Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
September 2004

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Saint Francis



[This text was originally published in 1907 by the Bureau of American Ethnology as part of its Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. It was later reproduced, in 1913, by the Geographic Board of Canada. The work done by the American Bureau was monumental, well informed and incorporated the most advanced scholarship available at the time. In many respects, the information is still useful today, although prudence should be exercised and the reader should consult some of the contemporary texts on the history and the anthropology of the North American Indians suggested in the bibliographic introduction to this section. The articles were not completely devoid of the paternalism and the prejudices prevalent at the time. While some of the terminology used would not pass the test of our "politically correct" era, most terms have been left unchanged by the editor. If a change in the original text has been effected it will be found between brackets [.] The original work contained long bibliographies that have not been reproduced for this web edition. For the full citation, see the end of the text.]



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Saint Francis . A Catholic mission village, occupied principally by Abnaki, on St. Francis r., near Pierreville, Yamaska county, Quebec. After the removal of the Christian Indians hither from Chaudière r. they received constant accessions from the Abnaki and Pennacook, especially the former, who had been driven out of New England by the advance of the English settlements. After the death of Père Rasles in 1724 the greater part of the Abnaki fled to St. Francis, which thus became an Abnaki village. The Arosaguntacook acquired the leading position, and their dialect is that now used in the village. At the beginning of the French and Indian war in 1754 a large number of the hostile Scaticook joined the settlement. As the St. Francis Indians had been driven from their homes, they retaliated upon the New England settlers at every opportunity and soon became noted as the bitterest enemies of the English colonies. In 1759 a force was organized and sent under Maj. Rogers against the village, which then contained about 700 inhabitants. St. Francis was surprised and burned, 200 of the Indians - men, women, and children - being killed, and the remainder scattered. These afterward returned, and the village was rebuilt, but the fall of the French power in America put an end to further hostility on the part of the Indians. A number of them joined the British forces in the Revolution, and again in the War of 1812. They numbered 360 in 1821, 387 in 1858, 335 in 1908, and 313 in 1911. They still [1907] spend a great part of their time in hunting, as well as in making and selling baskets, moccasins, and other Indian wares.


Source: James WHITE, ed., Handbook of Indians of Canada, Published as an Appendix to the Tenth Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, Ottawa, 1913, 632p., p. 404 .



© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College