New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

Table of Contents, Rev. September 20, 2017

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

  1. John Cabot, London Superstar and Discoverer of Cape Breton – Sept. 20, 2017
  2. Nicolas Denys, the First Proprietor and Governor of all of the Gulf Coast of Acadia – Sept. 13, 2017
  3. Promoting New Brunswick in 1832 – Sept. 6, 2017
  4. A View of Acadian History, from 30,000 Feet – Aug. 30, 2017
  5. Nova Scotia During the Revolution, an American Perspective – Aug. 23, 2017
  6. The Many Trials of Richard Valpey of Yarmouth, and his Service to the American Cause During the Revolution – Aug. 16, 2017
  7. From Saint John to Annapolis Royal, Around the Bay of Fundy in 1787 – Aug. 9, 2017
  8. Nova Scotia in 1775: “Every Spot is Inhospitable and Frigid” – Aug. 2, 2017
  9. Notes About Edward Cornwallis, Who Has Been in the News Lately – July 26, 2017
  10. Starving, Fly-Bitten, and Lost in the Woods – July 19, 2017
  11. Saint John and Saint George, New Brunswick, in 1842 – July 12, 2017
  12. The Razing of Chignecto, and the Attack on Fort Nashwaak – July 5, 2017
  13. Captain Henry Mowat’s Account of the Battle on the Penobscot – June 28, 2017
  14. Voyage of the First Fleet of 1783, and the Settlement of Kingston by a Band of Loyalists – June 21, 2017
  15. 1,500 Dead in Saint John. The Cholera Epidemic of 1854 – June 14, 2017
  16. Fishing on the Nepisiquit River in the 1870’s – June 7, 2017
  17. The Clock at Fredericton City Hall – May 31, 2017
  18. Prohibition in Saint John in the 1920’s, an Exposé – May 24, 2017
  19. Boss Gibson’s First Railroad – May 17, 2017
  20. The New Brunswick Postal Service in 1856 – May 10, 2017
  21. Defending the ‘Worthless, Unsteady and Villainous’ Cutters of Wood – May 3, 2017
  22. Tossed by the Sea Into a Frozen Wilderness-1788 – Apr. 26, 2017
  23. The King of France Cannot Have Given You Our Land, Because it Was Not His – Apr. 19, 2017
  24. Bureaucracy and the Expulsion of the Acadians – Apr. 12, 2017
  25. From Pictou, Nova Scotia to Saint John, New Brunswick via Charlottetown and Shediac in 1867 – Apr. 5, 2017
  26. A Sunday EXTRA: No Meeting of Minds Between the Acadians and the British in 1717 – Apr. 2, 2017
  27. Grand Falls, New Brunswick in 1844 – A Vast Ocean of Trees – Mar. 29, 2017
  28. Shabby Streets, Decaying Houses, and Steep Plank Sidewalks. Saint John in 1874 – Mar. 22, 2017
  29. In the Beginning – Wabanaki Creation Stories – Mar. 15, 2017
  30. Pride versus Rascals and Villains in Saint John in 1791 – Mar. 8, 2017
  31. The Trent Affair – Mar. 1, 2017
  32. A Shocking Description of Anti-Confederates in Rural Nova Scotia in 1867 – Feb. 22, 2017
  33. Surveying Through the Wilderness in 1844 – Feb. 15, 2017
  34. At the Bend of the Petitcodiac in 1844: Moncton – Feb. 8, 2017
  35. Maria Rye and Her British Home Children – Feb. 1, 2017
  36. New Brunswick’s East Coast in 1832, Following the Miramichi Fire – Jan. 25, 2017
  37. Slavery in the Loyalist Era – Jan. 18, 2017
  38. Weather and the Seasons in Micmac Mythology – Jan. 11, 2017
  39. New Brunswick’s Roads in 1832: ‘Many paths are misnamed roads’. Jan. 7, 2017
  40. Nova Scotia and New England During the Revolution – Dec. 28, 2016
  41. A Holiday Special: Christmas as it Was in Saint John in 1808 – Dec. 23, 2016
  42. Expressions from Cuffer Down plus Signs and Omens – Dec. 21, 2016
  43. From Passamaquoddy to the Petitcodiac: What it Was Like in 1832 – Dec. 14, 2016
  44. Raymond Writes About the Lives and Customs of the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet People – Dec. 7, 2016
  45. The Governor’s House was an Outrage to Good Taste – Fredericton in 1832 – Nov. 30, 2016
  46. An Unparalleled and Abominable Deception – Nov. 23, 2016
  47. Not a Metropolis, but the Largest Town in the Province – Saint John in 1832 – Nov. 16, 2016
  48. Lumber Camp Life, and Game-Wardens Poaching Moose – Nov. 9, 2016
  49. Louisbourg: It Didn’t Have to Happen. It Just Didn’t Have to Happen – Nov. 2, 2016
  50. Let Us Consider the Lowly Seagull – Oct. 26, 2016
  51. 5 – David Kennedy Completes His Travels of 1876 in Halifax – Oct. 19, 2016
  52. 4 – David Kennedy’s Tour of Nova Scotia in 1876 – Oct. 12, 2016
  53. 3 – David Kennedy’s Tour of Newcastle, Chatham and Bathurst in 1876 – Oct. 5, 2016
  54. 2 – David Kennedy’s Visit to Saint John, New Brunswick in 1876 – Sept. 28, 2016
  55. 1 – David Kennedy’s Travels from Quebec City to New Brunswick in 1876 – Sept. 21, 2016 (This blog posting was lost on Sept. 28th. I decided not to re-post, since it would clutter my subscribers’ screens.)
  56. A Short History of Early English Nova Scotia – Sept. 14, 2016
  57. Fish Wardens Described as Useless Political Appointments – Sept. 7, 2016
  58. With Indian Guides in the Wilds of New Brunswick, 1862 – Aug. 31, 2016
  59. Blog past #300: Port Royal from 1604 to 1613. Of Heritage Value to all North Americans – Aug. 24, 2016
  60. Hunting Down the Last of the Old Growth Pine – Aug. 17, 2016
  61. Dr. James Robb – Aug. 10, 2016
  62. Peace Negotiations With Pierre Tomah on the Saint John River – Aug. 3, 2016
  63. Business Opportunities on Campobello Island – July 27, 2016
  64. A Pompous Captain on the Evils of Logging – July 20, 2016
  65. The Too-Easy Life of Nova Scotians Disproved – July 13, 2016
  66. Why Not to Marry a Nova Scotia Woman, and How to Make Maple Sugar – July 6, 2016
  67. The Bloody Assault on Fort Louisbourg in 1758 – June 29, 2016
  68. The Medical Men of Saint John in its First Half Century – June 22, 2016
  69. Henry Ketchum and the Chignecto Marine Transport Railway – June 15, 2016
  70. A War Journal from Majabidwaduce on the Penobscot – June 8, 2016
  71. Mi’kmaq Magic and Medicine – June 1, 2016
  72. Thomas Wood, and His Visit to the Saint John River in 1769 – May 25, 2016
  73. The Northern Colonies: Languishing in Mediocrity – ca 1804 – May 18, 2016
  74. Fredericton’s Victoria Cottage Hospital – May 11, 2016
  75. The Passamaquoddy Wampum Records – May 4, 2016
  76. Slog on, or Die – Apr. 27, 2016
  77. Changes Nova Scotia Underwent from Discovery to 1758 When the First General Assembly Met in Halifax – Apr. 20, 2016
  78. The Disastrous Winter on St. Croix Island, 1604-05, and Other Adventures – Apr. 13, 2016
  79. Missions to the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet in the Early 1800’s – Apr. 6, 2016
  80. It Sounded Like a Residential School Philosophy – Mar. 30, 2016
  81. The Acadian Fugitives – Mar. 23, 2016
  82. Giddy, Eccentric, and Discontented Characters, or Misguided Souls, or Turncoats? – Mar. 16, 2016
  83. Indian Routes of Travel in New Brunswick – Mar. 9, 2016
  84. Historic Sites from the English Period on the Saint John River – Mar. 2, 2016
  85. How to Hunt a Moose, a Goose, and a Caribou in New Brunswick in 1791 – Feb. 24, 2016
  86. William Hubbard Complains to Edward Winslow about the Congregationalists in Sheffield – Feb. 17, 2016
  87. Good Fences Make Good Neighbours – Feb. 10, 2016
  88. WE NEED THE ACADIANS TO REMAIN: Lieut Governor, 1715 – Feb. 2, 2015
  89. Guy Carleton on the Fur Trade in Canada, 1767 – Jan. 27, 2016
  90. A Letter on Irish Immigrants – Jan. 20, 2016
  91. The Wreck of the ‘Lord Ashburton’ – Jan. 13, 2016
  92. A Ghost at Noonday – Jan. 6, 2016
  93. Silas Rand on the Mi’kmaq People – Part 3: Will Not the Bright Sun and the Blue Heavens Testify Against Us? – Dec. 30, 2015
  94. Silas Rand on the Mi’kmaq People – Part 2: To Every Thing There is a Season – Dec. 23, 2015
  95. Silas Rand on the Mi’kmaq People – Part 1: All Men From One Blood – Dec. 16, 2015
  96. Limits to the Royal Bounty – Dec. 9, 2015
  97. Nova Scotia, a Receptacle for Superfluous People? – Dec. 1, 2015
  98. From New Ireland to New Brunswick – Nov. 25, 2015
  99. The Most Gentlemanlike Government on Earth – Nov. 18, 2015
  100. I Love You for Your Plainness – Nov. 11, 2015
  101. Ward Chipman Remembers the Final Evacuation of New York – Nov. 4, 2015
  102. A Reply to “Men of Honor and Probity Run Amok” – Oct. 28, 2015
  103. A Century of Educational Progress in New Brunswick from 1800 to 1900 – Oct. 21, 2015
  104. Notes About the Earliest Public Markets in Saint John, New Brunswick – Oct. 14, 2015
  105. The Provincial Dairy School at Sussex, New Brunswick, 1900 – Oct. 7, 2015
  106. An Account of Nova Scotia in 1743 – Sept. 30, 2015
  107. The Petition of the Infamous 55 – Sept. 23, 2015
  108. Francis Sharpe’s Woodstock Apples – Sept. 16, 2015
  109. The Expulsion of the Acadians, a Military Surgeon’s Diary – Sept. 9, 2015
  110. The New Brunswick Election of 1785 – Sept. 2, 2015
  111. The Many Fires in Saint John, 1784-1877 – Aug. 26, 2015
  112. A Proposal for an Attack on N0va Scotia – Aug. 19, 2015
  113. Fredericton’s Great Flood of 1936 – Aug. 12, 2015
  114. A Letter about the Acadians and the Expulsion – Aug. 5, 2015
  115. Saint John in 1834, Before it was Forever Changed by the Great Fire – July 29, 2015
  116. New Brunswick, No Country for a Mere Gentleman, 1834 – July 22, 2015
  117. Woodstock, the Only Village Between the Green River and Fredericton in 1834 – July 15, 2015
  118. On the Tamiscouta Prtage from Lake Tamiscouta to just above Grand Falls, 1834 – July 10, 2015
  119. Men of Honor and Probity Run Amok – July 1, 2015
  120. By Steamer to the So-Called City of Fredericton – June 24, 2014
  121. A Quiet and Business-Like Little City – June 17, 2015
  122. Rambles Among the Bluenoses in 1862 – June 10, 2015
  123. Edward John Russell, a New Brunswick Artist – June 3, 2015
  124. Provincial Lunatic Asylum, Report of the Medical Superintendent, 1875 – May 27, 2015
  125. The Saint John River and Port Royal in the Early 1600’s – May 20, 2015
  126. What Should We Think of Benedict Arnold? – May 13, 2015
  127. Diphtheria in New Brunswick in the Year 1889 – May 6, 2015
  128. The Official Account of the Destruction of Burnt Church – Apr. 29, 2015
  129. The Exchange Coffee House and Saint John’s First Club – Apr. 22, 2015
  130. The Wigwams and Dwellings of the Gaspesians – Apr. 15, 2015
  131. The Story of Brook Watson – Apr. 8, 2015
  132. Where Stood Fort LaTour? – Apr. 1, 2015
  133. Things This Morning Really Wear the Aspect of War – Mar. 25, 2015
  134. At Portland Point – Mar. 18, 2015
  135. Electrical Power From the Reversing Falls – Mar. 10, 2015
  136. Father Rale’s War – 1722-25; How it Ended – Mar. 4, 2015
  137. What Was the Big Deal About the Marco Polo? – Feb. 25, 2015
  138. Grand Manan to Petitcodiac, in 1786 – Feb. 18, 2015
  139. A Trip From St. John to Fredericton in 1870 – Feb. 11, 2015
  140. A Tour of St. John, N.B., in 1870 – Feb. 4, 2015
  141. Destruction by Fire of the First Cathedral in Chatham – Jan. 28, 2015
  142. Burgan the Burglar – Jan. 21, 2015
  143. Facts and Reasons Against Confederating With Canada – Jan. 14, 2015
  144. Discontent in Early Halifax in 1756 – Jan. 7, 2015
  145. A Trip on the ICR From Bathurst to Miramichi – Dec. 31, 2014
  146. Early Attempts to Introduce the Cultivation of Hemp in Eastern British America – Dec. 24, 2014
  147. Touring Campbellton and Dalhousie, Despite the Mosquitoes, 1876 – Dec. 19, 2014
  148. The Fire of 1837 in Saint John – Dec. 10, 2014
  149. The Cruise of the Rechab – Dec. 3, 2014
  150. A Night in the Deep – Nov. 26, 2014
  151. Robert Foulis (A Misplaced Genius) – Nov. 19, 2014
  152. The City Mills – Nov. 15, 2014
  153. The Brothers d’Amours – Nov. 5, 2014
  154. John Allan’s Revolutionary Mission to the Saint John River – Oct. 29, 2014
  155. Relics of the Acadian Period – Oct. 22, 2014
  156. Some Odd Old Advertisements – Oct. 15, 2014
  157. The Miramichi Fire – Relief of the Sufferers – Oct. 8, 2014
  158. Jonathan Eddy’s Account of the Attack on Fort Cumberland, November, 1776 – Oct. 1, 2014
  159. Which of These Two is the Wisest and Happiest? – Sept. 24, 2014
  160. Fredericton Bridge, a Prophetic Writing – Sept. 17, 2014
  161. A Speech to Distinguished Persons of Stake and Consideration – Sept. 10, 2014
  162. Building an Education System From Almost Nothing – Sept. 3, 2014
  163. Cape Tormentine to the Baye des Chaleurs in the 1600’s – Aug. 27, 2014
  164. The Customs of the Mi’kmaq in the 1600’s and Before – Aug. 20, 2014
  165. Two Documents Relating to the Fenians in New Brunswick – Aug. 13, 2014
  166. The Lazaretto for Lepers in Tracadie, 1862 – Aug. 6, 2014
  167. Thoughts About the Augustine Mound at Metepenegiag Mi’kmaq Nation – July 30, 2014
  168. What am I Bid for This Pauper? – July 23, 2014
  169. Trouble at Madawaska, 1831 – July 16, 2014
  170. The Great Fire at Saint John, June 20, 1877 – July 9, 2014
  171. The Poor Fellows Shook as if They Would Fall to Pieces! – July 2, 2014
  172. How to Build a Logging Camp in Around 1850 – June 25, 2014
  173. Risen from the Ashes, Phoenix Square in Fredericton – June 18, 2014
  174. Rocks and Water, Magnificence and Squalor; St. John in 1876 – June 11, 2014
  175. Moncton as Seen by a Journalist in 1876 – June 4, 2014
  176. Events Leading to the Caraquet Riots of 1875 – May 28, 2014
  177. A Dramatic Account of the Miramichi Fire – May 21, 2014
  178. Saint John in the Early 1840’s – May 18, 2014
  179. A Note to Subscribers, and a Memorandum for me – May 14, 2014
  180. The Myth that Kerosene was Invented in New Brunswick – May 7, 2014
  181. A Church with Military Boots and Fixed Bayonets – Apr. 30, 2014
  182. An Opening Salvo in an Ongoing Argument – Apr. 23, 2014
  183. May living worms his corpse devour – Apr. 16, 2014
  184. He don’t look any better than some of our own boys – Apr. 9, 2014
  185. The Disputed Territory Between New Brunswick and Maine – Apr. 2, 2014
  186. Navigation on the Saint John River – Mar. 26, 2014
  187. Shepody as a Hot Investment Opportunity, 1868 – Mar. 19, 2014
  188. To Her Majesty, RE: Reciprocity, 1853 – Mar. 12, 2014
  189. Diary on the Tobique, 1851 – Mar. 5, 2014
  190. Growing up in Fredericton in the 1820s and 1830s – Feb. 26, 2014
  191. Travels From Eastport, Maine, to Fredericton, 1851 – Feb. 19, 2014
  192. The Saint John General Public Hospital, 19th Century, Part 2 of 2 – Feb. 12, 2014
  193. The Saint John General Public Hospital, 19th Century, Part 1 of 2 – Feb. 5, 2014
  194. The Story of the Great Brothers – Jan. 29, 2014
  195. A Trek up the Tobique, and Onward to Bathurst – Jan. 22, 2014
  196. Summer Tourists. A Manual for New Brunswick Farmers – Jan. 19, 2014
  197. A Trek from Grand Falls to Campbellton, 1862 – Jan. 15, 2014
  198. A Trek From Taymouth to Boisetown, 1862 – Jan. 12, 2014
  199. Capt. William Owen’s Journal, Campobello, 1770-71 – Jan. 8, 2014
  200. The Founding of Campobello Island – Jan. 5, 2014
  201. New Brunswick Roads and Railways, 1855 – Jan. 1, 2014
  202. Grand Manan – Dec. 29, 2013
  203. The Shipyard Fire in Saint John, in 1841 – Dec. 26, 2013
  204. Christmas as it Was in Saint John, in 1808 – Dec. 22, 2013
  205. The Saint John Grammar School – Dec. 18, 2013
  206. William Wishart Blasts the New Brunswick Education System, 1845 – Dec. 15, 2013
  207. The Diary of Sarah Frost – Dec. 11, 2013
  208. Pŭlěs, Pŭlowěch′, and Beechkwěch (Pigeon, Partridge, and Nighthawk) – Dec. 10, 2014
  209. The Government of New Brunswick, 1837 – Dec. 4, 2013
  210. The Whales and the Robbers – Dec. 1, 2013
  211. The Ashburton Treaty – Nov. 27, 2013
  212. Glooscap and His Four Visitors – Nov. 24, 2013
  213. The Pioneers of Saint Stephen – Nov. 20, 2013
  214. The Adventures of Kâktoogwâsees; a Tale of Ancient Times – Nov. 17, 2013
  215. The Asylum at Saint John – Nov. 13, 2013
  216. The Liver-Colored Giants and Magicians – Nov. 10, 2013
  217. Smuggling Between Calais and St. Stephen – Nov. 6, 2013
  218. The Two Weasels – Nov. 3, 2013
  219. A note to subscribers – Oct. 30, 2013
  220. The European and North American Railway, 1862 – Oct. 30, 2013
  221. The Origin of the War Between the Mi’kmaq and the Kwěděches – Oct. 23, 2013
  222. Trouble on the Line: The Early Telegraph in New Brunswick – Oct. 16, 2013
  223. The Invisible Boy; Team′ and Oochigeaskw – Oct. 9, 2013
  224. Transportation to and from Fredericton, 1841 – Oct. 2, 2013
  225. The Boy That Was Transformed Into a Horse – Sept. 25, 2013
  226. McAdam: Notes From the Early Days – Sept. 18, 2013
  227. The Magical Food, Belt and Flute – Sept. 11, 2013
  228. European & North American Rly. Staff, 1861 – Sept. 4, 2013
  229. Glooscap and the Megumoowesoo: A Marriage Adventure – Aug. 28, 2013
  230. The Loss of the Royal Tar – Aug. 21, 2013
  231. Robbery and Murder Revenged, Plus a Grand Falls Story – Aug. 14, 2013
  232. The St. John River From Below Fredericton to the Reversing Falls – Aug. 7, 2013
  233. A Proposal for a Wooden Railway – July 31, 2013
  234. ‘On the Early History of New Brunswick’ – July 24, 2013
  235. The Maugerville Settlement, 1763-1824 – July 17, 2013
  236. 1930 Circus Train Wreck Near Moncton, N.B. – July 10, 2013
  237. Horses or Oxen? Pick one – July 3, 2013
  238. The St. John River; Andover to Fredericton – June 26, 2013
  239. Origins of Some Place Names on N.B.’s Eastern Shore – June 19, 2013
  240. The St. John River; Grand Falls to the Tobique – June 12, 2013
  241. Gabriel Acquin – June 5, 2013
  242. The Seigniories of New Brunsiwck – May 29, 2013
  243. An 1841 Trek up the Oromocto River – May 22, 2013
  244. Fredericton’s Exhibition Palace, and Bears in N.B. – May 15, 2013
  245. Murder on Diamond Square Road – May 8, 2013
  246. Acadian Historic Sites in New Brunswick – May 1, 2013
  247. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 5 of 5 – Apr. 24, 2013
  248. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 4 of 5 – Apr. 17, 2013
  249. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 3 of 5 – Apr. 10, 2013
  250. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 2 of 5 – Apr. 3, 2013
  251. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 1 of 5 – Mar. 27, 2013
  252. A Retrospective Look at Saint John – Mar. 20, 2013
  253. The Wreck of the England – Mar. 13, 2013
  254. The First Decade of the 1800’s in St. John, N.B. – Mar. 6, 2013
  255. St. John’s Poorhouse and Workhouse – Feb. 27, 2013, Rev. Sept. 9, 2015
  256. New Brunswick Scenes From an Old Book – Feb. 20, 2013
  257. Nice Pictures From Another Old Book – Feb. 13, 2013
  258. Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick, Part 2/2 – Feb. 6, 2013
  259. Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick, 1845 – Jan. 30, 2013
  260. The Works of W.O. Raymond – Jan. 23, 2013
  261. The Year of the Fever – Jan. 16, 2013
  262. Hanged for the Theft of 25 Cents – Jan. 9, 2013
  263. Reversing Falls – Pictures – Jan. 2, 2013
  264. Christmas as it was in 1808 – Dec. 25, 2012
  265. Nice Pictures From an Old Book – Dec. 19, 2012
  266. The Saint John Bridge Collapse of 1837 – Dec. 12, 2012
  267. The First Road Bridge Across the Reversing Falls – Dec. 5, 2012
  268. The Mystery of the First Lizzie Morrow – Nov. 28, 2012
  269. The First Murder Trial on the River St. John – Nov. 21, 2012
  270. The March of the 104th Regiment in 1812 – Nov. 14, 2012
  271. Partridge Island – Nov. 7, 2012
  272. Fredericton’s First Bridge Across the Saint John River – Oct. 31, 2012
  273. 1816, The Year Without a Summer – Oct. 31, 2012
  274. Winslow to Wentworth, 1781 – Oct. 31, 2012
  275. Oops! An explanation – Oct. 31, 2012
  276. The Saxby Gale of 1869 – Oct. 31, 2012
  277. New Brunswick’s Third Town in 1838: Saint Andrews – Oct. 31, 2012
  278. Fredericton and York County in 1838 – Oct. 31, 2012
  279. The City and County of Saint John in 1838 – Sept. 26, 2012
  280. The St. Andrews and Quebec Railroad – Sept. 19, 2012
  281. The Studholm Report of Saint John River Pre-Loyalists in 1783 – Sept. 12, 2012
  282. Caleb Jones. Further RE: Ann, otherwise known as Nancy – Sept. 5, 2012
  283. The Wreck of the Martha – Aug. 29, 2012
  284. The Early Settlement of Maugerville and the Sheffield Parsonage Dispute – Aug. 22, 2012
  285. Lieutenant Governors of New Brunswick to Confederation, Part 2 of 2 – Aug. 15, 2012
  286. Lieutenant Governors of New Brunswick to Confederation, Part 1 of 2 – Aug. 8, 2012
  287. The Morrow House at French Lake, N.B. – New Information – Aug. 1, 2012
  288. Sound by Glen Glenn, Revision 1 – July 25, 2012
  289. Ann, otherwise known as Nancy – July 18, 2012
  290. The Fire of October 7, 1825 – Beyond the Miramichi – July 11, 2012
  291. Lemuel Allan Wilmot – July 4, 2012
  292. The Great Fire at Miramichi, October 7, 1825 – June 27, 2012
  293. Robert Rankin in New Brunswick – June 20, 2012
  294. Who Owned the Mill at Tracy, New Brunswick? – June 13, 2012
  295. Signatures of Sunbury County Ancestors – June 6, 2012
  296. Daniel Wood’s Log Cabin, and Little Field Barn at French Lake, New Brunswick – May 30, 2012
  297. Rusagonis and George Garraty – May 23, 2012
  298. Epitaph Transcriptions from a Collection – May 16, 2012
  299. Central New Brunswick Gravestones from a Genealogy – May 9, 2012
  300. Nashwaak River Pictures with Stewart Family Connections – May 2, 2012
  301. More Sunbury County Photographs from a Collection – Apr. 25, 2012
  302. An Indian Burial Ground at Oromocto; and Coal Mining on the Oromocto River – Apr. 22, 2012
  303. “Days of Old” by Katherine DeWitt and Norma Alexander – Apr. 18, 2012
  304. The Wood Cemetery at French Lake, New Brunswick – Apr. 11, 2012
  305. James Glenie in New Brunswick – Apr. 4, 2012
  306. Four Generations of the Stewart Family on the Nashwaak River – Mar. 28, 2012
  307. Three Generations of the Mersereau Family in New Brunswick – Mar. 21, 2012
  308. Three Generations of the Smith Family of Sunbury County, New Brunswick – Mar. 14, 2012
  309. Three Generations of the Wood Family of French Lake, New Brunswick – Mar. 7, 2012
  310. New Brunswick Education in 1883 – Feb. 29, 2012
  311. Riots and Demonstrations in Saint John – Feb. 20, 2012
  312. Making Better Butter – Feb. 18, 2012
  313. York County Place Names, 1896/1905 – Feb. 8, 2012
  314. Sunbury County Place Names, 1896/1905 – Feb. 1, 2012
  315. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 3 of 3 – Jan. 25, 2012
  316. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 2 of 3 – Jan. 18, 2012
  317. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 1 of 3 – Jan. 11, 2012
  318. The Hon. Thomas Baillie: Gone, but not soon forgotten! – Jan. 5, 2012
  319. The Fort at Oromocto, 1780 – 1783 – Dec. 29, 2011
  320. The Great Fire in Fredericton, 1850 – Early Accounts – Dec. 15, 2011
  321. The Morrow House at French Lake, and More – Dec. 8, 2011
  322. The Old Woman House at French Lake, New Brunswick – Dec. 1, 2011
  323. Smith Family Photographs from a Collection, Sunbury County, N.B. – Nov. 25, 2011
  324. French Lake from Before we Remember – Nov. 20, 2011
  325. How Geary became known as Geary – Nov. 9, 2011
  326. Elizabeth (Smith) Secord; N.B.’s First Woman Registered Doctor – Nov. 4, 2011
  327. Phillips Family Photographs from a Collection, Rusagonis, N.B. – Nov. 2, 2011
  328. Mersereau Family Photographs from a Collection, Sunbury County, N.B. – Oct. 30, 2011
  329. Wood Family Photographs from a Collection, French Lake, N.B. – Oct. 25, 2011
  330. Jeremiah Tracy: Pioneer of the Village of Tracy, New Brunswick – Oct. 20, 2011
  331. Two Old Railroad-Inspired Songs – Oct. 16, 2011
  332. Ode to the Oromocto River – Oct. 10, 2011
  333. John Mersereau, Loyalist 2 – Oct. 4, 2011
  334. The Earliest American Railroads and Locomotives – Sept. 14, 2011
  335. The Mersereau Manufacturing Company of Brooklyn, New York, Notes – Sept. 3, 2011
  336. George Morrow of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1801-1868 – Aug. 26, 2011
  337. The Wood Family of French Lake, New Brunswick – Legends – Aug. 9, 2011
  338. The Baptist Church on the Oromocto River in New Brunswick – Aug. 7, 2011
  339. John Wood of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1788-1868 – Aug. 2, 2011
  340. Daniel Wood of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1764-1847 – Aug. 1, 2011
  341. Three Stewarts on the Nashwaak – July 24, 2011
  342. Bunker Genealogy – Five Bunkers – July 20, 2011
  343. Statistics From the 1851 and 1871 Sunbury County New Brunswick Census Reports – July 19, 2011
  344. Historical Development of the Beam Bending Equation M=fS – July 18, 2011
  345. Seth Noble, Maugerville and the American Revolution – July 16, 2011
  346. Columns, the Long and the Short of it – 1729-1900 – July 15, 2011
  347. The Great Saint John Steel Cantilever Bridge – July 13, 2011
  348. The Upper Oromocto River in 1847 – July 11, 2011
  349. Early Glimpses of the Rusagonis Baptist Church in New Brunswick – July 11, 2011
  350. Abraham Gesner’s 1847 Observations of Sport Hunting in New Brunswick – July 11, 2011
  351. It Sounds a bit Too Easy – July 10, 2011
  352. James Buncker – July 10, 2011
  353. Inconsistent Petitions; Changed Self-Interests – July 10, 2011
  354. Abner Mersereau and a Letter – July 9, 2011
  355. Early Glimpses of the Patterson Settlement Baptist Church in New Brunswick – July 9, 2011
  356. The Textile Mill at Geary, New Brunswick – July 8, 2011
  357. Letter of Mi’kmaq’ Chief Pemmeenauweet to Queen Victoria – 1841 – July 7, 2011
  358. New Brunswick in the 1840s – July 7, 2011


John Wood


Written by johnwood1946

September 20, 2017 at 8:03 AM

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John Cabot, London Superstar and Discoverer of Cape Breton

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From the blog at

John Cabot, London Superstar and Discoverer of Cape Breton

Painting of John Cabot in Palazzo Ducale in Venice

From Wikipedia

Columbus discovered the West Indies in 1492, which created some excitement in Europe and prompted other voyages of discovery. Progress was slow, however, and it was another forty-two years before Jacques Cartier’s first sailing in 1534. Seventy more years passed before Champlain’s, who is credited with founding Quebec City, which was in that same year (1604) that the first permanent English settlement was established at Jamestown, Virginia. The Pilgrims did not arrive at Plymouth until 1620, which was a full 128 years after Columbus’ first discovery.

In summary, discovery and mapping took a long time, and settlement took even longer. That is why an early voyage such as that of John Cabot and his son Sebastien in 1497 is so important and interesting. It is especially interesting for a Maritimer such as myself because the island of Cape Breton features in Cabot’s story.

The following is condensed and edited from Richard Brown’s A History of the Island of Cape Breton: With some account of … Canada, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, London, 1869.

And, yes, Cabot was a star in London following the first voyage, with an entertainment allowance from Henry VII.


The discovery of the West Indies by Columbus brought other adventurous spirits into the field, anxious to embark in similar enterprises. John Cabot, or his son Sebastian, beyond all doubt, coasted along the shores of Cape Breton, and I therefore give you a short account of their celebrated voyages.

John Cabot, a Venetian merchant, residing at Bristol, applied to King Henry VII, in 1494, for permission to make a voyage to the northwest, for the purpose of discovering a shorter route to India or China; and, in the year 1496, the King granted to him and his three sons, Lewis, Sebastian, and Santius, “full and free authority, leave, and power to sail to all parts, countries, and seas, of the east, of the west, and of the north, under our banners and ensigns, with five ships of what burden or quantity so ever they be, … upon their own proper costs and charges, to seek out, discover, and find whatsoever isles, countries, regions or provinces, of the heathen and infidels … which before this time have been unknown to Christians… And that the aforesaid John and his sons … may subdue, occupy, and possess, all such towns, cities, castles, and isles, of them found, which they can subdue, occupy, and possess, as our vassals and lieutenants, ….”

Armed with these ample powers, John Cabot, accompanied by his son Sebastian, sailed in the beginning of May, 1497, in the Mathew of Bristol, and discovered the continent of North America; but strange to say, only one or two authentic notices of this voyage can now be found. One of these simply says that “In the year 1497, the 24 June, St. John’s day, was Newfoundland found by a Bristol men, in a ship called the Mathew.” The second is an inscription from an old map dated 1549, drawn by Sebastian Cabot, which states “In the year of our Lord 1497, John Cabot, a Venetian, and his son Sebastian, discovered that country, which no one before his time had ventured to approach, on the 24th June, about 5 o’clock in the morning. He called the land Terra Primum Visa …The island which lies opposite the land he called the island of St. John—as I suppose because it was discovered on the festival of St. John the Baptist. The inhabitants wear beasts’ skins … In war their weapons are the bow and arrow, spears, darts, slings, and wooden clubs. The country is sterile and uncultivated, producing no fruit; from which circumstance it is crowded with white bears and stags of an unusual height and size. It yields plenty of fish and these very large ….”

This account was written more than fifty years after this voyage, and may contain information from Sebastian Cabot’s second voyage. We are therefore indebted to Lorenzo Pasqualigo for writing a letter in 1497, where we read:— “This Venetian of ours … says, that 700 leagues hence he discovered Terra Firma, which is the territory of the Grand Cham: he coasted for 300 leagues, and landed; he saw no human being whatever, but he has brought thither to the King certain snares, which had been set to catch game, and a needle for making nets; he also found some felled trees: Wherefore he supposed there were inhabitants, and returned to his ship in alarm. He was three months on the voyage; and coming back, he saw two islands to starboard, but would not land, time being precious, as he was short of provisions. The King is much pleased with this intelligence … The king has promised that in the spring he shall have ten ships, armed according to his own fancy; and at his request he has conceded him all the prisoners, except such as are confined for high treason, to man them with. He has also given him money with which to amuse himself until then, and he is now at Bristol with his wife, who is a Venetian woman, and with his sons: his name is [John] Cabot, and they call him the great admiral. Vast honour is paid him, and he dresses in silk; and these English run after him like mad people, so that he can enlist as many of them as he pleases ….”

According to this and the previous account, the land seen by John Cabot must have been the coast of Labrador, and the island just opposite, that part of Newfoundland near the northern end of the Straits of Belle Isle. In his coasting voyage, Cabot must have sailed all along the southern shore of Cape Breton and Nova Scotia to Cape Sable, which is just 300 leagues from Belle Isle. The two islands seen on his return were most probably some of the higher hummocky sand-hills of Sable Island, which, viewed from a distance, may easily he mistaken for separate islands. We therefore have every reason to believe that it Cape Breton was seen by John Cabot in 1497, more than a year before Columbus reached the mainland of South America.

On the 3rd of February, 1498, the King granted a new patent to John Cabot, which was merely supplementary, and did not revoke or modify any of the privileges conferred by the first patent. For unknown reasons, John Cabot did not go out with this expedition which was entrusted to his son Sebastian, a youth of not more than twenty-three years. There are various brief accounts of this voyage, but they all seem to have been based upon information given by Sebastian Cabot to his friend, Peter Martyr of Angleria, who published a narrative of the principal incidents in l516. A translation of Martyr’s book was published in England in 1555, from which I make the following extracts:— “The west of the land of Baccalaos is a great tract; and the greatest altitude thereof is 68 degrees and a half … King Henry the Seventh furnished two ships at his own charges or, as some say, at the King’s, whom he persuaded that a passage might be found to Cathay by the north seas, and that spices might be brought from thence sooner … He went also to know what manner of lands these Indies were to inhabited. He had with him three hundred men, and directed his course by the tract of Island [Iceland] upon the Cape of Labrador at 58 degrees, affirming that in the month of July there was such cold and heaps of ice that he durst pass no further; also that the days were very long and in manner with night, and the nights very clear … But considering the cold and the strangeness of the unknown land, he turned his course from thence to the West, following the coast of the land of Baccalaos unto the 38 degrees, from whence he returned to England.” Gomara, a Spanish author of the same period says:— “Cabot, yielding to the cold and the strangeness of the land, turned towards the west, and refitting at Baccalaos, he ran along the coast as far as 38 degrees, &c.” As Sebastian Cabot must have observed, in his former voyage with his father, that Cape Breton was the nearest country that produced timber of any value, it may fairly he inferred that he refitted his vessels at some port in Cape Breton before completing that memorable voyage.

It is said, in some accounts, that Sebastian Cabot first gave the name of Baccalaos to the countries adjacent to the fishing grounds. Peter Martyr, generally allowed to be the best authority said “Sebastian Cabot himself named these lands Baccalaos, because in the seas thereabouts he found such an immense multitude of large fish like tunnies, called baccalaos by the natives, that they actually impeded the navigation of his ships.” This, if correctly copied, must be a mistake, for the natives do not call codfish baccalaos, nor is it likely that Cabot, who was born in England of Venetian parents, would apply a Basque name to the countries he discovered. Fournier, in his remarks on this subject, says “It cannot be doubted this name was given by the Basques, who alone in Europe call that fish bacalaos, or bacallaos; the aborigines term them apagé.”

Although the fishing grounds and the adjacent countries were first discovered by English navigators, English merchants and fishermen were the last to profit by them, because at that time they carried on a lucrative fishery on the coasts of Iceland, so much nearer home. There was, however, another reason for this apparent indifference of the English merchants. They received little encouragement from their government, because the King of Spain was so active in the area that it was assumed that he had jurisdiction over the whole territory. A letter has recently been discovered in the Spanish archives at Simancas, which shows with what jealously and suspicion the discoveries of the Cabots were regarded by the Spanish Court. It is dated at London, July 25, 1498, and is addressed to Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, by Don Pedro de Ayala, their ambassador at St. James. Ayala tells their Majesties that the King of England had equipped and sent out five ships, under a Genoese, to discover certain continents and islands which some people from Bristol had seen the year before; that the King of England had often spoken to him on the subject; and that he had told His Majesty the land was already possessed by the King of Spain, and had given him reasons with which he did not seem well pleased.

Immediately after the discovery of the Baccalaos, which embraced Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, and Newfoundland, the fishermen of Normandy, Brittany, and the Basque Provinces, began to frequent the coasts to take cod. It is generally supposed that the Basque fishermen first gave the name of Cape Breton to the eastern promontory of this island, after Cap Breton, near Bayonne. It has been stated on the authority of the Flemish geographers that the Basques crossed the Atlantic in pursuit of whales, discovered and named the island of Cape Breton, and even penetrated the Gulf of St. Lawrence, even before Columbus, but as no authority is given for this statement, it is not entitled to credit. I think, however, we may safely conclude that John Cabot and his son Sebastian, after touching the mainland of Labrador, both coasted along, if they did not actually land upon, the shores of Cape Breton in 1497 and 1498, and that, consequently, Cape Breton was one of the first countries discovered on the Atlantic coast of America.

Written by johnwood1946

September 20, 2017 at 8:03 AM

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Nicolas Denys, the First Proprietor and Governor of all the Gulf Coast of Acadia

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From the blog at

Nicolas Denys, 1598-1688, was the founder of the earliest European settlements at Miscou and Nepisiquit (Bathurst), and was the first Governor of all the gulf coast of Acadia. He was therefore an historical figure of prime importance to New Brunswick.

Denys writing was very poor. Nonetheless, W.F. Ganong was able to translate the book which he wrote in his old age, and republished it as The Description and Natural History of the Coasts of North America, in Toronto in 1908.

The following is condensed and edited from Ganong’s Introduction to Denys’ book, and summarizes the life of Nicolas Denys.

Bathurst in 1860, from the N.B. Museum


Nicolas Denys, the First Proprietor and Governor of all the Gulf Coast of Acadia

Nicolas Denys was born at Tours in 1598, according to the Biographie Universelle, a date that is confirmed by his son’s memorial of 1689 and the place by St. Ovide’s declaration of 1713. His father was Jacques Denys, Sieur de la Thibaudiere, who succeeded his father as Captain of the Royal Guard, and married Marie Cosnier. He had brothers Simon was Sieur de Vitré, and two other brothers, Jacques and Henri, were both killed in battle in the King’s service. Our author’s family was therefore one of some distinction, and it is possible that he was connected with his eminent patron, Isaac de Razilly, who was also from Touraine.

Of the youth of Denys we know nothing. His defective education, very manifest in his book in the face of his somewhat superior parentage, would suggest that he took early to sea; and it is possible that he made voyages to Acadia as one of those fishing apprentices whose duties and lot he describes for us so fully. However that may be, it is as an expert master of the fishery that he first appears in history. It was in 1633 that in partnership with Razilly and a merchant of Brittany and with the help of his brother De Vitré he established his first sedentary fishery at Port Rossignol, probably at the present Brooklyn, near Liverpool, Nova Scotia. This first venture was a failure, for reasons which were no fault of his, and which he relates very fully in his book. A little later he established himself at La Have, at the present Riverport, opposite the fort of his friend and patron Razilly, and here he prepared various forms of timber, which he exported to France in Razilly’s ships. But the death of Razilly, which, according to Moreau, occurred in November 1635, brought this occupation to a close; for D’Aulnay, Razilly’s successor, refused to allow the timber to be exported in his ships.

It was not long after Razilly’s death, apparently, that Denys left La Have, and for the next ten years his life is almost an entire blank to us. Yet, as he implies in the Dedication of his book, he continued to frequent or reside in the country, and it is altogether likely that during this time he was making annual voyages for the cod fishery and the Indian trade to that coast of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence where he later was in command. He certainly had some legal rights there, for he tells us that in establishing his post at Miscou in 1645, he had a concession from the Company of New France; and again when he established himself at Saint Peters [in Cape Breton] in 1653, he did so under a commission. No concession or commission to him of such early date is known. The most probable explanation seems to be that he had some understanding with Razilly in the name of the Company of New France. Indeed, the trend of events seems to imply that Razilly before his death subdivided Acadia into three Lieutenancies, one west of the Saint Croix assigned to D’Aulnay, one from Saint Croix to Canso (or to Cape Sable) assigned to La Tour, and one from Canso to Gaspé intended for Denys. Denys’ post at Miscou, on a site well known on the southern shore of the harbour, was a place of some consequence, where he had gardens; and it was probably his first real home in Acadia. But in 1647 his establishment there was seized by D’Aulnay, who in that year had been made Lieutenant-General of all Acadia. D’Aulnay promised to pay him for his goods, but never did so.

For the next two years we know nothing positively as to Denys’ movements. It is possible that during this time he established a temporary trading post on the Miramichi, for the map of about 1658 shows an establishment of his seemingly at that place. Then in 1650 and 1651n he had forts at Saint Peters and Saint Annes in Cape Breton, which were seized in that year by a force apparently sent by the widow of D’Aulnay. The reasonable interpretation of these facts, with others later given, would be that immediately after the death of his enemy D’Aulnay in May 1650, Denys, with his brother Simon, attempted to establish himself in Cape Breton, Simon at Saint Annes and Nicolas at Saint Peters; but they and their establishments were taken by Madame d’Aulnay’s forces. This is amply confirmed by an entry in the Journal of the Jesuits for October 1651, which reads: “Messieurs Denys, who had been taken prisoners by Madame Daunay, were sent back to Quebec in a frigate.” Simon Denys seems then to have settled down in Quebec, where he became the head of a large and influential family, which included many members of prominence in the history of Canada and Acadia. The next spring, as the same Journal tells us, Monsieur Denys (of course our author Nicolas) “goes to find Monsieur la Tour to establish himself again towards Miscou.” The place towards Miscou where he established himself at this time was no doubt Nepisiguit, for, two years later, Nepisiguit was restored to him after its capture, presumably by Le Borgne in 1653. It must have been either in the same year or the next that he established himself again at Saint Peters; for it was in 1653 that he was captured there by Le Borgne, who apparently found him just beginning his new establishment, and who later appears to have seized his post at Nepisiguit. His capture by Le Borgne and his ignominious imprisonment at Port Royal are described in a heat of indignation in his book, where he tells also of his heavy losses for which he could never recover any compensation. Thence he went to France, and, on December 3, 1653, bought from the Company of New France a grant of the coasts and islands in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence from Cape Canso to Cape Rosiers in Gaspé, a region including all of the Saint Lawrence slope of the present Nova Scotia with Cape Breton, of New Brunswick with Prince Edward Island and the Magdalens, and a part of Gaspé. The grant carried a monopoly of the fur trade with other important privileges. A little later, January 31, 1654, he received from the King Letters Patent as Governor and Lieutenant-General over the same great territory with Newfoundland, and to this was added a monopoly of the establishment of the sedentary or fixed fishery anywhere upon the coast of Acadia “as far as Virginia.” Thus armed he returned in 1654 to Acadia, received the surrender of his forts at Saint Peters and Nepisiguit from Le Borgne’s commanders, and for the first time ruled secure in his own principality.

Denys was now at the culmination of his career. He was fifty-six years of age, was undisputed proprietor and governor of a princely domain, was a friend of the powerful La Tour, who was Governor of all the remainder of Acadia, and was well established at Saint Peters and Nepisiguit, two admirable centres for the Indian trade and the fishery. Then for some years he seems to have lived with his wife and his two children in peace at Saint Peters. He was undisturbed by the capture of the country by the English, who left him alone, though he gave shelter to the children of his old enemy D’Aulnay when they had to leave the captured Port Royal in 1654. His business was fishing, trading with the Indians, farming a little, building small vessels, and making some timber. We hear of him in command at Cape Breton in 1659, and he was at Saint Peters also in 1663 or 1664 when the Sieur Doublet, to whom the Company had granted a part of his territory (the Magdalens and the Island of Saint John), came to visit him. This grant he resented as an infringement upon his own rights, but the Company no doubt considered that it was justified by Denys’ failure to settle his lands as required by his grants. It marked the beginning of the breaking up of his vast property. He was also living in Acadia in the year of the great earthquake, which we know was in 1663. Some years earlier than this, apparently, he established his fishing station at Chedabucto (now Guysborough), where in 1667 he had an encounter with La Giraudiere. This caused him losses from which he never recovered, despite his eventual triumph in principle. The same year he obtained a confirmation of his rights, in a grant of November 9, 1667. This document renewed all his privileges, so that under it he was given a new opportunity to settle and hold his original lands. Then he returned to Saint Peters, no doubt in the summer of 1668, and soon after, in the winter of 1668-69, he met with the greatest reverse of his career. His establishment at Saint Peters with all its contents was totally destroyed by fire, and this loss must have nearly or quite ruined him financially. He retired at once to his post at Nepisiguit, but seems to have spent the next winter, 1669-70, in France, and the following year at Nepisiguit. In 1671, as his son’s memorial tells us, he went to France on business,—business of importance to our present subject, for it was no doubt connected with the publication of his book.

Denys’ book bears the date 1672, but the Extract from the King’s License at the end of the first volume shows that it had been composed before September 1671. As the composition of so large a book by so unskilled a writer could not have been accomplished in the few months between his coming to France and September 1671, it seems reasonably certain that he brought the manuscript, in large part at least, from Nepisiguit. It is true that in places, especially in the second volume, the language implies that he was writing in France; but that form of diction was natural in any case where he was telling his fellow-countrymen of a land strange to them. It is probable therefore that the book was largely written at Nepisiguit in the time our author spent there after the burning of Saint Peters. Perhaps Denys wrote it in the hope that the returns from its sale might help to recoup his heavy losses, though, as will presently appear, this was by no means the first stimulus to its production.

After the publication of his book Denys continued to reside in France for many years, leaving his son Richard to command as lieutenant in his stead. He was now seventy four years old, and surely had earned his rest. But his days were troubled by the gradual breaking up of his estate. His original grant of 1653 had carried conditions as to settlement which he had never been able to meet, not, we may believe, through lack of effort on his part, but through difficulty of inducing Frenchmen to settle in that country. Accordingly his rights early became legally forfeit, as the French Government plainly understood; but until near the end of his life, as various documents testify, Denys continued to assume that they remained in full force and effect. It is difficult to trace a clear sequence through the series of grants, edicts, decrees, re-grants, and renewals which mark the decline of Denys’ great privileges, for some of the documents are not yet accessible, and some are absolutely inconsistent with one another. In any case, the subject concerns rather our author’s son than himself, and I have traced it in general in my recently published biography of Richard Denys, where the authority for all of my statements on the subject may be found. Denys’ original grant was in 1653; and as early as 1663 the Company of New France re-granted the Magdalen Islands and Isle Saint John, both within Denys’ grant, to the Sieur Doublet. But in 1667 the Company of the West Indies, successor of the Company of New France, renewed all the rights carried by his concession of 1653 and with similar conditions as to settlement. Again the conditions were not fulfilled, and in 1671 the Intendant Talon granted from Denys’ lands at Percé a tract of two leagues square for the establishment of a sedentary fishery, and this was confirmed as a seigniory in 1676. The grantees were Pierre Denys, Sieur de la Ronde, son of Simon and nephew of Nicolas, with Sieur Bazire. Against this grant Denys appears to have protested, for a dispatch of Colbert of 1676 refers to differences between the uncle and the nephew, and approves the side of the nephew. In 1676 a great seigniory from Denys’ lands, including all the Isthmus of Chignecto, was granted by the Intendant at Quebec to the Sieur de la Vallière, who had married Denys’ daughter. But the next year Denys obtained from the Intendant at Quebec an Ordinance affirming his right to collect a royalty on all coal and plaster mined in Cape Breton and vicinity, and reaffirming his monopoly of the fur trade throughout the extent of his grant of 1653. In 1680 Denys was negotiating with Sieur Bergier for the formation by the latter of a sedentary fishery in Acadia, and gave him a letter of commendation to his son Richard. But Bergier’s grant, two years later, for the establishment of a sedentary fishery in Acadia was from the King and not from Denys, who seems to have been ignored in the affair. In this same year Denys had a business settlement with his son Richard for the latter’s eleven years of service as his lieutenant, and gave him a renewal of his commission. In 1684 additional tracts of Denys’ lands were granted to others, one to Sieur Bergier’s company at Canso, and a large seigniory at Richibucto to Sieur de Chauffours. The next year, 1685, Richard Denys, acting for his father and assuming the integrity of all his territorial rights, granted to the Recollets for Missions three leagues square of lands at Restigouche, Miramichi, and Cape Breton; and the same year Richard made grants of lands to actual settlers at Perce, where the seigniory appears to have been abandoned by Denys de la Ronde. But these are the last traces I have found of the exercise of their old territorial rights by either Nicolas or Richard Denys. The next year, 1686, Cape Breton and the Magdalens were granted to a company; and finally, on April 17, 1687, a decree was issued which appears to have formally revoked all the old grants to Denys, giving him in lieu thereof a large seignory later to be chosen. This seigniory was not selected until after his death; but in 1690 it was granted his son Richard at Miramichi. Denys’ rights as Governor, though in a shadowy and somewhat nominal form, appear to have outlasted his estate, for Richard continued to serve as his lieutenant until the father’s death in 1688. The next year, 1689, Richard was appointed to substantially the same command in his own name, and held it until his death two years later.

But in the meantime Denys had returned to Nepisiguit. A letter written early in 1685 by the Intendant de Meulles states that he was then living in beggary at Paris; but either in that very year, on June 20, or else in 1687, he addressed to the King of France from Nepisiguit an interesting letter. From these facts it seems plain that he had actually been reduced to great poverty, and that in the spring of 1685, though perhaps not until 1687, he came out to Nepisiguit, where his son Richard still maintained his establishment. These last years of the twilight of his life, for he was now nearing ninety years of age, must have been saddened by disappointment and grief over the miscarriage of all his great plans, and the apparent failure of all his life-work. In 1688, as his son’s memorial informs us, at the age of nearly ninety, he died, and although there is no mention of the place of his death, there can hardly be any doubt that it was at Nepisiguit. Local tradition asserts that near the great willow tree now standing close to the site of his old establishment, there are buried some priests “and a French admiral.” This admiral, I believe, is Nicolas Denys. It is a satisfaction to think that here, beside this pleasant basin where the least troubled of his days in Acadia were spent, in the last embrace of the land he loved so well, rests the mortal part of the first proprietor and governor of all the Gulf coast of Acadia, the first great citizen of that noble domain, a goodly man who fought the good fight and kept the faith, Nicolas Denys.

Written by johnwood1946

September 13, 2017 at 8:47 AM

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Promoting New Brunswick in 1832

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From the blog at

Promoting New Brunswick in 1832

“Portland Valley”, Saint John, N.B. 1870-75

From the N.B. Museum via the McCord Museum

It was less than 50 years following the American Revolution when Thomas Baillie wrote An Account of the Province of New Brunswick… (London, 1832), wherein he describes the Province with emphasis upon the benefits of immigration.

Baillie’s descriptions were very optimistic about how easy it would for the superfluous population of Britain to find prosperity in the Province, but this is to be expected since he was the Commissioner of Crown Lands and Surveyor General at the time. He was an eccentric and tyrannical leader, as outlined in another article in this blog entitled Thomas Baillie, Gone but Not Soon Forgotten.

There was a recession in New Brunswick when he wrote his book. Britain was not buying the same quantity of timber or ships, and many timber merchants and ordinary woodsmen were ruined. This predicament is reflected in Baillie’s text which I have edited and abridged:


The Province of New Brunswick formed originally part of Nova Scotia, and at that period was thinly settled and little known even to the people of that country, but was looked upon as the desert and considered as the wilderness of the important and improving province of Nova Scotia. In the year 1784, however, the territory was erected into a separate province, and called New Brunswick. A governor was appointed, and a Council selected by His Majesty, and a House of Assembly was chosen by the inhabitants. Most of the Council members and citizens were Loyalists, who had brought what property they possessed in America at the termination of the Revolution.

A small population located in a dense wilderness could be expected to do but little towards the improvement of the country. Whatever it was possible for men to do, however, has been done. Towns have grown up, and roads have been formed in the wilderness, where fifty years ago the bear had his den and the deer had his lair, and I may well say that the people are intelligent and enterprising. Out of the forests of New Brunswick has arisen a trade with the mother country beneficial to both. The colony receives the British manufactures in exchange for the produce of her woods, and the labour of the active merchant and hardy lumberer. This trade, protected as it is at present by the laws of England, forms the nursery of her mariners, and the surest bond of union between the parent state and her colony. Of the value of this trade, some idea may be formed from the fact of upwards of 1,000 sail of vessels having arrived this season at the port of Quebec, and about 700 at the different ports in New Brunswick. Next to the protection of our trade, the most essential thing towards our increasing prosperity is a greater population; and while the small farmer in England is year after year becoming poorer, and endeavouring to eke out an existence, and pay a high rent and necessary taxes, some of the finest land in the world is open to his labour in New Brunswick, and invites him to cultivate and improve it. A man possessing a small capital would in a few years find himself in comparative affluence; his children, which are here a clog to his exertions, will there be his support and assistants, for often have I seen a boy of twelve years old handle his axe and fell a huge tree with the ease and dexterity of an old woodsman. The girls will in winter spin, and in summer use the hoe. All will enjoy health, comfort, and contentment.

The face of the country presents a wild appearance, owing to its being a continuous forest, in which the evergreens grow indiscriminately with the deciduous trees, shrubs and bushes occupying the spaces between their trunks. A thick clothing of moss, fallen trees, and ligneous and vegetable substances in every stage of decay, encumbers the earth.

The margins of most rivers are studded with cottages, and checkered with the worm-fences peculiar to a country. They abound with wood, interspersed with hamlets of a few families, connected by paths or bridle-roads.

The settlements contain, collectively, about 200,000 acres of cultivated land, and are surveyed into allotments of one hundred and two hundred acres, from forty to eighty perches in width. This mode of allotting land admits of a minute division of all the advantages of a river or road frontage, and it is unquestionably the best. On these allotments, with a few exceptions, clearances have been made from five to fifty acres in extent, more particularly on the banks of those rivers which afford the best land, or present other commercial advantages.

The rivers and navigable streams present advantages of immense importance in a pathless waste, in the facility of communication by water in summer, and by ice in winter. The best land also, both alluvial and upland, is usually found on the banks of these streams; although the most extensive tracts lie in the interior where it is impossible to effect considerable settlements, for want of means for transporting provisions and implement by land or by water.

Generally, land communications between the settlements are by mere paths cut through the forest, by felling the trees near their roots for the space of eight feet in width, and leaving the stumps for time to destroy. Wheel-carriages of course on such roads are not to be used, but our long winters, enduring nearly five months of the year, overcome the obstacles arising from the inequality of the surface, as well as from the want of bridges, by freezing the swamps and the rivers, and covering the ground with from two to three feet depth of snow. Snow, when beaten by the passage of men and horses, soon form an excellent road for sledges of every description. During the winter, while snow covers the ground, all carriages are necessarily of the sledge kind; and two common horses will draw more than a ton weight upon them, at the rate of from five to eight miles an hour. The opening of new roads demands great labour and exertions, and walking in the wilderness is a violent and laborious exercise to which the people are accustomed from infancy. Difficulties are therefore to be expected, and many privations are to be endured by the new settler where there is not a road approaching within some little distance of his farm. In the absence of water communication, or of roads passable for carriages, he is compelled to carry all his provisions and necessaries on his back, and few persons have the energy to overcome such an obstacle.

When roads are made along the margins of rivers, as they generally are, the expense is greatly increased by the eminences and deep indents formed by the mouths of streams, which are not of so serious a character at a distance to the interior. Money will be necessary to explore the woods and lay out the most proper sites, and this labour will ultimately lead to economy.

In building an important road, it has been usual to open it through the forest for no greater width than twenty feet, and after the stumps, rocks, and every other obstruction are entirely eradicated and removed, the whole surface is levelled, and a ditch, about eighteen inches in depth, opened on each side. On wet land, logs, about sixteen or eighteen feet in length, and about eight inches in diameter, are laid across the road, flat upon the surface, and close together. The whole of the earth thrown out of the ditches on each side is then carefully laid upon the piles, which should previously be covered with boughs of evergreens, to bind the whole closely together. The water in the ditches should be drawn off towards the nearest brook or falling land, and the whole will then form a pretty durable and dry carriageway.

Bridges are built with wood or stone; but the latter material is of course preferred. The piers, when built with stone, are always made without cement, and the material rough from the quarry, in order to suit the expenditure to the limited means of the country. Timbers are then extended from pier to pier, on which a covering is laid, either of sawn plank or of trees about six inches in diameter, hewn flat on the upper side. When the piers are constructed with timber, hemlock logs, about two feet in diameter, are laid in a square form, and crossed one over another to a sufficient height for the reception of the sleepers and covering. Hemlock is the best species of timber we have, taking into consideration its great size and strength. The breaking up of the ice in the spring, and sometimes, though not frequently, in the winter, is a great and terrible destroyer of bridges. Permanency, strength, and durability, therefore, should be the ruling considerations in the erection of them, although the last-mentioned requisite has not received much attention, owing to the pecuniary circumstances of the province.

The great military road between Halifax and Quebec is of primary importance, and it has been proposed to be carried along the shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, I entertain of one day seeing it opened in a direct line through the interior of the country from Fort Cumberland to the foot of the Temiscouata Lake. From the bend of the Petitcodiac to the Temiscouata is a distance of 220 miles, and this road will cost at the rate of 100l. per mile, including bridges. Most of the other roads in request would diverge from Fredericton, as a common centre, to the different county towns. I should therefore propose to take one to Dalhousie, one to Richibucto or Liverpool, one to St. Andrews, and one to the Great Falls on the north side of the river St. John, forming the string of the Bow; one should also extend from Miramichi to the Great Falls. The whole distance of these roads would be about 500 miles. On the whole, about the sum of 50,000l. would be sufficient to effect this purpose. An undertaking like this, if well and efficiently executed, will form this province into a good military position, people the wilderness with a brave and hardy race, ready at all times to defend their homes, produce a great revenue from the sale of the wastelands, and erect the colony into one of the most valuable of all His Majesty’s transatlantic dominions. In five years a forest tree would scarcely be discerned within half a mile of these roads, and new settlements, under the care and auspices of the provincial legislature, would be commenced in the rear. Good roads are of the utmost importance to the improvement of land, not only to facilitate the transportation of agricultural produce, but also to create a market, and in affording an opportunity of meeting the wants of travelers and newcomers.

Written by johnwood1946

September 6, 2017 at 9:32 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

A View of Acadian History, from 30,000 Feet

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From the blog at

For New Brunswickers, Nicolas Denys, 1598-1688, is remembered as the great founder of the earliest European settlements at Miscou and Nepisiquit, on our eastern shore. His had travelled throughout Acadia, however, and was therefore able to write a book about the whole area when he was in his old age.

It seems that Denys was poorly educated, and his writing was poor. Nonetheless, W.F. Ganong was able to translate the book and published it as The Description and Natural History of the Coasts of North America, in Toronto in 1908.

The following is condensed and edited from Ganong’s Introduction to Denys’ book, and summarizes Acadian history up to the 1760’s. It was a remarkable feat to compress so much history into such a short text, and many details were necessarily left out. This is why I have called it a view from 30,000 feet.

Axes, attributed to Nicolas Denys, 1645

Musée Acadien, Université de Moncton


A View of Acadian History, From 30,000 Feet

In the eastern part of Northern America, near its farthest extension towards Europe, lies the country known of old as Acadia. It covered most of that huge peninsula which is nearly encircled by the great River Saint Lawrence, the Gulf, and the Atlantic Ocean, with a western limit at the River Penobscot. Today it is parted into five political divisions: the Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and a portion of Quebec, together with a part of the State of Maine. It is a fair land, charming in summer though stern in winter, moderate in resources, varied in aspect, modest in relief, deeply dissected by the sea. Once it bore an unbroken mantle of forest, the shelter of a wandering native race and nurse of a great fur-trade, while its ample waters have ever yielded a rich return from the fisheries.

The discovery of Acadia followed close upon that of America, for John Cabot saw its shores in 1497, or at least in 1498. The records are most obscure, but upon them rests England’s nominal right to the country. Of the other explorers who came later Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524 and Jacques Cartier in 1534 were the chief, for their voyages gave France her title to this land. Yet these legal rights, based upon discovery, are of more academic interest than practical importance, since they had little weight with the final arbiters of the ownership of Acadia, which were might of arms and colonizing genius. Then followed a long interval marked only by the summer visits of traders and fishermen; and the first period of Acadian history, the period of exploration drew to a close with the end of the sixteenth century.

The period of settlement began in 1604. In that year the Sieur de Monts, obtaining from the King of France vice regal powers of government and a monopoly of trade in all Acadia, and came to the country with a strong expedition. His historian and geographer, Champlain, mapped its Atlantic coast, while the party established a settlement at Saint Croix Island and later another at Port Royal. He was worsted by his foes at court, however, and had to abandon the country in 1607 just as the English were establishing themselves in Virginia. But the fruits of his labour were not wholly lost, for a companion of his voyage, the Sieur de Poutrincourt, re-established the settlement of Port Royal in 1610 and placed it in charge of his son Biencourt. It was only three years later when, sharing the fate of a new French settlement forming at Mount Desert, Port Royal was destroyed by the Virginia English under Argal; and Biencourt with his few French companions, the two La Tours and some others, was forced to a wandering life with the Indians. Then for well-nigh twenty years the French Government, expending upon Quebec such colonizing strength as it could afford, ignored Acadia well-nigh utterly, and left it without defence or a capital. Yet Frenchmen did not abandon it. Missionaries came to convert the Indians, especially on the Saint John and at Nepisiguit; trading companies were formed to exploit the trade and fisheries, the most important being that of Miscou, founded in 1619; fishing vessels continued to resort every summer to all the harbours of the coast to catch and dry the cod. Gradually, too, the wandering companions of Biencourt settled down. The elder La Tour established himself for trade at the mouth of the Penobscot until driven thence by the English in 1628; and his son, after the death of Biencourt in 1623, built up a strong post near Cape Sable. In 1626-27, men wintered for the first time at the trading-post of Miscou; and here and there, at Port Lomeron near Cape Sable, at Yarmouth near Cape Fourchu, and perhaps elsewhere at the places of greatest resort of the fishing ships, adventurous individuals established the beginnings of settlements which, intended to be permanent, were mostly destroyed by New Englanders, who had come to establish themselves at Plymouth in 1620. Thus it came about that, in the year 1627, there was only a single French post of any strength in all Acadia, Charles de la Tour’s Fort Saint Louis near Cape Sable; and La Tour was in fact, if not in name, the French ruler of the country. Then in that year war broke out between England and France. The English attempted in 1628 to relieve the Huguenots besieged in La Rochelle by the armies of the Catholic King of France, but failed. In America they were more successful, for, under Thomas Kirk, they seized Port Royal, nominal capital of Acadia (leaving La Tour’s fort, no doubt, because it was strong and they were hurried), and captured some French ships, on one of which was the elder La Tour. The next year they took Quebec, and for the first time England possessed both Canada and Acadia. Then followed some events of no great concern to history, but of some importance to the subject of Nicolas Denys. The Scot, Sir William Alexander, had received from the King of England in 1621 a grant of Acadia, under the name of Nova Scotia, despite the fact that it was nominally French; but he had made little attempt to settle it. In 1629, however, he sent a colony to Port Royal. In the same year, Sir James Stuart, to whom Alexander had granted a Barony, attempted a settlement at Baleine Cove in Cape Breton, whence he was promptly ousted by the French Captain Daniel, who built himself a fort at Saint Annes, the first in that important place. The next year, 1630, Alexander sent a second colony to Port Royal, and on one of his ships was the elder La Tour, who, during his two years of residence in England, had renounced his French allegiance, married an English woman of quality, and accepted a Baronetcy of Nova Scotia from Sir William Alexander. But he did more than this, for he accepted a similar Baronetcy on behalf of his son, together with a great grant of the coast to them conjointly; and he promised to bring over his son to British allegiance. But when the ships carrying La Tour and the Scots colony of 1630 stopped at Cape Sable, Charles de la Tour refused utterly to make good his father’s promises, and resisted first his entreaties, then his threats, and finally an attempt at force. The father was obliged to go on in disgrace to Port Royal, whence he later returned by his son’s invitation to Fort Saint Louis and his French allegiance. Meantime it had become known that Canada and Acadia were to be returned to France, for reasons which were personal with the two Kings and concerned not the good of their empires. This restitution was finally effected by the Treaty of Saint Germain early in 1632, and with it ended the period of tentative settlement in Acadia.

The new period which now opened is of especial importance to us because our author, Nicolis Denys, early became a part of its history. It began in 1632 with Acadia restored to France but still well-nigh a wilderness. Through all its great extent there were only some four small settlements: the post near Cape Sable commanded by Charles de la Tour, who in 1631 had been created Lieutenant-General for the King, a weak fort at Saint Annes in Cape Breton, a trading post at Miscou, and a small Scots colony at Port Royal. The time was ripe for a change, and immediately the great Company of New France, a powerful organization formed in 1627 to manage the affairs of France in America, prepared to exploit Acadia. They chose as leader of the enterprise one of the most capable of their members, the chivalrous Commandeur Isaac de Razilly, who, in the same year, 1632, came to the country with full authority and ample means for its government and settlement. He received the surrender of the Scots at Port Royal, but fixed his own capital at La Have, a great centre for the fishery, where he established himself strongly. Here, later, he settled a number of French families, and thus made the first planting of the Acadian race in America. With him were two men, who later became leaders in the land. One was his cousin, Charles de Menou, Sieur d’Aulnay Charnisay, and the other was Nicolas Denys. D’Aulnay was given charge of the Penobscot, from which he drove the English, and where he built, or rebuilt, a fort and trading post, which he held successfully for several years; Denys at first remained near Razilly, and founded fishing and lumbering establishments at Rossignol (Liverpool) and La Have. Meantime Charles de la Tour remained at Fort Saint Louis until 1635, when he removed to a new and strong fort at the mouth of the River Saint John and engaged in the Indian trade. Then, just as these various settlements began to gather head way, in 1635, Razilly died, and a time of confusion and civil strife began.

The successor of Razilly as commander, and probably by his choice, was D’Aulnay, who later also purchased Razilly’s property-rights from the latter’s brother. He assumed full authority and removed the settlers of La Have to Port Royal, which he made his capital. Meanwhile Charles de la Tour, whose commission as Lieutenant-General for the King had never been revoked, continued to control the rich trade of the Saint John. Naturally it was not long before he and D’Aulnay, both masterful and ambitious men with indefinite spheres of command, came into conflict; and the history of Acadia for the next ten years is little more than a record of the strife, partly of diplomacy and partly of arms, between these two men. In 1638 the King of France intervened, and divided between them all that part of Acadia lying west of Canso, the eastern part being omitted, presumably, because then considered to belong rather to Canada than to Acadia, though possibly because of some existent understanding with Denys, who early began to trade and fish in that region. But with two such men as D’Aulnay and La Tour no division of authority was possible, and the struggle for mastery continued, until finally D’Aulnay, already victor at court, triumphed also in the field. In 1645 he captured La Tour’s fort at Saint John, despite its heroic defence by La Tour’s wife, and drove his rival into exile from Acadia. Two years later, in 1647, he was made Governor of the entire country from New England to the Saint Lawrence, expelled Denys from a post founded at Miscou two years before, and for some years ruled as absolute master in Acadia. He devoted himself to the extension of trade, but did little to promote the prosperity of the country in other respects. Then suddenly, in 1650, in the very height of his career, he died, and discord once more prevailed in the land.

The death of D’Aulnay was a signal which brought back to the country the two men, La Tour and Denys, whom he had dispossessed, and which called thither a third, Le Borgne, to whom he was heavily in debt. In 1651 La Tour, bearing a new commission from the King of France as Governor and Lieutenant-General of Acadia, returned to his fort on the Saint John. The next year he married the widow of his rival, D’Aulnay, and with her, so far as history reveals, he lived happily ever after. Meanwhile Denys, after sundry earlier attempts, established himself at Saint Peters in Cape Breton, an admirable station for the Indian trade and the fishery. Then Le Borgne, as claimant of the entire estate of D’Aulnay, attempted to evict both La Tour and Denys. La Tour he found too strong, but Denys he captured by stratagem, though he later allowed him to return to France. There, in the winter of 1653-54 Denys bought from the Company of New France all the great territory comprising the coasts and islands of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence from Canso to Gaspé, and was made Governor and Lieutenant-General thereof by the King. Then he returned immediately to Saint Peters. No doubt he and his friend La Tour would soon have worsted Le Borgne, and thenceforth would have divided the government of Acadia peaceably between them, but suddenly again, as so often in Acadian history, there fell the usual misfortune. In that very year, without any warning, an English force, instigated by New England, seized the principal French posts, and another period of Acadian history came to an end.

But while the English seized Penobscot with La Tour’s fort at Saint John and Le Borgne’s possessions at Port Royal, they left Governor Denys quite undisturbed at Saint Peters, nor did they, during the fifteen years they held Acadia, ever attempt to molest him. This was at first, no doubt, because his establishments seemed too weak and too remote to be worth the effort of suppression, combined with which was the feeling, it is likely, that this distant region belonged rather to Canada than to the Acadia with which New Englanders had especial concern. Perhaps his immunity later was due to the friendship of La Tour, who had great influence with the English. However this may be, we have in the fact itself a manifestation of that difference in history and development which has distinguished the Saint Lawrence from the Atlantic slope of Acadia down even to our own day. Then during the fifteen years of the English possession there was no progress, for the French could not, and the English did not, materially improve the country. La Tour became a friend of the English, and lived in quiet at Saint John until his death in 1666. Denys, though undisturbed politically, could make no headway, partly because of the uncertain status of the country, and partly because of a series of personal reverses which finally drove him, in 1669, from Saint Peters to Nepisiguit. But in 1667, by the Treaty of Breda, Acadia, which had been seized unjustly, was restored to France, and a new period of French rule began.

The actual restoration of the posts of Acadia did not occur until 1670, but thereafter for twenty years, under a succession of French Governors, the southern parts of the country, from Canso to Penobscot, made a slow advance marked by the expansion of the Acadian people. But all of the eastern part, from Canso to Gaspé, under the government of Denys, remained as backward as ever; for Denys, despite all efforts, was unable to settle it even to the small extent required by the conditions of his grant. As a result, his rights gradually lapsed, and were finally revoked a year before his death in 1688. Nor did those to whom portions of his lands were re-granted succeed much better, and the permanent settlement of all the Gulf coast had to wait half a century longer.

The later history of Acadia hardly concerns our present subject, but we may add this much. Port Royal was seized again by the English in 1690 and restored to France in 1697. The English took it again in 1710; but this time they did not cede it back, and have held it ever since. From 1713 to 1763, however, all that part now included in New Brunswick was claimed by both France and England, and this kept it a waste and contributed greatly to the causes which produced the expulsion of the Acadians in 1755. Finally, in 1763, all Canada and the remainder of Acadia passed to England, and then began the steady development which continues to our own day. The Atlantic coast of old Acadia gradually received a population from the New England States and the other English colonies to the southward; while the Saint Lawrence slope, the old government of Nicolas Denys, has been peopled in part by the expansion of the Acadian French and in part by later immigrants from Great Britain and Ireland. But the French are increasing much faster than the English, and time may yet work a strange revenge by restoring to the French race through this peaceful conquest the land which the English possess not by right but by might.

Written by johnwood1946

August 30, 2017 at 8:47 AM

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Nova Scotia During the Revolution, an American Perspective

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From the blog at

Nova Scotia During the Revolution, an American Perspective

Nova Scotia did not join in the American Revolution, but there was significant support among the people for the American cause. Some of my ancestors and, I suppose, others sailed southward to join in the fight against the British, while those who stayed at home were famous for not bringing convictions in cases of people accused of disloyalty. The best book that I have seen about that time and place was John Brebner’s The Neutral Yankees of Nova Scotia, New York, 1937.

Today’s blog contains a number of documents from the records of the state of Massachusetts, as reprinted by E.D. Poole, in his Annals of Yarmouth and Barrington in the Revolutionary War, Yarmouth, 1899. These transcripts are excerpted and slightly condensed and show what prospects the Americans thought possible in bringing Nova Scotia into the fight.

George Washington



Camp at Cambridge, May 18, 1775: We hear from Halifax that the people have at last shewn they have spirit. It seems that agents for procuring forage for the expected regiment of Dragoons had taken, without the consent of the owner, and were shipping for Boston, a great quantity of hay, on which the people set fire to and wholly destroyed it. And when that work was finished they attempted the like by the King’s Magazines, which they several times fired, but they were extinguished by the ships-of-war lying there, who made a brisk fire on the people, and prevented them from affecting their design.


1775: For the expedition purposed: One thousand men, including officers; four armed Vessels and eight Transports; the men to be raised at the Eastward. The Fleet to be made up at Machias, and then proceed to Windsor, captivate the Tories, make all the proselytes we can; and then proceed to Halifax. If possible destroy the King’s Dock-yard and Town, if thought proper.


Camp at Cambridge, Aug. 11, 1775: Gentlemen: I have considered the papers you left with me yesterday. As to the expedition proposed against Nova Scotia by the inhabitants of Machias, I cannot but applaud their spirit and zeal, but after considering the reasons offered for it, several objections occur which seem to me unanswerable. I apprehend such an enterprise to be inconsistent with the general principle upon which the Colonies have proceeded. That Province has not acceded, it is true, to the measures of Congress, but it has not commenced hostilities against them, nor are any to be apprehended. To attack it, therefore, is a measure of conquest rather than defence, and may be apprehended with very dangerous consequences. It might perhaps be easy, with the force proposed, to make an incursion into the Province, and overawe those of the inhabitants who are inimical to our cause, and for a short time prevent them from supplying the enemy with provisions; but to produce any lasting effects the same force must continue.

As to the furnishing vessels of force, you, gentlemen, will anticipate me in pointing out our weakness and the enemy’s strength at sea. There would be great danger that, with the best preparations we could make, they would fall an easy prey, either to the men-of-war on that station, or to some which would be detached from Boston. … I could offer many other suggestions against it, … but it is unnecessary to enumerate them, when our situation, as to ammunition, absolutely forbids our sending a single ounce of it out of the camp at present. I am. Gentlemen, &c. Go. Washington


Whitehall, September 1, 1775:The House of Representatives of the Province of Nova Scotia, in North America, having unanimously agreed to a loyal and dutiful address, petition and memorial to the King’s most excellent Majesty, the Lords spiritual and temporal, and the Commons of Great Britain, in Parliament assembled, containing declarations of their obedience and submission to the authority of the Parliament of Great Britain, as the supreme legislature of that Province, and all the British Dominions, and of their readiness, as an indispensable duty to submit to the payment of such taxes, to be raised upon a permanent plan, and at the disposal of Parliament as shall be their due proportion of the expenses of the Empire.


The address which was some time past sent from this place, and presented to His Majesty, has given rise to all the disturbance in this Province. It was declared to be an address from the inhabitants of the Province of Halifax in Nova Scotia, when, indeed, it was only managed by about one thousandth part of them, when most of the members of the House of Representatives were up in the country superintending their estates; and when they came to town and found in what manner the liberties of the House of Representatives bad been invaded in their absence, they, together with almost all the inhabitants, declared themselves friends to the cause in which the whole Continent of America are engaged, and refused being any longer subservient to the mandates of government; therefore no duties have been paid here since the latter end of August last, of which the Comptroller of the Customs is gone home to give an account. Yesterday a schooner arrived with two tons of tea, from Bristol; the liberty boys immediately committed it to the sea. They have strong assurances of assistance from the Provincial Army, therefore it is to be feared that His Majesty’s yard, stores and ammunition in this Province will be destroyed. The Tartar Frigate is here to protect them; and the master shipwrights, caulkers, joiners, house carpenters, smiths, bricklayers and labourers, form a militia, and mount guard every night, for the protection of the yard, &c. The inhabitants begin to grow very warm, therefore suppose it will not be very long before they find the militia some military employment. [Boston cannot afford any assistance for us, and the sending of supplies from here to Boston is in jeopardy.]


By His Excellency George Washington, Esquire, Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the United States, to Aaron Willard, Esq.:

The honourable Continental Congress having lately passed a resolve containing the following words, viz.: “That two persons be sent, at the expense of these Colonies, to Nova Scotia, to Inquire into the state of that Colony, the disposition of the inhabitants towards the American Cause, and the condition of the Fortifications, Dockyards, the quantity of Artillery and Warlike Stores, and the number of Soldiers, Sailors, and Ships-of-War there, and transmit the earliest intelligence to General Washington,” I do hereby constitute and appoint you, the said Aaron Willard, Esq., to be one of the persons to undertake this business … The necessity of acting with a proper degree of caution and secrecy is too apparent to need recommendation. … Given under my hand, this twenty-fourth day of November, 1775. George Washington


[We did] repair to a place called Campo-Bello, about twenty or thirty miles into the Province aforesaid, but could not cross the Bay of Fundy, for no vessel could be hired or procured, except we purchased one, as every vessel, even to a boat, that crossed the Bay, was seized as soon as they came Into port, except cleared from Halifax; and we could not travel any further into the Country, by reason of Governor Legg’s establishing martial law in said Province, and issuing several Proclamations, one bearing date July 5, 1775, [reading] “I [am] … hereby notifying and warning all persons that they do not, in any manner, directly or indirectly, aid or assist, with any supplies whatever, any Rebel or Rebels, nor hold intelligence or correspondence with them, nor conceal, harbour or protect any such offenders, as they would avoid being deemed Rebels or Traitors, and be proceeded against accordingly;” also a Proclamation, dated Dec 8, 1775, forbidding any stranger to be in Halifax more than two hours, without making his business known to a Justice of the Peace, upon the pain and peril of being treated as a Spy; also, forbidding any person entertaining any such stranger for more than two hours, without giving information, on the penalty aforesaid. From our own knowledge, and the best information of others, about nine parts out of ten of the inhabitants of Nova Scotia would engage in the common cause of America, could they be protected. There are no fortifications in the Province, only at Halifax, and those much out of repair; but they are at work on them. They have picketed the town in, and have about one hundred and fifty pieces of cannon, not mounted, and about twenty or thirty pieces mounted in the town. There were at Halifax about two hundred soldiers, the beginning of January, 1776, which were all that were in the Province at that time; but we are credibly informed that there are two regiments added there since that time. There was only one ship-of-war, of sixty guns, at Halifax, and one of fourteen at Annapolis, at the time aforesaid.


Resolved, That the council of Massachusetts Bay be requested to consider the case of the inhabitants of Cumberland and Sunbury counties, in Nova Scotia, who are sufferers by their attachment to the American Cause; and to devise and put in execution at continental expense, such measures as the said council shall think practicable and prudent, for the relief of the said sufferers; and to enable such of them as may be desirous of removing to a place of greater safety, to bring off their families and effects. And the said council is hereby authorized to raise a number of men if necessary, for that service, not exceeding five hundred, in such places as will least interfere with the raising their quota of troops for the continental army.

Written by johnwood1946

August 23, 2017 at 8:33 AM

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The Many Trials of Richard Valpey of Yarmouth, and his Service to American Cause During the Revolution

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From the blog at

The Many Trials of Richard Valpey of Yarmouth, and his Service to American Cause During the Revolution

Richard Valpey living in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, but wanted to relocate to Massachusetts because of the ongoing American Revolution. This was a problem, because travel was forbidden by both the British and the Americans.

Valpey had shown loyalty to the revolutionary cause by harbouring American castaways from examination by the British and, later, he was involved in freeing prisoners out of Halifax and transporting them to American controlled territory.

He was eventually seized by an American military or privateering ship and all of his goods were seized. He had his goods returned, however, when it was learned that his captors had acted more as pirates than as patriots.

Following is his story, taken from E.D. Poole’s book Annals of Yarmouth and Barrington in the Revolutionary War, Yarmouth, 1899. These documents are excerpted and slightly condensed.

A Small Schooner, from the McCord Museum

Perhaps of the type captained by Richard Valpey



To the Council of the State of Massachusetts Bay. The Petition of Richard Valpey most humbly Sheweth that your Petitioner is a native of Salem, where he always Resided until within a few years when he with his family and many others Removed to a place Call’d Yarmouth in the Bay of Fundy & Province of Nova Scotia, Inhabited chiefly by People from Salem and Beverly, who are now Bro’t to Great Straits & Difficulties, Owing to the Communications between this State & that Province being Cut off. That your Petitioner is very Desirous of Removing himself & family from Nova Scotia to Salem, the Place of his nativity. Could he have your Honor’s Liberty for his so Doing, and to Prevent his little furniture & Effects from being Captured on their Passage from Yarmouth to this Place your Petitioner humbly prays your Honors will be pleased to Grant him a License in Writing to Return to Nova Scotia in any way he may be able & to remove from thence himself, his Wife and nine Children and an aged mother together with his furniture, and your Petitioner as in Duty Bound shall ever pray. Richard Valpey


Whereas Ebenr Porter, Richard Valpey, Nathan Utley, Henry Coggin, Asa Hammond & Nehemiah Porter, all of Yarmouth, in ye Province of Nova Scotia, have petitioned this Board that they may have liberty to remove themselves, their Families and effects from sd. Yarmouth to this State & it appearing that the petitioners not many years since removed themselves and Families from this State. Therefore Ordered that [they be permitted to return] from this State to Yarmouth … & bring of their Families and effects …, and it is hereby recommended to All Commanders of all Armed & other vessels to let the above named petitioners, … pass unmolested….


That Capt. Richard Valpey, an Inhabitant of Yarmouth, in the Province of Nova Scotia, but formerly of this Town, hath made application to this Committee, setting forth, That being at Halifax in said Province, in May last, he was applied to by the following persons, Vizt., Capt. Habakkuk Bowditch, Messrs. Jonathan Payson, Charles Callahan and Andrew Millet, Inhabitants of this State, and who were then Prisoners at that Place, requesting him that he would devise some means by which their escape from their Captivity might be effected as they were then in the most necessitous and distressed circumstances and situation; that he accordingly procured a Vessel and engaged to bring the said persons from Halifax which he accordingly did, altho’ at the Risque of his Vessel as well as his liberty, as he must unavoidably have forfeited both, had he been detected in the execution of his plan by the Government at Halifax; that in pursuance of this Scheme he was proceeding to St. John’s in the Bay of Fundy, where he had engaged to land the said Persons, but while on his Passage, he was informed, that that place would be in the hands of our Enemies before he could arrive there, in consequence of which he put into Cape Porceau, where his Passengers before mentioned got a vessel to carry them to Newbury; that after this the said Valpey was proceeding to St. John’s, having on board, two hogsheads of Rum, two hogsheads of molasses, one piece of checked, and two pieces of white Linen, and two barrels of Pork, with which he was going to purchase a load of Staves for the use of persons residing at Yarmouth; that while he was at St. John’s a party of men from Machias, in this State, came and took his Vessel and goods into possession, and made himself and his Crew Prisoners; and carried them all to Machias, where they still hold the said Vessel and Goods. This Committee would therefore intercede with the Honorable Court in behalf of the said Valpey, and beg leave to acquaint the Honble. Court, that they are well assured that the Inhabitants of that part of Nova Scotia of which the said Valpey is an Inhabitant, are almost to a man friendly to the Interest of these States, that they frequently have assisted our countrymen, who have been Prisoners and carried in there, in making their Escape, and when any of our Vessels have been forced into that Place, they have afforded all the assistance and Relief which was in their Power to the Crews; particularly when the Brigantine Cabot was drove in there by the Milford, this same Capt. Valpey entertained and supported Capt. Olney, Lieut. Knight and about thirty others of the Cabot’s Crew three days and nights, in his own house and at his own expense, as will appear by a Certificate signed by the said Lieut. Knight herewith transmitted. And as the Cartel between this State and Nova Scotia is now stopped and no way for the Subjects of this State who may be carried Prisoners into that Province to be released, but by the assistance of such persons there, whose humanity and friendly disposition towards these States may induce to afford such assistance…

This Committee would therefore Pray that the said Capt. Valpey may have his … [goods restored to him and that he be compensated for services rendered…].


St. John’s River, May 26, 1777: Whereas Richard Valpey, Master & Owner of the Schooner Industry has risk’d his Person and Property in taking us Prisoners from our Confinement at Halifax & Settling us at Liberty in this place, We think to recommend him to the Countenance & favour of all the officers in the American Navy. [Sgd.] Jona. Patson, Charles Callahan, Andrew Millet, Hab’k Bowditch


These may Certify all whom It may Concern that the Subscriber was Lieutenant of the Brig Cabot at the time she was Chased on shore at Chebogue in Nova Scotia by the milford frigate and that after the officers and Seamen made their Escape from the wreck Capt. Olney, my Self and near thirty of the Cabot’s Crew was lodged and Curtisly Entertained by Capn. Rich’d Valpey at his house In Yarmouth Nova Scotia for three days and three knights and this entirely at the Expense of Said Valpey whose friendly disposition to my Self and others belonging to the United States demands my most grateful Acknowledgements and I do hereby recommend him as a person whose gineral Conduct merits the feavor of all the good people of these States. [Sgd.] Benj. Knight, Leftent, Salem, 30 June, 1777


Machias, June ye 12th, 1777, to Capt. Stephen Smith— William Albey arrived hear last Sunday with a prize Schooner, the Industry, Richard Velpay Late master which schooner was taken Last week by Capt. West & Company and sent in hear. Mr. Albey Sceemes to attend to the Bisness of the prize more than the Safety of the Staits, that [he] layed thare matter before the Committee that thare being no Letters from Mr. Allen and but a very blind account from Capt. West, did not very well know how to proceed, but recommended to Mr. Albee for him and his party to Secure the Prize in the best manner they Could and return to their Duty again. But Mr. Albee declined; but Mr. Hall, one of the Guard with him expressed his desire to return to Capt. West again, and with the rest set off today for St. John.

Mr. Albee seems intent upon libelling and getting the vessel condemned Immediately. The Committee recommended him not to proceed any further In the matter until he notifies Mr. Allen and sends him a copy of the vessel’s papers and an account of the whole proceedings, so that he may be consulted in the matter, as Mr. Allen was up the river with the Indians when they took and brought the said prize away. And the Committee told Mr. Albee that his present designs seem to carry an appearance of trying to get the vessel condemned to a few individuals and giving up all pretentions of being in the State’s service. We told him that if so, the Committee would insist upon the Expences of their provisions, boats and ammunition, to be paid out of the proceeds of the prize. However, that was a matter he gave himself no trouble about, and without the advice of the Committee, on his own account, he landed the cargo in Squire Jones’s store, and we suppose, either by himself or attorney, will soon have her libelled at Pownalborough. … We think that those persons who seek their own interests so much more than they do the safety of a bleeding Country, deserve no preferment In It. … By inquiry we understand her cargo is— 2 Hh W. India Rum; 2 Hh. Molasses; 5 Tierces Rice; 2 Barrels Porc; 1 Barrel Tobacco; about 300 wt. Cottons; 20 thousand nails, A good Schooner, about fifty tons.


The Committee … ask Leave to Report that Capt. Richard Valpey … is an Inhabitant of Yarmouth, in the County of Cumberland, in the Government of Nova Scotia, the Inhabitants whereof have been great Suffers By their attachment to the American Cause … Your Committee also find that the said Valpey hath frequently exerted himself to relieve and Comfort American Prisoners making their Escape from Halifax in sd. Government.

Therefore Resolved, that the Schooner Industry (taken by a Party of Capt. West’s Company, …) together with her Cargo and Stores intire be immediately restored to the said Valpey & the Committee of Correspondence, &c., of Machias and all other persons concerned are directed to cause this Resolution to be carried into execution. In Council, July 2, 1777. [Read In the House of Representatives & Concurred with, July 3, 1777.


Ordered, that Capt. Richard Valpey, master of a Schooner lately taken by a party of men under the Command of Capt. West & carried into Machias, be & be hereby is permitted to Depart this State for Yarmouth in Nova Scotia with his Said Schooner and all & Every Articles which were on board the said Schooner at the time of her Capture, and the Maritime Court of the Eastern District, the naval officer & the Committee of the Port and Town of Machias are hereby order’d and Directed to see this order Caryed into Execution.

Written by johnwood1946

August 16, 2017 at 8:20 AM

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