Genealogical & Family History of Northern, NY
Pages 725-733

William Richard Cutter, A. M.
Editorial Supervisor

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam

 

HOLDEN. The surname Holden, Holding, or Houlding, is ancient and distinguished in England. Various branches of the family bear coats-of-arms and titles.

(I) Richard Holden, immigrant ancestor, born in England , in 1609, came to this country in the ship "Francis," sailing from Ipswich, England, April 30, 1634. He settled first at Ipswich, Massachusetts, where he was for a time a land owner. His brother, Justinian. Born in 1611, came a year later, and settled in Watertown, Massachusetts, whither Richard also removed soon afterward. A manuscript family record, written about 1800, states that they had brothers Adam and William, and an uncle James Holden, "one of the Lords of England," who secured their release by the sheriff who had arrested them for attending a "dissenting meeting" on condition that they would do so no more "in that country"--an instance of the intolerance of that day.

Richard Holden resided at Cambridge for a time, and Justinian settled there. Richard was a proprietor of Woburn in 1658. He sold his place in Watertown in 1655 to J. Sherman. He was admitted a freeman May 6, 1657. In 1656-57 Richard settled in Groton, where he had nine hundred and seventy-five acres of land in the northerly part of the town, now in Shirley, part of which was lately occupied by Porter Kittridge. His land extended on the west bank of the Nashua River from a point near Beaver Pond to the northward. He spent his last years with his son Stephen, to whom he gave his real estate, march 23, 1691, calling himself at that time, "aged, infirm and a widower." He died at Groton, March 1, 1696; his wife died at Watertown, December 6, 1691. He married, in 1640, Martha, daughter of Stephen Fosdick, of Charlestown. The latter left a forty-acre lot of land to Richard, situated in Woburn. Children: 1. Stephen, born July 19, 1642; killed by fall from a tree at Groton, in 1659. 2. Justinian, born 1644, mentioned below. 3. Martha, January 15, 1645-46; married Thomas Boyden. 4. Samuel, June 8, 1650; settled in Groton and Stoneham. 5. Mary, married Thomas Williams. 6. Sarah, married, December 20, 1677, Gershom Swan. 7. Elizabeth. 8. Thomas, born 1657. 9. John, 1667. 10, Stephen, about 1658.

Page 726

(II) Justinian, son of Richard Holden, was born in 1644. He lived at Billerica and Groton, Massachusetts, and perhaps at Cambridge. He left Billerica on account of some differences with the tax collector. He was a carpenter by trade. He gave a power of attorney to his wife and son, December 14, 1696. He married (first) Mary ---------, who died May 15, 1691, at Billerica; (second) Susanna ------------. Children: 1. Mary, born May 10, 1680. 2. James, mentioned below. 3. Ebenezer, may 11, 1690, at Woburn. 4. Susanna, October 16, 1694, at Billerica. Perhaps others.

(III) James, son of Justinian Holden, was born in 1685, and died at Barre, Worcester County, Massachusetts, in 1766. The only clue to his parentage is given in the probate records, which give his father's name when he had a guardian appointed March 17, 1700. He was then fifteen years old. He resided in Groton, Cambridge, and Charlestown. He came to Worcester about 1719, and removed about twenty years later to Barre, then Rutland district. His will was offered for [probate at Worcester, December 3, 1766. He bequeathed to wife Hannah; grandson John, son of eldest son James; Jeduthan, eldest son of son Daniel and other children of Daniel--Rachel, Daniel, Martha, Katherine, Nathan and James; sons Josiah, Thomas and Aaron; daughters Mary, wife of Israel Green, and Abigail, wife of Josiah Bacon. (Worcester Record, 30,101.) He spelled his name Holdein in the will. He married, February 17, 1708-09, at Charlestown, Hannah Adams, of Cambridge. Children, Born at Charlestown, and baptized at Cambridge, November 18, 1711: 1. Hannah, born December 18,m 1709. 2. James, August 4, 1711. Other children: 3. Abigail, married Josiah bacon. 4. Daniel, born at Worcester. 5. Mary, February 11, 1719. 6. Josiah, July 24, 1721; married Abigail Bond, or Watertown. 7. Thomas, October 26, 1723; mentioned below. 8. Abigail, May 5, 1728. 9. Keziah, August 15, 1729. 10. Aaron, January 20, 1731-32; had the homestead at Barre.

(IV) Thomas, son of James Holden, was born in Worcester, October 26, 1723. He was a farmer and miller, and sold out just before the close of the Revolution for Continental money, which became valueless. He married Ruth ----------. Children, born at Barre: 1. Thomas, March 23, 1752, died young. 2. Lavinia, September 2, 1753. 3. Joseph, June 23, 1755. 4. Aaron, see forward. 5. Kezia, April 8, 1757. 6. Thomas, killed during the Revolution, shot by an Indian at Cherry Valley, New York. 7. Anna, May 27, 1759. 8. Ruth, May 12, 1761. 9. John, October 13, 1763. 10. David, killed in the Revocation.

(V) Aaron, son of Thomas and Ruth Holden, was born at Barre, Massachusetts, June 23, 1755, and died at Ellisburg, New York. His uncle of the same name was a captain in the Revolution and a man of prominence in Barre. Aaron moved to Shrewsburg, Vermont, in 1791, to Middletown and Chester, Vermont, and then to Ellisburg, New York. He appears to have served briefly in the Revolutionary War. he married, Anna -----------. Children: 1. Thomas. 2. Lewis. 3. John. 4. Eli. 5. Charles. 6. Rachel. 7. Easter. 8. Jemima. 9. Sally. 10. Anna. 11. Harriet. 12. Lucy.

(VI) Asa, son of Aaron and Anna Holden, was born in Barre, in 1791. He was by trade a blacksmith. He was a soldier during the War of 1812, serving in the New York militia in the company of Captain Emigh. For many years he lived in Floyd, Oneida County, New York, removing later to Turin, Lewis County, New York, where he spent the remainder of his life. He married Pluma Wilcox, who was born at Farmington, Connecticut, October 29, 1791. Children: 1. Emery Bennett, see forward. 2. Elery Rufus. 3. Betsey Douglas. 4. Phebe Leonard.

Page 727

(VII) Emery Bennett, son of Asa and Pluma (Wilcox) Holden, was born in Floyd, Oneida County, New York, October 28, 1814, and died at Turin, New York, April 2, 1878. He was educated in the common schools and lived in Floyd until about 1832, when he came to Turin and engaged as a clerk in the dry goods store of his uncle Ozias Wilcox, later becoming a partner of his employer. Subsequently he formed a partnership with N. W. Moore, under the firm name of Holden & Moore, and was also associated with Albert G. Dayan. About 1845 he engaged in the drug and grocery business, which he conducted until 1858, when he organized the firm of Holden & Dewey (Duane Dewey), which continued until the death of the latter in 1862. From that time until his death he conducted the drug business in the same location. He took an active interest in all town affairs, serving for a number of years as supervisor, justice of the peace, and justice of sessions, and was also active in educational matters, and served as a member of the board of education for many years. During the Civil War he was a member of the senate war Committee. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and was trustee and treasurer many years. He married (first) at Turin, May 27, 1840, Delia Helen Dewey, born September 3, 1821, died November 7, 1843. Child: 1. Delia Melinda, , born august 28, 1841. He married (second) August 15, 1845, Maria Dewey, (see Dewey). She died August 1, 1898. Children: 1. Emery Dewey, born in Turin, September 8, 1846; educated in Lowville Academy, Cazanovia Seminary and Eastman's Business College; enter his father's store, where he remained until the death of the latter, and afterward formed a partnership with his brother under the firm name of Holden Brothers. During the Civil War he enlisted in the company of Captain Root, but failed to pass the examination. 3. Helen Maria, born May 22, 1849. 4. William Duane, see forward. 5. Royal Dwight, born October 22, 1860, died May 4, 1862.

(VIII) William Duane, son of Emery Bennett and Maria (Dewey) Holden, Was born at Turin, New York, May 25, 1857, and was educated in the public schools of his native town. In 1876 he entered the employ of his father, who was at that time proprietor of a drug store and a general merchant in Turin. After his father's death he and his brother, E. Dewey Holden, became associated in partnership as Holden Brothers to carry on the business, and they have continued together very successfully up to the present time. In politics he is a Republican, and served as clerk of the board of supervisors in 1903. In religion he is a Presbyterian, and is an elder of the Turin Presbyterian Church. He has been superintendent of the Sunday School since 1886.

Mr. Holden married, October 7, 1883, Carrie H., daughter of Alfred H. and Elizabeth (Hunt) Lee. Children: 1. Kate E., born at Turin, April 22, 1885; educated at Turin, graduated from Chicago high school in 1903, and from Mount Holyoke College in 1907; is now head of the English Department of the Watertown High School, New York. 2. Helen C., born at Turin, January 15, 1887, was graduated from Turin Union School in 1905; student for two years at the Elms, Springfield, Massachusetts, and was graduated from the kindergarten department of the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York, is now teaching in the Bethany Memorial Kindergarten, of Brooklyn. 3. William Stuart, born at Turin, March 14, 1896.

(The Dewey Line)

(II) Cornet Thomas (2) Dewey, son of Thomas Dewey (q.v.), was born February 16, 1640, in Windsor, Connecticut. He was there as late as January 18, 1`660; removed to Northampton, Massachusetts, where he was granted a home lot, November 12, 1662, of four acres, on condition that he make improvements on it and possess it three years, also a lot of twelve acres. In August, 1666, he was connected with a mill. He removed to Waranoak, than a part of Springfield, under the direction of a settling committee appointed in February, 1665, and is first mentioned there as third on a list of twenty grantees of land, of which his part was three acres, upon certain conditions. 

Page 728

This land was laid out April 24, 1667, and confirmed January 9, 1668. From then on he became an influential citizen in the new town, and was called upon to fill many important positions. January 21, 1669, he was appointed, with others, to go to Springfield to a town meeting there, to lay before the general court matters connected with the boundaries and settlement of their new town, and February 2, 1669, he was again appointed, with others, to lay out an additional grant. The town was incorporated as Westfield, May 28, 1669. In 1762, with his two brothers, Josiah and Jedediah, and Joseph whiting, he competed the second mill in the town, in the Little river district, and in December of the same year the town agreed to allow them to toll of one-twelfth part of the corn they ground. The Deweys afterward had extended litigation in the court respecting these mills, which terminated in their favor. March 12, 1677, he was appointed fence viewer for the ensuing year. He was representative to Boston, 1677-79; selectman, 1677 and 1686; licensed by the court to "keep a public house of entertainment," September 26, 1676. He took the freeman's oath September 28, 1680; on a committee to locate the county road to Windsor, march 30, 1680; appointed cornet of Hampshire Troops at general court, July 8, 1685' joined the church May 9, 1680. December 17, 1680, he was granted, with his brother Josiah and Lieutenant Mosely, the right to set up a saw and grist mill on Two-Mile Brook. February 1, 1681, he was chosen constable. He was chosen "warden for the town ways," February 2, 1686, and with others was appointed to measure the bounds of the town, March 7, 1687, besides holding various other positions of trust and responsibility. He married, June 1, 1663, at Dorcester, Constant, daughter of Richard and Ann Hawes. She was born July 17, 1642, at Dorcester, and died April 26, 1703, by town records. She joined the Westfield Church March 24, 1680. Her father, Richard Hawes, came to Dorcester in the ship "Freelove," Captain Gibbs, in 1635, with wife and daughter Ann, aged two and one-half years, and son Obadiah, six months. He was twenty-nine years and his wife was twenty-six years old. He signed the church covenant in 1636, and was granted land in 1637 and 1646. He died in 1656. Thomas Dewey died April 27, 1690. Children, born at Northampton: 1. Thomas, March 26, 1664. 2. Adijah, March 5, 1666. 3. Mary, January 28, 1668. Born at Westfield: 4. Samuel, June 25, 1670. 5. Hannah, February 21, 1672. 6. Elizabeth, January 10, 1676. 7. James, July 3, 1678, died February 27, 1682. 8. Abigail, born February 14, 1681. 9. James, November 12, 1683, died May 5, 1686. 10. Israel, mentioned below.

(III) Israel, son of Thomas (2) Dewey, was born July 9, 1686, in Westfield, and died there, January 26, 1728. He was a farmer, and lived on his father's place on the Little River Road. He was selectman in 1720; December, 1722, by vote of the town, he with two other citizens were given a seat of honor in the meeting-house, and that same year he owned twelve acres in the general field. January, 1727, his brother Samuel deeded to him, for 100 pounds, the house and homestead which had belonged to their father Thomas, also three acres in the Little Meadow, which adjoined the above. He married, Sarah, daughter of Thomas Root, born July 27, 1683, at Westfield. His estate inventoried 812 pounds 6 shillings. Children born at Westfield: 1. Sarah, May 27, 1714. 2. Constant, March 20, 1716. 3. Child, February 2, 1717, died February 11, same year. 4. Israel, January 27, 1719. 5. Aaron, mentioned below.

(IV) Aaron, son of Israel Dewey, was born April 28, 1721, in Westfield, and died there June 11, 1768. He was a farmer on Little River road, southeast of the present schoolhouse. 

Page 729

He left an estate of over 582 pounds, including mansion house, barn and ten acres of land. He married, June 12, 1747 (family records), Sarah, daughter of Thomas and Sarah (Root) Noble, born August 11, 1723, in Westfield, died there May 26, 1796. Children, born at Westfield: 1. Aaron (second), twin, born June 23, 1748, died November 4, 1748. 2. Sarah, (twin) born June 23, 1748. 3. Aaron (third), born January 20, 1750, died January 29, 1750. 4. Aaron (fourth), January 15, 1751, mentioned below. 5. John, January 20, 1754. 6. Silas, March 22, 1756, died October 6, 1757. 7. Eunice, March 22, 1758, died December 22, 1772. 8. Silas, January 9, 1761. 9. Levi, January 28, 1768.

(V) Aaron (4), son of Aaron (1) Dewey, was born January 15, 1751, in Westfield, and died February 17, 1824, at Franklin, New York. He was a farmer in Westfield, but removed to Franklin about 1800. His name appears on a muster and payroll of Captain David Mosely's company, colonel John Mosely's regiment, October 21, November 17, 1776; march to re-enforce the Northern army, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Robinson. February 12, 1798, he and his wife deeded to Roland Parks a home lot in Westfield, with dwelling house, barn, etc. He married, March 12, 1777, Sibyl, daughter of Abel and Anna (Dwight) Cadwell, born August 7, 1755, in Westfield. Children, born in Westfield: 1. Aaron, October 10, 1777. 2. Eunice, December 19, 1770, died August 15, 1790. 3. Charles, January 29, 1782, died January 27, 1783. 4. Sibyl, born November 7, 1783. 5. Charles June 15, 1786. 6. Anna, August 20, 1788. 7. Royal Dwight, October 3, 1791, mentioned below. 8. Eunice, February 24, 1794.

(VI) Royal Dwight, son of Aaron (4) Dewey, was born October 3, 1791, in Westfield, and died November 13, 1839. He was a physician at Turin Four Corners, New York. He married, March 10, 1818, Melinda Hart, daughter of Stephen and Eunice ---------, of Torrington, Connecticut. She was born in 1798, and died May 8, 1838. Children, born in Turin: 1. Son, born and died February 28, 1819. 2. Daughter, born and died April --, 1820. 3. Delia Helen, born September 3, 1821. 4. Son, born and died November 19, 1823. 4. Dwight Carlos, born December 17, 1824. 6. Maria, February 18, 1827; married Emery Bennett Holden (see Holden). 7. Duane, June 17, 1829. 8. Jane, February 17, 1832. 9. Charles, October 12, 1834, died January 23, 2836. 10. George, November 15, 1836, died July 14, 1837.

(The Lee Line)

Walter Lee, the immigrant ancestor, was born in England, about 1630, died at Westfield, Massachusetts, February 9, 1718, "at a great age." He settled first in Connecticut, and was admitted a freeman there in 1654, removed to Northampton, in 1658, and to Westfield in 1665. In 1664 he had a grant of four acres for a house lot and thirty-three acres of meadow at Westfield. He married (first) (name not known), who died at Westfield, February 29, 1696; (second) Hepsibah, widow of Caleb Pomeroy. Children of first wife, born at Northampton: 1. John, January 2, 1657, mentioned below. 2. Timothy, August 8, 1659, died young. 3. Stephen, March 5, 1662. 4. Nathaniel, December 25, 1663, at Westfield. 4. Mary, January 15, 1665, at Springfield. 5. Elizabeth, February 28, 1667, died young. 6. Hannah, born January 9, 1668. 7. Abigail, December 11, 1676.

(II) John, son of Walter Lee, was born January 2, 1657, in Northampton, and died November 13, 1711, at Westfield. He was a soldier in King Philip's War, and took part in the fight at Turner's Falls in 1676. He married (first), December 9, 1680, Sarah, daughter of William Pixley; (second) Elizabeth, daughter of Dennis Crampton. She and his son John administered the estate. Children, born at Westfield: 1. John, July 8, 1683, died August 2, 1863. Children of second wife: 2. John, born August 2, 1687,

Page 730

mentioned below. 3. Elizabeth, December 14, 1689. 4. Sarah, April 24, 1692. 5. Abigail, October 29, 1694. 6. Ruth, April 1, 1697. 7. Joanna, 1702. 8. Samuel, 1704. 9. Margaret, 1707.

(III) John (2), son of John (1) Lee, was born in Westfield, August 2, 1687. He spent his life in Westfield, and his death probably occurred in hat town.

(IV) Ichabod, son of John (2) Lee, was born in Westfield, in 1725 -26, and was a prominent citizen of that town. During the Revolution he was a Royalist, like many of the older and prominent men, who were unwilling to engage in armed rebellion against the existing government. He married Martha Root, of Westfield.

(V) Enoch Lee, descendant of Ichabod Lee, was born at Westfield, September 8, 1796. He married (first) at Middletown, Connecticut, February 12, 1824, Alma Baldwin, born at Middletown, July 7, 1798, who came to Turin with her parents when she was a young girl. He married (second) Olive Bush.

(VI) Alfred H., son of Enoch Lee, was born at Martinsburg, New York, November 6, 1824, and died April 21, 1908. His early years were passed on his father's farm. He attended the public schools of Martinsburg and Turin, and took one term of study at Lowville Academy. For three years he was a clerk ina store, and afterward devoted his time and attention to farming. From 1864 to 1868 he was senior partner of the firm of lee Brothers, owning a line of stages from Boonville to Lowville, Boonville to Port Leyden, Boonville to Constableville, and Turin to Rome, all in New York. He was a straightforward, honorable, earnest and successful man, a worthy son of a worthy sire. He was a justice of the peace for the town more than seventeen years. For more then twenty-five years he was an officer of the Lewis County Agricultural Society, filling in succession the offices of treasurer, director and president. He was loan commissioner for the town, and for several years a member of the board of education. He was trustee and also president of the incorporated village of Turin. In religion he was a Presbyterian, and served as trustee and treasurer of the First Presbyterian Church of Turin. He married, February 19, 1851, Elizabeth Hunt, born May 9, 1626, died December 19, 1900. Children: 1. Homer, born November 27, 1851, died July 25, 1857. 2. George Maurice, born June 3, 1855. 3. Kate Alma, December 26, 1857, died October 25, 1869. 4. Carrie Hunt, born April 5, 1860. 5. Mary Lizzie, August 15, 1863. 6. Louis Homer, December 4, 1869.

LAFONTAINE. This family is of French origin, and settled in Canada about the year 1700. Of this family was Joseph Lafontaine, who was born at Chambly, Province of Quebec, Canada, in 1787. In 1826 he removed to Champlain, New York, where he died in 1832, during an epidemic of cholera, at the early age of forty-five years. He married Louise Harteau, born in Chambly, in 1795, and died in Champlain in 1874. Children: 1. Camille, further mentioned. 2. Francis. 3. Julude. 4. Rachel. 5. Mathilde. 6. Laura. 7. Joseph, who was the only one surviving in 1909, and 8. a child who died in infancy.

(II) Camille Lafontaine, son of Joseph and Louise (Harteau) Lafontaine, was born in Chambly, Canada, February 6, 1813, and died in Champlain, New York, June 28, 1901. For many years he worked in the saw mills of Pliny Moore, Esquire, of which he was superintendent for many years. he was an honored member of the community. He married Mrs. Laura (Gosselin) Tetreau, widow of Jean Tetreau, born November 11, 1819, died in Champlain, New York, August 11, 1882, daughter of Louis and Louise (Harbeck) Gosselin, granddaughter of Louis Gosselin, a lieutenant in the Revolution, under General Hazen; clement, a brother of Louis Gosselin, also served in the Revolution with the rank of captain. Children of Jean and Louise (Gosselin) Tetreau: 1. Samuel, died in 1861, unmarried. 2-3. Amelia and Adelaide, both Sisters of Charity, died and are buried in the convent of their order at St. Hyacinthe, Canada. Children of Camille and Laura (Gosselin) Lafontaine: 1. Joseph G., born August 29, 1850, died January 23, 1908; married (first) Henriette Houde; (second) Marie Z. Prud'homme; children of first marriage: 1. Mary Ada. 2. Duncan A. 3. Douglas L. 4. Cora L. Child of second marriage: Edward J. Lafontaine. 2. Louis C., born July 24, 1852, of whom further. 3. Mary, died aged four years. 4. Edward, died aged three years.

Page 731

(III) Louis Camille Lafontaine, son of Camille and Laura (Gosselin) Lafontaine, was born in Champlain, New York, July 24, 1852. He received his education in Champlain and at Montreal, Canada, and began his active career as clerk ina general store in his native town. After a year he sought an opportunity to learn telegraphy, and entered the employ of the Central Vermont Railroad Company at Champlain, soon mastered the art, and served as operator there for thirteen years. In 1883 he resigned in order to accept a position as teller in the First National Bank of Champlain, was subsequently promoted to that of assistant cashier, and has filled it to the present time with skill and efficiency. He is also a member of that bank directorate. He is independent and liberal in his political views, and deeply interested in public affairs. He was tax collector of the town for two years, and was for a time supervisor. He was at one time nominated for county treasurer, but suffered defeat, his party being in the minority. In religion he is a Roman Catholic, a communicant of St. Mary's Church. He is a member of the New York State Historical Society, and an honorary member of the L'Union St. Jean Baptiste d'Amerique. He is a very prominent and influential citizen, highly respected for his integrity, and held in high esteem for his public spirit.

A deep student of history, and holding in reverence the good and wise men of the past, Mr. Lafontaine has labored arduously and successfully to perpetuate their memory. He holds to a laudable pride in the association of his family with the beginning of the town of Champlain, his great-grandfather, Lieutenant Louis Gosselin, a stone mason, having built the first house there, in 1784, four years prior to the organization of the town. A few years ago Mr. Lafontaine conceived the idea of erecting in the village a suitable memorial to Samuel de Champlain, the distinguished French navigator and explorer, discoverer of the lake which bearing his name, founder of Quebec, and governor of Canada (1567-1635). To this purpose he devoted himself with zeal and intelligence, formulating all the plans for the procurement of the necessary means, and bringing his splendid work to completion and unveiling on July Fourth, 1907. It is curious to note (and the fact adds the greater credit die to Mr. Lafontaine) that this is the only memorial in the Untied States to the great discoverer and explorer. The unveiling ceremonies were attended by a great concourse of people, including representatives of French-American bodies from various parts of the United States and Canada, and many distinguished clergymen. Among those who delivered addresses of historic value were Mr. Lafontaine, the originator of the memorial, and Rev. Father F. X. Chagnon, of Champlain, who had warmly seconded his effort. On an opposite page of this work appears a fine place of the memorial. In recognition of Mr. Lafontaine's services in connection with the Champlain memorial, and his intelligent interest in historical matters, he was on July 24, 1908, appointed by Governor Hughes as commissioner of the New York Lake Champlain Ter-Centenary celebration, and he also attended the Hudson-Fulton celebration as an invited guest of the Hudson-Fulton Commission.

Mr. Lafontaine married, September 21, 1903, at Montreal, Canada, Emma A. Viger, born in Lennoxville, Province of Quebec. They have no children.

Page 732

CHAGNON. Among those who have attained prominence by their efforts for the religious and social improvement of the Franco-Americans in New York and the Eastern States, the Rev. Francis Xavier Chagnon, for more than thirty-three years rector of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church of Champlain, New York, ranks very high, as shown by his great popularity with the leading class of his race in the United States.

Father Chagnon was born in Vercheres, Province of Quebec, Canada, February 18, 18432, son of Moise and Marie Emilie (Prevost) Chagnon. He began his classical studies at the Joliette College in 1858, and was ordained a priest in the St. Sulpice Seminary, Montreal, Canada, January 30, 1870. After seven years' service as assistant priest in Canada, on January 6, 1877, Father Chagnon was appointed rector of St. Mary's Church at Champlain, New York. Soon after his arrival in this country he made an extensive visit to French-Canadian centers in the state of New York and New England. Finding his countrymen without organization and fast losing their national characteristics, he resolved at once, in concert with others, to hold conventions where would assembly representatives of the Franco-Americans, and discuss all questions relating to their welfare. The first convention in the state of New York was held at Plattsburgh, August 15, 1879. So great an interest did he take in these periodic national gatherings that he has been called the "Pere des Conventions,"--Father of Conventions of his grateful countrymen.

Following the convention period, the work of federation of all Franco-American societies was started, and in 1900 the great society, "L'Union St. Jean Baptiste d'Amerique," was founded. Its branches extend now to all parts of the United States where French-Canadians have migrated. Its branches extend now to all parts of the United States where French-Canadians have migrated. He was from 1902 to 1908, its spiritual adviser, and is now the honorary spiritual adviser of the society.

Father Chagnon's great ambition was the erection of a monument to Captain Samuel de Champlain, the discoverer of the beautiful lake which bears his name, in the town where he had labored so long. This project, dear to his heart, was accomplished on July Fourth, 1907, through the activity and energy of Hon. Louis C. Lafontaine, one of his parishioners, and the co-operation of all the French societies of the Eastern States, and of New York.

This outside work did not prevent Father Chagnon from building up a model parish in the town of Champlain. The rectory paid for, a grand new stone church built and nearly cleared from debt, a fine convent and an up-to-date parochial school, bear testimony to the work accomplished in Champlain by Father Chagnon.

Now, having attained the ripe age of sixty-nine years, the devoted priest and ardent patriot contemplate with delight the immense progress accomplished by his people in the United States during the last quarter of a century, and indulges in ardent hope that they will remain firmly attached to their national traditions, though being always devoted American citizens.

Page 733

 

Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., 1910

This book is owned by Pam Rietsch and is a part of the Mardos Memorial Library

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie Axtman

You are the [an error occurred while processing this directive] Visitor to this USGenNet Safe-Site™ Since September 5, 2004.

2004

[Index][Book Index][NY][AHGP]