The parish of St-François-Xavier-de-Madawaska
The early years, 1846-1870

Documents from the St-François-Xavier parish, covering St-François and Connors, Madawaska Co., New Brunswick,
and the area west of the Fish River in Aroostook Co., Maine

1846-1858, mission parish of St-François-Xavier, under Fr. Henri Dionne of Ste Luce parish
1859-1870, independent parish of St-François-Xavier

About the parish

St-François-Xavier de Madawaska church (the new church) in St-François, Madawaska Co., New Brunswick. Photo by Todd Edwards
The parish of St-François-Xavier was originally established as a mission of Ste-Luce parish, serving families in the western part of that parish. In his letter approving of the new parish, William Dollard, Bishop of New Brunswick, noted that "the new parish of St.François will be supposed to start at the Fish River, at the line above the land of Joseph Nadeau, and at the brook of the Longs [now called Ruisseau Thompson]." The eastern boundary of the new parish was thus, south of the St.John, the Fish River and, right across the St.John from the Fish on the north side of the river, Thompson Brook. The parish spanned both sides of the St.John River, and thus parishioners lived on both sides of the newly established US-Canada border.

The parish itself was set off from Ste Luce in about October 1846. The chapel building was dedicated on February 14, 1847. It was destroyed by fire on 4 February 1886; a long and detailed description of the fire i in the parish register of St.François. The photo at right is of the current church, located in St.François, Madawaska Co., New Brunswick.

Father Henri Dionne, the founder and pastor of Ste.Luce parish, served both parishes himself until late 1858, when the Bishop sent Fr. Charles Swéron, a Belgian priest, to help Dionne with his very large parish. Swéron served the parishioners of St-François, and when the parish became independent in January 1859 Father Swéron became its first pastor.

By the end of 1857, at the time of the parish census, St-François served families in the current townships 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. In December 1857, when Father Dionne undertook the census of St-François parish, it contained 137 families, including 729 persons. Of these, about half lived on the Maine side of the border, and half on the New Brunswick side.

The acts of baptism, marriage and burial

1846-1858: St.François-Xavier as mission parish of Ste Luce

From its establishment in about October 1846 until it became an independent parish in January 1859, all of the acts of baptism, marriage, burial, and confirmation of the families of St.François were entered into the parish registers at Ste Luce. To search these, go to the Ste-Luce main page. In these years, 337 children baptized at Ste-Luce were identified as living in St-François parish.

1859 onward: The independent parish of St.François-Xavier,

From January 1859, when St-François was made an independent parish, it had its own set of registers of baptisms, marriages and burials. These will be put online sometime in the near future.

Other documents of the parish

The following documents of the St-François parish, both as a mission parish and as a full parish, are online here:




See also the information on St-François's parent parish, Ste.Luce parish

Return to the Upper St.John Valley main page

Last revised 12 Jun 2007
©2006-2007 C.Gagnon