Thomas Sarenhes Hall (Akwesasne) & Maryanne Kanerahtakwas McGregor (Kahnawake) | Series: Families of Caughnawaga
I was contacted this week by Louise for assistance in climbing her family tree. Louise’s mother was Margaret Hall, daughter of Thomas Hall of Akwesasne and Maryanne McGregor of Kahnawake. Besides daughter Margaret, Thomas and Maryanne had at least three sons: John Hall, Michael Hall and contoversial Mohawk activist and artist Louis Hall. If you’re interested, you can read a biography of Louis Hall which was written by a family member. For different perspectives on his life and actions just google “Louis Hall Caughnawaga” and you’ll find a variety of articles.
Louise wanted to know more about Thomas and Maryanne and offered the following information: ” … I do not know when they married or when they died. I’ve heard stories that they had a total of 10 kids, but only these four survived to adulthood. I do not know anything more about those other six children. Nor do I know anything about my grandparent’s parents. I believe my grandfather used to be a performer at Chief Poking Fire’s …..”
Information 1 – Genealogy Notes
I was unable to find much on these McGregors in the St-Francois-Xavier Church registers or the other usual sources, however I did run into a bit of luck when I found the marriage of Thomas and Maryanne’s son John Hall to Louise Montour, because their marriage record listed his parents’ full names – Thomas Sarenhes Hall and Marieanne Kanerahtakwas McGregor. Using a few primary documents plus the 1891, 1901 and 1911 census, I was able to make a preliminary reconstruction of this lineage. I say preliminary because census data is notoriously unreliable so this should be considered a “draft” until more primary documents are found. Note also that I’ve suppressed some post-1911 data for privacy reasons.
According to St-Francois-Xavier Church registers, Thomas Sarenhes Hall married Marianne Kanerahtakwas McGregor on 20 October 1902 in St-Regis/Akwesasne. Witnesses at their marriage were Ignace Karhus(?) and Alexina Bourget.
Louise’s grandmother Marianne (aka Mary Anne) was born on 9 July 1881. her parents were Charles Kanatase McGregor (b. 24 Jan 1847) and Marie Honwatienni. (b. 8 Dec 1852). According to the 1891 census, Charles and Marie had two children besides Marianne. They were Magdeline McGregor (b. about 1870) and Josephine McGregor (b.1881). According to the St-Francois-Xavier records, Louise’s grandfather Charles died at Montreal Junction on 3 September 1904 following an accident involving a sand-slide. he was only 57 years old at the time. Official witnesses at the funeral were Joseph Vigneault and Gilles Ahertion.
Louise indicated that her grandfather was from Akwesasne. This is confirmed by the 1901 census which has him listed as living in St-Regis. Another bit of information is that Thomas Hall was a widower at that time. There were two children in his household – 13 year old Elizabeth Hall and 11 year old Mary Ann Hall, however they do not appear to be his children as they were listed as boarders.
Louise had mentioned that her grandparents Thomas and Maryanne had 4 children that she knew of (her own mother Margaret and uncles John, Michael and Louis) and apparently as many as 6 others who did not survive childhood. At the time of the 1911 census they had the following children living with them in Kahnawake: Pierre Hall (b.March 1904), Thomas Hall (b.July 1905) and Francois Xavier Hall (b. September 1909). I also found the birth certificate for Louis Karoniatajeh Hall (b. 15 January 1918 – Godfather Louis Tiohahtekwen-D’Ailleboust). I didn’t find John Hall’s birth certificate but we do have his certificate of marriage to Louise Montour.
Information 2 – Origin of the Kahnawake McGregors
The McGregor surname is mentioned in Devine’s 1895 text Historic Caughnawaga
“… In the old registers of Caughnawaga may be seen the records of the baptism of whites, but the family names of those persons are not given. Their origin is indicated by such descriptions as “baptized by the English”, “baptized condition- ally”, or “prisoner of war.” A former missionary of the village, the Right Reverend William Forbes, D.D., now Bishop of Joliette, whose study of the origin of the Indian families of Caughnawaga …..became convinced that it was owing to the reception of captives from the English colonies into the tribe, after hostile raids in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, that Indians at Caughnawaga still retain names like Rice, Tarbell, McGregor, Hill, Williams, Jacobs, and Stacey. The first persons bearing those names were brought to the village as prisoners of war, and yielding to the influence of their surroundings they became both Catholic and Iroquois. Once adopted by the tribe, they enjoyed all the privileges of membership, some of them even being elected to offices of responsibility.”