New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

Table of Contents, Rev. April 29, 2015

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

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


John Wood

Written by johnwood1946

April 29, 2015 at 9:04 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

The Official Account of the Destruction of Burnt Church

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From the blog at

This is the authentic story of the destruction of Burnt Church, New Brunswick, by a military force led by Colonel Murray in 1758. It can be found in the Collections of the New Brunswick Historical Society, Number 9, 1914, edited by W.F. Ganong.

I have read the incorrect story of the destruction of Burnt Church, wherein six sailors were looking for a supply of fresh water when they were attacked by Indians. It is therefore good to have this corrected version of events.

Burnt Church

Burnt Church First Nation, c. 1900

From the New Brunswick Museum

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The Official Account of the Destruction of Burnt Church

On the north side of the Inner Bay of Miramichi stand the modern twin English and Indian villages of Burnt Church, known to have taken their name from the burning of a French Church there by the British about the time of the Fall of Quebec. The local account of the matter is, however, incorrect in details, because derived from Cooney’s well known History, which, misled by erroneous tradition, gives a wrong setting to this incident. I have long sought the original official account of the burning of the church, and at length have found it in the document which follows. It is contained in the Public Record Office in London, where it is classified officially as C.O.5, Vol. 53, (formerly A.&W.I. Vol. 79). The copy has been made for me with care by an expert direct from the original, and is here printed exactly to a letter.

The facts are, that in 1758, as a part of the campaign against the French in Canada, an effort was made by the British to destroy all the French settlements around the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. In pursuance of this plan General Wolfe sent Colonel Murray to destroy the settlements at Miramichi, and it is Colonel Murray’s report of his operations which is here presented. Those interested in these matters will recall that Colonel Monckton was at this very time preparing for an expedition of similar object against the French on the Saint John, his report forming an earlier number (No. 1) of this series.

Louisbourg 24th September 1758.


I have the Honor to acquaint you that all the Fleet, (except the small sloop which parted from Us at Sea and did not join Us till we were on our return to Louisbourg) made Miramichi Bay the 15th instant, and came to an Anchor in an open Road, seven Leagues from the Settlement and three from the Barr, exposed 16 Points of the Compass; Capt. Vaughan expressed much Uneasiness at the Situation of the Ships, but as the Weather was moderate and promised to continue so for sonic time, he eagerly embraced the Opportunity and agreed with me, that we should immediately with the Artillery Sloop and the Boats of the Fleet proceed up the River and attack the Settlement, representing to me the necessity of returning quickly, as the Ships in the Situation they were in, without Boats or Men, could not possibly escape being lost, should the Gales of Wind blow, which are naturally to be expected at this Season of the Year; As we had this morning chased a Privatier into the River which in Company with a Sloop we saw fire several Guns, I mounted the two Six Pounders in our Sloop and contrived to embark Three Hundred Men in her and the Boats, there is but Six Feet Water on the Barr at low Water; We were therefore obliged to wait a little this side of it till the Tide rose by which means it was dark before we could get over it, we struck upon it but got safe within Muskett Shott of the Settlement about 12 at Night, Joseph the Indian being our Pilot, we landed and found all the Inhabitants, (except the King’s Surgeon and Family) had desert’d it, this man told me, that the Inhabitants consist of the neutral French who fled from Nova Scotia, that they expected no Quarter from Us and had therefore run away, that le Pere Bonavanture was with them, their Number about Forty, that there are several Habitations dispersed all over the Bay, for many Leagues both above and below where we were, That many Indians inhabit this Bay, but chiefly about where we were and below, That they lived sometimes in one place sometimes in another, having no fixed residence till the Winter, That on the other side the Bay there was a Settlement of about Thirty Family’s Three Leagues from Us, to destroy which I immediately detached a Party, that Ten Leagues up the River there was another Settlement very considerable of Neutrals and some Family’s who had fled from the Island of St. John’s since the taking of Louisbourg, that the whole were in a starving Condition, had sent away most part of their Effects to Canada, and were all to follow immediately as they every Hour expected the English, and besides could not subsist, since they could not now be supported by Sea as they formerly were before Louisbourg was taken, that the Inducement for settling in that River was the Furr Trade, which is very considerable, no less than Six Vessels having been loaded there with that Commodity this Summer, That Monsr. Boisbert commands the whole as well as the Settlement on St. John’s River, That he is at present with his Company at Fort George, against which he is to act in Conjunction with a Detachment from Montcalm’s Army and is no more to return to Miramichi, which is abandoned for the reasons already given, That the two Vessels we had seen, were, one a Privatier mounting Six Carriage Guns, the other a Sloop which had an Officer and Twenty Five Men on board for Canada, they had escaped from Cape Britain, but being chased by one of our Frigates off Gaspee, I suppose the Kennington, were now to make the best of their way inland to Canada, there being a Communication from the head of Miramichi River to Quebeck by Rivers and Lakes a few Portages excepted, He added that the Passage up the River to the Settlement Ten Leagues up, was very narrow but water enough for the Sloop; As the Weather was still fair and promising, I immediately, upon this Consideration, wrote to Capt. Vaughan for some Guns to mount upon the Sloop (as I found our Six Pound field Pieces would not work in her) and some more Provisions, that I might proceed up the River to destroy every thing in it, but he sent me the enclosed Letters one after the other, I likewise took care to have Capt. Bickerton consulted about the Situation of the Fleet, who declared he could not Sleep while it continued where it was; I therefore in the Evening of the 17th in Obedience to your Instructions embarked the Troops, having two Days hunted all around Us for the Indians and Acadians to no purpose, we however destroyed their Provisions, Wigwams and Houses, the Church which was a very handsome one built with Stone, did not escape. We took Numbers of Cattle, Hogs and Sheep, and Three Hogsheads of Beaver Skins, and I am persuaded there is not now a French Man in the River Miramichi, and it will be our fault if they are ever allowed to settle there again, as it will always be in the Power of two or three Armed Vessels capable of going over the Barr, to render them miserable should they attempt it. I thought it was a pity that the two Vessels I have mentioned should escape Us, and therefore proposed to the Sea Commanders to go up with the Sloop manned with Soldiers to attack her and desired some Six Pounders, but they declared she was not in a Condition to carry any, and was otherwise very improper for such an Enterprize; If this could have been done the Fleet might have proceeded to Sea, out of the Danger it was exposed to, by lying in the open Road. We are now returned to Louisbourg in the same Situation we left you at Gaspee; I am etc.

Ja. Murray

To Brigadier Genl. Wolfe.

a true Copy, Jam: Wolfe.

endorsed: Copy of Colonel Murray’s Report.

in Brig. Genl. Wolfes of Nov. 1st 1758.

It is thus proven that Burnt Church was destroyed by Colonel Murray in 1758, acting under orders from General Wolfe, as part of a plan of military operations. The account by Cooney, contained in his History of Northern New Brunswick and the District of Gaspe, 1832, and widely accepted locally, is erroneous in almost every particular. Cooney says (page 35), that after the conquest of Quebec a vessel containing the remains of General Wolfe and carrying despatches, was driven by stress of weather or other adverse circumstances into Miramichi, where the captain resolved to replenish his stock of water, and despatched six men for the purpose. They proceeded to Hendersons Cove, and having loaded their boat were rambling about when they were surprised and murdered, with refined tortures, by the Indians, supposed to be assisted by the French. In retaliation the Captain proceeded up the river, destroyed all the French settlements there, and on his way out to sea burnt the Chapel at Neguac, thus originating the name Burnt Church. A form of this erroneous tradition is given by Father Gaynor on page 56 of this volume of these Collections.

It is perhaps not worthwhile to discuss Cooney’s account, which evidently rests upon distorted traditions. But we may point out the utter improbability of a vessel bound from Quebec to England on an important mission putting into Miramichi, a place far out of her course, and supposed at that time to be highly dangerous for navigation, as our document incidentally shows. Moreover, (as recorded in Wright’s Life of Major General James Wolfe, London, 1864, page 594), it is known that General Wolfe’s remains were taken to England on a man of war, the Royal William, obviously a vessel quite unadapted to the navigation of the Miramichi. We may note, as well, the improbability of so great an ascent of the river for a water supply. In one other minor feature Cooney’s account must also be wrong, viz., the Acadian Indians did not torture prisoners.

Traditions, however, while highly untrustworthy in details, are rarely manufactured altogether, but have generally some nucleus of fact. In this case I believe that Cooney has recorded a tradition which had really linked together two separate events. Thus the matter of the six British sailors seems to find a support in a Riviére des Six Bretons (qy. Britons — English?), applied to a stream on the north side of the Miramichi, apparently at about the position of the present Bartibog, on the early French maps. The earliest on which I find the name is that of Sieur l’Hermitte of 1724, putting the event, if the connection is genuine, before that date, though I set no great store by this matter. More important is this fact;— we know that in the year 1690, two English privateers from New York pillaged the French settlements at Port Royal and elsewhere in Acadia, and destroyed utterly the French establishment at Gaspe, as fully discussed in the Champlain Society’s Edition of Father le Clerq’s New Relation of Gaspesia, 68; and there is every probability, sustained by some little clues of evidence, given in that work, that they also pillaged and destroyed the establishment which Richard Denys de Fronsac had previous to that time, maintained near Beaubears Island (see also papers in No. 4 of this series). Taking everything together it would seem probable that a half dozen men from one of these privateers were ambushed and killed by Indians and French at some stream on the Miramichi, perhaps the Bartibog, while the vessels were working their way up the river; and that later these privateers kept on to the settlement of Denys de Fronsac, north of Beaubears Island, where they burnt his establishment, including the chapel which he would certainly have had at his fort. Then in time tradition confused this event with Colonel Murray’s expedition, finally uniting them into one incident in the way recorded in Cooney. All of the data and conditions of the case are harmonized by this supposition.

Written by johnwood1946

April 29, 2015 at 9:02 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

The Exchange Coffee House and St. John’s First Club

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From the blog at http://JohnWood1946.wordpress,com

This is the story of the Exchange Coffee House in Saint John, and of the Club that later met there. The Exchange was first mentioned in a newspaper in August in 1784, and it and the Club became a social hub. The story is by John Russell Armstrong and was published in the Collections of the New Brunswick Historical Society, Volume 7, 1907.

The Exchange Coffee House and St. John’s First Club

Coffee House 1840

The Coffee House in 1840

Facing up King Street at Prince William, the Coffee House is on the Right

The first social Club in St. John, of which any record has been preserved, was established in 1803, just twenty years after the landing of the Loyalists, in a building on the lot where now stands the splendid edifice occupied by the Royal Bank of Montreal.

This lot, number 402, fronting fifty feet on the east side of Prince William ‘Street, and eighty on the south side of King Street, was drawn in 1783 by Charles McPherson, a Loyalist, who held a commission in General Oliver deLancy’s Brigade during the American Revolution. It is said that McPherson shortly after drawing the lot offered it for sale at £15, but the price was thought so unreasonable that a purchaser could not be found.

The Exchange Coffee House, an illustration of which appears with this article, was a low two story building and basement with shingle roof. It was probably one of the first considerable structures erected in Parr Town, and was completed within fifteen months after the landing of the Loyalists. It was designed and built for a place of refreshment, for the “Coffee House” is mentioned in a newspaper as early as August 5th, 1784, Charles McPherson being the proprietor and owner. The drawing, of which the illustration is a copy, was made in 1840 by Mr. George N. Smith, a local artist, and is said by those who recollect the building to be a faithful representation of the Coffee House. One of its rooms was known as the Assembly Room; it was 50×25 feet, and was on the second floor. One of the first entertainments on an elaborate scale given in this room is thus described by Benjamin Marston in his diary, under date Tuesday, 18th January, 1785: “Queen’s birthnight, Governor Carleton gave a ball and supper at the Assembly Room. Between 30 and 40 ladies were present, and near 100 gentlemen. The ladies were of the best families only, but the gentlemen were of all sorts. The business was as well conducted as such an entertainment could be where so large a company were to be entertained in so small a room.” Later, in the election for that year, the poll was held for the first two days at “McPherson’s Coffee House.” That the property was then considered of considerable value is shown by the fact that in the next year, 1786, McPherson gave a mortgage of the Coffee House to William Thomson and Alexander Reid for £1,200. In 1789 the following appeared in the St. John Gazette and Weekly Advertiser:

“Sale of the Exchange Coffee House.

“Fronting the Publick Market Place 50 feet on Prince William Street, 80 feet on King Street. On the First Floor is one room, 25 feet square, compleatly fitted up for a Coffee-room; one parlour, 24 x 15 feet, to which joins a complete bar-room; one ditto, 26 by 15 feet, which has been ever since the settlement of the City employed as a store, and is allowed to be equal to the best stand in the Province. On the Second Floor is an elegant Assembly Room, 50 by 25 feet, one large Parlour, and a Bedroom. On the Third Floor is eight well finished Bedrooms. Under the First Floor is a well frequented Store, fronting the street, at the back of which is a large convenient Kitchen; also a very fine cellar, 36 by 24 feet, built with stone. For further particulars apply to the proprietor,

Chas. McPherson, St. John, May 1, 1789”

The above gives us an idea of the internal arrangement of the house. It is possible that the eight well finished bedrooms on the third floor were in the adjoining building. Mr. McPherson apparently did not succeed in finding a purchaser for his property, for in the meantime he leased it to one William Rogers, and again advertised the property for sale, as we find in the following advertisement which gives the exterior dimensions of the building:


For Sale.

“That large and commodious House, and eligible stand for business, situate at the corner of King and Prince William Streets, now in the occupation of Mr. Wm. Rogers.

“The house is two and half stories high, in good repair, and replete with accommodations and conveniences for business, as well as for family purposes. It fronts on Market Square 50 feet, and on King Street 36 feet, exclusive of additional rooms annexed to it on the same street, and a complete Cellar under the whole House. It has rented for the last 7 years at £100 per annum, and the proprietor is offered £150 for the ensuing year. The situation of the premises and the advantages attached to it are so well known as to render any encomiums or further description unnecessary. The Lot is 50 by 80 feet, and having the benefit of both fronts makes it an object to those inclined to purchase. For further particulars apply to the proprietor.

Chas. McPherson. St. John, 5th January, 1798.”

Mr. Rogers, desiring to sub-let a portion of the premises, inserted the following advertisement in the “Gazette” in the same year. Even at this early period in the history of the City yearly tenancies began from the first day of May:


“Par One Year from the first day of May next, the corner Store of the Exchange Coffee House, now occupied by the subscriber; as also the Store underneath the said House, at present in the tenure of Alderman Reid. These two stores may, with great propriety, be called the First stands for business in this City. For terms enquire of

William Rogers. St. John, February 2, 1798.”

Two years later the occupant of the Coffee House was White Raymond, of whom we have a record as early as 1784. In that year on the 17th of June at the Sessions of the Peace for the old County of Sunbury, in the Province of Nova Scotia, held at Maugerville, in what is now New Brunswick, White Raymond (formerly of Darien, Connecticut), of the Township of Parr, petitioned for leave to keep a house of Public Entertainment in Parr Town, and for a license to retail spirituous liquors, by the small measure. His application was endorsed as follows by the Secretary of the Board of Directors for the laying out and settlement of Parr Town:

“This may certify that the within mentioned White Raymond is an honest, good man, and is in a situation to accommodate the Public.

(Signed) Oliver Arnold

White Raymond was a .brother of Stent Raymond, the ancestor of Wm. E. Raymond of the Royal Hotel. His lot near the corner of Sydney and Brittain Streets was a very central one for the “Lower Cove” district, where the disbanded soldiers of the Loyalist regiments were principally settled. This district at that time was a strong rival of the “Upper Cove.” However, White Raymond decided after a while to try his fortunes at the Upper Cove, as we learn from the following advertisement in the columns of “The Royal Gazette and New Brunswick Advertiser,” of the 3rd of June, 1800:

“Exchange Coffee House

“The Subscriber will open the Coffee-Room in the Exchange Coffee House for the reception of the Gentlemen Merchants and others, and will engage to furnish, by every Packet, the London Newspapers, as also the New York and Boston Papers by every opportunity, for their perusal, as soon as a sufficient number of subscribers shall appear to defray the expense of the room, fire, and, candle light, &c.

White Raymond. June 3rd, 1800.”

Mr. Raymond remained the tenant until ‘the property passed into Mr. Cody’s hands, and there can be little doubt that it was he who, some nine months later, inserted in the columns of the same paper the following admonition:

“A Hint.

“The Occupier of the Exchange Coffee House is under the disagreeable necessity of reminding those Gentlemen who are in the habit of taking away News-Papers belonging to the Subscription Room, that they must desist from the like practices in future, as they are intended for the benefit of all the Gentlemen Subscribers, and such intrusions will not be allowed.

St. John, March 17th, 1801.”

In 1803 William George Cody—originally spelled “Cowdy”—leased the Coffee House. He was born in 1771 at St. George’s, Grenada, W.I, a son of Oliver Cody, born at Drumanore, County Down, Ireland, in 1744. He married, in 1798 at Halifax, N.S., Susannah, born 1779 in London, England, daughter of Osmond Button of Devonshire. After a Year’ residence in Halifax, where their eldest child, Susannah Jane was born, the married couple moved to Annapolis Royal, where their first son, William Oliver, was born in 1800, and a second son, James Osmond, in January, 1803. Shortly afterwards they moved to St. John, where eight more were added to their children. Jane, a sister of William George Cody, not a daughter, as stated in Lawrence’s usually accurate “Foot Prints,” born in London, 1779, married 21st October, 1803, Richard Whiteside, and a second sister married Michael Hennigar, names well known in this city.

Under date May 11th, 1803, William George Cody advertises that having taken the Exchange Coffee House he is prepared to furnish entertainment, liquors, good board and good stabling for horses.

Soon after opening his place of entertainment, Mr. Cody laid his plans to add to the already well merited popularity of the Coffee House by establishing a Club, which he designated “Subscription Room.” The original Subscription List is in the possession of the writer. Accompanying this sketch is a. reduced facsimile, with the signatures, and appended is a brief description of each of the subscribers, of whom there were forty-four, mostly Loyalists, and comprising many of the leading citizens of the time. This paper, which may be designated the Constitution and By-Laws, sets forth the terms and conditions of membership in brief form. None but subscribers, with their non-resident friends, were to be admitted. The subscription was twenty shillings a year, and for this fee the room was to be furnished with Lloyds’s List, a tri-weekly London paper, a New York daily and Boston daily, and a Halifax weekly and St. John weekly paper. The proprietor was to provide fewill (sic), candle light. a blank book for insertion of news, and pen, ink and paper. No fateful ballot was employed to keep out the undesirable applicant for admission, at least there seems to have been no provision for such, and Mr. Cody probably remained the sole arbiter of the fitness of the candidate.

The prestige given to the Coffee House by the influential membership of the Subscription Room added greatly to its popularity. Here the leading professional and business men of the place held not only their informal but their pre-arranged meetings and here they met to initiate and complete transactions of greater or less importance. It was a rendezvous for seekers after entertainment, primarily of a material and secondarily, of an intellectual nature. Its liquid refreshments, judging by its name, were not confined to the Jamaica Rum then so freely used. A direct trade, large for this port at that time, was carried on with the West Indie. The duty on this spirit was six pence per gallon, while the cost to the consumer, two and six pence per gallon, brought the favourite beverage within the reach of all desiring this class of stimulant. Here subscription papers, petitions and other documents to which signatures were desired were usually left. It was a little “hub of creation.” The Court House, City Hall and Market were close at hand on the Market Square, and for some years the Post Office was only a little further south on Prince William ‘Street, while a printing office (Henry Chubb’s) was just alongside. It was the meeting place of the citizens for a great variety of purposes, social, political and otherwise. Here were held many of the annual anniversaries of the national societies of Saint George and Saint Andrew. Civic, political and military dinners were given under its roof. Even balls were held at Cody’s, notably that in honour of Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar. This was the regular meeting place of St. John’s Masonic Lodge from May, 1803, to March, 1813. It was in the Old Coffee House, on the 20th. of May, 1819, that the St. John Auxiliary of the British and Foreign Bible Society was founded, and many other gatherings for the promotion of the moral well-being of the community were held. Here on l2th June, 1820 was held the first meeting of the stockholders of the Bank of New Brunswick, at which Directors were elected and subsequently its officers appointed. Here in 1822 they considered the practicability of building a canal from the head of the Bay of Fundy to Bay Verte, which proposal was a live topic for half a century and more. At this meeting Ward Chipman, Sr., Judge of the Supreme Court, afterwards Chief Justice, was in the chair, and such well-known citizens as Hugh Johnston, Thomas Millidge, Charles Simonds and Lauchlan Donaldson were appointed a Committee to raise the sum of £250 for the purpose of having a survey made. Surely it may well be said that the Coffee House was a useful as well as popular institution of its times.

In October, 1817, Mr. Cody purchased the property from Mr. MePherson for the sum of £1,500, it being described in the deed as “the premises being generally known and distinguished by the appellation of the Coffee House.” In 1824, Mr. Cody moved to Loch Lomond, where he established the “Ben Lomond House.” In August, 1836, he advertised his old premises for sale, as follows:


“That very valuable freehold property known by the name of the Exchange Coffee House, owned by the subscriber, in the Market Square of this city, being 50 feet on said square, and extending upwards of 80 feel on King Street, together with the buildings thereon. The whole is offered for the sum of £7,000 currency of which £3,000 is required to be paid when a sufficient deed is furnished, and possession given, the remaining £4,000 may continue unpaid for seven years, provided the interest at six per cent, is duly settled up once every year. The property now rents for upwards of £400 per annum, and properly improved may be made to yield upwards of £1,000. If not sold prior to Monday, 31st October, ensuing the same will be put up at auction on that day.

William G. Cody. Aug. 13, 1836”

But apparently he found no purchaser. On 25th August, 1840, Mr. Cody died at his home at Loch Lomond, aged seventy years. On 1st August, 1850, the Coffee House was sold at auction in the office of the Master of Chancery under an order for sale in that Court, and was bought by the late Mr. John Gillis for the large sum of £5,650. In the deed it is described as being “heretofore occupied by William George Cody, and known and distinguished by the name of the Exchange Coffee House.”

Some extracts relating to the Coffee House from writers of local history may be quoted—

Sabine in his “Loyalists of the American Revolution,” 2nd Vol. p. 76, refers to Cody as “the Prince of caterers and the most obliging of landlords,” and adds, “the Coffee House was a famous place of meeting for a long time. Within it the Loyalists gathered year after year to discuss their affairs both public and private, to tell of their losses, sufferings and expulsion from their native land, to hold high revelry, to read the news, to transact business, and to devise means to develop the resources of the Colony.”

Stewart in “The Story of the Great Fire in St. John, N.B. thus refers to the Coffee House. “Here of an evening for years and years, the old men of the place used to sit and gossip and smoke, and sip their toddy; here in 1815 they met to learn the news of the war between France and England, and read the story of Waterloo four or five months after it was fought and won. In this sort of Shakespeare tavern, the leading merchants of the day met and chatted over large sales, and compared notes. Here, a verbal commercial agency was established, and here delightful old gossips met and told each other all about everybody else’s affairs. There were Ben Jonsons in those days who wrote dramatic pieces and showed them to their friends over a cup of hot spiced rum. Poets, too, full of the tender passion, sighed out hexameters of love in that old Coffee House.”

Bunting, in his “Freemasonry in New Brunswick,” page 395, writes: “It was a noted place of resort to the early citizens of St. John, and was better known to them than any other place in the city under its several designations of MacPhersons Coffee House, Cody’s Coffee House, Exchange Coffee House, and above all as “The Coffee House.” The public room in the upper story, the scene of the many gay and festive gatherings, often resounded with the light-hearted laugh, the mirthful joke, the pleasant song, interspersed with toasts and sentiments. Wit, wisdom, gaiety and humour were there. The health of the king, attachment to the throne of Great Britain, and devotion to the fair sisterhood found hearty and outspoken expression around its festive board. The merchant, the lawyer, the politician, the scholar—all classes and professions—mingled here and talked of merchandise, briefs, public matters, Shakespeare, and the latest news from Europe.”

The Coffee House building had several narrow escapes from destruction by fire, which swept Prince William Street and Market Square, but it remained in continuous use until shortly after its purchase in 1850, when it was torn down to make room for the “Imperial Building” erected by Mr. Gillis, which was considered a wonderful advance in the style of business buildings hitherto erected in St. John. The “Imperial Building” was consumed in the great fire in 1877, after which the present handsome structure now owned by the Bank of Montreal was erected.

We have no record of the period during which the Subscription Room Club remained in existence. How different are the times now in everything relating to social and club life. The candle lit Subscription Room has given way to the brilliantly electric lighted modern Club building furnished with five St. John dailies in place of a single weekly paper, beautifully illustrated London papers instead of the small tri-weekly journal which was then issued, while huge New York and Boston papers have supplanted the single sheets of those days. Telegraphy has been perfected and telephones have come into common use. Modern hot water heating has taken the place of the old-fashioned wood burning open fire place, and instead of a single subscription club room, there are now in St. John the Union Club, with its membership of some three hundred, the Royal Kennebecasis Yacht Club, with its more than four hundred members, the Natural History ‘Society, the Young Men’s Christian Association, the Neptune Rowing Club, the Free Public Library, the Masonic and similar societies, and many other clubs and organizations, religious, intellectual and social, each with their separate rooms, some with their own well-appointed buildings and all in a prosperous and growing condition.

[The author then presents a membership list for the club, with biographical notes. Not reproduced here.]

John Russell Armstrong

Written by johnwood1946

April 22, 2015 at 10:11 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Wigwams and Dwellings of the Gaspesians

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From the blog at

Chrestien Le Clercq was a priest working in the 1600’s to convert the Gaspesians to Christianity. Gaspesia was what he called the Gulf of Saint Lawrence region, and the Gaspesians were the Mi’kmaq. He produced a book about his experiences when he returned to France and his detailed observations are often quoted by historians. His observations were authentic and come directly from the 17th century.

William F. Ganong translated Le Clercq’s book into English in 1910 and published it as New Relations of Gaspesia, With the Customs and Religion of the Gaspesian Indians, and this post includes the part about the construction of the wigwam.

Mikmaq Encampment

Mi’kmaq Encampment, ca. 1801

Library and Archives Canada

This blog post presents the usual problem, that some of the vocabulary about First Nations would be unacceptable today. I know that this translation faithfully reflects the original French, because W.F. Ganong would not have done it in any other way. I also believe that Chrestien Le Clercq was a right-minded witness to what he saw. It was Le Clercq, after all, who related the story which appeared in this blog on September 24, 2014, entitled “Which of These Two is the Wisest and Happiest?,” and his closing paragraphs in today’s blog show similar empathy and respect for the Mi’kmaq people. All considered, I have left Le Clercq’s vocabulary as found, it being a true representation of the 17th century.

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Wigwams and Dwellings of the Gaspesians

Since these people live without society and without commerce, they have neither cities, towns nor villages, unless, indeed, one is willing to call by these names certain collections of wigwams having the form of tents, very badly kept, and just as badly arranged.

Their wigwams are built of nothing but poles, which are covered with some pieces of bark of the birch, sewed one to another; and they are ornamented, as a rule, with a thousand different pictures of birds, moose, otters and beavers, which the women sketch there themselves with their paints. These wigwams are of a circular form, and capable of lodging fifteen to twenty persons; but they are, however, so made that with seven or eight barks a single one is constructed, in which from three to four fires are built. They are so light and portable, that our Indians roll them up like a piece of paper, and carry them thus upon their backs wheresoever it pleases them, very much like the tortoises which carry their own houses. They follow the ancient custom of our first fathers, who remained encamped in a place only so long as they found there the means of subsistence for their families and their herds. In the same manner, also, our Gaspesians decamp when they no longer find the means to subsist in the places where they are living; for, having neither animals to feed, nor lands or fields to cultivate, they are obliged to be almost always wanderers and vagabonds, in order to seek food and the other commodities necessary to life. It is the business of the head of the family, exclusively over all others, to give orders that camp be made where he pleases, and that it be broken when he wishes. This is why, on the eve of departure, he goes in person to trace the road which is to be taken, and to choose a place suitable and ample for the encampment. From this place he removes all the useless wood, and cuts off the branches which could be in the way. He smooths and opens out a road to make it easy for the women to drag over the snow on their toboggans, the trifle of furniture and of luggage which comprises their housekeeping outfit. He marks out, also all by himself, the plan of the wigwam, and throws out the snow with his snowshoes until he has reached the ground, which he flattens and chops out in pieces until he has removed all the frozen part, so that all of the people who compose his family may lodge in the greatest possible comfort. This done, he then cuts as many poles as he considers suitable, and plants them in a circle around the border of the hollow which he has made in the earth and the snow—always in such a manner, however, that the upper ends come together in a point, as with tents or belfrys. When this is finished, he makes preparations for hunting, from which he does not return until the wigwam has been completely put in order by the women, to whom he commits the care thereof during his absence, after assigning to each one her particular duty. Thus some of the women go to collect branches of fir, and then they place the barks upon the poles; others fetch dry wood to make the fire; others carry water for boiling in the kettle, in order to have the supper ready when the men return from the hunt. The wife of the head of the family, in the capacity of mistress, selects the most tender and most slender of the branches of fir for the purpose of covering all the margin inside the wigwam, leaving the middle free to serve as a common meeting-place. She then fits and adjusts the larger and rougher of the branches to the height of the snow, and these form a kind of little wall. The effect is such that this little building seems much more like a camp made in the spring than one made in winter, because of the pleasing greenness which the fir keeps for a long time without withering. It is also her duty to assign his place to each one, according to the age and quality of the respective persons and the custom of the nation. The place of the head of the family is on the right. He yields it sometimes, as an honour and courtesy to strangers, whom he even invites to stop with him, and to repose upon certain skins of bears, of moose, of seal, or upon some fine robes of beaver, which these Indians use as if they were Turkey carpets. The women occupy always the first places near the door, in order to be all ready to obey, and to serve promptly when they are ordered. There are very great inconveniences in these kinds of wigwams; for, aside from the fact that they are so low that one cannot readily stand upright in them, and must of necessity remain always seated or lying down, they are moreover, of a coldness which cannot be described, whilst the smoke which one is necessarily obliged to endure in the company of these barbarians is something insufferable.

All these hardships, without doubt, are not the least of the mortifications which are endured by the missionaries, who, after the example of Saint Paul, in order to be all things to all men so that they may gain these people to Jesus Christ, do not fail, despite so many discomforts, to work without ceasing at the conversion of these poor pagans.

[Le Clercq then tells the story that appeared in this blog on September 24, 2014, entitled “Which of These Two is the Wisest and Happiest?” Continuing thereafter:]

…, I assert, for my part, that I should consider these Indians incomparably more fortunate than ourselves, and that the life of these barbarians would even be capable of inspiring envy, if they had the instructions, the understanding, and the same means for their salvation which God has given us that we may save ourselves by preference over so many poor pagans, and as a result of His pity; for, after all, their lives are not vexed by a thousand annoyances as are ours. They have not among them those situations or offices, whether in the judiciary or in war, which are sought among us with so much ambition. Possessing nothing of their own, they are consequently free from trickery and legal proceedings in connection with inheritances from their relatives. The names of Sergeant, of attorney, of clerk, of judge, of president are unknown to them. All their ambition centres in surprising and killing quantities of beavers, moose, seals, and other wild beasts in order to obtain their flesh for food and their skins for clothing. They live in very great harmony, never quarrelling and never beating one another except in drunkenness. On the contrary, they mutually aid one another in their needs with much charity and without self-seeking. There is continual joy in their wigwams. The multitude of their children does not embarrass them, for, far from being annoyed by these, they consider themselves just that much the more fortunate and richer as their family is more numerous. Since they never expect that the fortunes of the children will be larger than those of their fathers, they are also free from all those anxieties which we give ourselves in connection with the accumulation of property for the purpose of elevating children in society and in importance. Hence it comes about that nature has always preserved among them in all its integrity that conjugal love between husband and wife which ought never to suffer alteration through selfish fear of having too many children. This duty, which in Europe is considered too onerous, is viewed by our Indians as very honourable, very advantageous, and very useful, and he who has the largest number of children is the most highly esteemed of the entire nation. This is because he finds more support for his old age, and because, in their condition of life, the boys and girls contribute equally to the happiness and joy of those who have given them birth. They live, in fact, together—father and children—like the first kings of the earth, who subsisted at the beginning of the world by their hunting and fishing, and on vegetables and sagamité, or stew, which was, in my opinion, like the pottage which Jacob asked of Esau before giving him his benediction.

[Sagamité: An Indian word for a sort of porridge, made mostly of boiled corn, but including other ingredients.]

Written by johnwood1946

April 15, 2015 at 3:19 PM

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The Story of Brook Watson

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From the blog at

This is the story of Brook Watson, who became an orphan at the age of ten years, went to Boston alone, and subsequently lost a leg in a shark attach in Cuba. Despite all of this, he became Commissary General of forces in America, Sheriff and Lord Mayor of London, Member of Parliament for London, and a baronet. His service to the Loyalists at Saint John is remembered in local place names. The story is presented here from the New Brunswick Magazine, Volume 1, 1898, and was written by Clarence Ward.

Brook Watson

Brook Watson

Etching published by James Bretherton in 1788, from the British National Portrait Gallery at

The Story of Brook Watson

Among the many actors in the struggle for independence, which terminated successfully for the American colonists in 1783, was Brook Watson, commissary general to the British forces under Sir Guy Carleton. Considering the prominent part taken by him in the war of the American Revolution, and the very successful and honorable position afterwards attained by him in England, together with the romantic episodes of his boyhood and youth, it is extraordinary how little is generally known of him, and how seldom he is referred to in historical writings, when the events of that stirring time are recalled. The citizens of St. John, are especially interested in his memory, for his counsel and assistance were of great value to the unfortunate exiles who sought these shores on the termination of the contest which deprived them of home and patrimony. As an evidence of their appreciation of the services rendered, and of the respect they had for him, they named one of the streets in the city which they were building “Watson” street, and one of the wards “Brooks” ward, so that the name of Brook Watson is perpetuated among us to the present day.

From his earliest years his life was one of adventure and vicissitude, and nothing in fiction is stranger than his career, which commencing in 1750 a sailor boy in Boston, depending on the good will of those about him, almost strangers, terminated in England in 1807, after he had been commissary general of the forces in America, sheriff and lord mayor of London, member of parliament for London, and a baronet of the United Kingdom. From various sources I have gathered the principal events in his history, but with regard to his connection with New Brunswick my information is meagre, confined to a few documents, and brief mention of important services rendered. That his assistance was of great importance and practical benefit to the Loyalists is undoubted, as is evidenced by the great respect and esteem that was entertained for him by the first settlers of the province.

Brook Watson was born at Plymouth, England, in 1735. His father, John Watson of Kingston upon Hull, was a Hamburg merchant who was unfortunate in business, and both of his parents died when he was not more than ten years of age. He appears to have had but few friends, who were not much interested in him and who sent him to Boston, Mass,, to a Mr. Levens, a distant relative, belonging to Hull, who was engaged in business there. Mr. Levens sent him to sea in a vessel in which he was interested, and while the vessel was at Havana, Watson bad a leg bitten off by a shark when bathing in the harbor. He was taken to the Havana hospital, and treated by the Spaniards with much humanity, and when cured found means of returning to Boston. On his return he heard that his relative had failed and left the place, and he found himself utterly friendless and penniless, and a cripple. The mistress of the house where Mr. Levens had been boarding received him in the most unfeeling manner, and fearing that he would be a burden to her made arrangement to apprentice him to a tailor, very much against his inclination. At this critical period of his life, a friend appeared on the scene in the person of Captain John Huston, of Chignecto, Nova Scotia. Capt. Huston was boarding at the house, and took pity on the friendless boy, and proposed to him to go home with him to Chignecto. He was a trader and owner of vessels, and was then in Boston in one of his own coasters. Young Watson gladly closed with this offer, but before leaving, Huston was put under bonds not to allow Watson to come back and be a charge on the town. The youth returned home with Capt. Huston, who found him such an honorable and honest lad, attentive and obliging and willing to learn and improve himself, that he conceived a particular regard for the boy and treated him rather as a son than as a servant.

This was in 1750, when Watson was in his fifteenth year, the same year that LaCorne began the erection of Fort Beausejour, the English building Fort Lawrence on the south side of the Missiquash, just opposite Fort Beausejour. There was constant skirmishing between these until 1755, when the French were completely routed, and driven from the Isthmus, and the unfortunate Acadians were expelled from the province. During this time Watson was actively engaged in Captain Houston’s business and tending in his store.

On the arrival of the British troops, there came with them Captain Winslow, commissary, who took much interest in Watson, taught him bookkeeping and instilled in him business habits, which laid much of the foundation of his future prosperity. He was also a favorite with Colonel Robert Monkton, the commander of the forces, who employed him in adjusting his books and transacting his business. In fact, at the time he appears to have been regularly employed in the service, for in a letter written by him to the Rev. Dr. Brown dated London, July 1, 1791, published in the collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society for 1879-80, he says, “In September (1755) I was directed to proceed with a party of Provincials to the Baie Verte, then a considerable and flourishing settlement, there to await further orders, which I received the following day, to collect and send to Beausejour for embarkation, all the women and children to be found in that district and on leaving the town to force it, this painful task performed, I was afterwards employed in victualling the transports for their reception.”

As an instance of the courage and capacity of Watson, the following incident, related by Rev. Hugh Graham in a letter to Dr. Brown, dated Cornwallis, March, 1791, is of interest: “Some time after the English forces had taken possession of Fort Cumberland, and the French had retreated to the west side of the river, a number of English cattle had one day crossed the river at low water, and strolled on the French side. This was not observed on the English side till after the tide had begun to make, and then it was much queried if it might be practicable to bring them back. None went forward to make the attempt, only Watson said he would go for one, and indeed they all stood back and let him go alone. He stripped, swam over the riverside, and all got round the cattle, and was driving them towards the river, when a party of French were at his heels. One of them called out, ‘Young man, what have you to do upon the King of France’s land?’ To which Watson replied, that ‘His present concern was neither with the King of France, nor about his land, but he meant to take care of the English cattle.’ This little feat of Watson was talked of with a good deal of pleasantry on both sides, and gained him not a little credit.”

In an obituary notice which appeared in the Gentleman’s Magazine of October, 1807, it is mentioned that he was at the siege of Louisburg with the immortal Wolfe in 1758. I can find no other record of his services in this connection, but presume that he was still employed with his friend and patron, Colonel Winslow.

About this time (1758) he entered into partnership with Mr. Joseph Slayter of Halifax, N.S., a grand uncle of Dr. W.B. Slayter. Slayter was to manage the Halifax, and Watson the Cumberland branch of the business. In 1759, Watson removed to London, and the business was continued until the death of Mr. Slayter, the senior partner, 20 May, 1763. He next became connected with Mr. Mauger, who had been a resident of Halifax, and whose name is commemorated, in “Mauger’s Beach” in Nova Scotia and “Maugerville” in New Brunswick. He was a gentleman of property and made large advances to Watson. They went into partnership and did a large business in the North American trade.

In 1760, Brook Watson married Helen, daughter of Colin Campbell of Edinburgh. In spite of his crippled condition from the loss of his leg, his life in England was an active one. He was among the first of those gentlemen who, in 1779, formed the Light Horse Volunteers, who were of great assistance in suppressing the alarming riots in 1780.

In 1781 he was appointed commissary general in the army of North America, under the command of Sir Guy Carleton, and remained in that duty till the end of the war.

I have previously mentioned the esteem in which he was held by the Loyalists. In the following extract from a letter written by him to the Rev. Dr. Brown in July 1791, he modestly alludes to the friendly services he was able to do for them at the conclusion of the war:—

In 1755, I was a very humble instrument in sending eighteen hundred of those suffering mortals (French Acadians) out of the Province. In 1783, as Commissary General to the army serving in North America, it became my duty under the command of Sir Guy Carleton, now Lord Dorchester, to embark thirty-five thousand Loyalists at New York to take shelter in it, and I trust all in my power was done to soften the affliction of the Acadians, and alleviate the sufferings of the Loyalists, who were so severely treated for endeavoring to support the Union of the British Empire; they had great reason to bless the considerate mind and feeling heart of Lord Dorchester, under whose directions and providential care, ever awake to their wants, I had the pleasing task of liberally providing for them everything necessary to their transportation and settlement, with provisions for one year after their arrival, and this allowance was still longer continued to them by the public. To the eternal honour of the nation will be the record of their having considered the particular case of every individual who claims to have suffered by their loyalty, and after a ruinous war which added one hundred and twenty millions to the public debt, granted compensation for their losses, and relief for their sufferings to the amount of between three or four millions, besides annuities amounting to sixty thousand pounds a year.

After the war, many Loyalists who came to St. John had claims against the British government for heavy losses in lands and goods by reason of their adherence to the crown, and from their knowledge of the business abilities and honesty of character of Watson, they put their claims in his hands for settlement. The officers of the Colonial army, who ranked with those in the Imperial service, were placed on half pay, and made him their agent for recovering their allowance. As an instance, I may mention the case of Christopher Sower, king’s printer for New Brunswick. At the close of the war he went to London to get compensation for his losses. He sought the aid of Brook Watson, who in addition to an allowance in money, procured for him a pension with the office of deputy postmaster general and king’s printer of New Brunswick. In gratitude for the assistance rendered he named his only son Brook Watson Sower.

At the meeting of the legislature of New Brunswick in 1786, Brook Watson was appointed agent for the province, a position he held until 1794. At the session of that year the following resolution was passed:—“Resolved, This House taking into consideration the necessity of having an agent residing in England, and His Majesty’s service having required the attendance of Brook Watson, Esq., late Member of Parliament and Agent of the Province, with his Majesty’s forces on the Continent, Resolved, that the thanks of this House be communicated to Brook Watson, late Agent of this Province for his past services.”

On his return to England at the conclusion of peace, he was rewarded by parliament by a grant of £500 a year to his wife. In January, 1784, he was elected member of parliament for the city of London, and on the dissolution was re-elected. About the same period he was made a director of the Bank of England, and an alderman for Cordwainers ward. In 1785, he was sheriff of London and Middlesex and had the honor of being chairman of the committee of the House of Commons during the debate on the Regency bill. He was again elected to Parliament in 1790, but resigned his seat on being appointed commissary general to the army on the Continent, under the command of the Duke of York. In 1796 he retired from the service, and was elected lord mayor of London. During his term of office two serious events occurred, the sailors of the Royal Navy mutinied, and the Bank of England (of which he was a director) was restrained from making specie payments. In March 1798, he was commissioned commissary general of England, and in November, 1803, in approbation of his public services he was created a baronet of the United Kingdom. The baronetcy was conferred on Watson, with remainder in default of male issue to his grand nephews William and Brook Kay, sons of his niece Anne Webber by her husband William Kay, of Montreal. These grand nephews were born in Montreal, William in 1777, and Brook in 1780. William succeeded to the baronetcy on the death of his uncle in 1807, and died unmarried in 1850. He was succeeded by his brother Brook, who died in 1866, whose son Brook is the fourth baronet. He was born in 1820, is married but has no children. His half brother William is heir presumptive.

Brook Watson died at East Sheer, in Surrey, October 2, 1809, leaving no children. An obituary of him gives the following description of his character. “He was through life to his king and country a constitutional loyal subject; a diligent, faithful servant; a firm merciful and upright magistrate; to his wife a most affectionate and tender husband; to his relations a kind and tender friend, to his friendships consistent; in faith a firm Christian; in deeds a benevolent, honest man.”

Clarence Ward

Written by johnwood1946

April 8, 2015 at 8:40 AM

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Where Stood Fort LaTour?

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From the blog at

This is W.F. Ganong’s study as to the location of Fort LaTour in Saint John. Ganong was scrupulous in relying on facts, and there was no room for speculation. In this essay, he argues with James Hannay, with whom he was aggravated. These personal differences seem less important after all of these years, but, if I had to choose, I would always go with Ganong. The story is presented here from the New Brunswick Magazine, Volume 1, 1898.

Mme. de la Tour

A depiction of Madame La Tour defending the fort against d’Aulnay.

From The Canadian Encyclopedia, with a credit to the National Archives of Canada

Where Stood Fort LaTour?

It is not always the events greatest in historic consequences that are enshrined the deepest in the hearts of a people, but rather those that most exhibit the primal human virtues of valor, patience and self-sacrifice. Into such events every man can project himself, and not only understand but feel them. In our own early history there were many occurrences of more importance than the gallant defence by Madame de La Tour of her husband’s fort against his arch-enemy, Charnisay, but there are none better known or oftener related. The historians of St. John have done the story full justice, and Mr. Hannay in particular has left little for any other to say about it. But if anyone, thoughtful of his country’s past, wishes to stand on the spot where these things happened, and to call up in fancy the scenes of that April morning of long ago, whither shall he turn? For no man can this day point with certainty to the site of Fort LaTour.

Ample records exist to prove that the fort stood at the mouth of the St. John, but they allow room for difference of opinion as to whether it stood on the east or west side. It is placed on the east side on the map in Volume I of the superb new Jesuit Relations (under the name Fort St. Jean), and on the map in Greswell’s History of Canada. Mr. Hannay thinks it was on the west side of the “old fort,” and other local historians, including, I believe, the late Mr. Lawrence, have thought that it stood on the site of Fort Dufferin. Some years ago in examining ancient maps of New Brunswick I was struck by the fact that most of the earlier ones placed it on the east side; and, led thereby to investigate the entire subject from the beginning, I was forced to the conclusion that the fort stood upon the east side, and probably on the knoll at the head of Rankin’s wharf at Portland Point. The full evidence for this belief was given, along with the reproductions of the old maps, in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada for 1891, but as that work is not readily accessible, and as the subject is of some popular interest, I shall give here a synopsis of two of, its most important lines of evidence, along with one or two points which have come to light since then.

The only direct reference to the site of Fort LaTour in any original document known to any of our historians is contained in Nicolas Denys’ “Description geographique de I’Amerique septentrionale,” published at Paris in 1672. All writers agree on Denys’ truthfulness. He knew intimately both LaTour and Charnisay, had visited the St. John River, and after LaTour’s ruin had employed some of his men. His authority on this question must be of the highest. And here is a literal translation of what he writes of St. John Harbor:

The entrance is narrow, because of a little island which is to larboard or on the left side, which being passed the river is much larger. On the same side as the island there are large marshes or flats which are covered at high tide; the beach is of muddy sand which makes a point which passed, there is a cove (or creek) which makes into the said marshes, of which the entrance is narrow, and there the late Sieur Monsieur de la Tour has caused to be made a weir, in which were caught a great number of those Gaspereau which were salted for winter, [here follows an account of the fish caught]. A little farther on, beyond the said weir, there is a little knoll where d’Aunay built his fort, which I have not found well placed according to my idea, for it is commanded by an island which is very near and higher ground, and behind which all ships can place themselves under cover from the fort, in which there is only water from pits, which is not very good, no better than that outside the fort. It would have been in my opinion better placed behind the island where vessels anchor, and where it would have been higher, and in consequence not commanded by other neighboring places, and would have had good water, as in that which was built by the said late Sieur de la Tour, which was destroyed by d’Aunay after he had wrongfully taken possession of it, etc.

If the impartial reader who knows the harbor well, will follow carefully this account, or better if he will read it in comparison with Bruce’s fine old map of 1761 which shows the harbor untouched by modern improvements, I think he will agree that Denys has given a good description of the harbor, that the island on the left of the entrance is Partridge Island, that the flats were those at Carleton now partly included in the Millpond, that the beach of muddy sand making a point was Sand Point, that the cove or creek making into the sand marshes was the creek, clearly shown on Bruce’s map, at the present outlet of the Millpond, that the knoll a little farther on was the slight elevation on which stands the “old fort” in Carleton. On this knoll, says Denys, d’Aunay (Charnisay) built his fort, and further evidence of the identity of this knoll is given in his statement that the fort was commanded by an island [i.e. Navy Island] very near, behind which [i.e. in the channel] vessels could lie under cover from the fort, and that it had bad water. It may seem an objection that he makes the island higher than the fort site, but the island has washed away much in recent times, and the successive forts afterwards built at the “old fort” point must have raised that site somewhat. But aside from this we have important independent testimony that the fort site was really commanded by the island, in the following statement made in 1701 by the Sieur de Brouillan in describing the French fort which then stood on this point in Carleton,—“it is commanded on one side by an island at the distance of a pistol shot”, and he also speaks of its bad water—(Murdoch’s History of Nova Scotia, Vol. I, page 249). Moreover, while Denys description of the location of d’Aunay’s fort applies thus perfectly to the Carleton site, it fits no other about the harbor. Charnisay’s fort then stood in Carleton, but where was LaTour’s? Here Denys is not so clear, and all that we can gather with certainty from his account is that it was not on the “old fort” site in Carleton.

The testimony of the maps is in brief as follows: Many maps showing Acadia were published before 1700. Of these some are but copies of others and hence of no value as authorities, but I know of at least four made entirely independently of one another, which place Fort LaTour on the east side of the harbor. In fact, all the maps known to me belonging before 1700 which mark Fort LaTour at all, place it on the east side, with but one exception. This is the fine Duval map which in the editions of 1653 and 1664, as I have been told (I have not seen them) places it on the west side. But the third and improved edition of 1677 removes it from the west to the east side. Now second or later editions of maps, like later editions of books, are likely to be more accurate than the first, and Duval must have had good, reason for making this change. Another map of much importance has recently been published (in a fine French Atlas by Marcel), drawn by Franquelin, dated 1708, but really made earlier. Franquelin was in Acadia in 1686 and made by far the best map of the St. John River which had up to that time been drawn (a copy of. which is contained in the latest volume of the Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada), and he therefore knew well the geography of this region. On his 1708 map he marks Fort Martinnon on the west side of the harbor and Fort LaTour on the east. The former was of course that of the Sieur Martignon, who was granted the west side of the harbor in seigniory in 1676, but that Franquelin placed Fort LaTour on the east side is significant. After 1700 several maps appeared which placed this fort on the west side of the harbor, no doubt through confusion of it with that built at Carleton by Villebon, and this is the case in the fine maps of Bellin made before 1755. In 1757, however, Bellin, the greatest French mapmaker of the last century, issued a much corrected map of Acadia, and in that he not only removes Fort LaTour from the west to the east side but places before the name the significant word “Ancien,” so that it reads “Ancien F. LaTour.” Bellin had access to the remarkably rich collections of ancient maps in the French “’Depot des Cartes” and that he should have changed his earlier maps and especially have added the significant word “ancient” must be given weight in this argument. This is but the barest outline, but I may summarize the whole matter by saying that I know of no piece of evidence drawn from maps tending to show that the fort was on the west side; it all points to the east side.

If now we seek for a possible site for the fort upon the east side, we find that but a single site of an old fort has been recorded, that at Portland Point. Had any other existed it could hardly have completely escaped notice. Thus Mr. Lawrence (Footprints, page 4) states “’Mr. Simonds erected his dwelling on the ruins of an old French Fort, Portland Point”, and there is other evidence to show that a fort of considerable importance stood there. Moreover, and this is important, if this fort at Portland Point was not Fort LaTour, our historians have no idea what fort it was.

Denys, then, tells us that Fort LaTour was not at the “old fort” in Carleton; the early maps place it upon the east side; but a single fort site is known on the east side,—that at Portland Point. This is why I think the fort stood on the east side, and probably at Portland Point. It is true that these facts do not prove that conclusion; but they seem to me to give it a higher degree of probability than any other theory at present possesses. In any case, these facts are too important to be ignored, and if anyone wishes to establish another view, it will not be enough to give simply the reasons for his own belief, but he must meet and answer this testimony of Denys and the mapmakers, and show either that they were mistaken or else that they have been misinterpreted. But whatever we may think of the evidence, this much is sure, that future students will impartially examine it and give a decision according to its merits.

W.F. Ganong

Written by johnwood1946

April 1, 2015 at 9:24 AM

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Things This Morning Really Wear the Aspect of War

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From the blog at

The border between New Brunswick and Maine was finally established by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842 and, before that, much of northern New Brunswick was in dispute. Negotiations leading to the treaty were carried on between the U.S. Secretary of State and the British Ambassador, but this left the people and politicians of Maine dissatisfied. They did not like the prospect that they could lose some of the disputed land through negotiations to which they were not a party, and, by the way, they were in no mood to negotiate either.

The diplomats agreed at an early stage that neither side would interfere with the status quo while negotiations were in progress. Interference by both sides was common, however. The Governor and Legislature of Maine were especially truculent and they sent a party of lawmen to evict New Brunswick loggers on the occasion chronicled in this blog posting. The loggers should not have been there according to the non-interference agreement, and neither should Maine have responded with lawmen. In any case, New Brunswick arrested several of the intruders and sent them off to jail in Fredericton.

Further background on these times can be found in three other postings in this blog. These are entitled The Ashburton Treaty, and Trouble at Madawaska, and The Disputed Territory Between New Brunswick and Maine. The links are:

Today’s blog is from an 1839 special edition of the Albany, New York Evening Journal, and outlines the American perspective on the events. It shows how close the dispute came to armed conflict. In the end, the diplomats restrained the politicians on both sides of the border and conflict was avoided.

John Harvey

Sir John Harvey

From Collections Canada, via Dictionary of Canadian Biography. N.B. Lieut. Governor, and a principal in this story

The following is all taken from the newspaper, from which I have selected one quote as a title:

“Things This Morning Really Wear the Aspect of War”


[From the Bangor Democrat, Extra.]

Saturday evening, Feb. 16, 7 o’clock

The mail from Houlton this evening brought the Fredericton Gazette, Extra of the 13th, containing the subjoined Proclamation issued by Sir John Harvey. It will be seen that the Lieutenant Governor has ordered out a militia force for the purpose of repelling an invasion from a neighboring state and other purposes. The reader will make his own comment.

By his Excellency Major General Sir John Harvey, K.C.B. and K.C.H. Lieut. Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Province of New Brunswick, &c , &c. JOHN HARVEY.


WHEREAS, I have received information that a party of armed persons to the number of two hundred, or more, have invaded a portion of this Province, under the jurisdiction of His Majesty’s Government, from the neighboring State of Maine for the professed object of exercising authority, and driving off persona stated to be cutting timber therein; and that divers other persons have without any legal authority, taken up an arms with the intention of resisting such invasion and outrage and have broken open certain stores it Woodstock, in which arms and ammunition belonging to Her Majesty were deposited, and have taken the same away for that purpose,— I do hereby charge and command all persons concerned in such illegal acts forthwith to return the Arms and Ammunition, so illegally taken, to their places of deposits, as the Government of the Province will take care to adopt all necessary measures for resisting any hostile invasion or outrage that may be attempted upon any part of Her Majesty’s Territories, or subjects.

And I do hereby charge and command all Magistrates, Sheriffs, and other officers to be vigilant; aiding and assisting in the apprehension of all persons so offending, and to bring them to justice. And in order to aid and assist the civil power in that respect if necessary, I have ordered a sufficient military force to proceed forthwith to the place where these outrages are represented to have been committed, as well to repel foreign invasion, as to prevent the illegal assumption of arms by her Majesty’s subjects in this province.

And further, in order to be prepared, if necessary, to call in the aid of the Constitutional Militia Force of the country, 1 do hereby charge and command the officers commanding the first and second battalions of the Militia of the county of Carleton, forthwith to proceed as the law directs to the drafting of a body of men, to consist of one fourth of the strength of each of those battalions, to be in readiness for actual service, should occasion require.

Given under my hand and seal at Frederickton, the thirteenth day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty nine, und in the second year of her Majesty’s Reign.

By His Excellency’s Command, God save the Queen. WM. F. ODELL.

A slip from the Augusta Age, dated Feb. 17th, at noon, states that the above proclamation was received by express from Houlton, (where a small U.S. force is posted) on Saturday evening. The messenger also brought information, on the authority of the Woodstock Times, that at a portion of the N. Brunswick militia, had on the 14th taken up their line of march for the Aroostook.

Immediately upon the receipt of this intelligence, (says the Age), it is understood that Gov. Fairfield issued a proclamation calling out 1,000 rank and file of the militia, to be detached from the Third (Penobscot) Division, under command of Maj. General Hodsdon; to rendezvous forthwith at Bangor und proceed thence o the Aroostook.

The additional volunteer force raised under the Resolve of January 21th is on its way to the Aroostook. Charles Jarvis, Esq. the provisional Laud Agent, has arrived before this, at the scene of operations.

It would seem that the crisis has arrived which Maine has long been anxiously awaiting. She will not falter until her rights are established, and her jurisdiction extended to the utmost limits of her territory. And may God protect the right!

On Saturday the 15th, [before the arrival of the above mentioned express, Governor Fairfield transmitted to the Legislature of Maine the following


To the House of Representatives:

In compliance with the request of the House of Representatives, I herewith communicate such information as I have in relation “to the reported abduction of the Lund Agent.”

Under the Resolve of the 24th of January last, entitled “Resolve relating to trespassers upon the public lands,” the Land Agent repaired with about two hundred chosen men to the scene of operation on the Aroostook River. Prior to his reaching there, it is understood that the trespassers, amounting to about three hundred in number, had combined and were determined to resist every effort to break them up. Finding, however, that the Land Agent had prepared himself with a six pounder, they chose to retire from the ground, passing down the river.

The Land Agent with his company also passed down the Aroostook to near its mouth, finding the several places of operation abandoned by the trespassers. On Monday last, they captured a gang of about twenty who had been operating further up the river, and sent several who were considered the ringleaders to Bangor, where it is supposed they are now in jail. On Monday the Land Agent sent a letter to Mr. McLaughlin, the Land Agent of the Province of New Brunswick, inviting a meeting with him at the house of a Mr. Fitzherbert, about four miles from where the company were then stationed, and on the same evening, with four others, Mr. McIntire repaired to the house of Mr. Fitzherbert, intending to pass the night there. The trespassers, however, in some way became possessed of the acts, and detached a company of about fifty, who seized the Agent and those accompanying him, and transmitted them, it is believed, beyond The bounds of the state.

Our company is now at No. 10, on the Aroostook, fortified, und anticipating an attack, in case any attempt should be made on our part to execute the Resolve of the 24th of January by destroying the timber which has already been cut.

I have advised the sending of an enforcement of three hundred men, as it is probable the number of the trespassers will be constantly augmenting— and if a Resolve to that effect be passed, shall appoint an agent to supply temporarily the place at Mr. Mclntyre, and lead an the expedition, I have also despatched a special messenger to Sir John Harvey, Lt. Governor of New Brunswick, for the purpose among other things, of ascertaining whether these highhanded proceedings of the trespassers are authorized or in any way countenanced by the Provincial Government; and to procure the release of the Agent and those taken with him. The Agent was also, charged with other matters pertaining to this most extraordinary and outrageous proceeding.

The facts above related, except in the matter of my own doings, have been communicated out verbally by the Sheriff of Penobscot, who formed one of the company of the Land Agents.

This is the only communication from the Land Agent or his company, which I have had verbally or otherwise, that could be relied upon.


Council Chamber, Feb. 15, 1829 [sic.]

Annexed is the resolution under which Mr. M’Intire (the Land Agent) and his party were sent to the Aroostook. It was occasioned by a confidential message to the Legislature, on the 23rd of January by Governor Fairfield, communicating information that trespassers from New Brunswick were extensively engaged in the work of devastation and plunder upon the lands belonging to Maine.

Resolved, That the Land Agent be and is hereby authorized and required to employ forthwith sufficient force to arrest, detain ant imprison all persons found trespassing on the territory of this State, as bounded and established by the treaty of 17??, and that the Land Agent be and is hereby empowered to dispose of all the timber, lumber and other materials in the hands and possession of said trespassers in such way and manner as he may deem necessary and expedient at the tune, by destroying the same or otherwise. And that the sum of ten thousand dollars be and hereby is appropriated for the purpose of carrying this Resolve into effect, and that the Governor with the advice of the Council be and is hereby authorized to draw his warrant from time to time for such sums as may be required for the purpose aforesaid.

January 24, 1839—Approved:




The Augusta Journal of Tuesday, after copying the Proclamation of Gov. Harvey, holds this language:—

One thing seems clear, that he claims to exercise exclusive jurisdiction over the territory where these trespasses were committed. Now as this territory is m the Counties of Penobscot and Washington on townships located fourteen years ago in the vicinity of the Aroostook River, where Maine and Massachusetts have exercised jurisdiction for half a century, we think this question of jurisdiction should be met at once; and if after Mr. Rogers has an interview with Governor Harvey, he shall not immediately release the Land Agent, or if he shall attempt to repell the American force by British troops, let us have the issue at once.— let the sword be drawn and the scabbard be thrown away; and if the General Government at Washington will not sustain us, let us call Massachusetts to our aid, and beat up for volunteers in all the other States. We have suffered indignities and insults enough. If our Land Agent cannot be sent to protect the property of the State … without being seized aa a culprit and put into Fredericton jail, it is time that we showed a little of the spirit of ’76 and not only rallied to defend our territory, but peradventure demolish the prison at Fredericton which has for years been a standing monument of our disgrace.

Governor Fairfield on Sunday sent a special message to Washington, am issued orders calling out one thousand men from the Eastern Division of the militia of this State.

A volunteer corps of 50 men left this town on Sunday forenoon, under the command of Capt. John Ford, an energetic ant efficient man.

If we must come to blows, let there be no Child’s play about it—no backing out. Let officers have the command who are brave and discreet; who will no waste human blood needlessly, but above all, who will not bring dishonor on the State.

The first news we had of the capture of the Land Agent by the trespassers, and their offer to exchange prisoners by swapping hire, or his Aid, Cushman, for a yoke of steers, was well calculated to throw an air of ridicule over the expedition; but subsequent intelligence makes the matter too serious for levity; and we hope our State authorities will take care to make serious business of it at all events, and not permit it to be settled in a manner derogatory to our interest and honor.


Since the above was written, a messenger arrived on Sunday night from Sir John Harvey, demanding, of the Governor the recall of the forces sent by our Governor to the Aroostook, asserting that he (Sir John Harvey) was instructed to maintain ELCLUSIVE JURISDICTION over the territory in dispute and that he should do so with the military force under his command. This message was laid before the Legislature yesterday by the Governor, and in the meantime, on Sunday evening, orders were issued to the Major Generals of the several Divisions of the State to hold their commands in readiness to detail each one thousand men.

We understand that Mr. M’Laughlan, the British Warden of the Territory, (or British Land Agent) had gone to the camp of Capt. Rines, and warned him of his trespassing on Her Majesty’s territory, and ordered him off. Rines detained M’Laughlan and one or two men who accompanied them and sent them to Bangor, where they now are in custody.


[Correspondence of the Portland Advertiser.]


SUNDAY, Augusta, Feb. 17, 1839.

Mr. Stanley has parade his company this morning in and about the Kennebec Hotel. It looks here like any thing but Sunday. As 1 am writing, I can hear the word of command from without— front fact, right about, &c. There were no Sundays in the revolution, and there is none here this morning. All is bustle and confusion— horses, carriages, men and munitions of war, preparing for the Aroostook country, which is soon to become the seat of war. An express arrived last night about 12 o’clock, bearing a Proclamation of Sir John Harvey, which breathes a little of war. He says the timber and territory shall he protected, and calls upon all his loyal subjects to be in readiness for the battle. This is surely talking pretty large. Our Governor was culled from his peaceful slumbers at dead if night to hear this … of war sounded. I understand he immediately issued orders to cull out the third division of the militia, and they will probably repair to the borders to protect our citizens and territory. Things this morning really wear the aspect of war. If the Provincial authorities intend to take the disputed territory into their keeping, there will be but one opinion in Maine, and I hope but one in the whole Union; and that is, to battle for our rights.

We will not be trifled with any longer. There is a spirit in the American people which will not brook insult from Sir John Harvey or the British Queen, and this fact they will soon learn if they persist in their unrighteous claims. If England is determined to hold on to this territory, then let us have War, if we must. We cannot—we shall not yield our rights to any foreign power. Our Governor ought to … forthwith to Washington, and call upon the General Government to come to the rescue. We ought not to be compelled to fight alone—the Government ought to protect us. The plea of “embarrassing the General Government has now, I hope, lost its power. But if our Government will not come to our aid, then the people of Maine must and will defend their territory. We can take Canada und the Provinces single-handed, especially in the present state of public feeling there. “Thrice is he armed who hath his quarrel just.” Our cause is a righteous one, and we will defend it with our best blood. The drums begins to beat, and the “spirit stirring fife” sends out its shrill tones through the valley of the Kennebec. The company collected here have just commenced their march to the sound of martial music. They will march across the bridge, and then be conveyed in wagons to the scene of action. This company is commanded by Captain Ford, of …. What the result of all this will he, I cannot tell. I cannot yet believe England will ever be willing to have a War. And the affair may yet be settled amicably. We cannot and we will not bark out, come what may. There is but one party, one. cause, and that is our country’s. The cry is raised— We are American citizens, and by this name we will be called, and by no other.

Your,                                                   O

[From our Correspondent]


Sunday, 12 o’clock, M

Major General HODSON of the 3d Division of the Militia of Maine, has been ordered by the Commander in Chief, to detach one thousand men from the Division under his command, and proceed at the earliest possible moment to the place occupied by the force under command of the Land Agent, to aid him in carrying into effect the resolve of the 24th of January, in relation to the trespassers on the public lands.

General Hodson, with a promptness that deserves all praise, has issued his orders for the troops to be at Bangor, the place of rendezvous, in readiness to march on Wednesday morning at 8 o’clock.

Each man detached has, by law, 24 hours in which to obey the summons or supply his place with a substitute. The Independent Companies of this city are ordered out entire.

General Hodson has already given notice to the Selectmen of the several towns in this county, that the Officers, non-Commissioned officers and privates having been ordered into service by the Commander in Chief, they will cause such detachments to be attended on their march with suitable rations, camp utensils, and equipage for their use, until they shall be ordered by the Commanding Officer of the detachment to desist.

Sunday Evening, 6 o’clock.


Mr. McLaughlin, the Warden of the Public Lands in New Brunswick and Capt. Tibberis of the Tobique Settlement, have been brought into the city prisoners.

Written by johnwood1946

March 25, 2015 at 8:54 AM

Posted in Uncategorized


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