McLaughlin – Grace

This is a short version of the beginnings of the McLaughlin family in St. Columban:

.It is assumed that Michael & Ann left Ireland in 1823/4 – they arrive in Montreal in 1823/4 where they remained for a few years. Later, they and a group of newly arrived Irish immigrants are later offered land, building implements and kitchen tools and blankets to settle in Ste-Scholastique circa 1825 to 1827), on land owned by the Sulpician Order. Although the land was given free, they had to pay seigniorial taxes. Later the Irish community was named St-Columban. Many of the first settlers did not always speak English fluently, but rather the Gaelic dialect of their region in Ireland. This provided a challenge for the Catholic Church to find a priest to minister to this new community. Father Patrick Phelan, born in Ireland, was the first priest appointed to this fledgling community (1835)

. Their 1st housing was a “lean to” or “shanty”, using a big rock as the back of the unit and small spruce trees were arranged to create the walls, floor and ceiling! The community then worked at building wood structures before winter came. The land is rock filled with little earth and it is difficult to grow essential vegetables and animal feed

. Michael started out as a farmer, and he was also a tailor for the burgeoning community. Because this occupation did not take up enough time to do it full time, he also needed to farm his land and continue building his house. Michael and Ann are both assumed to have been literate

. Michael McLaughlin and Ann Quinslisk-McLaughlin had 2 children when they emigrated from Ireland (Kilkenny). They had John age 5 (later married Mary Delaney in 1845), and Mary age 3, on arrival in Quebec (she later married John Funchion in 1850/St-Andrew’s, Qc). They had 2 other children in Canada – John Jr. (1831) and Patrick (1832)

. Michael and Anne were buried in St. Columban
Cemetery. Over time their tombstone fell to the ground. In the 1980’s, the
parish priest of St. Columban Church at the time felt that the fallen tombstones were unsightly. The priest had them all removed and they now lie in a pile on the ground beside St-Columban Church

. Because no stone marks their gravesite, my sister arranged to have granite stone with a plaque placed at the front of the cemetery to honour of Michael & Ann (Quinlisk) McLaughlin, and all the brave Irish settlers. There was an unveiling ceremony on September 22, 2002, at St. Columban cemetery

On the Grace side:

On my father’s mother’s side, there is a long history of people associated with St. Columban. I am a descendant of William Casey and Mary McCormick – their daughter Elizabeth Casey married James Grace (1838, St-Jerome, Qc – Parents: Patrick Grace & Mary Addey from Kilkenny, Ireland)). Elizabeth and James Grace had 11 children, many of whom died at a young age. Their daughter Margaret married Martin Phelan, her sister Mary-Elizabeth Grace married Lawrence McDonald, while sister Jane Grace married Patrick Funchion.


Unveiling – September 22 – 2002 – Organized by Louise McLaughlin


This stone stands as testament to the hardy and steadfast Irish

who planted roots in St. Colomban, Quebec.

What they sowed, we reap.

Placed by the descendants of

Michael McLaughlin (1787–1872)


Ann Quinslisk (1790–1870)

Co. Tipperary

“Freely you have received; freely give.” Matthew 10:8

Erected 2002


Unveiling – For the Montreal Gazette , Saturday September 28, 2002

McLaughlin, Michael & Ann,

A monument was recently unveiled and dedicated to the memory of Michael McLaughlin

(1787-1872) and Ann Quinslisk (1790-1870), from Co. Tipperary. This event attended by some of their descendants and friends took place September 22, 2002, at St. Columban cemetery, to honour the hardy and steadfast Irish who planted roots in St. Columban, Quebec.