Grace Anglican Church Cemetery

Grace Anglican Church Cemetery

The former part of the Grace Anglican Church Cemetery, which dates from the first quarter of the 19th century,  has several peculiarities that make it an exceptional site.

Strolling through a historic cemetery like that of the Anglican community of Mascouche and taking note of the names and surnames on the tombstones is like discovering the pages of a precious history book. These names evoke important witnesses, important figures and outstanding families of the Anglican community, not only of the current territory of Mascouche, but also of that of Terrebonne. Indeed, the cemetery served this Anglican community in its entirety. In general, surnames, whether of Irish, Scottish, or other origin, are indispensable sources of information for genealogists, particularly regarding the pioneering settlement of the 19th century.

Photo : Ferland Photo, chasseur d’image

The Pangman Tumulus

In this cemetery you will see a tumulus: a mound of earth under which are buried the bodies of the last three Pangman lords : Peter (1744-1819), John (1808-1867) and John Henry (1845-1880). Peter Pangman was a fur trader in Saskatchewan before acquiring the seigneury of Lachenaie in 1794. He would be the first to be buried in this cemetery in 1819. John Pangman was a justice of the peace for the county, a militia lieutenant, and a legislative councilor (senator). These roles were performed in addition to being seigneur of Lachenaie, operating the seigneurial mills, and working tirelessly to obtain a post office for Mascouche. His son, John Henry Pangman, inherited the seigneury and further exploited  the sawmills of Mascouche and Saint-Lin; he was also president of the Laurentian Railway Company, which allowed for the village of La Plaine to be established and subsequently thrive.

Photo: Collection Société d'histoire de Mascouche / SODAM

Peter Pangman

After the British Conquest (1760), the seigneuries passed into the hands of English or Scottish lords who brought along with them several of their fellow citizens. In 1795, the new seigneur Peter Pangman settled in Mascouche and began to grant land in the area of La Plaine. However, it was not until the wave of Anglophone colonization between 1820 and 1850 that a community was established in Mascouche. The cemetery near Grace Church shows evidence of the presence of these English, Scottish and Irish pioneer families.

In 1794, Peter Pangman left his fur trading activities in Saskatchewan to move to Mascouche after acquiring the seigneury. He became the first lord to live in the Mascouche estate. It can therefore be hypothesized that it was he who, around 1795, would have overseen the construction of the manor, whose size was still a modest 59 X 31 feet. He later expanded it by adding a wing on the east side between 1795 and 1819.

As there was not yet a village in the seigneury, the estate became the heart of commercial activities in the region, which Pangman ensured were focused on logging. It included a sawmill where timber was brought down to the St. Lawrence River. In addition, he established a sawmill on the banks of the Achigan River, which in turn contributed to the founding of the village of Saint-Lin. He was also responsible for the granting of lands west of Mascouche, the development of the Rang de La Plaine, and the current territory of Saint-Lin, which generated a huge volume of wood for his mills. Peter died in 1819, leaving the seigneury to be administered by George Henry Monk until the coming of age of his son John.

Photo: L.A.F. Crépeau / Mascouche in 1910

John Pangman

Following his family’s legacy, John quickly became a notable figure in the region. He served as a county justice of the peace, a militia lieutenant, and a member of the Legislative Council of Lower Canada (senator). He lived in the manor and had an Anglican church built in 1840, the Grace Anglican Church (opposite their cemetery), in honor of his mother Grace MacTier.

A plan from 1830 confirms the presence of a mill, called « Moulin du Rapide », a rectangular-shaped mansion with a wing at the rear of the east side and an unidentified building. It was probably John who doubled the size of the manor by adding a main building to the west, as well as the entire west wing. From 1831, the sawmill also housed a mill for treading and carding wool. The settlers criticized John for stockpiling too much wood, especially on leased land, which was half-covered with cedar wood for milling. Pangman was above all a businessman, and a great forester, the seigneury was his source of capital to develop. It is not surprising that in 1842, it was he whom obtained the post office at Mascouche and assigned his own men to oversee the management thereof.

Despite the abolition of the seigneurial system in 1854, the seigneurial estate was kept intact with the mills being operated at full capacity. However it was at this time that the village of Mascouche was developing robustly which inherently diminished the strategic role of the estate in the local economy. At this point, Mascouche was divided into two distinct socio-cultural groups: French Canadians at the bottom of the hillside, grouped around the village, and English Canadians at the top of the hillside, settled around the "Rapids" domain.

Photo: collection BANQ

John Henry Pangman

From 1867, John Henry became the owner of the seigneurial estate of Mascouche. Like his father John Pangman, he operated sawmills, developed a chassis factory in Saint-Lin and a railway between Saint-Lin and Sainte-Thérèse. The mansion is referred to as "Grace Hall," in honor of his grandmother Grace MacTier, and the namesake for Grace Church. From 1877, the estate lost its importance and took on the function of a holiday resort. The maintenance of the premises was entrusted to Mélaine Delfosse, the father of the Mascouchois painter Georges Delfosse.

When John Henry died, his heirs considered the seigneurial estate "more onerous than profitable," and the estate was sold at auction by the sheriff of the district of Joliette. At that time, some plots of the original estate were subdivided in favor of English manufacturing, but the configuration of the estate remained unchanged.

Photo: McCord Museum Collection

Roderick MacKenzie's Obelisk

This stone obelisk, the upper part of which has broken off, is a monument in commemoration of the Honourable Roderick MacKenzie, a very influential man in Terrebonne in the 19th century.

As the director of the Northwest Company, a major fur trading company at the origin of the development of Western Canada, a member of the Legislative Council of Lower Canada, a lieutenant-colonel of militia, and a member of the American Antiquarian Society, he was a key player in the development of Terrebonne; he served as seigneur of Terrebonne from 1817 to 1824 and died on August 15, 1844.

Photo: Collection Société d'histoire de Mascouche / SODAM

Roderick MacKenzie

Photo: Dictionnaire biographique du Canada

Funeral monument of Simon Fraser

Directly next to Roderick MacKenzie's obelisk is a monument in memory of Dr. Simon Fraser.

Born on New Year’s Day in 1769, Dr. Fraser was an officer in a Scottish regiment and lived in Terrebonne.  He was wounded during his military service, and those who came to his funeral wanted him to be remembered as having been good and honest.

At barely fourteen years old, Simon Fraser opted for military life and as was then customary, bought the rank of ensign. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1795 and the following year enlisted in the 42nd Regiment, or Royal Highlanders, at Saint Lucia in the West Indies. In June, he was wounded during the assault on the Vigia, in Saint-Vincent. He followed his regiment to England and soon after was garrisoned in Gibraltar. He was also spent time on duty in Menorca and Egypt. In 1802, he was put on half pay, just like his grandfather had been.

The Frasers' ties to the North-West Fur Company, notably through Simon’s brother Alexander, generally explain the influx of many Scots to Terrebonne, especially since the seigneury was then in the hands of the McTavish estate and was administered by Henry MacKenzie.

On September 17, 1807, Dr. Fraser acquired land on Rue Saint-Louis from the sheriff. He undertook the construction of a large, monumental house, which he sold to Roderick McKenzie while still under construction in 1808. This house still exists and is located at 906 rue Saint-Louis in Terrebonne.

Fraser bought John Knoblook's property (now at 938 Rue Saint-Louis in Terrebonne) and occupied it for 21 years. The following year he was listed as an officer in the militia of the 2nd Battalion of the Terrebonne Division. In 1835, he and his son John acquired a house on Rue de l'Attrape, an old commercial building whose first foundations date back to 1741; today it is found at 275 boulevard des Braves.

Dr. Simon Fraser oversaw the care of the old Scottish families of the region: Frobisher, Henry, McGillivray, Oldham, Thompson, Roderick Mackenzie and even, if the records for the years 1811 and 1813 are to be believed, Sir Alexander MacKenzie. The "Montréal Almanac" mentions Fraser as a physician still exercising in Terrebonne in 1831.

In his will, he asked to be buried in the sandy hillside, without religious ceremony and without the presence of any priest or minister! It seems, however, that his wishes were ignored. Simon Fraser died in Terrebonne on February 2, 1844.

Photo: Collection Société d'histoire de Mascouche / SODAM

Simon Fraser

Royal Highlanders Military Doctor (42nd Reg.), Simon Fraser.

Photo: The Oregon history project

Stele of Henry Monroe

The son of the Honourable John Munro of Dundas, Ontario, this physician first worked (in 1796) as a medical officer with the Northwest Company, notably at Grand Portage and The Pic. In 1812 he took part in the war as surgeon to the Canadian Voyageurs Corps, and in 1817 he moved to Montreal, where he worked at the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital. He retired to the bucolic setting of the village of Lachenaie,  joining his friends Fraser and MacKenzie. He died in Lachenaie on August 20, 1854.

Photo: Collection Société d'histoire de Mascouche / SODAM

Matthew Moody's Obelisk

Matthew Moody was born in Yorkshire, England, around 1811. He probably apprenticed as a blacksmith there, and it was in this capacity that he first settled in the Sault-au-Récollet in Montreal, after his arrival in Canada around 1829. There, he specialized in the crafting of axes.

In 1833, he married Mary Kempley from Ile Jésus. The following year, the Moody couple and their first son, John, settled in Terrebonne on rue Saint-François-Xavier, between boulevard des Braves and rue Sainte-Marie. Once established, Matthew Moody quickly transformed his blacksmith shop into a grain threshing factory. Around 1840, his business was clearly thriving since his generous donations enabled the construction of the first Anglican church in Terrebonne. This wooden church was burned down in 1978, after serving as a private residence.

It was not until 1857 that Matthew Moody built a factory on Rue Saint-Louis, on land leased from Madame Masson (the lordess) near the current Highway 25 bridge. He thus benefited from the hydraulic energy of the Mille Iles River, which still bares the topography that guided the water to the factory.

Between 1860 and 1880, this factory employed an average of twenty blacksmiths, molders, foundries, carpenters, and mechanics to manufacture various agricultural machinery, including threshers and mowers. These men and boys worked under the direction of John Moody, Matthew Moody's eldest son and reliable affiliate.

In 1878, he left his three sons, John, Matthew Jr, and Henry, to manage the new Matthew Moody & Sons company. The facilities were valued at $41,000, and between 1878 and 1887, business was going well. Matthew died in Terrebonne in 1887.‎

Photo: Collection Société d'histoire de Mascouche / SODAM

Alexander Family Obelisk

The Irishman John Alexander (1801-1890), accompanied by his parents Francis Alexander and Elizabeth Wallace, arrived in Mascouche in 1824, long before the Great Potato Famine that ravaged Ireland 20 years later.  In February 1827, he married Rebecca Robinson, who immigrated from Ireland in 1819.

For a few years, he worked as a manager for the Honourable John Pangman at the Mascouche Rapids Manor and later bought a farm in the same vicinity.
Over the years he established his seven sons on nearby lands: Lancelot, Francis, Richard, William, James, Joseph, and George.  Two other sons lived outside Mascouche, and including his four daughters, Alexandre boasted a family of thirteen children. Dr. John Alexander practiced medicine in Montreal and Thomas became a veterinarian in Ottawa. 

John remained active on his land until the age of 80 when he passed the farm to his son Joseph (1845-1924), Joseph’s wife Eveline Robinson and their six children. Joseph eventually served as mayor of Mascouche between 1915 and 1917, and he raised a large herd of registered Ayrshire cows on the Cloverdale dairy farm.

George R. (1885-1957), the youngest of his children, inherited the family property. His wife Eliza McNeilly bore him four children: Muriel, Freda, John H. and Stella.  George R. Alexander served his fellow citizens as an alderman for more than twenty years, until 1954.

Other family members followed his example; John H, was the last to live on the ancestral land, with his wife Elizabeth Mackay and their four daughters.

Photo: Collection Société d'histoire de Mascouche / SODAM

The great Protestant families

It was around 1825 that most of the great English-speaking families arrived in the region. The cemetery bears witness to the strong presence of many of these families including: Alexander, Brereton, Ewan, Hamilton, Henderson, Hodgson, McKay, Moody, Patterson, Robinson, and Walker. Among these pioneers, the Alexander, Brereton, Robinson, and Reilly families all came from County King, Ireland. There were some Scottish, the Ewan and McKay families, and several others, mostly from the Yorkshire region of England, were considered “truly English.”

It must be noted that the establishment of Protestants on this territory occurred quite slowly. During the 1770s, only two weavers settled in Terrebonne before other immigrants later joined them. In 1795, Peter Pangman granted land in the La Plaine row to brothers Andrew and John Christopher Myers – Haindedier, then to Robert Robertson, but it was not until the wave of Anglophone colonization from 1825 to 1850 that a true Protestant community was established in the region.

Vandalism at the cemetery

As is evident when you walk these historic grounds, several monuments have been badly damaged. In October 1972, more than 70 stelae and tombstones were overturned.  At the time, the newspaper L'Artisan described the act as a savage of vandalism.

Photo: Collection Société d'histoire de Mascouche / SODAM

Extract of
Footprints of the Past

Footprints of the Past image circuit

Presented by : SODAM

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