New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

Table of Contents, Rev. March 4, 2015

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

  1. Father Rale’s War – 1722-25; How it Ended – Mar. 4, 2015
  2. What Was the Big Deal About the Marco Polo? – Feb. 25, 2015
  3. Grand Manan to Petitcodiac, in 1786 – Feb. 18, 2015
  4. A Trip From St. John to Fredericton in 1870 – Feb. 11, 2015
  5. A Tour of St. John, N.B., in 1870 – Feb. 4, 2015
  6. Destruction by Fire of the First Cathedral in Chatham – Jan. 28, 2015
  7. Burgan the Burglar – Jan. 21, 2015
  8. Facts and Reasons Against Confederating With Canada – Jan. 14, 2015
  9. Discontent in Early Halifax in 1756 – Jan. 7, 2015
  10. A Trip on the ICR From Bathurst to Miramichi – Dec. 31, 2014
  11. Early Attempts to Introduce the Cultivation of Hemp in Eastern British America – Dec. 24, 2014
  12. Touring Campbellton and Dalhousie, Despite the Mosquitoes, 1876 – Dec. 19, 2014
  13. The Fire of 1837 in Saint John – Dec. 10, 2014
  14. The Cruise of the Rechab – Dec. 3, 2014
  15. A Night in the Deep – Nov. 26, 2014
  16. Robert Foulis (A Misplaced Genius) – Nov. 19, 2014
  17. The City Mills – Nov. 15, 2014
  18. The Brothers d’Amours – Nov. 5, 2014
  19. John Allan’s Revolutionary Mission to the Saint John River – Oct. 29, 2014
  20. Relics of the Acadian Period – Oct. 22, 2014
  21. Some Odd Old Advertisements – Oct. 15, 2014
  22. The Miramichi Fire – Relief of the Sufferers – Oct. 8, 2014
  23. Jonathan Eddy’s Account of the Attack on Fort Cumberland, November, 1776 – Oct. 1, 2014
  24. Which of These Two is the Wisest and Happiest? – Sept. 24, 2014
  25. Fredericton Bridge, a Prophetic Writing – Sept. 17, 2014
  26. A Speech to Distinguished Persons of Stake and Consideration – Sept. 10, 2014
  27. Building an Education System From Almost Nothing – Sept. 3, 2014
  28. Cape Tormentine to the Baye des Chaleurs in the 1600’s – Aug. 27, 2014
  29. The Customs of the Mi’kmaq in the 1600’s and Before – Aug. 20, 2014
  30. Two Documents Relating to the Fenians in New Brunswick – Aug. 13, 2014
  31. The Lazaretto for Lepers in Tracadie, 1862 – Aug. 6, 2014
  32. Thoughts About the Augustine Mound at Metepenegiag Mi’kmaq Nation – July 30, 2014
  33. What am I Bid for This Pauper? – July 23, 2014
  34. Trouble at Madawaska, 1831 – July 16, 2014
  35. The Great Fire at Saint John, June 20, 1877 – July 9, 2014
  36. The Poor Fellows Shook as if They Would Fall to Pieces! – July 2, 2014
  37. How to Build a Logging Camp in Around 1850 – June 25, 2014
  38. Risen from the Ashes, Phoenix Square in Fredericton – June 18, 2014
  39. Rocks and Water, Magnificence and Squalor; St. John in 1876 – June 11, 2014
  40. Moncton as Seen by a Journalist in 1876 – June 4, 2014
  41. Events Leading to the Caraquet Riots of 1875 – May 28, 2014
  42. A Dramatic Account of the Miramichi Fire – May 21, 2014
  43. Saint John in the Early 1840’s – May 18, 2014
  44. A Note to Subscribers, and a Memorandum for me – May 14, 2014
  45. The Myth that Kerosene was Invented in New Brunswick – May 7, 2014
  46. A Church with Military Boots and Fixed Bayonets – Apr. 30, 2014
  47. An Opening Salvo in an Ongoing Argument – Apr. 23, 2014
  48. May living worms his corpse devour – Apr. 16, 2014
  49. He don’t look any better than some of our own boys – Apr. 9, 2014
  50. The Disputed Territory Between New Brunswick and Maine – Apr. 2, 2014
  51. Navigation on the Saint John River – Mar. 26, 2014
  52. Shepody as a Hot Investment Opportunity, 1868 – Mar. 19, 2014
  53. To Her Majesty, RE: Reciprocity, 1853 – Mar. 12, 2014
  54. Diary on the Tobique, 1851 – Mar. 5, 2014
  55. Growing up in Fredericton in the 1820s and 1830s – Feb. 26, 2014
  56. Travels From Eastport, Maine, to Fredericton, 1851 – Feb. 19, 2014
  57. The Saint John General Public Hospital, 19th Century, Part 2 of 2 – Feb. 12, 2014
  58. The Saint John General Public Hospital, 19th Century, Part 1 of 2 – Feb. 5, 2014
  59. The Story of the Great Brothers – Jan. 29, 2014
  60. A Trek up the Tobique, and Onward to Bathurst – Jan. 22, 2014
  61. Summer Tourists. A Manual for New Brunswick Farmers – Jan. 19, 2014
  62. A Trek from Grand Falls to Campbellton, 1862 – Jan. 15, 2014
  63. A Trek From Taymouth to Boisetown, 1862 – Jan. 12, 2014
  64. Capt. William Owen’s Journal, Campobello, 1770-71 – Jan. 8, 2014
  65. The Founding of Campobello Island – Jan. 5, 2014
  66. New Brunswick Roads and Railways, 1855 – Jan. 1, 2014
  67. Grand Manan – Dec. 29, 2013
  68. The Shipyard Fire in Saint John, in 1841 – Dec. 26, 2013
  69. Christmas as it Was in Saint John, in 1808 – Dec. 22, 2013
  70. The Saint John Grammar School – Dec. 18, 2013
  71. William Wishart Blasts the New Brunswick Education System, 1845 – Dec. 15, 2013
  72. The Diary of Sarah Frost – Dec. 11, 2013
  73. Pŭlěs, Pŭlowěch′, and Beechkwěch (Pigeon, Partridge, and Nighthawk) – Dec. 10, 2014
  74. The Government of New Brunswick, 1837 – Dec. 4, 2013
  75. The Whales and the Robbers – Dec. 1, 2013
  76. The Ashburton Treaty – Nov. 27, 2013
  77. Glooscap and His Four Visitors – Nov. 24, 2013
  78. The Pioneers of Saint Stephen – Nov. 20, 2013
  79. The Adventures of Kâktoogwâsees; a Tale of Ancient Times – Nov. 17, 2013
  80. The Asylum at Saint John – Nov. 13, 2013
  81. The Liver-Colored Giants and Magicians – Nov. 10, 2013
  82. Smuggling Between Calais and St. Stephen – Nov. 6, 2013
  83. The Two Weasels – Nov. 3, 2013
  84. A note to subscribers – Oct. 30, 2013
  85. The European and North American Railway, 1862 – Oct. 30, 2013
  86. The Origin of the War Between the Mi’kmaq and the Kwěděches – Oct. 23, 2013
  87. Trouble on the Line: The Early Telegraph in New Brunswick – Oct. 16, 2013
  88. The Invisible Boy; Team′ and Oochigeaskw – Oct. 9, 2013
  89. Transportation to and from Fredericton, 1841 – Oct. 2, 2013
  90. The Boy That Was Transformed Into a Horse – Sept. 25, 2013
  91. McAdam: Notes From the Early Days – Sept. 18, 2013
  92. The Magical Food, Belt and Flute – Sept. 11, 2013
  93. European & North American Rly. Staff, 1861 – Sept. 4, 2013
  94. Glooscap and the Megumoowesoo: A Marriage Adventure – Aug. 28, 2013
  95. The Loss of the Royal Tar – Aug. 21, 2013
  96. Robbery and Murder Revenged, Plus a Grand Falls Story – Aug. 14, 2013
  97. The St. John River From Below Fredericton to the Reversing Falls – Aug. 7, 2013
  98. A Proposal for a Wooden Railway – July 31, 2013
  99. ‘On the Early History of New Brunswick’ – July 24, 2013
  100. The Maugerville Settlement, 1763-1824 – July 17, 2013
  101. 1930 Circus Train Wreck Near Moncton, N.B. – July 10, 2013
  102. Horses or Oxen? Pick one – July 3, 2013
  103. The St. John River; Andover to Fredericton – June 26, 2013
  104. Origins of Some Place Names on N.B.’s Eastern Shore – June 19, 2013
  105. The St. John River; Grand Falls to the Tobique – June 12, 2013
  106. Gabriel Acquin – June 5, 2013
  107. The Seigniories of New Brunsiwck – May 29, 2013
  108. An 1841 Trek up the Oromocto River – May 22, 2013
  109. Fredericton’s Exhibition Palace, and Bears in N.B. – May 15, 2013
  110. Murder on Diamond Square Road – May 8, 2013
  111. Acadian Historic Sites in New Brunswick – May 1, 2013
  112. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 5 of 5 – Apr. 24, 2013
  113. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 4 of 5 – Apr. 17, 2013
  114. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 3 of 5 – Apr. 10, 2013
  115. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 2 of 5 – Apr. 3, 2013
  116. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 1 of 5 – Mar. 27, 2013
  117. A Retrospective Look at Saint John – Mar. 20, 2013
  118. The Wreck of the England – Mar. 13, 2013
  119. The First Decade of the 1800’s in St. John, N.B. – Mar. 6, 2013
  120. St. John’s Poorhouse and Workhouse – Feb. 27, 2013
  121. New Brunswick Scenes From an Old Book – Feb. 20, 2013
  122. Nice Pictures From Another Old Book – Feb. 13, 2013
  123. Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick, Part 2/2 – Feb. 6, 2013
  124. Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick, 1845 – Jan. 30, 2013
  125. The Works of W.O. Raymond – Jan. 23, 2013
  126. The Year of the Fever – Jan. 16, 2013
  127. Hanged for the Theft of 25 Cents – Jan. 9, 2013
  128. Reversing Falls – Pictures – Jan. 2, 2013
  129. Christmas as it was in 1808 – Dec. 25, 2012
  130. Nice Pictures From an Old Book – Dec. 19, 2012
  131. The Saint John Bridge Collapse of 1837 – Dec. 12, 2012
  132. The First Road Bridge Across the Reversing Falls – Dec. 5, 2012
  133. The Mystery of the First Lizzie Morrow – Nov. 28, 2012
  134. The First Murder Trial on the River St. John – Nov. 21, 2012
  135. The March of the 104th Regiment in 1812 – Nov. 14, 2012
  136. Partridge Island – Nov. 7, 2012
  137. Fredericton’s First Bridge Across the Saint John River – Oct. 31, 2012
  138. 1816, The Year Without a Summer – Oct. 31, 2012
  139. Winslow to Wentworth, 1781 – Oct. 31, 2012
  140. Oops! An explanation – Oct. 31, 2012
  141. The Saxby Gale of 1869 – Oct. 31, 2012
  142. New Brunswick’s Third Town in 1838: Saint Andrews – Oct. 31, 2012
  143. Fredericton and York County in 1838 – Oct. 31, 2012
  144. The City and County of Saint John in 1838 – Sept. 26, 2012
  145. The St. Andrews and Quebec Railroad – Sept. 19, 2012
  146. The Studholm Report of Saint John River Pre-Loyalists in 1783 – Sept. 12, 2012
  147. Caleb Jones. Further RE: Ann, otherwise known as Nancy – Sept. 5, 2012
  148. The Wreck of the Martha – Aug. 29, 2012
  149. The Early Settlement of Maugerville and the Sheffield Parsonage Dispute – Aug. 22, 2012
  150. Lieutenant Governors of New Brunswick to Confederation, Part 2 of 2 – Aug. 15, 2012
  151. Lieutenant Governors of New Brunswick to Confederation, Part 1 of 2 – Aug. 8, 2012
  152. The Morrow House at French Lake, N.B. – New Information – Aug. 1, 2012
  153. Sound by Glen Glenn, Revision 1 – July 25, 2012
  154. Ann, otherwise known as Nancy – July 18, 2012
  155. The Fire of October 7, 1825 – Beyond the Miramichi – July 11, 2012
  156. Lemuel Allan Wilmot – July 4, 2012
  157. The Great Fire at Miramichi, October 7, 1825 – June 27, 2012
  158. Robert Rankin in New Brunswick – June 20, 2012
  159. Who Owned the Mill at Tracy, New Brunswick? – June 13, 2012
  160. Signatures of Sunbury County Ancestors – June 6, 2012
  161. Daniel Wood’s Log Cabin, and Little Field Barn at French Lake, New Brunswick – May 30, 2012
  162. Rusagonis and George Garraty – May 23, 2012
  163. Epitaph Transcriptions from a Collection – May 16, 2012
  164. Central New Brunswick Gravestones from a Genealogy – May 9, 2012
  165. Nashwaak River Pictures with Stewart Family Connections – May 2, 2012
  166. More Sunbury County Photographs from a Collection – Apr. 25, 2012
  167. An Indian Burial Ground at Oromocto; and Coal Mining on the Oromocto River – Apr. 22, 2012
  168. “Days of Old” by Katherine DeWitt and Norma Alexander – Apr. 18, 2012
  169. The Wood Cemetery at French Lake, New Brunswick – Apr. 11, 2012
  170. James Glenie in New Brunswick – Apr. 4, 2012
  171. Four Generations of the Stewart Family on the Nashwaak River – Mar. 28, 2012
  172. Three Generations of the Mersereau Family in New Brunswick – Mar. 21, 2012
  173. Three Generations of the Smith Family of Sunbury County, New Brunswick – Mar. 14, 2012
  174. Three Generations of the Wood Family of French Lake, New Brunswick – Mar. 7, 2012
  175. New Brunswick Education in 1883 – Feb. 29, 2012
  176. Riots and Demonstrations in Saint John – Feb. 20, 2012
  177. Making Better Butter – Feb. 18, 2012
  178. York County Place Names, 1896/1905 – Feb. 8, 2012
  179. Sunbury County Place Names, 1896/1905 – Feb. 1, 2012
  180. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 3 of 3 – Jan. 25, 2012
  181. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 2 of 3 – Jan. 18, 2012
  182. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 1 of 3 – Jan. 11, 2012
  183. The Hon. Thomas Baillie: Gone, but not soon forgotten! – Jan. 5, 2012
  184. The Fort at Oromocto, 1780 – 1783 – Dec. 29, 2011
  185. The Great Fire in Fredericton, 1850 – Early Accounts – Dec. 15, 2011
  186. The Morrow House at French Lake, and More – Dec. 8, 2011
  187. The Old Woman House at French Lake, New Brunswick – Dec. 1, 2011
  188. Smith Family Photographs from a Collection, Sunbury County, N.B. – Nov. 25, 2011
  189. French Lake from Before we Remember – Nov. 20, 2011
  190. How Geary became known as Geary – Nov. 9, 2011
  191. Elizabeth (Smith) Secord; N.B.’s First Woman Registered Doctor – Nov. 4, 2011
  192. Phillips Family Photographs from a Collection, Rusagonis, N.B. – Nov. 2, 2011
  193. Mersereau Family Photographs from a Collection, Sunbury County, N.B. – Oct. 30, 2011
  194. Wood Family Photographs from a Collection, French Lake, N.B. – Oct. 25, 2011
  195. Jeremiah Tracy: Pioneer of the Village of Tracy, New Brunswick – Oct. 20, 2011
  196. Two Old Railroad-Inspired Songs – Oct. 16, 2011
  197. Ode to the Oromocto River – Oct. 10, 2011
  198. John Mersereau, Loyalist 2 – Oct. 4, 2011
  199. The Earliest American Railroads and Locomotives – Sept. 14, 2011
  200. The Mersereau Manufacturing Company of Brooklyn, New York, Notes – Sept. 3, 2011
  201. George Morrow of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1801-1868 – Aug. 26, 2011
  202. The Wood Family of French Lake, New Brunswick – Legends – Aug. 9, 2011
  203. The Baptist Church on the Oromocto River in New Brunswick – Aug. 7, 2011
  204. John Wood of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1788-1868 – Aug. 2, 2011
  205. Daniel Wood of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1764-1847 – Aug. 1, 2011
  206. Three Stewarts on the Nashwaak – July 24, 2011
  207. Bunker Genealogy – Five Bunkers – July 20, 2011
  208. Statistics From the 1851 and 1871 Sunbury County New Brunswick Census Reports – July 19, 2011
  209. Historical Development of the Beam Bending Equation M=fS – July 18, 2011
  210. Seth Noble, Maugerville and the American Revolution – July 16, 2011
  211. Columns, the Long and the Short of it – 1729-1900 – July 15, 2011
  212. The Great Saint John Steel Cantilever Bridge – July 13, 2011
  213. The Upper Oromocto River in 1847 – July 11, 2011
  214. Early Glimpses of the Rusagonis Baptist Church in New Brunswick – July 11, 2011
  215. Abraham Gesner’s 1847 Observations of Sport Hunting in New Brunswick – July 11, 2011
  216. It Sounds a bit Too Easy – July 10, 2011
  217. James Buncker – July 10, 2011
  218. Inconsistent Petitions; Changed Self-Interests – July 10, 2011
  219. Abner Mersereau and a Letter – July 9, 2011
  220. Early Glimpses of the Patterson Settlement Baptist Church in New Brunswick – July 9, 2011
  221. The Textile Mill at Geary, New Brunswick – July 8, 2011
  222. Letter of Mi’kmaq’ Chief Pemmeenauweet to Queen Victoria – 1841 – July 7, 2011
  223. New Brunswick in the 1840s – July 7, 2011


John Wood

Written by johnwood1946

March 4, 2015 at 9:14 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Father Rale’s War – 1722-25; How it Ended

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From the blog at

Father Rale’s War – 1722-25; How it Ended

The War of Spanish Succession was a wide-ranging European conflict and was brought to an end by the Peace of Utrecht in 1713. By that Peace, France ceded Newfoundland and Acadia to Great Britain, but retained Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton. Most of the other provisions of the Peace do not concern this story, including the fate of other North American territories and such far-flung European regions as Gibraltar.

“Acadia” was not well defined. There was no question that Great Britain controlled present-day Nova Scotia, but New Brunswick and a large part of Maine remained in dispute. To protect their claims, France built forts, and established missions at native villages including on the Saint John River at Meductic. None of these claims were recognized by Britain. Significantly, the natives had not been consulted in the transfer of Nova Scotia and the disputed territories to Britain, which they opposed; nor had they been consulted in any of the preceding European treaties.

The Peace was therefore challenged by the Wabanaki Confederacy which included the Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), Abenaki and Penobscot Indians. Battles were fought in peninsular Nova Scotia and along the borders of the disputed territories, and these conflicts became known as Father Rale’s War (1722–1725), after Sabastian Rale who encouraged the natives in their dispute. The war has several names, but “Father Rale’s War” is one of the common ones.

A large number of natives and Father Rale were killed in 1724, at the Battle of Norridgewock in Maine. This was followed by other raids against the Indians in 1724 and 1725. At this point, the Wabanaki Confederacy was losing to the New Englanders, and a peace treaty soon followed.

Battle of Norridgewock

A Depiction of the Death of Father Rale at the Battle of Norridgewock


The purpose of this blog posting is to present the peace treaties which ended Father Rale’s war.

The first document is the treaty of December 15, 1725, signed at Boston by three native chiefs. It was essentially a surrender. The three chiefs accepted responsibility for the war; promised to keep the peace with all whites; agreed that New Englanders could settle wherever they pleased; and undertook to submit any disputes to the authorities for settlement according to the law. They also promised to put down any dissident tribes. The only concession to them was that they could continue to hunt and fish on property not owned by an English white person. By tradition, the first document was not so much a surrender, but, given the content of the second document, was an expression of a genuine desire to live in peace and friendship.

It took about six months to gather the required signatures of a large number of native chiefs and elders, but this was done and the treaty was ratified in June 4, 1726. The ratification is not reproduced here.

The second document is usually termed the Reciprocal Promises, and was signed by John Doucett at Annapolis Royal on the same date as the ratification treaty. It promised that the Indian bands would not be molested in their persons, and that they would have access to the law and reparations in the event of any outrage being committed against them. They were also assured freedom of religion, and their traditional rights to hunting, fishing and planting. All commerce was reserved to the Crown which implies that they could not, for example, sell fish for profit.

Much has changed since 1725-26, and this two-document treaty, and others up to the 1760s were not recognized as valid until the adoption of the Canadian Constitution in 1982, and tension between present-day hunting and fishing regulations and treaty obligations continued even after that. The whole matter was examined by the Supreme Court in 1999, when it was noted that the treaties from the 1760s permitted the selling of fish without reference to a fishing season, so long as the sales were to government truckhouses. The disappearance of truckhouses, the Supreme Court ruled, did not abrogate the right to fish, nor the right to sell fish. The 1725-26 treaty and others with similar provisions therefore continue to have effect today. It took the Supreme Court to determine what, in retrospect, seems clear enough: a promise made is a debt unpaid.

All spelling is as found.

First Document: The Treaty of December 15. 1725

Whereas the several Tribes of the Eastern Indians viz the Penobscot, Narridgwolk, St. Johns Cape Sables & other Tribes Inhabiting within His Majesties Territorys of New England and Nova Scotia, who have been Engaged in the present War, from whom we Sauguaaram alias Loron Arexus Francois Xavier & Meganumbe are Delegated & fully Impowered to Enter into Articles of Pacification with His Majties Governments of the Massachusetts Bay New Hampshire & Nova Scotia Have contrary to the several Treatys they have Solemnly Entered into with the said Governments made an open Rupture & have continued some years in Acts of Hostility Against the subjects of His Majesty King George within the said Governments, They being now sensible of the Miseries and Troubles they have involved themselves in, and being Desirous to be restored to His Majesty’s Grace & Favour & to live in Peace with all His Majesties Subjects of the said three Governmts & the Province of New York and Colonys of Connecticut & Rhode Island, and that all former Acts of Injury be forgotten Have Concluded to make and we Do by these presents In the Name and behalf of the said Tribes make our Submission unto Hist Most Excellent Majesty George by the Grace of God of Great Britain France and Ireland King Defender of the Faith &. in as full and ample manner as any of our Predecessors have heretofore done.

And we do hereby Promise and Engage with the Honorable William Dummer Esqr as he is Lieutenant Governor & Comander in Chief of the said Province for the time being That is to say.

We the said Delegates for and in behalf of the several Tribes aforesaid Do Promise and Engage that at all times forever from and after the date of these presents We and they will lease and forbear all Acts of Hostility Injuries and Discords towards all the Subjects of the Crown of Great Britain, & not offer the lease hurt Violence or Molestation to them or any of them in their Persons or Estates, But will hence forward hold & maintain a firm and Constant Amity and Friendship with all the English and will never Confederate or Combine with any other Nation to their prejudice.

That all the Captives taken in this present War shall at or before the time of the further Ratification of this Treaty be Restored without any Ransom or payment to be made for them or any of them.

That His Majesties Subjects the English shall and may peaceable and Quietly Enter upon Improve & forever Enjoy all & Singular their rights of Land and former Settlements Properties & possessions within the Eastern parts of the said Province of the Massachusetts Bay Together with all Islands Islets, Shoars Beaches and Fishery within the same, without any Molestation or Claims by us, or any other Indians, and in no ways Molested Interupted, or disturbed therein.

Saving unto the Penoscot, Narridgewalk And other Tribes within His Majesties Province aforesaid and their Natural descendants respectively All their Lands liberties & properties not by them Conveyed or sold to, or possess’d by any of the English Subjects or aforesaid As alsot the Privlege of Fishing, Hunting & Fowling as formerly.

That all Trade and Commerce which hereafter may be allowed betwixt the English & Indians shall be under such Management & Regulation, as the Government of the Massachusetts Province shall direct.

If any Controversy of difference at any time hereafter happen to arise between any of the English & Indians for any real or supposed wrong or injury done on either side, no private Revenge shall be taken for the same, but proper Application shall be made to His Majesty’s Government upon the place for remedy or Redress there in a due Course of Justice we submit Our selves to be Ruled and Governed by His Majesties Laws and desiring to have the Benefit of the same.

We also the said Delegates in behalf of the Tribes of Indians Inhabiting within the French Territorys who have assisted us in this War, for whom we are fully Impowered to Act in this present Treaty. Do hereby Promise and Engage that they and every of them shall henceforth lease and forbear all Acts of Hostility Force & Violence towards all and every the Subjects of His Majesty the King of Great Britain.

We do further in behalf of the Tribe of the Penobscot Indians Promise & Engage That if any of the other Tribes Intended to be included in this Treaty, shall notwith standing refuse to Confirm & Ratify this present Treaty Entered into on their behalf & Continue or renew Acts of Hostility against the English in such case the said Penobscot Tribe shall Joyn their Young Men with the English in reducing them to reason.

In the next place we the aforenamed Delegated Do Promise and Engage with the Honorable John Wentworth Esqr as he is Lieutt Governor & Comander in Chief of His Majesties Province of New Hampshire & with the Governors & Comanders in Chief of the said Province for the time being, That we & the Tribes we are Deputed from, will henceforth lease & Forbear all Acts of Hostility Injuries and Discords towards all the subjects of His Majesty King George within the said Province. And we do understand and take it that the said Government of New Hampshire is also Included and Comprehend in all and every the Articles aforegoing, Excepting that respect the Regulating the Trade with us.

And further we the aforenamed Delegates Doe Promise & Engage with the Honoble Lawrence Armstrong Esqr Lt Governor & Comander in Chief of His Majesties Province of Nova Scotia or Accadie to live in peace with his Majesty’s Good Subjects & their Dependants in that Government according to the Articles agreed upon with Majr Paul Mascarene Commissioner for that purpose & further to be Ratified as mentioned in the said Articles.

That this present Treaty shall be Accepted Ratified & Confirmed in a Public and Solemn Manner by the Chiefs of the several Eastern Tribes of Indians Including therein at Falmouth in Casco Bay so time in the Month of May next In whereof we have signed these present Affixed our Seals.

Dated in the Council Chamber in Boston in New England the fifteenth day of December Anno Domini One thousand seven hundred and Twenty five Annoq. RRS Georgii Magna Britanix &c Duodecimo.

Done in the presence of the Great & General Court or Assemble of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay Aforesaid

Being first read distinctly & Interpreted by Capt. John Giles Capt. Saml Jordan & Capt. Joseph Bane sworn Interpreters.

[Signed] Att J Willard Secry; Sauguaaram Alt Loron; Arexies; Francois Xavier; Lignum; Meganumbe.

Second Document: The ‘Reciprocal Promises’ of June 4, 1726

Whereas Maj. Paul Macerene one of the Council of his Majesty’s Province of Nova Scotia Commissioned and Appointed By the Hon.ble Lieutenant-Coll. Lawrence Armstrong. Lt. Govr and Commander in Chief of this his Majesty’s said province to Negotiate and treat about the Indians Engaged in the Late Warr hath by and with the Desire of His Majesty’s said Council in Connection with his Majesty’s province of New England, Concluded and Effected the Same for his Majesty’s said province as well as that for New England with Sangaurium (alias) Laurent, Alexis, Francois Xavier and Maganumbe, Delegates of the Penobscot, Norrigwock, St. John’s & of the Cape Sable Indians & of the other Indian Tribes Belonging to and Inhabiting within this his said Majesty’s said province of Nova Scotia & that of New England as appears by the Instruments Sign’d Seal’d and Exchang’d by the Said Maj. Paul Mascerene Commissioner for His Majesty’s said province and the Said Indian Delegates in presence of the great and general Court or Assembly of the Province of Massachusetts Bay Bearing date at the Council Chambers in Boston New England the Fifteenth day of December one thousand Seven hundred and twenty Five, Whereof the Following Articles being Exactly the Same as required by the said Delegates to be performed on his Majesty’s Part by this his said Government

I do therefore in the Name of the Honble Lawrence Armstrong Esq the Lt. Gov & Commander in Chief as aforesaid By with the Advicxe of the Council of this his Majesty’s said province for and in the name of my master his most Sacred Majesty George of great Brittain, France & Ireland King Defender of the Faith &c the Chiefs of the Said Indian Tribes having Conforme to the said Articles Stipulated by their said Delegates come here and first performed their parts Ratify & Confirme the same and in Testimony thereof I Have to the Following Articles Sett my hand & Seal:

Whereas the Chiefs of the Penobscot, Norrigwock, St. Johns Cape Sable Indians and of the other Indian Tribes & their Representatives Belonging to and Inhabiting within this his Majesty’s Province of Nova Scotia Conforme to the Articles Stipulated by their Delegates, Sangarumn (alias) Laurens, Alexis, Francois Xavier, & Meganumbe, at Boston in New England the Fifteenth day of December one thousand seven hundred & twenty five have come to this His Majesty’s Fort at Annapolis Royal and Ratifyed said Articles and made their submission to his Majesty George By the grace of god of great Brittain France & Ireland King Defender of the Faith &c and Acknowledged his said Majesty’s Just Title to this his said province of Nova Scotia or Acadia & promised to Live peaceably with all his Majesty’s Subjects & their Dependents & to perform what Further is Contained in the Severall articles of their Instruments. I do therefore in His Majesty’s name for and in Behalf of this his said Government of Nova Scotia or Acadia Promise the Said Chiefs & their Respective Tribes all marks of Favour, Protection & Friendship

And I do Further promise & in the absence of the honble the Lt. Govr of the Province in behalf of this his said Government, That the Said Indians shall not be Molested in Their Persons, Hunting Fishing and Shooting & planting on their planting Ground nor in any other their Lawfull occasions, by his Majesty’s Subjects or Their Dependants in the Exercise of their Religion Provided the Missionarys Residing amongst them have Leave from the Government for So Doing

That if any Indians are Injured By any of his Majesty’s Subjects or their Dependants They shall have Satisfaction and Reparation made to them According to his Majesty’s Laws whereof the Indians shall have the Benefit Equall with his Majesty’s other Subjects

That upon the Indians Bringing back any Soldier Endeavouring to run away from any of his Majesty’s Forts or Garrisons, the Said Indians for their good Office Shall be handsomely rewarded.

That as a Mark and token of a true Observation & Faithfull Performance of all and Every Article promised on his Majesty’s part by the Government I have by and with the Advice and Council for said Government Releas’d and Sett att Liberty the Indian Prisoners

Given under my hand and seal at his Majesty’s Fort of Annapolis Royall this 4th day of June in the Twelvth year of his Majesty’s Reign

Given under my hand and seal at his Majesty’s Fort of Annapolis Royall this 4th day of June in the Twelvth year of his Majesty’s Reign

John Doucett Lieu Govt of Annapolis Royal

By Order of his hon the Lt Gov by and with the Advice of the Council, W. Sheriff Secy

Written by johnwood1946

March 4, 2015 at 9:13 AM

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What Was the Big Deal About the Marco Polo?

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From the blog at

One cannot live in Saint John, and go to school there, without hearing of the ship the Marco Polo. However, to praise the Marco Polo is more a matter of local patriotism than it is a reflection of actually knowing anything about it. And so, I was wondering,

What Was the Big Deal About the Marco Polo?

James Smith began his career working in the shipyards at Saint John, but went on to become a shipbuilder on his own. He was the first to build at Courtenay Bay, and his first production was the ship Courtenay, launched there in about 1835. He is believed to have built about sixty ships over the years, including the Marco Polo in 1851.

Marco Polo

The Marco Polo

From a painting by Thomas Robertson, 1859, State Library of Victoria, Australia, and the web site

The Marco Polo was a three-masted clipper ship, 184 feet long, 36 feet wide, and with a 29 feet draught. She displaced 1,625 tons. The ship was launched on April 16, 1851, but Courtenay Bay was shallow except at high tide and was not deep enough for the operation. The Marco Polo fell on her side and became stuck in the mud. She was re-floated after about five days, but was soon grounded again. She made it clear of Courtenay Bay only after another two weeks of effort. One of James Smith’s relatives denied these details, saying that James would never have allowed it to happen; but it appears to be true nonetheless.

“A large and elegant vessel called the MARCO POLO was launched on Thursday morning last from the building yard of Mr. James Smith at Courtenay Bay. He is also the owner. She has three complete decks, measures 1,625 tons, and her length aloft is upwards of 184 feet. We presume that although not quite the largest that has been built in the Province this splendid ship is probably the longest that has been built in the Province. She is named after the celebrated Venetian traveller who discovered the coast of Malabar.”

“We regret to learn that after this fine vessel had got clear of her ways in launching, she touched the bank of the creek and the wind blowing fresh at the time, went over on her beam ends, in consequence of which, some of the persons on board were hurt. One boy saved himself by jumping overboard and swimming ashore. The vessel, we understand, was not injured.”

(The New Brunswick Courier, Saint John, April 19, 1851)

There is some difference of opinion about how elegant the ship was, or wasn’t:

“She was a bluff, ugly vessel, just like hundreds of her sisters before and after. She had no pretensions to beauty….”

(The Age, Melbourne Australia, May 19, 1934)

The first sailing was from Saint John to Liverpool in 1852, carrying a load of timber. That crossing was made in fifteen days. Some other crossings followed, before she was sold in that same year to James Baines of Liverpool, representing the Black Ball Line. The ship was then converted to passenger service for the immigrant traffic to Australia. The decorating of the ship was ‘over the top’:

“One morning eighty-three years ago the Marco Polo lay in Liverpool with a broom at her mast head, signifying she was for sale. James Baines, the founder of the Liverpool Black Ball line of clipper packets had an eye for a ship. He bought her cheaply, refitted her, and made many alterations and improvements, and loaded her for Melbourne. The contemporary descriptions of her saloon decorations and her cabins wonderful in her day are amusing to us. There was a wealth of embossed red velvet and rare woods; there was plate glass and stained glass wherever it could be fitted; a plate glass table top in the saloon served to illuminate the cabins below; panels with coins of all nations in high relief served to decorate the dining saloon, and so on.”

“On her first passage to Melbourne from Liverpool this little ship not only broke all records for speed, but brought 930 ‘Government immigrants.’ These, together with a crew of sixty and her officers, would total close to 1,000 persons. The excellence of her accommodation is revealed by the fact that there were only two deaths. In those days a few score dead would arouse little or no comment.”

(The Age, Melbourne Australia, May 19, 1934)

That first sailing took 76 days in each direction and, with time spent in port, the total time away from Liverpool was 5 months and twenty one days. That was the first time that a ship had made a round trip to Australia in less than six months. Some people have given slightly different details:

“Under the command of Captain James Nicol Forbes she made the voyage from Liverpool to Port Phillips Head in 76 days on the18th of September. An epidemic of measles among the children aboard caused 52 deaths during the voyage. After three weeks she returned to London in another 76 days, arriving on Boxing Day. This was the first recorded round trip in less than six months, or to be exact 5 months 21 days.”


“On her first voyage, under the command of Captain James ‘Bully’ Forbes, she left Liverpool, England for Melbourne, Australia with one [thousand] passengers on board, and made the passage in an unheard of 68 days, and returned to Liverpool again with a record passage of 74 days. The whole shipping world was astounded.”


Bully Forbes is quoted in one document, in order to demonstrate his character:

“His slogan was ‘Hell or Melbourne’, and he habitually gave his passengers a generous preview of the former through his hunger for speed. An apocryphal story has him padlocking the sails during a gale to prevent any of the more timid in his crew hauling in the dangerously strained canvas.”


In the days of the Australian gold rush, rickety ships would arrive full of immigrants having spent months at sea. The situation is reminiscent of the history of Partridge Island in Saint John, where inspectors examined passengers for communicable diseases and for evidence of mistreatment at the hands of ships’ captains. The Marco Polo was not a rickety old ship, but accommodations were not the best either. Regulations required that sleeping mats be a minimum of six feet long and 18 inches wide, for example, and at least one of those on the Marco Polo barely met the standard, being 20 inches wide.

Darren Watson told a story about a day in late 1854, when four ships, including the Marco Polo, arrived from London and Liverpool, with merchandise and a total of 1,078 passengers, plus crews. Four ships arriving at once pointed toward a delay in processing, and the Marco Polo had already taken too long at sea. Captain William Wild was in no mood for a further delay which was inevitable when it was discovered that several deaths had not been properly logged in the immigration papers.

William Ward had served under Bully Forbes and was of a similar temperament. The inspectors were harassed and prevented from performing their duties. The Marco Polo then ran the blockade and, it was thought, would become the subject of an enquiry. There was no enquiry, however, and they seem to have got away with it.}

There were other incidents of note in the history of the Marco Polo, such as when she was used to save people from the burnt ship, the Eastern City in 1858; and a month later carried nearly 47,000 ounces of gold out of Australia. She struck an iceberg off Cape Horn in 1861 and required heavy repairs. (All from

The Marco Polo’s glorious career was coming to an end and, in 1867, she no longer met the requirements for passenger service and was again consigned to carrying cargo. Following that, she was modified for the cargo business and sold several times. She was carrying lumber from Quebec when she sprung a leak in July of 1883, off the coast of Prince Edward Island. The pumps could not handle the flow and the captain grounded her near Cavendish, PEI. The masts were cut down to reduce her profile in the wind; attempting to avoid further damage.

The community rushed to the beach to witness what was going on, including a small girl, Lucy Maud Montgomery, with her grandfather. She wrote:

“That day we had a terrible windstorm in Cavendish. Suddenly the news was spread that a vessel was coming ashore. Everyone who could, rushed to the sandshore and saw a magnificent sight! A large vessel coming straight on before the northern gale with every stitch of canvas set. She grounded about 300 yards from the shore (on a sandbar) and as she struck the crew cut the rigging and the huge masts went over with a crash that was heard for a mile, above the roaring storm. The next day the crew of twenty men got ashore and found boarding placed about Cavendish. Being typical tars they painted our quiet settlement a glowing scarlet for the remainder of the summer.

Quoted in from Alpine Path.

The next month she was sold for salvage and the work of taking off the lumber began. A gale arose one night, when the salvage crew were staying onboard. The gale continued all the following day, and the community gathered again. A heroic effort was put forth to save the salvage crew, and this was successful. That was the end of the salvage operation, all was lost. Souvenirs washed ashore and were widely dispersed among the local residents.

These are the things that I have learned about the Marco Polo, and why she was such a ‘big deal.’ She was likely the longest sailing ship ever built in Saint John, and was renowned for her speed. She was called the fastest ship in the world. She had a long career carrying immigrants to Australia, and they say that one in twenty Australians can trace their ancestry to those passengers (Wikipedia). Upon her return from the record breaking round trip to Australia,

“A waterman meeting Mr. James Baines in the street said ‘Sir, the Marco Polo is coming up the river.’ ‘Nonsense man’ returned Mr. Baines. Marco Polo is not arrived yet.’ In less than an hour Mr. Baines was face to face with the commander.”

(The Daily Telegraph, Australia, November 17, 1883, at

She was also famous in Liverpool:

“There are probably none who lived in Liverpool some 30 years ago but will have a lively recollection of the Marco Polo. Her name in Liverpool was a household word, and her praise was on the lips of all who knew her.”

(The Daily Telegraph, ibid.)

Written by johnwood1946

February 25, 2015 at 9:18 AM

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Grand Manan to the Petitcodiac, in 1786

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From the blog at

The following is from an anonymous book entitled The Present State of Nova Scotia with a Brief Account of Canada, first published in Edinburgh in 1786. It describes the part of New Brunswick from Grand Manan to Beaver Harbour, and on to Saint John, Quaco and the Petitcodiac River, with mention also of the Minas Basin.

I liked this account because it is from very early in the Loyalist period. It is general in its observations, however, and I regret that it is not more detailed.

Beaver Harbour 1920

Beaver Harbour in 1920, from

“The southerly winds that sometimes prevail … blow very hard upon the coast”

Grand Manan to the Petitcodiac, in 1786

The line is supposed to commence upon the sea coast, in latitude 45°’ 10′ N longitude 66° 50′ weft of London, at the island of Grand Manan, which lies two leagues from the main land, on the north side, at the entrance into the Bay of Fundy, and has several small rocks or islands near it, on the south side, which form a harbour, where, at certain seasons of the year, the cod and seal fisheries may be prosecuted to advantage. The island is everywhere covered with good timber, but is entirely destitute of inhabitants, except some Indians who land upon it occasionally. It is about fourteen miles in length, and nine in breadth, very steep and craggy on all sides, but covered with an excellent soil, capable of amply rewarding the labours that are necessary for its cultivation; however, it is not yet known whether it is to belong to Great Britain or to America.

In sight of the above island, and ten miles distant from it, is a large and deep bay, which still retains its Indian name of Passamaquoddy, having a great number of islands at its entrance, of various dimensions, the principal of which, called Campo Bello, has several loyalists settled upon it, and some tilled land.

The harbours that lie within the Bay are equal in goodness to any in the world, and alike fitted for carrying on the lumber trade to the West Indies, the fisheries, and ship building. The facility of constructing docks and ships, for the latter purpose, is perfectly obvious, having great stores of good timber everywhere in the neighbourhood of the bay, as well as a very considerable rise and fall of the tide, which, though not so great as at St John’s River, and other places farther up the Bay of Fundy, contributes to render the situation superior to them in a comparative view, when ship building is considered as the principal thing to which the attention of the loyalists in this quarter ought to be directed.

The upper end of Passamaquoddy Bay terminates in a river called St. Croix, which branches out into three distinct channels; and these, making considerable angles with each other, have caused a misunderstanding between the persons appointed to settle the limits of both countries, as the line between them was to be drawn from the head of this river, and it remains undecided which of the three branches is to be called the head. The lands in general that lie round about them are not only very good, but the superior excellence of the timber makes it an object to this country to contend seriously for every foot of territory to which she is entitled.

St Andrews is a handsome town, built by the loyalists, upon the river above mentioned, consisting of 600 houses, the situation of which, though in some respects well chosen, is certainly at too great a distance from the sea, and, besides this disadvantage, has only six feet water in its harbour upon the ebb tide. No place, as has been observed before, in the whole province, is better situated for ship building. They have the cod fishery even at their doors, and possess the singular advantage of being scarcely ever incommoded with the fogs which prevail on many other parts of the coast several months in the year. The inhabitants at St. Andrews, and in its vicinity, amount to upwards of three thousand of all sorts; and no people on the continent are capable of being more usefully industrious in proportion to their numbers.

Beaver harbour is a small port, 3 leagues east of Passamaquoddy, settled by the refugees, about 800 in number, who have built a town upon it, the situation of which seems to be well chosen for carrying on the fishery, if their harbour was not exposed to the southerly winds that sometimes prevail and blow very hard upon the coast.

From this place to St. John’s River, E., N.E. distant 12 leagues, the land appears moderately high and rocky, with a bold shore, entirely free from danger, but destitute of any other than one small harbour, only capable of sheltering fishing vessels against all winds. Off the mouth of St. John’s River, lies a small island, high, rocky, and covered with wood, near to which ships must pass, in going in or out of the river; and, as it lies at a small distance from the main land, is equally fitted to afford protection to the river against an enemy, and for the erection of a light-house, to guide ships in passing up and down the bay, being very conspicuous for several leagues.

The town is built upon the east side of the harbour, within two miles of Partridge Island, which, lying directly opposite to the entrance of the river, breaks off the sea, and perfectly shelters it from all winds.

The river, a mile above the town, by being confined between some rocks that encroach upon it considerably, though of a great depth, has a large fall or rapid, particularly upon the ebb tide. When the flood has risen 12 feet in the harbour below, the falls are smooth, and continue to be passable for about twenty minutes; and the river is navigable from hence upwards of 70 miles for vessels of 80 to 100 tons burthen. In times of great freshets, when the rains fall, and the snows melt in the country, which is commonly from the middle of April to the beginning of June, the falls are absolutely impassable to vessels bound up the river, as the tide does not rise to their level, and the strong current, which runs continually down through the harbour at that season, frequently prevents vessels that are bound in from entering, unless assisted by a fair wind.

The town consists of upwards of two thousand houses, many of which are large and spacious, and being built upon a neck of land, almost entirely surrounded by the sea, is thereby rendered exceeding pleasant. The streets have been regularly laid out, are from 50 to 60 feet in breadth, and cross each other at right angles, corresponding with the four cardinal points, every house possessing 60 feet in front by 120 in depth, makes it capable of becoming one of the best cities in the New World, as the ground whereon it is built is of a moderate height, and rises gradually from the water.

No place on the north side of the Bay of Fundy possesses equal advantages with this for becoming a place of general trade; the river extending not only much further into the country, than any other in the province, but likewise has upon its banks large tracts of land, equal in goodness to any in America, for raising both corn and livestock; while its woods, abounding with the best of timber, will enable it to carry on a trade for lumber with the West Indies, and to vie with New England in the ship building business, which was one of its principal branches of commerce before the rebellion. When the woods on the lands near the river are cut down, and a sufficient quantity cleared, a business which, in the hands of the loyalists, is making rapid advances, the quantity of cattle raised in this part of Nova Scotia will certainly be very great, both for home consumption and exportation.

Amongst other advantages possessed by this settlement, it ought not to be considered as the least, that a very considerable property was imported, together with a number of respectable merchants, from New York, at the evacuation of that city, whose unremitting industry and perseverance has embellished the town with a great many fine houses, the harbour with several fine quays and wharfs, and they already possess 60 sail of vessels, some of which are employed in carrying on trade with the West Indies, and the rest in the whale and cod fisheries. Most of the fur trade that can ever take place on this side of the province, must naturally center here, as no other navigable water extends far inland, besides St John’s River. Very good masts for the royal navy are cut at the distance of 50, 60, and 70 miles from the sea, as large as to 32 inches diameter, which are collected by persons appointed by government, below the falls, from whence they are shipped off for the King’s dock yards in England.

The harbour has from seven to ten fathoms water, with good holding ground, and an excellent beach for landing goods, and graving or repairing vessels of the largest size. Opposite to the town, on the other side of the harbour, is a small settlement, called Carleton, built and inhabited by the loyalists, amongst whom are a considerable number of ship carpenters, whose talents have already exerted themselves in building many vessels; whilst the large quantity of fine timber, on every part of the river, equal in goodness to that of New England, and almost any other province in America, is not only a proof of their situation being very properly chosen, but a sure prognostic of the advantages which this place derives from ship building.

To all the above recited advantages may be added the extent of population, which exceeds ten thousand persons of all denominations, among whom are several regiments disbanded at the late peace, that are not only highly respectable for their numbers and their industry, but still more so, if possible, from their forming a very strong barrier to the colony against the subjects of the United States. A small fortification, called Fort Howe, defends the town, but is too inconsiderable to withstand a regular attack; being very small, and entirely destitute of out-works. The river has in it a number of islands, which, even at this time, afford pasture for a great number of cattle; so that, when more land is cleared, a far greater portion of livestock will be raised than the inhabitants can consume, the soil being generally very good and capable of great improvement.

Twelve leagues further up the Bay of Fundy, E.N.E. from St John’s River, is a small settlement belonging to the loyalists, called Quaco. About six hundred persons are here, who have very wisely directed their attention to agriculture, their lands being generally accounted good, whilst, on the contrary, they have no place fit to shelter vessels in, especially when southerly winds prevail. The timber of all kinds is very good, and the country abounds with game.

Eleven leagues east from the last mentioned place, the Bay of Fundy, after carrying everywhere in its course a great depth of water, and continuing from fifteen to six leagues wide, is suddenly divided by the land into two distinct arms, the largest of which, called the Basin of Minas, takes its course nearly due east for almost eighty miles, but having the rise and fall of the tide continually increasing as it advances, so as to be equal to 70 feet perpendicular at its head, and receiving the waters of several rivers, which from thence penetrate considerably into the country. All these rivers have settlements upon them, the inhabitants of which amount to upwards of 4,000. The lands in the environs of Minas Basin are very good, and have store of timber, particularly on the south side, and continue so almost all the way to Halifax, from which it is distant upwards of 40 miles. The other head is called Chignecto Bay, taking its course N.E. from where the separation commences, for about 50 miles, receiving the waters of several rivers which discharge themselves into it, one of them being pretty considerable, called Petitcodiac, where about 2,000 loyalists are settled, and have the appearance of being a thriving colony. Many advantages are held out to persons that are obliged to settle in this province, whose views are not solely confined to trade, but who wish to attend to agriculture, and the raising cattle, as most of the lands round the head of the Bay are very good, having been formerly possessed and cultivated by the ancient French colonists, distinguished by the name of Neutrals, whole industry had been crowned with a degree of success not always equalled, and but seldom exceeded, by the inhabitants of the southern colonies; nor can it be doubted, but that the persons in whose hands they now are, will very speedily render them an object of jealousy to their New England neighbours. There is a small fort, formerly called St Laurence, and now Fort Cumberland, built upon the isthmus which joins the peninsula to the main land, and, though of no great account at present, may, in a more improved state, be looked upon as the key of Nova Scotia, against the invasion of a land army.

Written by johnwood1946

February 18, 2015 at 9:38 AM

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A Trip From St. John to Fredericton, N.B. in 1870

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From the blog at

A very large tour group visited New Brunswick in July and August of 1870, arriving in Saint John on an ocean steamer. The tour included hundreds of people, and was significant enough that they were greeted by large crowds, including civic officials and the Lieutenant Governor. Letters were written describing the group’s experiences, and some of these were later published in a book entitled Coit Correspondence, or a Trip to New Brunswick, Worcester, Mass., 1871.

The following is letter describes their last day in Saint John, and a trip on a riverboat to see Fredericton.


Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) Canoeists at Nerepis, N.B., c 1900-1910

From the N.B. Museum, via the McCord Museum

A Trip from Saint John to Fredericton, N.B., in 1870

Three eventful days of the Coit Excursion are to be imperfectly sketched in this letter. The Sabbath was observed as becomes the descendants of the Pilgrims. Three services were held on board the steamer, the morning one conducted by our worthy Chaplain, Rev. Mr. Osterhout; that in the afternoon, by Rev. Mr. Bullard. At nightfall, the beauty of the sky and surrounding scenery, together with the softness of the evening air, having drawn great numbers to the upper decks, and a crowd of St. John people numbering a thousand or more to the wharf alongside, it was decided to have the third service in the open air. The exercises, consisting of hymns reverently sung by the great congregation; an eloquent and earnest address to the young by Rev. Mr. Bullard; the following pieces by the Band—“Old Hundred,” “The Prayer from Der Freischutz,” “The Elegy of Tears,” “God Save the Queen;”—and a closing prayer; were exceedingly impressive. The multitude upon the shore evinced their respect for the day and for the occasion, in a manner so marked as to excite general comment. Not a single sound of rudeness marred the sacred hour.

Many of course attended church in the city at places suited to individual convictions and tastes. Not a few went to the Catholic Cathedral, attracted by the announcement that Bishop Sweeny would give some account of the Ecumenical Council at Rome from which he has just returned, and by the rumor that the Brignoli troupe, now in the city, were to perform there Mozart’s Twelfth Mass. Scores returned declaring that they distinctly recognized the great tenor’s voice, and were ecstatic in praise of the music. No doubt it was good; but alas for their ears, the St. John papers dispelled the illusion next morning by stating that the Signor did not sing. Baptist and Methodist churches predominate in the city, and—excepting the single Congregational society—contrary to what one would suppose, there are least Episcopal.

Your readers are aware that St. John was to be our objective point. But we have overshot, being induced to believe that it would never do to miss this opportunity of witnessing the scenery upon the river, and of visiting the Celestial City. Arrangements were therefore made with Mr. Reuben Lunt, the gentlemanly proprietor of the steamer Rothesay, the fastest and best upon the river, by which the excursionists could obtain tickets to Fredericton and back for one dollar United States money;—less than half fare. Conveyed by various vehicles, or going on foot, some two hundred and fifty of our party reached Indiantown, two miles distant, at eight o’clock on Monday morning, and embarked upon the steamer. A considerable company of St. John people, at least forty gentlemen with their wives and daughters, added themselves to our party and doubled our enjoyment all the way, not only by their agreeable society, but also by indicating all points of interest and conveying much information. Of this number may be mentioned John March, Esq., editor of the Morning News, and reputed one of the best phonetic reporters upon the Continent; T.Y. Ellis, Esq., editor of the Evening Globe, strangely like the rebel Gen. Lee in countenance, but most unlike him in his political sympathies during the Great Rebellion; a reporter for the Daily Telegraph; Dr. Fisk; Elder Garrity; Lewis Carvel, Esq., General Superintendent of the European and North American Railway ; Rev. A.S. McKenzie, pastor of the Leinster Street Baptist Church; and John R. Marshall, Chief of Police, who having no duties appertaining to his office to perform in such a company, gracefully discharged those of a fine old English gentleman.

Scarcely had we time for introductions and mutual greetings before the striking characteristics of the shore absorbed our attention. For several miles the river is confined narrowly between limestone rocks, somewhat resembling the Palisades upon the Hudson, while towering bluffs and bold headlands mark their grand outlines against the sky. Passing close under the snout of Boar’s Head we emerge into a broad and beautiful expanse of water called Grand Bay. The same majestic scenery surrounds us but at a further remove. Here we cross the mouth of the first tributary from the East—the Kennebecacis River, i.e. the little Kennebec, noted for salmon and boat-racing. At the head of Grand Bay comes in the Nerepis spanned by a bridge a mile and a quarter long, whose arches were visible to our glasses far down the Bay. Now we round Brundage’s Point making almost a right angle. Every eye is strained and every glass is pointed to behold the Long Reach. There it is, for eighteen miles stretching away, straight as a bee can fly, until it narrows to a silver thread! Along the Reach the banks are steep slopes, presenting frequent cultivated clearings. Near the head of the Reach, twenty-three miles from St. John, is Oak Point, with a light-house at its tip, a mere lamppost with which every point or forward piece of land upon the St. John is extravagantly decorated by the munificence of the Dominion of Canada. Just above, we glide past Grassy Island, seemingly a mere surface of tall interval grass growing out of the water. Next we muse upon The Mistake, where a long landslip parallel with the banks and parting the river, tempted the first adventurers to the left hand course which terminates, after running a three mile rig, in a cul-de-sac—a pretty serious mistake. When will men “seek the right and pursue it.” Presently we pass Bellisle Bay extending on the right 12 miles inland and fringed with highly cultivated farms. Midway between St. John and Fredericton is Long Island, shaped like a crescent, and measuring from horn to horn three miles, with a width at the widest of a half-mile—a beautiful interval dotted with tall elms, across which as we look is seen the line of bushes where winds an encircling arm of the river and in the background an amphitheatre of hills whose fronting slopes are covered with green fields and pretty farm-cottages. On the island itself is a marshy lake where in autumn the ducks do congregate and sportsmen love to prowl. Opposite Long Island a narrow strait leads to Washedamoak Lake, twenty miles long.

And now leaving the wild and rugged scenery we enter upon the interval country. Far almost as the eye can pierce on either hand lie the smiling plains. The tall elms, the yet uncut grass waving in the breeze, the lights and shadows from the broken clouds, the varied tints of trees and grains and grasses, combine to produce a view, the loveliness of which is simply indescribable. Passing the head of Musquash Island, we spy opposite through the trees the Court House of Gagetown, the shire town of Queen’s County. Just here the wind freshens, making us hold our hats on, but not preventing our exchanging salutes with the Grand Lake steamer as she flits by. Indeed, all along, we meet or overtake vessels laden with shingles, deal and hay. Over against Gagetown is the entrance to Grand Lake called the Jemseg, a creek so narrow that in some places two vessels cannot pass each other, and yet so deep that a good sized steamer ploughs safely through. It winds along between the interval and the highlands for four miles, to meet the Lake which is thirty miles long by six wide. Millions of logs annually float down the Jemseg. From our hurricane deck one may see a fine sight: Jemseg, Grand Lake, Thoroughfare, Maquapit, Little Thoroughfare, and French Lake—all strung together like beads upon a string.

And now, one grand stretch of verdant interval on the left bank, and on the right intervals and hills interspersed, accompany us all the way to Fredericton—thirty miles. Off Grimross Island another steamer passes us, the third since we started. Our Blue-nose cousins shout, wave their hats and handkerchiefs, and we uproariously respond. Twenty-four miles from Fredericton, Ox and Major Islands divide the river into three channels. We take the right and approach the little parish of Sheffield. Here a boat hails us and we take on board Judge Fisher and Hon. W. H. Needham, of Fredericton—the latter, a veritable Jack Falstaff. Close by, the Chief of Police points out to me a magnificent farm running six miles back from the river on which his great grandfather, Samuel Upton, settled, coming from Salem in 1767. As we near Fredericton, for twenty miles beautiful farms and farm-houses peep out between rows of elms and shrubbery which border the banks. Twelve miles from Fredericton we pass Oromocto village, river and island. From here to the capital shifting phases of quiet beauty offer themselves to the eye in almost wearisome profusion. But the beauty as heretofore is of nature and not of art. One cannot help remarking that Americans would hardly be content with this “nature unadorned.” Stately summer residences would perch upon every bluff or look out from every glade. “We haven’t the money,” they say.

Our reception at Fredericton was very cordial. The wharves were thronged. Handkerchiefs fluttered from fair hands in every window. His Excellency, the Lieut. Governor, His Worship, the Mayor, the United States Consul and many citizens were in waiting with carriages. Presentations over, the whole party were invited to the Governor’s residence, where a most delightful hour was divided between the elegant drawing-rooms and the charming gardens in the rear of the mansion. The Governor took each excursionist by the hand and presented each lady with a pink. There was little time to linger. A jovial Briton and myself seize a barouche and elope with two ladies. A whisk through the principal streets, a passing glance at the fine Cathedral, at the little and dingy Parliament Buildings, at the not palatial Queen’s hotel, at the Methodist church with a huge hand pointing heavenward with its dexter finger from the steeple top, and we were up the hill, and through the birchen grove, and knocking for admittance at the University of New Brunswick. Dr. Jack, the President, soon appeared, and politely conducted us through the building. There was little to see within, except a good refracting telescope, a respectable museum, and some pretty hard looking dormitories. But the view from the roof of the portico, including the city directly in front, around which the river bends in a long semi-circuit, the far off amphitheatre of hills, and the Nashwaak at whose mouth Latour built the first fort in Acadia, is magnificent indeed. The Doctor presents us a catalogue, we raise our hats, and our horse raises his feet in a mad race to the boat. We have spent two hours in Fredericton, and are ready to start again at 4 p.m. A greater throng than welcomed us shout good-bye, the city band strikes up, and ours replies as we cast off from shore. Our reception has been more enthusiastic than Prince Arthur’s.

A cold, bracing wind made it glorious to promenade the deck on the downward sail. As it grew dark the company gathered within and listened to songs, readings, and excellent speeches. By 11 o’clock the Coits were home again upon their own boat, delighted with their trip.

Next morning many of our friends came on board to bid us farewell. His Worship, the Mayor, in a neat speech, bade us Godspeed and good bye. Our honored president, Mr. Geo. R. Peckham, called upon Mr. Mecorney to respond, which he did most felicitously. Capital speeches were also made by Mr. O.D. Wetmore, a Prince William Street Broker, and Mr. John Boyd of the London House. It was pleasant to hear Mr. Wetmore utter such sentiments as these: “No one now doubts that your forefathers were right,” and “We claim a share in the heritage and in the name of George Washington.” With three cheers or three times three, for the Queen, the President, the Mayor, the Coits, the citizens of St. John, the lady excursionists, the pretty girls of St. John, and two or three “tigers,” we steamed away from British soil, the Band playing “God save the Queen.” “The Star Spangled Banner “followed hard after, however, and the wind blew it straight into our cousins’ faces.

The wind blew high, and by the time we reached New River, where two tides meet, the condition of most of our party was woeful enough. Frequent libations were made to Neptune over the rail. In the ladies’ cabin things were in a general state of upheaval. Coits, for the first time, looked wretched.

“Man delights not me, no, nor woman neither,”

was in large type on scores of faces. Your correspondent meanwhile, deeply penetrated with the ludicrous phase of the scene, sat over-coated and alone upon the hurricane deck, experiencing only a sort of delicious intoxication.

We reached Eastport at last; fishing parties scattered over the Bay; cod and haddock enough for one breakfast were caught; a dance is in prospect this evening, and we start for Mount Desert at midnight.

Oh, these Eastport girls!—I mean—“Those evening Belles.” It is late and my mind wanders.


[Likely either Abner H. Davis of Worcester, or A.H. Davis of Webster, both members of the party.]

Written by johnwood1946

February 11, 2015 at 9:46 AM

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A Tour of St. John, N.B. in 1870

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A very large tour group visited New Brunswick in July and August of 1870, arriving in Saint John on an ocean steamer. The tour included hundreds of people, and was significant enough that they were greeted by large crowds, including civic officials. Letters were written describing the group’s experiences, and some of these were later published in a book entitled Coit Correspondence, or a Trip to New Brunswick, Worcester, Mass., 1871. Following is one of those letters describing Saint John.

To enjoy this description it is best to ignore some of the remarks about Saint John’s less attractive features which, after all, are from a private letter. Just keep reading, and you will discover a pleasant remembrance of the visit.

Victoria rink St John

The Victoria Skating Rink, St. John

From the N.B. Museum. It was, they said, “the largest in America”

A Tour of Saint John, N.B., in 1870

Bay of Fundy, July 30, 1870

I continue this letter after a long and long-to-be-remembered day in St. John. Indeed, we excursionists find ourselves obliged to adopt the eight hour system, i.e., eight hours in the forenoon, and eight hours in the afternoon. Warily advancing through the partially illuminated fog, listening to the steamer’s impatient cry, “where are you, old fog-y,” and to the deep bass of the fog bell, as it seemed to answer like a “spirit from the vasty deep,” O-ver he-re, o-ver he-re, slow-ly, friend, slow-ly, we at last pass Manawagonish—vulgarly styled Mahogany island, then Partridge island, and lo, through the misty air loom the shipping and rocky heights of the commercial capital of New Brunswick. We ride into the harbor to the tune of “God save the Queen,” grandly played from our hurricane deck, and are met at the wharf by a multitude of mutton-chop whiskers and small boys. But certain gentlemen having long whips in their hands with which they kindly beckoned to us, saying constantly “Av-a-cabzur,” “av-a-cab-zur?” appeared most gratified to see us. Not comprehending what part of the government they represented, though plainly perceiving that they were indulging in expressions of welcome, we imitated the example of our reticent President Grant, bowed with dignity and passed on. Whereat, observing our urbanity, they were so delighted that they exclaimed the more, “Av-a-cab-zur” “Av-a-cab-zur!” So cordial a greeting, of course, awakens the best sentiments of our nature, and assures us that we shall like these foreigners.

But all pleasantry aside, it is not too much to say, that from the moment of our landing we have been treated more like brothers than mere visitors. The Mayor has dined with us, and citizens have vied with each other in extending to us delicate attentions, accompanying us to points of interest and showing us just where and how to get the finest views of this most attractive region. We are again blessed with the glad sunshine, and breathe exhilarating air. My observations in so short a time must of course be partial, like a soldier’s on the battle-field. The Coits have been active. Some have been after the speckled trout, and some after kid gloves—real Joseph’s, at 130 U.S. cents a pair—some driving, and more promenading. A few, alas, have found the Insane Asylum, the Penitentiary, the Jail, or even the Poor House so attractive and well suited to their respective Conditions, that there is little hope of luring them back to Worcester. One elderly Coit in particular, who is “mad only nor’ nor’ west” gives glowing accounts of the Insane Asylum. For myself, I confess while striving to be as ubiquitous as possible, I caught myself more than once gazing pensively upon the Poor House. The above-mentioned institutions are represented by respectable edifices and are among the most noticeable of a public sort. The Custom-House and Hotels generally are rather seedy looking buildings. The Theatre is a rude and rickety affair, so small that the orchestra, consisting of a bass-viol, three fiddles and two brass-horns, can easily “split the ears of the groundlings.” The parks are small, unkempt, and destitute of special ornament. The dwelling houses, and lesser business establishments, have in general a battered look. The market-place is a dingy aggregation of stalls where excellent beef can be bought for 13 cts. a pound, eggs for 23 cts., butter for 30 cts., blueberries and raspberries for 4 cts. a quart. On the other hand, the streets are refreshingly broad, and not a few very imposing structures of brick or stone, adorn the busier thoroughfares of trade. The Hospital tops a considerable hill which not only affords a healthful site but admirably displays the fine proportions of the building. From this point is obtained a most ravishing view of Mount Pleasant. Reed’s Castle, so called, crowns the summit. On either hand stretching away on the left to Paradise, on the right to—well, for a guess, to the Land of Canaan, and all adown the uneven slope before us, are ensconced behind thick-growing cedars very many of the finer residences of the city. The beautiful gardens and grass plats which surround these villas are hid from our view by the foliage, as are also most of the villas themselves, except their Gothic roofs and towers. A light haze softened the picture as we looked and gave to it that fairy-like charm which twilight sometimes lends to the landscape. This view captivates all and is worth coming to St. John to see. Still facing Mount Pleasant, directly below us in the valley, is the Victoria Skating Rink, the largest in America. A little to the right is the Convent of the Sacred Heart, where pious maidens ne’er look upon the face of nature or the face of man. A few steps bring us to the Bishop’s palace and to the Catholic Cathedral whose grand bulk and pleasing architecture excite our admiration. St. John is emphatically a city of churches; from Carleton Heights alone may be counted the turrets or spires of twenty-five. From Hospital hill, facing about, we look out upon Courteney Bay, where the surf is driven in upon the flats by a tide which rises 40 feet at the wharves. Mount Pleasant overlooks Lily Lake, a half-hour’s walk from King Street. This sheet of water, about three miles in circuit, is oblong, has a sinuous margin and is the home of the pond-lilies. The banks clothed with spruce and cedars rise 100 feet or more with only a slight slope from the water, adding uniqueness to the whole effect.

At the foot of King Street is Market Square, now a grand stand for drays, carts and slovens. Here, at what is called The Slip—suggestive word—landed, in 1783, the “Pilgrim Fathers of New Brunswick,” those old Loyalists whose souls did not kindle with our fathers’ upon the “imperial theme” of the Revolution. I didn’t observe any monument in this vicinity, but in the Old Burial Ground,—which by the way is prettily diversified with willows, and horse chestnut trees, though otherwise shabby enough—I noticed a great many deaths of elderly gentlemen in 1815, and concluded that becoming disgusted with life they slipped off in each others’ company as they came.

This letter is already too long, and yet I have not half exhausted the scenes and sights of this memorable day. I must refer you to Mr. Mecorney’s letters in the Spy where you will find, I doubt not, all the gaps filled. Or, better yet, come yourself and behold this truly noble harbor, with is grand semi-circle edged with ships; the Suspension Bridge; the marvellous phenomenon of the Falls at the mouth of the St. John River, where twice a day the descending waters face directly opposite points of the compass—like little boys see-sawing—and where twice a day for fifteen minutes and no longer, vessels may pass up or down; and, if piscatorially inclined, catch all the trout and salmon you can. I cannot quite omit, however, my happiest experience of the day—a visit to the Barracks. Until recently, England has kept a large military force here. It was expensive and useless. Now one regiment of Scotch Highlanders answers for this province and Nova Scotia—two companies here, six there. These Scotch boys gave us “a Highland welcome,” and took evident pleasure in giving us information and gratifying our curiosity. Among other things they showed us a genuine needle-gun, and explained its peculiar and ingenious device for exploding the cap. But the noble fellows were themselves the objects of greatest interest. Many were in full dress—feather bonnet and hackle, scarlet tunic, kilt, sporran, hose, white gaiters, and skene-dhu, all complete. For undress they wear a buff jacket and the Glengarry cap. They belong to the 78th Highlanders, their regimental crest being a stag’s head with scroll inscribed “Cuidich’n Righ,” or “King’s Men,” and their war-cry “Carber fey.” The piper, John Duncan, obligingly tuned his bagpipe —instrument dear to the Highland Scotch,—and played reels and jigs; then, striking a loftier strain, the “Gathering of the Clans” and “I’m wearin’ awa Jean” closed the pleasant entertainment. I thought of the Scotch piper brought into the presence of Napoleon. “Play a march,” said the Emperor. He played it. “Play a pibroch.” It was played. “Play a retreat.” “Na, na, I canna play that,” was the quick reply. I shall not forget Sergeant James Tuite, a hero of Lucknow, who wears three medals upon his breast—“India,” “Persia,” and a third inscribed, “for long service and good conduct.” How proud I was to grasp his manly hand, and show my esteem for his modest merit! Nor shall I let go from memory the names and faces of Wishart and Willson. Good-bye boys—may God indeed be with you.

And now, reminding you that this city is about the size of Worcester,—population 45,000; that its thrift—for it seems to be thriving—depends largely upon its trade in fish and lumber; that it makes large importations of British goods, and sells the costliest of them to us Yankees, whose dollars just now are worth 84 cents, I take my leave of the goodly city of St. John.


[Likely either Abner H. Davis of Worcester, or A.H. Davis of Webster, both members of the party.]

Written by johnwood1946

February 4, 2015 at 8:52 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Destruction by Fire of the First Cathedral in Chatham

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Destruction by Fire of the First Cathedral at Chatham

Cathedral at Chatham

Plan View of the Cathedral Complex at Chatham, Burned 1878

Saint Michael’s Cathedral in Chatham is an imposing sandstone structure, completed in 1921. It is among the largest and most impressive churches in eastern Canada and is well-known.

The history of the parish goes well back beyond 1921, however. The first mission at Chatham was established in 1833, and the first Saint Michael’s Church opened in 1839. From this beginning, a large collection of structures were built next to one another, taking on the appearance of a single building; except that the roofs did not align. The old rectory was added in 1846, for example.

The entire complex burned in the early morning of February 14, 1878, leaving only the rectory building which still exists but has been repurposed.

Following is a description of the original complex and of the fire, taken from Report: The Destruction by Fire of the Roman Catholic Cathedral, Episcopal Residence, and St. Michael’s College Directed by the Christian Brothers, Together With Much of Their Contents, Including Church Furniture, Sacred Vessels, Bishop’s Library, etc., etc, at Chatham, Miramichi, N.B., Chatham, N.B., 1878. This story covers events up to the congregational meeting which followed the fire, including the formation of a committee to plan a course forward. From this effort, a second wooden church was built on the same site. The present Cathedral is therefore the third Saint Michael’s Church in Chatham.


Report on the Destruction by Fire of the Cathedral at Chatham

(From the “Miramichi Advance” of Feb. 21st, 1878.)

Disastrous Fire

The following account of one of the heaviest fires that has taken place on the Miramichi was issued in the form of an Extra from this office on Thursday afternoon last, the matter having, however, received a little revision in reference to minor points:–

About half past two o’clock on last Thursday morning His Lordship Bishop Rogers detected a slight smoke in his sleeping apartment adjoining the Pro-Cathedral on the second storey of the well-known pile of buildings of which that structure formed the centre. He at once looked down into the Church and not seeing the Sanctuary lamp burning as usual, thought it had accidentally gone out.

Hoping that all was right he was about to compose himself for sleep when he was made sensible of the fact that there was cause for alarm, the presence of smoke being unmistakeable. Hastening to ascertain whence the smoke came, he descended the hall stairs and opening the door of the private Chapel, was met by a volume of smoke which accounted for the Sanctuary lamp appearing to have gone out and proved the startling fact that the building had been seriously on fire for perhaps half an hour. On returning to his bedroom, he perceived, through his window, the light in the second storey windows of the tower, the fire being, as was afterwards evident, in the lower part of the tower, just inside and around the centre door.

His Lordship, assisted by Thomas Fitzgerald, a student of the College, gave the alarm which was soon communicated to the town and, as the people began to hasten to the scene of the fire, the flames, climbing up through the tower and reaching their lurid arms out against the clear sky, gave the startling assurance that the whole block was doomed to destruction.

As many of our readers know, the building, or rather combination of buildings, was very large. The main part was composed of the old Chapel, which was moved to its late site, enlarged and afterwards gradually flanked by the additions which latterly gave the Block its imposing appearance.

The Block was of wood, two and a half storeys high and having a basement of dressed sandstone under its principal parts. The diagram will assist the reader in understanding a description of the pile of buildings.

‘B’ represents what was the larger part of the original Chapel and formed the nave of the Cathedral. It had additions made to it at different times. These were included, finally, in what was known as “the Cathedral” the whole being—the Vestibule portion, fronting south and marked ‘A’, the body of the Church, ‘B’, the Sanctuary, and the Vestry, ‘D’. The length of these from Vestibule to Vestry was 126 feet and the breadth forty feet. To the west of the Sanctuary on the first floor was a private Chapel and to the east the Organ Room and Chapel of the Christian Brothers.

The Residence of the Bishop and Clergy was in the west portion of the building marked ‘I’ and, St. Michael’s College and the residence of the Christian Brothers and their Pupils, was in the east portion of the building which is marked ‘S’. The Bishop’s Library was in the second storey of the centre building, immediately over the Vestry, which is marked ’D’. The residence of the Bishop and Clergy, and the division of the building occupied by the College were each 57×36 feet. Two wings, marked ‘F’, extended, one from the east and the other from the west end of the main structure in a southerly direction 74 feet, or to the line of the front of the Cathedral. That on the east, running parallel with and overlooking the “Chapel Hill” was occupied, in the upper storey by the Pupils of the College as dormitories, while the lower storey was the pupils’ play and exercise room. A shed, marked ‘J’, connected the southern end of the east wing with the Cathedral front and the old Vestry, marked ‘K’, similarly occupied the space between the south end of the west wing and the Cathedral front on that side. Bounded by the Cathedral, the wings, the sheds and the College and Bishop’s Residence were areas or yards on either side of the former and which are marked, ‘G’ and ‘G’ in the diagram.

The exterior of the whole structure presented the appearance of an almost square building of irregular height, the ground covered being about 20,000 square feet.

The point marked, ‘+’ was about the location of the Bishop’s sleeping apartment and when His Lordship looked outside for the fire, through the window of his room and across the yard, he saw the reflection of the flames in the windows of the second storey of the tower, which was over the Vestibule. Other persons who saw the fire blaze up so as to show from the outside agree that it was in the Vestibule or Tower.

The wood composing the Cathedral was of course, very dry and, therefore, very inflammable. The structure seemed to go down before the fire like dried leaves. In a very short time the Organ Room and private Chapel were reached and the flames passed quickly to the College and Christian Brothers’ living rooms and the dormitories. The Students got their trunks out and then turned their attention to their books.

They also endeavored to save the Christian Brothers’ stock of School Books and Stationery, but all of that and much of the other personal property had to be abandoned.

While a large number of persons worked hard in the lower part of the building and in the Bishop’s Residence and offices as well as in the Clergymen’s rooms, moving furniture, etc., out, a few directed their efforts towards saving His Lordship’s valuable Library. Not one half of his excellent collection of books were saved however, for the smoke found its way through the walls and became unbearable, driving the salvers from their work.

It was now apparent that the larger portion of the Bishop’s Residence was no longer tenable, while the other end of the building was already in ruins, so doors were closed and much that could not be saved was left to perish.

The Rev. Messrs. Richard, Joyce and others managed to save most of the Vestments in the Vestry Room, but those in the Sanctuary, as well as the sacred vessels left there, were destroyed, it being impossible to enter the Cathedral from the first. The Rev. Mr. Bannon had a narrow escape from suffocation, having fallen down at the altar after an unsuccessful attempt to take the sacred vessels from the tabernacle.

While a large number of those present were engaged in the work of removing everything possible from the burning buildings, the Firewards and Firemen were doing their part of the work. It was known that owing to there being too little hose to reach the river, the Foundry Lane Reservoir must be depended upon, supplemented by the wells connected with the Bishop’s establishments. The best judgment and experience, in view of this fact, favored the husbanding of the water supply rather than using it upon the main building which could not be saved in any case.

The Cottage marked ‘H’ in the diagram formed a means of feeding the fire in its progress westward, and the wing used as a warehouse of the other large building in which the Convent, the Hotel Dieu Hospital, with its male and female wards, the Sisters’ Schools, their Chapel, a District School, Music School, etc. were located, being only some twenty feet distant, the importance of checking and subduing the flames at the Cottage was realized by all. Extending south from the west end of the Cottage were outhouses and a large barn, marked ‘I’, and they also, if they took fire, would seriously endanger the Convent building.

While one band of workers proceeded to cut down and up and across so as to remove the eastern portion of the Cottage in contact with the burning building, another engaged in shovelling snow into the upstairs portion of the western end, so that in the event of the fire taking hold of the structure the melting snow would run down through it and, at least, render the burning less fierce and, consequently less dangerous to the Convent building.

The water from the Steam Fire Engine had been turned on at first, but for the reasons indicated above it was stopped, and a line of bucket-men passed well water to those on the top of the Cottage and the latter threw it where it would do most good until the proper moment had arrived, when the stream from the Steamer was put on and, ably assisted still by the buckets, gradually checked the fire’s further advance.

A little water was probably wasted at first, but the distance between the fire and the Engine was too great for the necessary promptness of communication between those at the nozzle and the Engineer. Amid all the confusion of so great a disaster, in a situation partially removed from our ordinary facilities for successfully coping with large fires, it will be generally admitted that all that could reasonably be expected was done, and that seeming mistakes may very properly be lost sight of in view of the hard and successful fight in which all the forces engaged against the destructive element achieved a signal success. The saving of the Convent building is due to hard and intelligent work, a fact of which His Lordship expressed his grateful recognition, promptly and very thoughtfully, even with the weight of his great misfortune fresh upon him, the Religious under his protection joining their expressions of gratitude to his.

A sad accident took place during the progress of the fire, by the falling of the Vestry chimney outwards, some of the bricks from which struck a young man named Alex Henderson, son of the late A.P. Henderson. He received severe bruises about the head and his left arm was broken. He was placed upon a door and carried to the Hotel Dieu Hospital where he received treatment from Drs. Benson.

What wind there was carried the smoke and detached embers to the eastward over the southern portion of the residence of Mrs. Johnston, widow of the late John M. Johnston. This threatened the destruction of that building and a large portion of the furniture was removed from it. Fortunately, however, the fire was fought off and the threatened danger averted.

Solemn and interesting services were to have been held in the Cathedral, the next day, Friday, in connection with the death of the Pope [Pius IX]. The Bishop had called the Clergy of his Diocese together for the occasion, and while some had arrived before the fire and taken up their quarters in the Episcopal Residence, others reached Chatham during its progress to find, not only the hospitable roof which was to cover them during their stay burned from over their heads, but the Sanctuary in which they were to chant the solemn services for the dead Pontiff laid in ashes.

It is hard to place a money value on the property destroyed, which, however, cannot be less than $50,000. The buildings were worth perhaps $25,000., but with those are gone over one half of the Library, vestments, sacred vessels, furniture, the property of the Christian Brothers and a thousand things that would naturally accumulate in such institutions in nearly a score of years. The stock of Books lost by the Christian Brothers was valued at about $1,200. Of the insurance we cannot write positively just now. For more than ten years Bishop Rogers and his people have bent their energies and devoted their means to the perfecting of the system of religious, benevolent and educational Institutions, which are so heavily stricken by the disaster of this morning. Those upon whom the blow has fallen have the deep sympathy of this community, as they will, most assuredly, have of others who are to learn of their misfortune. The Institutions which His Lordship’s self-denying zeal had grouped around the Cathedral will, we hope be seen again in the completeness to which they had almost attained at the time of the conflagration, while a better Cathedral will rise from the ashes of that of yesterday. They were a credit to the Diocese, and the Christian enterprise which reared them will, no doubt, under Providence, restore them again.

On Sunday Last,

the R.C. congregation of Chatham were made to realize the magnitude of their loss, in viewing the remains of their fine Church, Episcopal Residence, and College, and in experiencing difficulty in crowding into the large School Room of St. Patrick’s Hall, in which Mass was celebrated three different times, at 8, 9, and 11 a.m., for three different congregations.

His Lordship, Bishop Rogers, after the last Mass, most feelingly addressed the congregation, exhorting them to how in humble resignation to the heavy visitation which God had sent them, and which might have been still more severe, but for the Divine protection and the heroic exertions of the Fire Department and other kind neighbors to arrest the flames from extending to the Hotel Dieu.

Heavy as was the loss, it was light when compared with afflictions and calamities which had visited many others, both individuals and communities. “Alas,” said his Lordship, “what havoc is now being inflicted on thousands were war is raging! How many communities like the Commercial Capital of our Province, St. John, have suffered from the same dread scourge of fire! Therefore, let us not repine, but heroically bear our cross and confide in the goodness of Him who created all things out of nothing; that he may repair our loss, by restoring to us again what He originally gave us, and what now, in turn, He had taken away, when and as it pleased Him! He will raise us friends and aid us in this hour of trial.”

His Lordship expressed his deep gratitude for the kind sympathy so generally expressed, both in the Press and by individuals of all ranks, and of different denominations, and prayed that God would generously reward them all for their charity and generous sympathy. He had not yet come to any conclusion as to what should be done, but requested a general meeting of the men of the congregation that afternoon.

The Meeting

The meeting called as above by the Bishop of the congregation of the burnt Cathedral was held in St. Patrick’s Hall on Sunday afternoon, to consider the steps to be taken in order to meet the pressing necessity of the moment, and to repair, as far as possible, the loss caused by the late conflagration. The meeting was largely attended. Shortly after 3 p.m., the hour announced, the Bishop, accompanied by Father Bannon, entered the room. After prayer by his Lordship, Wm. Lawlor, Esq., Warden of the Municipality of Northumberland, was elected Chairman, and Mr. Thos. Crimmen, Secretary.

His Lordship then briefly explained to the meeting the reasons why it was called. He referred to the recent great conflagration and the loss it entailed. He spoke of the kind sympathy manifested by the Press and the public generally throughout the Province, of the heroic and noble manner in which members of all denominations worked at the fire to arrest its progress to save the furniture, etc., and of the many expressions of sympathy he had received from prominent members of other denominations, who kindly visited him. He read telegrams expressing sympathy, etc., from the Hon. Peter Mitchell, M.P., K.F. Burns, M.P.P., Hon. T. W. Anglin, Speaker of the Commons, His Grace, the Archbishop and Clergy of Halifax, and letters from his Lordship, Bishop Sweeney, R.F. Quigley, Esq., L.L.B., St. John, and others, he concluded by moving the following Resolution, which was seconded by the Rev. Father Bannon, and passed with acclamation:—

Resolved— “That our grateful thanks be recorded and are hereby tendered to the Fire Department and to the other citizens who assisted in helping to arrest the progress of the fire, and also to those, both in the town and at a distance, who since have tendered sympathy and aid to us in our affliction.”

Mr. Michael Hickey, seconded by Mr. Michel Martin and others, moved the next Resolution.

Resolved— “That a General Committee be appointed by this meeting, with power to add to their number, to solicit and receive contributions towards repairing our heavy loss caused by the late conflagration, and for providing immediate temporary church accommodation for our people, as well as future permanent Cathedral and Residence for the Bishop and Clergy.”

This was carried, and a numerous committee appointed, the time for the meetings of which being fixed, prayer was offered by His Lordship, followed by adjournment.

Written by johnwood1946

January 28, 2015 at 9:33 AM

Posted in Uncategorized


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