Lost And Found: Adelard Favreau of Caughnawaga
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!