New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

Table of Contents, Rev. March 29, 2017

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

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


John Wood

Written by johnwood1946

March 29, 2017 at 8:42 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Grand Falls, New Brunswick in 1844 – A Vast Ocean of Trees

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From the blog at

Sir James Alexander and a party of men were travelling down the Saint John River in 1844, and came to Grand Falls where they stayed for a while. Following is an edited account of what he found there, from Alexander’s book L’Acadie or Seven Years Explorations, London, 1849.

Alexander’s mission was to head a survey party to lay out a military road, and this explains his references to surveying. This excerpt concentrates upon his observations at the Falls, however.

A Log Jam at Grand Falls, from the N.B. Museum

An estimated £30,000 worth of timber was annually destroyed going over the Falls


Grand Falls, New Brunswick in 1844 – A Vast Ocean of Trees

In 1844, at the Grand Falls there were only four or five houses, the principal one being Costigan’s Inn, well known to the lumber-men of the St. John’s. Sir John Caldwell, of Quebec, in a spirit of speculation and enterprise, had attempted formerly to dam the river at the Falls, for the purpose of erecting saw-mills, as he had so often done elsewhere, but it was too much for him—the St. John’s rose, and carried away his works over the Falls; but his labours there originated a hamlet.

We found Lieutenant Simmons waiting for us at the Grand Falls. He had recently come out of the Forest, having carried his exploration from the Riviére du Loup towards the Green River. He looked strong and well, in his grey coat and axe on his shoulder, after his hard work. He very carefully explained the nature of his operations to us, and gave us every information in his power. His talents and intelligence have now procured for him the appointment of Government Inspector of Railroads in England.

In the Upper St. John’s, where the most valuable forests were abandoned to the Americans in the settlement of the boundary—(which unfortunately was not the line of the St. John’s, but considerably nearer the St. Lawrence)— I mean those forests about the Daaquem, Esseganetsacook, and Black Rivers, the lumberers construct rafts of timber, accompany them as far as it is safe above the Falls, and then abandon them. It was interesting to watch them go over the Falls, increasing in swiftness towards the brink of the precipice, then comes the plunge, and the disappearance below among the vapour, spray, and turmoil of waters. After the reappearance of the separate logs, some hurried round and round in a great cauldron under the right bank of the river, where much valuable timber was being ground to pieces, one log against another. Some sticks thrust others to the edge of the rapids, then all would turn and circle along with the great broken raft always seen in the cauldron. Sometimes a single log would rise from the bottom of the cataract, and on end, and halfway out of the water, would walk, as it were, grandly down the rapids for a considerable distance.

It was calculated that £30,000 worth of timber were annually destroyed at the Grand Falls, for want of a canal round them. It seemed to me that it would be very desirable to have a boom placed at an angle above the Falls, to give the logs the proper direction, and cause them to avoid a great rock in the centre, against which many of them struck, and were split; which would also help to keep them out of the cauldron.

The rocks at the Grand Falls are very highly inclined blueish calcareous slates. I think no fossils have been seen in them; they are at least Silurian, probably older still.

The people we found at Costigan’s Inn were rough and sturdy-looking lumberers, waiting for employment, or who had come out of the woods to refresh, or more properly to have a drink, and a spree. They were dressed usually in red flannel shirts (there is a virtue in the dye of red), homespun trousers, and a peculiar loose jacket of grey or green, the sleeves of which are made like those of a shirt, whilst the corners of the jacket are tied round the waist with strings. On their heads they wore straw or low and coarse felt hats, and their feet were encased in brown moccasins, or heavy half boots well-greased, the moccasin or boot furnishing a ready napkin after a meal of salt pork and biscuit.

The lumberers made a considerable racket at the hostel, talked loud, sang, drank, or tried their strength by “putting” a heavy stone in front of the door.

We tarried three days at the Grand Falls, living chiefly on beef, brought from the Riviére du Loup. One day it rained constantly, and we could do no out-of-door work. We occupied ourselves in writing: when it was fair we were continually on the move. We compared our instruments, and found the variation of the compass by double altitudes of the sun with the theodolite. We got linen bags made for sugar, and flannel ones for tea, also creeping-irons, to ascend the trees and look out.

These irons are of peculiar construction; they are like the letter ‘L’, are flat, and about one inch broad; the feet rest on the lower part, two leather straps bind the irons round the mid-leg and ankles, over the lumberer’s boots. At the bottom of the long leg of the L, which rests against the inner part of the leg, is a sharp spike at an angle of 45 degrees, this is stuck into the bark of the tree, like the claw of a wild beast, and thus enables the climber, embracing the tree with his arms, to reach the branches, when there is no further occasion for the irons.

Trees growing thickly in a forest, are devoid of branches for a considerable height from the ground, sometimes forty feet; the mass of the branches is towards the top, where they seek light and air. It is not an unusual thing to lose one’s way in the woods, when ascending the highest tree near, an observation is taken from its top, and from it perhaps a known height is descried, or a stream, to guide one out of the difficulty. It is necessary for the surveyor also to ascend trees, to try and discover the best line to take for a road, he may be preparing to run through the forest. Creeping-irons are also useful to lumber-men, to enable them to discover patches of pine, or other timber, suitable for their purpose.

Lieutenant Woods having engaged his party of woodsmen, we went across the river above the Falls in canoes, towards the site of a proposed fort, and practised running a line through the forest. Setting up a circumferenter-compass, we ran a N.E. course, clearing the line of brush, then set up pickets at intervals of thirty yards to mark the line; over acclivities the pickets were closer together. We measured the line with the chain, and at one side of it explored with one of the Indians, and marked by blazes, or slices of bark cut off the trees; another wavy line (following the undulations of the ground), which might be suitable for a road. There were thus a straight line and a curved one near one another; the first being carefully measured, was intended to afford a proximate idea of the distance surveyed, and the latter was considered as the line of a future road. When a large tree came in the way it was not cut down, but a sight was taken of it by the compass, after which the instrument was carried to the other side, and the line run again, till another impediment intervened.

Looking at the vast forests of pine and maple trees round us, and which covered the whole country on every side, it would seem impossible to conduct a survey through them with any accuracy, or to reach any particular distant point. New Brunswick is a vast ocean of trees, through which the compass can alone guide us. The course requires to be well calculated, and laid down on a map or chart, at the outset, making allowance for variation, and great care must subsequently be taken in following the determined course. A great mistake had been made sometime before by a civil surveyor, who was either incompetent for the task he undertook, or very careless. His duty was to lain a line for a road through a part of the Forest of New Brunswick, towards the American lines. When he came out he found he was no less than thirty miles south of the point he had steered for, and he was so much disgusted and ashamed of himself, that, abandoning his people and his instruments, he fled, and disappeared in the States.

After our mid-day repast of pork and biscuit, we put on the creeping irons and practised climbing trees like bears or woodpeckers, and after some practice, we got into the way of it.

Our Indians showed how they climbed trees to get to the branches; they first cut a notch with their axe, not far from the ground, then drove their axe into the trunk as high as they could reach, and hauled themselves up by the handle, till their toe rested in the notch, they then cut other notches and hauled themselves higher again, till they reached the branches. Sometimes they fell a tree, and let it fall sloping against another which they wish to ascend, they then mount the inclined plane. The young men sometimes practice getting up a tree with a tomahawk in each hand, struck into the bark alternately behind, which method requires great strength and agility.

After we returned from our trial survey, there was a shout of alarm from the river, and on looking out to see what was the cause of it, a man was observed on a log, above the Falls, paddling for his life. He had got too near the centre of the stream, and was being swept to destruction. There was immediately a rush to the rescue, and two canoes put out and saved him. But heedless people do not always escape here.

There is a singular story connected with the Upper St. John’s, regarding witch-poles. Lieutenant Simmons had lately been in a canoe with an old Indian hunter, on one of the lakes of the St. Francis River, and they came to two smooth and green poles, without branch or leaf, and apparently growing out of the bottom; they stood eight feet above water. On sounding, the depth was found to be thirty feet, and on shaking one pole, the other also moved. The hunter said these poles had been there since his childhood, and always had stood there since two witches came up the lake to fish, and thrusting their poles to the bottom to make fast their canoe, they had grown there!

Lieutenant Simmons had recently lost an entire suit of clothes from the following cause; he and one of his men had slept in a deserted shanty or lumberer’s hut, and having disturbed a skunk there in the morning (the Mephitis Americana, with beautiful black and white fur and bushy tail), it conveyed such an odour over the clothes, that on reaching the rest of the party, some became sick and others fled; the entire dress was washed and buried in the ground, but nothing would remove the abominable taint; however, an Indian with a strong stomach, was glad to take the clothes as a present.

Leaving Lieutenants Simmons and Woods at the Grand Falls, to go on with their work, I mounted a waggon drawn by three horses (a unicorn), on account of the bad roads in prospect, and with my assistant-surveyor and the Indian Andre, we proceeded on our way towards Fredericton, where I was to make up my party.

Written by johnwood1946

March 29, 2017 at 8:41 AM

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Shabby Streets, Decaying Houses, and Steep Plank Sidewalks. Saint John in 1874

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Shabby Streets, Decaying Houses, and Steep Plank Sidewalks. Saint John in 1874

Market Square and South Market Slip in Flames, 1877


In this story, an American journalist named Charles Warner is traveling from Boston to Baddeck on Cape Breton Island, and we join him as his steamer approaches the Bay of Fundy on its way to Saint John. He had hoped that Saint John would be only a short stop on his way to Baddeck, but he spent more time than he anticipated arranging for transportation.

Mr. Warner was a sarcastic little fellow and he did not have much good to say about Saint John or New Brunswick in general. However, he does give us a picture of a sleepy little provincial city where it was difficult to find anyone who could help him plot his journey. The story is condensed from his book Baddeck and that Sort of Thing, Boston, 1874.


When we looked from our state room window in the morning we saw land. We were passing within a stone’s throw of a pale-green and rather cold looking coast, with few trees or other evidences of fertile soil. Upon going out I found that we were in the harbor of Eastport. I found also the usual tourist who had been up, shivering in his winter overcoat, since four o’clock. He described to me the magnificent sunrise, and the lifting of the fog from islands and capes, in language that made me rejoice that he had seen it. He knew all about the harbor. That wooden town at the foot of it, with the white spire, was Lubec; that wooden town we were approaching was Eastport. The long island stretching clear across the harbour was Campobello. We had been obliged to go round it, a dozen miles out of our way, to get in, because the tide was in such a stage that we could not enter by the Lubec Channel.

We approached Eastport with a great deal of curiosity and considerable respect. It had been one of the cities of the imagination. Lying in the far east of our great territory, a military and even a sort of naval station, a conspicuous name on the map, prominent in boundary disputes and in war operations, frequent in telegraphic despatches,—we had imagined it a solid city, with some Oriental, if decayed, peculiarity, a port of trade and commerce. The tourist informed me that Eastport looked very well at a distance, with the sun shining on its white houses. When we landed at its wooden dock we saw that it consisted of a few piles of lumber, a sprinkling of small cheap houses along a side hill, a big hotel with a flag-staff, and a very peaceful looking arsenal. It is doubtless a very enterprising and deserving city, but its aspect that morning was that of cheapness, newness, and stagnation, with no compensating picturesqueness. White paint always looks chilly under a gray sky and on naked hills. The tourist, who went ashore with a view to breakfast, said that it would be a good place to stay in and go a-fishing and picnicking on Campobello Island. It has another advantage for the wicked over other Maine towns. Owing to the contiguity of British territory, the Maine Law is constantly evaded, in spirit. The thirsty citizen or sailor has only to step into a boat and give it a shove or two across the narrow stream that separates the United States from Deer Island and land, when he can ruin his breath, and return before he is missed. We ought to have war, if war is necessary to possess Campobello and Deer Islands; or else we ought to give the British Eastport. I am not sure but the latter would be the better course.

We sailed away into the British waters of the Bay of Fundy, but keeping all the morning so close to the New Brunswick shore that we could see there was nothing on it; that is, nothing that would make one wish to land. A pretty bay now and then, a rocky cove with scant foliage, a lighthouse, a rude cabin, a level land, monotonous and without noble forests,—this was New Brunswick as we coasted along it under the most favorable circumstances. But we were advancing into the Bay of Fundy; and my comrade, who had been brought up on its high tides in the district school, was on the lookout for this phenomenon. From the Bay of Fundy the rivers run up hill half the time, and the tides are from forty to ninety feet high. For myself, I confess that, in my imagination, I used to see the tides of this bay go stalking into the land like gigantic water-spouts; or, when I was better instructed, I could see them advancing on the coast like a solid wall of masonry eighty feet high. “Where,” we said, as we came easily, and neither uphill nor downhill, into the pleasant harbor of St. John, “where are the tides of our youth?”

They were probably out, for when we came to the land we walked out upon the foot of a sloping platform that ran into the water by the side of the piles of the dock, which stood up naked and blackened high in the air. It is not the purpose of this paper to describe St. John, nor to dwell upon its picturesque situation. As one approaches it from the harbor it gives a promise which its rather shabby streets, decaying houses, and steep plank sidewalks do not keep. A city set on a hill, with flags flying from a roof here and there, and a few shining spires and walls glistening in the sun, always looks well at a distance. St. John is extravagant in the matter of flag staffs; almost every well-to-do citizen seems to have one on his premises, as a sort of vent for his loyalty, I presume. St. John is built on a steep side hill, from which it would be in danger of sliding off, if its houses were not mortised into the solid rock. This makes the house foundations secure, but the labor of blasting out streets is considerable. We note these things complacently as we toil in the sun up the hill to the Victoria Hotel, which stands well up on the backbone of the ridge, and from the upper windows of which we have a fine view of the harbor, and of the hill. Opposite, above Carleton, where there is the brokenly truncated ruin of a round stone tower. This tower was one of the first things that caught our eyes as we entered the harbor. It gave an antique picturesqueness to the landscape which it entirely wanted without this. Round stone towers are not so common in this world that we can afford to be indifferent to them. This is called a Martello Tower, but I could not learn who built it. I could not understand the indifference, almost amounting to contempt, of the citizens of St. John in regard to this their only piece of curious antiquity. “It is nothing but the ruins of an old fort,” they said; “you can see it as well from here as by going there.” It was, however, the one thing at St. John I was determined to see. But we never got any nearer to it than the ferry landing. Want of time and the vis inertia of the place were against us.

But it must not be forgotten that we were on our way to Baddeck; that the whole purpose of the journey was to reach Baddeck. St. John is the sort of a place that if you get into it after eight o’clock on Wednesday morning, you cannot get out of it in any direction until Thursday morning at eight o’clock, unless you want to smuggle goods on the night train to Bangor. It was eleven o’clock Wednesday forenoon when we arrived at St. John. The Inter-Colonial railway train had gone to Shediac; it had gone also on its roundabout Moncton, Missaquat River, Truro, Stewiack, and Shubenacadie way to Halifax; the boat had gone to Digby Gut and Annapolis to catch the train that way for Halifax; the boat had gone up the river to Frederick, the capital. We could go to none of these places till the next day. The people of St. John have this peculiarity: they never start to go anywhere except early in the morning.

The reader to whom time is nothing does not yet appreciate the annoyance of our situation. Our time was strictly limited. The active world is so constituted that it could not spare us more than two weeks. We must reach Baddeck Saturday night or never. To go home without seeing Baddeck was simply intolerable. Now, if we had gone to Shediac in the train that left St. John that morning, we should have taken the steamboat that would have carried us to Port Hawkesbury, whence a stage connected with a steamboat on the Bras d’Or, which would land us at Baddeck on Friday. How many times had we been over this route on the map and the prospectus of travel! And now, what a delusion it seemed!

One seeking Baddeck, as a possession, would not like to be detained a prisoner even in Eden,—much less in St. John, which is unlike Eden in several important respects. The tree of knowledge does not grow there, for one thing; at least St. John’s ignorance of Baddeck amounts to a feature. This encountered us everywhere.

The clerk at the Victoria was not unwilling to help us on our journey, but if he could have had his way, we would have gone to a place on Prince Edward Island which used to be called Bedeque, but is now named Summerside, in the hope of attracting summer visitors. As to Cape Breton, he said the agent of the Inter Colonial could tell us all about that, and put us on the route. We repaired to the agent and he entered at once into our longings and perplexities. He produced his maps and timetables, and showed us clearly what we already knew. The Port Hawksbury steam boat from Shediac for that week had gone, to be sure, but we could take one of another line which would leave us at Pictou, whence we could take another across to Port Hood, on Cape Breton. This looked fair, until we showed the agent that there was no steamer to Port Hood.

“Ah, then you can go another way. You can take the Inter Colonial railway round to Pictou, catch the steamer for Port Hawksbury, connect with the steamer on the Bras d’Or, and you are all right.” It took us half an hour to convince him that the train would reach Pictou half a day too late for the steamer, that no other boat would leave Pictou for Cape Breton that week, and that even if we could reach the Bras d’Or we should have no means of crossing it, except by swimming. The perplexed agent thereupon referred us to Mr. Brown, a shipper on the wharf, who knew all about Cape Breton, and could tell us exactly how to get there.

Mr. Brown was not in. He never is in. His store is a rusty warehouse, low and musty, piled full of boxes of soap and candles and dried fish, with a little glass cubby in one corner, where a thin clerk sits at a high desk, like a spider in his web. The cubby is swarming with flies, and the glass of the window sash has not been washed since it was put in. The clerk is not writing, and has evidently no other use for his steel pen than spearing flies. Brown is out, says this young votary of commerce, and will not be in till half past five. We go out into the street to wait for Brown.

In front of the store is a dray, its horse fast asleep, and waiting for the revival of commerce. The dray is of a peculiar construction, the body being dropped down from the axles so as nearly to touch the ground,—a great convenience in loading and unloading. The dray is probably waiting for the tide to come in. In the deep slip lie a dozen helpless vessels, coasting schooners mostly, tipped on their beam ends in the mud, or propped up by side-pieces as if they were built for land as well as for water. At the end of the wharf is a long English steamboat unloading railroad iron, which will return to the Clyde full of Nova Scotia coal. We sit down on the dock and meditate upon the peacefulness of the drowsy afternoon. One’s feeling of rest is never complete unless he can see somebody else at work,—but the labor must be without haste, as it is in the Provinces.

While waiting for Brown, we had leisure to explore the shops of King’s Street, and to climb up to the grand triumphal arch which stands on top of the hill and guards the entrance to King’s Square. Of the shops for dry-goods I have nothing to say, for they tempt the unwary American to violate the revenue laws of his country; but he may safely go into the book-shops. The literature which is displayed in the windows and on the counters has lost that freshness which it once may have had and is, in fact, if one must use the term, fly-specked, like the cakes in the grocery windows on the side streets. There are old illustrated newspapers from the States, cheap novels from the same, and the flashy covers of the London and Edinburgh sixpenny editions. But this is the dull season for literature, we reflect.

It will always be matter of regret to us that we climbed up to the triumphal arch, which appeared so noble in the distance, with the trees behind it. For when we reached it, we found that it was built of wood, painted and sanded, and in a shocking state of decay; and the grove to which it admitted us was only a scant assemblage of sickly locust-trees, which seemed to be tired of battling with the unfavorable climate, and had, in fact, already retired from the business of ornamental shade-trees. Adjoining this square is an ancient cemetery, the surface of which has decayed in sympathy with the mouldering remains it covers. I have called this cemetery ancient, but it may not be so, for neglect, and not years, appears to have made it the melancholy place of repose it is. Whether it is the fashionable and favorite resort of the dead of the city we did not learn, but there were some old men sitting in its damp shades, and the nurses appeared to make it a rendezvous for their baby carriages, — a cheerful place to bring up children in, and to familiarize their infant minds with the fleeting nature of provincial life.

But Mr. Brown, when found, did not know as much as the agent. He had been in Nova Scotia; he had never been in Cape Breton; but he presumed we would find no difficulty in reaching Baddeck by so and so, and so and so. We consumed valuable time in convincing Brown that his directions to us were impracticable and valueless, and then he referred us to Mr. Cope. An interview with Mr. Cope discouraged us; we found that we were imparting everywhere more geographical information than we were receiving. Returning to the hotel, and taking our destiny into our own hands, we resolved upon a bold stroke.

Our plan of campaign was briefly this: To take the steamboat at eight o’clock, Thursday morning, for Digby Gut and Annapolis; thence to go by rail through the poetical Acadia down to Halifax; to turn north and east by rail from Halifax to New Glasgow, and from thence to push on by stage to the Gut of Canso. This would carry us over the entire length of Nova Scotia, and, with good luck, land us on Cape Breton Island Saturday morning. When we should set foot on that island, we trusted that we should be able to make our way to Baddeck, by walking, swimming, or riding, whichever sort of locomotion should be most popular in that province. Our imaginations were kindled by reading that the most superb line of stages on the continent ran from New Glasgow to the Gut of Canso. If the reader perfectly understands this programme, he has the advantage of the two travellers at the time they made it.

Written by johnwood1946

March 22, 2017 at 9:11 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

In the Beginning – Wabanaki Creation Stories

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From the blog at

In the Beginning – Wabanaki Creation Stories

The Wabanaki are the people of the rising sun, the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Abenaki, and Penobscot Indians.

The following Wabanaki stories attempt to explain the world around us. Glooskap is introduced in the first story, because he is the principal creator of natural things. The second story not only explains the creation of creatures but also references far-away places well beyond Wabanaki territory. There were ‘wild’ people in the far west and, in the north there were white bears and people who kept dogs, for example. The third story presents another explanation of how Glooscap came to be. He arrived in a granite canoe from the east – like the sun. The canoe is still there, having become an island covered with trees.

These stories are taken from Charles Godfrey Leland’s The Algonquin Legends of New England or, Myths and Folk Lore of the Micmacs, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Tribes, London, 1884. We see Glooscap in these stories as a divinity, and Leland classifies these as divinity stories. Other authors have said that Glooscap was not a god, but was a ‘culture hero.’ Either way, he was important in Wabanaki lore.

The Sea, the Land, and the Rising Sun

Flag of the St. Francis Band of the Wabanaki, from Wikipedia


Of Glooskap’s Birth, and of his Brother Malsum the Wolf

Now the great lord Glooskap, who was worshiped in after-days by all the Wabanaki, or children of light, was a twin with a brother. As he was good, this brother, whose name was Malsumsis, or Wolf the younger, was bad. Before they were born, the babes consulted to consider how they had best enter the world. And Glooskap said, “I will be born as others are.” But the evil Malsumsis thought himself too great to be brought forth in such a manner, and declared that he would burst through his mother’s side. And as they planned it so it came to pass. Glooskap as first came quietly to light, while Malsumsis kept his word, killing his mother.

The two grew up together, and one day the younger, who knew that both had charmed lives, asked the elder what would kill him, Glooskap. Now each had his own secret as to this, and Glooskap, remembering how wantonly Malsumsis had slain their mother, thought it would be misplaced confidence to trust his life to one so fond of death, while it might prove to be well to know the bane of the other. So they agreed to exchange secrets, and Glooskap, to test his brother, told him that the only way in which he himself could be slain was by the stroke of an owl’s feather, though this was not true. And Malsumsis said, “I can only die by a blow from a fern-root.”

It came to pass in after-days that Kwah-beet-a-sis, the son of the Great Beaver, or, as others say, Miko the Squirrel, or else the evil which was in himself, tempted Malsumsis to kill Glooskap; for in those days all men were wicked. So taking his bow he shot Ko-ko-kkas the Owl, and with one of his feathers he struck Glooskap while sleeping. Then he awoke in anger, yet craftily said that it was not by an owl’s feather, but by a blow from a pine-root, that his life would end.

Then the false man led his brother another day far into the forest to hunt, and, while he again slept, smote him on the head with a pine-root. But Glooskap arose unharmed, drove Malsumsis away into the woods, sat down by the brook-side, and thinking over all that had happened, said, “Nothing but a flowering rush can kill me.” But the Beaver, who was hidden among the reeds, heard this, and hastening to Malsumsis told him the secret of his brother’s life. For this Malsumsis promised to bestow on Beaver whatever he should ask; but when the latter wished for wings like a pigeon, the warrior laughed, and scornfully said, “Get thee hence; thou with a tail like a file, what need hast thou of wings?”

Then the Beaver was angry, and went forth to the camp of Glooskap, to whom he told what he had done. Therefore Glooskap arose in sorrow and in anger, took a fern-root, sought Malsumsis in the deep, dark forest, and smote him so that he fell down dead. And Glooskap sang a song over him and lamented.

How Glooskap made Elves, Fairies, Man, and Beasts; and the Last Day (Passamaquoddy)

Glooskap came first of all into this country, into Nova Scotia, Maine, Canada, into the land of the Wabanaki, next to sunrise. There were no Indians here then (only wild Indians very far to the west).

First born were the Mikumwess, the Oonabgemessũk, the small Elves, little men, dwellers in rocks.

And in this way he made Man: He took his bow and arrows and shot at trees, the basket-trees, the Ash. Then Indians came out of the bark of the Ash trees. And then the Mikumwees said . . . called tree-man. . . . [the story teller became unclear] Glooskap made all the animals. He made them at first very large. Then he said to Moose, the great Moose who was as tall as Ketawkqu’s, [a giant] “What would you do should you see an Indian coming?” Moose replied, “I would tear down the trees on him.” Then Glooskap saw that the Moose was too strong, and made him smaller, so that Indians could kill him.

Then he said to the Squirrel, who was of the size of a Wolf, “What would you do if you should meet an Indian?” And the Squirrel answered, “I would scratch down trees on him.” Then Glooskap said, “You also are too strong,’ and he made him little.

Then he asked the great White Bear what he would do if he met an Indian; and the Bear said, “Eat him.” And the Master bade him go and live among rocks and ice, where he would see no Indians.

So he questioned all the beasts, changing their size or allotting their lives according to their answers.

He took the Loon for his dog; but the Loon absented himself so much that he chose for this service two wolves, — one black and one white. But the Loons are always his tale-bearers.

Many years ago a man very far to the North wished to cross a bay, a great distance, from one point to another. As he was stepping into his canoe he saw a man with two dogs, — one black and one white, — who asked to be set across. The Indian said, “You may go, but what will become of your dogs?” Then the stranger replied, “Let them go round by land.” “Nay,” replied the Indian, “that is much too far.” But the stranger saying nothing, he put him across. And as they reached the landing place there stood the dogs. But when he turned his head to address the man, he was gone. So he said to himself, “I have seen Glooskap.”

Yet again, — but this was not so many years ago, — far in the North there were at a certain place many Indians assembled. And there was a frightful commotion, caused by the ground heaving and rumbling; the rocks shook and fell, they were greatly alarmed, and lo! Glooskap stood before them, and said, “I go away now, but I shall return again; when you feel the ground tremble, then know it is I.” So they will know when the last great war is to be, for then Glooskap will make the ground shake with an awful noise.

Glooskap was no friend of the Beavers; he slew many of them. Up on the Tobaie are two salt-water rocks (that is, rocks by the ocean-side, near a fresh water stream). The Great Beaver, standing there one day, was seen by Glooskap miles away, who had forbidden him that place. Then picking up a large rock where he stood by the shore, he threw it all that distance at the Beaver, who indeed dodged it; but when another came, the beast ran into a mountain, and has never come forth to this day. But the rocks which the master threw are yet to be seen.

Glooskap’s Great Deeds; How he Named the Animals; His Family (Passamaquoddy)

Woodénit atók-hagen Gloosekap [this is a story of Glooskap]. It is told in traditions of the old time that Glooskap was born in the land of the Wabanaki, which is nearest to the sunrise; but another story says that he came over the sea in a great stone canoe, and that this canoe was an island of granite covered with trees. When the great man, of all men and beasts chief ruler, had come down from this ark, he went among the Wabanaki. And calling all the animals he gave them each a name: unto the Bear, mooin; and asked him what he would do if he should meet with a man. The Bear said, “I fear him, and I should run.” Now in those days the Squirrel (mi-ko) was greater than the Bear. Then Glooskap took him in his hands, and smoothing him down he grew smaller and smaller, till he became as we see him now. In after-days the Squirrel was Glooskap’s dog, and when he so willed, grew large again and slew his enemies, however fierce they might be. But this time, when asked what he would do should he meet with a man, Mi-ko replied, “I should run up a tree.”

Then the Moose, being questioned, answered, standing still and looking down, “I should run through the woods.” And so it was with Kwah-beet the Beaver, and Glooskap saw that of all created beings the first and greatest was Man.

Before men were instructed by him, they lived in darkness; it was so dark that they could not even see to slay their enemies. Glooskap taught them how to hunt, and to build huts and canoes and weirs for fish. Before he came they knew not how to make weapons or nets. He the Great Master showed them the hidden virtues of plants, roots, and barks, and pointed out to them such vegetables as might be used for food, as well as what kinds of animals, birds, and fish were to be eaten. And when this was done he taught them the names of all the stars. He loved mankind, and wherever he might be in the wilderness he was never very far from any of the Indians. He dwelt in a lonely land, but whenever they sought him they found him. He traveled far and wide: there is no place in all the land of the Wabanaki where he left not his name; hills, rocks and rivers, lakes and islands, bear witness to him.

Glooskap was never married, yet as he lived like other men he lived not alone. There dwelt with him an old woman, who kept his lodge; he called her Noogumee, “my grandmother.” (Micmac). With her was a youth named Abistariaooch, or the Martin. And Martin could change himself to a baby or a little boy, a youth or a young man, as befitted the time in which he was to act; for all things about Glooskap were very wonderful. This Martin ate always from a small birch bark dish, called witch-kwed-lakuncheech, and when he left this anywhere Glooskap was sure to find it, and could tell from its appearance all that had befallen his family. And Martin was called by Glooskap Uch-keen, “my younger brother.” The Lord of men and beasts had a belt which gave him magical power and endless strength. And when he lent this to Martin, the younger brother could also do great deeds, such as were only done in old times.

Martin lived much with the Mikumwess or Elves, or Fairies, and is said to have been one of them.

Written by johnwood1946

March 15, 2017 at 8:30 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Pride versus Rascals and Villains in Saint John in 1791

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From the blog at

Simonds and White had some commercial establishments in Saint John before 1783 when the Loyalists arrived; and there was a fort on the high ground. Other than that, there was nothing to distinguish Saint John as a ‘place’. And so, the city was in its infancy in 1791 when the following story unfolded.

William Sanford Oliver was the Sheriff and was involved in all of the city’s early events. The following dispute of 1791 was between him and the Grand Jury, but both sides were so uncompromising as to indicate that Oliver had not been getting along with other officials. This seems to have been a ‘last-straw’ event.

These documents are from Oliver’s A Collection of Papers and Facts relative to the Dismission of Wm. Sandford Oliver, Esq., from the Office of Sheriff of the City and County of St. John, New Brunswick, London, 1791. It is a story of petty differences and pride running amok and ruining the sheriff’s career.


Fort Howe in 1781

From the New Brunswick Museum, via the McCord Museum


Pride versus Rascals and Villains in Saint John in 1791

To a Man of feelings nothing is so dear as his Character,—Injuries offered to hit property, may be repaired, but it is not so with those that affect his reputation. When a Public Officer is dismissed from his employment on a charge of misbehaviour, the world takes it for granted that his disgrace is justly incurred and should it be otherwise, it is incumbent upon him to undeceive them. This has induced me to publish a collection of papers and facts relative to the late dispute between me and the Grand Jury—for the authenticity and veracity of which I pledge my honor. The perusal of them will enable every candid reader to determine how far my conduct has been excusable and how far it has been reprehensible; and should it prove the happy means of rectifying the misrepresentation which have been most industriously propagated concerning this business, the pleasure to be derived from such an events will, in a great measure, counterbalance what I have suffered in being deprived of my office. — W.S.O.

A Collection of Papers and Facts

On the 16th of March last, my duty, as Sheriff, leading me to the County Goal, where there were then no prisoners, excepting criminals, I was informed, by the Turnkey, that the Grand-Jury had been there that morning, examined the upper part of the Goal, narrowly and curiously inspecting the rooms where debtors were usually confined, and the lodgings of the Goaler and Turnkey—and had been very inquisitive respecting the treatment of debtors, and the appropriation of their several apartments; that he had given them all the information in his power, and was willing to have shewn them the lower part of the Goal, where criminals are kept, but they declined seeing it, saying they had seen enough and departed. This visit somewhat surprized me, as it was altogether unexpected, and no complaint had been made to me respecting the treatment of any prisoners under my care.

From the Goal, I walked down to Mallard’s tavern, where the Quarter Sessions were sitting, and found the Grand Jury had broken up, after finishing their business for the day; seeing one of their number, a Mr. Squires, standing upon the stoop, I entered into conversation with him, and the late visit to the Goal being mentioned, I expressed my displeasure in pretty strong terms; what was said on the occasion, was scarcely uttered, before a number of the Grand Jurors collected round me, whose behaviour I am almost ashamed to relate.—The language they addressed me in, was highly menacing and insulting; they repeatedly declared “they would visit the Goal whenever they pleased in spite of me;” they dared me to prevent them, and went so far as to declare “they would force me to open the doors for them.” Many threats, and much opprobrious language, were bestowed on me, and on my returning homewards, a number of them forgetful of their characters as Grand Jurymen, unmindful of my office of Sheriff and in open violation of all decency and decorum, followed me down the street in a riotous disorder and actually MOBBED me as far as market house at noon day. They after[…?] repaired to the Attorney General, who […?] no opinion as to the right they claimed of visiting the Goal, but informed them, if they had been ill-treated in the discharge of their duty, they might indict the offender for a misdemeanor, and furnished them with the form of a bill for that purpose which they did not think proper to find.

On the Friday and Saturday following, there passed the papers subjoined, in the order in which they are numbered.

No. I: We the Grand Jury for the current sessions of the City and County of Saint John, having met together on Wednesday last, for the dispatch of our duty, a proposal was made, and unanimously agreed to, that we should go and examine the present condition of the County Goal. After having gained admittance in the usual way, from the common Goaler, we Examined the different rooms of said Goal, and returned to our place of meeting but to our astonishment, were attacked in the public street by William S. Oliver, Esq., who insulted us in a most abusive and threatening manner, by calling us “a parcel of rascals or villains, and impertinent fellows; that it was a rawcally proceeding to go to the Goal without his leave, and had he been there, he would have locked us all in.”

As this insult, so offered by the said William S. Oliver, to us as Grand Jurors, in the discharge of our duty, is so flagrant an infringement of our constitutional rights, and an abuse as individuals, we cannot think of proceeding farther in the business for which we were summoned together, until a sufficient reparation is made by the said William S. Oliver, and ’till we are assured of the protection of the Court in our future proceedings. In this we are unanimous. — (Signed) A.L. Black, Foreman, with witnesses Isaac Bell, Jun. and Moses Ward.

No. II: The Worshipful the Grand Jury, for the body of the City and County of Saint John, have anticipated my intention of bringing before the Court a question of great importance to me in my office of Sheriff, which is, whether, any set of persons have a liberty to enter the Goal of this County, without my permission.

The Court will recollect, that I am responsible for the safe custody of the prisoners in it—and that when I bring up a prisoner by Habeas Corpus, I am entitled to an indemnity against his escape, before he quits the, prison; but if twenty persons (whatever may be their description) are at liberty to throw open the doors, and enter at pleasure, I conceive myself to run a much greater risque than in trusting a prisoner abroad under the care of my own officers.

I have hitherto supposed, that the admission or exclusion of persons, not having legal business in the Goal, was vested entirely in me as Sheriff, and this I hope to be further informed of by the Court, as well as whether it is part of the duty of the Grand Jury to enter and examine the state and condition of the Goal, and form their conclusions on what they may see there, without an order from a Court of Justice for that purpose.

That the Grand Jury, as the Grand Inquest of the County, should enquire into, and present, all nuisances within the County, whether existing in the Goal or elsewhere, I by no means deny; but what I contend is, that this enquiry, like other enquiries of a Grand Jury—(I say Grand Jury as having no reference to a Coroner’s Jury) must be made by witnesses.

The present Worshipful Grand Jury, allege, that for dispatch of their duty, they are free to go and examine the present condition of the County Goal. If this was part of their duty, they certainly performed it in a new method, as the principal object to which this duty of theirs led them, was to examine the private apartments of the Goaler’s wife and sister, especially the latter and this part of their duty, they discharged with a diligence and minuteness of investigation beyond all praise! What impression the objects they there met with made upon their imaginations, I know not, but it certainly affected their memories very materially, they forgot their errand and entirely omitted examining the lower part of she Goal, which contains four of the strong rooms in it. They forgot, when I casually met them on their return, that I never made use of the words rascals or villains; and from anything that appears on the face of their complaint, they have since forgot that I am High Sheriff of this City and County, and consequently that I had a principal concern in whatever passed in the Goal,—The words I used were, that they were a set of impertinent fellows, and I might perhaps add, that had I been there, I should have locked them in.

I confess it would have been, perhaps, as well to have laughed only at their inexperience, and not have remarked the impropriety of their behaviour quite so forcibly; but the very ungenteel manner in which they had intruded on my premises, in my absence, without notice, without leave, and for the purpose of picking up some cause of complaint, drew from me the words I used, before I had time for recollection; and if the Court think they need any apology, I hope it will be preceded by an apology from the Grand Jury to me, for having given me the provocation. — (Signed) W.S. Oliver, Sheriff

No. III: From the grievous complaints that have often been made respecting the condition of and manner in which the common Goal of this County has been appropriated We, as Grand-Jurors for the present session, thought it an incumbent duty to make enquiry after the grounds of those complaints.—And for that purpose, we went to the said Goal, and inspected its different apartments.

The upper floor, we find, is divided into four rooms, three of which are occupied as private lodgings, and one only appropriated for the reception of debtors—and that one, we conceive to be, in its present situation, very unfit for accommodating any description of prisoners—from its noufeous smell, and dirty appearance. The inconveniences that must arise from employing the principal part of the Goal as a dwelling house, are obvious. In the first place, it is contrary to its original design—and in the second, it is incapable of accommodating the different denominations of prisoners.

It is therefore hoped, that the Court, in its wisdom, will devise means to remedy a grievance which has been long and too justly complained of. — (Signed) A.L. Black, Foreman. Saint John, March 18, 1791, with witness Isaac Bell, Jun.

No. IV: To the Grand Jury for the City and County of Saint John, now sitting: A disagreeable misunderstanding and altercation having taken place between the Sheriff and Grand Jury, and the Court being desirous that there should be unanimity and concurrence in the different public bodies and officers, in the discharge of their public duties, have endeavoured to discover the cause of an event so unpleasant—and, upon enquiry, find, that the language made use of by the Sheriff to the Grand Jury, arose from a supposed intention in the Grand Jury, to treat him with pointed disrespect, in visiting and examining the Goal without his knowledge, which the Court is satisfied was by no means their design, but that they visited the Goal from motives of duty, in discharge of their public trust.—The Court, therefore, earnestly recommend, that such an explanation may take place between the Sheriff and Grand Jury, as will reconcile them to each other, and bury in oblivion the unfortunate dispute that has taken place. — (Signed) Elias Hardy, Clerk, March 18, 1791

No. V: The Grand Jurors having already put it in the power of William Sanford Oliver, Esq., High Sheriff, to make acknowledgment for his misbehaviour—and having received a contemptuous answer to their presentment, from the said William Sanford Oliver, Esq., conceive that they are perfectly justified in applying for redress to the fountain from whence this office originates. Yet, from motives of sympathy and compassion, and from a firm persuasion that the abuse proceeded from ignorance in Mr. Oliver, the Grand Jurors are willing to accept of a public acknowledgment as shall be approved by them.—Unanimous. — (Signed) A.L. Black, Foreman, Saint John, March 18, 1791.

No. VI: Mr. Oliver, upon the recommendation of the Court, is willing to acknowledge to the Grand Jury, that it was in consequence of an impression upon his mind, that the Grand Jury intended to treat him with pointed disrespect, that he made use of the language he did, and made the reply given to their complaint; and that, had he not thought it was so intended, he would not have made use of any expressions which could have been exceptionable, or given the least offence. If this explanation is satisfactory to the Grand Jury, Mr. Oliver wishes that both the complaint of the Grand Jury, and his reply to it, may be withdrawn, and considered as having never existed. — (Signed) W.S. Oliver, Saint John, March 19, 1791.

No. VII: The insult was given by Mr. Oliver in a public manner, and an acknowledgment MUST be made in the same way, either in the open Court or in public print, by asking the Jurors’ pardon.—And it is the earnest wish of the Grand Jury, that the difference may be accommodated without going any further. — (Signed) A.L. Black, Foreman, Saint John, March 19, 1791.

No. VIII: The finding of a Committee to the Court of Sessions, Saint John, March 19, 1791:

The Committee appointed by the order of yesterday, report that they proceeded to examine the state of the County Goal, and the ground of the complaint preferred by the Grand Jury—and found, upon that examination, that only one room on the upper floor, is kept for the confinement of debtors; but they are of opinion, that room is the most commodious for the purpose, being the large and best situated, and they found that room in proper order for the reception of prisoners, although, at present, there is no debtor in the Goal, the last having been discharged yesterday. Upon examining the Sheriff, the Committee were informed, that the debtors were put together in this room for the purpose of being accommodated by one fire, where either of them was able to procure fuel that, when occasion required it, the room now occupied by Pontius, the Goaler, was cleaned for the reception of debtors; and that debtors and criminals had not been confined together and that no complaint had ever been made to him by any debtor, of the mode of his confinement. The Committee do not see any cause to impute blame to the Sheriff, in any particular instance; they are, however, of opinion, that the hall ought to remain undivided—and that, for the convenience of confining debtors, of different description, in separate apartments, two rooms, upon the upper floor, ought to be kept constantly unoccupied for any other purpose than the confinement of prisoners. The Committee proceeded to examine the rooms upon the lower floor, which the Grand Jury did not inspect, which are kept for the confinement of criminals , these they found by no means fit for the reception of any prisoners, by reason of the water, at this season of the year, making its way through the floor, which is occasioned by the want of proper depth to the drain, which was dug or cut in the rock to carry off the water; they are, therefore, of opinion, that as soon as the season will admit, the drain ought to be cut to a proper depth, for that purpose, and such other work done, as will render the rooms upon the lower floor, habitable, without danger to the lives of the prisoners. — Ordered—[That the City make the repairs, etc.]

No. IX: [W.S. Oliver writes to his lawyer, Elias Hardy, Esq., on April 5, I791, asking how he should reply to the following letter, item X.]

No. X (Enclosed letter from the Grand Jury to the Sheriff, dated April 5, 1791): Sir, Having formerly informed you, that the Grand Jury intended laying their complaints against you, before His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, I now acquaint you, that it has been transmitted to the Secretary, and by him laid before the Governor. — (Signed) A.L. Black, Foreman of the Grand Jury. (N.B. Mr. Oliver applied for a copy of the complaint, but was refused it.)

No. XI: [Letter from Elias Hardy to W.S. Oliver, Saint John, April 7, 1791 (slightly abridged)] In the first place, I take it to be clear law, that you are keeper of the Goal, and that, as such, no person has a right to enter it, without your permission: This I lay down as a general rule, and I know of no exception to that rule, in favor of the Grand Jury, unless it can be supposed, that because they may present the condition of the Goal, when out of repair, they have, therefore, a right, at pleasure, to examine whether it wants repairs. As the Act of Assembly, recognizing their right to make such presentments, is silent on this head—and as the exercise of such a right must materially interfere with your responsibility for the safe custody of the prisoners under your charge, I am inclined to think they have no such right—but if they have it, it is, at most, only a right to examine whether the Goal wants repairs.

In the present case, such right is out of the question, as the intention of the visit (as I understand it) was not to examine whether the Goal wanted repairs, but to enquire how the particular apartments in it were appropriated; and even this enquiry, was restricted to the apartments for debtors: In this enquiry, I am of opinion, the Grand Jury exceeded the line of their duty,—Debtors may be confined wheresoever the Sheriff pleases (though it is otherwise with felons—and if there is any just ground of complaint against the Sheriff, the remedy is by action upon the case, at the suit of the party aggrieved, and not by presentment of a Grand Jury, it being a private injury, and not a public wrong. As to the words you made use of, viz. that the Grand Jury “were a set of impertinent fellows,” and that, “if you had been there, you would have locked them in.” In words addressed to public officers (and the Grand Jury I consider in a similar light) the law makes a great difference, whether, at the time the words were spoken, they were in the execution of their office or not… Mr. Black is wrong in stating himself Foreman of the Grand Jury, as the functions of that body ceased, when the Court dismissed them.—Nor can I see the propriety of preferring a complaint to the Lieut. Governor, when the Grand Jury, if insulted, had their legal remedy in the Supreme Court.

No. XII [Jonathan Odell to W.S. Oliver, on May 6, 1791, on behalf of the Lieut. Governor (abridged)]: I am directed to inform you, that, as the Grand Jury had an undoubted right, in their public capacity, to visit, and by their own inspection, ascertain the state and condition of the Goal—His Excellency thinks it was highly unwarrantable to offer the smallest insult, on that account, to a public body, whose importance in society, requires that they should be universally held in respect, and supported in the execution of their duty.—And His Excellency, therefore, expects that you will make an unqualified apology, to be delivered in writing under your hand, to the Foreman of the Grand Jury, asking their pardon for the insult of which they have complained.

No. XIII [W.S. Oliver to Jonathan Odell, on May 20, 1791, in reply to his letter (abridged)]: You are pleased to mention a memorial laid before his Excellency the Lieut. Governor, by the late Grand Jury, together with copies of certain proceedings in the Court of General Sessions of the peace.—This memorial, for reasons unknown to me, was denied both a sight and copy of by the Grand Jury, I cannot possibly say anything, therefore, as to its contents.

And, with regard to the proceedings before the Sessions, many material facts are entirely omitted, and others so defectively and erroneously stated, that no fair judgment can be formed from those papers, of the dispute to which they relate.—This I infer from my knowledge that the Grand Jury have never given themselves the trouble to possess themselves of some papers respecting the matter, which are materially explanatory of others. Had I been so fortunate as to have been indulged with a hearing, which I fully hoped, and the rather expected, as I flattered myself my conduct in office had been before unimpeached, I conceive I could have shewn, from the whole tenor of my behaviour, that I meant no unprovoked insult, and that I have acted consistently with the character I have hitherto supported.

The paper, signed by me, at the recommendation of the Court, will shew, that I have been no ways averse to an amicable adjustment of differences: This paper, with the further concessions offered at the time to the Grand Jury, on my part, of which the inclosed is a copy, and which the Grand Jury did not think proper to lay before the Governor, the Mayor and Recorder, and, I believe I may say, the whole Bench, considered as sufficient: My sentiments were in unison with theirs, nor have they since changed. After this declaration, I can only add, that, though the emoluments of my office are my sole dependence, yet, if his Excellency deems me unworthy of filling it longer, I shall receive his commands with the most profound respect and submission.

Notes by W.S. Oliver: To the foregoing letter no answer was returned—but sometime afterwards, a letter from Mr. Odell to the Mayor, desiring him to nominate to his Excellency the Lieut. Governor, a fit person to be appointed Sheriff of Saint John was communicated to a friend of mine, that he might acquaint me with it; and in a short time, John Holland, Esq. was appointed Sheriff in my room.

The reader being now in possession of all the material facts relative to this business, I beg leave to ask him the following Questions:

I. Supposing the Grand Jury had a right to visit the Goal, without my consent, was it civil in them to do it, without acquainting me—and, on the contrary, studiously to conceal their intentions?

IL When we consider that at the time the Grand Jury visited the Goal, there was not a single debtor in confinement—that no complaint whatever had been made to me, and no regular complaint to them, must it not appear singular that they should think of visiting the Goal at all? And yet more so, that they should restrict their examination to only a part of it?

III. With what propriety, after the unhandsome treatment I had experienced from them, in mobbing me down the street, could the Grand Jury complain of any expressions that had escaped me?

  1. Was it generous in them, to suppress entirely all mention of their behaviour to me?
  2. Was it candid to state, that I attacked them in the discharge of their duty, when they had broken up before the time alluded to?
  3. What could induce the Grand Jury to decline the mediation of the Court, to throw out the bill prepared by the Attorney-General, and insinuate so early in the dispute, a disposition to apply for redress, “to the Fountain from whence my office originated?”

VII. Was the demand of the Grand Jury, that I should make a public acknowledgment, “such as should be approved by them,” consistent with what they profess of an earnest wish that the difference might be accommodated without going any further, and the sympathy and compassion which they affect to feel?

VIII. Which party appeared most in earnest as to an accommodation?

  1. After the mobbing one through the public street, what would my friends have thought of me, had I asked the Grand Jury’s pardon?
  2. Ought not the Grand Jury to have, at least, allowed me a fight of the complaint preferred against me?
  3. What reason can be suggested to justify their refusal?

Written by johnwood1946

March 8, 2017 at 8:17 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

The Trent Affair

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From the blog at

The Trent Affair


Charles Wilkes, who seized the Trent in 1861

From the website ‘Civil War Talk’

The opening salvo of the American Civil War occurred on April 14, 1861, when Confederate forces captured Fort Sumter near Charlestown, South Carolina. Preparations for war then proceeded on both sides, and one of the first actions by the North was to declare a blockade of the Southern states to cut off their access to trade.

The North and the South both sought the support of European nations but this was not forthcoming for the Confederates. Prussia, Austria and Spain each absolutely refused to support the secessionists. Great Britain was in a difficult position, however, having important trading ties with both the North and the South. Cotton was a particularly important British import, and a decision as to what policy to take was required. Britain therefore decided to remain neutral in the Civil War and to continue their trade relations with both sides, particularly with the South.

Britain’s neutrality was an insult to the North, who saw it as a tacit alliance with the South. It also meant, of course, that Britain was routinely violating the blockade. The blockade-running business was very good because of shortages in the South, and Halifax thrived as southern traders and British blockade-runners bought everything that they could get their hands on for resale in the Confederate states.

William Seward, the American Secretary of State, was inclined to take actions against Britain as a way of diverting the national attention away from the developing conflict between North and South. Britain objected and gave notice that they would not be taken advantage of. Abraham Lincoln realized that nothing good could come from an international conflict at that time and that driving the British into the arms of the South would be counterproductive. Seward’s proposed actions were therefore dropped. Seward continued to believe that feelings of enmity against Britain would help to tie the nation together, however, and he instructed the states to fortify the eastern seaboard and the land borders from the Canadas to the Maritime Provinces.

Fort Sumter had been captured on April 14th, and all of these events had occurred when, on November 8, 1861, the U.S. ship San Jacinto, Charles Wilkes Captain, encountered the British ship Trent in the Bahamas and fired twice across her bow. The captain of the Trent, James, Moir, was then invited to board the San Jacinto for a conference, which he forcefully refused to do. The Americans then boarded the Trent and took away James Mason and John Slidell who were the Confederate ambassadors to Britain and France. News of this reached Halifax ten days later and opinion, which had been divided with regard to North versus South, swung decidedly against the North.

Reaction in the U.S. was very different. Some people regretted what had happened, but everyone was proud at having stood up against the British. Wilkes was banqueted, and praised in the press and by the Secretary of the Navy, and Congress passed a unanimous motion of thanks. Some Americans, including Abraham Lincoln, objected to what had been done and did not look forward to the prospect of war with Britain, but they were outnumbered by other voices.

By the end of November, Britain had passed a resolution demanding that Mason and Slidell be released within seven days and that an apology be made. Otherwise, they would withdraw their Ambassador from Washington. Warlike rhetoric escalated in Britain and Halifax and in the Canadas on the one side, and in American cities on the other.

By the end of December, 1861 Washington had agreed to the release of Mason and Slidell and, on the 27th, they were taken to a small port, away from the public eye, and loaded onto the British ship Rinaldo. Washington’s decision had come on day five of Britain’s seven day ultimatum.

Military preparations continued in Britain and in the northern colonies into 1862. Thousands of troops were dispatched to Quebec City, Halifax (5,000), Saint John and Saint Andrews. War ships were also dispatched to the Caribbean.

The 62nd Regiment landed at Saint Andrews on January 1st aboard the Delta and were transported to Canterbury, a small station near Woodstock at the end-of-line for the Saint Andrews and Quebec Railway. From there, they were to establish a route for themselves and for further troops out of Saint John to proceed to the Canadas. The movement from Saint John to Woodstock, and from Woodstock northward was by sleds through heavy snow. Houlton was to be taken in order to protect the route, if necessary.

The trip from Saint Andrews to Canterbury was more difficult than they had expected. One group left Saint Andrews by rail on January 1st, 1862 without food rations, expecting only a short trip, but soon came to a stop, mired in snow. After several hours the train was shortened, and tried again to force its way through the snow. That failed, so the engine abandoned the cars entirely and proceeded forward looking for assistance. It, however, also became stuck. By the next morning, still without food, the soldiers were scavenging along the track for fuel to keep their stoves burning, and it was not until that night that they were rescued by a snowplow and arrived at Canterbury.

Proceeding to Woodstock by sled, they found little food or lodging. Any available quarters were rented at huge expense, and the town of Woodstock thrived on all the money that the soldiers dropped.

Another group of troops landed in Saint John in mid-February, 1862. They left for Fredericton and Woodstock on the morning after their arrival, but only made it to Grand Bay before they were turned back by bitter cold, blizzard conditions, and heavy snow. They were prepared to try again on the next day but were warned off by a telegram from a scout, who reported the roads to be impassible. They finally made it to Fredericton after a two day trudge through the snow. Two days later they were in Woodstock, helping to support the local economy together with the Saint Andrews contingent. Onward they went, finally arriving in Riviere du Loup where they boarded the Intercolonial Railway.

It eventually became evident, however, that the Trent Affair was over. Mason and Slidell had been released and war had been avoided.

This blog posting is described as an ‘introduction,’ because there is very much more information available. The two references below are excellent, and you will be able to find other descriptions of the conflict online.


  1. George Johnson, The Trent Affair, in Report and Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society, volume 3, 1883, at
  2. Ken Homer, Winter Movement of British Troops Through the St. John River Valley, 1862, a paper presented at a meeting of the Carleton County Historical Society, January 25, 1985 at (David Bell and Ernest Clarke had been collecting information about troop movements through New Brunswick, and made some of this available to Ken Homer. Homer’s essay is an excellent resource and contains much more information than does this blog post.)

Written by johnwood1946

March 1, 2017 at 8:39 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

A Shocking Description of Anti-Confederates in Rural Nova Scotia in 1867

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From the blog at


Joseph Howe

Anti-Confederation advocate and famous Nova Scotian, from Library and Archives Canada

Alexander Gilbert was a Montreal journalist who toured the Maritime Provinces in 1867, with an interest in exploring anti-Confederation feelings there. The following is condensed and edited from his From Montreal to the Maritime Provinces and Back, first published in the Montreal Evening Telegram, and describes what he found in and around New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.

I don’t think that I would like Mr. Gilbert. He described ignorant and isolated rural Nova Scotians. If that wasn’t enough, he thought that anyone who differed from his views on Confederation was not worthy of being taken seriously. We, on the other hand, will have to acknowledge that some people were isolated and uneducated. So, I appreciate his window on New Glasgow in 1867, while still deploring his attitude.

Gilbert makes references to Joseph Howe who is quoted has having remarked “Poor old Nova Scotia, God help her, beset with marauders outside and enemies within.” He would have been able to counter Alexander Gilbert’s views with colorful enthusiasm.

A Shocking Description of Anti-Confederates in Rural Nova Scotia in 1867

Arriving in this place again, where the feeling is very high, and the Anti-Confederates very numerous, there being not more than 30 Confederates in the town, out of a population of 2,000 inhabitants, I determined to remain for a few days, in order to find who the people were, and the occasion for so much bitterness of spirit. New Glasgow is a straggling village, of wretched appearance, the buildings being all of wood, and put up in the most economical manner, without the slightest regard to comfort. Every store keeper, it would appear, has done his best to have his store if possible by itself, and the consequence is a mixture of small little wooden buildings, of all shapes and sizes, planted side by side, and giving the town an uncomfortable straggling appearance. Sidewalks are looked upon with delightful contempt; and the middle of the street, be it wet or dry, is the fashionable promenade. In rainy weather the streets are very muddy, and there is no other help for it but to wade often more than ankle deep through the sublime composition. The inhabitants are all Highland Scotch, with few exceptions narrow-minded and bigoted—and everyone knows what a bigoted Scotchman is. Being a Highland Scotchman myself, I at once saw the people I had to deal with, and immediately made myself quite at home with them, after very nearly getting a sound thrashing in so doing, boldly telling them who I was, what was my mission, and what I thought of them. There are four churches in the town, two Anti-burger and two Presbyterian. An English church, and especially if there was an organ in it, would be looked upon as an innovation not to be tolerated. On entering the village I met a few Canadians from Upper Canada, and I was at once greeted with “This is the strangest place in the world. The people don’t know a thing, and hate Canadians, and are down on Confederation.” “Why so.” I asked. “That’s the thing they can’t tell you themselves. Just wait until you have conversed with them”. There is not such a thing as a reading-room, or a book-store in the village. The people have lived here until the railroad was built, shut out from even the world of Nova Scotia. The consequences of such a state of affairs are that the people are primitive in their ideas. At present they read but one side of the question, the other they have no desire to see. They have formed an opinion without discussing the merits of the question, and their opinion once formed, they are too proud and obstinate to alter it one jot, or be convinced. They have been told by Howe and his emissaries, and they are quite content to receive what they tell as truth. The people have heard some dreadful things of the Canadians, and, without the slightest hesitation, believe them as truths. Canadians they look upon as smart swindlers, without knowing anything about them; and Confederation as a grand scheme to rob them of their country, and of what we can produce far cheaper and better in Canada. I have conversed with the most respectable and best educated anti, as well as the most ragged specimen of a McDonald or a Fraser, so that I could make a decided statement. From their own remarks, I have no hesitation in arranging the following scale:—

Educated Anti—So from offended dignity, because the people were not consulted.

Less Educated Anti—Because the country will be ruined by taxation, whereby Canada will be enriched, and a railroad built that will flood their markets with Canadian produce.

Ignorant Anti—(a large majority)—Because they hate Canadians. They want to do with the States that they have always dealt with. They won’t stand Confederation, and will fight first, before they will annex themselves to a people they hate. (Howe will be captain of this squad, when he takes to arms, as he says he will.)

Throughout the parts of the country in every direction I visited, the feeling was the same, and the primitive, narrow-minded people the same. If the people of New Glasgow are so far behind the age, the country must be far more so. And their actions on the first of July, will prove such to be the case. While all honour was paid the day in Halifax, in many parts of the country the most bitter feeling prevailed, and everything was done by the people to display their hostility to the scheme.

In New Glasgow those who had flags flying in honor of the occasion, were requested to take them down, and upon refusing to do so, were treated to the most violent language. Many of the flags were cut down by the Antis. One Unionist gentleman, whose flag had been cut down, procured another, and hoisting it, plainly told them, the first man that attempted to touch it would be shot. It was left alone, and the Union Jack fluttered bravely the whole of that day.

Near New Glasgow the rails of the track were greased for some distance, in order, it is supposed, to prevent the train with excursionists, who were on their way to Halifax, to take part in the display, from reaching that City. But sand was sprinkled on the rails, and the train went on. It was an action of the small minds to entertain such a project.

Conversations—Railway Incidents, &c

I shall give a few instances of the conduct, not from any ill-nature or prejudice, but simply to convey to the people of Montreal and Canada a correct idea of the Anti-Confederates of Nova Scotia and the allies of the Anti-Unionists of Canada. The country people of Nova Scotia are isolated, and see or hear very little of their newly formed relations, the Canadians, as they call them. But to return to the doings, the foolish ventings of spite of the Antis on Confederation Day.

In Antigonish, a town some distance from New Glasgow, a Union Jack was taken down, torn in pieces, and an American flag hoisted in its stead. In another town—I don’t remember its name, but there were only three Unionists in it,—having expressed their opinions rather boldly, the Confederates were chased about, and at last took shelter in a house, where they hid all day. The feeling was very high evidently.

It is a well-known fact that Dr. Tupper was burnt in effigy at Yarmouth, and that the paper of the town not only boasted of it but regretted that it was not the person of the gentleman that was consigned to the flames.

These facts I would perhaps not have given had not a statement been made by an Anti through the press that my remarks in regard to the primitive ideas and actions of the Anti-Confederates, were not true. I submit the above to the public of Montreal, and ask if such would be the actions of an enlightened and intelligent community?

When the rails of the Nova Scotia Railroad were being laid through New Glasgow, certain officials of the town, high in office, expressed their determination to tear up the rails when they were put down. And accordingly as the workmen were in the act of laying them down, one evening the officials proceeded to where the track ran across a street in the town, and great were their efforts to lift up the rails and pitch them to one side. They succeeded with one or two when the foreman of the laborers came up and, after an argument, the construction continued.

Defeated and very warm the anti-Railroad leaders retired vowing vengeance against the road. This but illustrated the feeling of the people who were generally opposed to the building of the road that was to develop their country. The Canadians were right when they stated “they were a queer people.” To this day the whistle of the locomotive is considered a nuisance. Is it any wonder Confederation should be beyond their comprehension?


A conversation that occurred on the train, between a respectable farmer’s wife sitting beside me in the car, and another a seat or two further off, will be a good instance of the expansive views entertained by the country people of Anti-land in the nineteenth century, in regard to railways. I give it word for word. When near New Glasgow, the lady furthest away cried out in a very loud voice:

“This is a very speedy way of getting home, Mrs. McDonald.”

Mrs. McD.—“Aye, it is, but I prefer travelling in my own conveyance. Still it’s a very handy way of getting home.”

Unknown Lady.—“To be sure you have more of your way in your own conveyance, and can go at your own speed, but it is much speedier and more comfortable this way.”

Mrs. McD. (doubtfully.)—“Yes, no doubt.”

There was an ally for the opponents of Confederation in Canada for you. It is easy to account for the strength of Mr. Howe. He tells these people that Canada is bankrupt, that they only wish a connection for the purpose of gaining a better credit, and that the people of Nova Scotia have been sold body and bones for eighty cents a head. And they believe him. The secret of Mr. Howe’s influence is the credulity of the people.

Meeting an intelligent Anti, I asked him, “Will you tell me why are you an Anti?”

“Because we have been sold, forced into this connection without being consulted.”

“Neither were the people of Upper or Lower Canada consulted, and yet they are almost a unit on this question.”

“Well, they should have been asked…. We are going to turn out the men that sold us”

“Well, why your objection to Confederation”

“I don’t like it.”

Upon asking him why, he stated that they were not fairly represented, and, among other objections, stated the Government was a worthless one, &c., &c. Had he been consulted he would have been a Confederate. But he was wrong in his opinion of the Government. It was the best they had ever had, and had done more for the country than any before. But all this was forgotten, and a Government that had done so much for the country was not to be trusted with the passing of Confederation. This good Government at once became worthless because the people were not consulted on the question. Upon asking an Anti of the second class, his reasons for opposition, the following conversation ensued:—

“Yes, sir, I am Anti, because we are going to have no good out of the plan. You will build a railway to flood our market with your butter, cheese and produce, and undersell us; and we will be heavily taxed for the building of the road to ruin us.”

“Then you are opposed to the Intercolonial Railway, and the opening of your country?”

“No; we want the Railway, but we can have it without Confederation.”

“Oh, I see you want to derive all the benefit without paying for it. But if a railroad is to be built, you must pay your share. But what about the produce coming down in such quantities?”

“Why, you will flood us with cheese and butter, which you make better than we can, and our farmers will be ruined.”

“And so they deserve to be, if with such a splendid country they are too lazy or ignorant to make a better article. But I cannot understand how it will pay to send these articles such a distance to compete with a market on the spot; however, it will be all the better for the country, if such is the case; for your farmers will have to learn to make as good an article as we make in Canada, and you will have the better food.”

“But our farmers don’t know how.”

“Then we will send our Canadians to teach you how, or you can send a deputation to Canada; but they must pay their own expenses, and your farmers and their wives will take a lesson and learn to make as good butter and cheese as they send you; and if you are not able then on the spot to sell as cheaply and monopolize the market, you are not fit to live. The railroad once built, your ports open all the year round will be an outlet for the lumber, grain and produce of our immense country that at present finds an outlet at Portland. In fact you will be brought into contact with the world, and you may depend upon it, if access is easy, your country will be overrun by Canadians. I am only afraid when they see such a fine country they will stay here altogether.”

“That’s all very fine, but we are doing very well ourselves.”

“That’s very false. Since the abrogation of the Reciprocity Treaty your coal trade has been at a standstill, the thousands of miners are living on a prospect and half-pay. You offer opposition to the opening of your country, and are getting on in a one-horse way.”

“It suits us. I suppose we can do as we like.”

“Once upon a time you could, but not now; for if, as you say, you are to be overrun by Canadians, you will have to work hard, and I know you would rather be at a standstill. To save yourselves you will have to work hard also. Pleasant prospect, isn’t it?

“We don’t like Canadians, nor your government; you are too extravagant.”

“I know you don’t, but we like this fine country of yours, abounding in coal and minerals, the very things we want. And we will make a fine country of yours.”

“Oh! You needn’t tell me such humbug; you will never take coal from us, you can get it cheaper from the old country. The vessels bring it to you in ballast, and you get it from the States.

“I am glad to hear we are so plentifully supplied with what we want so badly. But your coal never came to us in any quantity. You never had enterprise enough to try the experiment, and you had a good market at the time, and didn’t care for another. But your dear American friends treated you very badly, and spoilt your market. Just send us as much coal as you can really send, and see if it won’t monopolise the market, and be a source of wealth to your country.”

“That’s all very fine, but I can’t see it!”

“Of course as an Anti you will think so. You want to be left alone in your narrow mindedness. You want us to build a railway for your benefit at our expense. You call a government and people extravagant, that you know nothing about, but have been told that they are so. And instead of rejoicing at the prospect of having a large trade opened with your neighbors, you try to raise every objection possible, and indulge in gloomy forebodings. You evidently prefer to deal with the United States, and would go down on your knees to them to renew the Reciprocity Treaty. And that after their conduct to you. Such a spirit will cause you to be despised by your Canadian friends. In your disloyalty, you are like the Rouge, Annexation and Anti-Confederate party of Canada, but they are more cunning than you are. Those are the men who are your allies in Canada.”

“We will deal with the people that have the best market.”

Anti Arguments of the Third Class

“I am Anti because the country has been sold.”

“But your men of wealth in Halifax with large fortunes are the most of them Confederates.”

“But Tupper and the rest are so because they will be bettered by it.”

“But your leader, Mr. Howe, was once a Confederate, and a very strong one. Was he not? You should find out his motives and policy for such a change. A short time ago he said Confederation was a grand thing. Today he says it is a curse, and goes so far as to say he will fight if necessary. Will you fight also?”

“Yes, sir, if it comes to that.”

“Then you and your leader will be rebels, that’s all.”

“Well we are not going to join people we hate. The Canadians are too smart for us.”

“You believe everything you are told, eh! Then you must believe the moon is made of green-cheese, because you have been told so. Go to Canada, and to Montreal and other cities. See the people, and then form an opinion of them. The enlightened people of Canada read both sides of the question, then form an opinion. You should do the same. It is very despicable to abuse a people you know nothing of.”

“Tuppcr had the cheek to tell the people at home that it was no use submitting the scheme to us, for we were not capable of dealing with it.”

“And Dr. Tupper was right if he did say so. You are fast proving the truth of his remark. He is your own countryman, and knows how to deal with you.”

It must not be thought that the above conversations are imaginary. Far from it; they really occurred, but at much greater length than can be given, and the language was more bitter. In giving vent to a bitter feeling, the language was in keeping.

Written by johnwood1946

February 22, 2017 at 8:13 AM

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