in the census) and James Scott arrived around 1820. George Beatty arrived around 1821. Kenneth Sutherland from Scotland also arrived about 1821. Charles White and his wife Susan settled in Frampton around 1824 from County Cavan, Ireland. His presence would attract most of his siblings to Frampton by the 1831 census.
The early Protestant community worked closely with the Catholic community in establishing the a village of sorts in Frampton. In the History of Frampton in the Newspaper L’Action Sociale it is mentioned that the Protestants assisted in the construction of the first Catholic chapel in Frampton in 1825. The Protestants would work towards establishing their own church at Springbrook. But the Springbrook church did not start until June 7, 1835. The first entry on June 7, 1835 in the Springbrook register was the baptism of Ann McNeely, daughter of Robert McNeely and Jane Watson. It would be followed that day by 13 other baptisms for families from Frampton, Standon and Cranbourne. Prior to Springbrook’s establishment in 1835, the Protestants of Frampton were served by a variety of other congregations. Some of these were: St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Quebec City, Chalmer’s Presbyterian Church in Quebec City, Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral in Quebec City, the Traveling Anglican Missionaries in Quebec City, Aubigny Church of England in Levis, Leeds Church of England in Megantic, Liniere/Kennebec Church of Scotland and St. Peter’s Protestant Church in St. George Beauce. There may have been others that the Frampton Protestants traveled to or their ministers were involved in making visits to the Frampton vicinity.
There are three important sources for information about the history of the Frampton Protestant community. An Anglican Heritage, Christ Church in Frampton by Anne-Marie Poulin provides a good overview. Anglican Church and Cemetery in Springbrook (Frampton, Quebec) by Jean Simard and others at Laval University is a much more detailed study and includes some genealogy charts of the major families. The chapter La communaute protestante d’hier a aujourd’hui in Saint-Malachie, d’hier a aujourd’hui, 1857-2007 by Jean-Francois Caron provides additional background, especially as it pertains to the Protestants of St. Malachie and Standon and the St. Paul’s chapel.
My research and study of the Frampton Irish, both Catholic and Protestant, has led me to believe that the lines between the Protestant and Catholic communities were not very black and white. Study of this community using a genealogical approach clearly shows a great deal of inter-marriage between the communities despite what some local historians would have you believe. Further, some families baptized some of their children at the Catholic church and some at the Protestant church. I have discovered absolutely no animosity between the Protestants and Catholics. In fact there are many examples of the two religious communities working together for the betterment of all.
I came to realize that no study of the Frampton Irish would be complete without doing research in the Protestant church records. So I recently completed the extraction of all the events recorded in the Springbrook register from 1835 to 1900 using both the Drouin Collection and the original microfilm. I am now working towards putting this data into my "indexing" project. I also extracted all the Protestant events that made reference to Frampton that were found prior to 1835 in the registers of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Quebec City, Chalmer’s Presbyterian Church in Quebec City, Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral in Quebec City, the Traveling Anglican Missionaries in Quebec City, Aubigny Church of England in Levis, Leeds Church of England in Megantic, Liniere/Kennebec Church of Scotland and St. Peter’s Protestant Church in St. George Beauce. From this work, I have found many more places of Irish origins and have been able to link some of the families together.
In terms of research tips, the Protestant church records for those that lived in the Frampton vicinity are generally found in the Springbrook registers. The Springbrook registers were a collection of events that occurred within the congregations of Springbrook (Christ Church), St. Paul’s in St. Malachie, St. James’ in Cranbourne and Standon. Most of these registers are available in the "Drouin Collection" on Ancestry.com. But the original microfilm version has some records that are not in the "Drouin Collection." The "Drouin Collection" has the years 1858 through 1865 and 1874 to 1876 "mis-filed" with the St. Edouard de Frampton register. Further, the years 1866 to 1873 are completely missing from both the "Drouin Collection" and the original microfilm. Anyone searching for events of the Frampton Protestant community would also be wise to check Protestant registers in both Quebec City and Levis as well.
Unfortunately, the methods and styles of writing the entries for baptisms, marriages, and burials was not as "standardized" as in the Catholic registers. For example, the Protestant records seldom give the names of the parents in a marriage record. They also don’t always mention the name of a spouse in a burial record. But because the register could vary church to church and minister to minister, all events in the original records should be found for a given family just in case important information might be provided.