1858 Censuses of

St.Luce Parish, Frenchville, Aroostook Co., Maine

and of the mission parish of


About the 1858 Censuses

At the end of 1857 and early 1858, Father Henri Dionne, pastor of Ste-Luce parish, undertook a census of his parishioners. In December 1857 he enumerated the parishioners living in the mission parish of St-François-Xavier, which was under the authority of Ste-Luce parish. In January 1858, over the course of about two weeks, he enumerated the population of Ste-Luce parish itself.

The censuses are head of household listings, and include only the names of the heads of families, the number of persons ("souls") living in each family, and how many of them had made their first communion -- in French, "communiants". (In the similar census in St Bruno Parish of Van Buren, undertaken in 1872, the age of first communion was usually between 12 and 15. Based on the number of communiants, we can therefore see how many children under that age lived in the household.)

Ste Luce parish

The parish of Ste Luce extended in 1858 to cover today's towns of Frenchville, St.Agathe, Fort Kent, Wallagrass, New Canada Plantation, and Eagle Lake in Maine, and St.Hilaire and Baker Brook in New Brunswick. Father Dionne breaks the total numbers of parishioners into those in the "English" north side of the river, and those on the "American side." Father Dionne undertook the census between January 2 and January 15, 1858.

In 1858, on the north side of the river, in New Brunswick, there were 143 families, consisting of 817 persons (of whom 410 were "communiants"); on the American side of the river there were living 375 families (1,926 persons, of whom 1,091 were communiants), for a total of 518 families, 2,743 persons, and 1,501 communiants. In the totals (at the end of page 16), he also adds in the numbers for the mission parish of St.François-Xavier, for which he conducted a separate census (see below); it was considered under the authority of Ste Luce, but was organized as a separate mission parish.

Mission parish of St-François-Xavier

In late 1846 Father Dionne had set up a mission parish to serve the parishioners of Ste-Luce who lived in the extreme western parts of the parish, stretching from what is today western Fort Kent, Maine and Clare, NB to the Allagash and beyond, on both sides of the St.John river. (A mission parish is a "quasi-parish" that is under the authority of a full parish; in this case, up until it was separated as a full parish in 1859, St-François was under the authority of the pastor of Ste-Luce, and the sacraments performed at St-François were recorded in the parish register of Ste-Luce.) At the time of this census, the mission parish of St-François covered the current towns of St-François and Connors, New Brunswick; and St.John Pltn., St.Francis Pltn, Allagash, Twp.16, R.12, and the western part of Fort Kent Twp., Maine.

Father Dionne does not indicate the dates on which he carried out the census of St.François. But comparing the number of persons within the households in this census to the numbers in the 1860 and 1861 censuses, it is clear that the census was taken at around the same time as the Ste Luce census. The way he wrote the totals at the end of the Ste Luce census indicate that the St François census was taken prior to the Ste Luce one.

One piece of evidence allows us to pinpoint the date even further, to December 1857. In the household of Baptiste Charette (p.5), the census shows 3 persons in the family, two of whom were communiants. Looking in the church records of Ste Luce parish, which contain the register of baptisms and burials of St.François, we see that on November 30, 1857 Baptiste and his wife Domithilde had a son, William. We also see that William died on December 25, 1857. Since Baptiste and Domithilde were married (both for the first time) in October 1856, William would have been their first child. We can therefore narrow the date of Fr. Dionne's visit to their home (in T.18, R.7) to the time when William was still alive, which is between December 1 and 25, 1857. It is impossible to determine how long the census took; the Ste Luce census was taken over two weeks. So the census of St François may have extended into January 1858. Although at least some of the census was taken at the end of 1857, for convenience sake I am calling it the 1858 census of St. François parish.

Unlike in the census of the main parish, for the mission parish of St-François Fr. Dionne did not indicate on which side of the river or of the international boundary the families lived, nor did he specify any particular places. I have used the censuses of 1850, 1851, 1860, 1861 and 1871 to give the probable location of families appearing in this census (in the column "probable location"), based on where they were living in those other censuses.

As explained above, it seems that the this census was undertaken sometime in December 1857. At that time, Fr. Dionne counted in St-François parish 137 families (including 12 "unmarried young people"), consisting of 729 people, and 341 communiants.

(See also my page on St-François-Xavier de Madawaska parish.)

The parish censuses

It should be remembered that the parish censuses counted only the Catholics of the area. Protestants living in these townships were not counted.

Of interest is a comparison to the US census of 1860 and the New Brunswick census of 1861. Of particular interest is the section of the Ste Luce parish on the US side that is labeled the "Concession de l'Eglise," or the Church concession. This is an area, apparently in the back settlements of Twp.18, Ranges 5 and 6 (now Frenchville and eastern Fort Kent), that was missed by the US census taker in 1860. Likewise, a number of families in the census of St-François parish are not found in the 1860 or 1861 census, though they do appear in those of 1851 and 1871. These parish censuses thus provide information on a number of families that is not elsewhere available.

The Ste Luce census was recorded in one of the parish accounts book, on pages 10 through 16. Each page was divided into two columns. In this transcription, I have put each column on its own page, indicating thus: Page 10, column 1; Page 10, column 2. At the bottom of each column, Fr. Dionne wrote the totals for that column; I have included those numbers in the transcription.

Father Dionne also indicated some specific locations in the Ste Luce census; I have included below a list of these places, along with their approximate location in terms of townships and of today's towns, based largely on the location of individuals living in those places in the 1860 and 1861 censuses.

The census of St.François is in a different accounts book, whose pages are not numbered. I have numbered the pages of the transcription 1 through 7, corresponding to the seven pages on which the census was recorded within the account book. In this census Father Dionne did not indicate locations. Using the censuses of 1850, 1851, 1860, 1861 and 1871 I have determined the probably location of many families, thus indicating the areas that were covered in this census. They are on both sides of the Maine-New Brunswick border, ranging from today's Fort Kent to Allagash in Maine, and from Clare to Connors in New Brunswick.

These censuses are located in two of the parish record books that Father Dionne brought with him when he left the parish in 1860. He donated these and other papers to his alma mater, the Collège de Ste-Anne, in La Pocatière, Québec. These documents are currently located in the Archives de la Côte-du-Sud et du Collège de Sainte-Anne, in the Fond Henri Dionne.

The Ste-Luce census is part of the documents located in box 35 (2), document number XXIX. The St-François census is from box 34 (1), document number XLII. They are reproduced here with the kind permission of the Archives director François Taillon. Special thanks to archivist Pierrette Maurais, who was extremely helpful to me during my time at the archives.

These censuses are part of this website's collection of documents of the Ste Luce parish. See the main page on Ste-Luce for other documents.

Column headings

At the top of each page is the following information:
Register page no. For the Ste-Luce census, this is the number that is hand-written in the upper corner of each page in the original register in which the census is recorded. The census was on pages 10 through 16.
Sheet no. is the number within the 7 pages of the census; the register page number 10 is thus sheet number 1 of the census itself.
Locality. In the Ste-Luce census, Father Dionne indicated whether the families were on the North side of the river, or on the southern, "American" side. For some places he also indicated specific locations. These locations are indicated in the transcription, as well as at the top of each web page. I have also included the approximate locations of each of the place names that Fr. Dionne used. (see also list of localities below) (See below, "Probable location," for localities in the St François census.)
Line is not in the original census, but numbers I've added to help with organization and to make finding individuals easier.
Names. The name of the head of each family.
A / S = âmes, French for souls. The number of persons in the family.
C / C = communiants, the number of persons who had made their first communion. Indicates those in the household over the age of about 12-15.
Other information: other information included in the original document, usually before or after the name.
Remarks. Information that is not from the census, but that I have found elsewhere to help identify individuals.

Probable location. For the St François census, as explained above, I have indicated the probable location in terms of township names of families in the census, if I found them in other censuses. These places are listed in the "probable location" column, along with the year of the census(es) I used to identify them. Somewhat less than half of the families seem to have lived in what is today New Brunswick.

For some families, Father Dionne drew a line before two or three names, indicating some kind of relationship between them, perhaps that they all were living in the same household. In these cases, I have indicated that in the "Remarks," but have also indicated it in the lines before the names:

   33 | Joseph              Fraser             |  
   34 / Eloi                Lagacé             |  
   35 \ Etienne             Couture            | instituteur
   36 | Edouard             Lausier, père      |
This indicates that Father Dionne had linked the families of Eloi Lagacé and Etienne Couture; in this case, Couture was a teacher ("instituteur") living in the household of Lagacé.

The word "fils" after a name literally means "son," and is the equivalent of the English "Jr." Likewise, "père", father, means "Sr." "La veuve" means "the widow," and is followed usually by the late husband's first name or his family name. In these cases, I have identified from other information the family name as well as the wife's maiden name, and have included that information in the "Remarks" column.


Ste Luce parish

The two main locations that Fr. Dionne uses are the north bank and the south (or as he calls it, the American) bank of the St.John River.

Within those two main divisions, he also indicates some specific places. Below is a list of these places with their approximate location in terms of townships and of today's place names:

On the south bank:

On the north bank:


St.François parish -- see above explanation



Ste Luce Parish:

St-François-Xavier parish:


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Last revised 11 Jun 2007
©2007, C. Gagnon