This letter to Aunt Bess is from James Fraser, Ann’s new husband. Ann’s close connection to Aunt Bess was evident in her communications and I imagine Ann urging her husband to introduce himself to her favourite aunt. I chuckled when I came to the end of his very formal note and he states, ” I have no news to communicate that would be of any interest to you“.
I wonder what Aunt Bess thought of James when she read that!
9. Kaine Letter March 30, 1862
Transcribed from the original by Kerrin Churchill January 3, 2020 James Fraser to Miss Elizabeth Keane (Aunt Bess) from Morris to Freshford, Kilkenny, Ireland
You may think it presumptuous in me to address you, a person who I never seen, but although you are personally unknown to me yet I have heard of you often from the one who is now my dearly loved wife and it is with her recommendation that I write to you these few lines in the hope of opening a correspondence between us who were but hereto strangers. But however I hope you will not forget to write to Anne although you would not humour me with your correspondence. I herewith send you my address in case you should wish to write. I have no news to communicate that would be of any interest to you
Bluevale P. O.
James was certainly polite and to the point however I do not think that Aunt Bess would start writing to him instead of Ann(e) as he suggested might happen!
In this blog I try to provide some context for each letter that I share but thought I had nothing to add about this brief letter.
I was curious about James and knew he was born in Quebec so looked into his origins. I need not have worried as after a half a day of delving deeper on the internet, I discovered more about this industrious young man.
James Fraser (1834) was the first of at least 11 children born to William Fraser (1800-1874) and Isabella Maclean (1809-1856). William had emigrated from Inverness-shire, Scotland and Isabella was from Lanarkshire, Scotland. I assume that William and Isabella arrived separately from Scotland as the records indicate that they were married on February 20, 1833 in Dundee in Huntingdon County, Quebec southwest of Montreal.
Information that I found about Dundee says, “Dundee is located in the extreme southwest of Quebec, very close to the Canadian-American border and the Akwesasne Amerindian reserve, south of Lake Saint-François. The total area of the municipality is 94 square kilometers. It has a permanent population of around 400 residents. Dundee is part of the regional county municipality of Haut-Saint-Laurent and the administrative region of Montérégie.
The municipality comprises the village core of Sainte-Agnès-de-Dundee and the hamlet of Dundee. There are vacation resorts on the shores of Lake Saint-François on its territory: Pointe-Leblanc, Place Caza, Pointe-Gordon, Pointe-Fraser and Pointe-Hopkins.
Dundee’s name honors the port city of eastern Scotland, located on the north bank of the River Tay. John Davidson, originally from this Scottish town, the first settler of the locality and the first postmaster of the village naturally chose the number of his town for his new homeland.
As everywhere in the east and south-west of Lower Canada, colonization began there towards the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries and they were Scottish, Irish and American settlers (mostly loyalists fleeing from the United States, but also from families seeking economic opportunities) who settle there.”
More information that I ran across indicates that William leased a farm before he found a wife. James followed in his fathers footsteps as he too established his farm before he married Ann.
“William FRASER. 11 March 1831. Lease for 99 years of the north half of Lot number 7 on the 2nd concession, and the north half of Lot number 7 on the 3rd concession, for a total of 100 acres. Money paid in consideration of the lease was 5 shillings. Annual rent one pound 5 shillings, payable 1 January each year.“https://sites.rootsweb.com/~qchuntin/record/lease.htm
It seems that many settlers from Scotland including numerous members of the Fraser family or clan were well established in the Dundee area. Of interest to me was that a well known Auditor General of Canada from 2001 to 2011, Sheila Fraser was born and raised in Dundee!
Enough about the Fraser clan as that would be another story entirely, but I assume that like many young men of the time, James Fraser left the family home in Quebec and headed to Huron County where land was to be had for purchase not just for lease. Mary Pentland’s father had done the same when he relocated from Amherst Island as described in the post on May 5, 2020.https://acompellinglifeblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/05/huron-county-here-we-come/
As John Kaine wrote in his recent letter to Aunt Bess about the wedding between Ann and James, “The place is yet new as Ann’s husband was about the first settler that went to that part . He bought one hundred acres of land 4 years ago. It was all bush or woods as you would call it. He has since then cleared away over 30 acres of the Mighty Forest.“
James Fraser had grown up on a pioneer farm in Quebec so he obviously had the skills to set up his own place in Ontario. He may have been a man of few words but words were not what were needed when clearing 30 acres of forest! He was a good man indeed.