New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

Table of Contents, Rev. October 18, 2017

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

  1. Nova Scotia’s Sham Government in 1720 – Oct. 18, 2017
  2. Three Short Wabanaki Thunder Stories – Oct. 11, 2017
  3. Stanley, N.B., Carved from the Wilderness – in a Hurry – Oct. 4, 2017
  4. Drunkenness Yearly More Common Amongst all Classes – Sept. 27, 2017
  5. John Cabot, London Superstar and Discoverer of Cape Breton – Sept. 20, 2017
  6. Nicolas Denys, the First Proprietor and Governor of all of the Gulf Coast of Acadia – Sept. 13, 2017
  7. Promoting New Brunswick in 1832 – Sept. 6, 2017
  8. A View of Acadian History, from 30,000 Feet – Aug. 30, 2017
  9. Nova Scotia During the Revolution, an American Perspective – Aug. 23, 2017
  10. The Many Trials of Richard Valpey of Yarmouth, and his Service to the American Cause During the Revolution – Aug. 16, 2017
  11. From Saint John to Annapolis Royal, Around the Bay of Fundy in 1787 – Aug. 9, 2017
  12. Nova Scotia in 1775: “Every Spot is Inhospitable and Frigid” – Aug. 2, 2017
  13. Notes About Edward Cornwallis, Who Has Been in the News Lately – July 26, 2017
  14. Starving, Fly-Bitten, and Lost in the Woods – July 19, 2017
  15. Saint John and Saint George, New Brunswick, in 1842 – July 12, 2017
  16. The Razing of Chignecto, and the Attack on Fort Nashwaak – July 5, 2017
  17. Captain Henry Mowat’s Account of the Battle on the Penobscot – June 28, 2017
  18. Voyage of the First Fleet of 1783, and the Settlement of Kingston by a Band of Loyalists – June 21, 2017
  19. 1,500 Dead in Saint John. The Cholera Epidemic of 1854 – June 14, 2017
  20. Fishing on the Nepisiquit River in the 1870’s – June 7, 2017
  21. The Clock at Fredericton City Hall – May 31, 2017
  22. Prohibition in Saint John in the 1920’s, an Exposé – May 24, 2017
  23. Boss Gibson’s First Railroad – May 17, 2017
  24. The New Brunswick Postal Service in 1856 – May 10, 2017
  25. Defending the ‘Worthless, Unsteady and Villainous’ Cutters of Wood – May 3, 2017
  26. Tossed by the Sea Into a Frozen Wilderness-1788 – Apr. 26, 2017
  27. The King of France Cannot Have Given You Our Land, Because it Was Not His – Apr. 19, 2017
  28. Bureaucracy and the Expulsion of the Acadians – Apr. 12, 2017
  29. From Pictou, Nova Scotia to Saint John, New Brunswick via Charlottetown and Shediac in 1867 – Apr. 5, 2017
  30. A Sunday EXTRA: No Meeting of Minds Between the Acadians and the British in 1717 – Apr. 2, 2017
  31. Grand Falls, New Brunswick in 1844 – A Vast Ocean of Trees – Mar. 29, 2017
  32. Shabby Streets, Decaying Houses, and Steep Plank Sidewalks. Saint John in 1874 – Mar. 22, 2017
  33. In the Beginning – Wabanaki Creation Stories – Mar. 15, 2017
  34. Pride versus Rascals and Villains in Saint John in 1791 – Mar. 8, 2017
  35. The Trent Affair – Mar. 1, 2017
  36. A Shocking Description of Anti-Confederates in Rural Nova Scotia in 1867 – Feb. 22, 2017
  37. Surveying Through the Wilderness in 1844 – Feb. 15, 2017
  38. At the Bend of the Petitcodiac in 1844: Moncton – Feb. 8, 2017
  39. Maria Rye and Her British Home Children – Feb. 1, 2017
  40. New Brunswick’s East Coast in 1832, Following the Miramichi Fire – Jan. 25, 2017
  41. Slavery in the Loyalist Era – Jan. 18, 2017
  42. Weather and the Seasons in Micmac Mythology – Jan. 11, 2017
  43. New Brunswick’s Roads in 1832: ‘Many paths are misnamed roads’. Jan. 7, 2017
  44. Nova Scotia and New England During the Revolution – Dec. 28, 2016
  45. A Holiday Special: Christmas as it Was in Saint John in 1808 – Dec. 23, 2016
  46. Expressions from Cuffer Down plus Signs and Omens – Dec. 21, 2016
  47. From Passamaquoddy to the Petitcodiac: What it Was Like in 1832 – Dec. 14, 2016
  48. Raymond Writes About the Lives and Customs of the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet People – Dec. 7, 2016
  49. The Governor’s House was an Outrage to Good Taste – Fredericton in 1832 – Nov. 30, 2016
  50. An Unparalleled and Abominable Deception – Nov. 23, 2016
  51. Not a Metropolis, but the Largest Town in the Province – Saint John in 1832 – Nov. 16, 2016
  52. Lumber Camp Life, and Game-Wardens Poaching Moose – Nov. 9, 2016
  53. Louisbourg: It Didn’t Have to Happen. It Just Didn’t Have to Happen – Nov. 2, 2016
  54. Let Us Consider the Lowly Seagull – Oct. 26, 2016
  55. 5 – David Kennedy Completes His Travels of 1876 in Halifax – Oct. 19, 2016
  56. 4 – David Kennedy’s Tour of Nova Scotia in 1876 – Oct. 12, 2016
  57. 3 – David Kennedy’s Tour of Newcastle, Chatham and Bathurst in 1876 – Oct. 5, 2016
  58. 2 – David Kennedy’s Visit to Saint John, New Brunswick in 1876 – Sept. 28, 2016
  59. 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.)
  60. A Short History of Early English Nova Scotia – Sept. 14, 2016
  61. Fish Wardens Described as Useless Political Appointments – Sept. 7, 2016
  62. With Indian Guides in the Wilds of New Brunswick, 1862 – Aug. 31, 2016
  63. Blog past #300: Port Royal from 1604 to 1613. Of Heritage Value to all North Americans – Aug. 24, 2016
  64. Hunting Down the Last of the Old Growth Pine – Aug. 17, 2016
  65. Dr. James Robb – Aug. 10, 2016
  66. Peace Negotiations With Pierre Tomah on the Saint John River – Aug. 3, 2016
  67. Business Opportunities on Campobello Island – July 27, 2016
  68. A Pompous Captain on the Evils of Logging – July 20, 2016
  69. The Too-Easy Life of Nova Scotians Disproved – July 13, 2016
  70. Why Not to Marry a Nova Scotia Woman, and How to Make Maple Sugar – July 6, 2016
  71. The Bloody Assault on Fort Louisbourg in 1758 – June 29, 2016
  72. The Medical Men of Saint John in its First Half Century – June 22, 2016
  73. Henry Ketchum and the Chignecto Marine Transport Railway – June 15, 2016
  74. A War Journal from Majabidwaduce on the Penobscot – June 8, 2016
  75. Mi’kmaq Magic and Medicine – June 1, 2016
  76. Thomas Wood, and His Visit to the Saint John River in 1769 – May 25, 2016
  77. The Northern Colonies: Languishing in Mediocrity – ca 1804 – May 18, 2016
  78. Fredericton’s Victoria Cottage Hospital – May 11, 2016
  79. The Passamaquoddy Wampum Records – May 4, 2016
  80. Slog on, or Die – Apr. 27, 2016
  81. Changes Nova Scotia Underwent from Discovery to 1758 When the First General Assembly Met in Halifax – Apr. 20, 2016
  82. The Disastrous Winter on St. Croix Island, 1604-05, and Other Adventures – Apr. 13, 2016
  83. Missions to the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet in the Early 1800’s – Apr. 6, 2016
  84. It Sounded Like a Residential School Philosophy – Mar. 30, 2016
  85. The Acadian Fugitives – Mar. 23, 2016
  86. Giddy, Eccentric, and Discontented Characters, or Misguided Souls, or Turncoats? – Mar. 16, 2016
  87. Indian Routes of Travel in New Brunswick – Mar. 9, 2016
  88. Historic Sites from the English Period on the Saint John River – Mar. 2, 2016
  89. How to Hunt a Moose, a Goose, and a Caribou in New Brunswick in 1791 – Feb. 24, 2016
  90. William Hubbard Complains to Edward Winslow about the Congregationalists in Sheffield – Feb. 17, 2016
  91. Good Fences Make Good Neighbours – Feb. 10, 2016
  92. WE NEED THE ACADIANS TO REMAIN: Lieut Governor, 1715 – Feb. 2, 2015
  93. Guy Carleton on the Fur Trade in Canada, 1767 – Jan. 27, 2016
  94. A Letter on Irish Immigrants – Jan. 20, 2016
  95. The Wreck of the ‘Lord Ashburton’ – Jan. 13, 2016
  96. A Ghost at Noonday – Jan. 6, 2016
  97. Silas Rand on the Mi’kmaq People – Part 3: Will Not the Bright Sun and the Blue Heavens Testify Against Us? – Dec. 30, 2015
  98. Silas Rand on the Mi’kmaq People – Part 2: To Every Thing There is a Season – Dec. 23, 2015
  99. Silas Rand on the Mi’kmaq People – Part 1: All Men From One Blood – Dec. 16, 2015
  100. Limits to the Royal Bounty – Dec. 9, 2015
  101. Nova Scotia, a Receptacle for Superfluous People? – Dec. 1, 2015
  102. From New Ireland to New Brunswick – Nov. 25, 2015
  103. The Most Gentlemanlike Government on Earth – Nov. 18, 2015
  104. I Love You for Your Plainness – Nov. 11, 2015
  105. Ward Chipman Remembers the Final Evacuation of New York – Nov. 4, 2015
  106. A Reply to “Men of Honor and Probity Run Amok” – Oct. 28, 2015
  107. A Century of Educational Progress in New Brunswick from 1800 to 1900 – Oct. 21, 2015
  108. Notes About the Earliest Public Markets in Saint John, New Brunswick – Oct. 14, 2015
  109. The Provincial Dairy School at Sussex, New Brunswick, 1900 – Oct. 7, 2015
  110. An Account of Nova Scotia in 1743 – Sept. 30, 2015
  111. The Petition of the Infamous 55 – Sept. 23, 2015
  112. Francis Sharpe’s Woodstock Apples – Sept. 16, 2015
  113. The Expulsion of the Acadians, a Military Surgeon’s Diary – Sept. 9, 2015
  114. The New Brunswick Election of 1785 – Sept. 2, 2015
  115. The Many Fires in Saint John, 1784-1877 – Aug. 26, 2015
  116. A Proposal for an Attack on N0va Scotia – Aug. 19, 2015
  117. Fredericton’s Great Flood of 1936 – Aug. 12, 2015
  118. A Letter about the Acadians and the Expulsion – Aug. 5, 2015
  119. Saint John in 1834, Before it was Forever Changed by the Great Fire – July 29, 2015
  120. New Brunswick, No Country for a Mere Gentleman, 1834 – July 22, 2015
  121. Woodstock, the Only Village Between the Green River and Fredericton in 1834 – July 15, 2015
  122. On the Tamiscouta Prtage from Lake Tamiscouta to just above Grand Falls, 1834 – July 10, 2015
  123. Men of Honor and Probity Run Amok – July 1, 2015
  124. By Steamer to the So-Called City of Fredericton – June 24, 2014
  125. A Quiet and Business-Like Little City – June 17, 2015
  126. Rambles Among the Bluenoses in 1862 – June 10, 2015
  127. Edward John Russell, a New Brunswick Artist – June 3, 2015
  128. Provincial Lunatic Asylum, Report of the Medical Superintendent, 1875 – May 27, 2015
  129. The Saint John River and Port Royal in the Early 1600’s – May 20, 2015
  130. What Should We Think of Benedict Arnold? – May 13, 2015
  131. Diphtheria in New Brunswick in the Year 1889 – May 6, 2015
  132. The Official Account of the Destruction of Burnt Church – Apr. 29, 2015
  133. The Exchange Coffee House and Saint John’s First Club – Apr. 22, 2015
  134. The Wigwams and Dwellings of the Gaspesians – Apr. 15, 2015
  135. The Story of Brook Watson – Apr. 8, 2015
  136. Where Stood Fort LaTour? – Apr. 1, 2015
  137. Things This Morning Really Wear the Aspect of War – Mar. 25, 2015
  138. At Portland Point – Mar. 18, 2015
  139. Electrical Power From the Reversing Falls – Mar. 10, 2015
  140. Father Rale’s War – 1722-25; How it Ended – Mar. 4, 2015
  141. What Was the Big Deal About the Marco Polo? – Feb. 25, 2015
  142. Grand Manan to Petitcodiac, in 1786 – Feb. 18, 2015
  143. A Trip From St. John to Fredericton in 1870 – Feb. 11, 2015
  144. A Tour of St. John, N.B., in 1870 – Feb. 4, 2015
  145. Destruction by Fire of the First Cathedral in Chatham – Jan. 28, 2015
  146. Burgan the Burglar – Jan. 21, 2015
  147. Facts and Reasons Against Confederating With Canada – Jan. 14, 2015
  148. Discontent in Early Halifax in 1756 – Jan. 7, 2015
  149. A Trip on the ICR From Bathurst to Miramichi – Dec. 31, 2014
  150. Early Attempts to Introduce the Cultivation of Hemp in Eastern British America – Dec. 24, 2014
  151. Touring Campbellton and Dalhousie, Despite the Mosquitoes, 1876 – Dec. 19, 2014
  152. The Fire of 1837 in Saint John – Dec. 10, 2014
  153. The Cruise of the Rechab – Dec. 3, 2014
  154. A Night in the Deep – Nov. 26, 2014
  155. Robert Foulis (A Misplaced Genius) – Nov. 19, 2014
  156. The City Mills – Nov. 15, 2014
  157. The Brothers d’Amours – Nov. 5, 2014
  158. John Allan’s Revolutionary Mission to the Saint John River – Oct. 29, 2014
  159. Relics of the Acadian Period – Oct. 22, 2014
  160. Some Odd Old Advertisements – Oct. 15, 2014
  161. The Miramichi Fire – Relief of the Sufferers – Oct. 8, 2014
  162. Jonathan Eddy’s Account of the Attack on Fort Cumberland, November, 1776 – Oct. 1, 2014
  163. Which of These Two is the Wisest and Happiest? – Sept. 24, 2014
  164. Fredericton Bridge, a Prophetic Writing – Sept. 17, 2014
  165. A Speech to Distinguished Persons of Stake and Consideration – Sept. 10, 2014
  166. Building an Education System From Almost Nothing – Sept. 3, 2014
  167. Cape Tormentine to the Baye des Chaleurs in the 1600’s – Aug. 27, 2014
  168. The Customs of the Mi’kmaq in the 1600’s and Before – Aug. 20, 2014
  169. Two Documents Relating to the Fenians in New Brunswick – Aug. 13, 2014
  170. The Lazaretto for Lepers in Tracadie, 1862 – Aug. 6, 2014
  171. Thoughts About the Augustine Mound at Metepenegiag Mi’kmaq Nation – July 30, 2014
  172. What am I Bid for This Pauper? – July 23, 2014
  173. Trouble at Madawaska, 1831 – July 16, 2014
  174. The Great Fire at Saint John, June 20, 1877 – July 9, 2014
  175. The Poor Fellows Shook as if They Would Fall to Pieces! – July 2, 2014
  176. How to Build a Logging Camp in Around 1850 – June 25, 2014
  177. Risen from the Ashes, Phoenix Square in Fredericton – June 18, 2014
  178. Rocks and Water, Magnificence and Squalor; St. John in 1876 – June 11, 2014
  179. Moncton as Seen by a Journalist in 1876 – June 4, 2014
  180. Events Leading to the Caraquet Riots of 1875 – May 28, 2014
  181. A Dramatic Account of the Miramichi Fire – May 21, 2014
  182. Saint John in the Early 1840’s – May 18, 2014
  183. A Note to Subscribers, and a Memorandum for me – May 14, 2014
  184. The Myth that Kerosene was Invented in New Brunswick – May 7, 2014
  185. A Church with Military Boots and Fixed Bayonets – Apr. 30, 2014
  186. An Opening Salvo in an Ongoing Argument – Apr. 23, 2014
  187. May living worms his corpse devour – Apr. 16, 2014
  188. He don’t look any better than some of our own boys – Apr. 9, 2014
  189. The Disputed Territory Between New Brunswick and Maine – Apr. 2, 2014
  190. Navigation on the Saint John River – Mar. 26, 2014
  191. Shepody as a Hot Investment Opportunity, 1868 – Mar. 19, 2014
  192. To Her Majesty, RE: Reciprocity, 1853 – Mar. 12, 2014
  193. Diary on the Tobique, 1851 – Mar. 5, 2014
  194. Growing up in Fredericton in the 1820s and 1830s – Feb. 26, 2014
  195. Travels From Eastport, Maine, to Fredericton, 1851 – Feb. 19, 2014
  196. The Saint John General Public Hospital, 19th Century, Part 2 of 2 – Feb. 12, 2014
  197. The Saint John General Public Hospital, 19th Century, Part 1 of 2 – Feb. 5, 2014
  198. The Story of the Great Brothers – Jan. 29, 2014
  199. A Trek up the Tobique, and Onward to Bathurst – Jan. 22, 2014
  200. Summer Tourists. A Manual for New Brunswick Farmers – Jan. 19, 2014
  201. A Trek from Grand Falls to Campbellton, 1862 – Jan. 15, 2014
  202. A Trek From Taymouth to Boisetown, 1862 – Jan. 12, 2014
  203. Capt. William Owen’s Journal, Campobello, 1770-71 – Jan. 8, 2014
  204. The Founding of Campobello Island – Jan. 5, 2014
  205. New Brunswick Roads and Railways, 1855 – Jan. 1, 2014
  206. Grand Manan – Dec. 29, 2013
  207. The Shipyard Fire in Saint John, in 1841 – Dec. 26, 2013
  208. Christmas as it Was in Saint John, in 1808 – Dec. 22, 2013
  209. The Saint John Grammar School – Dec. 18, 2013
  210. William Wishart Blasts the New Brunswick Education System, 1845 – Dec. 15, 2013
  211. The Diary of Sarah Frost – Dec. 11, 2013
  212. Pŭlěs, Pŭlowěch′, and Beechkwěch (Pigeon, Partridge, and Nighthawk) – Dec. 10, 2014
  213. The Government of New Brunswick, 1837 – Dec. 4, 2013
  214. The Whales and the Robbers – Dec. 1, 2013
  215. The Ashburton Treaty – Nov. 27, 2013
  216. Glooscap and His Four Visitors – Nov. 24, 2013
  217. The Pioneers of Saint Stephen – Nov. 20, 2013
  218. The Adventures of Kâktoogwâsees; a Tale of Ancient Times – Nov. 17, 2013
  219. The Asylum at Saint John – Nov. 13, 2013
  220. The Liver-Colored Giants and Magicians – Nov. 10, 2013
  221. Smuggling Between Calais and St. Stephen – Nov. 6, 2013
  222. The Two Weasels – Nov. 3, 2013
  223. A note to subscribers – Oct. 30, 2013
  224. The European and North American Railway, 1862 – Oct. 30, 2013
  225. The Origin of the War Between the Mi’kmaq and the Kwěděches – Oct. 23, 2013
  226. Trouble on the Line: The Early Telegraph in New Brunswick – Oct. 16, 2013
  227. The Invisible Boy; Team′ and Oochigeaskw – Oct. 9, 2013
  228. Transportation to and from Fredericton, 1841 – Oct. 2, 2013
  229. The Boy That Was Transformed Into a Horse – Sept. 25, 2013
  230. McAdam: Notes From the Early Days – Sept. 18, 2013
  231. The Magical Food, Belt and Flute – Sept. 11, 2013
  232. European & North American Rly. Staff, 1861 – Sept. 4, 2013
  233. Glooscap and the Megumoowesoo: A Marriage Adventure – Aug. 28, 2013
  234. The Loss of the Royal Tar – Aug. 21, 2013
  235. Robbery and Murder Revenged, Plus a Grand Falls Story – Aug. 14, 2013
  236. The St. John River From Below Fredericton to the Reversing Falls – Aug. 7, 2013
  237. A Proposal for a Wooden Railway – July 31, 2013
  238. ‘On the Early History of New Brunswick’ – July 24, 2013
  239. The Maugerville Settlement, 1763-1824 – July 17, 2013
  240. 1930 Circus Train Wreck Near Moncton, N.B. – July 10, 2013
  241. Horses or Oxen? Pick one – July 3, 2013
  242. The St. John River; Andover to Fredericton – June 26, 2013
  243. Origins of Some Place Names on N.B.’s Eastern Shore – June 19, 2013
  244. The St. John River; Grand Falls to the Tobique – June 12, 2013
  245. Gabriel Acquin – June 5, 2013
  246. The Seigniories of New Brunsiwck – May 29, 2013
  247. An 1841 Trek up the Oromocto River – May 22, 2013
  248. Fredericton’s Exhibition Palace, and Bears in N.B. – May 15, 2013
  249. Murder on Diamond Square Road – May 8, 2013
  250. Acadian Historic Sites in New Brunswick – May 1, 2013
  251. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 5 of 5 – Apr. 24, 2013
  252. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 4 of 5 – Apr. 17, 2013
  253. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 3 of 5 – Apr. 10, 2013
  254. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 2 of 5 – Apr. 3, 2013
  255. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 1 of 5 – Mar. 27, 2013
  256. A Retrospective Look at Saint John – Mar. 20, 2013
  257. The Wreck of the England – Mar. 13, 2013
  258. The First Decade of the 1800’s in St. John, N.B. – Mar. 6, 2013
  259. St. John’s Poorhouse and Workhouse – Feb. 27, 2013, Rev. Sept. 9, 2015
  260. New Brunswick Scenes From an Old Book – Feb. 20, 2013
  261. Nice Pictures From Another Old Book – Feb. 13, 2013
  262. Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick, Part 2/2 – Feb. 6, 2013
  263. Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick, 1845 – Jan. 30, 2013
  264. The Works of W.O. Raymond – Jan. 23, 2013
  265. The Year of the Fever – Jan. 16, 2013
  266. Hanged for the Theft of 25 Cents – Jan. 9, 2013
  267. Reversing Falls – Pictures – Jan. 2, 2013
  268. Christmas as it was in 1808 – Dec. 25, 2012
  269. Nice Pictures From an Old Book – Dec. 19, 2012
  270. The Saint John Bridge Collapse of 1837 – Dec. 12, 2012
  271. The First Road Bridge Across the Reversing Falls – Dec. 5, 2012
  272. The Mystery of the First Lizzie Morrow – Nov. 28, 2012
  273. The First Murder Trial on the River St. John – Nov. 21, 2012
  274. The March of the 104th Regiment in 1812 – Nov. 14, 2012
  275. Partridge Island – Nov. 7, 2012
  276. Fredericton’s First Bridge Across the Saint John River – Oct. 31, 2012
  277. 1816, The Year Without a Summer – Oct. 31, 2012
  278. Winslow to Wentworth, 1781 – Oct. 31, 2012
  279. Oops! An explanation – Oct. 31, 2012
  280. The Saxby Gale of 1869 – Oct. 31, 2012
  281. New Brunswick’s Third Town in 1838: Saint Andrews – Oct. 31, 2012
  282. Fredericton and York County in 1838 – Oct. 31, 2012
  283. The City and County of Saint John in 1838 – Sept. 26, 2012
  284. The St. Andrews and Quebec Railroad – Sept. 19, 2012
  285. The Studholm Report of Saint John River Pre-Loyalists in 1783 – Sept. 12, 2012
  286. Caleb Jones. Further RE: Ann, otherwise known as Nancy – Sept. 5, 2012
  287. The Wreck of the Martha – Aug. 29, 2012
  288. The Early Settlement of Maugerville and the Sheffield Parsonage Dispute – Aug. 22, 2012
  289. Lieutenant Governors of New Brunswick to Confederation, Part 2 of 2 – Aug. 15, 2012
  290. Lieutenant Governors of New Brunswick to Confederation, Part 1 of 2 – Aug. 8, 2012
  291. The Morrow House at French Lake, N.B. – New Information – Aug. 1, 2012
  292. Sound by Glen Glenn, Revision 1 – July 25, 2012
  293. Ann, otherwise known as Nancy – July 18, 2012
  294. The Fire of October 7, 1825 – Beyond the Miramichi – July 11, 2012
  295. Lemuel Allan Wilmot – July 4, 2012
  296. The Great Fire at Miramichi, October 7, 1825 – June 27, 2012
  297. Robert Rankin in New Brunswick – June 20, 2012
  298. Who Owned the Mill at Tracy, New Brunswick? – June 13, 2012
  299. Signatures of Sunbury County Ancestors – June 6, 2012
  300. Daniel Wood’s Log Cabin, and Little Field Barn at French Lake, New Brunswick – May 30, 2012
  301. Rusagonis and George Garraty – May 23, 2012
  302. Epitaph Transcriptions from a Collection – May 16, 2012
  303. Central New Brunswick Gravestones from a Genealogy – May 9, 2012
  304. Nashwaak River Pictures with Stewart Family Connections – May 2, 2012
  305. More Sunbury County Photographs from a Collection – Apr. 25, 2012
  306. An Indian Burial Ground at Oromocto; and Coal Mining on the Oromocto River – Apr. 22, 2012
  307. “Days of Old” by Katherine DeWitt and Norma Alexander – Apr. 18, 2012
  308. The Wood Cemetery at French Lake, New Brunswick – Apr. 11, 2012
  309. James Glenie in New Brunswick – Apr. 4, 2012
  310. Four Generations of the Stewart Family on the Nashwaak River – Mar. 28, 2012
  311. Three Generations of the Mersereau Family in New Brunswick – Mar. 21, 2012
  312. Three Generations of the Smith Family of Sunbury County, New Brunswick – Mar. 14, 2012
  313. Three Generations of the Wood Family of French Lake, New Brunswick – Mar. 7, 2012
  314. New Brunswick Education in 1883 – Feb. 29, 2012
  315. Riots and Demonstrations in Saint John – Feb. 20, 2012
  316. Making Better Butter – Feb. 18, 2012
  317. York County Place Names, 1896/1905 – Feb. 8, 2012
  318. Sunbury County Place Names, 1896/1905 – Feb. 1, 2012
  319. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 3 of 3 – Jan. 25, 2012
  320. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 2 of 3 – Jan. 18, 2012
  321. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 1 of 3 – Jan. 11, 2012
  322. The Hon. Thomas Baillie: Gone, but not soon forgotten! – Jan. 5, 2012
  323. The Fort at Oromocto, 1780 – 1783 – Dec. 29, 2011
  324. The Great Fire in Fredericton, 1850 – Early Accounts – Dec. 15, 2011
  325. The Morrow House at French Lake, and More – Dec. 8, 2011
  326. The Old Woman House at French Lake, New Brunswick – Dec. 1, 2011
  327. Smith Family Photographs from a Collection, Sunbury County, N.B. – Nov. 25, 2011
  328. French Lake from Before we Remember – Nov. 20, 2011
  329. How Geary became known as Geary – Nov. 9, 2011
  330. Elizabeth (Smith) Secord; N.B.’s First Woman Registered Doctor – Nov. 4, 2011
  331. Phillips Family Photographs from a Collection, Rusagonis, N.B. – Nov. 2, 2011
  332. Mersereau Family Photographs from a Collection, Sunbury County, N.B. – Oct. 30, 2011
  333. Wood Family Photographs from a Collection, French Lake, N.B. – Oct. 25, 2011
  334. Jeremiah Tracy: Pioneer of the Village of Tracy, New Brunswick – Oct. 20, 2011
  335. Two Old Railroad-Inspired Songs – Oct. 16, 2011
  336. Ode to the Oromocto River – Oct. 10, 2011
  337. John Mersereau, Loyalist 2 – Oct. 4, 2011
  338. The Earliest American Railroads and Locomotives – Sept. 14, 2011
  339. The Mersereau Manufacturing Company of Brooklyn, New York, Notes – Sept. 3, 2011
  340. George Morrow of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1801-1868 – Aug. 26, 2011
  341. The Wood Family of French Lake, New Brunswick – Legends – Aug. 9, 2011
  342. The Baptist Church on the Oromocto River in New Brunswick – Aug. 7, 2011
  343. John Wood of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1788-1868 – Aug. 2, 2011
  344. Daniel Wood of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1764-1847 – Aug. 1, 2011
  345. Three Stewarts on the Nashwaak – July 24, 2011
  346. Bunker Genealogy – Five Bunkers – July 20, 2011
  347. Statistics From the 1851 and 1871 Sunbury County New Brunswick Census Reports – July 19, 2011
  348. Historical Development of the Beam Bending Equation M=fS – July 18, 2011
  349. Seth Noble, Maugerville and the American Revolution – July 16, 2011
  350. Columns, the Long and the Short of it – 1729-1900 – July 15, 2011
  351. The Great Saint John Steel Cantilever Bridge – July 13, 2011
  352. The Upper Oromocto River in 1847 – July 11, 2011
  353. Early Glimpses of the Rusagonis Baptist Church in New Brunswick – July 11, 2011
  354. Abraham Gesner’s 1847 Observations of Sport Hunting in New Brunswick – July 11, 2011
  355. It Sounds a bit Too Easy – July 10, 2011
  356. James Buncker – July 10, 2011
  357. Inconsistent Petitions; Changed Self-Interests – July 10, 2011
  358. Abner Mersereau and a Letter – July 9, 2011
  359. Early Glimpses of the Patterson Settlement Baptist Church in New Brunswick – July 9, 2011
  360. The Textile Mill at Geary, New Brunswick – July 8, 2011
  361. Letter of Mi’kmaq’ Chief Pemmeenauweet to Queen Victoria – 1841 – July 7, 2011
  362. New Brunswick in the 1840s – July 7, 2011


John Wood


Written by johnwood1946

October 18, 2017 at 8:32 AM

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Nova Scotia’s Sham Government in 1720

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From the blog at

Nova Scotia’s Sham Government in 1720

It was 1720, and Nova Scotia had been ceded to Britain by France. Britain was not sure that the territory was worth the trouble and expense of being settled, but they dispatched a Governor to oversee the area anyway. Governor Phillips was stationed with a small detachment of men at the decrepit old fort at Annapolis Royal and had instructions to befriend the Mi’kmaq and to have the Acadians sign loyalty oaths or leave the place within a year.

This assignment did not proceed smoothly, and Phillips characterized his administration as a mock government and a government in name only.

Following are two letters expressing Governor Phillips’ frustration. They are taken from Selections from the public documents of the province of Nova Scotia. I have edited the letters slightly to correct the spelling and to improve readability.

Richard Phillips presided over a so-called ‘Government’

From Wikipedia


Governor Philipps to Secretary Craggs,

Annapolis Royal, 26 Sept. 1720

Sir,— In my former letters I have had the Honour to lay before you the State of the King’s affaires in this part of his Majesty’s Dominions, with as much exactness as was possible. What hath happened since at Canso and the damage done there to the fishery, by way of reprisal (as the Savages put it) for what was taken from the French by Capt. Smart, is an unhappy confirmation that I have not been mistaken, for nothing is so evident as that our French Inhabitants and the neighbouring French Governments are both secret Enemies to the British interest in this Province & consult together how they may disturb and obstruct it being settled; especially at this juncture when they are busier than ordinary, seeing their hopes of this Country falling into their hands again as anticipated. And the Savages are the tools in their hands which they incite to mischiefs which they themselves dare not risk.

[The Mi’kmaq had seized a store of fish from the English, and the British had later recovered it.]

I need not trouble you here with the particulars of that misfortune, they being contained in the enclosed papers, and I shall only acquaint you that the fishermen being drove off from their Stages into their boats by the Savages who surprised them in the dead of the night, and their fish and merchandize left to the pillage of the French who lay ready for that purpose. The fishermen held a consultation the next morning and concluded to send a Sloop to Cape Breton to seek redress; but, not finding any, they sent to me by one Mr. Henshaw for relief. I dispatched him with arms, ammunition and provisions, & would have given him an Officer with a detachment from the Garrison but he thought there would be no need. This person brought me five French prisoners, taken in several Shallops leaden with the English fish merchandize. From his testimony you will see how far the Counsels of Cape Breton may have been involved in abetting this mischief. I also sent my Major with him to Cape Breton with copies of that testimony to demand restitution of the fish & goods, and Satisfaction for the loss of his Majesty’s subjects, three having been killed upon that occasion.

As to the Indians I have the honour to assure you, everybody here will confirm, that I have taken particular care to treat them in the most civil manner that ever any Governor yet has done. Nearly every week since I am here, some of them have been with me, whom I never failed to assure of his Majesty’s good will & protection, and required them to acquaint all their nation therewith and that I expected considerable Presents for them from the King in token of his affection. At the same time I never dismissed them without presents (which they always expect) for which I am out of pocket above a hundred & fifty pounds. But I am convinced that a hundred thousand will not buy them from the French interest while the Priests are among them; they having got in with them by the way of religion which brought them to regular confessions twice a year. They assemble punctually at those times & receive their absolution conditionally that they be always Enemies to the English.

* * * * * An attached addendum * * * * *

I had almost forgot to acquaint you that some of the Indian robbers who returned from Canso to Minas to the number of Eleven finding a New England trading Sloop there belonging to Mr. John Alden, and being flushed with their former success and applauded by the Priests they plundered her also at the very doors of the Inhabitants who looked on without restraining those wretches under the sham presence of being afraid of provoking them. I have written to them to demand a better reason for this behaviour, which is all I can do in my present circumstances but hope it will not be long thus.

This being the last opportunity this season that I may have the honour of writing to you, I therefore think it my duty (with submission) to tell you plainly that I find this Country in no likelihood of being brought under the King’s obedience upon the footing it is, and therefore it is necessary that the Government at home exert itself a little, and be at some extraordinary expense, for this has been hitherto no more than a mock Government, its authority having never yet extended beyond Cannon reach of this fort. I was in hopes (& signified as much in the last letter I had the honour to write you) that the addition of a hundred men more, with what I could draw from the Garrison of Placentia, might suffice for this work, but am now convinced it will require a greater number, and because I may not be thought to impose my own opinion in a matter of such consequence I have called a Council of the Chief Officers (some of which are of the King’s Council) to consider and propose the most reasonable & least expensive scheme for establishing the King’s authority in such manner and in such parts of this Province as may render it communicative over the whole, which proposal I have the honour to lay before you in an attachment.

The Inhabitants seem determined not to swear allegiance. I observe them going on with their tillage and building as if they had no thoughts of leaving their habitations. It is likely they flatter themselves that the King’s affaires here will always continue in the same feeble State. I am certain nothing but demonstration will convince them to the contrary.

The number of these people and how they are situated, with a description of their particular settlement and Country in general, is attached herewith, being the most exact & perfect account that has yet been given of this Province.

I heartily wish that this Expense was not absolutely necessary but, as things stand, it would be more for the honour and profit of the Crown to give back the Country to the French, than be contented with the name only of Government, whilst they bare the rule & make it subservient to the support of their settlement at Cape Breton; which could ill subsist without the grain & cattle they fetch from Minas &c.

I am with perfect duty and respect Sir, Your most humble and most obedient Servant,

R. Phillips

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Governor Philipps to Secretary Craggs,

Annapolis Royal, 27 Sept 1720

Sir,— Before I could dispatch my letter, the answer from the Inhabitants of Minas to the letter I wrote them by advice of his Majesty’s Council upon the affair of Mr. Alden’s Sloop being plundered, came to my hand. A copy of this, send me in behalf of the Indians, is attached. You will observe that their Deputies’ excuses for their non-appearance is a confirmation of the little regard they pay to any orders of the Government, and how the Indians (whom they have set to work) are made to seem responsible for all their actions. The Jesuit-like phrasing of the letter plainly shows it to be the Priest’s writing, there not being one other Inhabitant in the Country capable of such a letter. What is therein mentioned of Mr. Broadstreet is literally thus viz: this Gentleman was sent from the Collector with deputy (and with my approbation) to reside at Minas as a preventive officer to observe the trade and correspondence those people carry on with Cape Breton, and to give an account thereof from time to time. This Office not suiting them, they told him that he could not be protected there, and therefore it was necessary for his safety to return, upon which he desired them to furnish him with a guide to direct him the safest way back through the woods. This not being obtained he ventured alone, but first wrote the enclosed letter to the Deputy he had applied to for the guide. This is their method of excusing their behaviour by turning it into a grievance on their side. You will observe that they pass over that part of my letter wherein I reminded to them my good will in presuming, contrary to my orders, to prolong the time for their evacuation, which they do not think fit to acknowledge, since they have prevailed with the Indians to set up their native right and title to the Country, as you will see by their answer or rather the Priest for them.

These are the effects the Proclamation hath produced, and their grounds for laying the blame, and making me the cause of this trouble, because the honour of publishing those his Majesty’s orders has fallen to my lot for they will not be persuaded that I have not done it of my own. This is what they should have been told eight years sooner, but it is not yet too late. I hope this will serve as a lucky occasion to hasten the securing the Country under the King’s dominion, which is a work that must be done sooner or later and the longer it is delayed the more difficult it will be.

I have the Honor of once more subscribing Sir, Your most humble and most obedient servant,

R. Phillips

Written by johnwood1946

October 18, 2017 at 8:32 AM

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Three Short Wabanaki Thunder Stories

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From the blog at

Three Short Wabanaki Thunder Stories

The Wabanaki are the allied people known as Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Abenaki, and Penobscot Indians.

These are stories of thunder and lightning, and how they came to be. They are taken from Charles Leland’s The Algonquin Legends of New England or, Myths and Folk Lore of the Micmacs, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Tribes, London, 1884. I find these stories to be even more readable than the ones told by Silas Rand elsewhere in this blog.

The first story explains the origin and nature of thunder and lightning. Leland notes that “It seems to have nothing in common with the very widely spread myth that the thunder is the flapping of the wings of a giant bird, and the lightning the flashes of its eyes. The tradition is probably of Eskimo origin, supernatural beings partially of stone being common to Greenland and Labrador.” For ‘Eskimo’ we should probably read Inuit. The second story is the more traditional explanation for thunder and lightning, and in the final story, a Thunder and an Indian woman have a son who himself becomes one of the thunders.

(Aptly Named) Big Chief Thunder—Maliseet—1907

Abenaki/Wabanaki and Maliseet Culture and People website


The Hunter who Visited the Thunder Spirits on Mount Katahdin (Passamaquoddy)

N’karnayoo – Of old times: Once an Indian went forth to hunt. And he departed from the east branch of the Penobscot, and came to the head of another branch that leads into the east branch, and this he followed even to the foot of Mount Katahdin. And there he hunted many a day alone, and met none, till one morning in midwinter he found the track of snowshoes. So he returned to his camp; but the next day he met with it again in a far-distant place. And thus it was that, wherever he went, this track came to him every day. Then noting this, as a sign to be observed, he followed it, and it went up the mountain Katahdin which, being interpreted, means “the great mountain,” until at last it was lost in a hard snowshoe road made by many travelers. And since it was hard and even, he took off his agahmooh, or snowshoes, and went ever on and up with the road; and it was a strange path and strange was its ending, for it stopped just before a high ledge, like an immense wall, on a platform at its foot. And there were many signs there, as of many people, yet he saw no one. And as he stayed it seemed to grow stranger and stranger. At last he heard a sound as of footsteps coming, yet within the wall, when lo! a girl stepped directly out of the precipice upon the platform. But though she was beautiful beyond belief, he was afraid. And to his every thought she answered in words, and that so sweetly and kindly and cleverly that he was soon without fear, though he saw that she had powerful m’téoulin, or great magic power. And they being soon pleased one with the other, and wanting each other, she bade him accompany her, and that by walking directly through, the rock. “Have no fear,” said she, “but advance boldly!” So he obeyed, and lo! the rock was as the air, and it gave way as he went on. And ever as they went the maiden talked to him, answering his thoughts, so that he spoke not aloud.

And anon they came to a great cavern far within, and there was an old man seated by a fire, and the old man welcomed him. And he was very kindly treated by the strange pair all day: in all his life he had never been so happy. Now as the night drew near, the old man said to his daughter, “Can you hear aught of your brothers?” Then she went out to the terrace, and, returning, said, “No.” Then anon he asked her again, and she, going and returning as before, replied, “Now I hear them coming.” Then they listened, when lo! there came, as at the door without, a crash of thunder with a flash of lightning, and out of the light stepped two young men of great beauty, but like giants, stupendous and of awful mien. And, like their father, their eyebrows were of stone, while their cheeks were as rocks.

And the hunter was told by their sister that when they went forth, which was every few days, their father said to them, “Sons, arise! it is time now for you to go forth over the world and save our friends. Go not too near the trees, but if you see aught that is harmful to those whom we love, strike, and spare not!” Then when they went forth they flew on high, among the clouds: and thus it is that the Thunder and Lightning, whose home is in the mighty Katahdin, are made. And when the thunder strikes, the brothers are shooting at the enemies of their friends.

Now when the day was done the hunter returned to his home, and when there, found he had been gone seven years. All this I have heard from the old people who are dead and gone.

The Thunder and Lightning Men (Passamaquoddy)

This is truly an old Indian story of old time. Once an Indian was whirled up by the roaring wind: he was taken up in a thunderstorm, and set down again in the village of the Thunders. In after-times he described them as very like human beings: they used bows and arrows (tah-bokque), and had wings.

But these wings can be laid aside, and kept for use. And from time to time their chief gives these Thunders orders to put them on, and tells them where to go. He also tells them how long they are to be gone, and warns them not to go too low, for it is sure death for them to be caught in the crotch of a tree. The great chief of the Thunders, hearing of the stranger’s arrival, sent for him, and received him very kindly, and told him that he would do well to become one of them. To which the man being willing, the chief soon after called all his people together to see the ceremony of thunderifying the Indian. Then they bade him go into a square thing, or box, and while in it he lost his senses and became a Thunder. Then they brought him a pair of wings, and he put them on. So he flew about like the rest of the Thunders; he became quite like them, and followed all their ways. And he said that they always flew towards the sou’ n’snook, or, south, and that the roar and crash of the thunder was the sound of their wings. Their great amusement is to play at ball across the sky. When they return they carefully put away their wings for their next flight. There is a big bird in the south, and this they are always trying to kill, but never succeed in doing so.

They made long journeys, and always took him with them. So it went on for a long time, but it came to pass that the Indian began to tire of his strange friends. Then he told the chief that he wished to see his family on earth, and the sagamore listened to him and was very kind. Then he called all his people together, and said that their brother from the other world was very lonesome, and wished to return. They were all very sorry indeed to lose him, but because they loved him they let him have his own way, and decided to carry him back again. So bidding him close his eyes till he should be on earth, they carried him down.

The Indians saw a great thunderstorm drawing near; they heard such thunder as they never knew before, and then something in the shape of a human being coming down with lightning; then they ran to the spot where he sat, and it was their long-lost brother, who had been gone seven years.

He had been in the Thunder world. He told them how he had been playing ball with the Thunder boys: yes, how he had been turned into a real Thunder himself.

This is why the Indians to this very day have a firm belief that the thunder and lightning we hear and see are caused by (beings or spirits) (called) in Indian Bed-dag yek (or thunder), because they see them, and have, moreover, actually picked up the bed-dags k’chisousan, or thunder-bullet [thunderbolt]. It is of many different kinds of stone, but always of the same shape. The last was picked up by Peter Sabattis, one of the Passamaquoddy tribe. He has it yet. He found it in a crotch-root of a spruce-tree at Head Harbor, on the island of Campobello. This stone is a sign of good luck to him who finds it.

The thunder is the sound of the wings of the men who fly above. The lightning we see is the fire and smoke of their pipes.

Of the Woman who Married the Thunder, and of Their Boy (Passamaquoddy)

Once a woman went to the edge of a lake and lay down to sleep. As she awoke, she saw a great serpent, with glittering eyes, crawl from the water, and stealthily approach her. She had no power to resist his embrace. After her return to her people her condition betrayed itself, and she was much persecuted; they pursued her with sticks and stones, howling abuse.

She fled from the village; she went afar into wild places, and, sitting down on the grass, wept, wishing that she were dead. As she sat and wailed, a very beautiful girl, dressed in silver and gold, appeared, and after listening to her sad story said, “Follow me!”

Then they went up on high into a mountain, through three rocks, until they came into a pleasant wigwam with a very smooth floor. An old man, so old that he was all white, came to meet them. Then he, taking a short stick, bade her dance. He began to sing, and as he sang she gave birth, one by one, to twelve serpents. These the old man killed in succession with his stick as they were born. Then she had become thin again and was in her natural form.

The old man had a son, Badawk, the Thunder, and a daughter, Psawk-tankapic, the Lightning, and when Thunder returned he offered to take her back to her own people, but she refused to go. Then the old man said to his son, “Take her for your wife and be good to her.” So they were married.

In time she bore a son. When the boy could stand, the old man, who never leaves the mountain, called him to stand before him, while he fastened wings to the child. He was soon able, with these wings, to make a noise, which greatly pleased the grandfather. When a storm is approaching, the distant rumbling is the muttering thunder made by the child, but it is Badawk, his father, who comes in the dark cloud and makes the roaring crash, while Psawk-tankapic flashes her lightning.

In after days, when the woman visited her people, she told them that they never need fear the thunder or lightning.

Written by johnwood1946

October 11, 2017 at 8:32 AM

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Stanley, N.B., Carved from the Wilderness — In a Hurry

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From the blog at

Stanley, N.B., Carved from the Wilderness — In a Hurry

The New Brunswick Land Company was formed in 1834, with the objective of turning a wilderness area of New Brunswick into an attractive place for immigrants to settle. To this end, they built roads and mills, with clearings, houses, farms, and all that it would take to attract those immigrants and to lease property to them.

Two of their settlements were at Stanley and at a place called Campbell. Campbell is sometimes shown on maps as Campbell Town or Campbellton, and was located in the Bloomfield Ridge/Boisetown area.

The following description of the Company’s activities beginning in 1834 is from Reports … on the State and Condition of the Province of New Brunswick: with some Observations on the Company’s Tracts, by Edward Nicolas Kendall, who was executing the work. From it we see that Stanley was carved from the wilderness, in a hurry. Kendall’s work has been condensed and edited, and some parts rewritten to include both his words and mine.

Clearing the Forest for Stanley, October, 1834

From the N.B. Museum


I will now describe the property of the New Brunswick Land Company in terms of its suitability to encourage immigration.

The Company’s land was chosen for its fertility and for the many rivers that crisscross it, and consists of about 587,000 acres (fifty-five miles by about twenty), adjacent to properties already settled on the Nashwaak and St. John Rivers. The land is not entirely a wilderness, as there is a community of Welshmen who settled there and lived in poverty until the Royal Road was constructed. They are now connected with Fredericton, however, and are in a much more prosperous state. There are about ninety lots reserved to these Welsh settlers and a few others, containing about twenty thousand acres.

The first order of business for the Company was to open another road to promote settlement. Property had been purchased from the Messrs. Cunard, on the southwest Miramichi, and the course of the road was directed parallel to the Cardigan Settlement, along the ridge of elevated land in the rear of the Nashwaak grants until the Nashwaak River was intersected. This was at a point where the river bends northwest after having run about twenty-five miles due north, and was a perfect spot to build a sawmill and a town. The exploring party was therefore directed towards Porter’s Brook and it was decided to establish a town on the Nashwaak, to be called Stanley, and another at or near Porter’s Brook to bear the name of the Governor, Sir A. Campbell. A road would then be built connecting the two, and also accessing the already formed Royal Road.

Here the difficulties began. The Company’s approval to proceed had arrived late in the year and no Fredericton contractor was willing to take on the work except at the exorbitant rate of £270 per mile or more. The bank of St. John was also not helpful and I was ordered to get money from the Messrs. Cunard at Miramichi, whose Nova Scotia Bank paper was at a discount of seven and a half per cent.

I then sought prices for contractors’ provisions (Ratchford and Lugrin, of St. John being the low bidder) and purchased what was required from them. Messrs. Hansard and Power then agreed to build the first eight miles of road for £60 per mile, while several other contractors then accepted this lower market price and also came on board on the same terms. Work was proceeding when word was received to close for the season, no more than about ten miles having been completed.

The bridges, meanwhile, were proceeding between the Royal Road and Stanley, and a party was clearing about seventy acres close to the mill, for the double purpose of clearing the land, and preventing danger from fire. The dam construction was also proceeding rapidly, and the frame of the sawmill was being hewn and prepared. The most eligible logs were retained, and houses built to accommodate the workmen. Damming of the Nashwaak required every spare hand, lest it be in danger from the freshet, and this proved wise, as the flood came on the very day of its completion. All of the cattle that were not absolutely required on the farm at Campbell had been brought on to Stanley till the dam was finished.

These operations required six parties to be kept supplied with provisions, which had to be conveyed from twenty to thirty miles over a trackless forest, the Nashwaak being too low to navigate with heavy scows. Each of these parties also required advances, in proportion to their work, as otherwise the contractors would stop working. All this required the most guarded watchfulness on my part to superintend the work. Workers were also pilfering pine timber in several directions and I had to apply to the governor for protection. He very kindly agreed to my request and appointed me a deputy commissioner of crown lands with power to seize any timber cut without license. When the men discovered this, they came to me for leave to cut timber in particular places, and I received the tonnage which I carried to the timber account. After all of this effort, the road has been levelled through to the Taxis and the heights above the St. John, at Fredericton.

The house I rented in Fredericton was cold and miserably uncomfortable and inconvenient, I recommended to the court the purchase of a property on the Stanley side of the river, opposite Fredericton. Its situation is advantageous for the Company’s purpose, and when finished, the house will be commodious, with the advantage of offices and storehouses, sufficient for the goods that must be stored.

Meanwhile, buildings were going up at Campbell and, at the close of the season, there were three log-houses, a blacksmith’s shop, and a tavern built at Stanley. The mill frame was up and there were enough sawn boards to cover it and to plank the houses. During the winter, parties procured logs for the sawing, some by contract some by hired men, which worked out to cost about the same. Hay, and supplies, sufficient to last till the summer, were conveyed on the Nashwaak River, and deposited at the store at Stanley.

With the opening spring of 1835, the operations were renewed, and parties formed for the completion of the Stanley Road, the cutting out of the Campbell Road, the completion of the bridges, for clearings in and about Stanley and Campbell, and for burning off and cropping such portions as were cut down last summer. Others were employed in cutting down about 120 acres on the town plot of Stanley, and in blasting and removing the rocks that impeded navigation on the Nashwaak, taking advantage of these improvements to run rafts of deals to the mouth on the river where they were shipped off to Mr. Thurgar for sale at St. John. The frames of six houses were put up on the clear portions of the Stanley town plot, the tavern finished, a flour mill built in anticipation of the arrival of some stones from England, and machinery erected for driving circular saws. Besides this, a house was built for the mill man, one for the blacksmith, a sort of barrack for the workmen, and two others, so as to use the refuse and unmarketable boards from the mill. A large barn, was also erected near the tavern to receive the crop and to stable the cattle. Persons were also engaged in completing the log-houses along the finished road, and in quarrying and preparing stone for chimneys.

In the meantime the Messrs. Palmer and Fulcher arrived, and arrangements were required to accommodate them. Fifty acres were cleared for the former, and ten for the latter, all chopped and prepared for burning. A log-house for the latter built, and a frame for the former were built. Provisions for men, and provender for cattle were purchased, and horses and oxen, sufficient to complete the logging parties, were bought and secured.

The mill contractor agreed to build a double saw-mill at Stanley for £200, plus £600 worth of sawn timber from the first production.

Farming operations were ongoing at Campbell, and we may now consider ourselves in a fair way to accommodate almost any number of emigrants who choose to purchase lands in the Company’s tract. We have a road connecting the principal stations, with clearings and log houses at convenient distances, and about 500 acres of cleared land including at Campbell; sixteen houses, a double and single sawmill, and a flour mill, of appropriate construction, at Stanley; a single saw and grist mill, blacksmith’s shop, and equivalent to ten houses at Campbell; a farm, with a large quantity of stock, tools, and implements, and an establishment at Fredericton, convenient as a place of deposit for the baggage of emigrants.

The next season’s operations will of course much depend on the prospect of obtaining emigrants. Advertisements should be placed and personal communication used as necessary to assure this.

Written by johnwood1946

October 4, 2017 at 8:42 AM

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Drunkenness Yearly More Common Amongst all Classes

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From the blog at

An anonymous author wrote a book entitled Letters from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Illustrative of Their Moral, Religious, and Physical Circumstances During the Years 1826, 1827, and 1828, (Edinburgh, 1829). These ‘letters’ were actually short stories or essays which caricatured an odd selection of people, demonstrating social attitudes of that time.

Other letters were more commentary than caricature, but we cannot tell whether these were his opinions or not. He stated that any suggestion that “the characters and conversations … are imaginary, is altogether superfluous” which, of course, proves just the opposite.

In today’s letter, dated August 9, 1828, he discusses the clearing of land and the new settler’s struggle to overcome the wilderness.

Creating Cleared Land from the Forest

(From the McCord Museum, showing a tavern at Stanley, N.B.)


Drunkenness Yearly More Common Amongst all Classes

August 9, 1828

My Dear Sir,

In your last letter you complain of my omission with respect to the weather. I thought that in several of my epistles I had given all the information upon that subject which you could have wished; but as I have been mistaken, I will add a few facts.

In the summer months the smoke of the woods on fire is frequently so dense that we cannot determine whether the days be cloudy or clear. These fires emitting volumes of smoke and vomiting flames, in a dark night especially, present one of the finest of spectacles. They are sometimes, though not frequently, productive of mischief, as they are always kindled when the wind blows from the houses towards the woods.

The fires do not burn the trees, but only the brushwood. Therefore they travel with wonderful celerity, and woe to the poor wanderer who meets them in their progress. After the passage of fire through them, the trees present a bleak and burnt aspect, and rot away gradually, if not cut down.

They fire, as they call it, as many acres of trees in the summer or autumn as they think that they will be able to cut down in the winter. If upon the land there be any good wood, they remove it before the application of fire. The trees are cut down about three feet from the ground. By the stroke of the axe the experienced woodman can determine its fall, but those raw in the business are apt to get many bruises. After the trees are felled they apply fire a second time to the branches, and after these have been consumed, cut the large logs into pieces with an axe, and burn them also upon the ground. The ashes are an excellent manure. The stumps cannot be removed for six or seven years, and if the trees have been pines, a longer period of decay is necessary. The settlers determine the quality of the soil by the largeness of the trees, which fatten, as they express it, only on good lands. Till the stumps have been removed, the plough cannot be employed, and the generality of soils are so full of stones as to prevent its use till they be also uplifted.

The new soils produce the best potatoes. The average produce of these lands may be said to be, oats from 20 to 25 bushels an acre; wheat, 15 bushels an acre; barley, 22 bushels an acre; potatoes, 150 to 200 bushels an acre, and hay, 20 cwt. an acre. After the soil has been completely cleared, the produce may be doubled with right management.

During the summer months the settlers’ cows, &c. are allowed, with bells around their necks, to feed in the forest, but all of them must be supplied with provisions in the house for six or seven months of the year. The quantity of land which may be cleared in a season depends upon a variety of circumstances. The man who is perfectly master of his axe may clear half a dozen acres without interfering with his other farm work, but the beginner will find much difficulty in clearing the third of the quantity.

The dry and salt marshes, which abound on the coast of the sea, and at the mouths of the large rivers, are of important benefit to the farmer, as they supply him with abundant provision for his stock. Marsh lands, which are embanked against the influx of the sea, sell from £20 to £30 and £40 an acre. Good forest land fetches from 2s. to a pound an acre, and good cleared land from 10s. to £5 and £10 an acre.

Emigrants, therefore, who go out from this country with a small capital, wholly strangers to the labour of chopping and burning, would find the purchase of a small cleared farm to be the cheapest method of locating themselves. Such a property may be bought in almost all parts of the North American provinces from £80 to £200. Emigrants of this description ought also to carry out with them a stock of clothes, as well as of domestic and farming utensils.

The farmer who goes out into the forest, and commences operations upon those principles which he has acquired in his native land, will ruin himself immediately. In Great Britain farming is one of the sciences, and so it is in North America; but the one is as different from the other as their climates, soil, and circumstances. No person ought to buy farmland for the purpose of clearing and farming it, unless he have served an apprenticeship to the business.

Franklin, my dear Sir, has observed, that America is the land of labour, and his observation is correct. Industry is the only passport to wealth and honours. The resources are boundless, and furnish a sufficient market for any quantity of exertion. Sobriety is consequently necessary. This climate, so cold in winter, and so warm in summer, is remarkably hurtful to the constitutions of drunkards. Plain, though this fact be, I am sorry to say that drunkenness is becoming yearly more common amongst all classes of persons. The temptations to it are strong. The length of the winters and the cheapness of all sorts of spirituous liquors are certainly powerful inducements; but the emigrant must resist them all, if he do not wish to repent of his abandonment of the shores of his native land.

But not only must he emigrant be sober, but he must also be firm in his resolves and purposes. The welcomes of sociality and friendship which greet a stranger in North America, will, in other circumstances, insensibly undermine his determinations, till he become the gayest of the gay, and find himself the victim of habits which he cannot resist. His circumstances get into embarrassment. Work is plenty, but spirituous liquor are also plenty, and he cannot work. His creditors perceive his state and immediately he becomes the occupant of a jail. He ends his days a poor degraded outcast in the United States, on the sea, or mines and canals.

But not only must the emigrant be sober and firm, but he must also be industrious. He, who abandons his country with the design of escaping from the fatigues and toils of life, will find himself miserably mistaken. The curse of the Almighty is in all its efficiency in the forests of America as is Europe. By the sweat of his brow the emigrant must earn his daily bread.

To persons like those whom I have mentioned, emigration to America promises many, advantages. The climate is healthy, the soil is prolific, the air and water wholesome, the provisions cheap and abundant, and labour is plenty and productive.

I had almost forgot to answer your queries with respect to the Bay of Fundy. I am told that it ebbs and flows 80 feet in some places. I have heard of no satisfactory explanation of this phenomenon, which is still more curious from the fact that it varies considerably in a series of years. The oldest inhabitants of the province of Nova Scotia have never seen the tides so high as this year, and they have been increasing gradually season after season for some time.

I am sorry that I cannot satisfy your curiosity with respect to the agricultural conditions in New Brunswick; but I fancy, that the remarks which I have made upon it in my previous letters, you will have small difficulty in forming a tolerably correct estimate of it. The timber trade appears to have commanded the most of the labour of its inhabitants from the time of its settlement, and, therefore, it can scarcely at present be called an agricultural country. On the banks of the St. John’s there are many beautiful farms, but there are hundreds of thousands of acres which have yet been utterly useless except as productive of timber. Let us trust that the folly of this state of matters is now apparent, and that before the flux of many summers and winters, the hills and the valleys will manifest all the evidences of a happy and industrious population.

Written by johnwood1946

September 27, 2017 at 8:44 AM

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John Cabot, London Superstar and Discoverer of Cape Breton

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John Cabot, London Superstar and Discoverer of Cape Breton

Painting of John Cabot in Palazzo Ducale in Venice

From Wikipedia

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by johnwood1946

September 20, 2017 at 8:03 AM

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

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

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

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

Bathurst in 1860, from the N.B. Museum


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by johnwood1946

September 13, 2017 at 8:47 AM

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