The Bangle Files: #2 | The Burial of Adam Bangle

BANQTwo weeks ago, when we left Adam, he was in a very bad state bedridden at home. Sick as he seemed to be when he had his will made, he must have died not long afterwards.

It’s obvious he’s nowhere to be found in the Catholic Church Records of Terrebonne or any nearby parishes. We now know he was German and that even if his grandchildren were baptized for the most part at Saint-Louis-de-France Church in Terrebonne, all indications are that he was probably not Catholic himself, but rather Protestant.

I looked and looked (you’ve got to realize this was the pre-Internet era) but alas, I failed. Thanks to Dorothy, a burial record was found not long after I published the will on the Web about ten years ago.

According to the Montréal’s St. Gabriel Street Church register, one Adam Panier was buried on May 10, 1800, having died the day before. The man was a farmer of Terrebonne (and you can see here that one Jacob Schmidt was one of the witnesses).

Adam burialYes, I hear your point and I, of course, agree with you: this surname, Panier, is far from the original Bangle surname! Moreover, he was no master shoemaker but rather a farmer. But you do have to think outside the box, don’t you? Let me thus share with you some of the facts which convinced me that it may be worthwhile focussing on Adam Panier.

I studied German decades ago and I know that the pronunciation of a “B” may be mistaken for a “P” by foreigners. Then, the location which is the same in both cases, Terrebonne. Also, when comparing Adam Panier’s death date with the date on which Adam Bangle’s will was finalized, we may see that both events are close enough to be connected. Finally, the signature of one Jacob Schmidt leads me to think that this is our guy. This will be later proven with notarial documents bearing the signature of Jacob Schmidt, husband of Catherine Bangle, Adam’s daughter.

So now we have a death date and a burial date but what about the burial place?

st gabriel street church

Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec ~ St. Gabriel Presbyterian Church, rue St-Gabriel (Montréal, Québec) ~ Cote MAS 6-41-d ~ Source QMBN ~ N° de notice 0002733873

We are in 1800 in Montréal. For those who may be familiar with Montréal’s earlier history, you may already be aware that there weren’t that many Protestant churches in the city at the beginning of the 19th century. St. Gabriel’s Street Church (officially the Scotch Presbyterian Church) opened in 1792. When it was demolished in 1905 for the enlargement of the Palais de Justice (Courthouse), it was then used as a warehouse by the Québec Government which had purchased the building from the Presbyterian Church.

There were no cemeteries in churchyards at that time in Montréal. The St. Lawrence Burial Grounds (also known as Old Dorchester Burial Grounds or Dufferin Square Cemetery) was the final resting place for Protestants. However, because of a lack of space and public health concerns, it was closed in the mid 1850s. The last interment occurred on May 29, 1854. I read that families involved were offered that the corpses be removed for a reburial in the new Mount Royal Cemetery. They put a halt to it though when there were concerns among the population about removing thousands of cholera’s and typhus’ victims buried during the 1830’s and 1840’s.

Montréal 1872. Square Dufferin.

1872. Square Dufferin. We can see the old tombstones from the Old Dorchester Burial Grounds on this photo. ~ McCord Museum Archives / William Notman. ~ By clicking on this link, you will view several pictures from St. Gabriel Street Church []

I contacted the Mount Royal Cemetery but have received no answer about Adam Panier, buried in 1800. Their records date back to 1799. I would be very surprised to find out that his corpse would have been removed from the St. Lawrence Burial Grounds when it closed in 1854. For those who know Montréal, the St. Lawrence Burial Grounds now literally lies buried under the ground of Complexe Guy-Favreau (home to various Canada Government’s offices) on René-Lévesque Boulevard West, which building I can see from my office’s window every day.

Just after I’ve written this post, I stumbled on Gail Dever’s “This Week’s crème de crème” featuring a post from Dianne Nolin’s blog concerning this cemetery. If the cemetery records date back to 1799 the cemetery itself must have opened before that year because a Member of Parliament had jotted down some names from the tombstones before the space became Square Dufferin. To read Ms. Nolin’s post, just click here.

In genealogy, you have to start from what you know to pursue your quest. What about turning back time from Adam’s death and going back to Terrebonne and see if we can find out why he ended up there?

The next post in two weeks, hope to see you then!

For related posts about The Bangle Files, please refer to the Introduction Page