A Canadian Family

First Nations, French Canadians & Acadians

Lost And Found: Adelard Favreau of Caughnawaga

vintage police uniform | MontrealAh – the power of the internet!

Last August Linda Groombridge contacted me because she was looking for information about her husband’s  Irish grandmother Margaret Rainey.

Margaret Rainey was Scottish – and her descendants now live in the UK – but she spent some years in Quebec and (according to family lore) she had married  a Quebec Mountie named Joseph Favreau and  then lived with her husband in the Mohawk territory of Caughnawaga (now Kahnawake). I was able to corroborate much of this family’s story including  some (Favreau) genealogical details and the fact that Joseph Adelard Favreau and Margaret Rainey did in fact  live in Kahnawake at one point, but some questions still remained.

Was Adelard Favreau a Mountie?

How did Favreau (who was a French-Canadian) and his Scottish wife Marguerite Rainey  come to be living in  the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake?

Well before the year was out, the UK family had its answers because Roland Favreau (a Quebec descendant  through Telesphore Favreau) – saw the query on Canadian Family and the two branches were soon sharing family information, anecdotes and photographs.

I’ve spoken with Roland’s wife Gilberte Favreau several times. She tells me that her husband’s uncle Adelard Favreau was not a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police  but rather a Montreal police officer. There was another member of the family who was a member of the Montreal mounted police and this may be where the confusion occurred. Doesn’t A. Favreau look great in this photo which was provided by Roland and Gilberte Favreau?

As to why the Favreau/Rainey couple were living in Caughnawaga – there’s a simple answer. The Favreaus were  one of a number of French Canadian farming families who were permitted – for a time – to lease farmland in Caughnawaga and  to settle on Mohawk lands.

Background notes – This situation (the leasing of lands to non-Natives) was beneficial to many individual Natives and non-Natives of  that time, but unfortunately it contravened the regulations of the Indian Act. More importantly (in my opinion)  the Mohawk of Kahnawake themselves eventually concluded that non-Native settlement on their lands was not in the best long term interests of their people. As a result, non-Natives without family ties were eventually invited to leave.

Today, at least some descendants of this Favreau branch live in the UK while others live just 5 min. down the road in the South Shore community of  Mercier. It’s wonderful to see once again how the internet can bring far flung families back together!

Sepia Saturday

February 27, 2011 - Posted by | . |


  1. The much maligned internet has come up trumps in reuniting family descendants like this. A lot of detective work would be necessary to come up with the facts like these. Well done.


    Comment by Bob Scotney | March 4, 2011 | Reply

  2. This is so fascinating. It wonderful story and photo. It’s also a brilliant research result.
    I would be very interested to hear why Margaret Rainey was in Quebec. Did she go with other family members?


    Comment by Marilyn | March 4, 2011 | Reply

    • Marilyn- I am the person who initiated the search. It would seem that Margaret Rainey did go with a family member. We do not think it was a brother, possibly a cousin or nephew. We do ‘know’ he was eighteen. He settled on the other side of Canada.
      Due to Evelyn’s research we believe it was in response to the adverts for domestic servants, that they emigrated. For those of you following this adventure, my husband and I are visiting our ‘new’ relatives this month.
      We totally agree with Alan Burnett’s comments March 7th.


      Comment by Lynda Groombridge | April 3, 2011 | Reply

  3. Sometimes the internet really shines and lives up to its potential. Makes the world a little smaller.


    Comment by tattered and lost | March 4, 2011 | Reply

  4. Charming looking man! Fantastic information on the family. I wonder how they were invited to leave? If it was brute force, (probably not) but whether word of pleasant mouth or legal papers….run off the land? I’d be curious to see how they went about taking the land back, and did they leave with just their belongings?


    Comment by Karen S. | March 5, 2011 | Reply

    • Many details of the story remain to be told but basically there were legal papers ordering them to leave – it was not a case of being “run off the land” physically.
      To my knowledge all the farmers came from the immediate surrounding towns and were members of the founding French-Canadian families of this area. It was a hardship to leave, of course, but they realized that they were leasing the land. I think they might have hoped that they would be staying indefinitely but they understood that they were on Mohawk nation land.
      When I have time this summer I’ll go back to do more research in period documents and publish my findings.


      Comment by Evelyn Yvonne Theriault | March 5, 2011 | Reply

  5. Very interesting information, particularly about the Mohawk nation land. The family must be thrilled to have all of this new information and such a priceless photo.


    Comment by Christine | March 5, 2011 | Reply

  6. Fantastic photo! And such a great story. Count me as another singing the praises of the internet as the holy grail of family research. It’s so amazing how quickly it can solve ancient mysteries!


    Comment by Paula @ KnitandSeek | March 5, 2011 | Reply

  7. An amazing post. I found some of my ancestors had gone to Canada before coming to the US because it was easier to get into the country.Of course since I don’t remember everything I read anymore I don’t remember why. He is indeed a handsome man.


    Comment by QMM | March 5, 2011 | Reply

  8. That is an incredible post and great photograph!


    Comment by Mrs Marvel | March 5, 2011 | Reply

  9. Not just the power of the internet Evelyn : the power of a well written, well researched, well-read Blog.


    Comment by Alan BURNETT | March 7, 2011 | Reply

  10. This man is mine and my two sisters grandfather. True bloodline.


    Comment by C eve | October 12, 2015 | Reply

  11. Looks like I’m late to the party. I just discovered this page. This is a fascinating story. My ggg-aunt Lancia was married to a Favreau in this line. I have some pictures and your information just helped put names to them.
    My gr-grandparents also lived in Kaghnawaga in the 1920. Would there be records for the land leases?


    Comment by Isabelle | May 24, 2017 | Reply

    • Hello Isabelle,
      I don’t know of lists of land leases although I’ve come across the names of various non-Natives farming in letters of complaint from Iroquois to the Indian Affairs Bureau earlier in the 20th century. I get the information on the site from census documents as well as some of the newspaper clippings that I’ve transcribed on the site (link on the right under the title Native Six Nations.
      If you have a particular couple in mind you can let me know and I’ll help.


      Comment by Evelyn Yvonne Theriault | May 27, 2017 | Reply

  12. I am Margaret Rainey’s granddaughter. I’ve a couple of things to add. She was Irish – not Scots; I’m fairly sure she went over on her own to work as a domestic in the Dorchester House in Montreal.

    Delighted to see a photograph of Adelard Favreau. They had my uncle Tommy in 1926 and then granny came home to Glasgow and had Francis Patrick in January 1927. Unfortunately Francis died in the August 1927 aged only 7 months.


    Comment by Kathy Hobkirk | December 5, 2019 | Reply

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