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Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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FRASER, SIMON (1806-1887)

FRASER, SIMON, first settled Presbyterian minister, Tabusintac and Black River, 1834-40; b. Boleskine parish, Inverness-shire, Scotland, 1806, s/o Simon F. Fraser and Bessie Fraser; m. 1846, Eliza Ross; d. Scotland, 6 Sep 1887.

Simon Fraser graduated from King's College, Aberdeen (MA 1830) and remained at the college for four years as librarian. He was then appointed by the Glasgow Colonial Society as missionary in the parishes of Alnwick and Glenelg in Northumberland County, and in "scattered settlements" in New Brunswick.

Efforts had been made to organize Presbyterian congregations at both Tabusintac and Black River in the 1820s, and the Rev. James Thomson and the Rev. James Souter had urged the colonial society to sponsor catechists in the communities. A young Scotsman did act as a catechist at Tabusintac in 1828-29, but it is not known if the schoolteachers Andrew Reid and Marcus Gunn, who were proposed for lengthier terms at Tabusintac and Black River respectively, were appointed. In June 1831, Souter preached and baptized children at Tabusintac, but few ministerial services were provided in either settlement prior to Fraser's arrival in the fall of 1834.

Fraser's appointment was for five years. Each year, in addition to a grant from the colonial society, he was to receive £60 from Alnwick parish members and £120 from Glenelg members. He was to reside half time in each parish. He began at Black River, where he stayed six weeks. He was ordained at St Andrew's Church, Chatham, in January 1835. Later that year the church at Tabusintac, which had been under construction since 1831, was finished and dedicated, and on 20 November 1836 a church was opened and dedicated at Black River.

When based at Tabusintac, Fraser also ministered to the Presbyterian settlers at Burnt Church, where a congregation was organized in 1837, and when at Black River he preached every third week at Kouchibouguac. He was an eloquent preacher who spoke his mind freely. If his candor was problematical the fact that he was bilingual in Gaelic and English was to his advantage. At Black River half of the settlers spoke Gaelic, and several understood no English. Tabusintac had an older and more assimilated population, but weekly prayer meetings were still being conducted alternately in Gaelic and English in Fraser's time.

Fraser preached his final sermons in Tabusintac and Burnt Church in March 1840. After his return to Scotland the Alnwick-Glenelg charge was divided into a Tabusintac-Burnt Church charge on the north side of Miramichi Bay and a Black River-Kouchibouguac charge on the south side.

From 1843 to 1867 Fraser was minister of the Free Church at Fortrose, north of Inverness, Scotland. He was married early in his term there, and he and his wife, Eliza Ross, raised a family. Following his death in 1887, at age eighty-one, his remains were committed to a grave at Fortrose. His only named survivor was a daughter.

Sources

[b/m/d] FES / Archibald; Gleaner 30 Sep 1834, 13 Dec 1836, 24 Mar 1840; Hist. UC Tabusintac; Macdougall; News 12 Sep 1984; Presb. Witness 1 Oct 1887


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