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Nadeau Town Founders in the St John Valley
by Ken Roy

This article written by Ken Roy, was initially published in the St John Valley Times in 1998 as part of the Nadeau Family Reunion..

Two of Jean Baptiste Nadeau and Marie Anne Albert’s children are known as founders of local towns in the St John Valley, Sifroid is one of the co-founders of Eagle Lake and Joseph or José is one of the founders of Fort Kent.

Sifroid Nadeau

Sifroid Nadeau is shown in the St Basile parish registers as Cifroi born on 5 August 1804 and baptized on 25 March 1806 at St Basile, New Brunswick, Canada. Jean Baptiste and his family are believed to be living at St Hilaire, New Brunswick at this time.

According to James C Ouellette in his book Eagle Lake, The History of a Lumbering Town in Aroostook County, Maine, Sifroid was the founder of Eagle Lake. Sifroid had moved to Eagle Lake after being evicted from the land he was farming at the juncture of the Fish and St John rivers. This land had been taken to construct a blockhouse, the Fort Kent Blockhouse.

In 1841, the state legislature passed a resolution that granted “said Nadow (sic) one hundred acres of land to be selected … within a year, in township number sixteen in seventh range…on the State Road… and to pay said Nadow (sic) the sum of three hundred dollars.” (Acts and Resolves of the Maine Legislature 1841). Township 16 range 7 is the present day Town of Eagle Lake which was named after the lake it borders. The lake was given its name by land agent Rufus McIntyre and Sheriff Hastings Strickland in January 1839 when they led a 200 man posse sent north to capture the British land agent McLaughlin.

Oral tradition maintains that the 1841 state legislature resolution was a fait accompli by the time the resolve was passed. Sifrois Nadeau located his log cabin and barn on his large land grant near the present Winterville - Eagle Lake town line. The Bradley Survey of 1844 places Sefroi Nadeau on Lot 35. Where the Fish River connects St Froid Lake with Eagle Lake which came to be called the Nadeau Thoroughfare. One might further speculate that St. Froid Lake was probably known as “le lac a Sifroi”.

Sifroid Nadeau married Margaret Michaud, the daughter of Jean Romain Michaud and Marie Marthe Caron, on 8 November 1842 at St Basile. It is quite possible the actual marriage was performed at the Ste Luce chapel in Frenchville, Maine and was recorded in the St Basile parish register since Ste Luce did not become a parish in its own right until the following year. Sifroid died in 1873 at Eagle Lake, Maine. (My maternal ancestral line descends from Sifroid Nadeau.)

    The following was added to the web site and is not in the published article.

    See also:

    The Eagle Lake Township Plan circa 1878 is shown from James C. Ouellette's book Eagle Lake, The History of a Lumbering Town in Aroostook County, Maine, page 4 (note that page is not numbered)

Joseph (José) Nadeau

Joseph (José) Nadeau likewise is found in the St Basile parish registers as born on 22 February 1809 and baptized on 4 April 1809. According to oral tradition, he founded La Grande Decharge which is now known as Fort Kent in 1829. There he built his log cabin on the land included in the farm which was later occupied by Mr. Samuel Stevens. Jose first married Seraphine Martin, daughter of Chrysostome Thomas Martin and Marie Luce Cyr. However, the McLaughlin Reports places José in St Hilaire in 1833 which also raises questions regarding his being in Fort Kent in 1829.

See “The Nadeaus of Fort Kent” by Guy Dubay in the June 21 1995 issue of the St John Valley Times which corrects several bits of information published in the Fort Kent Centennial 1869 - 1969. According to Guy Dubay, the souvenir book erroneously indicates that José was born in 1805 and that he married Flavie Martin in 1831 at St Basile. The parish registers of St Basile indicate that he was born in 1809 and married Seraphine Martin in 1833. In fact, Flavie Martin was the sister of Seraphine and married Romain Michaud, Jose’s step brother in 1842.

José next married Alice White, the daughter of Michael White and Mary Kavanaugh, on 6 March 1848. The Mariages of Frenchville (1843-1970) Sainte Luce by Leon Guimond shows her name as Elizabeth.

Two of José’s brothers and one of his sisters also lived in Fort Kent:

  • As mentioned earlier, Sifroid or Sefroi (1804 - 1878) is known to have lived between 1837 and 1840 (or 1841) on land where the Fort Kent Blockhouse currently stands.
  • Fabien (1807 - 1855) was living in Fort Kent according to the 1850 U.S. Census.
  • José’s younger sister, Olive also lived in Fort Kent where she died in 1894. Olive married Solomon Cyr on 31 May 1835 at St Basile. Their son Vital Cyr was the first principal of the Madawaska Training School (1878-1897) according to Guy Dubay’s article.

    The following was added to the web site and is not in the published article.

    See also the following on the Upper St John Valley web site:

    Fort Kent

    Eagle Lake


Eagle Lake, The History of a Lumbering Town in Aroostook County, Maine by James C. Ouellette, Harpswell Press, Brunswick, Maine, 1980


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