New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

Table of Contents, Rev. February 22, 2017

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

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


John Wood

Written by johnwood1946

February 22, 2017 at 8:14 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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Surveying Through the Wilderness in 1844

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From the blog at

In the 1840’s, the British wanted to establish a mail road or military road from Halifax to Quebec. The road would go from Halifax to The Bend (Moncton), and thence across the unsettled interior of New Brunswick to Grand Falls and northward from there. In 1844, Sir James Alexander was engaged to survey that part of the route from The Bend to Grand Falls.

The merchants at Saint John thought that it would be a better idea to build from Halifax to Annapolis, then to transport the mail or troops by ship to Saint John and directly up the river. There was already an unfinished road to Annapolis, they argued, and the road across the wilderness in New Brunswick would be avoided. But the route across New Brunswick had already been decided upon and the merchants’ arguments were unheeded.

The exchange with the merchants was interesting in that Saint John always argued in favor of the city and, if it disadvantaged Nova Scotia, then all the better.

The following account joins Alexander at The Bend where he has marshalled men and supplies for the survey, and follows him to the northwest corner of Westmorland County. It is a story of extraordinarily hard work as they slog their way through the wilderness. It is condensed and edited from Alexander’s book L’Acadie or Seven Years Explorations, London, 1849.


The Petitcodiac River at High Tide

From Wikipedia


Surveying Through the Wilderness in 1844

The loads of pork, biscuit, &c., being distributed next morning, each carrier passing his arms through the straps, shouldered his load (about one hundred pounds to begin with) they then walked sturdily off into the forest, each bearing in his hand an axe, kettle, or a fowling-piece. The big cooking kettle, containing the tin plates, knives, forks, &c., was in a black case, and being on a wooden carrier, like what is used in France, was called Satan by the men; and being rather an awkward load, was not a general favourite with them.

We blazed, marked with the broad arrow with M. 0. (miles 0) an old hemlock tree at the edge of the wood in Mr. T. Horseman’s field, set up the circumferenter, and commenced exploring ahead, and brushing out a six-foot path for chaining and for carrying along the loads. All were alert and in good spirits. There was a bird’s cry in the wood, and Andre crept towards the sound, fired, and knocked over a plump grouse, which was drumming for its mate.

After passing some distance through the forest, we came to a small clearing at the last log-house we were to see, and proceeding into the forest beyond it, we made our first camp. It was still rather early for going into the woods, as they were wet from the melted snow; but we picked out as dry a place as we could find. When the fires blazed up, and we had got on dry trousers and moccasins, we felt perfectly comfortable. There is no undressing in the bush, so rolling ourselves in our blankets after supper, we slept soundly.

Next morning, I roused all hands at five o’clock by means of a few blows with an axe-handle on one of the poles of my shed; all turned out of their blankets at once, and shaking themselves (the only toilette till Sunday came round) the breakfast of pork, biscuit, and tea was discussed, pipes were smoked, the tents were struck and packed, loads arranged, and by seven o’clock, the exploring, brushing out the line, and carrying the loads along it, was going on steadily.

There were seventeen packs in all, and six men to carry them. They accordingly moved backwards and forwards along the line, and deposited their burdens after short trips. Mr. McGill, with the chainman, John Bair, measured the line, and kept an account of the different sorts of wood we passed through. I went ahead, axe on shoulder, and with a compass and haversack, sometimes alone, and sometimes with the Indian Andre, or I explored to the right and left as occasion required. So all were at work simultaneously, and all were up at twelve at noon, which was the dinner hour. There was pork, biscuit, and tea again, and at half-past one the work went on as before till five p.m., when all hands made camp.

To vary the evening’s meal, we had occasionally bean-soup, or some salt fish; from eight to ten, I read by the light of my lamp; the men were very glad to sleep after their day’s fatigue, particularly the carriers. The anxious inquirer may now ask how many miles we got over in a day, suggesting eight or ten, and will doubtless be surprised to hear that a mile and a quarter a day or sometimes double that was cut through the bush. This was considered a fair day’s work from morning till night.

Be it remembered that in these primeval forests, we must hew our way painfully and with much heat of body in these hot summer months, with perspiration from eleven o’clock to six.

At sunrise the thermometer was usually 60°, at noon 75°, at sunset 65°; but in the dense forest there is, of course, little circulation of air; we heard the breeze at the top of the trees, but seldom felt it at their roots. In short, the air seems to stagnate there, and the closeness is oftentimes terrible to bear, especially as it is accompanied with, first, the minute black fly, the constant summer torment; the mosquito, with intolerable singing; the sand-fly, with its hot sting; the horse-fly, which seems to take the bit out of the flesh; and the large moose, or speckled-winged fly. Yet, though the heat and flies did not improve one’s appearance, or tend to one’s comfort, there was no unmanly complaining among the men, and their using no brandy helped us much; for those who do so, could not remain in these woods in summer.

To a person accustomed, like myself, to severe exercise from boyhood, there would be no great difficulty in walking ‘right on end’ through the woods, with moccasins on feet and bearing a compass, axe, haversack, and blanket, any number of miles say twenty or thirty a-day, though to the uninitiated in forest walking, the constant lifting the leg high and striding over the prostrate trees, wading through swampy places, getting oneself severely scratched and bruised, and the occasional pitch forward on one’s face are sore trials. In surveying and chaining we require to go differently to work; we cannot chain over the bushes, but clearing them away, and all other obstructions, we measure carefully along the ground in the following way.

The person at the head of the chain is provided with a number of pointed sticks; he carries the chain ahead to its length, and calling out to the man at the other end “set!” he at the same time plants a stick, and the other answering “down” lays his end of the chain on the ground. The first goes on again, the second takes up the stick, and the same “set,” “down,” are repeated till all the sticks are expended by the first man, when he calls out “tally;” the second then keeps his reckoning by cutting with his knife a notch on a piece of wood hanging from his waist. Slow progress is occasioned in the forest by everything being carried on men’s backs, and heavy loads are necessary for a lengthy explorations.

On Saturday night there was some conviviality, yet without the assistance of ardent spirits. I encouraged the men “to tell the tale and pass round the song”, and one played the flute.

On Sunday, there was no work done, the camp on the previous evening had been selected with some care, near a clear stream, and where the tall trees were not too closely set. Every one now shaved, washed and put on clean clothes: after breakfast we had prayers and a chapter of the bible was read.

A Christian spectator would have been interested our small congregation trying to offer up praise to the Creator of the mighty forests, which lifted their lofty stems and green tops on every side.

In the afternoon the people rested, or mended and washed their clothes, and read to one another. The wash-tub was a square hole cut deep with an axe in a prostrate log. I usually went out from the camp in the afternoon to walk, and look about with Andre to see what sort of country we had next to encounter; the Indian as we strode through the dark forest, ever and anon broke off a twig to mark our way back, and watched always how the sun shone upon his shoulder, as a guide for our direction.

At our evening meals the moose bird would sometimes perch singly or in pairs on the branches, and flit down to peck up a chance morsel. This bird is so fearless, that sometimes it is pecking at one end of a slain deer when the hunter is engaged at the other.

Sometimes Andre and myself had hard work over the logs and entangled twigs of the moose wood (a shrub with large heart-shaped leaves and white blossoms, a species of guilder rose) to make an offset to avoid a stream. We would see traces of the large-footed caribou or reindeer, on swampy ground, then we might hear bark being stripped off a tree, followed by the sudden brushing aside of branches. It was a bear which had been enjoying a meal off the inner bark of some of the fir tribe, which was soft at this time and full of sap. At various distances and with different degrees of loudness, the woodpeckers would interrupt the dead silence around.

I remarked to Andre one day whilst we rested at the foot of a tree, and were rolling the black flies from our foreheads, that there was not much to eat in these woods, neither roots, fruits, nor berries, and I asked him what he would do if left without gun or fishing-tackle, he answered, in French, that going down a stream might lead to a river, and a river to a settlement, or an Indian camp.

On the 1st of June at mid-day, we ate our meal where large trees lay prostrate, decayed, covered with a thick coat of moss, and on which young fir-trees grew. The old logs looked as if they had been laid low seventy or eighty years.

Two of the mountain settlers, of whom Bryan Martin was one, came after us on our track, guided by the blazes on the trees. They wished to see how we were getting on, as they were anxious to see the proposed military road and the access that it would bring to their area.

I did not feel particularly comfortable after some days of unusual salt pork, the weather at the same time being hot, but I left it off for a couple of days and took some boiled rice, whilst my hunter got two or three spruce and Savannah grouse. Soon all was well again, except our wrists which were so swelled with the black flies that I could not sometimes button the sleeves of my red flannel shirt.

On the 3rd and 4th of June we saw some good land and some spruce barrens or swamps. I wondered at first what end these spongy plains could answer, producing neither trees nor grass, but only wet moss on a sandy bottom. I found that these so-called barrens were, in this region, without mountains, the sources of the streams; the moss collecting, retaining, and giving out the moisture when overcharged.

The trees round the edge of these barrens have a singular appearance, from the green and black hair-like moss hanging from their stunted branches. This is the lichen usually called Absalom’s hair. In two or three places on our route, we drove a pole six feet into the soft moss of the barrens, but the average depth was one or two feet. On them we saw the tracks of the caribou deer, whose broad feet are well adapted for moving across the barrens without sinking into them, whilst we sometimes were wading and struggling through them up to our knees.

We saw also the tracks of bears, wolves, porcupines, skunks, martins, &c. on our line, and of birds; besides the grouse, woodpeckers, and moose birds already noticed, we observed kingfishers, loons, plovers, night hawks and owls. The cry of the last Andre imitated at night, in order to discover its locality, and he would then steal up and shoot it for his own private eating, though it is merely a bundle of feathers.

The prevailing rock was of a coarse sandstone, stratification horizontal. I also saw boulders of granite and hornblende rock, also some manganese, whilst the banks of streams showed indications of coal. I made a herbarium of dried plants and collected every portable thing, and noted and sketched everything of interest on our route.

In deep and retired places in the woods it was interesting to creep upon and watch the partridge, or more properly the ruffed grouse, drumming on a prostrate log; after a pause he would elevate his ruff on his neck, ruffle up his brown feathers, spread his tail and strut like a turkey-cock. Then at first slowly, afterwards rapidly, he would strike the log with his wings, and thus produce the drumming sound, which has a remarkable effect when heard in the solitude of the forest.

On the 6th of June, near low wetland, the flies, which had all along been very tormenting, became insufferable. At mid-day when we halted to eat, we were obliged to sit in the middle of half-a-dozen “smokes” made by laying damp moss over small fires, and the same thing happened several times afterwards. Our foreheads, necks, and wrists particularly suffered. Fortunately for settlers, with the progress of clearing, black flies and mosquitoes immediately disappear.

Sometimes with, and sometimes without the assistance of the creeping irons, I ascended large trees to look out. The prospect was everywhere the same. One day I saw Butter Nut Ridge to the south, but no ridges north of our line were visible. It was a great relief to sit on the cool top of a pine, out of the reach of the flies below, though I have even there been followed sometimes by a hungry mosquito or two.

On the 9th of June, on exploring for a mile and a half to the right of our line, I found a branch of the New Canaan River running to the S.W. sixteen feet broad, one and a half deep. We reached this river, a beautiful clear stream, flowing briskly between banks covered with tall trees; fir, spruce and birch; on the margin of the stream, which resembled such as might be seen in a nobleman’s domain, there were white and blue violets and strawberries. The breadth of the river was here about sixty feet, apparent rise of freshets five feet. There is sandstone in the bed of the stream and on the banks, and the abutments of a bridge might here be of stone. We forded the river, and caught chub and trout. But fishing in gloves and through a veil, and with countless tormentors buzzing about one’s head, is not very pleasant. The camphorated oil helped a little, but it required constant renewing. At meals the men used the last bit of pork to grease their faces. From that process and from smoke they did not look very prepossessing, still they were better looking than those woodsmen who, to protect their faces, use tar and oil.

On the 12th of June we were on the edge of a large caribou plain of a hundred and more acres, and afterwards crossed with our line a part of it. Water was scarce after leaving this Savannah, and we searched about and dug for it with our hands and axes for some time before we got any. One way I adopted was to dig a hole in the moss and make a couple of men stamp round it and so squeeze the water into the hole.

On the 13th of June we passed over two fertile tracts where settlements could be made. We had now a good deal of thunder and rain which saved our moss treading. On the 15th, we came to a very fertile meadow where fifteen or twenty families might be well settled. I explored for a mile and a half up a clear stream to the right, and the land was good all the way. There were no traces of Indians, or of any human being having ever visited these solitudes.

The black bear is irritable, and attacks vigorously when molested. It is impossible to hurt him by striking at him with a club, as he so dexterously wards off the blows from his head with his fore paws, whilst to strike his thick, hairy and fat body, would inflict as little injury on him as striking a sack of grain. Firearms are best, but it is cruel to molest any wild thing unless pressed by hunger.

After passing over land of good and of middling quality, on the 19th of June, we reached a fair meadow of excellent land, with a fine stream running through the midst. We saw about eighty acres clear of trees, and it probably extended much further on our left. I heard one of the men say to his comrade, “This is first rate; we must keep this to ourselves, and come back here and marry and settle.”

After this we were on a ridge of very noble trees of the ancient forest, where there were no marks of former fires. The trees of one hundred and ten feet in height, as fir, pine, maple, beech and hemlocks, rose from the ground like the pillars of a pagan temple.

On the 21st of June, after crossing a blazed line, being that run in 1841 from Shediac to the N.W. angle of Westmoreland, and dividing Kent and Northumberland Counties from Westmoreland, we reached with our line within half a mile (and to the north) of the N.W. angle of Westmoreland. This I hope will be considered reasonably good steering from the Bend,— distance thirty-three miles in twenty five days, including the halts on the Sundays.

Written by johnwood1946

February 15, 2017 at 7:48 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

At the Bend of the Petitcodiac in 1844: Moncton

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From the blog at

James Alexander set out in 1844 to survey a new military road between ‘The Bend’ (Moncton) and Grand Falls. We join him as he leaves Saint John on a precarious coach trip to The Bend, where he describes what existed there at the time. The story is edited from his book L’Acadie or Seven Years Explorations, London, 1849.


Bridge Over the Petitcodiac River at Moncton, ca 1910

From the N.B. Museum via the McCord Museum


At the Bend of the Petitcodiac in 1844: Moncton

I engaged with a sturdy little sea captain, Arklow by name, commanding the Helen schooner, to take a like supply of provisions, and three of my men in charge of them, from Saint John up the Bay of Fundy to the Bend, whilst I went overland with the rest, one hundred miles, in a hired stage, as I was desirous of seeing the country.

It is right that travellers should expose tricks which may be attempted on them, so that those who happen to come after may benefit. There was an attempt at imposition in St. John’s, which was rather absurd. The landlord of the hotel had, as I said, received me with considerable distinction on my arrival, and perhaps was rather surprised to notice that instead of pursuing the exclusive system, I took my meals at the public table, where useful information is often picked up. When I went to settle accounts at the bar, I looked about and saw on the wall the rate of charges. “Board and lodging per day 6s. 3d.” but my bill was made out at 12s 6d. I pointed out that this was not according to the card the landlord said that he had been expecting me and had kept a room for me. I said I had never written about a room, and now had lived like other people, whereat he was constrained to take off half the amount of his bill, and his revenge was to walk out of his bar with his hands below his coat skirts and whistling, to show his independence.

On the 24th of May, I left St. John’s in a comfortable covered stage, my people being inside, whilst I sat in front, with the driver, to see the country. On our left, after leaving the city, was the estuary or lake at the mouth of the Kennebecasis River, a fine sheet of water, stretching many miles into the country. We crossed the Hammond River, passed a salt spring, and breakfasted at the “Finger board,” where the mail road from Halifax turned off towards Fredericton. In the afternoon we were travelling through the beautiful Sussex Vale with its wooded ridges, rich intervale land below, and an abundant supply of water. We saw a curious contrivance of poles standing in the low grounds; round these poles the hay is heaped in stacks to prevent its being carried off by the periodical floods.

The rocks in Sussex Vale are in all probability chiefly of the Devonian system; generally red or variegated sandstone with salt springs and gypsum. In the Petitcodiac District the carboniferous system appears to predominate.

At ten at night we were descending the Boundary-Creek-Hill, a steep pitch with a turn in it; the horses had snaffles as usual, and there was as usual also, no drag or skid for the wheels. The driver was unable to control his horses, though he had only two to manage; he stood up and, hauled on them and “wo hoed” as much as he could, and then got frightened. I held on as well as I was able expecting a crash; it came, accompanied with a shout from the insides, and I found myself pitched head foremost in the dark down a steep hill, on the left of the road stage and all, and struggling among the legs of one of the horses which was lying on his back.

I scrambled out of my unpleasant position as fast as I could, and climbing over the bottom of the stage, the wheels of which were in the air, I regained the road, where I found the driver (who had jumped off on the right) with the other horse, which had caught on a railing. Thanking God heartily for my escape, which was complete, with the exception of two cuts on the forehead from the horse’s heels, I immediately went down to the men, and called out to them to keep quiet, (they were shouting and scrambling inside the coach), and all would soon be well. The coach was prevented by the trees from going further down the precipice.

The first man, an Irishman, who was extricated, ran at me open-mouthed, and hoped I was not killed. They all got out with difficulty, and were more or less bruised and cut; but providentially none were disabled. I sent a man to the first farm-house for help, and a Mr. Nixon came with his men, and brought a lantern, ropes and an axe. We took the bag gage off the stage, cut away some impediments, hauled the coach up to the road, (fortunately it was not injured), and then got up the poor horse, which was groaning and struggling below. The animal was found to be deeply wounded in the chest, and was left with Mr. Nixon, who kindly lent us another to take us on. He also, like a Good Samaritan, applied hot brandy to our cuts and bruises. This adventure seemed rather a bad beginning for our enterprise; but the age of omens has gone by.

We reached the scattered village at the Bend of the Petitcodiac River in the middle of the night, and put up at a small inn among civil people. There I tarried for three days, for an easterly wind accompanied with rain, prevented the schooner with my supplies coming round.

At the Bend (which is in 46° 6″ 15″ of N. lat., 64° 44′ 45″ E. long., with 18° of W. variation) it is interesting to watch the tremendous flow of the tide from the Bay of Fundy. It sometimes comes in with a bore or line of foam several feet high, and rising sixty feet (and sometimes even ninety), covers with an inland sea where was lately extensive mud flats.

I reconnoitred about the Bend, and my first walk was to the Mountain Settlement, through which it appeared that our military road must pass. The long hard wood ridge, called here the Mountain, rises about two hundred feet above the level of the low and fertile lands of the surrounding country, and it is distant from the Bend seven miles. There are two mountains, Lutz’s and Sleeve’s Mountain; the former is nearest the Bend. The houses are half way up the gentle ascent. Lutz, the first settler, established himself there thirty years ago; he has upwards of two hundred acres of beautiful land, which he would not part with for £500. There were in 1844 twenty-three families on Lutz’s Mountain, and about half that number on Sleeve’s Mountain, S.W. of the other. More westerly is Butternut Ridge, with a very thriving settlement, and north easterly is Irishtown.

I fell in with a tall and well-made young man, named Anderson, belonging to the Lutz’s Settlement; we walked on together, and I found him intelligent and communicative.

It appeared that the people of the mountain settlement, a stalwart race, had been rather wild till this last spring, when a preacher visited them, and they began to think of their souls. I asked Anderson if they had a clergyman, and he said none at all (though there were two or three hundred people there); “but we have got our bibles,” he said, “and two good schools and this spring many have been baptized, from the age of fourteen to forty.”

The road was very bad towards the neglected and almost unknown Mountain Settlement. It was wet, and full of holes, which were filled up with roots, and the trees, which consisted of hemlock, spruce, maple and birch, grew close to the edge of the road. At a small clearing, where there was a log hut, there was a venerable tar, an old sailor of Nelson’s, named Jimmy Mina, who had here anchored himself. An old woman kept house for him. He had sailed as he said, on board the Bellyruffen (Bellerophon), and in talking of her he said, “I could love that ship!” On ascending the ridge, there was a scattered line of log-houses at long intervals, whose occupants cultivated land of great fertility. The view from the Mountain Settlement was extensive, embracing much forest, the white houses at the Bend of the Petitcodiac, and the distant range towards Nova Scotia, called the Shepody Mountain.

During another walk I had taken to fill up the time till our provisions arrived, I went to a farm house near the Bend to ask about the roads in the neighbourhood, of which I made a survey. The farmer gave me a rough reception, and desired me to be off, and that he had nothing to give me: it turned out that he mistook me for a soldier who was deserting.

The schooner having at length arrived, and as I had obtained all the information regarding the forest that was known to the people about the Bend and the Mountain, and having ascertained the existence of two large swamps, which it was desirable to avoid, I determined on a course of N. 52° west, so as to steer between them through the thick forest, for the N.W. angle of Westmoreland.

I took my point of departure for the Military Road on the 28th of May, from a hemlock tree between the Free Meeting-house and school at the Bend, and we chained the road to the Mountain Settlement, whither I had transported my supplies in a waggon to save my men’s backs the first day. We established our quarters for the night at Jeremiah Lutz’s, where we slept under a roof,—the last time for a considerable period.

Written by johnwood1946

February 8, 2017 at 8:58 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Maria Rye, and Her British Home Children

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From the blog at

Maria Rye, and Her British Home Children


Loading Waste, Our Gutter Children

A satirical cartoon by George Cruikshank, from

Most people know that pauper and orphaned and stray children were imported into Canada from Britain in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. These were the ‘home children’, and they are remembered today for having been received into an unsatisfactory system. In too many cases they became unpaid labourers, and their circumstances in many other cases were not what we would call ‘adoption.’

An earlier blog posting about Elizabeth (Smith) Secord revealed, for example, that a shipment of children arrived from Britain in 1908 aboard the SS Carthaginian. These were ‘Middlemore Children’, imported by John Middlemore, some of more than 5,000 children extracted from Birmingham to separate them from their ‘bad companions’. Elizabeth took two of these children, and they were still with her by the time of the 1911 census. They were Herbert Morris born in 1895, and Elsie May Morris born in 1897. I do not know what happened to the Morrises. I can only hope that my relative, Elizabeth, treated them well. Elizabeth was New Brunswick’s first registered female medical doctor.

This blog posting is about an earlier similar program operated by a Maria Rye and Annie Macpherson in the 1870’s. Rye and Macpherson operated mostly in Ontario and Quebec, but also placed children in New Brunswick and in the newly opening West. Maria Rye received more attention in New Brunswick than did Annie Macpherson, and so I assume that she was the principal operator here. Maria was financed by subscriptions, and by payments by Guardians, and by Government grants.

Maria Rye was a British activist in the women’s movement, with a particular interest in improving the possibilities for single women to support themselves economically. By the late 1860’s, she was transporting women from Britain to the former colonies, including 200 to locations on the Saint Lawrence River. This aroused some controversy in Canada, so that in 1869 she changed her program to concentrate on poorhouse and orphaned children, mostly girls. Rye was not evangelical, but she still saw herself as a missionary, rescuing children from ‘evil’ and desperate circumstances in Britain and offering them better lives in Canada. Their circumstances were, in fact, quite desperate, as Charles Dickens had chronicled not so long before.

The testimonials that were written in defense of Maria Rye when her program was drawn into question show that she had a lot of influential friends who regarded her work favorably. I suppose, then, that she was sincere in her desire to help the hopeless. On the other hand, she and Annie Macpherson were, by necessity, limited in the amount of oversight that they could give to the many children that they imported. At the same time, there was no government oversight, no child welfare departments, and no uniform standards of care by which she could be judged.

There were three ‘classes’ of children brought to Canada. The first class, or group, were pauper children, collected from poor-houses and sent before Magistrates where they would be asked to consent to being sent abroad. The second class were orphans, and the third were a collection of others including waifs and strays, so called gutter children or ‘Arabs’, and children from reformatories. Only the paupers were examined by Magistrates and all of the others were exported on the authority of local functionaries. These authorizations were issued in such a casual way that it was impossible to confirm how or if they had been obtained. In Canada, Rye and Macpherson were assumed to have all of the necessary authorizations and were granted parental rights over the children.

Questions began to arise in Britain and, in 1874, British authorities commissioned Local Government Inspector Andrew Doyle in investigate and prepare a report. He visited a group of 150 children as they were being collected at port in Britain and also travelled to Canada to investigate here. His report was submitted in December of 1874, and published in February of 1875.

Having been collected at port, they were placed in group-homes or dormitories, to be shipped to Canada as quickly as possible where they could adopt more virtuous ways. One shipment was followed to Quebec City, from which the children were split up to other group-homes or dormitories awaiting distribution to families. Doyle visited about 400 of these children in holding facilities.

Applications to take children into families were then received. It is said that Rye reviewed and visited every applicant before accepting any of them, but the numbers were so large that this may not have been possible. In any case, each application was supported by a recommendation from an upstanding citizen and this was seen as quite a failsafe system.

Only the youngest of children were adopted in the usual sense and brought up as full members of their new families. Most others were placed according to ‘indentures of adoption’, which were apprenticeships. Some were found in remote cabins far from any community other than their adopters. Those in cities and towns, especially girls, were usually placed ‘in service’, having had no training for their new roles. When they grew to adulthood and were released they found themselves without trades and without any way of supporting themselves. Doyle had predicted, and it turned out to be true, that street children and others from reformatories were unlikely to readily convert to lives of virtue and ‘service’. He had recommended that no such placements be made until the children had been put through training that would give them a ‘trade’ of sorts.

Other evidence that these were not ordinary adoptions came from the testimony of one girl, who said “’Doption, Sir, is when folks gets a girl to work without wages.” There was also evidence of cruelty when another girl was discovered to have been “kept in solitary confinement for eleven days on bread and water as a punishment for having given way to a bad temper.” The collection system and their classification into paupers, orphans, ‘gutter children’ and inmates from reformatories was also found to be flawed, when one ‘orphan’ was found who did, in fact, have living parents in Britain.

About 1,150 children had been sent to Canada by the time of the Doyle Report, aged from infants to 14 or 15 years. The program was still in progress as the report was being written, and more were on their way.

No sooner had the report been issued than it became a topic in the press. The Liverpool Mercury, the Manchester Evening News, the Birmingham Daily Post and the Freeman’s Journal all ran articles and, of course, the news soon spread to Canada.

Many people, including Leonard Tilley and Lemuel Wilmot, wrote letters of support once the Doyle Report had become public. Many of the letters were pro forma, but John Boyd’s letter from Saint John was more revealing. Boyd was a businessman and politician, and would become a Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick. He wrote a spirited defense of Maria Rye, and accused Doyle of being maliciously unfair. Many children turn out badly even in the best of families, he said, and the fact that some of the British girls had ‘fallen’ and a couple of others had become ‘bye words’ was no fault of Rye. Boyd had served as a ‘Guardian’, to whom a couple of adopted children could turn if they had any problems, there were few complaints, however, aside from a girl who had had “a drunken master, [and was given] permission to leave and go to another home”. Besides, children were apt to complain, and visitations to the homes would not have been useful and would only have been viewed as government ‘inquisitions’. Overall, Boyd’s letter was overly dismissive.

Rye had hoped that local governments would eventually take over the oversight of the children, but the Doyle report had raised controversy and this never happened. Rye retired in 1895 and left the care of her children in Ontario to a Church of England Society. I do not know if there were still any children in care in New Brunswick at that time.


  1. Further letters furnished to the Department of Agriculture by Miss Rye, in rebuttal of Mr. Doyle’s report, 1875. From the collections of the Public Archives of Canada. At
  2. British Home Children in Canada, The Doyle Report on Pauper Children in Canada, February, 1875, at
  3. Joy Parr, Maria Susan Rye, in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
  4. John Wood, Elizabeth (Smith) Secord; First Registered Woman Doctor in N.B., in this blog at

Written by johnwood1946

February 1, 2017 at 8:23 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

New Brunswick’s East Coast in 1832, Following the Miramichi Fire

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From the blog at

Following is a description of the east coast of New Brunswick in the early days—1832. It is condensed and edited from Sketches of British America by John Macgregor, London, 1832. This concentrates on the Miramichi, but also includes other areas.


The Miramichi River Near Newcastle, ca. 1908

From the McCord Museum


New Brunswick’s East Coast in 1832, Following the Miramichi Fire

The Miramichi River is navigable for large ships for about forty miles. There is a sand bar across off the entrance, but the channel over it is broad, with water for ships of from six hundred to seven hundred tons; and vessels entering the river seldom meet with any accident. The land near the sea, like the whole of the north-east coast of New Brunswick, is low, and clothed near the shore with dwarf spruce and birch trees; beyond which, the whole country is covered with heavy timber. This magnificent river divides into two great branches, and these again into numerous streams.

The Miramichi was scarcely known thirty years ago, except to a few adventurers, who traded with the Indians for furs; and those who first settled on the banks of the River were attracted thither by its plentiful salmon fishery, which formed for some years a profitable source of enterprise. The exportation of timber has since then superseded almost every other pursuit; and the waters of the river being much disturbed by vessels, boats, and rafts of timber, a decrease in quantity has followed in the salmon-fishery; but whether in consequence of this circumstance, as the inhabitants always assert, or from some unknown natural cause, must, I think, be difficult to determine. The salmon-fishery on the river still affords more than is required for the use of the settlers and lumbering parties.

On the south side of Miramichi, a little within its entrance, lies Bay du Vin, where ships occasionally load, and where there is safe and sheltered anchorage; on the north, is the bay and settlement of Neguac, where ships also load, but where there is not much shelter.

Houses are seen thinly scattered along each side as we sail up the river; but little cultivation appears. About twenty miles up, on the south side, stands the town or village of Chatham, where many of the timber ships load, and where several of the merchants are settled, who have erected stores and wharfs. Some of the latter, particularly the fine stone warehouse, stores, wharfs, and timber booms, belonging to the very extensive establishment of Messrs. J. Cunard and Co., are on a most respectable scale. About four miles further up, the houses of Nelson village, with one or two wharfs, rise along the banks of the river; and here also a few vessels occasionally load with timber. On the opposite side, the village of Douglas, and the extensive mercantile establishment of Messrs. Gilmour and Rankin, where several ships load, appear rising along the shore.

Four miles further up than Chatham, and on the north side of the river, stands the village or town of Newcastle, with its wharfs and stores. It is considered the shire town for the county of Northumberland. Its public buildings, and most of the dwelling houses and stores, were consumed by the fire of 1825, which reduced almost everything else it contained to ashes; even in the churchyard I observed, three years afterwards, marks of that terrible conflagration. A new church, court-house, jail, and many private buildings, have been since built.

It is much to be regretted that the houses, stores, and wharfs, which are now scattered in four different places, each claiming the designation of a town, were not all built in one convenient place, where together they would now form a town of some consequence in extent; and where the operations of commerce would be carried forward with much greater convenience.

A little above Newcastle, and a short distance below the confluence of the two great arms of the river, lies Frazer’s Island, where there are stores, and a ship-building establishment.

On the banks of this river and its great branches, there is yet but a thinly scattered population, who employ themselves chiefly in hewing timber during winter in the woods, and in rafting it down the river in summer to where the ships load.

Fertile tracts of intervale, and excellent uplands, abound along its banks and in the extensive upper country, watered by its numerous streams, which are capable of most profitable cultivation; but the lumberers, who compose probably more than half the population, are neither from habit nor inclination likely to become constant or skilful farmers; which accounts for the cultivation of the soil having been so long neglected.

The depression, however, in the value of timber, which took place in 1826, and the poverty and distress occasioned by the fire the preceding year, drove the actual settlers to the cultivation of the soil for the means of subsistence; and since that time they have devoted their attention nearly with as much industry to agriculture as to the timber business.

In October 1825, about a hundred and forty miles in extent, and a vast breadth of the country on the north, and from sixty to seventy miles on the south side of Miramichi River, became a scene of perhaps the most dreadful conflagration that occurs in the history of the world.

When one of these fires is once in motion, or at least when the flames extend over a few miles of the forest, the surrounding air becomes highly rarified; and the wind consequently increases till it blows a perfect hurricane. It appears that the woods had been, on both sides of the north-west, partially on fire for some days, but not to an alarming extent until the 7th of October, when it came on to blow furiously from the westward; and the inhabitants along the banks of the river were suddenly surprised by an extraordinary roaring in the woods, resembling the crashing and detonation of loud and incessant thunder; while at the same instant the atmosphere became thickly darkened with smoke. They had scarcely time to ascertain the cause of this awful phenomenon, before all the surrounding woods appeared in one vast blaze. In less than an hour, Douglas Town and Newcastle were in a blaze, and many of the wretched inhabitants, unable to escape, perished in the flames. The following account was obtained and printed in the papers for public information a few days afterwards:—

“More than a hundred miles of the shores of Miramichi are laid waste, independent of the north west branch, the Bartibog and the Napan settlements. From one to two hundred people have perished within immediate observation, while thrice that number are miserably burnt, or otherwise wounded; and at least two thousand of our fellow creatures are left destitute of the means of subsistence, and thrown at present upon the humanity of the Province of New Brunswick.”

“The number of lives that have been lost in the remote parts of the woods, among the lumbering parties, cannot be ascertained for some time to come; for it is feared that few are left to tell the tale.”

“It is not in the power of language to describe the unparalleled scene of ruin and devastation which the parish of Newcastle at this moment presents. Out of upwards of two hundred and fifty houses and stores, fourteen of the least considerable only remain. The court-house, jail, church, and barracks; Messrs. Gilmour, Rankin, and Co.’s, and Messrs. Abrams and Co.’s establishments, with two ships on the stocks, are reduced to ashes.”

“The loss of property is incalculable; for the fire, borne upon the wings of a hurricane, rushed on the wretched inhabitants with such inconceivable rapidity, that the preservation of their lives could be their only care.”

“Among the vessels on the river, a number were cast on shore; three of which, namely, the ships Concord of Whitby, and Canada of North Shields, together with the brig Jane of Alloa, were consumed; others were fortunately extinguished, after the fire had attacked them.”

“At Douglas Town, scarcely any kind of property escaped the ravages of the fire, which swept off the surface everything coming in contact with it, leaving but time for the unfortunate inhabitants to fly to the shore; and there, by means of boats, canoes, rafts of timber, timber logs, or any article, however ill calculated for the purpose, they endeavoured to escape from the dreadful scene, and reach the town of Chatham; numbers of men, women, and children, perishing in the attempt.”

“In some parts of the country, the cattle have all been destroyed, or suffered greatly, and the very soil is in many places parched and burnt up, while scarcely any article of provisions has been rescued from the flames.”

“The hurricane raged with such dreadful violence, that large bodies of timber were on fire, together with houses and stores. Large quantities of salmon and other fish resorted to land; hundreds of which were scattered on the shores of the south and west branches.”

“Chatham at present contains about three hundred of the unfortunate sufferers, who have resorted to it for relief, and are experiencing some partial assistance; and almost every hour brings with it great numbers from the back settlements, burnt, wounded, and in the most abject state of distress.”

Great fires raged about the same time in the forests of the River St. John, which destroyed much property and timber, with the governor’s residence, and about eighty private houses at Fredericton. Fires raged also at the same time in the northern parts of the province, as far as the Bay de Chaleur.

It is impossible to tell how many lives were lost, but five hundred have been computed as the least number that actually perished in the flames.

The destruction of bears, foxes, tiger-cats, martens, hares, and other wild animals, was very great. Even the birds, except those of very strong wing, seldom escape; some, particularly the partridge, become stupefied; and the density of the smoke, the rapid velocity of the flames, and the violence of the winds, effectually prevent the flight of most others.

If the benevolence and charity of mankind were ever manifested in a more than common degree of feeling for the sufferings of unfortunate people, it was assuredly on this memorable occasion. No sooner did accounts of the calamity arrive in the neighbouring colonies, than clothing and provisions were collected and sent, with the utmost expedition, to ameliorate the distress of the sufferers; and the governor, Sir Howard Douglas, crossed the country, without any delay, to ascertain personally the extent of the calamity. Subscriptions, for the relief of all those who were subjected to want, were raised, to an amount hitherto unexampled, in Great Britain, in the United States, and in all the British Colonies; and the funds placed for distribution under the management of Sir Howard, and a committee appointed for the purpose in the province.

Miramichi may now be said to have completely surmounted the misery and loss occasioned by the ravages of so terrible a visitation. Newcastle has not only arisen from its ashes, but will likely, in a few years, contain as many and much better houses, and as great a population, as formerly. The country laid waste by the insatiate element, is of much less value, it is true, when compared with its former worth. The majestic timber trees, which acquired their gigantic size by many ages of growth, have been destroyed, and a smaller species, originally common to sterile soils, and scarcely ever fit for the timber of commerce, have sprung up in their room.

I have often heard it maintained in England, by people unacquainted with America, that the lands must become much more valuable by being cleared of the woods by fire, as immense labour and expense in clearing the forest-lands would consequently be saved. No opinion can be more erroneous. Settlers, who understand the value of wilderness lands, always choose those covered with the heaviest trees of promiscuous kinds; and the strongest objection that can be made to a plot of land is, its having been previously subjected to fire.

If the burnt lands, as they are termed, were, immediately after being overrun by fire, brought under cultivation, they would then be of exactly the same value as those cleared in the usual way; but even in this case they are objected to, as the great fires scour over the surface with such rapidity, that the trunks of the large trees are only very partially destroyed, and scarcely ever levelled, while, by losing their sap, they soon become much harder, and more difficult to cut, than green wood, and, by being all charred on the outside, exceedingly disagreeable to work among.

The great business of Miramichi is the timber trade. Scarcely any other branch of trade is attempted; yet vast quantities of fish might be brought in from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which, with the salmon caught in the river, would form portions of assorted cargoes with lumber for the West Indies. This business has lately been partially prosecuted. In 1824, 141,384 tons of square timber were exported from Miramichi to ports in the United Kingdom, in nearly three hundred ships; and, although a depression occurred in 1826, the trade has since then been extensively followed.

The principal articles of provisions, and all others of general consumption, are imported, which will long continue as necessary to supply the wants of the settlers and lumberers. When the interior country, watered by the branches of this river, becomes tolerably well settled by farmers, the importation of provisions must, from want of demand, necessarily cease. The fixed property, in saw-mills on this river and its tributaries, is of important value.

To the southward of Miramichi, New Brunswick extends about seventy-five miles, along the strait of Northumberland, to Cape Tormentine. On this coast are the harbours of Richibucto, Bouctouche, Cocagne, Shediac, and the Harbour of Shemogue for small vessels. Several rivers also occur in this district. The soil is generally fertile, but the lands are very thinly inhabited, although many thousands of settlers might be located on the vacant lands lying between the sea and the Rivers St. John and Petit Coudiac. The few roads opened as late as 1827, were then bad beyond the powers of description. Since then the energy of Sir Howard Douglas, with the cooperation of the legislature, have improved them greatly.

Richibucto harbour has a bar across the entrance; but at high water ships drawing sixteen feet may pass safely over it. Within the last few years vast quantities of timber have been exported from this place. Its river, dividing into several streams, flows through an extensive country. It is navigable for several miles, and many of the settlers are Acadian French. The timber business, hitherto, has been chiefly attended to, as affording the most ready means of living; but agriculture, long considered of minor importance, now also engages the attention of the settlers.

Bouctouche is also a bar-harbour, and a port from which timber is exported. Several families of Acadian French are settled at this place.

Cocagne lies to the southward of Bouctouche. Its entrance is very intricate; but ships of three hundred tons may load within the bar. Several cargoes of timber have been exported from this place, and a few ships have also been built here. It receives a fine river, but the population is yet trifling.

Shediac is a small harbour, with a scanty population, who have divided their labour between hewing timber and a little farming.

Shemogue River has a shallow entrance; but the lands are under tolerable cultivation, and agriculture and rearing cattle occupy the principal attention of the inhabitants. Between Shemogue and Cape Tormentine, there are many extensive and well-cultivated farms. The soil resembles that of Prince Edward Island, immediately opposite; and here the distance across the strait is not quite ten miles.

From Miramichi, north to Point Miscou, at the entrance of the Bay de Chaleur, the distance is about seventy miles. The sea-coast, and back lands of this part of the province, are very low; and the shore is nearly altogether fringed with sandy ridges, or small islands, producing bent-grass. Within these are lagoons, with shallow entrances. To Tabusintac and Tracadie, the principal of these places, several thousand tons of timber are annually hauled out of the woods, and rafted to Miramichi.

To the northward of Tracadie, and near the passage of Shippagan, which divides the island of that name from the continent, are the small and shallow harbours of Little and Great Pokemouche, inhabited principally by a few families of Acadian French. The inhabitants along this coast are scattered thinly near the shores, and subsist by means of fishing, cultivating potatoes and a little grain, and hewing timber.

Written by johnwood1946

January 25, 2017 at 8:49 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Slavery in the Loyalist Era

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From the blog at


Photograph of a slave collar, identifying A. Demill as the owner

Photo by Mike Meade, from the King’s Landing Historical Settlement web site

A posting about slavery in New Brunswick was made in this blog on July 18, 2012, entitled Ann, Otherwise Known as Nancy. It is located at Another posting was made on September 5, 2012 entitled Caleb Jones. Further RE: Ann, Otherwise Known as Nancy, and it is at

A new and far superior reference written by T. Watson Smith has now been found, and today’s posting is from his Chapter 2 of The Slave in Canada, published by the Nova Scotia Historical Society in 1880.

The following is a very condensed version of Smith’s work. It is only about one-quarter of the original length, and includes facts that I found interesting, plus most of the information about New Brunswick. Please consult the original if you want more detail about Nova Scotia or P.E.I.


Slavery in the Loyalist Era

Of the great number of Negroes arriving in the remaining British provinces with the Loyalists, a large section consisted of freedmen, most of whom had escaped from rebel masters at the South. British generals—Sir Henry Clinton in particular—had offered protection to all such slaves fleeing within their lines, and numbers of these had reached New York after having served the British in various capacities.

At the termination of the war the two thousand escaped slaves in New York were seized with consternation in consequence of a rumor that they were to be delivered up to their former owners. Terrible confirmation of the rumor seemed to be afforded by the presence in New York of slave-owners from the South, who were known to be seizing their former slaves in the streets and even to be dragging them from their beds. To allay this terror, the British Commander-in-chief, Sir Guy Carleton, issued a proclamation guaranteeing liberty to all slaves who, when taking refuge within the British lines, had formally claimed the protection offered by British commanders. Washington demanded the restoration of all fugitives to their former owners, but Sir Guy refused to violate faith with the Negroes, as it “would be delivering them up, some possibly to execution and some others to severe punishments.” He undertook that, if the sending them away should hereafter be deemed an infraction of the treaty, compensation would be made to the owners by the British government and, in view of that, he directed a register to be kept of all Negroes sent away, specifying the name, age and occupation of each slave, and the name and place of residence of his former master.

This arrangement having been reached, each fugitive received a certificate which dispelled his fears; and in a short time, in transports provided by the commander-in-chief, a large number were conveyed to Burchtown, near Shelburne, Nova Scotia, where they received lands as soon as these could be surveyed for them, and, for three years, if not for a longer period, such rations as were distributed by the British government to the Loyalists in general. About the same time other liberated slaves were brought from South Carolina to Halifax, and to Digby, St. John, and adjacent points. It was to these freedmen that Lieutenant John Clarkson was sent to Nova Scotia in 1791 by the Sierra Leone Company to arrange, at the expense of the British government, for the transportation of all freedmen desirous of removal to the new African colony; as the result of which mission a fleet of fifteen ships with eleven hundred and eighty Negroes on board, from various parts of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, sailed from Halifax on January 15, 1792, for Sierra Leone.

The still-enslaved Negroes brought by the Loyalist owners to the Maritime Provinces in 1783-84 were classed as “servants” in some of the documents of the day. Lists of Loyalist companies bound for Shelburne, made out, it is probable, under the direction of British officers whose dislike to the word “slave” would lead them to use the alternative legal term, contain columns for “men, women, children and servants,” the figures in the “servants” column being altogether disproportionate to those in the preceding columns. One of many examples of this was Captain Andrew Barclay’s company of fifty-five men and women and forty nine children who arrived with no less than fifty-seven servants, thirty six of these being owned by four families. The names of proprietors owning but one or two “servants” are too many for repetition, and on lists of “slaves or servants for life,” as ran the legal phrase, no free Negroes are included.

Slaves were also carried to other parts of Nova Scotia. Among the exiles establishing themselves at Westchester, Cumberland, Minudie, Barronsfield, and other points in the county of Cumberland, were several slaves, while a larger number of Negro bondmen could be counted in the vicinity of Parrsboro. At Cornwallis and Horton, Windsor, Newport and Kennetcook were also numerous servants. About that time came also to Musquodoboit from Florida the Bayers and McInnes families, bringing slaves with them.

There are many types of records indicating the arrival of slaves, such as the muster roll of the transport Argo, at Halifax in July, 1784, on her way with Loyalists from Florida where there are the names “Prince, Susanna, Anne, Jane, Carry [and] Marsh, the property of John Todd;” and of “Liberty Sarah [and] Pegg, the property of James Lyle.”

A very large section of the bondmen being brought into Nova Scotia was carried into that part of the country which a few months later—in the autumn of 1784—was set off as the province of New Brunswick. It is improbable that any slaves were taken to the county of Northumberland: from Westmoreland County no large number of slaves was ever reported, though colored bondmen and bondwomen were bought and sold there at a later date than in some other sections of the Lower Provinces; and the few to be found in Charlotte County seem to have been taken there from other parts of New Brunswick.

In Charlotte County was the colony at Beaver Harbor, of Quaker Loyalists—-the only avowed anti-slavery settlement known to have existed in the British North American Provinces. These Quakers, most of whom had fled from Pennsylvania and New Jersey to New York, had formed an association in that city to settle “together on the River St. Johns in Nova Scotia.” A very few of their number, who must have been included in the list of those having a “Birthright among the people commonly called Quakers,” rather than in the membership of the “Society,” had served as officers in Loyalist corps. At the head of the agreement to remove to Nova Scotia was the prohibitory notice, in a bold hand-writing, “No slave master admitted;” in accordance with which it was ruled, as the fourth regulation, “that no slaves be either Bought or sold nor kept by any person belonging to said society on any pretence whatsoever.”

For what reason Messrs. Samuel Fairlamb, John Rankin and George Brown, agents selected by the association to locate the lands granted its members for new homes, chose a tract at Beaver Harbor and not one upon the River St. John is not known. A prompt departure from New York for the new homes in the wilderness must have taken place, since a letter written in October, 1783, mentioned a Quaker settlement at Passamaquoddy, and on January 10, 1784, Aaron Andrews received from the government of Nova Scotia payment for “71,000 ft. of boards and 141,000 shingles” certified by a government agent to have been “delivered to the Quaker Refugees settled at Beaver Harbour, Passamaquoddy.” A similar certificate shows that on an adjoining tract of land had been located another body of associated Loyalists called by the government agent the “Annabaptist Refugees.” From the quantity of building material allotted to the two bands of settlers, it may be presumed that the Anabaptists largely outnumbered their Quaker neighbors, but an inference of accordance on the subject of human bondage between the two groups may be drawn from the fact that the township or parish of which they were the earliest settlers bears at the present day the name of Pennfield, an abbreviated form of the earlier Quaker designation—Penn’s Field.

In a very few years the settlers were so reduced that privation and suffering made them glad to receive aid from Friends abroad. We quote from Mr. Vroom’s paper: “What little wealth the Friends had taken with them from their Pennsylvania and New Jersey homes had been long since exhausted in their sojourn in New York and their struggle with the hardships of the New Brunswick wilderness. The town at Beaver Harbor, like other Loyalist towns, had arisen in the expectation of a trade that never came. And yet they had remained, and kept up their struggle, and perhaps tried to hope for better times. But the end was near. A forest fire swept over the place in 1790, leaving only one dwelling house. A few of the inhabitants remained or came back to rebuild their dwellings at or near the old sites, but Pennfield was no longer a Quaker colony and the highways and landmarks of to-day bear no relation to the plans of the old town of Belle View.”

On the intervales of the River St. John, from its mouth to the site of the present town of Woodstock, officers and men of several disbanded Loyalist corps established themselves at various points. The number of slaves arriving with these settlers, according to a military return in the spring of 1784, was four hundred and forty; but this number was considerably increased by the arrival a very little later from Nova Scotia of several of the more important slave-proprietors in the county of Annapolis, to whom the formation of the new province offered the promise of a more speedy recognition of their claims and a wider opportunity for the attainment of positions of influence and emolument.

A detailed list of the slave-owners of New Brunswick cannot be attempted here. Several of them have been named in connection with Annapolis County, where they first landed after their expatriation, and whence they in a few months removed; others will find mention in other pages of this essay. They were found at Parr, re-named St. John, the commercial capital of the new province. The first mayor of that town, Gabriel G. Ludlow, former colonel and commandant of De Lancey’s Third Battalion, was the possessor of property in slaves; and not a few others, slave-owning citizens, were laid away in the “Old Burial Ground” of that city. Slaves were also to be found in the part of the county of King’s adjoining the county of St. John. The three black men and one black woman who arrived with John Coffin at St. John in May, 1784, and went with him and his family to the tract of land near Westfield, afterwards known as the Alwington or Coffin Manor, came, no doubt, in the capacity of slaves or “servants for life.”

In Queen’s County also slavery was endorsed by the practice of leading residents. The inventory of the estate of Richard Hewlett, Esq., of Hampstead shows him to have been, at the time of his death in 1790, owner of “one Negro boy valued at twenty-five pounds.” At Gagetown also were proprietors of slaves. Through an advertisement in the Royal Gazette and New Brunswick Advertiser for August 20, 1799, a reward of five guineas, or of three guineas for either of them, was offered for the capture of two Negro men—“Gill, a dark Mulatto with short curly hair, square shoulders, bow legs and walks clumsily;” and Dick, “remarkably black, with a scar on his cheek and another on his chin,” the “property of the subscribers,” who were Reuben Williams, and James Peters, both in 1799 being residents of Gagetown.

Among a number of others in Sunbury County were the Hardings and Elijah Miles, of Maugerville. In the lower section of the large county of York, and in the neighborhood of Fredericton, slave labor was for some years extensively employed. Among slave proprietors were Isaac Allen, later a judge of the supreme court; Edward Winslow, who became a member of the first Council formed in New Brunswick; in all probability Caleb Jones of St. Mary’s, whose name became prominent through his connection with the celebrated slave trial of 1800 at Fredericton; Captain Maxwell, also of St. Mary’s who as an absentee in 1788 appointed an attorney to dispose of any or every part of his “messuages, lands, tenements, negroes, hereditaments or premises;” and Stair Agnew, a prominent lawyer of that day. North of the capital and near the southern border of the parish of Dumfries was Jacob Ellegood, and above this, at the point where the Meduxnekeag enters the St. John were the Smiths and probably other disbanded Loyalists and slave-owners.

The total number of Negro slaves brought into Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island from the revolted colonies previous to the summer of 1784 may be estimated with some approach to certainty. Under instructions from Sir Guy Carleton, Colonel Morse, commanding Royal Engineer, made a tour of the Provincial settlements in the autumn of 1783 and early part of the summer of 1784, and to his report appended a “return of the disbanded troops and Loyalists settling in Nova Scotia,” for the purpose of ascertaining the number entitled to the “Royal Bounty of Provisions.” In the column allotted to “servants” are, Dartmouth, 41; Country Harbour, 41; Chedabucto, 61; Island St. John, now Prince Edward Island, 26; Antigonish, 18; Cumberland, etc., 21; Partridge Island, now Parrsboro, 69; Cornwallis and Horton, 38; Newport and Kennetcook, 22; Windsor, 21; Annapolis Royal, etc., 230; Digby, 152; St. Mary’s Bay, 13; Shelburne, —; River St. John, 441; a total number, inclusive of some small figures not quoted, of twelve hundred and thirty-two persons.

In the Maritime Provinces the system of slavery, promised through the Loyalist arrivals, a new development. The colonies to the south previous to the Revolution might have been regarded as forming three groups—the planting, the farming, and the trading colonies. The Loyalists from the planting portions, where the severer style of slavery was in vogue, being in the majority. Hence the term “servant” proved one of only temporary application, and the designations “slave” and “the property of” appeared almost as frequently in official records of early Shelburne as they might have been expected to occur half a century since in a Southern city.

A wholesale baptism of slaves took place in St. Paul’s church, Halifax, on February 10th, 1784. The minister, the Rev. Dr. Breynton, wrote “Negroes christened belonging to Governor Wentworth.” A letter from John Wentworth, Esq., dated Halifax, N.S., Feb. 24th, 1784, and addressed to “Paul Wentworth, or to his attorney at Surinam,” Dutch Guiana, where his “affectionate kinsman” had a large estate in which the writer of the letter had some concern, has an interesting reference to this baptism: [J. Wentworth forwarded nineteen slaves to Paul Wentworth, and added that] “I am much interested for them, insomuch that I have had them christened, and would rather have liberated them than sent them to any estate that I am not sure of their being treated with care and humanitv, which I shall consider as the only favour that can be done to me on this occasion.”

During subsequent years of the decade several transactions in slaves took place, records of which have escaped destruction. In 1786 an advertisement of “A Negro boy for Sale,” appeared in the Royal Gazette of St. John, N.B.; in July of the same year a “likely Negro wench” was offered through the columns of a Halifax newspaper; in October, 1788, a “stout, likely and very active young black woman, late property of John H, Carey,” was offered for sale in the St. John Gazette and Weekly Advertiser, “not for any fault,” being “ singularly sober and diligent;” and in May, 1789, Abraham Treadell, of St. John, surveyor, sold to John Ward, merchant, of the same place, “his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns forever,” Toney, a Negro boy, for twenty-five pounds. [Here,as elsewhere, the author lists many other examples.]

Some interesting facts are found in the late Dr. Patterson’s “Life of James McGregor, D.D.”  The Rev. Daniel Cock, a Presbyterian pastor at Truro in 1788, received an unusually bulky letter from James McGregor, the young Presbyterian minister at Pictou. The latter minister had learned that Mr. Cock had had in his possession two slaves—a mother and daughter. He had sold the mother because of her unruly conduct, but the daughter he had retained. To young McGregor, recently from Britain, the very thought of a minister of Christ retaining a fellow-being in bondage was so revolting that he made it a special reason for refusing all communion with a presbytery tolerating such conduct in one of its members. Bewildered by Mr. McGregor’s letter, Mr. Cock took it to a friend, Matthew Archibald. These neighbors were soon, however, to be more greatly surprised by the appearance in print of a paper, entitled, “A Letter to a Clergyman, urging him to set free a Black Girl held in Slavery.” “Permit me to speak freely,” wrote the young preacher, and without awaiting permission he “spoke freely,” solemnly charging Mr. Cock to liberate his slave, since until he should do so none of his services could be acceptable to God. The ministers of the Truro presbytery became very indignant, and one of their number, the Rev. David Smith, pastor at Londonderry, took up a heavy pen in behalf of his mild-tempered but slave-owning friend. If, however, the members of the presbytery and a number of their friends were very indignant at the action of James McGregor, not a few persons in that section of the country read the published paper with warm approval. The slave girl, often called “Deal McGregor” continued under Mr. Cock’s roof until his death in 1805.

In an old volume in the office of the registry of deeds, Halifax, may be found an interesting “deed of gift” drawn up in August, 1787, by Edmund Crawley. By this document he claims as his own “property” his Negro woman, Tamar Cole, and all her children born before March 1, 1783. To Tamar Cole he gives her freedom, and at the same time their freedom to the young children she may have had since the date named, as these were not born under his “family’s care and expense.” But of the children born previous to that date he gives one each to four young nephews and nieces at Halifax, the slaves to be under the guardianship of the young people’s parents. “The girl Sophia excepted,” were to be the joint property of the nephews and nieces; and were to be held as their property until the “property” should be of the age of thirty-six years. Each slave upon the attainment of that age was to be free upon the production of a certificate from the minister and church wardens of St. Paul’s of good behavior “as becomes negro slaves.”

There are few legally-attested, manumissions are to be found among the records of that period, but by similar documents on May 2, 1787, John Hume, “late of the Island of Carriacow (one of the Leeward Islands) but now of the city of St. John, New Brunswick,” gave their freedom to a “certain Negro wench now called Betty Hume,” about thirty-three years old, purchased by him at Carriacow in 1780, and to her child, a Mulatto boy born in Grenada in 1785 in a state of slavery to the said John Hume.”

During the same period more numerous transactions in slaves took place in New Brunswick, though trace has been probably lost of a still larger number through lack of care in the preservation of the earlier documents of more than one county. In the probate records of St. John no slave is mentioned later than 1795, when Samuel H., of the city of St. John, “gives and bequeaths” to his “beloved wife a negro woman named Phillis,” one chest of drawers and all the pictures, etc.; but several sales of Negroes took place in the years immediately following that date. George Harding, of Maugerville, in July, 1797, transferred in due legal form to his son John a Negro boy named “Sippio” for the sum of fifteen pounds; a week later Munson Jarvis, a leading merchant of St. John, sold and delivered to Abraham DePeyster, “one negro man named Abraham and one negro woman named Lucy.” In the St. John Gazette and Weekly Advertiser of March 1, 1799, a Negro woman and child, the mother about nineteen years old, was offered to purchasers, “sold for no fault.” Other advertisements of that period indicate that a growing uncertainty was attending any investment in slaves. Legal documents were strengthened; absconding slaves were advertised for.

Several slave sales took place in Nova Scotia during the first decade of the 1800’s. In the years 1801 and 1802 several Negroes were bought and sold in the county of Yarmouth. One bill of sale is quoted by the Rev. J. Roy Campbell, according to which in December, 1801, a slave-owner sold for thirty-nine pounds a “certain Negro boy named Jack” born in his own house of parents “both my property.” Precisely the same amount was paid from whom Dr. Bond of Yarmouth in the same month for Manuel Jarvis, a slave believed to have been brought from the West Indies by his owner, Colonel Lewis Blanchard, from whom Dr. Bond, as an old ledger shows, also purchased in March, 1802, for forty pounds another slave named Kate, then or soon after married to Manuel.

A later document—the latest of the kind in Nova Scotia of which I have any knowledge—possesses a peculiar interest from its date, the names it bears, the doubt respecting the legality of the transfer to which expression is given, and the absence of the usual guarantees: “Know all men by these presents that Alice Allison of Horton, Widow and Relict of Joseph Allison, late of Horton in the County aforesaid, yeoman deceased, Administratrix, William Allison and John Allison, Administrators … [for] and in consideration of the sum of Thirty-nine pounds lawful money of the Province aforesaid to them in Hand paid by Simon Fitch, of Horton … Bargained, and Sold … a certain Negro woman named Nelly …, which Negro woman was and is a part of the Personal Estate of the said Joseph Allison (if a Negro can be considered personal property in Nova Scotia) and all the Right, Title ….”

Some faded old documents furnish proof that slavery continued to exist several years later than the date of the above transaction in that part of New Brunswick lying nearest to Nova Scotia. Slaves, never very numerous there, seem to have fallen chiefly into the hands of two leading men, both of them magistrates. One of these, James Law was said to have slaves described as “a petted and useless lot” who thought so much of themselves to be described “as proud as Law’s Negroes.” The several slaves owned by Titus Knapp had been purchased by him, according to his grandson, at different auction sales at Fort Cumberland. He owned at one time “Sippio Milligan, Peter Martyn, Lucy Martyn, Newton Bacchus, and several others whose names are forgotten.” A bill of sale in the possession of W.C. Milner, Esq., Point de Bute, dated January 9, 1804, proves the transfer by James Law to Titus Knapp of a Negro boy named Peter for the sum of forty-two pounds. This boy was again sold, about 1810, to James Isaac Hewson, with whom he remained “until after the emancipation of slaves.”

A still later transaction appears in another bill of sale, also in the possession of Mr. Milner: Know all men by these presents that I, Sarah Allen of the county of Westmoreland and Province of New Brunswick, for and in consideration of Thirty Pounds, to me in hand … have bargained and sold … a Mulato Boy about Fourteen Years Old named Bacchus, to have and to hold ….

The latest known advertisement of a public slave sale in the Lower Provinces appeared in the Royal Gazette and Nova Scotia Advertiser on September 7, 1790, where in the column of “Sales by Auction” William Millet offered at his auction room, Halifax, on “Thursday next, the 9th inst., ship bread, mess pork, Indian and Rye meal, some household furniture, a stout, likely Negro man, and sundry other articles.” No later advertisement of the private, unconditional sale of a slave is found in any paper in the Lower Provinces than that which appeared in the New Brunswick Royal Gazette of October 16, 1809, when Daniel Brown offered for sale Nancy, a Negro woman, to any purchaser of whom he guaranteed a “good title.” And it is probable that the latest offer of a reward for the apprehension of a runaway slave to be found in a Lower Provinces paper, was that which was made through the Royal Gazette of New Brunswick for July 10, 1816.

Written by johnwood1946

January 18, 2017 at 8:35 AM

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