Antoine Gagnon (1785-1849)
Antoine Gagnon, son of Zacharie Gagnon and Geneviève Bouin, was born in Petite-Rivière-Saint-Charles in Québec, where he was ordained priest in 1807. Two years later, Father Gagnon left Québec and became a missionary in southwestern New Brunswick. His mission was so big that he was unable to regularly visit his numerous parishioners. However, his presence was beneficial for that region of New Brunswick. He set up the first religious structures and saw to the territorial organisation of the new Acadie being rebuilt after the difficult years of the Deportation and the Grand Dérangement. In 1820, his mission was cut in half and this allowed him to create more solid parish structures. In 1883, Father Gagnon was named vicar-general of New Brunswick, but in the following years he met with several failures that embittered him. His strong personality sometimes rankled with parishioners, who occasionally revolted against what they felt was too authoritarian an administration.