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The Lovell (Lovewell) Family: An Eastern Townships Dynasty

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medium_wm.h.lovell.jpgThe Lovell Family of Barnston and Coaticook, Quebec is recognized as one of the most prominent and distinguished families of the Eastern Townships. The surname was originally “Lovewell” which over time evolved in to “Lovell” the form which remains in use today.

William W. Lovewell, born c.1790 in New England, was a veteran of the War of 1812 -1815 and settled in Barnston where he became a landowner and farmer. It is believed that William was the son of Zaccheus Lovewell and Hepsibah Taplin and great grandson of Captain John Lovewell, the famous Indian fighter.

William married Mary Hanson, daughter of Micajah Hanson and Nancy Rogers, also of New England, who settled in Barnston in 1808, and related to Elizabeth (Meader) Hanson one of the most famous Indian captives of the 17th century and whose account of her captivity was published in 1728 to wide acclaim.

William and Mary raised five children, a daughter, John Lord, Betsey E., William Henry and Walter Hanson Lovell. William died in 1875 and is buried at the Lovell Cemetery, Barnston.

Hon. William Henry Lovell, M.L.A., M.P.
William Henry Lovell (right) was born in Barnston on June 13, 1828, middle son of William and Mary Lovell. During his time in Barnston, Henry was engaged in farming and was elected to the town council and was mayor. From an early age Henry had an affinity for business and commerce which earned him considerable wealth.

In 1851, Henry married Artemissa Wellman Merriman, daughter of Isaac Hosea Merriman and Rectina Bullock, who like the Lovells were from old respected New England families. Henry and Artemissa had six children – Ella Adelaide, Moody Brock, Charles Henry, Emma, Donna Josie, Winnie Belle and Fritz Ernest.

In 1867, Henry moved to Coaticook where he joined the firm of Kensell, Tabor and Company, dealers in flour, grain and feed. In 1876, he formed a partnership with his three sons in the firm H. Lovell and Sons becoming one of the prominent lumber companies of the time supplying The Grand Trunk Railway with cord wood for their wood-burning locomotives and hardwood pilings for the construction of wharves and docks. Later the company specialized in the manufacture of clapboard and operated mills in the Township of Orford and other points in the Eastern Townships and later at Labelle in Northern Quebec. About 1900, a new company was formed called The Grand Valley Lumber Company and operated mills at Grand Valley, Quebec in the County of Gaspé. Henry was the founder of the Coaticook Electric Light and Power Company and President and original promoter of the Coaticook Water Company.

Henry served as a Coaticook municipal councilor from 1876 to 1885 and again from 1888 to 1891. He was mayor from 1874 to 1875 and from 1886 to 1887. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Quebec in 1878 for the riding of Stanstead. A Quebec Liberal, he was defeated in 1881 and 1886. He was elected to the Parliament of Canada representing Stanstead in 1900 and re-elected in 1904 in Sir Wilfred Laurier’s governments. He died while in office and his son Charles was elected in the resulting 1908 by-election thus carrying on his father’s legacy.

William Henry Lovell died December 4, 1907 at his home in Coaticook at the age of seventy-nine years and his passing was a cause of widespread sorrow. “For it removed from this community one of the outstanding men of the region and an individual who in his personal life, was a man of exemplary character and lovable personality. His memory will live on in the years to come, a source of joy and inspiration to those whose privilege it was to know him. As a local paper commented, He was recognized as a man of high character, sound judgment, and wide business experience. He was, indeed a robust figure, strong physically and mentally, with a kindly nature and no little public spirit. What his hand found to do he did with his might. He goes to his last reward full of years and honours, leaving to his family the priceless heritage of his good name.”¹

Henry was survived by his second wife, Mary Ann Lester whom he married in 1886 shortly after the death of his first wife.

Hon. Moody Brock Lovell, M.L.A.
Moody Brock Lovell was born in Barnston on April 11, 1853, eldest son of Henry and Artemissa Lovell. Moody, after completing his education at local schools, went in to partnership with his father in the firm H. Lovell and Sons where he contributed substantially to the development of the lumber industry in the region and had primary responsibility for the The Grand Valley Lumber Company operations which his father owned.

In 1878, Moody married Charlotte Elizabeth Peirce, daughter of John Nelson Peirce and Mary Dorothea Cushing and granddaughter of Manda Thurber Cushing and Dorothy Pinkham. Charlotte was descended from prominent New England families and is connected with some of the best known and most historic families of New England including many "Mayflower" descendants. Moody and Charlotte had three children – Mary Wellman who married Stewart Curtis Smith who were the parents of Captain Roger Lovewell Smith, a Quebec Air and Space Hall of Fame inductee; Henry Peirce, a Lieutenant in the 16th Canadian Infantry Overseas Battalion CEF Manitoba Regiment in WWI; and Anne Totman Lovell.

Keenly interested in public life, he was involved in numerous community organizations in Coaticook and surrounding area and was very active in the advancement of education. He built a beautiful home, 52 Union Street (now 62), beside his brother Charles which remained in the family until 1970. Like his father, Moody was a staunch Liberal, and was elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly representing Stanstead from 1890 to 1892 and from 1900 to 1902. He was noted for his support of Sir Wilfred Laurier, whose life and principles he strongly admired, and who, upon the occasion of Moody’s death sent a touching message of condolence and tribute to his wife (and Laurier’s handwritten letter remains in the family today).

Moody Brock Lovell died on January 29, 1902, aged forty-nine years, at the home of his sister Mrs. Ella Adelaide Tabor, in Portland, Maine, of scarlet fever while still in the prime of life. “A public-spirited citizen and an upright character, fair in all his dealings, kindly and charitable, devoted to home and family, he was a man who well deserved the praises that he received both during his life and after its conclusion.” Like his father, Moody died while in public service as the sitting Member of the Legislative Assembly for Stanstead. “His life was finely lived and useful; and his death removed from Coaticook one of the community's leading men.”¹

It is worth noting that Moody was the Member of the Quebec Legislative Assembly at the same time his father Henry was the Member of Parliament for Stanstead. It is the only time in Canadian Liberal Party history that a father and son have been in government representing the same constituency at the same time and both dying while still in office.

Hon. Charles Henry Lovell, M. P.
Charles Henry Lovell was born at Barnston on November 12, 1854, middle son of Henry and Artemissa Lovell. Charles was educated at Coaticook Academy and with his two brothers and father was a partner in H. Lovell and Sons. He was a highly respected businessman and public-spirited citizen who gave generously of his time and resources to the benefit of Coaticook and its citizens and was held in high esteem both across the region and Canada.

In 1879, Charles married Ada Annette Bush, daughter of Samuel Grant Bush and Mary Pope, and became the parents of Edna Josephine, Howard Bush and Merriman Tabor Lovell.

In 1907, upon the death of his father Henry, who had for many years been the Member of Parliament for Stanstead in Ottawa, Charles was elected in 1908 to occupy his father's seat for the remainder of the session and was re-elected in the general elections of 1908 and 1911 by heavy majorities. He too was a staunch Liberal. Charles was the third member of his family to represent Stanstead in a high political office.

Charles Henry Lovell died on October 17, 1916, at his Coaticook home on Union Street and was buried in Mount Forest Cemetery. "His civic interests and his kindly and generous qualities of character were such as to endear him to others; and in addition to these qualities, he was recognized as an individual of genial personality and companionability. His career was useful, his life well and beautifully lived, his death a cause of sincere sorrow and regret.”¹

Fritz Ernest Lovell
Fritz Ernest Lovell was born at Barnston on September 3, 1866, youngest son of Henry and Artemissa Lovell. Fritz was educated at Phillips Academy, Andover, MA, and later attended Williams College in Williamstown, MA where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree. After completing his degree, he joined the family lumber business, H. Lovell and Sons. By this time the Lovell family lumber interests were extensive and became the focus of his attention. Fritz also gained experience working in other industries including a term as President of the Crocker-Wheeler Company Limited and was associated with the Coaticook Water Company and the Coaticook Electric Light and Power Company as well as involvement in the expansion of electricity to other communities in the area.

Fritz married in New York City, Jean Norton, daughter of Ernest Verian Norton, grand-daughter of Arunah Norton and Francis Gates Huntoon and niece of Arthur Osmore Norton of “Norton Jack” fame. He built a beautiful home on Cutting Street which has since been demolished and replaced with a school They had one child, Verian Norton Lovell, who became the wife of Osmond Buckland Thornton.

Fritz, like other members of the Lovell family, was active in municipal politics serving both as alderman and mayor of Coaticook from 1914 to 1915 and was for many years a member of various school boards and associations. Like his father before him, Fritz was a staunch Liberal, and was an influential figure in the politics of both the county and Province. “For his attainments in business and civic affairs, and for his kindly and generous qualities of character, he was esteemed and loved by his fellow men; and to-day his memory lives, a source of satisfaction and joy to those whose privilege it was to be associated with him or to be his friend.”¹

Fritz Ernest Lovell died on December 15, 1927.

1. The Storied Province of Quebec Past and Present (5 volumes). Ed. Col. William Wood, Dominion Publishing Company, Limited, Toronto 1931.

Parliament of Canada – Parlinfo.

The Canadian Directory of Parliament 1867–1967.

Réperetoire Des Parlementaires Québécois 1867–1978.

Family Documents and research.

*Editor's note:
The author is one of the great great great grandsons of William W. Lovewell.