RECORDS OF CHIGNECTO
William Cochrane MILNER (1846-1939)
*Chignecto Project Electronic Edition, January 1999.*
COLLECTIONS OF THE NOVA SCOTIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
VOLUME XV, HALIFAX, N.S., WM. MACNAB & SON, 1911
The Isthmus of Chignecto, is a country of low lands and
marshes, with rivers running southerly into the Bay of Fundy
and northerly into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and four upland
ridges terminating abruptly at the Bay of Fundy side and
running out north-easterly. The first one is the Fort
Lawrence ridge, two miles from Amherst. This is the
site of the former Acadian settlement of Beaubassin, next
to Port Royal, probably the most ancient in Acadia.
The English erected a fort there, a portion of the breastworks
of which may still be seen. The I. C. R. cuts through
this ridge and slices off a corner of the rampart.
A quarter of a mile further west, is the Missiquash river,
at present the boundary line between New Brunswick and Nova
Scotia. The Treaty of Utrecht not having assigned any boundary
between English and French territories, the French adopted
this river as the boundary between the two powers.
The rival garrisons at Fort Lawrence and Fort Beausejour,
separated by a river and a mile of marshes--exchanged sometimes
civilities and sometimes pot shots across this river.
On the western side of the river is an island in he marshes
now known as Tonge's Island. In the old French days
it was known as Isle La Valliere. The manor house
of the seigneur de La Valliere occupied this ground in 1677.
It was from this place that he administered the government
of Acadia when appointed governor by Frontenac in 1686.
A mile further west the I. C. R. circles around the promontory
of Fort Cumberland, the old Beausejour of the French.
The embankments and entrenchments are still to be seen from
the train and the old powder magazine still resists storm
and time. It ceased to be a military post in 1833;
but it is only within thirty years that the ancient casements
have fallen in and the old barracks dropped into ruins from
age. On the third ridge four miles further west is
the town of Sackville, the ancient Tantramar of the French.
On the west side of Sackville ridge is the town of Dorchester.
The fourth ridge is westerly two miles between the Memramcook
and Petitcodiac rivers. On it were located the Memramcook
and other French villages. This, as well as other
parts of the Isthmus, has been the scene of continuous conflicts
in other days--when France and England were at war, and
generally when they were not at war.
The struggle between England and France, and afterwards
between England and the revolted colonies for the possession
of the Isthmus of Chignecto, arose from a conception of
its value and importance as a stragetical position.
In times of peace, its trade was valuable; in times of war,
it became virtually the key to Acadia. With it in
possession of the French, no English settlement in Acadia
was safe. In possession of the English, the French settlements
on the St. John River and along the St. Lawrence to the
walls of Quebec could be menaced. Therefore the government
of Mass. Bay always gave marked attention to all movements
in this locality.
In 1696, Capt. Church from Boston appeared off Beaubassin,
in whale-boats, with a force from Massachusetts Bay to raid
the settlement and to assert British authority.
In 1703, Vaudreuil, Governor of Quebec, sent Beaubassin,
son of La Valliere, the Seigneur of Chignecto, to ravage
the country from Casco to Wells. Beaubassin was a
noted Indian fighter, as ruthless as he was daring.
He divided his French and Indian force into bands and assailed
fortified places and houses at the same time, sparing neither
the white hairs of old age, nor the infant at the breast
of its mother. It seemed as if at the door of each
dwelling a hidden savage found its prey. All were
destroyed or taken into captivity. Three hundred persons
were massacred at their homes. The next year the government
at Boston determined on reprisals. The venerable Capt.
Church, whom the recital of the ravages of the French had
filled with indignation, came on horseback sixty miles to
Boston to offer his services. A punitive expedition
to Chignecto was organized, and a little later a fleet of
whale-boats suddenly appeared in Beaubassin and ravaged
the settlement again.
Governor Shirley of Boston writes to the Duke of Bedford
"The French are determined to obstruct British settlement
in Nova Scotia as much as possible, especially in Minas
and Chignecto, which are districts absolutely necessary
to be secured, and that the making of English settlements
there will be no slight work, nor be held when effected,
without a regular fort strongly garrisoned between Bay Verte
and Beaubassin, and that I cannot but look upon the point
now in dispute--the boundary line--as what must finally
determine the mastery of the continent between the French
At Chignecto, Father La Loutre, a veritable pro-consul of
France, reigned almost for a generation over the French
settlements of Acadia and his Micmac and Milecite allies.
That place served as a base of operations for the continual
raids of that Prince of Courrier du Bois--Bois Hebert, who
as lieutenant had charge of the frontiers. It was
a highway between Quebec and Port Royal and a half way house
between Louisburg and Quebec. The French had made
a military road from bay to bay, and, at the mouth of the
Gaspereaux (Port Elgin) river, they constructed an outpost.
The two posts were also connected by water for canoes and
batteaux, except a short portage of some 400 yards.
At that point warehouses had been erected, where military
stores and merchandise were stored in transit. It
was from Beausejour that Coulon de Villiers led a detachment
of French and Indians in the depth of winter (1747) to attack
Col. Noble's force then billetted amongst the Acadian farmers
at Grand Pre, which they surprised and massacred.
It was from this place that 300 Indians issued in 1744 under
de Ramesay to attack Port Royal, an attack that was repeated
by the same commander two years later with 700 men.
When the Continental Congress desired to detach Acadia from
British rule, an expedition was organized at Boston (1776)
under Colonel Eddy, a resident of Chignecto, to capture
Beausejour, then Fort Cumberland. He actually laid siege
to the fort, but was beaten back by the garrison under command
of Major Batt, assisted by the newly arrived Yorkshire settlers.
From these various movements, it may be seen as a military
base it was probably held in higher value in those days
than any other position in Acadia.
From Biencourt to La Valliere was about 70 years; from La
Valliere to La Loutre's departure was about 80 years; from
La Loutre to the present time is about 155 years.
Therefore the European history of Chignecto spans a period
of nearly 300 years.
The history of this district embraces four periods:-- 1st.
Acadian settlement. 2nd. New England Immigration.
3rd. Yorkshire Immigration. 4th. Loyalists.
Christmas in the year 1610 was celebrated by the governor
of Port Royal--Jean de Biencourt, with a little colony of
23 persons. It had then been established five years,
or one year longer than the Jamestown settlement of 120
persons from London. That was the beginning of the
colonization of Acadia. The 50 or 60 French families
D'Aulnay brought to Port Royal twenty-five years later,
are the original stock from which the Acadians have sprung.
Thirty-six years later (1671) they had expanded to 400 persons,
divided into 67 families.
It was from these that the first settlements at Chignecto
The first European who visited Chignecto, of whom we have
any record, was Diego Homen a Portuguese settled at Venice.
In 1558 he voyaged into the Bay of Fundy and made a map
showing Chignecto Bay. It is probable that Portuguese
and French fishermen cast their nets into these waters even
before that date. Cartier and Boberval did not go
so far South. Champlain sailed with De Monts into
the Bay of Fundy in 1604. The next visitor of whom
we have a record is Biencourt .
Jean de Biencourt with four Indians made the trip accompanied
by Father Biard, a member of that Order, whose sons forced
their way through trackless wastes of the vast solitudes
of the west planting the cross and watering it with their
Father Biard in his record of the trip says:
"At Chignecto, there is a beautiful prairie as far as you
can see. Several rivers discharge themselves into
the Bay. The Indians number 60 or 80 souls, and they
are not so vagabondish as others, because this spot is more
retired and more abundant in chase for food. The country
is for the most part agreeable and to my mind of great fertility
Caulfield writes to the Board of Trade in 1715 of Chignecto:
"A low lying country used mostly for raising black and white
cattle. Were, in our necessity supplied with about 70 barrels
of extraordinary good beef. The greatest resort for
the Penobscot and St. John Indians, who barter to the French
great quantities of furs and feathers for provisions.
They have oxen and cows about 1000; sheep about 100; hogs
about 800; corn to support their families (about 50). Computed
at 6000 bushels."
At this time Minas had about two hundred settled families
and raised about three times as much stock. It is
also recorded that at this date the catch of fish on our
shores by New Englanders was 100,000 quintals per annum.
A large trade was carried on between the Acadian settlements
on the Bay of Fundy and Louisburg. Beef, cattle, grain
and other products were transhipped over the Isthmus of
Chignecto and carried down the coast in small vessels, receiving
back European goods.
Thirty years later (in 1750) Surveyor General Morris reported
to governor Shirley of Massachusetts that the French population
had grown to:
At Minas and Canard 350 families
At Cobiquid and all settlements north to the Missiquash
had been burned and their inhabitants, 350 families, had
emigrated beyond that river.
This was an enormous increase of population.
To keep the 700 Acadian families south of the Missiquash
in order and to protect the frontiers from incursions by
the Acadians and Indians, required in 1750, 1000 men, 450
of which garrisoned Fort Lawrence. At this date, there
were 1000 Acadians fighting men north of the Missiquash,
who had sworn allegiance to the French king; 200 regulars,
300 Indian warriors and in addition 90 Hurons, lately sent
from Quebec and employed as rangers and scouts. Total
1,600 men, ready for any enterprise calculated to harass
or destroy Port Royal or the newly settled town of Halifax.
It was the policy of Mr. Grandfontain, governor of Acadia,
to establish seigneuries in Acadia the same as Frontenac
had granted in Quebec to his comrades in arms of the regiment
of Carignan de Salieres--a regiment sent over by Louis XIV
to protect the Richilieu and other settlements on the St.
Lawrence from the Iroquois. Having accomplished that
purpose they were disbanded and accorded land grants--and
accordingly the seigneury of Chignecto was granted to La
Valliere, Captain of Frontenac's guard, of Cipoudy to Thibideau
the miller of Port Royal, of Petitcodiac to Guillaume Blanchard,
of Port Royal and some other grants were made.
In 1676, Michael Le Neuf de la Valliere, seigneur of Chignecto,
obtained from Frontenac a grant of the territory between
River Philip and Spring Hill on the south-easterly side
and the Petitcodiac and Shemogue rivers on the north-westerly
side--lordly domain, embracing forests and fisheries, mines
and marshes and the rivers and coasts of the two great bays--a
domain nature had generously endowed.
La Valliere was a member of the Poterie family, that came
with the Repentigny family from Caen to Quebec in 1638.
Talon, in a memorial written in 1667, states there were
only four noble families in Canada--two mentioned and the
Tilly and Aillebout--and these were probably four too many
for their own comfort. The Intendant at Quebec (1687)
wrote the French Minister for the aid for Repentigny and
his thirteen children and for Tilly and his fifteen, stating
they must have help or they will starve. The others
were almost equally poor. The French noblesse and gentilhomme,
when deprived of their official pay, became helpless.
The profession of arms was their life. They had no
taste for the strenuous toil of the backwoods settler. Their
home was naturally in the army; their trade was not the
pioneer's axe or mattock but the sword.
Outside of his poverty, La Villiere was a man of consequence.
While he held the Commission of Captain of the Count's guards,
he was a voyageur, a wood ranger, a mariner, a trader and
a diplomat, and in one capacity or another was constantly
on the move on the frontiers of French domain in Canada--at
one time in the wilds of Hudson's Bay and at another a beau
gallant at Boston.
Having received his grant, he departed from Quebec in a
small vessel with his family and retainers for Chignecto.
When he arrived there, he found his territory already occupied
by one Jacques Bourgeois, a resident of Port Royal and four
families with him, who had settled about 1672 at Beaubassin
(now Fort Lawrence).
This was the second European settlement in New Brunswick--the
first being a small one from St. Malo at Bay des Verts by
a fishing company in 1619. Bourgeois was attracted by the
fertility of the land, the fisheries and the fur trade.
The latter then was the greatest source of profit to French
adventurers who ranging the woods collected vast quantities
of furs. La Valliere did not attempt to dislodge Bourgeois
but established himself across the Missiquash river in feudal
style at Tonge's Island; he had a secretary named Hache
Galand, who married an Acadian lass named Anne Courmier
and their descendants today number hundreds of families.
He had an armourer named Perthuis, and other settlers with
families. La Valliere made clearings, erected stockades,
cast up dykes enclosing marsh, built a mill and ran a trading
vessel called the St. Antoine. The Bishop of Quebec
in his pastoral visit to Acadia in 1689 sailed from point
to point in her. It is said this vessel was no saint; that
she classed with those African missionary ships of New England
fitted out by pious hands with bibles and New England rum.
In 1686, he built a church--probably the second in Acadia.
In 1677, Mr. Marsen, governor of Acadia, with head quarters
at Jimseg on the St. John river, was bagged by a marauding
Dutch trader cruising up the St. John river--and taken away
thus leaving the governorship vacant and La Valliere was
appointed by Frontenac in his place. Thus Chignecto--the
exact geographical centre of the maritime provinces, became
the capital of Acadia, about 70 years before Cornwallis
made a settlement at Halifax.
While La Valliere was promised a salary of 1800 livres,
none was paid him, and he was left to forage for himself
and sustain the dignity of his office at his own cost.
To do both, he gave permits to the merchants of Boston to
fish on the costs of Acadia for a consideration. In
this he interfered with fishery rights previously granted
by Louis XIV to Sieur Bergier and other merchants of Rochelle.
In 1684 Bergier captured eight Boston vessels fishing on
his grounds. He sent them to France. Two of
them holding La Valliere's licenses were acquitted and Bergier
had to return them to their owners and pay damages.
In return La Valliere's cruiser confiscated the property
at a fishing station of Bergier's at Cape Breton.
Both Bergier and La Valliere carried their grievances to
Versailles, but Bergier's Company had the direct ear of
the Minister of Marine while La Valliere had only indirect
communications via Quebec and he was bowled out. A
decree was issued depriving him of his governorship . He
afterwards returned to Quebec with his family, leaving his
lands to be exploited by his son-in-law, La Villieu.
He was granted a seigneury at Three Rivers, which he afterwards
During the first half of the 18th century the French settlement
in Nova Scotia developed greatly in wealth and population,
while practically no advance was made by the English except
at Port Royal until 1749 when Halifax was settled. There
was no safety or security for any English settlers beyond
the range of the guns of the outposts. The policy
followed by Abbe La Loutre was to harry English settlements
and prevent their establishment. The Society of Foreign
Missions sent him to Canada in 1737, and seven years later
he was found leading an attack on the English settlement
at Port Royal. In 1745, the English offered a reward
for his arrest. He evaded arrest until 1755, when
on a passage from Quebec to France, his vessel was captured
by an English cruiser and he was sent to the Island of Jersey,
where he remained a prisoner of war for eight years.
Capt. John Knox writes that he saw him there in 1762, where
he lived most luxuriously drawing upon London for 12 pounds
per month. He relates that a sentinel placed over
him had been a prisoner of the French in Nova Scotia, was
doomed to be scalped by father La Loutre's orders who marked
him with a knife around the forehead and poll in order to
strip off the entire scalp. The sentinel recognizing
him, unfixed his bayonet to run him through and was only
prevented by force from bayonetting him. His rage
was so intense that he was removed to England and exchanged
into another corps.
In 1755, England and France were nominally at peace with
each other, but the peace was only the calmness of expectancy
before the storm bursts. French power in America was seated
in Louisiana and Quebec and the government had conceived
and were carrying out the bold policy of connecting these
two domains by a chain of forts and trading posts by the
Ohio, and west of the Alleghany Mountains, in order to confine
he British Colonies to a strip of the Atlantic coast east
of the Alleghanies and leave the whole southern, western
and northern part of this continent for French expansion
and dominion. Although the Colonies mustered a population
of over a million and the French in Canada only fifty thousand,
the military prowess of France was equal to this mighty
scheme of Colonial conquest, if it had been directed here,
but it was wasted and dissipated in continental battle fields.
This was a period of great alarm amongst the frontier settlers
and traders and of grave anxiety to the people of Massachusetts,
New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, who were alive to the
menace to their existence by the establishment of an Indian
and French power at their doors. The English government
was no less conscious of the impending danger and common
measures were taken with the utmost secrecy to strike at
French aggressions. Four separate expeditions were
planned for this purpose to capture:
1) Du Quesne, where Pittsburg
now stands on the Ohio.
2) Beausejour, to destroy
French power in Acadia.
3) Crown Point, on Lake Champlain,
commanding the southern highway to Lake Ontario.
4) Niagara, cutting off communication
between Canada proper and the Great Lakes.
Of these four, that against Beausejour alone was successful.
Braddock led his troops to an overwhelming disaster; the
battle of Lake George was won by Sir. Wm. Johnson without
gaining Crown Point, and the expedition under Shirley to
Niagara was abandoned.
Thus, while England and France were at peace, the Massachusetts
assembly was making preparations to make war on the French
on this Isthmus. The French appeared to be laying
claims to Nova Scotia and treating the English as intruders
there; their Indian allies were harassing and destroying
posts and settlements and killing and scalping settlers.
Their trail was marked by fire and blood. The French
were preventing the Acadians from taking or obeying their
oaths of allegiance; they were forcing them from their homesteads
and lands on British soil and keeping them in a state of
restless disaffection and hostility, in order that they
might not furnish English posts with aid or supplies, and
to enable them to be used in the first hostile movement
made. The French official despatches, between Du Quesne,
Governor General at Quebec and La Loutre, shew it was the
intention of the French to make a pretext for attacking
From 1749 to 1756--history was making fast in Acadia, especially
The British Government exhibited renewed activity in their
possessions here. They sent Cornwallis to occupy and
settle Halifax. This was followed by the change in
the seat of Government from Annapolis to Halifax.
Preliminary steps were taken to check the encroachments
of the French. By the treaty of Utrecht in 1713, Acadia
was ceded to Great Britain. The bounds of Acadia were
not defined, perhaps from lack of exact geographical knowledge.
While the English at once demanded submission of the Acadians
in New Brunswick as part of Acadia, the French assumed that
the bounds of Acadia were limited to the peninsula of Nova
Scotia, and in the process of time came to dispute the British
claims. In 1764 Chevalier La Corne visited and examined
Beaubassin. He was a distinguished French officer,
son of Captain La Corne, town Major of Quebec. He
was next in command to De Ramsey at the affair of Grand
Pre in 1749. La Corne was sent (1749) from Quebec
with 70 regular troops to take possession of the heights
at Beaubassin and established a post there, which was called
Beausejour after an Acadian who lived there, and not as
has been supposed--from the magnificent view obtainable
M. de Lery was Engineer in charge; the sub engineer was
Jacquet de Fredmond afterwards immortalized at the seige
of Quebec. In the spring, Beausejour was commenced,
half in earthwork, the other half in palisades; with barracks,
store-houses, and powder magazine. At the end of summer
the place was ready for a seige. It had five bastions
with 32 small cannons mounted, one mortar, and 18 eight
pounders. The garrison consisted of 6 officers and
60 men. The fort was built of stone to the height
of the ditch and the ditch was palisaded.
A COMPANION FORT ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ISTIHMUS WAS CONSTRUCTED
Fort Gaspereaux was in the form of a square. The four
bastions at the angles were constructed solidly of timber,
piece upon piece, and with a platform upon which mounted
six pieces of cannon. The curtains consisted of two
rows of pickets, driven against each other, behind which
was a road of earth four feet wide by three feet nine inches
in height. A fosse was excavated six feet from the
enclosure. In 1751, the garrison, consisting of an
officer and fifteen men, lived in huts outside pending the
erection of the barracks, which were never completed.
At this time the following Acadian refugees found shelter
under its protection;
These people possessed 63 horned cattle, 7 horses and 43
All supplies and stores shipped to Beausejour from Quebec
were landed at this place and transported over the Isthmus,
either by the old French road or by water, down the Missiquash
river. A good trade was carried on by the inhabitants
across the Isthmus on one side and by vessel on the gulf
on the other side. When the post capitulated in 1755
there were 25 houses, a chapel and a priest's house, well
furnished. The people seemed to be more prosperous
and comfortable than in other settlements in Acadia.
1750 the next year, Cornwallis dispatched Captain Lawrence
with a force of 400 men, to maintain British supremacy there.
On his arrival, he found the French flag flying upon the
shore, La Corne in possession and his men drawn up to dispute
a landing. Lawrence and La Corne had an interview.
In answer to the former's question as to where he should
land, La Corne pointed to Beaubassin across the Missiquash
River, stating the French claimed that as the boundary line,
until otherwise settled. Lawrence proceeded to land
his troops at Beaubassin, (now Port Lawrence) when suddenly
a conflagration broke out in the village--consuming the
church and all the dwellings. La Loutre himself, it
is said set the torch to the church and his emissaries did
the rest. The houseless and homeless occupants were
thus obliged to seek shelter across the River at Beaubassin
and adjacent villages. One hundred and fifty houses
were said to have been burned, but this must have been largely
exaggerated. Lawrence, powerless to effect anything,
left with his command for Halifax.
About the same time La Corne was relieved by Captain De
Vassan and the construction of the Fort was resumed by De
Clerg, a son of the Military Engineer of Quebec.
The English claims being thus challenged, Major Lawrence
was again sent to Beaubassin with a considerable force --
Lascelle's regiment, 400 strong and 300 men of Warburton's.
When this force attempted to land at Beaubassin, they were
opposed by French and Indians, posted behind the dykes.
These were driven off, after the English had lost six killed
and twelve wounded. Lawrence landed, encamped and
hastily fortified himself. He built four bastions
connected by double palisaded curtains, calculated to accommodate
Much has been written about the assassination of Captain
How. This barbarous and treacherous act evoked the
indignation of the French and English officers on the spot,
both of whom placed the responsibility on La Loutre, whom
they claimed had incited a Micmac named Copt to commit the
La Loutre himself placed the blame on the Micmac chief.
All accounts agree that How was a gifted and accomplished
man, and was influential with the Micmacs as well as Acadians,
with whom he had an extensive acquaintance. Aman of
that stamp would be extremely repugnant to the designs of
LaLoutre. One account states that the meeting between
him and How was to arrange for an exchange of prisoners;
another account says that some of the French posts needed
provisions, and the Commissary at Louisburg was authorized
to treat with the English for them, and to furnish How with
any sureties he might require. The interview on the
banks of the Missisquash was to settle details.
The garrison at Fort Lawrence, made that place at once a
trading centre, which has more than a local fame, from its
connection with Sir Brook Watson ,General Joshua Winslow,
Captain John Huston and others. The Acadian refugees surreptitiously
traded here, notwithstanding the wrath and orders of La
Loutre, who owned a storehouse at Bay Verte. Graft had made
prices high at Beausejour and thrifty Acadians did not believe
that their nationality ought to deprive them of the right
to make good bargains. 1752 Jacan de Piedmont, a distinguished
artillery officer was sent from Quebec to Beausejour to
superintend the works. In 1753, La Loutre sailed to France
and returned with 50,000 livres to build an aboideau across
the au Lac River, a work that is today still in evidence.
The Bishop of Quebec at the same time appointed him Grand
Vicar. These successes augmented his power, and while
De Vassan would not tolerate him in military affairs, he
monopolized all civil powers of the command.
In 1753, De Vassan was relieved of the command and succeeded
by Captain de la Martiniere, and Captain Scott succeeded
Lawrence as Commandant at Fort Lawrence. Martiniere
left in 1754 and was succeeded by Vigor son of Du Chambon,
one of the men who bravely defended Louisburg in 1745.
He was a man of loose morals and a grafter. The welfare
of his people and the honor of his country were all sacrificed
to his personal desires. A writer has said that the
French Governors and Intendants went to the Colonies to
enrich themselves and when they embarked they left their
honor and probity behind them. The 18th century was
not alone in possessing men who prostituted high public
positions to the basest uses. Virgor had a comrade
in Bigot, the Intendant of Quebec, who wrote him advising
him to "Clip and Pare" all he could, to be able to join
him in France later on. Virgor accepted this advice
and plundered the King's stores. He was the Commandant
of the post at Wolfe's Cove at the capture of Quebec in
1758. He was negligent at his post enabling the Highlanders
to effect a landing and scale the heights and he has been
charged with corruptly deserting his duty. Whether
justly or unjustly, he has bequeathed for all time a name
redolent with shame.
1754 Governor Lawrence sent Monckton to Boston to propose
to Governor Shirley to raise 2,000 men to subjugate Beausejour,
Shirley submitted the proposal to the Massachusetts assembly
in secret session, where it was adopted with considerable
enthusiasm. Governor Shirley commissioned John Winslow
to raise 2,000 volunteers for the service. Winslow, a Marshfield
farmer, was descended from the early Governors of Plymouth
Colony, His family had given many of their sons to honorable
A graphic story of the stirring events at Chignecto in 1755
is from the pen of John Thomas, of Marshfield, Mass, a surgeon,
who accompanied Winslow from Boston, was a spectator and
kept a diary of the moving scenes enacted there. He
left his home on 9th April, 1755, on horseback, put up at
Morse's tavern at Boston Neck and went into Boston next
morning with 50 troopers. From that date until the
22nd of May, when the fleet sailed, Mr. Thomas was very
much engaged in social functions at Boston and on the fleet,
which had gathered at Deer Island Roads. Three men
of war, The Success, the Mermaid and the Syren and 33 transports,
containing a force of 2,100 men, were enlisted for the attack
on Beaubassin. Four days after sailing the fleet anchored
in Annapolis Basin and on 1st June the fleet set sail and
arrived at the Joggins 15 miles below Beaubassin that night.
How are these proceedings interesting the garrison at Beaubassin?
At 2 o'clock on the morning of 2nd June, M. Virgor in command
was rudely awakened from his sleep by the guard who told
him of the arrival of a messenger stating a fleet of vessels
had them anchored at Maranguin 15 miles below.
Virgor was now all vigor. He sent word to the Acadians,
of whom there was almost 1200 capable of bearing arms to
report for service. Many of them were refugees from
abandoned English settlements at Cobequid, Shubenacadie,
Grand Pre, etc; and naturally dreaded the English finding
them in arms as in that case they had been warned they would
be dealt with severely. The next afternoon the fleet sailed
up the Bay and anchored below the two forts. The boats
were got out and the force was landed at once on the marsh
below Fort Lawrence. Mr. Thomas remarked that the
wind blew hard as it generally does there in the summer
months from the southwest. They pitched their tents
about the fort. The second day after, the drums beat
to arms and at break of day the men were dressed three deep
for the march.
The attacking force consisted of 2,100 men of New England,
with 250 regulars from Fort Lawrence. For artillery
they had four brass field pieces and a six pounder. Capt.
Adams led the advance guard of 60 men, up the right or easterly
bank of the Missiquash river, about four miles where the
road crosses the salt marsh between the two ridges of upland.
The real battle for the possession of the Isthmus then took
place at Pont a Buot - now Point de Bute. When the
English crossing the Missisquash effected a landing on the
ridge, west of the river, they were enabled to gain the
highland in the rear of the Fort, entrench themselves and
plant there seige guns, after which capitulation was only
a matter of a few days. A repulse of the English efforts
to cross the Missiquash river and effect a lodging might
have been disastrous to them. The post at Pont a Buot
was established not only for defensive purposes but to protect
the line of communication across the Isthmus to Fort Gaspereaux.
It was screened from observation at Fort Lawrence, and military
stores and supplies could be safely laden or unladen at
this place when carried by batteaux. Store houses
were built at the Portage at Bay Verte road to receive supplies
in transit either way. Franquet, a distinguished French
military engineer, who inspected these posts in 1751, says
there were thirty men attached to this post, besides a Commandant,
Ensign Bilaron. The entrenchment was triangular and
consisted of an enclosure made by double rows of palisades,
driven against each other, and behind them a bank of earth
three feet high. At the angles were platforms for guns.
Two ships guns were mounted, taken from an English Brigantine,
which the Indians had surprised. An Acadian named
Buot lived at this place, who it is believed escaped to
Prince Edward Island at the time of the dispersion of the
French. In the rear of the post, quarters had been
erected for the Commandant and his company, the former one
consisting of a picket structure 14 feet square covered
with boards and for the latter one 36 feet long and 14 feet
When the English debouched from the woods on the eastern
side of the Missisquash on 4th of June and laid down their
pontoon bridge across the Missisquash, the French had 450
men - French soldiers, Acadians, and Indians to dispute
their passage. The English brought their field pieces
into action and advanced, and a canonade and brisk musketry
fire on both sides ensued lasting about an hour, when the
English rushed the works and the French fled, burning the
buildings as they left. Before night the church and
nearly all the dwellings about the settlement were fired
by the French and destroyed, and their live-stock - horses,
cattle and hogs were found running at large.
In this encounter the French lost 14 killed and wounded
and the English 3 killed and 10 wounded. Beausejour
was guarded on both sides of the ridge by block houses -
on the easterly side by one on the heights east of the Fort,
then called Butte Amirande - and the other on the opposite
side of the ridge on the Bulmer Farm.
When the English captured Pont a Buot of 4th, they afterwards
laid a pontoon bridge across the Missisquash at Butte Amirande
and brought up their seige guns by barges from the squadron
anchored in the bay below.
On 10th a French officer named De Vanne with 180 men made
a sortie from the Fort, but returned without getting near
enough to the enemy to receive a shot. Later the same
day another one, Captain de Baillent made another one and
was more successful. He received a musket ball and was chased
back to the Fort.
On 12th Captain Scott commenced the entrenchments for regular
siege operations, the trenches for which may still be seen,
and two days later, the English had in place an 18 pounder
and a five inch mortar with which they commenced the bombardment.
The same day the French fired 1509 cannon shot and four
nine inch bombs into the entrenchments.
On 13th the English having completed their roads moved their
guns up to their entrenchments 300 yards from the Fort.
When the English appeared Virgor sent express messengers
to St. John, Louisburg and Quebec, making urgent demands
CAPTURE OF BEAUSEJOUR.
On 13th a reply came from Drucour at Louisburg, stating
he was unable to render any assistance. A council
of war was called and it was decided to hold out as long
as possible, but to conceal the news from the Acadians who
had become restive and been demanding a release. The news
was divulged through the wife of an official with whom Virgor
was accused of carrying on an intrigue, and the French became
at once greatly excited and alarmed demanding they be released
from a hopeless struggle. They represented that the
Fort afforded no security against the English shells, and
that their lives would be sacrificed to no good purpose.
On 16th the contest was brought to an issue by a shell,
which broke into a casement, where Ensign Hay, a prisoner
captured on 8th, and four French officers were taking breakfast.
Of these Hay, and Messrs. Rambrant, Fernaudand Chevalier
de Billy were killed. This event created a panic and
Virgor wrote to Monckton for 48 hours of cessation to arrange
terms of capitulation. Monckton drew up the articles
of capitulation himself and sent them back by the messenger,
with the intimation that unless the Fort was surrendered
before 7 o'clock that evening, firing would be recommenced.
All discipline was abandoned at the Fort the last day, The
French officers and officials looted all portable things
of value they could carry away. The robberies were
committed in the face of Vigor and the store keeper refused
in his presence to sign any statements of the stores supposed
to be on hand.
La Loutre opposed surrendering, stating he would rather
bury himself under the ruins of the fort than surrender.
Some of the officers also opposed it, but De Vannes was
sent as a herald to Monckton's camp to accept the terms.
The Acadians fled across the marshes of Tantramar.
La Loutre escaped to Gaspereaux. From there he hastily
escaped to Quebec where he was received with reproaches
by the Bishop of Quebec.
Tradition says that Priest Manach accompanied La Loutre
as far as Gaspereaux, and the English afterward seized him
and deported him to France. A letter of Mascarene
contradicts this and states he was at Miramichi at the time
of the capture.
La Loutre was a type of the meddlesome and ambitious ecclesiastic,
common to all sects in all ages, who commits mischief in
proportion to the degree the ignorant and deluded are foolish
enough to trust him.
At 7 o'clock that night a detachment under Capt. Scott entered
the Fort, filed along the ramparts and hoisted the British
flag. Capt. De Villeray in command at Gaspereaux surrendered
the following day. The French troops arrived at Gaspereaux
on the 24th, where they were placed in vessels and sent
to Louisburg, at which place they arrived on 6th of July.
Tradition says that the French officers entertained the
British victors at a dinner party the night after the surrender.
The professional duty of the former to shoot the latter
on sight did not blind them to their duties as hosts to
The light hearted gayety with which these men accepted defeat
and misfortune, is in strong contrast to the many evidences
they had shown of their bravery and enterprise in war.
The wives and children of the Acadians from their house
tops at Tantramar five miles away watched with the keenest
interest and anxiety the course of the artillery duel between
the English batteries and Beausejour, which ended on 16th
June, by the appearance of a white flag at the fort and
later by the lowering of the ensign of France. The next
morning with grief they beheld the garrison march forth
and take the road to Bay Verte thence to be shipped to Louisburg.
The French reports of the operations at Fort Cumberland
are very meagre, and for the only detailed account of it,
we are indebted to one Pichon or Tyrell, who Parkman says
was one of the peculiar products of the times, but political
mercenaries are common at all times. He was in the
pay of both countries. He was born in France - his
mother was an Englishwoman and his father a Frenchman.
While he was nominally in the employ of France - being commissary
of stores, he had opened up a secret correspondence with
Captain George Scott, who commanded the English at Fort
Lawrence, in which he gives copies of La Loutre's correspondence,
which he had purchased from La Loutre's clerk. Pichon
must have been as largely equipped with brains as he was
deficient in morals, for he was an author of some distinction,
having published a work in 1760 on "The Islands of Cape
Breton and St. John" and at the time of his death in London
in 1781, he is said to have enjoyed the society of many
of the savants. He had had a medical education, and filled
a number of appointments with apparent credit, such as Inspector
of Forage at Alsace, and Secretary to the Governor of Louisburg.
He unveiled the designs and movements of the French Government
at Quebec respecting Acadia especially the proceedings of
"Moses", by which name Pichon denominated the Loutre because
he pretended to have led the Acadians from the land of bondage,
and thus did not a little to precipitate open war between
the two powers.
The burning of the villages at Chignecto and the emigration
of the inhabitants to the protection of the French flag
at Beausejour, were a complete and absolute abandonment
of any rights they possessed as subjects of Great Britain.
When this was followed five years later by their enrollment
and arming against the English, there was no reason to treat
them otherwise than as enemies. Four days later, 250
of the Acadians appeared at the fort. They were promptly
arrested by Col. Monckton and conducted by Major Bourn with
a guard of 150 men to Fort Lawrence where they were held
as prisoners. At the same time raiding parties were
despatched as follows: --
Major Preble with 200 men to Tantramar. Capt. Percy with
100 men to Point d' Boet. Capt. Lues of the Rangers to Cobequid
The later captured two vessels at Ramshag loaded with cattle
and sheep for Louisburg.
Four days later, Capt. Willard returned from Cobiquid with
several prisoners and reported to have burned a number of
villages. Three days later Major Frye and 200 men
left in vessels for Shepody and Petitcodiac rivers to destroy
the settlements and bring on the inhabitants. Capt.
Gibbert with 50 men went on the same errand to Bay Verte.
Frye's expedition met with a repulse. The account
is as follows:
During the last days of August a strong force was despatched
from Beausejour on board of two vessels to capture the French
at Chipoudy and along the Petitcodiac River. At Chipoudy
they found the men had fled leaving 25 women and children
who were taken prisoners. They burned 181 houses and
barns. On 3rd Sept. they sailed up the Petitcodiac
and finding the villages deserted set fire to the buildings
for a distance of 15 miles on the north side of the river
and 6 miles on the south. They then attempted to fire
the Mass house, when they were attacked by a superior force
of Acadians and Indians under Bois Hebert and forced to
flee to the vessels with a loss of two officers - Dr. Marsh
and Lieut. Billing and six privates. The whole force narrowly
escaped extermination as the armed vessels had drifted down
in the tide and it was not till the flood they could afford
protection. They destroyed 253 buildings and the Mass
THE ACADIAN DEPORTATION
On 7th August a despatch came to Col. Winslow ordering him
to Minas with four companies. This despatch probably
contained the first order from Lawrence at Halifax issued
a week before relating to the great Acadian tragedy then
impending, but the contents of which Thomas appears to have
been ignorant. Then follows act after act in this
terrible drama. Orders were sent to the French in
the settlements about to come in to the Fort. These
settlements contained a population of 4000 persons.
They were filled with Acadians from Nova Scotia, who had
poured into the villages west of Missiquash - Beaubassin,
Memramcook, Shediac and Petitcodiac. They were supported
by rations issued at Beausejour - two lbs. of bread and
a half a lb. of beef per day per man.
The posts dependent on Beausejour 1751 were as follows:
Bay Verte 1
Point - Bout 1
Veska (Westcock 1
Riviere St. John
Also the following villages:
Peccoukac, Chipoudy, Memramcook, Veska (Port de Mer), Tantramar,
(Big Village with Missionary), La Coup, Le Lac- Gedaygue,
where a French trading post under a storekeeper was established.
On 10th Sept. the first detachment of 50 Acadians were put
on board the transports. On 1st Oct. 86 Acadians escaped
from Fort Lawrence by digging under the wall and getting
away in the woods.
On 11th Oct. the last of the French prisoners were sent
on board and on 13th Capt. Rous sailed with a fleet of 10
vessels, carrying 960 Acadians to South Carolina and Georgia.
The scenes at embarkation were very painful. Even at this
lapse of time one cannot but regard with sorrow, mingled
with a feeling of horror the tortures of a defenceless people
and the cruelties perpetrated on innocent women and children.
Abbe La Guerne says that many of the married women, deaf
to all entreaties and representations, refused to be separated
from their husbands and precipitated themselves in the vessels,
where their husbands had been forced.
During October and November the escaped Acadians, no doubt
wrought up to a state bordering on frenzy by the persistent
hunting to which they were subjected, by the deportation
and the confiscation and destruction of their property,
inaugurated on their part a guerilla warfare. On 23rd
October a brush took place on the River Hebert between a
command from the fort bringing in horses, sheep and cattle
and a large party of French and Indians. The former
prudently retreated. The same day another encounter
took place at Au Lac, and other ones at Tantramar, Westcock,
At the close of the year 1755, we find the populous French
villages on the Isthmus as well as at Chipoudy, along the
Petitcodiac, at Shediac and from thence to Pugwash destroyed,
their ancient owners scattered from Quebec to Georgia or
else hiding in the forests with their Indian allies.
Those who escaped into the forests struggled forward to
Miramichi and a few found homes at the head waters of the
St. John. From both of these places numbers were able to
seek permanent homes in Quebec. At this period Miramichi
had a French population of 3,500 people. Eleven years
after the deportation, a column 800 strong of Acadian men,
women and children formed in Boston and marched 600 miles
through the unbroken wilderness to reach their old homes.
All history does not furnish so touching and pathetic a
picture; many of them dropped by the wayside and found there
forgotten graves. Those who gained their old homes
on the Memramcook, Petitcodiac and Hebert rivers found them
in ashes. Despair urged them on to make an attempt
to commence life anew, and some 50 or 60 families pressed
on to Tantramar, Beaubassin, and River Hebert and found
their farms had been regranted and were occupied by an alien
race. How bitter must have been their hearts - without
a home and without a country! The large French population
of Westmorland is descended either from those who escaped
the deportation or those who returned from United States.
In 1761 Capt. Rod MacKenzie in command of a Highland regiment
at the fort fitted out two vessels at Bay Verte and seized
787 Acadians then living at Nepisiquit. He brought
away 335 of them; the others made peace with him.
Those who were made prisoners were shipped to Massachusetts.
The government there refused to admit them; they were returned
and settled along the eastern coast of Nova Scotia.
One morning a Frenchman came timidly into the settlement
that had been re-peopled at Petitcodiac. He gave his
name as Belliveau. He alone remained of all the Acadians
who occupied farms on the south side of the Petitcodiac.
He said that on the approach of the English, his people
had sought safety in the woods, where the English were unable
to find them, until one calm morning they were betrayed
by the crowing of a cock. Their encampment was immediately
surrounded and they were driven at the point of the bayonet
to the river opposite Monckton, there to be embarked.
In despair many had thrown themselves in the river; some
escaped; some were drowned; the balance were carried into
captivity Belliveau being away hunting had escaped.
He had since subsisted by hunting and fishing. His
powder had long been exhausted, but he had managed to exist.
He was welcomed and proved a valuable addition to the infant
community which prospered with the years. Most of
these families have multiplied enormously. He lived
till he was nearly a hundred years of age and recollected
to the last these events. His descendants are now
occupying Belliveau Village Dorchester,
One of the Acadians enlisted by Coulon de Villiers in his
attack on Noble's force at Gaspereaux, was an Acadian named
Zedore Gould. He was 20 years of age at the time.
He escaped with others to Miramichi at the time of the deportation
and some years after returned and became a tenant of Governor
Des Barres at Minudie. He lived long and was able
to give a vivid account of the expedition against Nobel
- its march in winter to Bay Verte, thence along the shore
to Tatamagouche, thence up that river to Shubenacadie.
When they reached Meloncon village, now Judge Weatherby's
orchards at St. Uulalie, they were halted. A wedding
was in progress and they were regaled with cider, cheese
and rolls of black bread. There were two puncheons
of cider, which was served by Meloncon's two daughters.
This was a pleasant introduction to the carnage that followed.
THE ENGLISH GARRISON FORT CUMBERLAND
Thomas recorded 15th November, as a "pleasant day." On that
day the British burned 97 houses and a large Mass house
at Tantramar - now Upper Sackville. The force augmented
to 700 men under the command of Col. Scott, marched to Westcock
and from thence to Memramcook, where two days later they
burned 30 houses and brought away 200 head of neat cattle
and 20 horses. On 20th, they gathered 230 head of
cattle, 2 horses and sheep and pigs at Tantramar, burned
50 houses at Westcock and returned to Fort, exchanging shots
with the Acadians. For nine years the Fort at Piziquid
- (Fort Edward, Windsor) formed a prison house for captive
Acadians. The average number of them detained there
was three hundred and forty-six. They were employed
on government works and paid wages with which they supplied
Those who had escaped and sought shelter in the recesses
of thew woods, from its security beheld the smoke curling
from the ruins of their houses. If man is sometimes
merciful, war is pitiless, and one cannot even at this distance
of time regard without commiseration the misfortunes of
the race who first sought an asylum and a home in our unbroken
From 10th June till 1st December, when Surgeon Thomas took
passage in a vessel with Col. Winslow for Halifax, he seems
to have been pleasantly situated. Small garrisons
were maintained at both posts, and there was a constant
exchange of visiting and dining. Game and fish were
abundant, and if the garrisons did not live sumptuously
in sybarite fashion, they at least did not starve.
The shallow lakes and ponds of the Tantramar and Missiquash
marshes are recorded as alive with geese, ducks and other
game. One alleged origin of the name Tantramar is
so much noise - derived from the calls and screaming of
flocks of birds, while as to the other bay, the variety
it afforded of table delicacies warms up the surgeon's heart
with recording the abundance of clams, oysters, lobsters
and mackerel. In addition to the garrison at Fort
Lawrence, it had become quite a trading post. Capt. Huston
with Commissary Winslow had carried on a truck business
with the Indians and also with the Acadians, against the
prohibition of La Loutre and Virgor. He had in his
employ the famous Brook Watson. The latter is supposed
to have received his business training at Chignecto with
Huston and to have been tutored by Joshua Winslow. The latter
was the father of Alice Greene Winslow, whose diary, edited
by Alice Morse Earle was one of the features of the American
book trade about fifteen years ago. Alice Greene was
sent by her father from Cumberland to Boston to be educated
and her daily records are graphic pictures of life there.
Joshua Winslow with his family remained at Chignecto until
some time after 1770. He became paymaster general
of the British forces in America and died in Quebec in 1801.
He was the brother of John Winslow. The latter was
the father of General Joshua Winslow, who at the revolutionary
war sided with the Americans. It is recorded that
both uncle and nephew had threatened to hang each other
if either caught the other. General John did capture
General Joshua, but released him on parole. The latter
bequeathed most of his property to his rebellious nephew.
His descendants live at Niagara in an old Colonial mansion
filled with furniture, books, and arms belongings of that
period. Amongst others at Fort Cumberland was a Col.
Gay, a very high spirited gentleman. He purchased
a farm on the eastern flank of the fort where he lived,
becoming on the organization of New Brunswick a local notability.
He held the office of judge of the Court of Common Pleas
and other places. It is recorded he had trouble with
Col. Goreham, which led to a duel. He ran the point
of his sword through Goreham's arm and pinned him to the
door of the barracks. The door with the sword point
was to be seen for many years after. Surgeon Thomas
also records he supped at Fort Lawrence with Mr. Allan.
This was probably the Colonel Allan, who twenty years afterwards
became Eastern Indian agent of the Continental Congress
with headquarters at Machias and who competed with Michael
Franklin for ascendancy with the Micmac and Passamaquoddy
tribes, and later, at the time of the revolutionary war,
was a very active agent in trying to dispossess the British
Life at Chignecto then was not all pleasure; it had its
seamy side. There was sickness and casualties and operations
to be performed. There were court martials for disturbances,
sometimes because of too much rum, sometimes because there
was not enough. Whipping and riding the horse were
favorite penalities. Many expeditions were undertaken
either to break up Acadian settlements, to punish Indians
or to protect loyalists. There were almost constant
alarms and bloodshed. The famous Courrier du Bois - Bois
Hebert, in charge of the Indians of Acadia was a dreaded
foe. His tactics were to suddenly strike and as suddenly
disappear, as elusive as anigneus fatuus; when pursued,
he left no traces. Occasionally he would ostentatiously
shew himself to his enemies, resplendant in a uniform of
white and gold - with laced hat and waistcoat and then the
mystery and silence of the woods would hide him. Expeditions
almost within sight and sound of Fort Cumberland or Fort
Monckton were destroyed by him. The shadows of the
forest contained keen eyes and relentless hands for those
who ventured within their reach.
Bois Hebert while described as leader of a company of Courreur
du Bois, was officially in command of the Acadian Militia
and had no connection with the former, who were of two classes
- those going to the original haunts of beaver amongst the
Assiniboines, Dekatohs, and other tribes or those going
to the Long Sault, to meet Indians and French who came down
and traded goods and brandy for pelts. Bois Hebert's
command consisted of expert wood rangers and hunters recruited
from amongst the Micmacs, Canadians and Acadians.
He was a typical Frenchman, daring and resourceful and capable
of making himself at home with and winning the confidence
and respect of the Micmacs. Why men of his class,
so highly gifted, were not able to compete with the Anglo-Saxon
in the arts of colonization, is a problem that some historians
find a solution in the malign influence that the Roman Empire
exercised in Continental Europe in centralizing authority,
and wiping out those self governing local municipal institutions,
that from immemorial times, had been the training schools
of Anglo-Saxons in the art of government.
But it was not all war at Chignecto. There was also
peace. The Surgeon makes many records of one Mr. Phillips,
an army Chaplain - who preached on the parade all day. These
all day preachings were generally followed closely by a
raid on the enemy - perhaps not so much on the principle
that peace and war are comrades, as that getting shot or
scalped may have been considered a welcome interlude between
all day preachings. On the last day of August, 1755,
he records the preaching of Mr. Woods, the first missionary
sent there by the S. P. G. This missionary came from
New Jersey to Annapolis. He was an indefatigable worker.
He mastered the Micmac language, and is said to have made
a grammar and dictionary in the Micmac tongue and translated
the Bible. A trip he made some years later up the
St. John River is one of the interesting records of the
S.P.G. He and priest Maillard were close friends .
When the latter was on his death bed at Halifax, Mr. Woods
administered to him the last rites of the Church.
Mr. Thomas was no stiff necked Protestant. On 13th
July he records ,that with a guard of 16 men, he rode to
Bay Verte and attended mass there.
The New England volunteers seem to have regarded the expedition
as a religious duty - much the same as an Israelitish raid
on the uncircumcised Philistines. Such names on the
muster roll as Abiah, Hezekiah, Obediah, Aranish, Josiah,
Nehemiah, Jeremiah - added to the severe Puritanism of the
life, give them a likeness to the ancient followers of Moses.
Col. Frye's diary at this time does not present his men
as models of circumspection. He writes: "Whereas
some of the troops from Massachusetts now in the garrison
have taken sundry suits of clothing and other things out
of the Purser's stores and sold them for spirituous liquors
contrary to 3rd Section of the Articles of War, therefore
no person or persons shall sell them liquors or anything
from the government stores from there."
Orders were issued against soldiers going out to shoot game
with the King's ammunition, but the order is kindly tempered
by the qualification that if they did go, the officers were
to have the first choice of game brought in
All news to Chignecto came by occasional packets from Boston
or from Halifax via Minas or Port Royal, and their arrival
was, as may be imagined, eagerly watched, to obtain news
of their friends or of the stirring events of the outside
world. On 12th August two whale boats sailed into the Bay,
bring Capt. Joseph Gorham, carrying despatches and the news
of Braddock's defeat, his death and the almost annihilation
of his army. The gloom cast by this terrible disaster was
scarcely relieved by the news that came two months later
by vessel from Boston of General Johnson's victory over
the French at Lake George.
The year Beausejour was captured two French ships of the
line bound for Louisburg were captured and taken into Halifax.
Amongst the material of war found was some thousands of
scalping knives. They were for use against somebody.
At the same time, a price for English scalps was being paid
for at Quebec. The French were not the only offenders against
the code of civilized warfare if any warfare can be considered
The English displayed equal enterprise. The government
of Massachusetts Bay issued a proclamation offering rewards
for scalps, the same as bear bounties were paid at a later
A story of English butchery, brutal enough to make one blush
for his country, is told in a letter written by Hugh Graham,
a gentleman living in Cornwallis in the year 1791.
A company of Colonel John Gorham's Rangers -(A military
body organized to protect the English settlements in Acadia,
from the depredations of the French and Indians), came upon
four Acadian Frenchmen who had ventured out from their skulking
retreats to pick up cattle or treasure, and had just sat
down on the bank of the Napan River to rest and eat.
The Acadians were completely taken by surprise and were
at the mercy of their foe. The officers in command turned
their backs, and in a minute all was over with the poor
Frenchmen; they were shot and scalped as they lay. It is
stated that a party of Rangers brought in one day, to Fort
Cumberland 25 scalps pretending they were Indians, and the
Commanding officer at the Fort, then Colonel Wilmot, afterwards
Governor Wilmot ordered that the bounty paid in Indian scalps
should be given them. Capt. Huston, who at that time had
charge of the Military chest objected to such a scandalous
proceeding. The Colonel told him that the bounty in
Indian scalps was according to law, and tho' the law might
in some instances be strained a little, yet there was a
necessity for winking at such things.
Thereupon Huston, in obedience to orders paid down 250 pounds,
telling them that the curse of God should ever attend such
guilty deeds. On another occasion, some Acadians were
surprised on the banks of the Petitcodiac by Rangers and
not expecting much mercy from such ruthless hands, jumped
into the river, attempting to swim across. One would
have supposed that so bold an effort as attempting to brave
the strong swollen tide of that river would have appealed
a little to the admiration of the blood-hounds at their
heels. It did not. They fired vollies at these
poor wretches in the water. It is a matter of poetical
justice, that the curse of the Almighty seemed to rest upon
them; nearly all of them ended their lives wretchedly.
One of the most reckless and brutal of their number, one
Capt. Danks, who was suspected in the Eddy war of being
on both sides of the bush, left Fort Cumberland in a small
jigger bound for Windsor, took sick on the passage, was
thrown into the hold amongst the ballast, was taken out
at Windsor half dead, died after and had little better than
the burial of a dog. Danks Point, east of the Tignish river
owes its name to this ruffian.
Previously to 1755, the French had a thriving settlement
at the Minudie, with a road leading up River Hebert and
over the Boar's Back to the Basin of Minas. It is not stated
or recorded if the inhabitants, who were know as French
neutrals and were nominally at least under the protection
of the British government, had engaged in any of the filibustering
expeditions against the English. At this distance
of time, it is impossible to find any evidence in the matter.
Here they had erected houses and farms, dyked their marshes
and were living in peace. Col. Monckton, who was then
in command at Fort Cumberland sent Lieutenant Dixson with
a Company of New England Volunteers to Minudie to dislodge
them. Dixson arrived there at night; posted his men to form
a cordon in the rear of the settlement, and at sunrise in
the morning, the French were awaked by a discharge of musketry.
The French awakening from their dreams by such a rude blast,
sought safety in flight. Observing at once that retreat
was cut off on the land side they fled to the ford towards
Amherst Point. The tide was in but they preferred to trust
to the mercy of the swift current. In they plunged;
the volunteers following them sharply, made targets of these
poor wretches struggling in the water. It was afterwards
told that the volunteers exulted in that bloody work, and
when a poor Acadian was hit and turned up in the water from
gravity, a shout was raised, "See how I made his forked
end turn up."
Major Thomas Dixson had some unpleasant half hours with
Bois Hebert. His experiences were numerous and thrilling
enough to fill one of Cooper's volumes. He was a Dublin
lad and a dare-devil Irishman, but he was matched by a dare-devil
Frenchman in Bois Hebert. He commenced his military
career a second lieutenant in a New England regiment. After
some guerilla fighting with the Indians in New England,
he went with his command to Chignecto, and was at the capture
of Beausejour. He was attached to Gorham's Rangers.
For some years after the Acadians were very active in bush
ranging. One Sunday morning they tomahawked and scalped
five soldiers from the fort at Jolicure at a place now called
Bloody Bridge. At Fort Monckton, they tomahawked and
scalped nine soldiers who were cutting wood near the fort.
In 1758, Dixson with a company of rangers was despatched
to pursue Bois Hebert, then on the march to Quebec. This
was during autumn, when the woods were flaming with the
hues of Indian summer. Dixson followed his trail to
the Miramichi, where he caught the glare of Hebert's camp
fires burning on an island in the river, now called Beau
Bear Island, after Beaubair, French Governor, who had a
battery and small garrison therein the early part of the
18th century. Reaching the Island, he found his foe had
fled and left him nothing but the smouldering ashes. The
season being well advanced, and becoming cold, and the game
on which they subsisted becoming scarce, they determined
to return. On their march back, their privations had
become so extreme, that ten miles from Fort Beausejour the
command gave out. Two started for the fort.
One died on the way. The other reached it, and sleds
were sent out to bring the others in. The next season,
June 1759, Dixson was sent out with a scouting party of
twenty men and an Acadian guide to dislodge a French camp
at Barnum's Tongue. He reached the camp which had
been deserted hurriedly, destroyed it and then turned back,
arriving at the Au Lac river where it joins a small stream
called La Coup. Finding the tide had risen to high
water, they started to retrace their steps to cross at an
aboideau further up. A yell from the Indians shewed
that they were ambushed. Except Dixson they were all
tomahawked and scalped. Dixson with a bullet hole
in his shoulder was saved for a ransom and was marched to
Quebec, where he was held as a prisoner. When Wolfe
appeared off Quebec, he was sent to Three Rivers and on
the capitulation he returned to Chignecto via Boston.
A devotee of Venus as well as Mars, he renewed there his
attentions to Catherine Weatherhead - a sister of the first
sheriff of Westmorland - to whom he as married and some
of their descendants in the fourth and fifth generation
live in Chignecto.
A monument was erected by the New Brunswick Government in
1875 at Port Elgin to the memory of those who fell at Fort
Monckton. The inscription is as follows: -
"by the New Brunswick Legislature, A.D.,1875, in memory
of the Fort Moncton soldiers buried there in 1775
"Here lies the body of Capt. Joseph Williams, who died October
9th aged 50 years.
Also Sergeant Mackay and eight men killed and scalped by
the Indians in bringing in firewood, February 26th.
Also, James Whitcomb, killed by the Indians, July 23rd,
aged 23 years.
Also, Nathaniel Hodge died, aged 32 years.
John Wescomb, R.N., died 1855, aged 70.
FIRST SETTLERS OF CHIGNECTO
The second part of the design of Lawrence and his Council
at Halifax was now in order, namely to replace the French
by English immigrants to strengthen English rule and power
over Acadia. The removal of the French in 1755, and
the fall of Louisburg three years later, opened the way
for permanent settlements and a fixed government.
A legislature was summoned at Halifax in 1758, and the vacated
lands of the French, over 100,000 acres of intervals and
100,000 of upland, were ordered to be advertised for settlers.
Townships were set off and all immigrants were guaranteed
liberty of conscience. The next year, a committee
from Connecticut arrived at Halifax with proposals to settle
Chignecto. In November of the same year, delegations
from about 1000 Acadians in New Brunswick appeared at Fort
Cumberland and offered their submission to Col. Frye.
They were received and helped with provisions, and a few
months after the Indian Chiefs from the Passamaquoddy and
Micmac Indians appeared there to make treaties of peace.
In 1761, Capt. Winkworth Yonge, Joshua Winslow, John Huston,
John Jenks, Joshua Sprague, Valentine Estabrooks and William
Maxwell were appointed a committee to admit persons into
the township of Sackville, and two years later (1763) 65
families had settled in the townships of Sackville and Cumberland,
being either disbanded soldiers or immigrants from New England.
There were English garrisons at Beausejour, Fort Lawrence
and Fort Monckton and the only English settlers were disbanded
soldiers and tradesmen who had commenced to locate themselves
around these posts and within the range of their protection.
The French inhabitants had been so completely driven off
that nine years later (1764) they only numbered 388, men,
women and children, in this portion of Acadia, when instructions
come from the English government to allow them to become
settlers on taking the oath of allegiance. Special
inducements were held out to the irregulars of New England
to become settlers, if they would remain in duty six months
longer. To a Colonel was offered 2000 acres of choice
land; Major 750 acres; Captain 500; Ensign 450; Private
Applications were to be made to Thomas Hancock, Boston,
province agent at Boston, who being applied to by persons
desiring to know the kind of government in Nova Scotia and
whether toleration in religion was allowed, a second proclamation
was issued on 11th January, guaranteeing representative
institutions and full liberty of conscience, except to papists.
1759, on 19th July, Messrs. Liss Willoughby. Benjamin Kimball,
Edward Mott and Samuel Starr, junior, a committee of agents
from Connecticut appeared at Halifax proposing to make a
settlement at Chignecto and they were given a vessel to
visit the locality. In September they returned and
proposed some alterations in the grant, which were agreed
While there were three garrisons on the Isthmus, settlement
was very much hindered by the absence of any security to
life or property. The Indians and French scoured the
woods, ready to pick off any stragglers. They would
even show themselves ostentatiously before the walls of
the forts; any settlement out of the reach of the guns was
not only hazardous but impracticable. The French and
Indians exhibited in their raids a skill, and a bravado
amounting to recklessness. In April of this year,
(1759), two vessels, were at anchor at Grindstone Island,
one the armed schooner "Monckton" belonging to the Province,
the other a transport loaded with beef, pork, flour, bread,
rice, peas, rum, wine, sugar, lemons, beer, shoes, shirts,
stockings and other goods laden at Halifax for the shopkeepers
at the Fort. During the night of 4th, the transport
was captured by canoes manned by Acadians and French from
the shore, and in the morning, they made a most determined
effort to capture the "Monckton", chasing her down the Bay
for five hours. The "Monckton" had a boy killed and
two men wounded in the fight. The schooner was afterwards
ransomed for 1500 pounds the French taking the cargo.
The Indians along the North Shore and on the Richibucto,
Miramichi rivers were very ferocious. History relates
many stories of their daring and cruelty. They were
greatly dreaded by English settlers. Even the first immigrants
into Halifax suffered by them. Captives were
treated with wanton and inhuman barbarity.
In 1723, assisted by a party of the Penobscot tribe, they
raided Canso and carried off plunder to the amount of 20,000
pounds. They were commanded by Argimoosk - or "White Witch",
a very cunning a daring chief. Three years later they
made another raid and captured 17 sail of fishing vessels
from Massachusetts. Forty of the crew were captured,
of them fifteen were rescued, 9 murdered and the remainder
sent as slaves to Richibucto river.
On 24th September 1778 a Treaty of peace was made in St.
John Harbour between Governor Franklin and 26 Indian Chiefs,
which ended all wars. Michael Arjiman, Chief, Barnard Cataup
and Joseph Portes, Captains, signed on behalf of the Micmacs
A military government at Halifax early fell into disrepute.
Within a year after the expulsion of the Acadians, the people
fell foul of the Lawrence government. After seeking
redress without avail, they appointed Fernando John Paris
of London their agent, and his letter dated 26th January,
1757, contains a number of charges of extravagance and nepotism,
against Lawrence, Cotterell, Bulkeley, Green and Saul. It
charges them with having made no return of 20,000 pounds
worth of cattle, hogs, rum and molasses captured from the
French. The letter charges Lawrence with arranging
a scheme for an Assembly that would throw the representation
in his own hands. He had represented Cumberland as
a township and entitled to a representative, whereas this
famous township consisted of 5 old sergeants and soldiers,
all sutlers to the garrison and subject to military orders.
Annapolis and other places the same. As a matter of
fact the Provost Marshal returned on 22nd August, 1759,
for the township of Cumberland, Joseph Frye and John Huston
and for the County, Winkworth Tonge and Simon Newcomb.
Brooke Watson came to Chignecto - now Fort Lawrence - in
1750, with Capt. Huston. He was then fifteen years
of age. In 1755, when he was only 20 years of age,
he was not only given an independent command to bring in
the Acadians, but he was employed to victual the transports,
for their removal. He then entered into a business
partnership with Mr. Slayter of Halifax, but this lasted
only two years, when he removed to England. When he
was 25 years of age he married there Miss Helen Campbell
of Edinburgh. He was then in partnership with a Mr.
Mauger and doing a large colonial business. When he
was 46 years of age he was made Commissary General of America.
When he was 49, he was elected to Parliament from London
and retained his seat for nine years. Ten years later
he was made a baronet and he died childless in 1803. The
title is now held by William Brooke Kay the fifth baronet,
his great great grand nephew. This was the career of a waif
who was doomed to the clutches of the select men of Boston,
to be bound out as an apprentice to a tailor against his
vehement protests, when rescued by Capt. Huston and taken
After leaving Chignecto, Watson went to sea and in the harbor
of Havana had his leg bitten off. Caricatures of him printed
when he had attained wealth and power in London, represents
him as walking on a wooden stump. That he should have
overcome this and the impediments that surrounded him at
boyhood, shows an extraordinary amount of power and resolution.
Capt. Huston represented Cumberland in the Local Assembly.
He died at Canard at the venerable age of 85 years.
To the last the closest intimacy was maintained between
him and his baronet protege.
Jedediah Preble, who was Major under Monckton, was made
a Captain at Louisburg nine years before. He was father
of Commodore Preble and grandfather of Admiral George H.
Preble of United States naval service fame.
Col. Monckton in command at Beausejour came of a distinguished
family. His father was Viscount Galway; his mother
a daughter of the Duke of Rutland. His grandfather
William Lord Russell was distinguished enough to get beheaded
in 1663 for political reasons. Monckton commenced
his military career in Flanders and was in many engagements.
Eleven years later he was sent to Halifax and was actively
engaged in Canada until the fall of Quebec, where he commanded
as a Brigadier General. He afterwards commanded an
expedition that captured Martinico. He was afterwards
governor of New York and later governor of Portsmouth and
a member of Parliament.
There were three Gorhams in the English service - a father
and his two sons and all of them colonels. They were
a Massachusetts family. Col. Gorham sr., was in command
of a Provincial regiment at Louisburg and died there.
His son John Gorham succeeded to the command. He was
afterwards in command of a body of Rangers (of half blood
Indians) raised in Boston for service in Acadia.
His connection with Acadia ceased after 1752. His brother
Joseph Gorham was a Lieutenant Colonel in the regular army
and was very active during the French and Indian wars.
His name constantly appears in reports and orders. Michael
Franklin came from the South of England to Halifax in 1752
to engage in mercantile business. He was employed
in public affairs in which he seems to have been unusually
successful. He organized the Militia and was commissioner
of Indian affairs. He was most influential with the
Indians. He married a granddaughter of the famous
Peter Fanuel of Boston. He has descendants in the
Uniacke name in Halifax.
Amongst the notabilities in Cumberland after 1762 was Joseph
Morse. He received the land grants of a Colonel and had
some sort of a command at Fort Lawrence, but his name does
not appear in any army list. He was originally a resident
of Medfield, Mass., to which place his forbears emigrated
from England in 1635. He had been the possessor of
large means and was in intimate terms with Sir Jeffrey Amherst,
by whom he was induced to advance supplies for the expedition
Amherst undertook in 1759 up Lake George to reduce Ticonderoga
and Crown Point Morse was made a prisoner by the French,
sent to France, where he was kept in close confinement,
so that when exchanged his health was shattered. He
was sent to London and received marked favor from George
III, after which he sailed for Acadia and took up his residence
at Fort Lawrence where he died. His descendants are
numerous, many of them occupying prominent places in civil
and public life.
Governor Franklin was very successful in his efforts to
introduce English settlers on the vacant French farms; largely
the result of his work, many scores of immigrants landed
between 1772 and 1776.
The following Yorkshire people sailed from Hull on the 14th
of March, 1774, for Fort Cumberland per Ship Albion:
Occupation As a
23 Farmer To seek better
John Coulson 20
20 His Wife
52 Farmer Their rents
being raised by his land-
lord Mr. Chapman they have
made a purchase of some land
& in North America
22 Children to
With her parents
Mary Veckel 20
Maid Servant To seek for better employment.
Hannah Veckel 20
Thomas Scurr 34
Farmer The advance of his rents by Francis
Elizabeth " 39
His Wife Smith
Jun. Esq., his landlord,
he is going to purchase land abroad
William " 7
Charles " 5
Elizabeth " 3
Bryan Kay 28
seek for better livelihood
Dorothy " 42
Robert " 42
Elizabeth " 16
Hannah " 14
Ann Atkinson 19
Ann Skelton 18
William Kay 20
John Atkinson 45
Labourer To seek
for better livelihood.
Frances " 30
Charles " 6
Michael " 3
John Reed 26
George Reed 33
Farmer On account of his rent being raised
Hannah " 33
His Wife by his
landlord Thomas Walker.
Isabella " 4
Mary Simpson 25
To seek a better livelihood.
Edward Peckett 11 Husbandman
49 Farmer On account
of their rents being
42 His Wife
raised by the Duke of Rutland so
that they could not live.
Mary Harrison 17
Maid servant To seek for better livelihood.
Paul Cornforth 70 Farmer
Phillis " 68
William " 34
26 His Wife
Elizabeth " 4
Michael Taylor 45 Husbandman
John Slee 22
George Taylor 25
Michael Taylor 23
Giles Pickett 41
38 His Wife
James Pickett 16
Margaret " 5
William " 1
Giles Pickett Parents.
John Savage 40
to seek a better livelihood.
Elizabeth " 55
Anthony " 9
John Dunning 24
John Hill 25
28 His Wife
Elizabeth " 2
James Handwick 34 Malster
On account of his rent being advanced
24 His Wife
Edward Fenwick 28 Labourer
Going to seek a better livelihood.
Thomas Lumley 45
Farmer On account of his rent being
His Wife raised
by Mr. Knowsley his
Thomas Shipley 31 Butcher
To seek a better livelihood.
Brian Kay 20
52 Miller On account
of their rent being
His Wife raised
by Duncan Esquire their
22 Grocer a Son
John Beys 24
Sarah Barr 21
A relation being dead they are
Richard Dobson 72 Gentleman
going to settle their affairs.
William Pipes 49
Farmer On account of their rent being ad-
William " 22
Jonathan " 20
John Smith 28
Mary Smith 26
George Hunter 40
Farmer In hopes of making a purchase.
John Watson 33
John Johnson 27
Tanner To seek a better livelihood
Martha " His Wife
William " 1
Henry Scott 27
29 His Wife
Catharine " 1
33 Farmer On account
of his rent being
Sarah Blinkey 33
His Wife raised
by his landlord Jno. Wilkinson.
16 Tanner To seek a
44 Farmer On account
of his rent being raised
His Wife by his
landlord Lord Cavendish
William " 19
and all necessaries of life being
Thomas " 17
Jonathan " 5
" 1 Children
Rents being so high he goes in hope to
Henry Hammond 31
Margaret " 27
Margaret ? 1
To seek a better livelihood.
William Robertson 15
Alice Dimond 24
Thomas Wilson 50
James Wilson 19
David Bennett 30
Farmer On account of his rent being raised
Mary Bennett 30
Wife of David Bennett by Mr. Bulmer his landlord.
Henry Charmick 31 Chandler
To seek a better livelihood.
John Thompson 32
Farmer On account of the great advance of
" rents and in hopes of purchasing.
Joshua Gildart 48 Husbandman
Robert Leming 51
Robert Leming, Jun. 17
John Gildart 19
" To seek a better livelihood.
Miles Ainson 42
30 His Wife
25 Farmer Lord Bruce
having raised his rent.
William Sinton 21 Miller
To seek a better livelihood.
Joseph Jacques 28 Farmer
On account of their rent being raised
Elenor Jacques 28 His
Richard Carter 27 Farmer
Diana Tatum 25
To seek a better livelihood.
Ralph Sidell 29
Ann Weldon 38
---- Going to her husband who is set-
Andrew " 12
Elizabeth " 8 &
" 1 Children
George Gibson 36
Thomas Little 27
Tanner To seek a better livelihood.
" 24 His Wife
William Winn 27
David Winn 17
Mathew Fenwick 16 Servant
Mary Lowthier 21
The following Yorkshire people sailed from the same port
on 10th April,
1775,on the ship Jenny for Fort Cumberland,
Emigrants from England.
Occupation As a
William Black 43
Linen Draper Having made a purchase is
36 His Wife
with his family to reside there.
Mathew Lodge 20
Going to seek a better livelihood
Elizabeth Aldfield 25
Jane Hudry 16
30 Hsekeeper to the Gov'nr
Bridget Sedel 38
---- Going with her children to her hus-
Francis " 6
Christopher Horsman 27
Farmer Going to seek a better livelihood.
Robert Colpits 28
Christopher Harper 45
" Having made a purchase
" 40 His
Wife to reside
" 14 &
" 13 Children
of Going with their parents.
" 4 Christopher
Thomas King 21
Blacksmith Going to purchase
Mary Lowry 27
---- Going over to her husband.
Mary Lowerson 27
William Clark 42
Farmer Going to purchase or return
William " 10
Richard " 9
Rachael " 3
John Skelton 38
Going to seek a better livelihood.
Jane Skelton 36
Francis Watson 18 Taylor
John Bath 23
49 Farmer Having purchased
an Estate is
going over with his family
26 Servant & Carpenter
Wm. Johnson and servants to reside.
23 Son of Wm. Johnson
James Hulton 15
Apprentice to "
Elizabeth Anderson 36
---- Going over with her children to
her husband who is cooper
to William Johnson.
Thomas Walton 24
Husbandman Going to seek a
Having purchased, is going over
with his family.
Going with their parents.
Thomas Kalin 24
Servt to Wm Robinson Going with William
Patience Fallydown 22
John Robinson 47
Husbandman To make a purchase
His Daughter Going with their father.
Mary Parker 40
---- Going over to her husband.
Elizabeth " 9
Her he having a farm there.
Richard Peck 47
Husbandman Having made a purchase,
His Wife with
his family to reside.
Going with their parents.
Richard " 5
2 Children of Rd. Peck
Sarah Fenton 15
---- Going over to their father.
Also from Port of Newcastle 24th April, per Providence for
Occupation As a
Mathew Hewton 30
Yeoman (sic) In expectation of better
Also from Port of Poole 6th November, per Squirrel.
Occupation As a
Abraham Osgood 43 Merchant
Going to Halifax and intends to return.
Thomas Palmer 49
All Masters of Ships on their return
" Home having left their ships
Stephen Meads 25
" in England for sale.
John Hart 25
The Eddy War.
On the 24th of May, 1776, a meeting took place at Maugerville,
N.B., at which a committee was appointed to make application
to the Assembly of Massachusetts Bay "for relief under their
present distressed circumstances".
The committee consisted of Jacob Barker, a J. P., and a
ruling elder of the Congregational church; Phineas Nevers,
Isreal Perley, Daniel Palmer, Edward Coye, Israel Kinney,
Asa Perley, Moses Pickard, Thomas Hartt, Hugh Quinton, Asa
Kimball and Oliver Perley. One hundred and twenty-five
signed resolutions to join Massachusetts. Nine persons
at the mouth of the St. John river and three others refused,
William Hazen, Thomas Jenkins, James Simonds, Samuel Peabody,
John Bradley, James White, William Mackeenell, Zebedee Ring,
Peter Smith, Gervas Lay, Lewis Mitchell, --------- Darling,
John Crabtree, John Hendrick, Zebalon Estey, John Tarlee,
Joseph Howland, Thomas Jones and Benjamin Atherton.
The most violent animosity existed between the old settlers
and the new -- between settlers from New England, who were
naturally imbued with the principles of the declaration
of independence and were in active sympathy with the revolutionists
of Lexington and Concord on the one hand, and on the other
hand the immigrants from Yorkshire, who, in their steadfast
loyalty, scorned the party of rebels. The latter,
in their attempted capture of Fort Cumberland, occupied
the surrounding country sufficiently long to commit many
depredations on the loyalist settlers in which they were
aided and abetted by the disaffected inhabitants.
The position of the newly arrived Yorkshire families at
this date was perilous enough to create grave disquietude.
A very large proportion of the immigrants from the Atlantic
States were open and avowed sympathisers with the war against
the mother country. From Cumberland to Onslow and
from Falmouth to Yarmouth they formed an overwhelming majority.
When it was proposed at Halifax to enroll the militia as
a measure of defence against threatened invasions, it was
abandoned on account of disaffection. Montreal had
been captured by the Americans and Quebec was beseiged.
Two hundred Indians had gathered at Miramichi threatening
an incursion into the English settlements. Halifax,
itself, was not fortified and fears were entertained that
the ordnance stores at the dock yard would be destroyed
by incendiaries. Moreover it possessed no such body
of regulars as could repel a well organize expeditionary
force of invasion. Fourteen inhabitants of Cumberland
were said to have gone to the Continental Congress with
a petition signed by some 600 persons asking for a force
to help capture Fort Cumberland--from whence it was proposed
to make a descent on Halifax and wipe out the last vestige
of British authority in old Acadia. So open were the
disloyal elements in their designs and so certain of success
that they were accustomed to hold their meetings in a tavern
within the range of guns from the Fort Cumberland and every
man of prominence who did not join them was marked.
In Londonderry, Onslow and Truro all except five refused
to take the oath of allegiance. In Kings Co., a liberty
pole was cut and was ready to be hoisted when a company
of Rangers arrived.
The rebellious element in Cumberland numbered about 200
people, many of them being persons of means and consequence,
and their assistance to Eddy was of extreme importance in
furthering his projects. He had counted on their support
and also the co-operation of the disaffected element at
Cobiquid to carry the country. The Indians played
but a minor part in the episode.
In August, 1775, Charles Baker of Hillsboro reported at
Halifax that the New England rebels had cleared a road from
St. John river to Shepody, to enable a force to march on
Fort Cumberland This news caused some alarm as General
Gage had withdrawn nearly all the Nova Scotia garrisons
to reinforce the English army in New England.
This news was confirmed in October, 1776, by the intelligence
that a force was being gathered on the frontier to invest
Fort Cumberland and capture Acadia, and steps were at once
taken to provide for its defence. Defensive plans
had already been designed by Michael Franklin. He
had been made a member of the Council in Halifax in 1762,
and Lieutenant Governor five years later. He held
that position for ten years and was then made Indian agent,
a place requiring diplomatic gifts of a high order.
He had been a prisoner with Indians as a youth and understood
their language and their ways. His personal influence
was such that he was able to enrol a corps of volunteer
militia in the Minas townships 450 strong.
Michael Franklin, while a resident at Windsor, was also
proprietor of the Franklin Manor, situated on the River
Hebert at the upper end of the Minudie marshes. He
had introduced North of England immigrants into Cumberland
and his property was well tenanted. He, as well as
most of the settlers, were plundered by the invaders.
On November, 1776, Col. Eddy a Cumberland man appeared before
Fort Cumberland with a force of 180 men, recruited chiefly
at Machias and at Maugerville on the St. John River.
He made a couple of night assaults on the Fort, which were
repulsed by Col. Goreham then in command. Eddy had
however made some minor captures. An outpost at Shepody,
he had captured, and a vessel loaded with supplies in the
creek below the fort he had seized. He made some forty
prisoners, amongst them Parson Eagleson. They were
sent to Boston.
Mayor Dixson, who had already distinguished himself in the
affairs of 1755-6, volunteered to carry despatches to Halifax,
and he successfully eluded the watchful eyes of the enemy
and reached there.
Franklin threw a detachment of his militia corps into Fort
Edward, which enabled General Massey, then Commander in
Halifax, to send Major Batt with two companies to Fort Cumberland.
On 26th November, the garrison beheld with joy 4 small vessels
sail into the Basin and anchor below the Fort, conveying
Batt's force. On 28th, Batt made a sortie dispersing Eddy's
force and killing two Indians and one white man. Eddy
and his compatriots fled through the woods back to the St.
John River. The lateness of the season, and the cold,
together with loss of equipment, rendered their toils and
sufferings almost unbearable.
Amongst the prisoners taken on 28th November were Dr. Parker
Clark, James Avery of Cobiquid, Capt. Thomas Falconer, of
Cobiquid, who joined Eddy with a company of 25 men, to remove
the yoke of British tyranny and Richard John Uniacke.
They were taken to Halifax. Avery escaped from jail,
Clark and Falconer were indicted. Uniacke's name appeared
in the indictment as a witness, but as he was not present
at the trial, it appeared that the Attorney General had
adopted this method of pardoning him on account of his youth.
The Crown witnesses were, Lieut. Dixson, William Black and
Thomas Robinson. Both Clark and Falconer were convicted,
both pleaded pardon and their cases were respited.
They were probably released, as there is no further record
Col. John Allen, who was a large land-owner in the district
and a violent sympathizer with the rebellious element, presented
a long memorial to the Council Board of Massachusetts Bay
dated February 19th, 1777, stating: "Notwithstanding the
iron rod of despotism keeping them from having a share in
the glorious revolution, yet they openly avowed their sentiments
during unnatural and cruel war, ***with pain and grief have
they from time to time seen supplies procured in the neighborhood
for the use and benefit of the enemy of America *** nothing
could be done without assistance from other parts *** with
longing eyes did wait the expected relief, the last spring
when to their great affliction heard that Capt. Eddy was
come without succor for them and to aggravate their distress
he immediately leaves the country with his family. ***It
was judged that unless five hundred men could be secured
with a good commander and sufficient supplies there would
be no probability of success. In this time Mr. Franklin,
late Lieut. Governor of the Province, came to Cumberland
and offered an enlistment for the inhabitants to sign in
which they were to promise with their lives and fortunes
to support the dignity of the Crown. A few of the
emigrants signed it, but the body of inhabitants declared
their detestation and abhorrence."
"In the beginning of November Capt. Eddy arrived, acquainting
them that he had come by authority of Massachusetts State
to assist them in throwing off the yoke of British tyranny,
but seeing the small number of his men (about 60) told him
there was no probability of success. He told them
that as they had supplied the enemies of the Americans,
Congress doubted their integrity.*** If they would now assert
their rights publicly against the King's government, he
was come to help them and in fifteen days expected a reinforcement
of a large body of men. Most of the English and all
of the French capable of bearing arms immediately formed
and joined under Capt. Eddy. After a few days they
attempted to storm the Fort. They began to suspect
that they had been imposed on and that the men who came
with Capt. Eddy, were induced to it by expectation of much
plunder. The inhabitants chose a committee and sent
an express to your honours for aid. On 29th November
reinforcements to the enemy came. A sally determined
on, the camp was surprised and all fled except one white
man who was killed. The enemy pursued with all expedition
for six miles, burning during their pursuit twelve houses
and twelve barns, in which were contained one quarter of
the bread of the country. Capt. Eddy and his men retreated
to Sackville, and from there to the river St. John, leaving
signs of devastation and destruction behind them.
Col. Gorham issued a proclamation offering pardon to those
who would come in and lay down their arms; many were compelled
to comply.*** Great numbers of the inhabitants choosing
rather to face difficulty and danger than submit to the
British yoke were forced to leave their habitations, nearly
seventy families of English were left without a man amongst
them, the French Acadians fled to the woods; many outrages
were committed by some who came with Mr. Eddy."
At the conclusion of peace, Col. Eddy obtained a grant at
Eddington, Maine, where he has many descendants. His
farm, also within the Cumberland township, was escheated
with that of Allans, and also that of Capt. How, second
in command to Eddy . He had previously married Joseph Morses'
widow, with whom he had gained an extensive property.
In 1785 Congress granted the following lands at Eddington
Maine to those who fled from Nova Scotia:--
Ebenezer Gardner 1000 acres.
Parker Clark 500 acres.
Atwood Fales 450 acres.
Elijah Ayer 400 acres.
Phineas Nevers 1000 acres.
Nathaniel Reynolds 300
Samuel Rogers 300 acres.
Thomas Forkner 230 acres.
Anthony Burk 150 acres.
John Eckley 150 acres.
Jonathan Eddy. Jnr., 150 acres.
Total 9360 acres.
Elijah Ayer was Quarter-Master of the American troops at
Machias in 1776.
Col. Allen made his home in Massachusetts, where his descendants
In 1785, Col. Eddy published the names and residences of
61 men who had fled from Acadia in 1776. He says these
were 63 others whose names and addresses he could not find.
Lieut. Wm. Eddy was a Lieut. in the Continental Army.
He was married to Olive daughter of Joseph Morse.
He was killed by a shot from a British frigate in 1778,
near Eastport while in an open boat on his way to Sackville.
Privateering was a branch of industry actively pursued during
the revolutionary war. In May 1782, H. M. S. Atlanta
overhauled in Bay Fundy an American privateer carrying six
The crew escaped in three boats to the shore and took to
the woods. The crew consisted of Eddy men, a leader of them
being Rogers, in the invasion of 1776 and for whose apprehension
100 pounds was offered by the Nova Scotia government.
Uniacke had an adventurous and brilliant career. Moses
Delesdernier a native of the Canton of Geneva, a resident
of North Joggins, Sackville, N.B., and an army contractor,
was in Philadelphia in the year 1774, no doubt on a trading
cruise. Happening to notice a number of immigrants
landing on a wharf from a West Indian vessel, he was attracted
by the appearance of a young man of striking personality.
He accosted him and this led to an acquaintance. The young
man was a stripling in age.. had left his home in Ireland
to seek his fortune. Delesdernier invited him to return
with him to Sackville. The latter accepted.
From such a slight circumstance, originated not only a romantic
episode but an event that has served in some degree to mould
the history of Nova Scotia. Arriving at Sackville
he proceeded to fall in love with his host's daughter.
He was 21 years of age and she was 13. The record
states that Richard John Uniacke and Martha Maria Delesdernier
were duly married on the 3rd of May, 1775. He afterward
returned to Ireland, studied law there, returned to Nova
Scotia and in 1783, was elected a member of the Assembly
for Sackville, being first Solicitor-General and then Attorney-General.
Thus was founded a family that became prominent in Nova
Scotia and has contributed many members to the public service
of the country.
Richard John Uniacke after the affair of 1776 returned to
Ireland where he studied law, and in 1781 he was admitted
attorney at law at Halifax.
Another militant Nova Scotian namely, S. G. W. Archibald's
name has been associated with that of Uniacke in connection
with the Eddy troubles in Cumberland. This is a popular
error. Archibald was not born until 1776, the year Fort
Cumberland was invested by Col. Eddy. He entered the Legislature
of Nova Scotia in 1806, the year Uniacke retired.
That his father was treacherously killed in a duel with
a British officer in the West Indies, for disloyal sentiments
that he openly declared, has been a long cherished fiction,
that was given some credence by reason of the distance and
the difficulty of communication in those days. The
facts supported by ample evidence are that he was taken
sick at one of the W. I. Islands of a fever and died eleven
Franklin charged Delesdernier and Samuel Wetherbe with being
hostile to the Crown and they were dismissed from all employment.
Delesdernier in his letters to the government denies strenuously
any disloyalty. Gorham's reports exculpated Delesdernier.
He was a heavy loser and he never received any compensation
Gorham in the proclamation of pardon which he issued excepted,
Jonathan Eddy, Samuel Rogers, William How, John Allen and
Zebulon Rowe; a reward of 200 pounds was offered for the
apprehension of Eddy and 100 pounds for the latter named.
Parson Eagleson was a stormy petrel of troublesome times.
He was brought up in the Kirk of Scotland and afterwards
changed to the Church of England. One account says
he was ordained by the Bishop of London, being highly commended
by Chief Justice Belcher and Lt. Governor Franklin and was
appointed missionary for Cumberland in 1770. Another
account is that he came from Quebec to Fort Cumberland as
chaplain to a detachment of the 54th in 1765. At the same
time there came two young men named Payzant and their sister.
Some years before the Indians had descended on their father's
place at Mahone Bay, killed and scalped him, set fire to
the house and carried these boys and their mother into captivity.
The children were kept at St. Anne's, now Fredericton, but
Mrs. Payzant was separated from her children and sent to
Quebec, where a daughter was born. Through the efforts
of R. C. Bishop, Mrs. Payzant recovered the possession of
her children and one of the boys became a dignitary of the
R. C. Church. After the reduction of Quebec the others
returned to Nova Scotia.
A tradition is, that Mr. Eagleson lived his last days with
a Siddal family at Wallace. One account of him makes
him a bibulous, free and easy clerical. The enmity
he provoked shows he was a staunch loyalist, and the journals
of the S.P.G.P., covering a period from 1772 to 1781 shews
the Society had absolute confidence in him. He was
taken prisoner by the Eddy party in Nov. 1776, and shipped
to Boston, and it was not until ten months after that the
Society learned the fact. He was kept a prisoner for
sixteen months when he effected his escape and returned
to Cumberland, when he found his house had been raided,
and his property dispersed. He wrote in 1778 to the
Society lamenting the absence of any place of public worship,
but said he was holding services in a borrowed mansion,
to wit that of Joseph Morse. Later, in 1781, he advised
the Society that he had been obliged to leave Cumberland
again for fear of capture, as the rebel boats were in the
Bay. He was then stopping at Windsor, and that up
to the time of his leaving he had officiated at the fort
to a considerable number of people. His ministrations
were probably the first regular Anglican services held at
the head of the Bay.
ARRIVAL OF LOYALISTS.
In 1785 the Loyalists received large grants at Cobequid
(Westchester) and Ramshag (Wallace). At Cobequid 31,750
acres were distributed on the 2nd of June among 85 persons
representing 246 men, women and children. The grantees
Stephen Seaman, Matthew Dallaway, Ezekiel Seaman, Peter
Rushlin, Jesse Ogden, Thomas Wheaton, Moses Simmonds, David
Pugsley, Israel Parker, John Glieson, Henry Piers, James
Ackel, James Morris, Charles Jennings, Wright Weeks, William
Lopree, Johnathan Palmer, John Mayby, Joseph Sears, Jeremiah
Seaman, John Crawford, Joseph Purdy, David Mills, Joseph
Peime, Daniel Dickerson, Shubad Lewis, Stephen Purdy, William
Coon, Charles Vincent, Jesse Schofield, Josiah Baker, James
Mead, Samuel Bishop, John Williams, Samuel Wood, John Sherwood,
James Chasse, Nathaniel Hodge, John Ogden, Lieut, Samuel
Embree, Zacchriah Snieder, Joshua Horton, John Wilson, Jeremiah
Rushtin, Lieut. Abraham Covert, Henry Stultz, Henry Gray,
Simon Outhouse, Robert Purdy, Peter Maby, Lieut. Gilbert
Haveland, Jabez Rundle, John Rushtin, Sr.; Martin Creary,
Jonathan Snider, Nathan Golding, Obadiah Simpson, Aaron
Fountain, Henry Frenchard, John Baxter, Nathaniel Purdy,
David Ackley, Joseph Embree, Jr.; John Hunter, John Rimiss,
James Miller, James Lounsbury, Henry Purdy, Elijah Smith,
Jonathan Warden, Daniel Holmes, James Austen, John Austen,
Samuel Horton, Caleb Griffin, Amos Fowler, John Myers, John
Brisbane, Capt. Gideon Palmer, Nathaniel Ackley and Benjamin
The Ramsheg Grant of 20,300 acres was made on the 16th June,
1785, to the following 106 grantees; Isaac Ackley, jr.,
Alexander Piers, Joseph Earles, Joel Edget, John Hunt, Sybal
Beardsley, Samuel Neills, James Totten, jr., Joseph Tidd,
Samuel Halstead, James Brisbane, Lank Steves, Capt. Gilbert
Totten, Samuel Cornell, Obediah Ackerley, Nathaiel Wyatt,
James Derry. Reuben Mills, Isaac Tidd, Thomas Jenkins, Oliver
Smith, Capt, Frederick Williams, Zinns Golding, Nathaniel
Niles, John Edgett, Daniel Tidd, Job Bryant, Samuel Holliday,
Joshua Ferris, Gilbert Purdy, John Derry, William Williams,
Samuel Holmes, Capt, Moses Knapp, Daniel Dunn, John Rushtin,
jr., Lockwood Baxter, John Robblee, John Baker, Thos. Hasteed,
John Stephens, Michael Lloyd, Robert Hatch, Jonathan Fowler,
Ensign Augustus Baxter, John Brown, Jeremiah Merritt, Frederick
Philips, Samuel Haveland, Jos. Piers, William Foster, Solomon
Horton, Capt. Barnes Hatfield, Daniel Totten, John Tidd,
Ensign Ephraim Piers, James Totten, Isaac Ackely, jr.; William
Budd, James Totten, sr., Oliver Ackeley, Peter Winne, Angus
McFen, Capt. Samuel Kipp, Samuel Williams, Gabriel Purdy,
Zekel Piers, John Angevine, John Jacobs, John Chatterton,
Mencus Myers, James Tidd, Absolom Smith, Jacob Veal, John
Lusargee, Samuel Horton, Thomas Cornell, John Ganong, Frederick
Baxter, James Huson, Joshua Brundige, Moses Tidd, Ebenezer
Brown, Paul Carpus Schoffield, John Totten, John Parre,
John Lowe, Josiah Fowler, John Piers, John Edmunds, Noah
Webb, Andrew Fosner, John Pugsley, Jesse Schoffield, Daniel
Pugsley, Nathaniel Hoeg, James Chase, Daniel Piers, James
Golding, James Knipp, Jeremiah Newman, James Tellet, Jesse
FIRST PROVINCIAL PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED.
In 1758, when the Nova Scotia Assembly was first called,
the province not being divided into counties, the first
members were elected somewhat promiscuously from the inhabitants
pursuant to a summons from the provost marshal. A
settlement of 25 qualified electors was entitled to send
a member, but a Cumberland name does not appear amongst
the nineteen members elected. When the next Assembly
met, (1759), the province had been divided into five counties,
and the township of Cumberland had two members and the county
two. Messrs. Winkworth Tonge, Joseph Frye, and John Huston
all connected with the military establishment at the Fort,
were returned as elected. In 1765 the Township was
represented by Josiah Troop and the county by Benoni Danks
and Gam. Smeethurst.
In the "Long Parliament" from 1770 to 1784 Jonathan Eddy
represented the Township, and John Huston and Joshua Winslow
In 1774 Jotham Gay succeeded Winslow who had left Chignecto.
In 1775, William Scurr succeeded Huston and John Allan took
the place of Eddy.
The seat of Allan, Scurr and Rodgers, were declared vacant
In 1777 Thomas Dixon is associated with Gay as member and
H. D. King as member for the Township. In 1783 Richard John
Uniacke was elected for the township of Sackville. New Brunswick
was set off as a separate province in 1784. A general election
took place in 1785, when John Butler Dight (of Commissary
Dept.) and Christopher Harper, were elected for the County
and for Amherst, William Freeman. The former being
absentees in 1786 their places were taken by Phillip Marchiston
and Charles Hill.
Dight was the nephew of the Hon. Joseph Butler; he inherited
his estate and assumed his name; he was the father of the
late Col. Butler of Windsor. Marchiston was a New
York merchant who removed to Halifax and finally retired
to Cornwallis, where he died. He was grandfather of
Major Welsford, of Sebastpool fame. In the general election
of 1793 William Freeman and Samuel Embree were elected for
the county, and Thomas Lusby from the township.
In 1799 Thomas Roach and George Oxley were elected for the
county and Thomas Lusby for the township.
In 1806 Mr. Roach was re-elected, with Henry Purdy for the
County, and Edward Baker for the township.
In 1812 the same re-elected. In 1820 Mr. Purdy was succeeded
by Richard Blair, the owner of the Franklin Manor.
Mr. Blair returned to England in 1825 and resigned his seat.
In 1818 Mr. Baker was succeeded by Hon. James Shannon Morse
who held sat 1836. From 1826 to 1836 the county was
represented by (Judge) Alexander Stewart and Joseph Oxley.
ENGLISH SETTLERS IN CUMBERLAND.
The township of Cumberland being first settled about two
hundred and fifty years ago there have been many grants,
changes of ownership and changes of population. The grants
since the Acadian deportation only are dealt with here.
A grant was made of 34,500 acres on 27th, November, 1763,
addressed to John Huston, Joshua Winslow and William Allan,
Esquires, Abiel Richardson, Elijah Ayer Josiah Throop and
Joseph Morse, Committee of the Township of Cumberland ratifying
a former grant signed by M. Wilmot, Governor of Nova Scotia,
and R. Bulkeley as Secretary for the following grantees:
Wm. Best, Jun.
Wm. Allan, Sr.
Wm. Allan Jr.
Abiel Richardson, Jun.
The 1st Minister
This grant was enclosed between Au Lac and LaPlanche Rivers
on the one bay and the rivers Gaspereaux and Tidnish on
the other Bay. Each right consisted of 500 acres.
The quit rent was one shilling per each 50 acres which,
if not paid for three years and no distress found the grant
is void. One third had to be cultivated or forfeited
in ten years, another third in 20 years and the balance
in 30 years; also plant two acres of hemp and settle in
one year. No rights could be alienated in within ten
years without consent of governor. This permission
was to secure Protestant settlers. Each right had
to be occupied within a year after the grantee with proper
stock, implements, &c.
A grant was issued of 15,750 acres on 17th September, 1764,
signed by Montague Wilmot, Governor, and Richard Bulkeley
addressed to Joshua Winslow, and William Allan, Esquires,
Abiel Richardson, Elijah Ayre, Josiah Throop and Joseph
Morse, Committee of the Township of Cumberland. The
grant recites that a former grant was insufficient to secure
the properties. The names of the grantees were: Thomas
Throop, Benoni Danks, Samuel Weatherbe, Thomas Hunt, Samuel
Smith, Thomas Maul, Atwood Vails, Moses Pierce, John Spring,
William Bearisto, Enoch Gooding, Theoph. Fitch, Caleb Eady,
Wm. Maxwell, Mariner Maxwell, Caleb Sherman, Jesse Converse,
Timothy Davis, Joshua Tufts, William Cooley, John Sampson,
Samuel Weatherbe, Nat Sheldon, Simon Newcombe, Sr., Mark
Patton, Jos. Burnham, Moses Barnes, Alex. Mills, Wm. Maxwell,
John Brown, Simon Newcomb, Samuel Danks, Asel Danks, Godfrey
Richardson and John Eady.
An office for the registry of land titles was opened at
Fort Cumberland in February, 1764. It was probably
the third one in the Maritime Provinces, those at Port Royal
and Halifax ante dating it, the latter fifteen years.
During the first five years the transfers related to lands
in Sackville and Cumberland now the parish of Westmorland.
The first transfer relating to lands in the present town
of Amherst or present County of Cumberland, did not take
place till 22nd day of August, 1768, when Ebenezer Fitch,
who is styled "Captain of the town", exchanges lot 64 for
lot 65 with Simon Fitch.
The first deed registered was on 10th February, 1764, when
Mark Patton sold to John Huston, 6 acres at Green Hill for
sterling 7.5.0. The second deed, dated 8th February,
1764, transferred 30 acres of land on the Missiquash belonging
to Abiel Richardson to Benoni Danks for 30 pounds. The third
and fourth deeds related to exchanges of land between Abiel
Richardson and John Brown. The fifth deed was for 5 acres
at Green Hill sold by William Milburn to Abiel Richardson
for 5 pounds. The Glebe land 500 acres was conveyed
by Wm. Allan, Benoni Danks and Thomas Dixson to Rev. Caleb
Gannet on 10th April 1769.
At this time two members of the Gooden family now so numerous
appear on the records. On the 10th February,
1764, Enoch Gooden conveyed to Benoni Danks one acre in
the town plot for 1 pound. On the 12th February, 1767, Daniel
Gooden, conveyed to William Allen, Attorney of Martin Gay
of Boston lot 27B and 20 acres of Marsh for 40 pounds.
In 1764, 22 deeds were registered; in 1765, 24 deeds.
When New Brunswick was erected into a Province in 1784,
a registry office was started in Cumberland County.
When the population of Cumberland Isthmus was estimated
at 900 and at Partridge Island 700. Up to this date 18,000
loyalists had arrived in Nova Scotia.
TOWNSHIP OF AMHERST
Before the re-christening of Amherst after Lord Amherst
in 1759, it was called by the French "Les Planches."
A small settlement of Acadians lived there; their dwellings
were burned at the time La Loutre destroyed Beau Bassin
A trail made across the marsh from Fort Lawrence, turning
west at the upland and skirting it, led towards Amherst
Point and Nappan. While its name is placed on the
old maps, none of the old literature available mentions
it. It therefore commences its historical existence
when under English occupation it was laid off with other
townships in Acadia and grants made. Grants were issued
as follows: John Jackson, 800 acres, 4th January, 1764 John
Jackson, 1000 acres, 19th January, 1764; Alex Legrier, 500
Acres, 10th August, 1764; Hugh Goddard, 1000 acres, 21st
October, 1764; Nicholas Cox, 1000 acres, 24th November,
1764, John Saunders, et al, 26,750 acres, 30th October,1765.
The inhabitants of the Isthmus in 1767 were
Females Irish Americans
7 (49 Germans )
English and Scotch in these settlements numbered less than
In May 1765 is met the name of Joseph Frederick Wallet De
Barres as a victim of land lust. He with others obtained
a grant of 8000 acres of land at Minudie on which returned
Acadians squatted. He sought to eject them and this
produced in after years much litigation. The bulk of the
property was afterwards purchased by Amos Seaman known locally
for many years as "King Seaman." In August 1765 Des
Barres obtained a grant of 20,000 acres at Tatamagouche.
Des Barres was a Colonel in the English Army and also Colonial
Governor. His varied experiences made his life a picturesque
and stirring one. His services to the Crown were many
and important; few of the colonial worthies of that day
are more deserving to have their names perpetuated.
Governor Franklin was also afflicted with the same land
disease; he obtained a grant of 20,000 acres adjoining Des
Barres at River Hebert, called the Franklin Manor.
The Saunders grant, signed by Governor Montague Wilmot,
was registered on the 9th of July, 1772, the grantees names
were as follows: John Saunders, Joseph Coghran, Thomas Coghran,
John Stuart, David Forrest, Matthew Crawford, Thomas Jnee,
James Henry John Grace, John Croghan, Matthew Dickey, Patrick
Porter, James Law, John Clark, John Campbell, Francis Campbell,
John Vance, Richard Webber, Nicholas Head, Robert Berry,
Matthew Sharpe, Robert McGowan, Samuel Creelman, Robert
Martin, William Martin, Jael Smith, William Zelory Tufts,
Nathaniel Reynolds, James Roberts, George McNutt, John Simpson,
Jonathan Davidson, James Fulton, Elishah Freeman, Francis
Freeman, Francis Sheen, Alex. Huston, Ebenezer Fitch, Simon
Fitch, Mark Patton, Jr., James Coghran, William Nesbit,
a Ministers Lot, a Glebe lot, a share or lot for schoolmaster.
Each share contained 500 acres. The Saunders grant did not
cover the lots along Victoria street, but occupied the ridge
towards the Nappan River. A grant was made to Peter Campbell,
et al, of 5,500 acres on 11th January, 1768. His co-grantees
were Elisha Blackman, Jonathan Baker, Samuel Baker, Antrobus
Shaw, John Star, and William Freeman.
On March 1774, the ship "Two Friends" sailed from Hull for
Halifax with immigrants from Yorkshire. The following
are some of the names:
John Smith 29
Mary Smith 25
John Smith 4
George Smith 2
William Smith 1
Robert Fawceit 30 SailCloth
Frances Layton 29 Blacksmith
Frances Layton 1
John Layton 22
Richard Peck 46
John Wilson 46
William Ward 24
Elizabeth Ward 22
Robert Appleby 21 Husbandman.
Elizabeth Wrightson 20
John Sedgewick 39 Farmer.
Thomas Harwood 34 Farmer.
Armstead Fielding 42
Elizabeth Fielding 40
John Fielding 15
Nicholas Fielding 12
William Blenkhorn 33
Ann Blenkhorn 29
John Blenkhorn 4
Ann Blenkhorn 2
Abraham Mason 43
John Bulmer 45
Jean Bulmer 46
James Bulmer 20
George Bulmer 14
Joseph Bulmer 10
Ann Buisee 60
Richard Bowser 29 Farmer.
Ann Buisee 26
Christopher Harper 40
John Wry 23
John Fawceit 29
Jane Fawceit 28
Mary Fawceit 4
The letter below from James Metcalf to his intended wife
throws a sidelight in the conditions of life in Cumberland
in 1772. The letter, though rude in form, exhibits
a man of strong purpose and high character. It was
two years reaching Ann Gill. She arrived at Fort Cumberland
in 1774 and despatched a messager to Mr. Metcalf, who awakened
him at 2 o'clock in the morning with news. He started
at once with a led horse for the Fort where he met her.
They were married at Fort Lawrence that day. They
left two daughters, one of whom married Wm. Sharpe and the
other Charles Atkinson. Amos (King) Seaman married
a daughter of the latter. August, 1772
My Dear: This comes to let you know that I am in good helth
as these Lines I hope I shall find you, wee are meany Leagues
part but Distance or lenth of time since we parted hath
not made mee to forgit you, I have got 207 acers of land
33 acers of clear land very good land a good part of it
will bee easly cleared, because it hath been formerly cut
by the French, I and other two have 45 acers more for 5
years, and orchard that grows plenty of appels we desire
to plow ye 45 acers and to sow it with wheat and other grane
it is a pleasant and will be a frutefull place with cultivation
I need not say much of my place nor of the countery by this
letter for I have described it in the other letter to my
master only one thing I would tell you and that is a little
flye caled a misketo that is troublesome in somer time and
bites like a midge but I am told by the people that came
to the place 8 or 9 years since that there is becom much
fewer of them it is oweing to ye want of inhabitance and
cattel to eat up the gras this is the only thing I have
to say against the Country and now I put you to your promis
that you promisd mee saying I will surely come to you and
my Dear I shall be very glad to see you fulfill your promise
to mee and I will fulfill mine to you if you come I will
be a kind Husband to you and take you before aney other
for I must marry for I cannot live well as I am, and as
to your passage you need not bee affraide nor to let your
thoughts to trouble you or to think how shall I undertake
such a journey only try come and be not affraid I sopose
that you will have plenty from Yorkshire to acompaney you
O would I wear in the place of these lines and that I might
be your companion but that must not be I have great besiness
to do and cattle to look after so I cannot I can only pray
to our God to protect and be your soport and guide when
I was at sea I was sick but 2 half days half a day ye day
that we imbarked and again sometime after when the sea was
very Ruff and we all had a very good passage and were very
helthfull. The people here are of different persusaions
in religion they are mostly prisbyterians and Baptists ye
church of England are fewer that either I believe that if
one of our methodist preachers wear here he would be gladly
received by people of all persusaions they are very strict
in regard to ye Lords day and consious of family dutys but
as to the mane thing in religion would it were more known
among all people I trust that religion in its purity will
be preached here also people here are naturally kind one
to another even the Indians when a countryman comes to their
wigwams are if they have aney meat at all they give him
some. Spinning wheels are very dear here for they
are twenty shilings a peece English money pay for more then
in England Ye Guney pays for thre and twenty and fower pence
but all ye money in ye place is not English, there is a
dollar that is 5s the pisterence that goes for a shiling
every countrys money goes if peopel know its worth, all
linen cloth and woolen cloth is very dear hear but they
almost all grow thir own line and dres it themselves and
the French and New England peopel, the women are mostly
weavers and work their own both linen and wolen if you come
pray be so good as to bring about a bushel of wheat if you
can of 4 different kinds for seed let yellow Kent be one
and Hampshire brown another for it will be of great servis
hear be carefull to keep it from salt water you may if you
please lay it like a pillow in your bed or in aney place
where ye salt water does not come, provide a little tea
or something that is nourishing provided you should be sea
sick, I should be glad to see my master Wilkison hear but
altho ye countrys good I would not advise him to come lest
things should not do well so I might be blamed but he should
I think he might do well hear, is nothing but the misketoes
that is troublesome and they are bad to that they make a
smoke at ye door sometimes in the evening to keep them out
of their houses they are more troublesome then may imagin
but as I said it is for want of the Gras being mowed or
eaten or burnt. This is ye only thing that I have to say
against the place all things I things I think will be made
up when inhabitance comes and trade increases if you come
be not discoriged by aney thing in ye country for it is
good if you come you will sail up to Fort Cumberland and
when you are there write a line or two to me and send it
to me to Maccan River by aney man and I will pay him and
come for you but as soon as you receive my letter let me
know your mind by letter and I will be as good as my word,
the passage is paid at Liverpool before you go on bord but
if you should not be abel to pay make friends to some that
come and I will pay write to James Shanks at Liverpool about
it. I must conclude for this time may ye Lord bles you and
conduct you safe hither from
If you write to mee you must direct to me at Maccan near
Fort Cumberland to ye care of Govener Franklin at Halifax
Nova Scotia. (directed to Miss.)
Mrs. Ann Gill With Mr. Thomas Wilkinson Martin Lordship
near Ganongwould in Yorkshire, England.
Amongst the Loyalists were three brothers by the name of
Purdy. Gabriel settled at Westchester, Gilbert at Malagash
and Henry at Fort Lawrence. The late Amos Purdy, M.P.P.,
of Amherst descended from the first. Henry died in
1826; he also had been a member of the Assembly, Colonel
of Militia and a Judge of Common Pleas.
ENGLISH SETTLERS IN SACKVILLE
1758, on 12th October, a proclamation was adopted in council
in Halifax offering the vacant lands to settlers, which
"consist of one hundred thousand acres of intervals plough
lands, cultivated for more than 100 years and never fail
of crops nor need manuring - also a hundred thousand acres
cleared and stocked with English grass, planted with orchards,
vineyards, &c. All these are situated about the
Bay of Fundy upon rivers navigable for ships of burden."
The first actual settlement in Sackville after the deportation
of the French may be placed at 1761 - six years after their
deportation and two years after the fall of Quebec.
The invitation extended in the above proclamations met with
a ready response and a movement took place in Rhode Island
to send a contingent there.
Some twenty-five families settled there that summer and
others came to seek locations and erect habitations to bring
their families the next following spring. No record
of their names is known to have been preserved, but in the
Archives at Halifax there is a "list of subscribers for
the township lying on the Tantramar river, represented by
Benjamin Thruber, Cyprian Sterry and Edward Jinks from Providence
in Rhodeisland." It is not dated but it probably belongs
to the year 1760 or 1761. The names attached are as
"The list of the Subscribers for the Township lying on Tantramar
River, represented by Benjamin Thurber, Cyprian Sterry and
Edmund Jinks, from Providence in Rhode Island."
The above mentioned names for one share and a half.
47 Oliver Man
23 - Moses Man
70 - Wm. Phelps
William Olney, jr
Jos. Olney, jr
Nathan Case, jr
William Whipple, jr.
John Olney, jr
Francis Swan, of Massachus's
James Day of Massachusetts
Jer. Dexter (erased)
Some of the names, as Tower, Young, Estabrooks, Jinks, Foster,
Curry, Bateman, Cahoun, Brown, Smith, Cole, King, Finney,
Carpenter, Briggs, Sprague, Robinson, Seaman, Power, Tucker,
Parker, Emerson, Davis, etc., represent well known families
in the community. Many of the others probably never
came to the country at all and others not satisfied with
the prospect returned again to the other colonies.
The first town meeting or meeting of the committee for Sackville
township took on 20th July, 1762. It was held at the
house of Mrs. Charity Bishop, who kept an inn at Cumberland.
There were present Capt. John Huston, Doctor John Jencks,
Joshua Sprague, Valentine Estabrooks, William Maxwell and
Joshua Winslow. Capt. Huston was made chairman and
Ichabod Comstock, clerk.
The conditions and locations of the proposed new grant of
Sackville were of the first interest to the newly arrived
settlers and the proceedings were largely taken up with
settling such matters. It was resolved that a family
of six, and seven head of cattle should have one and a half
shares or 750 acres.
At the next meeting held on 31st August, Me Elijah Ayer's
name appears as a committeeman.
In 1763, Sackville's inhabitants consisted of nearly 20
families only, and only 200 acres of upland had then been
cleared. They had 12,000 acres of marsh land.
At the same time Cumberland, (now the parish of Westmorland)
possessed 35 families who owned 600 acres of cleared land
and 18,800 acres of marsh land.
At a town meeting held 18th April, 1770, Robert Scott was
appointed moderator and Robert Foster clerk. They
with John Thomas were appointed a committee to settle with
the old committee for the survey of the lands.
The first actual grant at Sackville appears to have been
made on 12th October, 1765. Previous to that date,
settlers had no title to lands they occupied beyond orders-in-council,
issued at Halifax and which the grant confirmed. This
grant was for the 35,250 acres. The consideration
was a quit rent of one shilling sterling for ten years for
every hundred acres. If no rent be paid for three
years and no distress be found, or if the granters sell
the same within ten years the grant is void.
The township was to consist of 100,000 acres. It was
divided into three sections, known as letters A B and C.
Letter B division, embraced the district between Foundry
St.: 'C' north, Morice's mill Pond. There were home
lots for actual settlers who had wood lots and marsh lots
bearing corresponding numbers.
The wood lots were not then nor until many years later after
considered of any commercial value and when their owners
left the country and the new owners took no interest or
charge of them the ownership of many became obscured.
When the timber on them commenced to be valuable, there
suddenly grew up a small class of land jumpers, who ran
out vacant lots and exercised acts of ownership. These
acts led to a great deal of litigation and, for many years
the Supreme Court was kept more or less busy over 'Sackville
Many of the original grants of lots were voided for want
of settlement and other grants issued over the same lands.
The names of the original grantees and members of lots held
by each is as follows:
Nathal. Mason, jr
Gideon Smith, jr
Eben'r Salisbury jr
John Thomas, jr
Elijah Ayer, jr
Most of these are said to have represented actual settlers
at the time, but when the war of independence broke out
sixteen years later, many of these settlers returned to
United States. Some of them joined Col. Eddy in his
attack on fort Cumberland and fled to Machias at his defeat.
For these and other reasons this grant seems to have been
superseded by other and later grants over the same lands.
In 1767, Sackville had already made considerable progress.
A return made by Lieut. Governor Franklin, embracing a census
of the 30 townships into which the Province was then divided,
shows Sackville had then a population of 349 persons, 343
of them were Americans. It possessed also the following:--
Head young cattle 347
Produce by 1766--
Wheat, bus. 1035
Rye, bus. 1278
Born during year 26
At this time the of Amherst had a population of 125, and
the township of Cumberland 325; Hopewell (all Albert County)
159; Monckton 60.
Another grant dated January 30th, 1773, is signed by Lord
William Campbell, styled Captain General and Governor in
Chief in Acadia. By this document 51 shares or rights
of 500 acres each are granted. It is recited that
the township consisted of 200 rights, being in all 100,000
acres. The grantees with the number of their lots
are as follows.
LETTER A DIVISION
Paul Ferdinand Delesdernier
Moses John Fred Delesdernier
Michael Joseph Delesdernier
The terms of this grant were a quit rent of one shilling
for every 50 acres granted payable every Michaelmas, the
grant to be void in case no payment be made for three years
and no distress be found on the premises; also the grantees
bound themselves to cultivate or enclose one third in a
year, one in every eleven years and one third in twenty
one years; also each grantee is to plant annually two acres
in hemp; also actual settlement shall be made before the
last day of January 1775, or the grant is void.
The next grant is dated 22nd of July, 1774, and signed by
Frances Legge, Captain General, &c., and is for 24 '
shares or rights comprising 12,250 acres as follows.'
LETTER A DIVISION
Heirs of Thomas Barnes, Lot No. 15
Gideon Young No. 19
Joseph Roods' Heirs
Joseph and Jonas Bennett
LETTER B DIVISION
Heirs of Benjamin Wilbur
The terms are the same as in the former grant except the
quit rent is made one farthing per acre and actual settlement
has to be made within two years.
An assessment of the land owners in Sackville made in 1777
showed 90,000 owned or occupied.
The largest land owner was Samuel Rogers of Eddy war fame,
who died in 1831, a very old man and a town charge.
He owned 4,746 acres.
Estabrooks and Mason owned 3,346 acres; John Barnes 2,750
acres; Charles Dixon 2,510 acres; Elijah Ayer 2090 acres;
Edward Barron 2,000 acres; Benjamin Emmerson 2,000; Robert
About 1786, the inhabitants of Sackville made a return of
the state of the settlement to the governments to show that
if a proposed escheat was made it would be attended with
great confusion as but few of the grants had not been improved.
The actual settlers at that date as set in forth in the
return appear to have been as follows:--
Jos. C. Lamb
It was not until 1767 that Sackville secured the right to
a member, a petition having been sent to the government
in 1765 representing that there were 80 families in this
Mr. A. Foster was the first member. His name occurs
for the first time in 1774, in the proceedings of the House.
In 1775, Samuel Rogers succeeded Mr. Foster.
REPRESENTATIVES OF WESTMORELAND COUNTY, 1786 TO 1845
Amos Botsford Daniel Hanington
Charles Dixon William Wilson
Samuel Gay W. Hazen Botsford
Andrew Kinnear Amand Landry
Amos Botsford Amos Botsford
Thomas Chandler Benjamin Wilson
William Black Hugh McMonagle
Thomas Dickson James Estabrooks
Amos Botsford Titus Knappvice McMonagle, deceased
Ralph Siddall 1816
Thomas Dickson William Botsford
1810 John Chapman
Amos Botsford Rufus Smith
John Chapman Edward B. Chandler
1813 William Crane
Wm. Botsford (Vice Amos Botsford, deceased)
Joseph Crandell Edward B. Chandler
Rufus Smith Daniel Hanington
Edward B. Chandler Wm. Wilson
V. Chandler, resigned
Rufus Smith 1842
Robert Scott Philip Palmer
1837 Wm. Hazen Botsford
William Wilson Daniel Hanington
Joseph Crandall, a pioneer Baptist Minister was compelled
by the Legislature to elect between the church and politics.
He decided for the former and resigned his seat.
Mr. Monagle was a resident of Mount Whatley and was drowned
in crossing a branch of the St. John, on his way to Fredricton.
During the first part of the 19th century, Westmorland produced
two men whose works were effective in making permanent changes
in the face of the country. The first one was Tolar
Thompson of Tantramar. He was the first English Marsh
(dyke) builder. Whatever methods La Valliere in 1675
and La Loutre in 1750 pursued, has passed into forgetfulness
in the turmoil and confusion of war. The first English
settlers had the benefit of the dykes, aboideaux and sluice
boxes constructed and left by the Acadians, but it appears
they did little or nothing in the way of excavating channels
for tidal deposits, tho' the fertility and value of those
lands had been recognized by even the first pioneers and
recorded in various official reports.
As soon as there was any safety for life and property in
the Isthmus, the government was alive to the fact that the
marshes must have some sort of administration. Accordingly
in 1764, Sewer Boards were appointed - the Sackville Board
consisted of Daniel Hawkins, Ebenezer Sallisbury, Robert
Foster, and Jonathan Cole. The Amherst Sewers were
Josiah Throop, James Fulton, and Elisha Freeman.
Very little progress seems to have been made in marsh building
for at least a generation thereafter. Marsden, the
Methodist circuit rider, mentions in his notes the dangers
of travelling across the Tantramar marshes between Point
de Bute and Tantramar. He required a guide armed with
a pole to go ahead and find safe footing amidst the bogs,
pools and streams.
Mr. Thompson day after day and season after season made
his home amongst the lakes and streams of this vast expanse
of waste land, the screaming waterfowl his only companions.
The apparently simple but really complicated problems of
tidal flow in creating new drainage channels and securing
deposits of mud were thought out by him and put into successful
practice. The Tolar and the Goose Lake Canals by which
many thousands of acres of marsh were reclaimed are enduring
monuments of his skill. He left a great estate in
the perpetuation of a name devoted to the public service.
Mr. Thompson was the grandson of Viscount Glandine and Earl
of Norbury, Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas,
Ireland-a man distinguished for his learning and wit.
Tolar's father was his coachman. Herein appeared a
spice of romance. A daughter of the Earl fell in love
with the handsome coachman. They eloped, were married,
emigrated and settled in Sackville. Their son Mr.
Thompson was a large and commanding man, possessing a dignified
presence and was help in great respect in the community
where he lived and died.
The other notable was Charles F. Allison, the founder of
Mount Allison Educational Institutions. Mr. Allison
was a man of deep piety and intense earnestness.
The lack of secondary schools where the youth of both sexes
could obtain an advanced education on Christian lines to
enable them to command the employment being offered in our
growing communities was a problem of great magnitude, with
which he was not afraid to grapple single handed.
Pictou Academy, while ranking high as an educational institution,
was only a local school. Kings, at Windsor, while
originally endowed by public funds as national institution
had been seized by a clerical faction and converted into
a sectarian school, feeble as it was narrow, and gaining
the confidence of only a section of its own denomination.
Possessing broad and high minded views, Mr. Allison gave
a large portion of his own fortune in founding two seminaries
of learning. Their growth and success testified by the hundreds
of students attending them, are perpetual monuments of his
patriotism and philanthropy. He was a partner of Hon.
Wm. Crane, a son of Col. Jonathan Crane, who for thirty-four
years held a place in the Nova Scotia Assembly as one of
its most brilliant speakers. Mr. Crane as a youth
emigrated form Kings County, N.S. to Sackville - his fortune
tied up in a pocket handkerchief. He died at Fredericton
in 1853, speaker of the New Brunswick Assembly and one of
the wealthiest men in Eastern Canada. In 1838, when
crossing the Atlantic in a delegation from the New Brunswick
government, his vessel passed the 'Serius', the first transatlantic
steamer. In the Cunard memoirs published in the London
Times, he is given the credit being the first to urge upon
the Colonial Minister, Lord Glenelg, the importance of subsidizing
a line of steamers to Halifax, which led to the Cunard Contract.
Amos Botsford, a lawyer of New Haven, was appointed by Lord
Dorchester an agent for settling the Loyalists in Nova Scotia
in 1782 and arrived in Annapolis that year. He afterwards
removed to Westmorland and was elected to the first Assembly
in 1786, of which he became Speaker, a position which he
held till his death in 1812. His son William succeeded
him as representative and speaker in 1812 which he held
until 1823, when he was made a judge of the Supreme Court.
Three of his sons, Hazen, Bliss and Chipman were also at
various periods elected members of the Assembly; Bliss became
Speaker and died County Court Judge. A fourth son,
Amos, became a Senator of Canada, of which he was at one
Col. Joshua Chandler, a wealthy lawyer of New Haven, and
a member of the Legislature, sided with the Loyalist at
the Revolution and was forced to abandon his home precipitately
on the 5th of July, 1779, when the town was evacuated by
Gen. Tyron. He sailed with his family for Annapolis,
N.S. intending to settle there. In March, 1787, he
crossed the Bay of Fundy from Annapolis to St. John, in
his schooner. The rest of the story is told on a monument
in the rural cemetery at St. John:-
'Here lyeth the Bodies of Col. Joshua Chandler, aged 61
years and William Chandler His Son aged 29 years who were
shipwrecked on their passage from Digby to St. John on the
Night of the 9th of March, 1787 and perished in the woods
on the 11th of said Month.
Here lyeth the Bodies of Mrs. Sarah Grant, aged 38 years.
Widow of the late Major Alex'r Grant; and Miss Elizabeth
Chandler aged 27 years who were ship wrecked on their passage
from Digby to St. John on the 9th day of March, 1787, and
perished in the Woods on the 11th of said Month.'
His son Charles H. Chandler was sheriff of Cumberland for
38 years and was succeeded in turn by his son Joshua who
held it for 28 years. Another son, Edward B., represented
Westmoreland in the Assembly of New Brunswick, became leader
of the Conservative party of the Province, and died in 1880,
in his 80th year, while occupying the position of Lieut.
Any Historical sketch of the Isthmus would be incomplete
that did not refer to the marvellous advances made by the
Acadians in trade, industry, education, social position
and political influence, in all of which, they have within
half a century secured at least an equality with their Anglo-Saxon
neighbors. These splendid results are largely the
work of two men - Father La France and Father Le Febvre,
who inspired by a noble ambition to uplift their people,
spent their lives in their service. Father La France
was the pioneer in education and he was succeeded by Father
Lefebvre. The fine educational establishments at St.
Joseph's, Memramcook have been most potent in moulding and
developing the later generations of Acadians.
Charles Dixon, the ancestor of the Dixon family of Sackville,
was born at Yarm, Yorkshire in 1720. He was a paper
maker by trade. In 1761, he married Susannah Coates.
In 1772, he was induced by Governor Franklin's proposals
to come to Nova Scotia and embarked in the Duke of York
with 62 other settlers. After a six weeks passage
they arrived at Halifax and on 21st May at Fort Cumberland,
where his family was housed in the barracks. He records
that this first impressions were gloomy as everybody owning
land wanted to sell and leave the country, but on examination
of the Isthmus he became pleased with its prospects and
purchased a farm (Dixon's Island) Sackville from Daniel
Hawkins for 260 pounds, Hawkins returning to the United
States . Mr. Dixon became a prominent man, being a Justice
of the Peace, Collector of customs, Member of the Assembly
and Judge of the Inferior Court.
Commodore Ayer - son of Elijah Ayer one of the original
settlers ran a schooner between Westcock and Eastport.
He lived at Westcock, but removed to Eastport and did some
privateering from there during the war of 1812. On
one occasion he appeared in the Tantramar river in an armed
schooner and sacked the Dixon homestead. This was supposed
to wipe off an old feud that survived the Eddy war, when
it was alleged that a party of loyalists fired the Eddy
house at Middle Sackville when Mrs. Eddy and her children
were alone in it. Capt. Eddy owned practically all
Middle Sackville which was confiscated.
FIRST CANADIANHOMEOFR METHODISTS AND BAPTISTS
Amongst the Immigrants in 1763 to Sackville were Nathan
Mason and wife, Thomas Lewis and wife, Experience Baker,
all of the Second Baptist church of Swansea, Benjamin Mason
and wife, Charles Seamans and wife and Gilbert Seamans and
wife from other churches, immigrated to Sackville, N.B.,
and on 21st April that year. These 13 persons organized
the First Baptist church in Canada, with Nathan Mason as
pastor -- afterwards Job Seamans became their pastor.
Rev. Job Seamans' father Charles immigrated from Reabothe
Mass, with his family to Sackville, N.B., in 1761, where
he commenced farming. Five years later the Newlight movement
spread to Sackville. Job, then eighteen years of age,
attended the meetings, became interested and was finally
converted and determined to devote his life to the work
of the ministry. In 1773, he was ordained at North
Attleboro, Mass. He ministered to the Church there
for fourteen years and was a moving spirit in two revivals
in which more than 100 persons were baptized. In 1788, he
was called to New London, N.H., where he died in 1830.
The writer has a letter from him, dated 1st October, 1796,
addressed to James Estabrooks of Sackville, N.B., and another
on dated 20 years later. Their phraseology is quaint,
but they breathe earnest prayers for the spiritual welfare
of the recipient and his family. The names Nathan Mason,
Thomas Lewis, Gilbert Seaman, Benjamin Mason occur in a
document in the Archives at Halifax seven years later (1770)
reciting the names of the residents here. The others
are said to have returned to Massachusetts in 1771.
But the Isthmus is not alone the birth place of the Baptist
denomination in Canada, but of the Methodist also.
Many of the Yorkshire immigrants were born in the home of
Wesleyanism and brought with them the spiritual fire lighted
at the flame that that immortal teacher kindled. In
1779, meetings were held at Point du Bute, and at a quarterly
meeting held at Wm. Trueman's in 1780, Wm. Black, of Amherst,
afterwards known as Bishop Black, received spiritual blessings.
From that time until 1786, when the first conference took
place, the Cumberland district was under the direction of
Mr. Black. Two years later (1788) the first Methodist Church
was built at Point du Bute, and two years later one was
erected at Sackville. These were the first Methodist
Churches built in Canada. The Presbyterians were organized
and had a church building in Amherst in 1788.
The first European settlers along the Petitcodiac river
after the deportation were Germans. A contingent of
nine families left the Rhine in 1749, landed at Philadelphia
and settled in the Schuylkill 12 miles above that city.
After living there 14 years, they chartered a vessel and
came to Westmorland, landing at Halls' Creek, Monckton.
The Creek is named after the Master of their vessel.
They were induced to come by the prospect of large grants
of free lands. The names of the immigrants were Steeves,
Lutz, Smith, Ritchie, Summers, Trites, Johns -- now Jones,
Wortman and Copple. The latter name became extinct.
The other families settled and have become very numerous.
The original Mr. Steeves had seven sons. His descendants
today do not number less than 2,500 people. The German
strain proves today a very important element amongst the
most prosperous and influential of our people.
In 1788, by a return made by Stephen Milledge, Crown Land
surveyor, there were 12 families living in what is now the
parish of Moncton. They had amongst them 224 acres of upland
cleared, 582 acres of dyked Marsh, 19 horses, 84 cows, 56
oxen, 105 young cattle and 200 sheep. Heinrich Steeves and
his seven sons had settled at Hillsboro where they ultimately
obtained grants of land to the extent of three square miles.
The names of the families were:- Jacob Trites, Sr., Jacob
Trites, Jr., Christian Trites, Andrew Summers, Christopher
Horsman, Michael Lutz, John and Henry Jones, Frederick and
Christian Steeves, William Wilson, Jacob Martin and John
Col. Des Barres purchased from one Joseph Gingham a grant
he had obtained from the Nova Scotia Government of 20,000
acres of land between the Petitcodiac and Memramcook rivers.
His agent, a woman named Polly Cannon, granted long leases
to the French Acadians. When Col. Des Barres died
in 1824, his son Augustus, who was his heir, commenced to
look after his rights. In 1840, he instituted some
50 or 60 actions. A test case was tried before Chief
Justice, Sir James Carter, at Dorchester in 1841.
The final result was that the French succeeded as respects
the lands they occupied, but not as respects the forest
lands. These they afterwards purchased.
Messrs, Hope and Cummins of Philadelphia obtained large
grants of land in on the Albert side of the Petitcodiac
river, and Messrs, Peter and John Hughes, William Grant
and Clarckson and Co. of the same city of land in the Westmorland
side, on condition of settling the same. They appeared
to have made some agreement with the settlers before mentioned.
The agreement between them seemed never to have been fulfilled
and the settlers obtained judgments against the grantees,
sold the lands at Sheriffs sale, purchased them and became
A brief reference may here be made to the early settlements
at Shepody. After the deportation of the French large
grants had been made to Generals Haldimand and Bouquet,
on condition of actual settlement. They expended considerable
sums of money in making efforts to introduce settlers, but
they met with very slender success, and before 1773 the
properties reverted to the Crown.
Mr. Thomas Calhoun was agent for General Haldimand up to
1770. He and his brother William and two other men
were (1771) floating stone on rafts from Grindstone Island
to load in a vessel at Shepody river, when through some
mishap, they were all drowned.
MOSES DELESDERNIER SETTLED IN SHEPODY
In 1775, in partnership with Mr. DeWitt, he established
a truck business at Hopewell Hill. The next year the
Eddy contingent sacked his place and he and his family had
to seek shelter at Fort Cumberland. Delesdernier died
in 1811, at the venerable age of 95 years.
At the close of the Revolutionary War, five large grants
of land were made about Shepody Bay. These were partly
made over previous grants to General Haldimand and others.
They were as follows:
Dickson grant, north of Cape Demoisellle to Hillsboro.
Daniel's grant to Cape Demoiselle 4 miles.
Prince grant to Hopewell Hill.
Peck Grant to Crooked Creek.
Calhoun grant to Germantown Lake.
SETTLEMENT OF SHEDIAC
The first English settler in Shediac was William Hanington.
His father was a member of the Fishmonger's Guild, London.
He landed in Halifax, in 1783 - the year after peace was
proclaimed between Britain and her revolted colonies.
He had purchased for two shillings an acre a tract of 5,000
acres abutting on Shediac harbor that had been granted in
1768 to Joseph Williams and others. After a tramp
through the unbroken forests he arrived at his future home
in March, 1784.
For a London man, the prospect must have seemed hopeless
but Mr. Hanington's vigor and self-reliance were equal to
the emergencies. He was the first English settler
in the Gulf Shore between Pictou and Miramichi. When
he arrived he found neighbors in two French settlers at
Shediac and two more on the shore had made clearings and
put up log cabins. It was then twenty years since
the expulsion and twenty since the ordinance against them
had been repealed. These settlers belonged to the
Gaudet and Gallant families. The next English settlers
were Samuel Cornwall, John Atkinson and Bowen Smith - all
early in the 19th century.
John Welling, a Loyalist, not satisfied with his situation
at St. John, found his way to P. E. Island, settling in
1798 on what is since known as Welling's Point, near Summerside.
His wife was Elizabeth Darby. Mr. Hanington married her
sister Mary. Tradition makes the affair rather a romantic
one. He was driving along the road with his ox cart,
and he espied in the barnyard of a nearby homestead, a young
woman feeding chickens. It was a case of love at first
sight. The exigencies of pioneer life did not permit
any prolonged dallying. He was a man of action.
He proposed and was accepted on the spot. He claimed
her at once and succeeded in overcoming her reluctance and
objections. She mounted the cart with him, wended
their way to a justice of the peace, parsons being scarce,
where the ceremony was performed. His son Hon. Daniel,
represented Westmorland many years in the Assembly and was
Speaker. His grandson Hon. Daniel L. was at one time
leader of the government and died in 1909, a Judge of the
The Irishtown Road settlement was first made by John and
William Wood and Walter Crowley.
Other immigrants followed. The Wards, Crawleys, FitzSimmons,
Lurings, Dunphys, Kennedys and others came from Ireland
and settled at Irishtown near Moncton between 1812 and 1818.
In 1835-6, the Immigrant Road between Gaspereaux and Cape
Tormentine was settled by the Carrolls, Mahoneys, Sweeneys,
Murphys, Barrys and others from Ireland, whose descendants
have built up a very prosperous community.
In 1800, John Rayworth, a tanner and currier of London,
England, emigrated to P. E. Island. He left there
and landed at Rayworth's brook, Little Cape. The country
was then a wilderness. He walked in winter to Fredericton
to obtain a grant, and secured one of 1200 acres in one
block, where he made a home for himself and brought up a
family. He is the progenitor of the numerous and influential
family by that name.
The toils of these early immigrants, their privations and
dangers, their achievements and exploits in subduing nature
and making permanent homes, if recorded, would form some
of the most interesting literature the country could afford.
In 1787, Mr. Powell, a loyalist settled at Richibucto.
At this time, the inhabitants there, besides the Indians,
were four families of Acadians, and in the whole stretch
of country from Bay Verte to the Miramichi there were only
eight families of settlers. Mr. Powell was the ancestor
of Hon. H. A. Powell, K.C.
FREE REPRESENTATIVE INSTITUTIONS
The loyalists were not the pioneers of Acadia. When
they arrived they found settlements already in existence.
A representative government had been established for a quarter
of a century based on principles recognized at the time
as most liberal. Courts of law had been established
and the same security to life and property was afforded
as in any of the older communities of the Empire. This had
been accomplished by the efforts of the first immigrants
from New England, who had remained steadfast in their loyalty.
When the province of New Brunswick was created in 1784,
the founders there had little to do but duplicate the governmental
institutions long in successful operation.
Nothing occurred after the declaration of peace 1782 to
check the growth and prosperity of Chignecto; in all material
aspects it has been one of progressive advancement.
The war of 1812 in no way hindered the ordinary pursuits
of the people, though the feuds engendered during the Eddy
conflict produced an aftermath in 1812. The settlements
along the Bay of Fundy were kept in constant alarm, by armed
schooners and whale boats, which carrying letters of marque,
scoured our shores. In some cases, they were piloted
by former inhabitants of the country, who fled when the
Eddy incursion collapsed. They made some captures
of vessels and looted homesteads but did no permanent damage.
The development of our country has proceeded by well defined
stages. At first the fur pelt and fishing business attracted
a roving population. This was followed by the mast and square
timber trade, which, requiring but an axe in the way of
machinery proved profitable. And then followed in
due course the construction of vessels for coastwise trade,
the first square rigged vessel launched in Acadia was built
by a Mr. McNab at Wallace, N.S. The utilization of
water mills for sawing lumber opened up an immense business
with England. In 1786, the Government paid a bounty
of 20 pounds each for the construction of 22 saw mills,
one being to Mr. Charles Taylor, Dorchester, and another
to Mr. Pettis of Parrsboro. The clearing of land led
to the raising of potatoes and grain and the keeping of
live stock. The next, and final stage, was the creation
of manufacturing industries under the stimulus of the national
policy, by which the labor-employing industries of the country
were immensely diversified. These, to some extent,
replaced the wooden ship building industry, which the making
of iron ships rendered unprofitable. The domestic
growth of wheat, which could not compete with Western grain
after the opening of the North West, was largely abandoned
and farm properties fell in value.
During this period Cumberland produced two men of commanding
ability; the first one was Simon Newcombe, Rear Admiral
of the United States Navy, who is accorded front rank as
a scientist's - the second Charles Tupper, whose achievements
in the great work of creating and building a Canadian nationality
in the widely separated British communities of North America,
place him amongst the first of Imperial statesmen.
Chignecto being the fighting ground of the contending powers
for the possession of Acadia, a vast amount of material
is available bearing on the movements in that locality,
but owing to the limited space necessarily given this paper,
many interesting occurrences and striking incidents are
either ignored or only touched on, while personal details
and family history of many who bore a worthy part in the
conflicts and struggles about Chignecto are omitted.
The maps of Chignecto are photographs of the originals found
in the British Museum. The writer begs to acknowledge
his obligations to Prof. W. G. Ganong, of Smith College,
Northampton, Mass., and to the N.E.H.G. Society, Boston,
for valuable aid given him.
Records of Chignecto Editor & Coordinator:
Beth Rollins (Oshawa, Ontario)
Records of Chignecto Transcribers:
Steven D. Anderson (Huntington Beach, CA)
Anne Andrea (Holbrook, Massachusetts)
Michelle Burton (Coquitlam, British Columbia)
Wanda Hamilton (Upper Stewiacke, Nova Scotia)
Phyllis Perry (Amherst, Nova Scotia)
Beth Rollins (Oshawa, Ontario)
Jorge Woods (Weston, Australia)
Chignecto Etext Programme Coordinator:
Chignecto Etext Programme Manager:
Published by The Chignecto Project
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