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  • Photo du rédacteurGary O'Brien

The Tipperary Settlement-Part 3

(The continuing story of the Irish settlers of Ste-Brigitte-de-Laval...)

William Dawson and Catherine Broderick

We will now talk one of the most important families from the beginnings of Ste-Brigitte, namely the descendants of the couple formed by William Dawson (~1770-1831) and Catherine Broderick (~1768-1848), as many of their descendants still live in the Québec City area. This couple lived in West Tipperary, near County Limerick, and some of the baptism records for their children have been found. These births took place near where the other William Dawson (wife of Sarah Keough) also lived, in Knockfune (An Cnoc Fionn), which seems to confirm that these immigrants knew each other and were undoubtedly related. We can also say that they were probably migrant agricultural workers, as the births seem to take place at different locations, according to the employment they could find. Like many Irish immigrants before the famine, economic uncertainty was a motivation for crossing the ocean in hopes of a better life. 

The couple had 8 known children, born between 1791 and 1814 in Ireland, and their arrival dates about 1831. On July 27, 1831 in Charlesbourg, "an Irishman aged about 60 years » was buried, and it can be assumed that it is our William Dawson. The name is written as Dosen or Dason. His wife Catherine Broderick, from the "Ste-Brigitte de Laval mission" was also buried in Charlesbourg on November 22, 1848. Let's see what happened to their children...

1- Patrick Dawson was baptized in Nenagh on February 2, 1792, while the couple lived in Lisbunny (Lios Buinne). He was married in April 1832 at St-Roch parish of Québec, with Johanna Butler, with whom he has a 2nd degree of affinity as noted in the register. She was born in Kilcommon, in 1799. In the 1871 census, we learn that she was a midwife. He was a farmer, and therefore probably lived in one of the ranks of L’Ange-Gardien, on lot #3 of the 5th range. This is confirmed by the "titre nouvel" obtained from the Seminary in 1858. She is also mentioned as the widow of William McKie (McHugh?), of Kilcommon, Tipperary. Patrick died in 1865 and Joanna in 1879, and all their children were born in Laval, although a William Dawson (son perhaps from Joanna's first marriage adopted by Patrick?) was born in 1830 in Ireland. On July 13, 1832, Catherine Dawson was born and baptized at L’Ange-Gardien, 4 months after the marriage. Was the mother already pregnant or had the couple already married before they left Ireland? We don't know what happened with this Catherine, because we lost track of her as she does not appear in census records. Peter Dawson was born on December 16, 1834 at the Laval Mission, he died at the St-Michel-Archange asylum in 1898. A daughter Esther appears in the 1861 census, aged 26, but we could not find her baptismal register nor what happened to her after this date.

William Dawson married Mary Whelan in 1860, but it cannot be certain whether he was born in 1830 or later. Unusually for the time, his wife requested a separation in 1868, and she  remarried in the USA in 1871.

Their daughter Mary Anne (1861) and herself had then emigrated to New York. William's fate is unknown to us. He may have emigrated in the USA for work. On July 12, 1872, the Quebec Seminary register indicates that a letter was sent by the parish priest, F.X. Méthot regarding this separation and the fact that Mary had remarried, saying that it had “caused a scandal.”

 Bridget was born in April 1837, and in 1865 she married John Malone in Laval, an Irishman living in what was then called St-Dunstan (Lac Beauport). They settled in Ste-Brigitte where they had 7 children, but only their daughter Ann Elizabeth had descendants in Quebec following her marriage to Owen James Hanson in 1890. The only survivor of this line is the former general director of the St. Brigid's Home, Henry John Hannon (1927-2005).

2- Thomas Dawson was born around 1798, he obtained a concession in Laval on the 4th range, as well as on the 5th and 6th range. He married Mary Tobin, who died at age 22, leaving a daughter, Catherine (born in 1841), who was disinherited in 1870 in his will. The reason ? She had a child born out of wedlock...his name was William John and he lived with Thomas Jennings in 1871 and then with Matthew Keough at least until 1891. Another daughter, Ann, was born in 1842 and married James Malone of Lac Beauport in February 1865, but she drowned the following spring. A son William born in the winter of 1844 died before reaching the age of one month.

It is certainly a family marked by misfortune...(we will undoubtedly return to the question of drownings in SBDL, because there have been several, especially in the spring when the flow of the Montmorency River is very strong). In the appendix, I have added the transcription of Thomas Dawson's will, because it is quite interesting.

3- John Dawson, born around 1802, married Margaret Tierney, daughter of John and Nancy Ann Brassell or Brazil, also from the Kilcommon area, in 1835 in SBDL. He owns land on the 4th range of L’Ange-Gardien as well as on the 5th range. Just before his death in 1872, he bequeathed these lands to his sons William and Patrick. However, neither they nor their sister Anne will have any descendants in the region, so these lands will eventually be resold. The eldest son, William John (1836-1909) married Margaret Hurley in 1861, but no children were born from this union. Patrick, (1841-1920) did not marry and Anne had a daughter from her marriage to John Bolan in 1880, but they went to Montreal. As for the other two sons...

The Dawsons in Montana

John (1837-1922) and Thomas (1845-1924), well, a whole book could be written about their adventures in the American West, where they found themselves from the mid-1860s, working on construction sites, in logging camps, sometimes looking for gold, hanging out with the more or less honest characters of the Far West. They finally end up in Montana, a new state in the USA open to colonization after the forced expulsion of the First Nations who lived there. They established a veritable dynasty in the Boulder Valley in the 1880s with their ranch, and there is still a Dawson farm in this area, which was the subject of an article in the Los Angeles Times in 1986: https://www.

4- Margaret Dawson, born around 1807, married in Kilcommon, Tipperary John Keough, son of John and Catherine Blake. The couple had 7 children born first in Kilcommon and, from 1835, in Laval. However, this couple having descendants in the Keough/Hough/Howe line, we will talk about them later, but we should mention they still have descendants in the area named McKinley and Keough, and the Foley family in Ottawa.

5- Nancy Ann Dawson, was born around 1808, she also married in Kilcommon, in a place called Bealaclave (Béal Átha Chléibh) like her sister. In 1826 she married Patrick William Carroll. The couple had 2 children born in Ireland, but the 3rd, Richard Carroll, was baptized on August 2, 1831 in Charlesbourg, which confirms a probable arrival in the spring of that year. Once again, we will talk in detail about this family in an article on the Carroll descendants in Laval, because Patrick William is the first of this name to arrive here from Tipperary. We can mention that the last Carroll died in Laval in 1951, a man my grandfather called the  "Old Carroll ", from whom he rented a cottage.

The place called Bealaclave is near Kilcommon, Tipperary:

6- Mary Dawson married Matthew Keough in 1835 in SBDL, the brother of John, husband of Margaret. O their numerous descendants, some are still in the Quebec region, while others emigrated to North Dakota. We will talk about them later in the article on the Keough/Blake descendants.

7- William Dawson, finally, who was born around 1812, would therefore have arrived with the family around 1831 and left numerous descendants following his marriage to Catherine Tierney, also from Tipperary, in April 1837 in Laval. He is the 2nd great-grandfather of the president of La Société d’histoire de Ste-Brigitte-de-Laval, Allen Dawson and of Dennis Dawson, former MP for Louis-Hébert, and recently retired Senator. 

8- Catherine Dawson was born in Tooreen (An Tuairín), Tipperary in 1814, but we found is no trace of her in Canada.

The descendants of William and Catherine Tierney

This is the couple we will focus on as we mentioned above. Note that the Tierney family will also be the subject of an article, because they come from the same corner of Tipperary as the Dawsons. William has a land 150 acres in what is then called the 4th range of L'Ange-Gardien, where he had a fairly large herd (12 sheep, 3 pigs, 4 dairy cows in 1871). This land will be ceded to his 4th son, Patrick, in 1875, who himself will dispose of it in the 1880s before his departure for Ottawa. One of the sons, William John, will inherit part of the land, but leaves no descendants. Here is the fate of the couple's 12 children in table form:

As is often the case, the youngest member of the family does not inherit the land, or must make do with part of it. The other members of the family left for other lands, attracted by jobs in the forestry industry or elsewhere. James remains in Quebec with his wife Margaret, where their descendants are of course Dawson, but also Vallière (without s) because the eldest Catherine Katie, married Leon Albert Vallière in 1907, in Laval, where they saw 14 children born in what we call the Moulin Vallière district. The existence of the « moulin » occupies a large part of the lumber history of Ste-Brigitte, with its sawmill.

Dawson Descendants from Moulin Vallière

  • Marguerite Germaine (1908), married Henri Giroux in 1937; 4 children 

  • Blanche Alberta Berthe (1909) married Leopold Dawson, in 1939, from another Dawson branch, that of Patrick and Honorah Sheehan, parents of Roland, Raymond and Pauline; 

  • Leopold (1910), married Blanche Aubé in 1938, parents of André and Monique; 

  • Ernest (1912-1987); 

  • Armand (1915-1923); 

  • William Edouard (1917) married Marie Paule Girard in 1946, parents of 5 children; 

  • Michael Joseph Victor (1918-1988) married Thérèse Blouin in 1955; 2 children

  • Israel (1921); 

  • Rita Irène (1922) married Adrien Girard in 1943; 3 children

  • Anne Adrienne (1923) married Ovila Laflamme in 1963; 1 child

  • Alphonse Miville (1924-1926); 

  • Adélard Omer (1928-2004) husband of Luminée Allaire in 1956; 6 children

  • Charles Magella (1929), husband of Monique Duguay in 1956; 

  • Gertrude (1933), wife of Jean Paul Archambault in 1960. 

Most of the children of these couples were born, grew up and some still live in Ste-Brigitte-de-Laval under various names.

Dawson sisters of James and Margaret

A sister of Katie, Eliza Jane, was born in 1887, but died shortly at the age of 4 months. Mary Ellen was born in 1889, and she married Patrick Duggan in 1911, also of SBDL, but the couple moved to Rhode Island by way of New Hampshire after 1912. Finally, Margaret Mary, born in 1895, married Patrick Jeremiah Tierney, also linked to the Dawsons, in 1914, without leaving any children.

The 4 Dawson brothers who remained in Laval

John Joseph Dawson (1891-1965) is also well known, under the name of Jack, and remained in Laval until his death. He married Mary Ellen Millie O'Neil in 1909. Millie is also linked to another Dawson branch, that of Philip and Mary Hickey. Jack and Millie's children are:

William Thomas (1893-1960) marries Ellen Madden from Valcartier (the village, not the military base) in 1915, and they settled in Limoilou, where he worked for the CN.

James Lambert, born in 1899, died at the age of 8 in SBDL. Charles Edouard, born in 1900, died in 1958 in Ste-Brigitte, unmarried. Finally, the youngest Thomas Michael, born in 1903, married Catherine Gertrude Redmond in St. Patrick in 1938, but no children came of this marriage. He was buried in the Ste-Brigitte cemetery in October 1966.

If I may make a personal connection here, Catherine Gertrude Redmond, of Quebec, was the sister of Agnes Aggie Redmond, wife of my great-uncle Richard Benjamin O'Brien, a former Quebec City firefighter, who died while fighting a fire in 1943.

I would like to thank Patrick Doyle, who did extensive research on this family:

He is a descendant of William Dawson and Catherine Tierney, through Thomas, who married Julia Barrett in Old Chelsea, in the Outaouais. The children grew up in Ottawa.


The transcription, in part, of the will of Thomas Dawson, with his signature:

« On this 15th day of August in 1870. According to the express request of Thomas Dawson, farmer of the parish of Laval, the ss notary public for the province of Quebec and residing in Beauport, accompanied by Patrick Boylan (Boland) and William Martin, also a farmer of the said parish, we went to the residence of Sieur Matthew Keough, farmer of the parish of Laval and there met the said Thomas Dawson, in fragile health but of sound mind and with his memory and understanding, as it appears to the said notary and witnesses, in his conversation and his manners. He thus made and dictated his last will and testament:

1- I commend my soul to the Lord, ...and the sum of 6 or 7 dollars for funeral expenses and masses.

2- I bequeath to my brother John Dawson of Laval (note - he died in 1872) the 15 acres of land that I purchased from Mr. Bernard Murphy, farmer of Laval, located in the 4th range of this parish, one acre wide by 15 acres deep, bounded on the front by the 3rd range, on the rear by other lands belonging to me, and which will belong to Mr. Matthew Keough, on the South by William Dawson and on the North by the said John Dawson, with the buildings and outbuildings... after the day of my death, conditional on the payment of the arrears of the annuity and the balance due to Mr. Bernard Murphy, being approximately 12 and 6 pence, and 7 dollars which I owe to Mr. Patrick Lawlor of Quebec...

3- As for the rest of my property and other buildings and furniture and personal property, I bequeath to Mr. Matthew Keough of Laval, with whom I resided for the last 5 or 6 years, as a sign of gratitude for the services which he returned to me by staying at his house. ... in accordance with the following conditions, namely to pay the seigneurial and other dues and my debts with the exception of those mentioned for which my brother John Dawson is responsible.

I also ask him to raise as one of his children my grandson William Dawson, who currently lives with Thomas Jennings of Laval, and son of my daughter Catherine Dawson, until he reaches the age of majority. , and to be treated fairly and with dignity and to give him the best possible education as to his own children, and if the child wishes to become an artisan, to find him a good master craftsman and where he would be well treated .

4- I appoint the said Matthew Keough to be my universal and legal representative.

5- It is not my intention to bequeath or leave any movable or immovable property to my said daughter Catherine Dawson, now residing in Quebec.

6- I name and designate Matthew Keough as executor...

7- I revoke all previous wills and codicils...thus did the named Thomas Dawson before me  notary Edward O'Brien, in the presence of witnesses and declared that these are his last wishes and will, here in the parish of Laval, and we signed, deed # 1061 »

Thomas signed twice, Patrick Boylan, William Martin and Ed. O’Brien (notary from Beauport)

**It may be added about his grandson, born out of wedlock, who is mentioned in the will, (another William Dawson!), that we did not find his whereabouts after the 1891 census, where he appears as « adopted son » of Matthew Keough, as described in the will. Nor did we find anything about his mother, the poor disinherited Catherine…a sad story like many others in that era.

Gary J O’Brien

Picture of the Dawson/Valliere family 1945.

Left to right, starting at the top.

Albert Vallière and wife  Kate Dawson (1886-1961),   Maggie Crow (1868-1943), widow of James Dawson1858-1937) .  Léon Vallière, Tommie (Thomas Michael) Dawson (1903-1966) and his wife Catherine Gertrude Redmond (1900-1979),   Lyle (Loyal) Dawson (1910-1975), Patricia Dawson (1915-1974),  Anne et Berta Vallière,  Margaret Dawson.  Vallière children and Ernest.

Gracieuseté:  Coll Monique Girard. (Site Facebook Société d’histoire de Ste-Brigitte-de-Laval)

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