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St John Valley Parishes

St John Valley Parishes

The St John Valley Parishes section of our site is in tribute and honor to the religious faith of our ancestors, who were pioneers in Northern Maine, New Brunswick, or parts of Québec, Canada from the late 1790s and early 1800s, and to their descendants who settled in the Saint John River Valley and Fish River Valley in Northern Maine.

Because of the consolidation of several parishes in the Northern Maine region, the history of the original parishes is disappearing from the Portland diocesean web site. This site is an attempt to preserve some of the history of the original parishes that served our ancestors.

Researching in the parish registers in the St John Valley

When researching in the parish registers in the St John Valley, whether it be in the St Basile or St François-Xavier registers in Canada, St Bruno in Van Buren, or in the Ste Luce parish register in Frenchville, Maine, one must be aware of the history of those parishs in the valley. The parishes cross both sides of the Canadian and American border.

Finding marriage, baptismal, and burial entries in these parish registers that span the border of both Canada and the United States does not mean the person(s) lived in those communities. It only means that they lived in that parish. One must find other documentation to determine where the person actually lived whether it was in Canada or in the United States.

The US Census and Canadian Census can potentially be used to find the location where your ancestors lived. I say potentially because sometimes the index for the census does not have the correct spelling for the names, either because it was written phonetically or because the transcriber misinterpreted the written name, in which case you might not find them doing a search. For example, my Nadeau family is shown as Nodean in the 1930 US Census

St Basile

St Basile was the first church establish in St Basile in Madawaska County, New Brunswick, Canada. It may have been Victoria County, New Brunswick at the time. St Basile is the mother church in the valley founded in 1792 which served the communities on both sides of the US and Canadian borders. Some entries for the St John Valley shown as Madawaska might be found in the St Louis or St André in Kamouraska parish registers as performed by missionary priests.

Ste Luce

Ste Luce, originally a mission of St Basile, was built as a chapel in 1826 in Frenchville, Maine and became a parish in 1843. The St Basile parish registers contain the entries for baptisms, marriages, and burials performed at the Ste Luce chapel but do not indicate that as the location of the event. Ste Luce served communities on both the Canadian and American sides. St François Xavier in St François, Madawaska County, New Brunswick was a mission of Ste Luce parish until 1859 when it became a parish in its own right. St François served communities on the American side as well, including Fort Kent and communities as far south as Portage until parishes on the American side of the border were established. St Hilaire, sometimes shown as St George in the Drouin Collection, also was a mission of Ste Luce until 1869.

St Bruno

St Bruno was built as a chapel in 1828 in Van Buren, Maine and became a parish in 1838. St Bruno also served the communities of St Leonard until 1868, Ste Anne until 1872, and Grand Falls on the Canadian side of the border. For example, the children of Alexandre Roy and Marguerite Cormier were baptized and married at St Bruno in Van Buren but they lived across the river in St Leonard, New Brunswick, Canada

Both Ste Luce and St Bruno can lay claim to being the oldest churches in the American side of the St John Valley. Ste Luce because it had a chapel in 1826 and St Bruno because it became a parish in 1838.

See the map of the United States, Québec, and New Brunswick. When you scroll your mouse over the map sections. it will display a popup showing some of the early parishes in the United States, New Brunswick, and in the early Québec counties.


Aroostook County, Maine

The following parishes in Northern Maine were formed in the indicated years.

Established Merged Parish Name Location Comments
1838 2009 St Bruno Van Buren St Bruno was spun off as a separate parish from St Basile in 1838 and merged into St Peter Chanel in 2009.
1843 2006 Ste Luce Frenchville Ste Luce was spun off from St Basile 1843. It had been served as a mission with its own chapel since 1826. It was merged into Our Lady of the Valley with the rectory located in St Agatha, Main in 2006
1847 1978 Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel Lille Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel Parish became a separate parish from St. Basile in 1847. The chapel was at the foot of Mount-Carmel at the Madawaska/Grand Isle town line. The parish was moved to Lille in 1870, when the St. David Parish wa established. It is interesting that the Mont-Carmel parish petitioned the Pope to be separated from the New Brunswick Diocese and attached to Boston. The Pope created the Bishoprics of Portland and Manchester as a result and all of the American parishes became attached to Portland. The Parish of Grand Isle separated from Mont-Carmel around 1931. They built the St. Gerard Parish during the Great Depression. The St. Gerard/Mont-Carmel parish became consolidated in 1978. The Lille church was donated by the Bishop of Portland to the Association culturelle et historique du Mont-Carmel in 1983 and it is now a cultural museum called the Musée culturel du Mont-Carmel
1870 2007 St. Louis Fort Kent St. Louis was spun off from St. François-Xavier in St. François, New Brunswick which had been spun off from the Ste Luce parish. The St Louis parish was merged into St John Vianny parish in 2007 with the rectory being next to the St Louis Church in Fort Kent
1871 2007 St. David Madawaska St. David parish was spun off from the Ste Luce parish in 1871 and merged into the Notre Dame du Mont Carmel parish in 2007
1889 2006 Ste. Agathe St Agatha The Ste Agathe Parish was also spun off from the Ste Luce parish in 1889. It was merged into the Our Lady of the Valley Parish in 2006 with the rectory next to the Ste Agathe church becoming the parish rectory.
1890 2007 St. Joseph Wallagrass St Joseph Parish was spun off from St Louis and now has been merged back in 2007 into the St John Vianney parish
1892 2007 St. Mary Eagle Lake St Mary in Eagle Lake was separated from the St Joseph parish in Wallagrass in 1892 and was merged into the St John Vianney parish in 2007 with the rectory located in Fort Kent.
1906 2000 Holy Family Daigle, now New Canada The Holy Family parish was formed as a separate parish from Ste Luce in 1906. It was merged into the St Louis parish in 2000, and is now part of the merged St John Vianney parish since 2007.
1921 2007 St. Joseph Hamlin St. Joseph parish was formed in 1921
1929 2007 St. Thomas Aquinas Madawaska St Thomas Aquinas was formed as a separate parish from St. David in 1929 and merged into the Notre Dame du Mont Carmel in 2007.
1931 2007 St. Gerard Grand Isle St Gerard was formed as a separate parish from Notre Dame du Mont Carmel in 1931. The original Notre Dame du Mont Carmel parish was merged into the St Gerard parish in 1978 which was merged into the new Notre Dame du Mont Carmel parish in 2007.
1936 2006 St. Joseph Sinclair St Joseph was formed as a separate parish from Ste Agathe in 1936 and merged into the Our Lady of the Valley Parish in2006.

In the summer of 2006, Ste Luce in Frenchville, Maine ceased to exist as a separate parish. Ste Luce, Ste Agathe, and St Joseph in Sinclair were merged into a new parish, Our Lady of the Valley.

In the summer of 2007, St Louis in Fort Kent, St Mary in Eagle Lake, St Joseph in Wallagrass/Soldier Pond, and St Charles Boromeo in St Francis, Maine all ceased to exist as a separate parishs and were merged into a new parish, St John Vianny. The St John parish in St John, Maine and Holy Family in Daigle, Maine had previously been closed and merged into St. Louis parish in Fort Kent, Maine.

Merged Parishes

The following are the merged parishes that combined several parishes in Northern Maine starting in 2006.

  • 2006 - Our Lady of the Valley parish was formed which merged the Ste Luce parish in Frenchville, the Ste Agathe parish in St Agatha, the St Joseph parish in Sinclair, and the St Michael's chapel in Birch Point together into one parish with four churchs with the rectory in Ste Agathe
  • 2007 - St John Vianney parish was formed which merged the St Louis parish in Fort Kent, the St Joseph in Wallagrass, the St Mary parish in Eagle Lake, the St Charles Boremeo parish in St Francis, and the St Paul parish in Allagash into one parish with the rectory in Fort Kent. The St John parish in St John Plantation and the Holy Family parish in New Canada had already been merged into the St Louis parish.
  • 2007 - Notre Dame du Mont Carmel parish was formed which merged the St Thomas Aquinas parish in Madawaska, the St David parish in Madawaska, and the St Gerard parish in Grand Isle.
  • 2007 - St Peter Chanel parish was formed which merged the St Bruno parish in Van Burne, St Remi parish in Keegan, and the St Joseph parish in Hamlin into one parish.

Some of the other early parishes in Maine include

  • 1834 - St. Benedict in Benedicta
  • 1839 - St. Mary of the Visitation in Houlton
  • 1895 - Nativity of the Blessed Mary in Presque Isle which in 2009 was merged in the Precious Blood parish
  • 1896 - Holy Rosary in Caribou which in 2009 was merged in the Precious Blood parish
  • 2009 - Precious Blood parish was formed which merged the Holy Rosary parish in Caribou, the Sacred Heart parish in Caribou, and the Nativity of the Blessed Mary parish in Presque Isle into one parish.


Madawaska County, New Brunswick

Some of the early parishes in Madawaska County, New Brunswick are

  • 1792 - St Basile
  • 1859 - St. François-Xavier in St. François
  • 1860 - St. Jacques le Majeur in Edmundston
  • 1868 - St. Antoine de Padoue in St. Léonard-Parent
  • 1868 - St. Léonard in St. Léonard
  • 1869 - St. Hilaire
  • 1872 - Ste. Anne
  • 1880 - Immaculate Conception in Edmundston
  • 1889 - St. François d’Assise in Clair
Established Parish Name Location Comments
1859 St. François-Xavier St. François, New Brunswick St. François-Xavier was spun off from the Ste Luce parish in 1859. The St. François-Xavier parish also served our ancestors who lived in Fort Kent, Maine and some as far away as Portage Lake thus contuining to be an international parish until St Louis in Fort Kent was formed as a parish.
1869 St. Hilaire St. Hilaire, New Brunswick St. Hilaire was spun off from the Ste Luce parish in 1869. It is not unusual to find a family in both the Ste Luce parish registers and the St Hilaire parish registers, which are shown as St Georges in the Drouin Collection, Acadian French Catholic Church Records on Ancestry.com.

From the Files of Geraldine Chassé

In the summer of 1978, Geraldine Chassé and Rachel (Chassé) DeFarges took pictures of the various cemeteries and churchs in Northern Maine and across the border in Canada. In the summer of 2007, Geraldine Chassé and Rachel (Chassé) DeFarges provided these photos to me. The following photo pages are published here with their permission as a tribute to all the work Geraldine (1923-2015) has done over the years to preserve Our Acadian and French-Canadian Heritage.

Northern Maine cemeteries and churches

Canadian cemeteries and churches


Some Parishes

The following are some of the parishes that contain additional information on this site

Ste Luce

The Ste Luce Parish portion of our site provides the following information:

  • A brief history of the early chuch which is one of the oldest churches in the St. John Valley region and in the state of Maine.
  • A brief biography of the patron saint Ste Luce.
  • A brief history of its pastors for the first 100 years.
  • An advanced search of Ste Luce cemetery in Frenchville, Maine can be searched thanks to the compilation made by John B. Calhoon in 1986 and updated by Walter Fournier and Antoine Paradis on 2003-2004 and the photos provided by Don Raymond.Note that not all relationships and photos have been added, it is still a work in progress.
  • A plot map of the Ste Luce Cemetery are the result of the survey by John B Cahoun in 1986. The plot maps were updated by Walter Founier and Antoine Paradis in 2003 and 2004 to add the names to the map based on the existing tombstones and to add new headstones for the new section.
  • A simple search allows you to search for all occurences of a last name within the cemetery headstone database's buried person's last name column, the spouse's last name, the maiden name, and the parent's last names

Holy Family

The Holy Family parish portion of our site provides the following information:

  • A brief history of the parish
  • A brief history of its pastors.
  • An advanced search of the Holy Family cemetery in New Canada, Maine can be searched thanks to the compilation made by Don Raymond who also provided the photos. Note that not all relationships have been added, it is still a work in progress.
  • A simple search allows you to search for all occurences of a last name within the cemetery headstone database's buried person's last name column, the spouse's last name, the maiden name, and the parent's last names
  • A plot map of the Holy Family Cemetery created by Don Raymond.
  • A photo page of the Holy Family Cemetery provided by Don Raymond.

Notre-Dame du Mont-Carmel

See the Musée Culturel du Mont-Carmel (Mont-Carmel Cultural Museum) web site for additonal information on the original church of Notre Dame du Mont-Carmel and the historical and cultural preservation effort accomplished by the museum through the efforts of Don Cyr.