Donald Fraser: From Wester Monzie to Restigouche Co. New Brunswick

Monzie sheep fank

The Monzie Roundal (sheep fank)

In 1861 the Restigouche County newspaper, 'The Gleaner', reported the death of Donald Fraser:

At Mountain Road, Dalhousie, 8th May 1861, Donald Fraser, farmer aged 63, native of Blair Athol, Perthshire, resident of this country for 28 years.

Luckily the 1851 Canadian census showed that he was married to Christian Stewart, and knowing that he came from Blair Atholl, provided sufficient facts to identify his marriage and origins.

Blair Atholl OPR, 8th July 1827
Donald Fraser, lately in Edinburgh, and Christian Stewart in Tirinie (married).

Linked to this couple was the birth of Helen Fraser, 15th June 1828, Edinburgh, Midlothian, and the "Dictionary of Scottish Emigrants to Canada before Confederation, Volume 2" by Donald A. Whyte has entries for Donald Fraser, Helen Fraser and Christiana Stewart who arrived in New Brunswick in 1833.

Both Donald's father and his grandfather were also called Donald, and the family can be traced back to Donald's grand-parents, Donald Frazer and Isabel Frazer, who married before the Blair Atholl marriages were formally recorded.

The earliest record of Frasers living in this area comes from the Roll of the Duke of Atholl's Fencible Men for 1706. This shows that on the Lude estate, which would included Monzie, there were three Fraser men between the ages of 16 and 60 - Donald, Alexander and John. The three names are grouped together suggesting a father and two sons all living at one settlement, possibly Monzie. Almost certainly this group contains the fathers of Donald Fraser in Wester Monzie and Donald Fraser in Raonmore.

Donald Frazer and Isabel Frazer in Wester Monzie

Donald Frazer and Isabel Frazer were living at Wester Monzie in the 1740s, but there was another Donald Fraser living close by at Raonroy (Runroy), and he was married to Isabel Stewart. The Kirk Session minutes for 4th March 1744 relate that Donald Frazer in Raonroy lodged a complaint against Jannet Robertson, spouse to John Forbes in Kirkton of Lude for scandalising him, by alleging before several others that he had bribed the Kirk Officer and that the said Jannet Robertson had raised several by-names upon him, his wife and several of his friends, and called them liars.

The Kirk Session exhorted both sides to forbear their un-christian behaviour and live more peaceably for the future. John Robertson in Balinluig of Strathgroy gave in an obligation to pay 10 Scots in case his daughter, the said Jannet Robertson, or her husband should be the first that renewed their differences by scolding or giving by-names. David Stewart in Balinluig, in like manner, gave the same security for his daughter, the said Donald Fraser's wife (Isobel Stewart) and the said Donald Fraser himself.

So when the OPR states that Isobel, the first child of Donald Frazer and Isabel Frazer, was born at Raonroy on 6th June 1743, and not at Monzie, the first conclusion would be to assume that the registrar had confused Isabel Frazer and Isabel Stewart. However, it was not unusual for the delivery of a first child to take place with the assistance of the girl's mother. If this was the case, then Isabel Fraser in Monzie probably was the sister of Donald Frazer in Raonroy.

Furthermore, as Isobel Fraser in Raonroy had an illegitimate daughter, Grissel, by John Seaton in Raonroy, baptised 12th September 1738, she must have married Donald Fraser in Monzie after that date.

It also is likely that the James Fraser in Wester Monzie who married Janet Shaw in Ceannamoin, 29th May 1744, was Donald Fraser's brother or cousin. James Fraser and Janet Shaw had three children born at Wester Monzie: Charles, 23rd September 1747; Cicel, 8th May 1750; and Grissel, 7th October 1752.

John Fraser in Wester Monzie may be yet another brother or cousin. He married Janet Forbes in Balinloan of Shierglas, 14th March 1754, They had five children born at Wester Monzie: Janet, 27th December 1754; James, 5th August 1758; and Christian, 28th July 1763; and twins Margaret and John, 20th April 1769.


(Generation 1) The Family of Donald Frazer and Isabel Frazer in Wester Monzie

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Isabel Jun 6 1743
Donald McLauchlan Mar 1 1764 Ceannamoin h.
James Oct 29 1745
Wester Monzie
Isobel McIntosh
in Ceannamoin
Apr 19 1771 Wester Monzie h.
Alexander Jan 31 1751
Wester Monzie
Wester Monzie d.
Donald Feb 19 1753
Wester Monzie
Ann Stewart
in Tirinie
Nov 20 1778 Tirinie h.
Charles Oct 23 1755
Wester Monzie
Janet Fraser Sep 4 1780 Wester Monzie h.
Christian Oct 23 1757
Wester Monzie
Wester Monzie d.


(Generation 2) The Family of Donald McLauchlan and Isabel Fraser in Ceannamoin

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Alexander Feb 13 1765 . . Ceannamoin d.
Donald Aug 17 1766 . . Ceannamoin d.
Janet Apr 12 1768 . . Ceannamoin d.
James Apr 18 1770 . . Ceannamoin d.
Margaret Apr 1 1772 . . Ceannamoin d.
Isabel Nov 13 1779 . . Ceannamoin d.


(Generation 2) The Family of James Fraser and Isobel McIntosh in Wester Monzie

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Janet Apr 12 1772 . . Wester Monzie d.
Aug 12 1775 . . Wester Monzie d.
Alexander Apr 8 1778 . . Wester Monzie d.
Charles Dec 23 1780 . . Wester Monzie d.
James Dec 14 1784 . . Wester Monzie d.


(Generation 2) The Family of Donald Fraser and Ann Stewart in Wester Monzie and Tirinie

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Janet Sep 3 1779
Wester Monzie
Alexander McGruer
in Edinburgh
Aug 27 1809 Edinburgh h.
Isabel Aug 29 1781
William Stewart
in Kincraigie
Feb 12 1801 Tomnaguie h. before 1864
w. Jun 2 1864
Ann Nov 25 1783
James McLauchlane
in Balintoul
May 28 1804 Balintoul h.
Katharine Jan 4 1789
Tirinie d.
('Old Peter')
Oct 27 1791
Henrietta Ambrose

Elizabeth Stewart
May 10 1829

Jun 12 1853
Clachglas h. Aug 29 1877
1w. before 1851
2w. 1895
Margaret Jun 25 1794
Alexander Campbell
in Tom of Lude
Dec 28 1817 Tom of Lude h. 1841-51
w. after 1851
Donald (twin) Nov 8 1797
Christian Stewart Jul 8 1827 Restigouche Co.,
New Brunswick
h. May 8 1861
Jean (twin) Nov 8 1797
Tirinie d.


'Old Peter' Fraser, head-stalker to the Duke of Atholl

Peter Fraser began working on the Atholl estate as a young man and by 1839 he had become head stalker to the Duke. When Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited Blair Atholl in 1844 the mountains were a revelation to her. A couple of days after visiting the Falls of Bruar, they went up An Tulloch, a small prominance to the south of Blair Atholl, accompanied by the ghillie Sandy McAra who was in full 'Highland Dress'. She wrote in her diary that it was "the most delightful, the most romantic ride and walk I ever had" and "I had never been up such a mountain, and the day was very fine". In 1844 very few people climbed 'Scottish Hills', merely for the pleasure of it, but these expeditions had fired her imagination and a full scale mountain expedition was planned.

A couple of says later, again in the company of Sandy McAra, the Royal Party drove up Glentilt, past Marble Lodge to Clachglas, the house of Peter Fraser the head stalker. Here, Victoria mounted her pony and, accompanied by Peter, Sandy and some others, ascended Ghrianan hill by the stalker's path. At the top she dismounted and they walked to the summit of Carn a' Chlamain - making it the first recorded ascent of that particular Munro, although the estate stalkers probably had visited the summit on numerous occasions. After picnicking and admiring the view, Prince Albert and Peter Fraser went off to shoot a stag or two, and despite being unsuccessful Peter Fraser declared to Prince Albert that he had been "thirty seven years here and during that time, had not seen before so good a shot as you are". Upon his departure, Prince Albert gave both Peter Fraser and Sandy McAra, a gift 50 each - the equivalent of a year's wage for a skilled working man in those days.

Peter's first wife seems to have been Henrietta Ambrose who came from the parish of Clunie, but the Blair Atholl OPR just describes Peter as "in this parish". As well as the Blair Atholl entry of 10th May 1829, there is a similar entry in Clunie OPR dated 15th May 1829.

Peter Fraser and Henrieta Ambrose in Mains of Blair had a daughter baptised 1st February 1831, named Amelia Glenlion (Glenlyon) - James Murray, son of the 4th Duke of Atholl, had the title of 1st Baron Glenlyon. There may have been several other children whose names are not in the OPR. The whereabouts of the family in 1841 is unknown, but their son George is mentioned in the 1851 census for Clachglas.

Name Occupation Related Status Age Birth-place
Peter Fraser gamekeeper head widower 60y Blair Atholl
George Fraser scholar son u/m 17y Blair Atholl
Elizabeth Stewart house servant servt u/m 30y Blair Atholl

After the death of his first wife, Elizabeth Stewart was employed as house-keeper at Clachglas. Elizabeth was born around 1819 and was the eldest daughter of William Stewart, labourer in Woodend, and Isobel Stewart. Her father became a farmer in Kirkton of Lude by 1830. Although she was very much younger than him, the couple married on 12th June 1853 and they had two children. Donald was born at Forest Lodge, Glentilt, on 6th April 1854 and Ann was born in 1862.

Old Peter Fraser.Peter and his wife at Clachglas

Old Peter Fraser (left), Peter and his wife at Clachglas (right)

Peter Fraser retired in 1847, being disabled with rheumatism, and when Queen Victoria met him again in 1861 she described him in her diary as "Old Peter Fraser, former head keeper there, now walking with the aid of two sticks".

Peter Fraser died at Auchghoul on 29th August 1877, but Elizabeth and her two children were still there at the time of the 1881 census.

Name Occupation Related Status Age Birth-place
Elizabeth Fraser head widow 60y Blair Atholl
Donald Fraser estate labourer son u/m 24y Blair Atholl
Ann Fraser domestic servant dau u/m 18y Blair Atholl

Eventually, Elizabeth moved to Aldclune where she lived with her daughter who was the district nurse. She died in 1895.


(Generation 3) The children of Alexander Campbell and Margaret Fraser in Middlebridge

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Peter ~1821 . . . d.


Alexander Campbell and Margaret Fraser

Margaret Fraser married Alexander Campbell, the mason in Tom of Lude (Tomkindrochit). Initially they lived at Tomkindrochit, where their first two children were born. Then they moved to Middlebridge where the rest of the children were born and where Alexander died at some time between 1841 and 1851. The only two children to have their names in the OPR were Margaret and Alexander. All of the other births are taken from the census returns.

(Generation 3) The children of Alexander Campbell and Margaret Fraser in Middlebridge

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Peter ~1821 . . . d.
Margaret Feb 12 1823 . . . d.
(Alan in
1841 census)
Jan 28 1827 . . . d.
Ellen ~1829 . . . d.
Jessy ~1831 . . . d.
Isabella ~1833 . . . d.
Christian ~1836 . . . d.


Donald Fraser and Christian Stewart in Edinburgh and Restigouche, New Brunswick

As previously mentioned Donald Fraser was working in Edinburgh (Leith) when he married Christian Stewart (8th July 1827). Christian Stewart was the fourth daughter of John Stewart and Christian (Cirsty) McLauchlan in Tirinie, and was born 22nd March 1801. Her younger brother Peter who is shown, with them, in the 1851 Restigouche census was born 24th September 1808.

After their marriage the couple returned to Edinburgh, where Donald had been living, and the Register of births for Edinburgh contains the following:

"Donald Fraser, porter, and Christie Stewart his spouse, South Leith parish, a daughter born 15 June 1828, named Helen"

There is no record of any other children being born in Edinburgh and Helen was their only child when they emigrated to Canada in 1833. They may have sailed on the brig 'Highlander' which left Leith on 11th June 1833 and made the crossing in 41 days.

The reason for choosing New Brunswick as their new home is uncertain, but they may have been corresponding with other people from Blair Atholl parish who had settled in the area. John Douglas from Blair Atholl had emigrated as a single man in 1818. He died at Point la Nim, near Dalhousie, on 28th June 1852, aged 56, and had been captain in the Restigouche militia for many years, according to his obituary. Unfortunately his baptism does not seem to have been recorded in the Blair Atholl OPR. The only 'possible' entry is for a John Douglas, born 28 Oct 1795 at Croftcarnach, but he died at New Scone in Perthshire, 8 April 1874.

Another person who is said to have a Blair Atholl connection was Peter Stewart, a merchant in Restigouche. As he was born around 1795, he would have been in his early 20s when he arrived in 1817, so he must have been an astute young man from a fairly rich family to have become a successful merchant. He also appears to have travelled backwards and forwards between Scotland and Canada, possibly organising supplies, as he married Mary Hamilton when he was back in Glasgow (1st April 1833, Gorbals). Her obituary gives more detail:

"Obituary - At Dalhousie, County Restigouche, on Wednesday 15th September 1848, Mary wife of Peter Stewart, Esq., and 3rd daughter of John Hamilton, Esq., 44 Clyde Buildings, Glasgow".

Both she and her husband are buried in the Dalhousie cemetery.

Whatever the reason, the family settled on a farm at Mountain Brook, Colborne, Restigouche County, and encouraged Christian's brother Peter to join them. They also employed an 18 year old girl as a domestic servant, who stayed with them for most of her life.

The 1851 census for sub-district Colborne, Restigouche Co., New Brunswick. (schedule 1, page 18, dwelling 76 - house)

Name Relationship Age Race Occupation Date of Entering the Colony
Donald Fraser head 53y Scottish farmer 1833
Christina Stewart wife 50y Scottish 1833
Helen Fraser daughter 23y Scottish 1833
Peter Stewart brother to wife 45y Scottish farmer 1841
Sarah Craig 18y Irish resident servant (from) birth

On 6th March 1858 the Restigouche County newspaper, 'The Gleaner', reported the marriage of Helen Fraser to John McLauchlan.

"At residence of bride's father, Mountain Brook, Colborne (Rest. Co.) 25th ult., by Rev. A. Forbes, John McLAUCHLAN and Helen FRASER, daughter of Donald FRASER, farmer, only daughter.


After the death of Donald Fraser in May 1861, John McLaughlin took over the farm as shown in the 1861 census (Colborne 190-196), next to the farm of Peter Stewart (Colborne 197-199)

Name Relationship Age Race Occupation Religion
John McLaughlin head 42y Scotch farmer Presbyterian
Ellen McLaughlin wife 33y Scotch Presbyterian
Isabella McLaughlin daughter 2y native Presbyterian
Donald McLaughlin son 1m native Presbyterian
Christian Fraser mother-in-law 60y Scotch domestic Presbyterian
Sarah Craig servant 28y native domestic Presbyterian
Robert Langley servant 18y English labourer Episcopalian
Peter Stewart head 52y Scotch farmer Presbyterian
Jane Stewart wife 32y Scotch Presbyterian
Margaret Stewart daughter 1y native Presbyterian

Three more children had been born by the time of the 1871 census (Colborne, dwelling 26), which also shows the family of Peter Stewart (Colborne, dwelling 27).

Name Status Age Race Occupation Religion
John McLaughlan married 53y Scotch farmer Presbyterian
Helen McLaughlan married 42y Scotch Presbyterian
Isabella McLaughlan single 12y N.B. Presbyterian
Donald McLaughlan single 9y N.B. Presbyterian
John S. McLaughlan single 6y N.B. Presbyterian
James M. McLaughlan single 3y N.B. Presbyterian
Christian McLaughlan single 5m N.B. Presbyterian
Sarah Henry single 38y N.B. Presbyterian
Peter Stewart married 62y Scotch farmer Presbyterian
Jane Stewart married 42y Scotch Presbyterian
Margaret Stewart single 11y N.B. Presbyterian
Christian Stewart single 9y N.B. Presbyterian
John Stewart single 6y N.B. Presbyterian

1881 census (Restigouche, Colborne, dwelling 46 and 47).

Name Status Age Birthplace Occupation Religion
Jane Stewart widow 52y Scotland farmer Presbyterian
Margarette Stewart single 21y N.B. Presbyterian
Christiana Stewart single 19y N.B. Presbyterian
John Stewart single 16y N.B. Presbyterian
John McLaughlan married 63y Scotland farmer Presbyterian
Eellen McLaughlan married 52y Scotland Presbyterian
Esiballa McLaughlan single 22y N.B. Presbyterian
Donald McLaughlan single 19y N.B. Presbyterian
John S. McLaughlan single 17y N.B. Presbyterian
James M. McLaughlan single 13y N.B. Presbyterian
Christy McLaughlan single 10y N.B. Presbyterian
Sary Craig single 39y N.B. Presbyterian

John McLaughlan died between 1881 and 1891, and the family left the farm to settle in Addington parish (page 19, family 91).

Name Status Age Birthplace Occupation Religion
Ellen McLaughlan widow 60y Scotland Presbyterian
Daniel McLaughlan single 27y N.B. engine fireman Presbyterian
Stewart McLaughlan single 25y N.B. engine fireman Presbyterian
James M. McLaughlan single 22y N.B. capenter Presbyterian
Christie McLaughlan single 20y N.B. Presbyterian
Sarah Creigh single 40y N.B. general servant Presbyterian

By 1901 Donald was married to Ida (surname unknown).

Name Status Age Birthplace Occupation Religion
Ellen McLaughlan widow 72y Scotland
b 15 Jun 1828
Donald McLaughlan married 39y N.B.
b 7 Aug 1861
L. engineer Presbyterian
Ida McLaughlan married 29y N.B.
b 14 Jan 1872
John C. McLaughlan single 2y N.B.
b 26 Sep 1898
James McLaughlan single 29y N.B.
b 14 Dec 1871
trackman Presbyterian
Sarah Craig single 40y N.B.
b 22 Dec 1840


(Generation 3) The Family of John McLaughlan and Helen Fraser in Mountain Brook, Restigouche, N.B.

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Isabella ~1859 . . Mountain Brook d. 1882
Aug 7 1861 Ida ....... ~1898 Mountain Brook d.
John Stewart ~1864 . . Mountain Brook d.
James M. ~1867 . . Mountain Brook d.
Cirsty Helen ~1870 . . Mountain Brook d.


Peter Stewart and Jane Galbraith in Mountain Brook, Restigouche, N.B.

Peter Stewart was the younger brother of Donald Fraser's wife Christian, and was born at Tirinie in Blair Atholl parish, 24th September 1808. The records show that he emigrated to New Brunswick in 1841 and the 1851 census shows him farming with his brother-in-law. Peter Stewart married Jane Galbraith, the daughter of John Galbraith who had a nearby farm, 27th July 1858.

It is thought that Peter Stewart died in 1879. His widow and family continued farming for at least another ten years. Both Peter Stewart and Jane Galbraith are buried in Dalhousie cemetery.

(Generation 3) The Family of Peter Stewart and Jane Galbraith in Mountain Brook, Restigouche, N.B.

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Margaret ~1860 . . Mountain Brook d.
Christian ~1862 . . Mountain Brook d.
John ~1865 . . Mountain Brook d.


Charles Fraser in Monzie

According to the Blair Atholl OPR, Charles Frazer in Monzie married Janet Frazer in Croftnaclach, Moulin parish, 4th September 1780, and this cannot be in doubt as the same couple had their banns proclaimed in Moulin parish at the same time. However, the only children born to a Charles Fraser in Monzie had Janet Robertson as their mother.

It is possible that Janet Fraser died and Charles re-married, but as there are no marriage entries in the Blair Atholl OPR from 14th December 1781 until 26th August 1784, this cannot be confirmed.

In addition, the situation is not helped by there being two Charles Frasers living at Monzie at this time. James's son, born 23rd September 1747, and Donald's son, born 19th June 1755.

Men normally married in their late 20s or early 30s, so it would seem more likely that Janet Fraser in Moulin married James's son, rather than Donald's son. Janet Robertson could have married either of them, but as the eldest son was baptised as Donald, this may suggest that the child was named after his grandfather.

(Generation 2) The Family of Charles Fraser, the shepherd and Janet Robertson

Name Born Married Date Residence Died
Donald Mar 16 1785
at Monzie
. . . d.
William Feb 14 1787
at Wester Monzie
. . . d.
James Jul 27 1789
at Middlebridge
. . . d.
Christian Jun 9 1791
. . d.
Charles Jun 2 1793
at Croftcrombie
. . . d.
Janet Apr 15 1795
at Clachglas
. . . d.
Isabel Apr 6 1797
at Glentilt
. . . d.
Alexander Jul 11 1804
at Croftcrombie
. . . d.


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