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  • Photo du rédacteurGary O'Brien

The Tipperary Settlement Part 2

Dernière mise à jour : 30 août 2023

There were 2 William Dawsons who came in about the same years in what was to become Ste-Brigitte-de-Laval. The first is the husband of Sarah 'Sally' Keough, and whose parents are unknown. The second arrived with his family, one of whose sons was also called William: William Dawson, born around 1770, husband of Catherine Broderick. For this 2nd part of Tipperary families, we will talk about the first couple. A third Dawson, Philip and his wife Mary Hickey, also arrived from Tipperary around 1830. A fourth Dawson, Patrick, married Honora Sheehan in 1835 in Laval, shortly after arriving from Tipperary as well.

William Dawson (~1812-1847) and Sarah Keough (~1814-1886)

This William Dawson married Sarah Keough in March 1832, in Newport, Tipperary, and the marriage document indicates as place of residence Knockfune, located a little to the west of the Borrisoleigh and Kilcommon region, from where other families came from. It is not strictly speaking a village, so it is assumed that William worked on a farm in the area. The Keough side of this family will be discussed later, because Sarah is the daughter of John Keough and Catherine Blake, who even if they did not come to Canada, saw 3 of their sons in addition to Sarah , settle in Laval and have a large number of descendants all across the continent.

The location of Knockfune today:

Arrival in 1832

What is interesting with William and Sarah's family is that all of their children were born in Québec, so they probably left soon after their marriage in the spring of 1832, and almost a year later, in April 1833 , a first daughter was born in L'Ange-Gardien, Mary Jane Dawson.

Then came Catherine (1835-1844), Margaret (1839-1903), Anna (1842-?) Ellen (1843-1914), John (1845) and William (1848-1936), who inherited the land at Laval. Three sisters, Mary Jane, Anna and Ellen, after a stint at the Capelton* mine area, in the Eastern Townships, will eventually reunite with their husbands in Montcalm County, in the middle of Michigan, Margaret will remain in the Sherbrooke area, with her children named Veilleux. Philip, who was an 'agent' in 1871, probably emigrated to the USA. We do not know what happened with John after the 1871 census. The name Dawson is very frequent in the USA at the time! So it is thanks to the younger William that descendants of the Dawson/Keough couple still live in the area.

* The Capelton mine, between Lennoxville and North Hatley, was exploited between 1863 and 1907

In 1871, he cultivated 56 acres of his land of 100 acres, harvesting oats, potatoes, hay for his cattle (1 dairy cow, 1 pig). This land was located on lot #5 of range 5, near the Jennings, a cousin John Dawson, and Patrick Bolan. In 1884, he married Margaret Dawson (1851-1927), daughter of William Dawson and Catherine Tierney, granddaughter of the other Willam Dawson and Catherine Broderick.

We should remark that the 1871 census is a treasure for genealogists, it contains data on agriculture and in addition, it is clearly written!. Moreover, as for the family that concerns us, we note an interesting information, in that 2 of the Dawson sisters were "abandoned by her husband"!

As we have seen, however, the two will find their husband on a farm in Michigan, where they are present in the 1880 census with their children, named Welsh and Fontaine. Meanwhile, in the 1881 census at SBDL, only William remains with his mother Sara. Is he the William that Sister Marie Ursule Sanchagrin mentions on page 153 of her book, when she speaks of Billy the Bear?

From William's marriage to Margaret Dawson, 4 sons and a daughter were born: Willam Peter (1885-1886), Philip Stephen (1886-1962), John Joseph (1889), Sarah Ann (1891) and Michael James (1894-1975 ). They will all live in Quebec and, in addition to the first who died at one year old, only the youngest has no descendant, Michael James. When he died in 1975 in Quebec, we can see that his father was nicknamed "Wellie", which is important when it comes to disentangling the many Willam Dawsons who are part of the story of Laval!

It seems then that the land does not remain in the hands of a Dawson because in 1917, following, his marriage to Florentine Ouellet, Philip became an electrician in Limoilou, where he worked for Quebec Power. Philip and Florentine had 11 children in Limoilou:





Marguerite Brigitte


Rose Georgianna


William John "Wellie"



Lucie Matte, 6 children. He worked for the CN in Lac Edouard

Philippe Raymond



Yolande Poulin, 2 children

James Melville



Marguerite Poliquin, he served with the Chaudière Regiment during WWII, father of Allen

Aimée Evelyn



Fernand Caron

Jeanne Bertha



Claude Faucher

Marie Hélène Martha



Jacques Poliquin, 3 children

Louis Patrick



Lise Pelletier




Solange Grenier, 2 children

Jean Marie Philippe


We would like to point out that James Melville as well as his wife Marguerite Poliquin, and their daughter Mabel, are buried in the cemetery of Ste-Brigitte.

As for Philip's brother, John Joseph, he married an Irish woman from Quebec, Margaret Stella O'Shea at St. Patrick's Church in 1917, while he was also an employee of Quebec.Power. She was from Ste-Catherine de la Jacques-Cartier, another center of Irish colonization in the region. This couple had 6 children baptized in St. Patrick:

Margaret Rita



Thomas Henry Blouin, one son, Marc who married Lisa Thomassin of SBDL in 1973

Thomas Henry William


Walter John Joseph


Gordon Edmund



Margaret Stuart (Montréal)

Francis Clement


Became US citizen in 1960

Mary Theresa Ann



Walter Zizi, Montréal

Finally, the only daughter of the family Sarah Ann "Sadie" also married an Irishman from Quebec, John Fitzmorris in St. Patrick in 1916. After a stay in St-Malachie in Beauce, the couple returned to Quebec. The surname will become Fitzmaurice:

Catherine Margaret



Ross Smith

Doris Florence



Lorenzo Drolet, 3 children

Lawrence Joseph



Marion Carmel Valiquette, 3 children in Québec

Marie Anne Florence



Earl Francis, Moncton NB

John Joseph Roy



Edith Lyn Hannan, 3 daughters in Montréal area

We know that the youngest Michael James did not marry. When he died in 1975, a mass was celebrated at the church of Ste-Brigitte-de-Laval, where he is buried with his sisters Sadie Sarah Ann (Fitzmaurice) and Doris Florence (Drolet). It is one of the traces, as well as the direct descendants of William Dawson Jr. who still live in the region, of the passage of William Dawson Sr. and his wife Sarah Keough, from their distant Tipperary...

The next article will focus on the other William Dawson and his wife Catherine Broderick, also ancestors of several descendants who still live in Quebec, including former senator Dennis Dawson…

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