New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

Table of Contents, Rev. October 29, 2014

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This blog will continue to grow, but following is a table of contents so far – from the top:

  1. John Allan’s Revolutionary Mission to the Saint John River – Oct. 29, 2014
  2. Relics of the Acadian Period – Oct. 22, 2014
  3. Some Odd Old Advertisements – Oct. 15, 2014
  4. The Miramichi Fire – Relief of the Sufferers – Oct. 8, 2014
  5. Jonathan Eddy’s Account of the Attack on Fort Cumberland, November, 1776 – Oct. 1, 2014
  6. Which of These Two is the Wisest and Happiest? – Sept. 24, 2014
  7. Fredericton Bridge, a Prophetic Writing – Sept. 17, 2014
  8. A Speech to Distinguished Persons of Stake and Consideration – Sept. 10, 2014
  9. Building an Education System From Almost Nothing – Sept. 3, 2014
  10. Cape Tormentine to the Baye des Chaleurs in the 1600’s – Aug. 27, 2014
  11. The Customs of the Mi’kmaq in the 1600’s and Before – Aug. 20, 2014
  12. Two Documents Relating to the Fenians in New Brunswick – Aug. 13, 2014
  13. The Lazaretto for Lepers in Tracadie, 1862 – Aug. 6, 2014
  14. Thoughts About the Augustine Mound at Metepenegiag Mi’kmaq Nation – July 30, 2014
  15. What am I Bid for This Pauper? – July 23, 2014
  16. Trouble at Madawaska, 1831 – July 16, 2014
  17. The Great Fire at Saint John, June 20, 1877 – July 9, 2014
  18. The Poor Fellows Shook as if They Would Fall to Pieces! – July 2, 2014
  19. How to Build a Logging Camp in Around 1850 – June 25, 2014
  20. Risen from the Ashes, Phoenix Square in Fredericton – June 18, 2014
  21. Rocks and Water, Magnificence and Squalor; St. John in 1876 – June 11, 2014
  22. Moncton as Seen by a Journalist in 1876 – June 4, 2014
  23. Events Leading to the Caraquet Riots of 1875 – May 28, 2014
  24. A Dramatic Account of the Miramichi Fire – May 21, 2014
  25. Saint John in the Early 1840’s – May 18, 2014
  26. A Note to Subscribers, and a Memorandum for me – May 14, 2014
  27. The Myth that Kerosene was Invented in New Brunswick – May 7, 2014
  28. A Church with Military Boots and Fixed Bayonets – Apr. 30, 2014
  29. An Opening Salvo in an Ongoing Argument – Apr. 23, 2014
  30. May living worms his corpse devour – Apr. 16, 2014
  31. He don’t look any better than some of our own boys – Apr. 9, 2014
  32. The Disputed Territory Between New Brunswick and Maine – Apr. 2, 2014
  33. Navigation on the Saint John River – Mar. 26, 2014
  34. Shepody as a Hot Investment Opportunity, 1868 – Mar. 19, 2014
  35. To Her Majesty, RE: Reciprocity, 1853 – Mar. 12, 2014
  36. Diary on the Tobique, 1851 – Mar. 5, 2014
  37. Growing up in Fredericton in the 1820s and 1830s – Feb. 26, 2014
  38. Travels From Eastport, Maine, to Fredericton, 1851 – Feb. 19, 2014
  39. The Saint John General Public Hospital, 19th Century, Part 2 of 2 – Feb. 12, 2014
  40. The Saint John General Public Hospital, 19th Century, Part 1 of 2 – Feb. 5, 2014
  41. The Story of the Great Brothers – Jan. 29, 2014
  42. A Trek up the Tobique, and Onward to Bathurst – Jan. 22, 2014
  43. Summer Tourists. A Manual for New Brunswick Farmers – Jan. 19, 2014
  44. A Trek from Grand Falls to Campbellton, 1862 – Jan. 15, 2014
  45. A Trek From Taymouth to Boisetown, 1862 – Jan. 12, 2014
  46. Capt. William Owen’s Journal, Campobello, 1770-71 – Jan. 8, 2014
  47. The Founding of Campobello Island – Jan. 5, 2014
  48. New Brunswick Roads and Railways, 1855 – Jan. 1, 2014
  49. Grand Manan – Dec. 29, 2013
  50. The Shipyard Fire in Saint John, in 1841 – Dec. 26, 2013
  51. Christmas as it Was in Saint John, in 1808 – Dec. 22, 2013
  52. The Saint John Grammar School – Dec. 18, 2013
  53. William Wishart Blasts the New Brunswick Education System, 1845 – Dec. 15, 2013
  54. The Diary of Sarah Frost – Dec. 11, 2013
  55. Pŭlěs, Pŭlowěch′, and Beechkwěch (Pigeon, Partridge, and Nighthawk) – Dec. 10, 2014
  56. The Government of New Brunswick, 1837 – Dec. 4, 2013
  57. The Whales and the Robbers – Dec. 1, 2013
  58. The Ashburton Treaty – Nov. 27, 2013
  59. Glooscap and His Four Visitors – Nov. 24, 2013
  60. The Pioneers of Saint Stephen – Nov. 20, 2013
  61. The Adventures of Kâktoogwâsees; a Tale of Ancient Times – Nov. 17, 2013
  62. The Asylum at Saint John – Nov. 13, 2013
  63. The Liver-Colored Giants and Magicians – Nov. 10, 2013
  64. Smuggling Between Calais and St. Stephen – Nov. 6, 2013
  65. The Two Weasels – Nov. 3, 2013
  66. A note to subscribers – Oct. 30, 2013
  67. The European and North American Railway, 1862 – Oct. 30, 2013
  68. The Origin of the War Between the Mi’kmaq and the Kwěděches – Oct. 23, 2013
  69. Trouble on the Line: The Early Telegraph in New Brunswick – Oct. 16, 2013
  70. The Invisible Boy; Team′ and Oochigeaskw – Oct. 9, 2013
  71. Transportation to and from Fredericton, 1841 – Oct. 2, 2013
  72. The Boy That Was Transformed Into a Horse – Sept. 25, 2013
  73. McAdam: Notes From the Early Days – Sept. 18, 2013
  74. The Magical Food, Belt and Flute – Sept. 11, 2013
  75. European & North American Rly. Staff, 1861 – Sept. 4, 2013
  76. Glooscap and the Megumoowesoo: A Marriage Adventure – Aug. 28, 2013
  77. The Loss of the Royal Tar – Aug. 21, 2013
  78. Robbery and Murder Revenged, Plus a Grand Falls Story – Aug. 14, 2013
  79. The St. John River From Below Fredericton to the Reversing Falls – Aug. 7, 2013
  80. A Proposal for a Wooden Railway – July 31, 2013
  81. ‘On the Early History of New Brunswick’ – July 24, 2013
  82. The Maugerville Settlement, 1763-1824 – July 17, 2013
  83. 1930 Circus Train Wreck Near Moncton, N.B. – July 10, 2013
  84. Horses or Oxen? Pick one – July 3, 2013
  85. The St. John River; Andover to Fredericton – June 26, 2013
  86. Origins of Some Place Names on N.B.’s Eastern Shore – June 19, 2013
  87. The St. John River; Grand Falls to the Tobique – June 12, 2013
  88. Gabriel Acquin – June 5, 2013
  89. The Seigniories of New Brunsiwck – May 29, 2013
  90. An 1841 Trek up the Oromocto River – May 22, 2013
  91. Fredericton’s Exhibition Palace, and Bears in N.B. – May 15, 2013
  92. Murder on Diamond Square Road – May 8, 2013
  93. Acadian Historic Sites in New Brunswick – May 1, 2013
  94. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 5 of 5 – Apr. 24, 2013
  95. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 4 of 5 – Apr. 17, 2013
  96. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 3 of 5 – Apr. 10, 2013
  97. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 2 of 5 – Apr. 3, 2013
  98. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 1 of 5 – Mar. 27, 2013
  99. A Retrospective Look at Saint John – Mar. 20, 2013
  100. The Wreck of the England – Mar. 13, 2013
  101. The First Decade of the 1800’s in St. John, N.B. – Mar. 6, 2013
  102. St. John’s Poorhouse and Workhouse – Feb. 27, 2013
  103. New Brunswick Scenes From an Old Book – Feb. 20, 2013
  104. Nice Pictures From Another Old Book – Feb. 13, 2013
  105. Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick, Part 2/2 – Feb. 6, 2013
  106. Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick, 1845 – Jan. 30, 2013
  107. The Works of W.O. Raymond – Jan. 23, 2013
  108. The Year of the Fever – Jan. 16, 2013
  109. Hanged for the Theft of 25 Cents – Jan. 9, 2013
  110. Reversing Falls – Pictures – Jan. 2, 2013
  111. Christmas as it was in 1808 – Dec. 25, 2012
  112. Nice Pictures From an Old Book – Dec. 19, 2012
  113. The Saint John Bridge Collapse of 1837 – Dec. 12, 2012
  114. The First Road Bridge Across the Reversing Falls – Dec. 5, 2012
  115. The Mystery of the First Lizzie Morrow – Nov. 28, 2012
  116. The First Murder Trial on the River St. John – Nov. 21, 2012
  117. The March of the 104th Regiment in 1812 – Nov. 14, 2012
  118. Partridge Island – Nov. 7, 2012
  119. Fredericton’s First Bridge Across the Saint John River – Oct. 31, 2012
  120. 1816, The Year Without a Summer – Oct. 31, 2012
  121. Winslow to Wentworth, 1781 – Oct. 31, 2012
  122. Oops! An explanation – Oct. 31, 2012
  123. The Saxby Gale of 1869 – Oct. 31, 2012
  124. New Brunswick’s Third Town in 1838: Saint Andrews – Oct. 31, 2012
  125. Fredericton and York County in 1838 – Oct. 31, 2012
  126. The City and County of Saint John in 1838 – Sept. 26, 2012
  127. The St. Andrews and Quebec Railroad – Sept. 19, 2012
  128. The Studholm Report of Saint John River Pre-Loyalists in 1783 – Sept. 12, 2012
  129. Caleb Jones. Further RE: Ann, otherwise known as Nancy – Sept. 5, 2012
  130. The Wreck of the Martha – Aug. 29, 2012
  131. The Early Settlement of Maugerville and the Sheffield Parsonage Dispute – Aug. 22, 2012
  132. Lieutenant Governors of New Brunswick to Confederation, Part 2 of 2 – Aug. 15, 2012
  133. Lieutenant Governors of New Brunswick to Confederation, Part 1 of 2 – Aug. 8, 2012
  134. The Morrow House at French Lake, N.B. – New Information – Aug. 1, 2012
  135. Sound by Glen Glenn, Revision 1 – July 25, 2012
  136. Ann, otherwise known as Nancy – July 18, 2012
  137. The Fire of October 7, 1825 – Beyond the Miramichi – July 11, 2012
  138. Lemuel Allan Wilmot – July 4, 2012
  139. The Great Fire at Miramichi, October 7, 1825 – June 27, 2012
  140. Robert Rankin in New Brunswick – June 20, 2012
  141. Who Owned the Mill at Tracy, New Brunswick? – June 13, 2012
  142. Signatures of Sunbury County Ancestors – June 6, 2012
  143. Daniel Wood’s Log Cabin, and Little Field Barn at French Lake, New Brunswick – May 30, 2012
  144. Rusagonis and George Garraty – May 23, 2012
  145. Epitaph Transcriptions from a Collection – May 16, 2012
  146. Central New Brunswick Gravestones from a Genealogy – May 9, 2012
  147. Nashwaak River Pictures with Stewart Family Connections – May 2, 2012
  148. More Sunbury County Photographs from a Collection – Apr. 25, 2012
  149. An Indian Burial Ground at Oromocto; and Coal Mining on the Oromocto River – Apr. 22, 2012
  150. “Days of Old” by Katherine DeWitt and Norma Alexander – Apr. 18, 2012
  151. The Wood Cemetery at French Lake, New Brunswick – Apr. 11, 2012
  152. James Glenie in New Brunswick – Apr. 4, 2012
  153. Four Generations of the Stewart Family on the Nashwaak River – Mar. 28, 2012
  154. Three Generations of the Mersereau Family in New Brunswick – Mar. 21, 2012
  155. Three Generations of the Smith Family of Sunbury County, New Brunswick – Mar. 14, 2012
  156. Three Generations of the Wood Family of French Lake, New Brunswick – Mar. 7, 2012
  157. New Brunswick Education in 1883 – Feb. 29, 2012
  158. Riots and Demonstrations in Saint John – Feb. 20, 2012
  159. Making Better Butter – Feb. 18, 2012
  160. York County Place Names, 1896/1905 – Feb. 8, 2012
  161. Sunbury County Place Names, 1896/1905 – Feb. 1, 2012
  162. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 3 of 3 – Jan. 25, 2012
  163. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 2 of 3 – Jan. 18, 2012
  164. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 1 of 3 – Jan. 11, 2012
  165. The Hon. Thomas Baillie: Gone, but not soon forgotten! – Jan. 5, 2012
  166. The Fort at Oromocto, 1780 – 1783 – Dec. 29, 2011
  167. The Great Fire in Fredericton, 1850 – Early Accounts – Dec. 15, 2011
  168. The Morrow House at French Lake, and More – Dec. 8, 2011
  169. The Old Woman House at French Lake, New Brunswick – Dec. 1, 2011
  170. Smith Family Photographs from a Collection, Sunbury County, N.B. – Nov. 25, 2011
  171. French Lake from Before we Remember – Nov. 20, 2011
  172. How Geary became known as Geary – Nov. 9, 2011
  173. Elizabeth (Smith) Secord; N.B.’s First Woman Registered Doctor – Nov. 4, 2011
  174. Phillips Family Photographs from a Collection, Rusagonis, N.B. – Nov. 2, 2011
  175. Mersereau Family Photographs from a Collection, Sunbury County, N.B. – Oct. 30, 2011
  176. Wood Family Photographs from a Collection, French Lake, N.B. – Oct. 25, 2011
  177. Jeremiah Tracy: Pioneer of the Village of Tracy, New Brunswick – Oct. 20, 2011
  178. Two Old Railroad-Inspired Songs – Oct. 16, 2011
  179. Ode to the Oromocto River – Oct. 10, 2011
  180. John Mersereau, Loyalist 2 – Oct. 4, 2011
  181. The Earliest American Railroads and Locomotives – Sept. 14, 2011
  182. The Mersereau Manufacturing Company of Brooklyn, New York, Notes – Sept. 3, 2011
  183. George Morrow of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1801-1868 – Aug. 26, 2011
  184. The Wood Family of French Lake, New Brunswick – Legends – Aug. 9, 2011
  185. The Baptist Church on the Oromocto River in New Brunswick – Aug. 7, 2011
  186. John Wood of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1788-1868 – Aug. 2, 2011
  187. Daniel Wood of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1764-1847 – Aug. 1, 2011
  188. Three Stewarts on the Nashwaak – July 24, 2011
  189. Bunker Genealogy – Five Bunkers – July 20, 2011
  190. Statistics From the 1851 and 1871 Sunbury County New Brunswick Census Reports – July 19, 2011
  191. Historical Development of the Beam Bending Equation M=fS – July 18, 2011
  192. Seth Noble, Maugerville and the American Revolution – July 16, 2011
  193. Columns, the Long and the Short of it – 1729-1900 – July 15, 2011
  194. The Great Saint John Steel Cantilever Bridge – July 13, 2011
  195. The Upper Oromocto River in 1847 – July 11, 2011
  196. Early Glimpses of the Rusagonis Baptist Church in New Brunswick – July 11, 2011
  197. Abraham Gesner’s 1847 Observations of Sport Hunting in New Brunswick – July 11, 2011
  198. It Sounds a bit Too Easy – July 10, 2011
  199. James Buncker – July 10, 2011
  200. Inconsistent Petitions; Changed Self-Interests – July 10, 2011
  201. Abner Mersereau and a Letter – July 9, 2011
  202. Early Glimpses of the Patterson Settlement Baptist Church in New Brunswick – July 9, 2011
  203. The Textile Mill at Geary, New Brunswick – July 8, 2011
  204. Letter of Mi’kmaq’ Chief Pemmeenauweet to Queen Victoria – 1841 – July 7, 2011
  205. New Brunswick in the 1840s – July 7, 2011


John Wood

Written by johnwood1946

October 29, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

John Allan’s Revolutionary Mission to the Saint John River

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From the blog at

John Allan’s Revolutionary Mission to the Saint John River


Aukpaque: Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) Summer Village Above Fredericton

Image from W.O. Raymond’s History of the River St. John

John Allan was born in Scotland, but his family moved to Halifax in 1749 when he was about four years of age. He was quite successful in Halifax, where he became a Justice of the Peace, a clerk of the Supreme Court and an Assemblyman. He was a staunch supporter of the American Revolution, however, and was named by George Washington a Colonel in the Continental Army and Superintendent for Indians, stationed at Machias, Maine.

Jonathan Eddy had raised a party and attacked Fort Cumberland in the fall of 1776, and this had prompted the British to station the ship Vulture at Saint John. This gave them control of the river and of its only significant English population, at Maugerville. Maugerville people had participated in the attack on Cumberland, and, in response, the British had extracted loyalty-oaths from the whole community.

All the while, the Americans had been trying to secure alliances with the Passamaquoddy, Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) people, and it was in Allan’s role as Superintendent for Indians that made him significant in the history of the western part of Nova Scotia, now New Brunswick. The 1776 attack on Cumberland was a significant event, but, in the end, it was a failure. Allan’s job was therefore to ‘pick up the pieces’ and to secure the loyalty of the Indians by setting up a trading establishment at Aukpaque in the Saint John River just above Fredericton. He also coordinated activities with like-minded New Englanders and Acadians on the river and along the eastern shore.

Washington had written to each of these Indian peoples, but the response was mixed. The Mi’kmaq on the eastern shore replied that “some of our Young men had [acted in] the Character of Chiefs and made a Treaty to go to war… Our natural inclination being Peace, only accustomed to hunt for the subsistence of our family, We could not Comply with the Terms—Our numbers being not sufficient, among other objections….” The Wolastoqiyik were more agreeable to an alliance, as reported by the people at Maugerville who said “Gen’l Washington’s Letter set them on fire and they are Plundering all People they think are torys.” In the end, all of the Indians decided in favour of the Americans in the matter of the Revolution.

In general, then, control of the Saint John River had become strategic to both sides in defining the geographic limits of the American Revolution. American tactics had been fairly restrained so far, since the Continental Army needed to be strategic with their resources and the Saint John River was sparsely populated. If a large force of New Brunswickers, including whites and Indians, could be assembled, together with volunteers from New England, then it might have been worthwhile to reinforce them with units of the Continental Army. Otherwise, this could not be done and, in fact, it never happened.

Most of the following is from Eastern Maine and Nova Scotia During the Revolution, … from the Journals and Letters of Colonel John Allan, …, compiled and edited by Frederick Kidder, Albany, N.Y., 1867. The journal mentions Allan in the third person, and it was therefore written by an aide. However, it was compiled day by day and on the spot.

John Allan had been waiting at Machias, Maine, for an opportunity to go to the Saint John River and to work with the Wolastoqiyik and Mi’kmaq. On May 29, 1777 he received word that the Vulture, which had been sent in response to the Cumberland raid, had left the River. The next day he sent off seven boats and canoes full of men for Saint John. They camped the first night and arrived at Campobello on May 30th. They gathered support around the islands and on the mainland including a ‘Lovett’, who was possibly Daniel Lovett of the St. John River who had taken part in the Fort Cumberland raid. They were also joined by Seth Noble who had escaped from Maugerville in advance of the British soldiers on the Vulture.

They were a sizable party of whites and Indians when they arrived at Musquash Cove and travelled overland to Saint John. There were arguments with William Hazen and James White who were taken prisoner. James Simonds was apparently not taken prisoner, but was no more cooperative than the others and exchanged insults with the invaders.

They began their way up the River on June 3rd, leaving a party of fifteen men at the mouth of the River as guards, and proceeded to Lewis Mitchell’s house at Gagetown, taking him prisoner also. Weaponry was unloaded at several points and gifts were exchanged with the Indians, but their main destination was the Wolastoqiyik summer village of Aukpaque, located on islands above present-day Fredericton. They arrived there on the 5th of June, Seth Noble having proceeded in advance as a scout.

Feasts and celebrations between the Wolastoqiyik and their guests were necessary, particularly because Allan was seen as representing George Washington whom he, in fact, knew. The celebrations were about treating each other with honour and social bonding. The principal ingredients were speech making, exchanging gifts, feasting, and making promises of friendship. These ceremonies were formal, and important and, so, Allan was invited to the wigwam of Pierre Toma, where he found Chief Ambrose St. Aubien and other principal men gathered. St. Aubien set the tone of the meeting with a speech about his visit to Boston and how well he had been received. Strings of wampum were exchanged and there were promises of continued friendship.

Allan was invited to the wigwam of Pierre Toma again later on the same day, where he was given a seat between two principal men. He was then initiated into the Wolastoqiyik tribe and more speeches were made. Additional strings of wampum were exchanged. Allan then rose to speak, but this was not the expected protocol. He was told that the meeting had been for them to express their friendship to him, and that if he wanted to speak in return, then he should invite them to his house, which was the priest’s house which had been loaned for his use. That meeting took place two days later, on Monday, June 9, 1777.

The meeting began simply, with Allan presenting St. Aubien with a string of wampum. This was an important meeting, for St. Aubien “was dressed in a blue Persian silk coat, embroidered crimson, silk waistcoat four inches deep and scarlet knit breeches, also gold laced Hat with white cockade. N. Goudain, Blue silk trimmed with Vellum, and crimson breeches, Hat Gold laced—The other chiefs were richly dressed in their manner; their blankets were curiously laced with these ribbons—All these dined in the inner room all the young men and other Indians dined in the outer room with me and I. Marsh, and so the day concluded with diversion and jolity.”


The women’s celebration was separate from the main, men’s, celebration, and took place the next day as was the usual custom. There was dancing, fancy dress, and the firing of guns and cannon.

There were other festivities, two weeks after the main celebrations, occasioned by the arrival of several Indians from away. There was speech making, storytelling and feasting with much formal protocol. Clear social rules were observed, and several of the participants greeted one another in sequence, according to their status. Price lists were also formalized for trading, and the resulting agreement was circulated to the Mi’kmaq and Passamaquoddy Indians.

There were many people coming and going at Aukpaque. There were the Wolastoqiyik, of course, but there were also French visitors from further up the River and from as far away as Quebec. There were Mi’kmaq and white visitors from the Cumberland area and the Miramichi, and Passamaquoddy Indians, cousins of the Wolastoqiyik from the Machias and area. Allan’s time on the Saint John River only lasted for about a month and a half, but this period was filled with these visits, by which messages were received and dispatched. News of privateer activities on the Bay of Fundy came from Saint John; news of military confrontations came from the Canadas; and there was a constant flow of information from Cumberland. At one point, there was concern that the British might act against Allan, and an attempt was made to limit the outflow of Cumberlanders returning home, but some reinforcement were received from New England which reduced the manpower concerns.

They were becoming very security conscious and, on June 13, “Mr. Bromfield was walking on the back of the house he observed two people listening as he supposed, and on observing him, they walked directly away towards the bushes.” Scouts were sent down river, sentries were doubled, and instructions were issued that no one was to eat or socialize with the prisoners, Hazen, White and Mitchell. Imminent danger was anticipated, but, so far, nothing of consequence had happened.

Unease continued and a week later, on June 20th, there were rumours of two British ships in the Bay of Fundy with two or three hundred men in arms. In fact, there were three ships, the Mermaid, the Vulture and the Hope. There were some desertions at Saint John as supplies dwindled, and one prisoner escaped. A message was also received from Halifax “full of insipid nonsense,” which I wish we could read today. Hugh Quinton of Conway was a veteran of the attack on Fort Cumberland, and he spoke out against Allan’s activities. He was silenced with a reprimand.

The British had sent reinforcements to both Cumberland and to the mouth of the Saint John River. On June 30th, a party landed at Manawagonish and Allan’s men set up an ambush along the road from there to the harbour at Saint John. The British anticipated this, however, and surrounded Allan’s men, some of whom tried to hide by climbing trees. Eight of them were shot down “like little pigeons.” Some of Allan’s people at Saint John were scalped by the British and others were threatened with the same fate if they didn’t provide intelligence. The situation was critical, and those who could retreat went up river toward Maugerville and Aukpaque. Some of these threatened to desert unless they were allowed to retreat further, to Passamaquoddy.

News of the British attack caused great alarm at Aukpaque. Some of the Indians wavered. Pierre Toma proposed that he and others go on board a British ship, for example, but most of the Indians remained loyal and Toma was shunned.

The next ten days were spent in disarray and retreat. Some of the Indians, including Pierre Toma, again resolved to meet with the British and, in preparation for abandoning the place took down the bell from the chapel at Aukpaque. The Cumberlanders would have been left alone and so they also began to hide valuables and to prepare for departure also. A party was sent up the Oromocto River to remove families from there, but those families could not be found.

News was received that 100 soldiers had been dispatched to take Allan. This party turned out to be probably about fifty soldiers, but Allan had moved up the river to a French house.

Toma then argued with the other Indians who wanted to fight, first by proceeding up the Oromocto River to attack a British force from behind. They agreed that the attack should proceed, but without Toma or other men from his family. Pierre Toma and some of his family members then went on board one of the British ships, without any of the others.

On the fourth day of the rout, a party was sent down to reconnoitre at Aukpaque, but that was under occupation by the British. The party then withdrew to a French house and were nearly captured there as well. Later that night they heard cries of much distress, as one of their number had been confronted and bayonetted.

The French families did what they could to supply Allan and the Indians who were on the run, but the British commander forbade this on penalty of destroying them. Later, some of their homes were burnt and plundered, and some of them were made prisoners. The British were “determined to follow Mr. Allan to the gates of hell.”

On Sunday, July 13, 1777, they all left the Saint John River at Meductic and headed toward the Passamaquoddy River. It was “incredible what difficulties the Indians undergo in this troublesome time, where so many families are obliged to fly with precipitation rather than become friends to the Tyrant of Britain, some backing their aged parents, others their maimed and decrepid brethren, the old women leading the young children, mothers carrying their infants, together with great loads of baggage” Allan and his party were new gone, and headed for safety at Machias.

Some Thoughts About These Events:

I am left wondering what this campaign was all about. They knew that overwhelming force was the standard British response to mischief on the Saint John River and, in fact, it took only 45 days after leaving Machias before they ran for their lives. There were not enough people in New Brunswick to resist the British and it was never very likely that they would be substantially reinforced from New England. On the face of it, the mission was to monopolize trade with the Indians, but this was in aid of spreading the Revolution northward, and this was unlikely to succeed. It therefore seems that this was a minor event, doomed to failure from the start.

Allan’s accounts of the Indians were respectful. From another source, however, we find him saying that “The Indians are generally actuated according to the importance or influence anyone has who lives among them. They … will listen to every report, and generally believe it and think everything true that is told them.” (G.O. Bent, Parson Noble, Acadiensis, 1907)

Consider it from the Native perspective, however. The Revolution was a white man’s war, but the Indians had to make decisions or face the prospect of having no allies at all. They must have known that the Americans and the British both wanted their loyalty only to further their own objectives and that friendship would last only so long as it was to their advantage. Looking around, then, there were the settlers from New England, especially at Maugerville, who were mostly republican. There were also the Acadians who had no reason to support the British. The Americans had raised military forces in the area before, and had solicited the help of the Indians, while British entreaties had been less convincing. The British were away in Halifax and paid little attention to western Nova Scotia except to put down occasional rebellions. The decision to support the American side in the revolution was therefore logical only for so long as it served their own interests in the conflict.

Written by johnwood1946

October 29, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Relics of the Acadian Period

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From the blog at

Relics of the Acadian Period, by W.F. Ganong

Following is a description of several ancient artifacts from New Brunswick, from an article of the same title published in The New Brunswick Magazine, Volume 1, Number 1, Saint John, N.B., 1899. “Ancient” is to say that the artifacts are from the early days of European habitation; from the Acadian period.


Relics of the Acadian Period

In the Educational Review for March, 1897, I pointed out the interest that attaches to relics of the French or Acadian Period in New Brunswick, and described several of the more important of those known to me. These included:—the Dedication stone of the Indian Church of Saint Jean Baptiste, built in 1717 at Meductic, the Chapel Bell of the Indian Church at Kingsclear, the Athol cannon (since mounted in front of the new school building at Campbellton) and some minor objects. In the present paper are contained some additional facts upon this very attractive subject.

The Chapel Bell of the Indian Church at Kingsclear

There can be no doubt that this bell, which still calls the Maliseets of the Indian Village at Kingsclear to worship, is the same that their forefathers heard sounding from the church of Saint Jean Baptiste at Meductic in the last century. Its history has been traced in Mr. Raymond’s monographic account of the “Old Meductic Fort” (in Volume I of the Collections of the New Brunswick Historical Society), and in the article in the Educational Review above referred to. No description of the bell itself, however, has yet been published. In the summer of 1897, I was able, through the kindness of Father O’Leary, who is in charge of this mission, to examine the bell and to make wax impressions of its inscription. It hangs in the belfry of the Indian church, is of the usual bell shape, 11½ inches high, 8 in its smaller and 14 inches in its extreme diameter, and is perfectly plain except for some ridges running around it and the design shown in the accompanying cut, drawn from the wax impressions, and here reproduced three fourths the actual size [obviously to a different scale in this blog posting]. Four raised fleur de lis radiate from a circle, within which is a wreath surrounding a crown below which are two words, the first IACQVES, perfectly distinct, and the second, very indistinct, HURES or possibly HURET. The indistinctness is due to the corrosion of the letters through weathering. This name Jacques Huret is no doubt the name of the maker, and it is disappointing that no other inscription occurs upon the bell.


In the old church register preserved by Father O’Leary occur some very interesting entries of which one refers to the bell. The register is entitled,—“Registre de la Mission d’Ekouipahag en La Riviére St. jean dans la province de La nouvelle ecosse commencé au mois d’aout mil sept cent soixante sept par nous pretre sousigné, successeur du pere germain jésuite. les actes des baptemes, mariages et sepultures faits par le missionaire ont eté perdus ou pendant la guerre, ou pendant lespace de trois ans que cette mission n’a point eté deservie. charles francois Bailly ptre.”

The following refers to the bell:—

“Nayant plus de sauges malecites en le premier village depuis le R p Sauvergeat jésuite je fis enlever un tabernacle autrefois doré, uns statue de la ste vierge deux chandeliers de cuivre un encensoir et navette aussi de cuivre, je fit aussi detruire la chapelle qui ne servoit plus que de refuge aux voyageurs pour les plus profanes usages, il y avoit aussi une moyenne cloche qui je fis aussi enlever avec le reste pour etre transporter a ekouipahag. et le tout doit etre restitute [illegible word] mission est retablie. Charles francois Bailly.”

Thus we see that the bell was brought from Meductic, which had been abandoned by the Indians, to Aucpac [Springhill] by direction of Rev. Charles Bailly himself, and that the chapel at Meductic was destroyed by his orders to prevent its profanation by voyageurs. There are also in the Kingsclear church a brass censer, supposed to be that mentioned in the register, and a processional cross, with fleur de lis, said by tradition to have been brought from Meductic. These articles were of course taken to Kingsclear when the Indians removed there from Springhill in 1794.

The Rochefort Bell of St. Mark’s Church Westmorland

Curiously enough, another New Brunswick church has in constant use a bell associated with the Acadian period of our History. It hangs in the belfry of St. Marks Church at Mount Whatley, Westmorland. My attention was first called to it by Mr. W.C. Milner, Who so thoroughly knows Westmorland history and antiquities; and the rector, Rev. Donald Bliss, allowed me to examine it. It is considerably larger than the Kingsclear bell and in perfect preservation. It is 17 inches high, 22 in extreme and 7½ inches in least diameter. It is rather elaborately ornamented, many lines and ridges encircle it, and on one side are three raised fleur de lis arranged in a triangle. Near the top, there runs around it a line of raised scroll work of much beauty. Beneath this line is the most important feature of the bell, a perfectly preserved raised inscription, which, as traced directly from the letters, is given below, reduced to about two-thirds the actual size [obviously to a different scale in this blog posting]. Though for convenience in engraving and printing the words are here arranged in four lines, on the original they run in a single line around the bell.


Little more is actually known of the history of this bell than is contained in this inscription, which shows that it was cast “To the glory of God” by F.M. Gros in Rochefort in 1734. The local tradition is that it hung over one of the Acadian churches in this region prior to the Expulsion, and in all probability this is correct. There were, however, at least three important churches in this vicinity just prior to the Expulsion, one at Tintamarre, (Upper Sackville) one near Fort Beausejour, and one at Beaubassin, near Fort Lawrence. But there is nothing to show to which of the three the bell belongs.

The corner stone of the Beaubassin church was found many years ago, and happily, it is now preserved in the Museum of St. Joseph’s College at Memramcook. The inscription is given in full by Rameau de Saint Pere in his “Colonie féodale”, (second ed. Montreal, vol. II, page 64,) showing that the church was built in 1723. Possibly it was on this church that the St. Mark’s, bell hung. It is of interest to note that it was made in Rochefort, in the very part of France whence most of the Acadians came to Acadia. Some facts of interest relating to old bells in Cape Breton, are given by Sir John Bourinot, in his “’Cape Breton”, 268.

The Bronze Flagon from the Old Fort on Miscou Harbor

There is in possession of Mrs. Alexander McDougall, of Oak Point, Miramichi, a bronze flagon of considerable interest. It was found some ten or twelve years ago on the site of the so-called, “old Fort” supposed to be that built by Nicolas Denys, about 1750, at the point called on the maps, Pecten Point, on Miscou Harbor. The finding of the flagon at this point and its sale to the late Mr. McDougall, is well known locally, as I am informed by Rev. J.R. Doucet, of L’Amec. Dr. Philip Cox has been kind enough to send me a description of it with two very good photographs. Dr. Cox describes it as follows:—“The circumference of the base is about fourteen inches, of the lip it was probably twenty-five. Depth about five and a quarter inches; thickness of bronze about one quarter inch. One trunnion can be seen in position, and with its mate probably supported it in a framework in which it hung of its own weight, as they are above the centre of gravity. There is an attempt at ornamentation on five oblong octagonal-shaped plates, about two and a half inches long by one and a half inches wide, which from their irregular outline and want of symmetry on the sides would seem to have been merely thin strips cut out and brazed on, but operatives in foundries say they would all have melted off by the heat which disfigured it, had they not been cast on. A horizontal rectangular one contained the date in relief. A series of small diamond shaped ones alternated with the five larger. There seems to be no particular design on these, though the surface presents a resemblance to confused leaves and vines and grooves.” The date, showing distinctly on the photographs, is 1601.

The interest of this flagon lies not only in its authenticity as a relic of the old settlement at Pecten Point, but also in the possibility it affords of determining what kind of an establishment stood there. We know that Denys had a settlement in this vicinity but do not know its exact site, and in all probability the old Jesuit Mission of St. Charles stood somewhere on Miscou Harbor. Since the flagon is so badly injured by fire, it is fair to infer that the building with which it was burnt stood where it was found. If now some expert in ancient vessels of this kind could tell to what use it was put, whether in some particular service of the church, or simply in the wassails of grand seigniors, thus pointing to the probable use of the building in which it was burnt, it would go far towards determining whether it was Denys’ settlement that stood here, or the Mission of St. Charles.

Other Objects

Of course the few objects mentioned in this and the preceding paper by no means exhaust the list of extant relics of the Acadian Period, but they include all I know that combine unquestionable authenticity with general historic interest. There are in the Museum of St. Joseph’s College, Memramcook, many minor objects undoubtedly belonging to this period. Among them is a key supposed to be that of the church of Grand Pre, though its history, as M. Placide Gaudet writes me, is altogether traditional and not documentary. Dr. Cox tells me that two old pictures believed to have been saved from the burning church at “Burnt Church”’ in 1759 are still in possession of that parish. The recently issued Proceedings of the Natural History Association of Miramichi mentions “a number of interesting relics of early French occupation” in their museum, and various medals, crosses, rings, etc. of this period are known in various parts of the province. M. Gaudet tells me the chalice used in the chapel of “Les Dames de Ste. Anne” in the church of St. Thomas at Memramcook is the one formerly used in the church at Tintamarre. This, with other objects belonging to that church, were hidden in the woods at the time of the Expulsion and were recovered in 1768 by some of the first colonists of Memramcook, who knew of their hiding place. M. Gaudet has also told me of other minor relics, without doubt of this period, and of course there must be among the Acadian families of Memramcook and elsewhere numerous objects descended to them from pre-Expulsion days. As to the authenticity of most such objects, however, the evidence is purely traditional, and while they have great personal interest for their possessors, they are of little general historic importance.

It is most unfortunate that New Brunswick has no provincial historical museum into which such objects can gradually be gathered, properly exhibited, and preserved for future generations to whom they will be of far greater interest than they are to us.

W. F. Ganong

Written by johnwood1946

October 22, 2014 at 9:47 AM

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Some Odd Old Advertisements

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From the blog at

The following collection of odd old advertisements is from The New Brunswick Magazine, Volume 2, Number 5, Saint John, N.B., 1899. There is no indication of who compiled them, but it was likely W.K. Reynolds, who was the magazine editor.

Some of the advertisements are odd in different ways. The one about the ‘negro wench’ is more sad than odd, and the only thing odd about the Gaelic sermon is that the compiler thought that it was odd.

Germain Street

Germain Street at Duke Street, St. John, ca. 1880’s or 90’s

From the New Brunswick Museum. The neighbourhood of the first advertisement, though at a later date.


Some Odd Old Advertisements

From the Royal Gazette, January 21, 1800:


Absconded from his master’s service on the 14th inst., William D., an indentured apprentice. This is to caution all persons not to trust him on my account (particularly Shoemakers and Taylors), as he has long been in the habit of running me in debt without my knowledge. He is an artful, insinuating, dangerous Character—fond of Nocturnal Frolics, Card-playing and Tippling, and appears to have arrived at great perfection in these accomplishments, within a few months. His principal place of resort is at the Youth’s Hotel in Duke Street, a most dangerous receptacle for the rising generation, should it be continued. He is well known from being in the service of the Subscriber for a number of years.

N.B. All persons are hereby forbid harbouring or concealing said Apprentice, and all masters of vessels are cautioned not to take him out of the Province under the penalty of the Law. John Ryan.

From St. John Gazette, March 1, 1799:


A Negro Wench and Child.

The Wench is about 19 years old, has been brought up in the Country, is well acquainted with a Dairy, and understands all kinds of House-work. She is to be sold for no fault. Enquire of Mr. Ryan.

From St. John Gazette, July 29, 1800:


Whereas some evil minded person, set on by the instigation of the Devil, has been on board of the Ship I am now building near the Old Fort at Carleton, and have maliciously, or in a fit of insanity, cut the edges of the ceiling plank, so that they are damaged thereby. I hereby Caution all persons whatsoever, on their peril, whether out of malice, madness, or otherwise, to desist from the like practices in future as I am determined to prosecute the offender to the extremity of the Law.

Archibald Fillies, St. John, 24th July, 1800

From St. John Gazette, August 12, 1800:


Is hereby offered to any Person who will discover the unprincipled wretch that killed a Mare belonging to the Subscriber on the 7th instant, near Simonds’ Saw Mills,—the vile Fiend appears to have maliciously perpetrated the act with a pitch fork while the Mare was grazing on the high Road—but should it be proved to have been an accident, it will be settled on very easy terms by immediate application to

Christopher Watson, St. John, 12th August, 1800

From N.B. Courier, August 7, 1823:

GÆLIC SERMON—Immediately after the usual afternoon service in the Scotch Church tomorrow, a Gaelic Sermon will be delivered by the Rev. Mr. McCallum to those who are acquainted with the dialect. It is requested of the members of the Scotch Church to make this intimation known to their Gælic friends.

Written by johnwood1946

October 15, 2014 at 9:34 AM

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The Miramichi Fire — Relief of the Sufferers

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From the blog at

The Miramichi Fire — Relief of the Sufferers

Miramichi 1760

A View of Miramichi, 1760, by Francis Swaine

After a view by Hervey Smyth. National Gallery of Canada, No. 4976, via

The great fire of October 7, 1825 caused massive destruction in New Brunswick, especially on the Miramichi watershed, as has been revealed in several postings in this blog.

Following is a report by the Miramichi Committee outlining, in retrospect, the measures that they took to organize relief. The report was published in 1828 and includes many interesting facts, such as rumours that had circulated in Britain that the Miramichi had received more relief than it needed. These rumours were vigorously denied, and this may also explain the Committee’s care in denying that relief had been handed out carelessly.

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If anything could abate the regret which your Committee have had cause to indulge ever since they saw the impracticability of making and early report of their proceedings, it is the assurance, that adequate allowance for the nature of the work they have had to perform would never be denied them, by any individual, whose munificence had contributed to the magnitude of their undertaking.

When your Committee assumed the sacred trust imposed on them by the inhabitants of Miramichi, and since rendered so important and interesting by the liberality of your Subscriptions, some preliminary steps had been taken by a Board of Relief hastily formed a few hours after the calamity, to alleviate, as far as available means would permit, the immediate wants and sufferings of the people, and as these measures were subsequently recognized and confirmed by this body, It may be necessary to state some of the most material.

Mr. Joplin had been dispatched, express, to His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor with accounts of the dreadful events by which the extensive county of Northumberland had suddenly been laid ruins and the population exposed to the horrors of famine—a subscription had been opened among such of the inhabitants of the Parishes of Chatham, Newcastle and Nelson, as had not severely suffered by the fire—the sick and wounded had been placed under the care of proper persons—the dead interred; and such arrangements made for the comfort of the surviving sufferers, as the reduced quantity of food and raiment would allow—and lastly, about three hundred persons, principally of the labouring classes, had been provided with the means of going to the neighbouring ports.

Ten Sub-Committees were appointed simultaneously with your Committee, to act under their directions, to report frequently the condition of their respective districts, and effectively to prevent the neglect of the destitute in any part of the extensive scene of desolation.

From the reports of these auxiliaries your Committee were enabled also to prepare an account of the Loss, which after having been corrected by a special committee who visited each district, and individually examined each sufferer, was published early in 1826,—the following recapitulation exhibits the aggregate loss, sustained by the inhabitants of Miramichi, as contained in that statement.

Persons Burnt and Drowned, 160; Buildings Destroyed, 595; Head of Cattle Destroyed, 850; Loss of Property Estimated at £204,320; of Which was Insured £12,050; Leaving a Net Loss of, £192,270.

From such data it is evident, that the multitude which was to be clothed and fed on the bounty of others would rapidly diminish the very scanty stock which had providentially escaped the general devastation—and, on the very eve of a winter which must consign half of the population of the country to certain starvation, without extraordinary succour, your Committee had come to look with the most intense anxiety, for any intelligence of immediate aid, from other parts.

Happily this frightful state of suspense was not of long duration. Letters were received by express from His Excellency Sir Howard Douglas; and others on the same day from the principal Merchants of Halifax. The former stating that His Excellency had despatched Mr. Joplin to Quebec, invested with authority to purchase provisions and clothing on account of the Province, to the extent of five or six thousand pounds; and the latter, that Rear Admiral Lake, had kindly directly H.M.S. Orestes, Capt. H. Litchfield, to proceed to Miramichi, with the first fruits of a subscription set on foot at Halifax, a few hours after the accounts of the fire had arrived, and also that His Excellency Sir James Kempt had ordered the Gov. Brig Chebucto to repair to Pictou for the purpose of proceeding to Miramichi if required.

These exhilarating accounts were succeeded by a Messenger from the City of St. John, with Letters announcing the shipment of a large subscription in provisions and clothing in the schooner Olive Branch, and the transportation of a further supply by the Steamboat to Fredericton, and thence to be conveyed over land to Miramichi.

On the 26th October, His Excellency Sir Howard Douglas arrived at Miramichi, and while deeply affected by the ruins and misery of a Colony he had so recently seen rejoicing under the beaming rays of prosperity, was everywhere administering advice and consolation; cheering by his presence, the bereaved and afflicted, and animating by his example those whom Heaven had spared to comfort and assist them.

On Sunday the 30th October, H.M.S. Orestes anchored off Chatham—her presence, and the intelligence she brought that several loaded schooners would follow her, entirely dissipated those gloomy apprehensions which no philosophy could before subdue.

From this interesting period, every succeeding day afforded the most substantial proof of the unbounded sympathy of the sister Provinces, for by the 5th November, the following vessels were discharging their cargoes at Miramichi, on account of the sufferers. Nancy, from Pictou, Albion, Active, and Elizabeth from Halifax, and Olive Branch from St. John, N.B. and these were immediately succeeded by the Harriette and Nancy, from Halifax, Monique and Jane, from the Bay Chaleur, Angelique, from Antigonishe, James William, from Pictou, Two Sisters from St. John, Newfoundland, John and Elizabeth from Lunenburgh, and Spring Bird, from St. John, New Brunswick.

While those blessings wore pouring into Miramichi, the active and dignified benevolence of his Excellency the Earl Dalhousie, and of the Inhabitants of Quebec and Montreal was beautifully displayed in the rapidity with which the object of Mr. Joplin’s mission was completed, for in forty days the date of the fire, the cargo of the ship St Lawrence, of 277 tons, was safely deposited in Miramichi, and the entire cost, including the freight, defrayed by the Government and People of the Canadas.

The most spirited exertions were still kept up to throw in supplies, but winter soon precluded the possibility of any further transportation by water, and the Eliza-Ann, from Halifax with bread and flour from the inhabitants of Boston, as also the Mary, from Charlottetown, P.E. Island, were compelled by the severity of the weather, to go into Richibucto, where their cargoes were landed, and subsequently conveyed to Miramichi.

From such abundant resources as were by this time placed at the disposal of your Committee, the appalling conditions of want and starvation quickly receded, and although deprived of comforts and enjoyments, which in too many instances time could never restore the sufferers manifested great resignation to their lot, and a lively sense of Gratitude towards their benefactors.

Your Committee having thus far confined their very brief review of the subscriptions, to the order in which the succour arrived, have adverted only to those which were made in the British Provinces and their dependencies, but they feel a proud assurance their countrymen will acquit them of any undue preference, if they say the intelligence of what had been done in the United States of America for the cause of humanity—gave birth to feelings more delightful and sublime, than any they had before experienced. The greatness of mind, and unmeasured liberality, displayed on this memorable occasion by the citizens of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Eastport, are worthy of thy highest praise and admiration.

During the long and inclement winter which followed so closely on the steps of the fire, (and to the ravages of which, it was fitted to give a still keener edge,) your Committee continued to sit incessantly; and notwithstanding every tangible arrangement was made to shorten the discussions on the ever varying claims submitted for their consideration, and to give facility to their operations in the issue of supplies; the returning spring had smiled on the blackened forests and tenantless farms of Northumberland, ere they had so far completed the work, as to be justified in reducing their sittings to one day in the week. But at this late period they deem it as unnecessary as it would be uninteresting to enter into a minute detail of their proceedings, during the distribution of the necessaries of life to nearly three thousand persons for a term of six months, and it is hoped there is as little occasion to state, that in this department of their duty, the real wants and privations of the sufferers constituted the grand criterion by which they were governed.

It may be said, however, that if so much time was essential to the issue of food and raiment, how fared those who were last supplied? It is incumbent therefore on your Committee, to bring under your consideration, those circumstances which prevented more rapid progress, and the means adopted to avert their ill effects. Whenever there is cause to draw heavily upon the public bounty, to rescue from any great calamity the helpless and afflicted, such is the depravity of human nature, that the idle and undeserving are ever ready to seize the golden opportunity, to come in for a share of the loaves and fishes, and such are generally loudest in their claims. It often happens too, that when the spirit of a people is crushed by the pressure of unexpected woe and privation, many will place entire dependence on that arm which was only extended for their temporary aid, while they allow their energies to evaporate in hopeless inactivity. The most diligent scrutiny was therefore indispensable to avoid the one and an equal degree of caution and timely advice to avert the evils of the other, nevertheless, as it is better to err on the side of humanity, where error cannot he avoided your Committee trust their deviations will appear on the liberal side of the question; for while few persons were ever sent empty handed away, care was taken where any suspicion or uncertainty rested on the propriety of the claim, to confine the apportionment to a sufficiency for the time that must elapse in obtaining more correct information on the case.

The ill consequences which would have resulted from a hasty and indiscriminate application of your charily must be obvious, and equally so, your Committee imagine the time, patience and labour inseparable under circumstances of such extreme perplexity and confusion, from the line of conduct pursued.

When the Mariner is shipwrecked on a desert shore, and death appears in all its hideous forms, his only care while the tempest races round him, is the preservation of his life, but when that is secured, the storm passed away, and the heavens once more propitious, how anxiously do his thoughts revert to his future destiny! And such was the situation of these unfortunate persons. Confounded and bewildered by the prostration of all their hopes, the support of life was for some time the only care that could retain its hold on the mind; when however these early fears were dispelled by your merciful interposition, then arose the fearful forebodings for the future, life was to begin by the houseless, friendless and penniless, and frequently by those who should rather have been preparing to leave it; their present wants had been supplied, their future ones appeared in fearful disarray. It may be imagined, then, but not too easily described with what feelings of joy and gratitude, the result of the subscriptions received in the mother country was received by these destitute people.

Wretched indeed must have been their lot, and vain their struggle With that destiny which had stripped them of every earthly advantage or left then only in possession of a scorched and vacant piece of sod without the secondary aid, which these funds, in conjunction with the American and other money subscriptions so opportunely and efficiently afforded. Such, in short, must have been the deplorable situation of hundreds of industrious families, had their dependence on your bounty terminated with the winter, that the mind shrinks from the contemplation of the melancholy picture, and turns instinctively to the better prospect which the opening spring presented. But your Committee are aware that an opinion has prevailed, particularly In Great Britain, that once the more formidable effects of the fire had been subdued, the people might be quickly returned to a situation not much inferior to that they enjoyed before their dreadful visitation. Perhaps it is not difficult to trace the error to its source. In Great Britain. The very nature of things must generally confine the aggregate of human misery to the temporary privation and its consequences, and as the mind only draws its conclusions, but draws them insensibly from things with which it is familiar, it is not at all surprising that and estimate formed upon such data as the occasional sufferings of the poorer classes in that country supply, should fail in its application to the situation of things in an infant colony, which forbid comparison, and defy description. It must be admitted that the basis of every subscription set on foot for Miramichi, was the immediate and positive sufferings of the people, but if that people had not been encouraged by the distribution of occasional small sums of money to recommence their former pursuits—to return to their farms, to erect temporary habitations for their families, to till the ground again for future subsistence—scarcely worse would have been their lot had they not survived the lamentable cause of their ruin!

Your Committee trust these remarks will not be understood as a proof of any insensibility of the exertions everywhere made in Great Britain on behalf of the sufferers, for while the deep sympathy which the large contributions in that country proclaims, evinces to admiration, the enlarged view that was taken of the event, still, for the reasons which have been urged, an opinion might very naturally arise as the novelty subsided, that more money had been subscribed than the urgency of the case required. But your Committee are convinced, beyond the possibility of a doubt, that the money subscriptions were as essential to the ulterior salvation of the country, as was the succour so promptly thrown in from the neighbouring ports, when delay would have been immediate destruction.

Your Committee now beg permission to suspend their remarks while they proceed to shew an account of the property and money entrusted to their care, but in making up that part thereof relative to the subscriptions in Provision and Clothing, a difficulty has occurred which no labour can now remove; the hurried manner in which so much property was collected and shipped, prevented in frequent instances, the usual invoice from accompanying the cargo, It is therefore impossible to go so far into the detail of such subscriptions in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and some other parts as under other circumstances would be indispensable, and if any errors should be detected, as doubtless will be the case the Committee trust they will be imputed to the absence of such documents as are essential to a more perfect statement.

It may be necessary here to remark also, that only the subscriptions made for Miramichi, without regard to the fires in the other parts of the Province, are included the following Schedules [which are not included in this blog posting: J.W.]

Written by johnwood1946

October 8, 2014 at 9:19 AM

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Jonathan Eddy’s Account of the Attack on Fort Cumberland, November, 1776

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From the blog at

Jonathan Eddy’s Account of the Attack on Fort Cumberland, November, 1776

Jonathan Eddy and John Allan were New Englanders and supporters of the American Revolution. Allan, in particular, launched several attacks and intrigues against what is now New Brunswick from late 1776 to mid-1777, with the objective of developing support among the settlers, especially at Maugerville, and among the Indians.

One of the most aggressive assaults was Jonathan Eddy’s attack on Fort Cumberland in the late autumn of 1776. This affair has been thoroughly researched and the best account of it that I have seen is The Siege of Fort Cumberland, 1776: An Episode in the American Revolution by Ernest Clarke (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1995). The telling of the story in this blog does not borrow from Mr. Clarke, but is from Eddy’s own report as found in Eastern Maine and Nova Scotia During the Revolution, Chiefly Compiled from the Journals and Letters of Colonel John Allan, …, compiled and edited by Frederick Eidder (Albany, N.Y., 1867).

Fort Cumberland

Fort Cumberland in 1778

By William Spry, from Library and Archives Canada

Following is Eddy’s report. It is truthful, except that it does not dwell upon negative aspects of the affair. For example, his kind interpretation of the conclusion was that “it was thought Proper by the Committee that we should Retreat.” In fact, they were a sorry lot by that time, and had little option.

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Eddy’s letter of Jany. 5, 1777

To the Hon. Council & House of Representatives of the State of Massachusetts Bay:

I have Endeavored to inform your Honors in some part of my Proceedings since my Departure from Boston.

I left the long Wharf in Boston together with Mr Row & Mr How and arrived at Newbury the second Day, where we Chartered a small Vessell to carry us to Machias at which Place we arrived (after Many Unfortunate Accidents) in about three weeks from the Time of our setting out.

During my Stay at Machias I met with Col. Shaw, by whose Favor I obtained Capt. West & several other good Men, to the amount of about Twenty, to join me in the Expedition against Fort Cumberland. Then Proceeded to Passamaquoddy where I was joined by a few more; from thence to the River St John’s & went up the same about sixty Miles to the Inhabitants whom I found almost universally to be hearty in the Cause,—and joined us with Capt, 1 Lieut. & Twenty five Men, as also 16 Indians; so that our whole Force now, amounted to Seventy two Men, and with this Party I set off for Cumberland in Whale Boats and Canoes, and standing up the Bay arrived in a few Days, at Shepody in the sd County.

At Shepody we found and took Capt Walker and a Party of thirteen Men who had been stationed there by Col Gorham Commander of the Garrison at Cumberland, for the Purpose of getting Intelligence &c.—Thence we Proceeded to Memrancook, and there had a Conference with the French, who Readily joined us, although they saw the Weakness of our Party. We then marched 12 Miles through the woods to Sackville & there were met by the Committee who Expressd their Uneasiness at seeing 80 few of us, and those unprovided with Artillery, Never the less hoping that Col Shaw would soon come to our Assistance with a Reinforcement they unanimously joined us. The same Night I sent off a small Detachment who marched about 12 Miles through very bad Roads to Westcock & there took a Schooner in Aulack River, loaded with Apples Cyder, English Goods &c. to the Amount of about £300, but finding afterwards that she was the Property of Mr Hall of Annapolis, who is a good Friend to the Cause of Liberty, I discharged her. I afterwards sent another Boat Load of Men, as a Reinforcement to the first Party, making together about 30 Men, in Order to take a Sloop which lay on the Flats below the Fort, loaden with Provisions and other Necessaries for the Garrison: After a Difficult March, they arrived opposite the Sloop; on board of which was a Guard of 1 Sergt. & 12 men, who had they fir’d at our People, must have alarmed the Garrison in such a Manner as to have brought them on their Backs. However, our men rushed Resolutely towards the Sloop up to their Knees in Mud, which made such a Noise as to alarm the Sentry, who hailed them & immediately called the Sergt of the Guard: The Sergt. on comming up, Ordered his Men to fire, but was immediately told by Mr Row that if they fired one Gun, Every Man of them should be put to Death; which so frightened the poor Devils that they surrendered without firing a Shot, although our People Could not board her without the Assistance of the Conquered, who let down Ropes to our Men to get up by. By this Time the Day broke and the Rest of our Party made to their Assistance in the Schooner aforementioned & some Boats. In the mean Time Came down Several Parties of Soldiers from the Fort not Knowing the Sloop was taken (who) as fast as they Came, were made Prisoners by our Men & order’d on board: Among the Rest, Capt. Barron, Engineer of the Garrison, and Mr Eagleson, who may be truly Called the Pest of Society; and by his unseasonable Drunkenness the Evening before, prevented his own Escape and occasioned his being taken in Arms.

The Sloop now beginning to float & the Fog breaking away, we were discovered by the Garrison, who observing our Sails loose thought at first, it was done only with an Intent to dry them, but soon Perceiving that we were under Way, fired several Cannon shot at us & marched down a Party of 60 Men to attack us, but we were at such distance, that all their Shot was of no Consequence.

We then sailed to Fort Lawrence, another Part of the Township, and there landed Part of the Stores on board the Sloop to Enable us to attack the Garrison.

Having left a small Guard on board the Sloop to secure the Prisoners, I marched the Remainder to Cumberland side of the River and Encamp’d within about one mile of the Fort, and was there joined by a Number of the Inhabitants so that our whole Force was now about 180 Men, but having several outposts to guard, & many Prisoners to take Care of, the Number that Remained in the Camp, did not Exceed 80 men;—I now thought Proper to invest the Fort & for this Purpose sent a Summons to the Commanding Officer, to surrender, (a Copy of which together with his Answer I have Enclosed) —

Upon Col. Gorham’s Refusal to surrender we attempted to storm the Fort in the Night of the 12th Novr with our scaling Ladders & other Accoutrements, but finding the Fort to be stronger than we imagined (occasioned by late Repairs) We thought fit to Relinquish our Design after a heavy firing from their Great Guns and small Arms with Intermission for 2 Hours, which we Sustained without any Loss (Except one Indian being wounded) who behaved very gallantly, and Retreated in good Order to our Camp.

Our whole Force in this Attack, Consisted of about 80 Men, while the Enemy were 100 strong in the Fort, as I learned since from some Deserters who came over to us; a greater number than we imagined. I must needs acquaint your Honors that Never Men behaved better than ours, during the engagement never flinching, in the midst of a furious Cannonade from the Enemy.

In this Posture we Continued a Number of Days and totally cut off their Communications with the Country, Keeping them closely block’d up within the Fort, which we Expected to take in a little Time by the Assistance of a Reinforcement from Westward.

In the mean Time on the 27th Novr arrived in the Bay a Man of War, from Halifax, with a Reinforcement for the Garrison consisting of near 400 Men & landed on that and the day following.

Nov. 30th The Enemy to the Number of 200, Came out in the Night by a round about March; got partly within our Guards, notwithstanding we had Scouts out all Night, and about Sunrise furiously Rushed upon the Barracks where our Men were quartered, who had but just Time Enough to Escape out of the Houses and run into the Bushes where, (notwithstanding the Surprise in which we were) our Men Killed & wounded 15 of the Enemy while we lost only one man who was Killed in the Camp.

In the midst of such a Tumult they at length proceeded about 6 Miles into the Country to the Place where they imagined our stores &c. to be & in the Course of their March burnt 12 Houses & 12 Barns in some of which the greater Part of our Stores were deposited. In this Dilemma My Party being greatly weakened by sending off many for Guards with the Prisoners &c. & our Stores being Consumed, it was thought Proper by the Committee that we should Retreat to St. Johns River & there make a stand, till we could have some certain Intelligence from the Westward, which we hope we shall have in a short time by the Favor of the Committee, who are gone forwards—And as it appears to be the opinion of the Committee of Cumberland and St Johns River that I should Remain here, I am determined to make a Stand, at this Place, till I am drove off, which I believe will not be Easily done, unless the Enemy should send a Force from Halifax by Water on Purpose to subdue this Settlement, as I am continually Reinforced by People from Cumberland & the Neighboring Counties, so that I believe we shall be able to Repulse any Party that may be sent from the Garrison at Cumberland, though I imagine we shall not be troubled by any Irruption from them this Winter as the Reinforcement is chiefly gone, having left only about 200 Men in the Fort, and those in a bad Condition for the want of Clothing; and if 200 men could be sent us by Land this winter we could Reduce the Garrison by cutting off their Supplies of wood which they are obliged to go 8 or 9 Miles for through a Country full of small Spruce, Fir & such like Wood, Consequently very Convenient for us to lay an Ambush, as we are perfectly acquainted & the Enemy Strangers thereto; And this your Honors may Easily Conceive, as we Destroyed a Number of Houses the Property of Friends to each Side, which lay adjacent to the Fort & the Commanding Officer having given orders to pull them down & carry the Timber into the Fort for Firing, the Committee ordered me to Prevent it by firing them which I did accordingly; and left them destitute of anything to burn within some Miles. On this River are a considerable Number of Indians, who are universally hearty in the Cause, 16 of whom together with the Governor Ambrose accompanied me in the Expedition and behaved most gallantly, but are a little uneasy that no Goods are yet arrived for them from Boston, agreeable to the late Treaty with them, which was Ratified by Coll Shaw in Behalf of the States, & I should be very glad if your Honors would Satisfy them in this Point as soon as possible, as they have been Extremely faithful during this Contest; and if this is done I am confident I can have near 200 of them to join me in any Expedition against the Enemy.

All my Transactions in this Affair have been done by the Authority of a Committee of Safety for the County of Cumberland & many Difficulties having arisen for want of Commissions I hope your Honors will send some blank ones for the raising of a Regiment in this Province if the Hon. Continental Congress should think fit to Carry on the War further in this Quarter, so that Proper Regulations may be make & many disorderly actions prevented.

I am &c.

Jonathan Eddy

Maugerville on the R. St John, Jany 5th, 1777.

ATTACHMENT #1: Jonathan Eddy’s call upon the fortress to surrender:

To Joseph Gorham Esq. Lieut Colonel Commandr of the Royal Fencibles Americans Commanding Fort Cumberland

The already too plentifull Effusion of Human Blood in the Unhappy Contest between Great Britain and the Colonies calls on every one Engag’d on either side, to use their utmost Efforts to prevent the Unnatural Carnage, but the Importance of the Cause on the side of America has made War necessary, and its Consequences, though in some Cases shocking are yet unavoidable. But to Evidence that the Virtues of humanity are carefully attended to, to temper the Fortitude of a Soldier; I have to summon you in the Name of the United Colonies to surrender the Fort now under your Command, to the Army sent under me by the States of America. I do promise that if you Surrender Yourselves as Prisoners of War you may depend upon being treated with the utmost Civility & Kind Treatment; if you refuse I am determined to storme the Fort, and you must abide the consequences—

Your answer is expected in four Hours after you receive this and the Flag to Return safe.

I am Sir

Your most obedt Hble Servt

Jona Eddy

Commanding Officer of the United Forces

Nov. 10, 1776

ATTACHMENT #2: Lieut. Colonel Gorham’s reply to the call to surrender:

Ft. Cumberland, 10th Novr 1776


I acknowledge the receipt of a Letter (under coular of a Flagg of Truce Signed by one Jonan Eddy Commanding officer expressing a concern at the unhappy Contest at present Subsisting between great Britain and the Colonys and recommending those engaged on either side to use their Endeavors to prevent the too Plentifull effusion of human Blood and further Summoning the Commanding officer to surrender this Garrison—

From the Commencement of these Contest I have felt for my deluded Brother Subjects and Countrymen of America and for the many Innocent people they have wantonly Involved in the Horrors of an Unnatural Rebellion, and entertain every humane principle as well as an utter aversion to the Unnecessary effusion of Christian Blood. Therefore command you in his Majesty’s name to disarm yourself and party Immediately and Surrender to the Kings mercy, and further desire you would communicate the Inclosed Manifests to as many of the Inhabitants you can and as Speedily as possible to prevent their being involved in the Same dangerous and Unhappy dilema—

Be assured Sir I shall never dishonour the Character of a Soldier by Surrendering my command to any Power except to that of my Sovereign from whence it originated.

I am Sir

Your most hble servt

Jos. GORHAM Lt Col. Comst

R.F.A. Commanding Officer at Fort Cumberland

Written by johnwood1946

October 1, 2014 at 9:40 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Which of These Two is the Wisest and Happiest?

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From the blog at

Which of These Two is the Wisest and Happiest?

Mikmaq Wigwam

Mi’kmaq Wigwam, probably at Evandale, N.B., c 1910

New Brunswick Museum

Chrestien Le Clercq was a priest working in the 1600’s to convert the Gaspesians to Christianity, Gaspesia being what he called the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. In 1691, he wrote a book about the Gaspesian people, concentrating on the area from Isle Percée in the north, southward down the eastern coast of New Brunswick. His Gaspesians were therefore the Mi’kmaq.

One of Le Clercq’s chapters described Mi’kmaq wigwams. This was an accurate and valuable work, but along the way he mentioned that the wigwams were mean and miserable, very badly kept, and just as badly arranged. He went on to say that they were so low that one could not stand up in them. There was also a coldness which could not be described, and the smoke was insufferable.

And so, a French man, perhaps a trader, was explaining to the Indians one day that they should live in houses as they did in France. Everyone in France lived in comfort and prosperity beyond anything that the Mi’kmaq could imagine, he said. Le Clercq was translator for this exchange, and recorded it in his book which was translated by William F. Ganong and republished in 1910 as New Relations of Gaspesia, With the Customs and Religion of the Gaspesian Indians.

If Le Clercq did not approve of the wigwam, then the Mi’kmaq man in our story cared even less for his friend’s attitude. Following is his response, which Ganong put in Elizabethan English to match, more or less, Le Clercq’s 1691 French.

“I am greatly astonished that the French have so little cleverness, as they seem to exhibit in the matter of which thou hast just told me on their behalf, in the effort to persuade us to convert our poles, our barks, and our wigwams into those houses of stone and of wood which are tall and lofty, according to their account, as these trees. Very well! But why now,” continued he, “do men of five to six feet in height need houses which are sixty to eighty? For, in fact, as thou knowest very well thyself, Patriarch—do we not find in our own all the conveniences and the advantages that you have with yours, such as reposing, drinking, sleeping, eating, and amusing ourselves with our friends when we wish? This is not all,” said he, addressing himself to one of our captains, “my brother, hast thou as much ingenuity and cleverness as the Indians, who carry their houses and their wigwams with them so that they may lodge wheresoever they please, independently of any seignior whatsoever? Thou art not as bold nor as stout as we, because when thou goest on a voyage thou canst not carry upon thy shoulders thy buildings and thy edifices. Therefore it is necessary that thou preparest as many lodgings as thou makest changes of residence, or else thou lodgest in a hired house which does not belong to thee. As for us, we find ourselves secure from all these inconveniences, and we can always say, more truly than thou, that we are at home everywhere, because we set up our wigwams with ease wheresoever we go, and without asking permission of anybody. Thou reproachest us, very inappropriately, that our country is a little hell in contrast with France, which thou comparest to a terrestrial paradise, inasmuch as it yields thee, so thou sayest, every kind of provision in abundance. Thou sayest of us also that we are the most miserable and most unhappy of all men, living without religion, without manners, without honour, without social order, and, in a word, without any rules, like the beasts in our woods and our forests, lacking bread, wine, and a thousand other comforts which thou hast in superfluity in Europe. Well, my brother, if thou dost not yet know the real feelings which our Indians have towards thy country and towards all thy nation, it is proper that I inform thee at once. I beg thee now to believe that, all miserable as we seem in thine eyes, we consider ourselves nevertheless much happier than thou in this, that we are very content with the little that we have; and believe also once for all, I pray, that thou deceivest thyself greatly if thou thinkest to persuade us that thy country is better than ours. For if France, as thou sayest, is a little terrestrial paradise, art thou sensible to leave it? And why abandon wives, children, relatives, and friends? Why risk thy life and thy property every year, and why venture thy self with such risk, in any season whatsoever, to the storms and tempests of the sea in order to come to a strange and barbarous country which thou considerest the poorest and least fortunate of the world? Besides, since we are wholly convinced of the contrary, we scarcely take the trouble to go to France, because we fear, with good reason, lest we find little satisfaction there, seeing, in our own experience, that those who are natives thereof leave it every year in order to enrich themselves on our shores. We believe, further, that you are also incomparably poorer than we, and that you are only simple journeymen, valets, servants, and slaves, all masters and grand captains though you may appear, seeing that you glory in our old rags and in our miserable suits of beaver which can no longer be of use to us, and that you find among us, in the fishery for cod which you make in these parts, the wherewithal to comfort your misery and the poverty which oppresses you. As to us, we find all our riches and all our conveniences among ourselves, without trouble and without exposing our lives to the dangers in which you find yourselves constantly through your long voyages. And, whilst feeling compassion for you in the sweetness of our repose, we wonder at the anxieties and cares which you give yourselves night and day in order to load your ship. We see also that all your people live, as a rule, only upon cod which you catch among us. It is everlastingly nothing but cod—cod in the morning, cod at midday, cod at evening, and always cod, until things come to such a pass that if you wish some good morsels, it is at our expense; and you are obliged to have recourse to the Indians, whom you despise so much, and to beg them to go a-hunting that you may be regaled. Now tell me this one little thing, if thou hast any sense: Which of these two is the wisest and happiest—he who labours without ceasing and only obtains, and that with great trouble, enough to live on, or he who rests in comfort and finds all that he needs in the pleasure of hunting and fishing? It is true,” added he, “that we have not always had the use of bread and of wine which your France produces; but, in fact, before the arrival of the French in these parts, did not the Gaspesians live much longer than now? And if we have not any longer among us any of those old men of a hundred and thirty to forty years, it is only because we are gradually adopting your manner of living, for experience is making it very plain that those of us live longest who, despising your bread, your wine, and your brandy, are content with their natural food of beaver, of moose, of waterfowl, and fish, in accord with the custom of our ancestors and of all the Gaspesian nation. Learn now, my brother, once for all, because I must open to thee my heart: there is no Indian who does not consider himself infinitely more happy and more powerful than the French.” He finished his speech by the following last words, saying that an Indian could find his living everywhere, and that he could call himself the seigneur and the sovereign of his country, because he could reside there just as freely as it pleased him, with every kind of rights of hunting and fishing, without any anxiety, more content a thousand times in the woods and in his wigwam than if he were in palaces and at the tables of the greatest princes of the earth.

Written by johnwood1946

September 24, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Posted in Uncategorized


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