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Fraserfield in Glengarry County and the Hon. Alex Fraser of Fraserfield


ORIGIN OF THE FRASERFIELD property, lots 39 and 40, Concession 1, North River Road, goes back to 1797 when Peter Grant got the deed for lot 39 and Peter Smith was on lot 40, the west half in 1817 and the east half in 1820. He

also obtained title to four lots above the Kings Road to add another 400 acres to the 800 acre farm property.


He built the two-storey stone house at the time of his marriage in 1818 and added two wings in 1858-1851 with other embellishments. The house is now being restored to its early state with help from the Ontario Heritage Foundation.  


Quoted from Some of the Sandfields


By 1848, when the more sophisticated, enlarged home was under construction, Alexander Fraser had become a local power with province-wide contacts. He held the rank of Colonel, had been elected to the Legislative Assembly and was serving on the Legislative council. He was a minor member of the Family Compact with the ability to secure lucrative administrative appointments for himself and to grant patronage. He was a powerful man and it is not surprising that he decided he needed a residence more in keeping with his status.


The 1840s were a period of relative prosperity in Upper Canada and Fraser had become wealthy. His needs had changed. For one thing he required an office in his home to accomodate records and visitors concerned with his public appointments.


His first residence had been built in 1820-21, a two-storey fieldstone double house. The 1848-51 expnsion saw two wings added to the central section with cupola, balustrade and porch. On the interior, popular but expensive ornamental plasterwork was applied.

He died suddenly November 12, 1853, only two years after completion of Fraserfield, and he was buried in St. Marys cemetery in Williamstown. Mrs. Fraser died January 17, 1861.




Colonel Alexander Fraser was appointed to command the First Regiment Glengarry Militia. He had been Quartermaster of the Canadian Fencible Regiment in 1812-15, and was later a member of the Legislative Council of Upper Canada. Second- in-command was Lieutenant-Colonel Alpin Grant, who was a half-pay officer from the 42nd Black Watch. He went to the Ottawa District in 1832 and died there in 1836. The Quarter Master was John McLennan who had served as a Sergeant in the Flank Company, First Regiment of Glengarry, during the war. He had been present at Ogdensburg and had received a Quartermasters commission in June 1814. He taught school at Williamstown from I815 to l823.

       The Second Regiment Glengarry Militia was commanded by Colonel Donald Macdonell (Greenfield) son of the former commanding officer Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Macdonell (Greenfield). He had commanded a Flank Company of the Glengarries during the war and had later served on the staff as Assistant Quartermaster General. The Lieutenant-Colonel was Duncan McDonell, from the First Regiment Glengarry Militia; he had commanded a Flank Company during the war and had been wounded the Battle of Ogdensburg.

       A Third Regiment Glengarry Militia was formed in 1822 under the command of Colonel Archibald McLean, son of Colonel the Honourable Neil McLean and later the Chief Justice of Upper Canada. Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Chisholm, who had seen service in the Royal African Corps


A nephew, John Fraser, in Canadian Pen and Ink Sketches, wrote of a visit to the home in 1838. "We often heard that Fraserfield was one of the finest country residences in Upper Canada, but really, we had no idea that so grand a building was to be found in the wilds of Glengarry as the one before which we drew up.

"A large party had just seated themselves to dinner. A true highland welcome greeted us which made us feel at home. There was the old Colonel himself at the head of a distinguished assemblage doing the honors as he well knew how to. He was known far and wide, from Sarnia to Gaspe."



One of its leading citizens in Glengarrys early years, Col. Alexander

Fraser served in the tenth and eleventh Parliaments and was appointed a

Legislative Councillor. After the Union of 1841, he became a member of the

Legislative Council of Canada. First warden of United County Council, he

commanded a regiment of Glengarry militia in the Rebellion of 1837-38.


Col. Alexander Fraser of Fraserfield (1776-1853), politician, administrator, farmer, militia colonel, and central figure in a network of marriage relationships including the Pringles of Cornwall and the Sandfield Macdonalds of Glengarry. He was M.L.A. for Glengarry 1824-1834, Legislative Councillor 1838-1853, Warden of SDG, 1841-1849, and Registrar for Glengarry 1841-1853.


Harkness - Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry



Fraserfield was known far and wide from Sarnia to Gaspe. In 1818, he had married Ann (1797-1861), fourth daughter of Archibald Macdonell (Leek). There were two sons and four daughters. Archibald, the eldest inherited Fraserfield and married Mary Scott, a sister of Sir Richard Scott. Of the daughters, Ann married Dr. Daniel Eugene Maclntyre, Williamstown; Catherine married Donald A. Macdonald (Sandfield) of Alexandria; Isabella married Jacob Farrand Pringle, afterwards County Judge, and Mary married James Dunbar Pringle, all of whom and their descendants have played a very prominent part in the social and political life of these counties.


Alex Fraser (1776-1853), the new member for Glengarry, was born at Glendomere, near Fort Augustus, Scotland, his family being from Stratherrick. They came to Canada early in the 19th century and settled in Charlottenburg. He was quartermaster in the Canadian Fencible Regiment during the war of 18 12-1814. In 18??, he had command of the (Charlottenburg Regiment) Glengarry Militia and took a very creditable part in suppressing the Rebellion of 37-3 8. He served in the Tenth & Eleventh Parliaments 1828-1834 and in 1838, he was appointed a Legislative Councillor and after the Union of 1841, became a member of the Legislative Council of Canada.


After the War of 1812-14, he settled on a large farm of 1600 acres at McGillivrays Bridge in Charlottenburg, building a beautiful home there which is known as Fraserfield to this day. A nephew, John Fraser, in Canadian Pen and Ink Sketches 1838, said of it: We aften heard that Fraserfield was one of the finest country residences in Upper Canada, but really, we had no idea that so grand a building was to be found in the wilds of Glengarry as the one before which we drew up. A large party had just seated themselves to dinner. A true Highland welcome greeted us which made us feel at home. There was the old Colonel himself at the head of a distinguished assemblage doing the honours as he well knew how.


From 1842-1849, Alex Fraser was the first warden of the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengany having been appointed to that position by the Government of the time. He was also a Registrar for the County of Glengarry from 1843 until his death in 1853. hosdg

Col Alexander Fraser, of Fraserfield, Charlottenburgh, was appointed the first warden in 1842, and continued to act until a new warden was appointed under the Municipal Act. abcsdg


A History of Glengarry, pg 52 - 53



Col. Alexander Fraser of Fraserfield was not associated with the North West Company (though his brother Paul was) but he occupied a position in Glen garry comparable to that of the most prominent of the retired fur traders. He was born in Scotland but came to Glengarry with his parents in the early nineteenth century. In the War of 1812 he was quartermaster of a Lower Canada Fencible Regiment. After the War he settled in Glen­garry, near St. Raphaels and Williamstown, on a 1000 acre estate called Fraserfield The beautiful fieldstone house, almost a mansion, which he built there is still one of the choicest buildings in Glengarry County. Like the Bishops church, it was the product of a daring concept, and boldly rose above the backwardness of the society in which it was shaped. Col. Fraser represented Glengarry for many years in Parliament, first in the House of Assembly of Upper Canada and then in the Legislative Council of Upper Canada and the United Canadas. He served as  government land agent, and the researcher in the early land records of Glengarry will find many letters from the Colonel dealing with the land transactions of the settlers. He was an emotional man and often showed himself surprisingly deeply involved as he described the problems of the settlers that the chances of business drew to his attention.  


Glengarry was also linked in these early times with a number of eminent men through the Glengarry-based Highland Society of Canada. This organization, rather similar to the service clubs of the present day, was founded at St. Raphaels in 1818 as an offshoot of the prestigious Highland Society of London, England. Hon. William McGillivray, Bishop Macdonell, CoL Alexander Fraser, and an eminent man of early Stormont County, the Hon. Neil McLean, were among the founding members. The society continued to meet as late as 1825, and after a period of dormancy was revived in 1842 by John Macdonald of Garth and lasted at least till 1857.



Col. Alexander Fraser and his neighbor, John McGillvray, the two prominent political and social leaders or patrons of Glengarry, select­ed John Sandfield Macdonald, trained by the tory McLean and the moderate Draper, as their man to retain the county constuency for progressive, moderate loyal conservatism. Glengarry Society and politics were still hierarchical. Tone and style were set by the local semi-squires whose influence in the Eastern District was increased by Scottish clan traditions and by their ties with with the elite in Toronto or Montreal. Fraser and McGillivray, close friends, were well suited to deliver the Glengarry vote to Sandfield. Colonel Fraser of Fraserfield was a member of the legislative council and married to a granddaughter of Colonel John Macdonell (Leek), one of the fore­most Loyalist chieftains. He was clearly the seigneur of the Catholic Scots, yet he kept close contact with Presbyterian interests.


              Lancaster Town and Village

              Lt. Colonel Alex Fraser of Fraserfield was appointed Warden under this Act and he held the position until the Municipal Act was changed in 1849 to permit an elected warden. This Act 4 & 5 Victoria Chap. 10, came into force January 1, 1842, and it removed all administrative control from the Justices of the Peace from now on would would only function as minor legal entities. Court of Quarter Sessions was no more.




              James Pringle And Neil John Mcgillvray Were Witnesses, To Parts Of The Will

              James Fraser-witness

              Alexander Fraser - Testator

              Reference In Will To Neil (John Scratched Out) Mcgillivray & Magdalene Macan

              As Witnesses To Codicils

              Geo. Macdonell, Comm In B.a.(or R)

              Ann Fraser-executrix

              Archibald Fraser-executor

              Archibald Fraser Signed The Will


              Interesting Point: Any Descendant Inheriting Fraserfield Was Required To

              Change Their Last Name To Fraser If Not Already Fraser (ie. Daughters Lines).





              Paul Fraser- Brother-partner In Hudson Bay Co.(land if Claimed Within 5 Years)

              Mary Mcintyre-granddaughter (Died Young)

              Alexander George Fraser-son-to Be Trained As A Barrister

              Ann Fraser-wife

              Archibald Fraser-oldest Son

              Ann Mcintyre-daughter-wife Of Daniel Eugene Mcintyre

              Catherine Mdonald-daughter- Wife Of Donald A. Macdonald later Lt. Gov. of Ontario (Sandfield)

              Isabella Pringle-daughter- Wife Of Judge Jacob Farrand Pringle

              Mary Pringle-daughter-wife Of James Dunbar Pringle


              Land Referred To In Will

              Lot #12, Conc. A, Twp Of Sydenham

              With Its Broken Front On Georgian Bay-paul Fraser

              Lot 11, Conc A, Twp Of Sydenham . . . -Mary Mcintyre

              Lots 1, 2, 3 Conc A With Their Broken Fronts On Georgian Bay Twp Of Sydenham-Alexander Fraser

              Lots 4 & 5 Adjoining, Conc A . .-Alexander Fraser

              Fraserfield, Lots 39 & 40 On The North Bank Of The River Aux Raisin And

              Lots #S 21,22,23 & 24 In The Seventh Concession In The Twp Of Charlottenburgh-Archibald Fraser

              Balance of real estate to wife and daughters


              Grave at St. Mary's R. C. Church, Williamstown

              53, South Side

              In memory of the Hon. Alexander Fraser Colonel 1st Glengarry Regt born at Glen Domore Fort Augustus, Scotland 18 Jan 1776, died at Fraserfield 12 November 1853 aged 67 years.

                    East Side

              In memory of Ann McDonell wife of Hon. Alexander Fraser died at Fraserfield 17th June 1861, aged 64 years.

                    North Side

              In memory of William James Scott Fraser died Feb 20 1872 aged 7 mos & 23 days. William Archibald Fraser died Feb. 15 1873, at 4 weeks.

                    West Side

              In memory of Archibald Fraser who died at Fraserfield Glengarry Ont on the 29th day of November 1874 aged 47 years & 1 month. May he rest in peace.

              Mary Catherine Fraser widow of the late Archibald Fraser died Jan 21, 1915 aged 83 years.


              Origin of Fraserfield



              The Fraserfield name is associated with the Frasers of Philorth-Lords Saltoun. These families trace their descent to the Frasers of Touch-Fraser and Sir Gilbert Fraser, Sheriff of Traquair and of Peebles. Sir Alexander Fraser, 8th of Philorth, was founder of Fraserburgh for which he obtained charters in 1588 and 1592. He also built Fraserburgh Castle at Kinnaird Head in 1570. In 1669, Alexander Fraser, 10th of Philorth, acquired title of 10th Lord Saltoun through his mother whose ancestor's were the Abernethy's who held the title from 1445. Being the senior line of the Fraser family, the Lords Saltoun are chiefs of the name and arms of the whole Clan Fraser.


              Caimbulg Castle, home of the chiefs, is located near Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire. The crest of the Frasers, Lord Saltoun, is a strawberry plant on a mound. The motto is "ALL MY HOPE IS IN GOD." Families of Philorth areof Ardglasse, Broadland, Findrack Forest and Duris, Fraserfield, Hospitafield, Lonmay, Memsie, Park, Quarrelbuss, Rathillock, Techmuiry, Tornaveen and Tyrie.

              From Clan Fraser Web Page.


              On Internet found manuscripts at Aberdeen University as follows:

                              MS 124 Descriptive list of the letters and papers of William Fraser of Fraserfield (Balgownie) Aberdeenshire,  1771-1786

                              MS1160/1/23 (MS 1160/1-18 Gordon of Buthlaw and Cairness: Estate and family papers, 1642-1938 (for summary please see MS1160i)

                                              20Jan 1725

                                              Letters or retrocession

                                             William Fraser of Fraserfield, advocate, in favour of James Fraser of 'Loanmay' (Lonmay) Lands of Upper and Nether Savock, with mill, etc. and others in parish of Loanmay, disponed on 1 August 1720 by James Fraser to William Fraser and now redeemed; perished.


              Another website dedicated to Country Homes of Scotland had reference (ABERDEEN)  to Fraserburgh abe Cairnbulg Castle, Fraser 1600+, Library of William Fraser of Fraserfield. Ca. 5,000 vols remain. Now owned by Lady Saltoun.


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              Last updated: 2010