The Dugas Family

Philemon Dugas

Lt. Col. Philemon Dugas, born 1782, probably in Charlton MA, was a prominent, well respected and well established citizen in the Township of Rawdon.

The son of Claude Dugas Jr. and Sarah Chubb of Sturbridge, MA, he arrived in St. Jacques de Montcalm in the early days of settlement in the Township .

His grandparents, Claude Dugas Sr. and Marie-Josèphe Melanson had been Acadian exiles. With the exception of Claude Jr., the family had returned to the Canadas in 1766. (Acadian Cultural Society)

Philemon (also known as Firmin), emigrated to St. Jacques de Montcalm with his wife, Martha Edwards, and their two daughters, Bibiane and Louise.  

Philemon acquired lot 28 of the first range in Rawdon, possibly a reward for his service in the British Army during the American Revolution where he had been promoted to Lt. Colonel.

In 1817 Philemon, in association with Isaac Dugas and Pierre Richard, built a saw mill on nearby lot 24 of the 1st range. (At this time Dugas was a very common name in the St Jacques area. Isaac could have been a relative as members of the family had returned to Quebec in 1766.)

Shortly after Philemon established a saw mill as well as a grist mill on his own lot and bought out his partners in the mill on lot 24. 

Over the years he held several governing positions, land agent, Justice of the Peace. He was also involved with the local militia.

In 1823 Philemon presented a census of Rawdon to the governing body at Quebec City.

Philemon was involved in the building of the first school, church, community centre in Rawdon. Prior to the building of the school, classes were held in his house with as many as twelve students from the lower ranges attending class.

Philemon also represented the settlers in the Township in finding a market for their potash, slats, lumber and other forest products. A June 10, 1826 letter from the local schoolmaster, James Walker, wrote an introduction to a friend in Quebec City describing Mr. Philemon Dugas, as a leading citizen of the Township of Rawdon, who was in Quebec City about the harbour somewhere with a few thousand plank and if you could thus assist him to dispose of them, it will be assisting a worthy person who in innumerable instances has assisted the distressed settlers in this township”.

Firmin Dugas

This handsome young man followed in the footsteps of his father, Philemon. Educated in the well respected Seminaire de Joliette, a French Catholic institute, he was determined to make a contribution to his community.  Very soon, as well as being the mayor of St. Ligouri, Firmin was elected president of the St. Ligouri School Board. 

 Firmin had even greater ambition. He was now interested in provincial politics. He ran as a candidate for the Conservative Party in the provincial election of 1861 only to be defeated.

Not discouraged by his loss he ran again in 1867 for the Conservative Party. This time he won his seat.

Not satisfied with being elected member of the Quebec Assembly,  September 15, 1871 Firmin, representing the Conservative Party, he presented for, and was elected, to the newly formed Canada Assembly.

Firmin sat in both the provincial and federal legislatures for the next three years. January 20, 1874, a law was passed abolishing dual mandates.

Firmin resigned as member of the Quebec Assembly and went on to be re-elected to the House of Commons in 1872, 1874, 1878 and 1882. In the election of February 22, 1887 Firmin lost his seat in the house of Commons. He had served his country for more than 15 years.

His 3rd wife, Anastasia Quinn, provided land and funds to build the church and presbytery in Rawdon.

Firmin died in 1889, aged 59 and is buried in St. Ligouri de Montcalm.

Joseph Louis Euclide Dugas

Joseph Louis Euclide Dugas

Joseph Louis Euclide Dugas

Joseph Louis Euclide, son of Firmin and his 2nd wife, Mary Ann Reinhardt, continued in his grandfather and father’s path. He was educated in the Seminaire de Joliette and the University of Ottawa. He served as a school commissioner before running for office in Federal politics. In 1891, two years after the death of his father, he was elected to the Canadian Assembly. He served his country for nine and a half years before being defeated in 1900.

Louis Euclide and his wife, Elizabeth Rowan were residents of Rawdon. Louis died in December 27, 1943, age 82 years. He and his wife are buried in the Catholic Cemetery in Rawdon.