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Since having written this post about Edward and Catherine (Travers) Grace, new evidence of their life in Montreal has come to light. 

Ancestry has published both baptism and marriage records from various parishes in the province of Quebec.  These records include St. Columban and Montreal.

The first record we find of Edward and Catherine is from St. Patrick’s Basilica in Montreal:

I can just imagine Edward walking through the doors of this Cathedral, holding in his arms the tiny first-born son named for his own father, Patrick Grace.   The day was 24 March, 1866, the baby was just one day old.

He must have been proud to show his son to the world and present him to be entered into the Faith of his parents and grandparents. 

I wonder if my great-great grandmother, Catherine, was left at home to recover from giving birth, waiting anxiously for her new family to come back to her side; her baby wailing and hungry.

St. Patrick’s was the center of Montreal’s fast-growing Irish Catholic population.  The Gothic-Revival Church was less than 20 years old on the day that Edward and Catherine had Patrick baptized.

The Priest was Fr. John Chisholm, the Godparents were Alexander Woods and Catherine Grace.  Catherine was Edward’s sister, married to Joseph Phelan.  Edward’s profession at this time is listed as “police man.”

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Edward Grace, known as Ned, and known to his children as the Governor. 

My great-grandfather, Eugene, looked so much like his father.

This man was father of 12 boys and 1 girl, all but one of whom safely survived their childhood. 

No mean feat in the late mid to late 19th century.

Edward Grace is my great-great grandfather.  He was born in St. Columban, Deux Montagnes, Quebec, the son of Irish immigrants, in December of the year 1835.  He was one of 11 known children of Patrick Grace and Honora McEvoy, both of County Kilkenny (Honora was most definitely from the town of Freshford).

Here Edward is the older man standing in the back.  This is a photo taken with the family of one of Edward’s sons, Robert Joseph Grace, standing here beside his father.

Sometime before 1866 Edward met and married Catherine Warren Travers, another child of Irish immigrants.  The connection between the Travers and the Graces is one that is tightly woven, but one that’s origins remain unclear to this generation*.  No one is sure yet where they met, perhaps in Vermont, perhaps in Canada, perhaps somewhere else altogether.

This photo courtesy of Cynthia Grace

One distant relative believes they were married in Canada, which is probable, since their first son, Patrick Henry, was born in that country in the year of 1866.  Their second son, Robert Joseph, was born in St. Columban, Quebec, and their third son, Michael, was born and died in that same town at the tender age of 5 months.

After burying their young son, Edward and Catharine did move on from St. Columban.  There is some evidence that they may have moved to Montreal, in the form of a birth record that can be found with the LDS.  This record lists Edward Victor Grace, son of Edward Grace and Catherine Travis, pretty compelling evidence that they at least passed through Montreal.

They arrived to stay in the USA in 1876, with 6 young son in tow, the youngest of which was just an infant.  They found their way to Moretown, Vermont, where Catherine’s parents were living, and where she had spent a good deal of her childhood.

The Graces in Moretown, Vermont, 1880

The Graces in Moretown, Vermont, 1880

Again, we don’t know exactly what brought them back to the US, but this is where they stayed for the remainder of their lives.

*Catherine Travers had a brother, John Travers, who married Martha Kinsella.  Martha Kinsella was also born in St. Colomban, the daughter of Thomas Kinsella and Honora Grace.  This Honora Grace was Edward’s aunt, making Edward and Martha cousins.  So, two Travers siblings married two cousins from St. Columban, Quebec.  What I’m unclear on is what connection the Travers’ may have had to St. Colomban, or what the connection was between St. Colomban and Moretown/Waterbury, Vermont.

This is a photograph of my great grandfather, Eugene Grace.  He was born in Waterbury, Vermont, on what was probably a chilly Spring day in the little New England town that his father had emigrated to just five years earlier in 1778.

Eugene was born a fraternal twin to his brother, George.  George and Eugene were born the tenth and eleventh sons of Edward Grace and his wife, Catherine Warren Travers.

By this time Eugene’s mother, Catherine, would have been an experienced mom, and I imagine she must have suspected she was carrying twins.  It is likely that George and Eugene, like most twins, were born preterm, tiny and fragile.  This must have been terrifying for their parents, with infant mortality the way that it was in 19th century Vermont.  They must have been especially frightened after having lost their son, Michael, in 1870 when he was just 5 months old.

However fragile their beginning, George and Eugene would both grow to be men with children of their own.

In 1897 at the age of 14, the boys would lose their mother.  By the time of the 1900 census, the 17 year old Eugene was living as a boarder in Waterbury at the home of Eugene and Abbie Towne, and working as a farm laborer.

1900waterbury.jpg

The photograph above is the only picture my father has of his grandfather.  In the picture Eugene is wearing a US military uniform, with what looks like a cavalry insignia on the cap.  As of this time I have been unable to find out more about his military service.

At least two of Eugene’s big brothers, Robert Joseph Grace, and Edward Grace, were US Cavalrymen before him, having served in the Spanish-American War.

Having grown up doing farm work in a small Vermont town, I can only imagine that the tales of his older brothers’ battles in far away places like the Phillipines must have loomed large in Eugene’s imagination.  Whether or not this prompted him to follow in their footsteps by joining the US Cavalry is something we may never know.