New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

Table of Contents, Rev. May 4, 2016

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

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


John Wood

Written by johnwood1946

May 4, 2016 at 9:20 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

The Passamaquoddy Wampum Records

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From the blog at

Wampum could be a decorative item, such as beadwork. If such an item was used for ceremonial purposes then it might have significance going beyond decoration. Wampum has also been described as currency, but I’m not sure that that is a good description. Maybe it would be better to call it a trade item having decorative value. The wampum discussed in this blog post is something else altogether, and that is as a medium for recording history, legends and laws. “Talking sticks” would be wampum of that kind, though it could also take forms other than sticks.

The following paper about wampum was written by John Dyneley Prince and was presented to the American Philosophical Society on December 3, 1897. It discusses wampum in general, and also offers translations of several important documents that were recorded in that way. These Passamaquoddy Wampum Records are also significant to the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet people. Spelling is as found.

Wampum Sticks

Wampum Sticks, or Talking Sticks,

from ‘Native American Extensions’ on Pinterest


The Passamaquoddy Wampum Records

The Passamaquoddy Indians of Maine, who, together with the Penobscots, now occupy Oldtown on the Penobscot River as their headquarters, are members of the great Algonkin family which was in former times the dominant native race from Nova Scotia to the Carolinas. The language still in use among the Passamaquoddies is a northern dialect of the Algonkin stock, very closely allied to the idiom of the Etchemins or Maliseets of New Brunswick and to that of the Abenakis or St. Francis Indians of Quebec, and less closely, although nearly, related to the language of the Micmacs of Nova Scotia.

The Passamaquoddies, Penobscots, Maliseets, Abenakis and Micmacs call themselves by the common name Wabanaki or “children of the dawn-country,” which was in earlier days the generic name of the entire Algonkin family. These five tribes seem to have been members of a federation both with one another and with the Iroquoian Six Nations, and the Passamaquoddies have preserved the traditions regarding both of these unions in their Wampum Records, the text and translation of which are given in the present article.

The records of an Indian tribe were in nearly all cases orally transmitted by elderly men whose memories had been especially trained for the purpose from their early youth. It was customary for these keepers of the tribal history from time to time to instruct younger members of the clan in the annals of their people. The records thus transmitted in the case of the Passamaquoddies were kept in the memory of the historians by means of a mnemonic system of wampum shells arranged on strings in such a manner that certain combinations suggested certain sentences or ideas to the narrator or “reader,” who, of course, already knew his heart and was merely aided by the association in his mind of the arrangement of the wampum beads with incidents or sentences in the tale, song or ceremony which he was rendering. This explains such expressions as “marriage wampum” or “burial wampum,” which are common among the Passamaquoddies and simply mean combinations of wampum which suggested to the initiated interpreter the ritual of the tribal marriage and burial ceremonies.

This custom of preserving records by means of a mnemonic system was peculiar to all the tribes of the Algonkin race as well as to the Iroquoian clans. Brinton refers to the record or tally sticks of the Crees and Chipeways as the “rude beginning of a system of mnemonic aids.” It seems to have been customary in early times to burn a mark or rude figure on a stick suggestive of a sentence or idea. Brinton adds: “In later days, instead of burning the marks upon the stick, they were painted, the colors as well as the figures having certain conventional meanings. The sticks are described as about six inches in length, slender, although varying in shape, and tied up in bundles.” Among the more cultured tribes the sticks were eventually replaced by wooden tablets, on which the symbols were engraved with a sharp instrument, such as a flint or knife. The Passamaquoddies appear never to have advanced beyond the use of wampum strings as mnemonic aids.

I obtained the Wampum Records at Bar Harbor, Me., in 1887, from a Passamaquoddy Indian, Mr. Louis Mitchell, who was at that time Indian member of the Maine Legislature. The MSS. which he sent me contained both the Indian text and a translation into Indian-English, which I have rearranged in an idiom I trust somewhat more intelligible to the general reader. Owing to the fact that the Indian text in Mitchell’s MSS is written syllabically, without any attempt at a division into words, much less into sentences or paragraphs, the difficulty of editing the same with even approximate correctness has been very great. I have followed almost exactly Mr. Mitchell’s extremely variable orthography, although tempted in many cases to depart from it, as he has written what is evidently the same sound sometimes in as many as three different ways. Thus, he was clearly unable to distinguish between j and ch, a, u and e, or oo and u, and he uses k-c, kw-qu, b-p, etc., apparently indiscriminately. I plead guilty in advance, therefore, to any errors which may occur in the original text, trusting that the interesting character and historial value of the records themselves will justify their publication in the state in which I offer them.

The Wampum Records in English

Many bloody fights had been fought, many men, women and children had been tortured by constant and cruel wars until some of the wise men among the Indians began to think that something must be done, and that whatever was to be done should be done quickly. They accordingly sent messengers to all parts of the country, some going to the South, others to the East, and others to the West and Northwest. Some even went as far as the Wabanaki. It was many months before the messengers reached the farthest tribes. When they arrived at each nation, they notified the people that the great Indian nations of the Iroquois, Mohawks and others had sent them to announce the tidings of a great Lagootwagon or general council for a treaty of peace. Every Indian who heard the news rejoiced, because they were all tired of the never-ending wars. Every tribe, therefore, sent two or more of their cleverest men as representatives to the great council.

When all the delegates were assembled they began to deliberate concerning what was best to do, as they all seemed tired of their evil lives. The leading Chief then spoke as follows: “As we look back upon our blood-stained trail, we see that many wrongs have been done by all of our people. Our gory tomahawks, clubs, bows and arrows must undoubtedly be buried for ever.” It was decided, therefore, by all concerned to make a general Lagootwagon or treaty of peace, and a day was appointed when they should begin the rites.

For seven days, from morning till night, a strict silence was observed, during which each representative deliberated on the speech he should make and tried to discover the best means for checking the war. This was called the “Wigwam of Silence.”

After this, they held another wigwam called m’sittakw-wen tle-westoo, or “Wigwam of Oratory.” The ceremonies then began. Each representative recited the history of his nation, telling all the cruelties, tortures and hardships they had suffered during their wars and stating that the time had now come to think of and take pity on their women and children, their lame and old, all of whom had suffered equally with the strongest and bravest warriors. When all the speeches had been delivered, it was decided to erect an extensive fence and within it to build a large wigwam. In this wigwam, they were to make a big fire and, having made a switch or whip, to place “their father” as a guard over the wigwam with the whip in his hand. If any of his children did wrong he was to punish them with the whip. Every child of his within the enclosure must therefore obey his orders implicitly. His duty also was to keep replenishing the fire in the wigwam so that it should not go out. This is the origin of the Wampum laws.

The fence typified a treaty of peace for all the Indian nations who took part in the council, fourteen in number, of which there are many tribes. All these were to go within the fence and dwell there, and if any should do wrong they would be liable to punishment with the whip at the hands of “their father.” The wigwam within the fence represented a universal house for all the tribes, in which they might live in peace, without disputes and quarrels, like members of one family. The big fire (ktchi squt) in the wigwam denoted the warmth of the brotherly love engendered in the Indians by their treaty. The father ruling the wigwam was the Great Chief who lived at Caughnawaga. The whip in his hand was the type of the Wampum laws, disobedience to which was punishable by consent of all the tribes mentioned in the treaty.

After this, they proceeded to make lesser laws, all of which were to be recorded by means of wampum, in order that they could be read to the Indians from time to time. Every feast, every ceremony, therefore, has its own ritual in the wampum; such as the burial and mourning rites after the death of a chief, the installation of a chief, marriage, etc. There were also salutation and visiting wampum.

Ceremonies Customary at the Death of a Chief

When the chief of a tribe died, his flag-pole was cut down and burnt, and his war-like appurtenances, bows and arrows, tomahawk and flag, were buried with him. The Indians mourned for him one year, after which the Pwutwusimwuk or leading men were summoned by the tribe to elect a new chief. The members of one tribe alone could not elect their own chief; according to the common laws of the allied nations, he had to be chosen by a general wigwam. Accordingly, after the council of the leading men had assembled, four or six canoes were dispatched to the Micmac, Penobscot and Maliseet tribes if a Passamaquoddy chief had died. These canoes bore each a little flag in the bow as a sign that the mission on which the messengers came was important. On the arrival of the messengers at their destination, the chief of the tribe to which they came called all his people, children, women and men, to meet the approaching boats. The herald springing to land first sang his salutation song (n’skawewintuagunul), walking back and forth before the ranks of the other tribe. When he had finished his chant the other Indians sang their welcoming song in reply.

As soon as the singing was over they marched to some imwewigwam or meeting house to pray together. The visiting Indians were then taken to a special wigwam allotted to their use over which a flag was set. Here they were greeted informally by the members of the tribe with hand-shaking, etc. The evening of the first day was spent in entertaining the visitors.

On the next day the messengers sent to the chief desiring to see all the tribe assembled in a gwandowanek or dance-hall. When the tribe had congregated there, the strangers were sent for, who, producing their strings of wampum to be read according to the law of the big wigwam, announced the death of the chief of their tribe, “their eldest boy” (ktchi w’skinosismowal), and asked that the tribe should aid them to elect a new chief. The chief of the stranger tribe then arose and formally announced to his people the desire of the envoys, stating his willingness to go to aid them, his fatherless brothers, in choosing a new father. The messengers, arising once more, thanked the chief for his kindness and appointed a day to return to their own people.

The ceremony known as kelhoochun then took place. The chief notified his men that his brothers were ready to go, but that they should not be allowed to go so soon. The small wampum string called kellhoweyi or prolongation of the stay was produced at this point, which read that the whole tribe, men, women and children, were glad to see their brothers with them and begged them to remain a day or two longer; that “our mothers” (kigwusin), e.g., all the tribal women, would keep their paddles yet a little while. This meant that the messengers were not to be allowed to depart so soon.

Here followed the ceremony called N’skahudin. A great hunt was ordered by the chief and the game brought to the meeting-hall and cooked there. The noochila-kalwet or herald went about the village crying wikw-poosaitin, which was intelligible to all. Men, women and children immediately came to the hall with their birch bark dishes and sat about the game in a circle, while four or five men with long-handled dishes distributed the food, of which every person had a share. This feast was called kelhootwi-wikw-poosaltiu. When it was over the Indians dispersed, but returned later to the hall when the messengers sang again their salutation songs in honor of their forefathers, in reply to which the chief of the tribe sang his song of greeting.

When the singing was over the chief seated himself in the midst of the hall with a small drum in one hand and a stick in the other. To the accompaniment of his drum he sang his k’tumasooi-n’tawagunul or dance songs, which was the signal for a general dance, followed by another feast.

The envoys again appointed a day to return, but were deterred in the same manner. As these feasts often lasted three weeks or a month, a dance being held every night, it was frequently a long time before they could go back to their own tribe, because the chief would detain them whenever they wished to return. Such was the custom.

The Ceremony of Installation

When they reached home, however, and the embassies from the other Wabanaki tribes had also returned, the people of the bereaved tribe were summoned to assemble before the messengers, who informed them of the success of their mission. When the delegates from the other tribes, who had been appointed to elect the chief, had arrived and the salutation and welcome ceremonies had been performed, an assembly was called to elect the chief.

This took place about the second day after the arrival of the other Wabanaki representatives. A suitable person, a member of the bereaved tribe, was chosen by acclamation for the office of chief. If there was no objection to him a new flag-pole was made and prepared for raising, and a chief from one of the kindred tribes put a medal of wampum on the chief-elect who was always clothed in new garments. The installing chief then addressed the people, telling them that another “eldest boy” had been chosen, to whom they owed implicit obedience. Turning to the new chief, he informed him that he must act in accordance with the wishes of his people. The main duties of a chief were to act as arbiter in all matters of dispute, and to act as commander-in-chief in case of war, being ready to sacrifice himself for the people’s good if need were.

After this ceremony they marched to the hall, where another dance took place, the new chief singing and beating the drum. A wife of one of the other chiefs then placed a new deer-skin or bearskin on the shoulders of the new chief as a symbol of his authority, after which the dance continued the whole night.

The officers of the new chief (geptins) were still to be chosen. These were seven in number and were appointed in the same manner and with the same ceremonies as the chief. Their duties, which were much more severe, were told them by the installing chief. The flag-pole, which was the symbol of the chief, was first raised. The geptins stood around it, each with a brush in his hand, with which they were instructed to brush off any particle of dust that might come upon it. This signified that it was their duty to defend and guard their chief and that they should be obliged to spill their blood for him, in case of need and in defense of the tribe. All the women and children and disabled persons in the tribe were under the care of the geptins. The chief himself was not allowed to go into battle, but was expected to stay with his people and to give orders in time of danger.

After the tribal officers had been appointed, the greatest festivities were carried on; during the day they had canoe races, foot races and ball-playing, and during the night, feasting and dancing. The Indians would bet on the various sports, hanging the prizes for each game on a pole. It was understood that the winner of the game was entitled to all the valuables hung on this pole. The festivities often lasted an entire month.

The Marriage Ceremony, the Ancient Rite.

It was the duty of the young Indian man who wished to marry to inform his parents of his desire, stating the name of the maiden. The young man’s father then notified all the relatives and friends of the family that his son wished to marry such and such a girl. If the friends and relations were willing, the son was permitted to offer his suit. The father of the youth prepared a clean skin of the bear, beaver or deer, which he presented to his son. Provided with this, the suitor went to the wigwam of his prospective bride’s father and placed the hide at the back of the wigwam or nowteh. The girl’s father then notified his relations and friends, and if there was no objection, he ordered his daughter to seat herself on the skin, as a sign that the young man’s suit was acceptable. The usual wedding ceremonies were then held, viz., a public feast, followed by dancing and singing, which always lasted at least a week.

The Marriage Ceremony in Later Days

After the adoption of the wampum laws the marriage ceremony was much more complicated.

When the young man had informed his parents of his desire to marry and the father had secured the consent of the relations and friends, an Indian was appointed to be the Keloolwett or marriage herald, who, taking the string of wampum called the kelolwawei, went to the wigwam of the girl’s father, generally accompanied by as many witnesses as cared to attend. The herald read the marriage wampum in the presence of the girl and her father, formally stating that such and such a suitor sought his daughter’s hand in marriage. The herald, accompanied by his party, then returned to the young man’s wigwam to await the reply. After the girl’s father had notified his relatives and friends and they had given their consent, the wedding was permitted to go on.

The usual ceremonies then followed. The young man first presented the bride-elect with a new dress. She, after putting it on, went to her suitor’s wigwam with her female friends, where she and her company formally saluted him by shaking hands. This was called wulisakowdowagon or salutation. She then returned to her father’s house, where she seated herself with her following of old women and girls. The groom then assembled a company of his friends, old and young men, and went with them to the bride’s wigwam to salute her in the same manner. When these salutations were over a great feast was prepared by the bride, enough for all the people, men, women and children. The bridegroom also prepared a similar feast. Both of these dinners were cooked in the open air and when the food was ready they cried out k’waltewall “your dishes.” Everyone understood this, which was the signal for the merry-makers to approach and fall to.

The marriage ceremonies, however, were not over yet. The wedding party arrayed themselves in their best attire and formed two processions, that of the bride entering the assembly wigwam first. In later times it was customary to fire a gun at this point as a signal that the bride was in the hall, whereupon the groom’s procession entered the hall in the same manner, when a second gun was fired. The geptins of the tribe and one of the friends of the bride then conducted the girl to the bridegroom to dance with him. At midnight after the dancing a supper was served, to which the bride and groom went together and where she ate with him for the first time. The couple were then addressed by an aged man (no-nmikokemit) on the duties of marriage.

Finally, a number of old women accompanied the newly made wife to her husband’s wigwam, carrying with them her bed-clothes. This final ceremony was called natboonan, taking or carrying the bed.

Written by johnwood1946

May 4, 2016 at 9:19 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Slog on, or Die

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Slog on, or Die


Pokemouche, New Brunswick in around 1890

From Wikipedia

The Acadians of Nova Scotia had suffered the Expulsion of 1755, and relations were strained with those who remained. The few Acadians along New Brunswick’s eastern coast had made a reluctant peace with the British, but those further north delayed their submission. The French in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and their Mi’kmaq allies had carried out raids against the English, and the Acadians from around Nepisiquid may have participated in this. This was why the Acadians were being “removed,” as described in the following journal.

This ‘removal’ obviously hardened the Acadians against the English, and their Mi’kmaq allies considered themselves to be in a state of war.

Gamaliel Smethurst was an English trader who had a licence from the government of Quebec to trade with the French in the Bay of Chaleur. He was transported to the area in a ship just as the removal was in progress, but was abandoned at Nepisiquid by the ship’s captain who was afraid that the Acadians or the Mi’kmaq would attack him. Smethurst had to find his own way to Fort Cumberland. It was a six-week hard slog by canoe and on foot in the late fall and early winter, the only alternative being death. The few remaining Acadians were helpful in his journey, but he lived in fear that the Mi’kmaq would kill him.

We therefore have a story of adventure from Nepisiquid and proceeding past Caraquet, Pokemouche, Shippagan, Miramichi, Bouctouche, and Baie Verte to Fort Cumberland. This was in 1761, when all that existed at most of these places were their names.

This is from Gamaliel Smethurst’s, A Narrative of an Extraordinary Escape Out of the Hands of the Indians in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, published in London in 1774 and edited and re-printed by W.F. Ganong in the Collections of the New Brunswick Historical Society, 1905.


Smethurst’s Journal

THURSDAY, October 29, 1761. Left Nipisiquid, in the Bay of Chaleurs. Capt. M’Kenzie, with about fifty Highlanders, had just arrived to remove the people: he took them all unexpectedly; they were very unwilling to be removed. He took about one hundred and eighty persons, with all their vessels, to the number of eleven sloops and shallops. We came out with them in the evening: it was calm, and we were obliged to tow—Got out of the channel. By the obstinacy and confusion of the captain of the brigantine, though I had a French pilot on board, who told us we were too much to the northward, got upon a bank. As it was top of spring-tides, our captain said we would never get off: he seemed frightened out of his senses—Parted with our pilot—He must go with the rest of the French.

FRIDAY, October 30. In the morning I went ashore in the boat—took my papers and trunks along with me—went to find a lighter in order to unload the vessel so much as to lighten her to float—found one—staid to keep her afloat when the tide should come in—sent the men on board for fear they should be wanted, (the night’s tide had been a very low one). Towards noon it began to blow fresh at north-west. About two o’clock saw the brig was got off, but no boat came for me: she tacked all the afternoon, as if to get to windward and come to, but in the evening she bore away. For what reason they did not come ashore for me, cannot account—suppose some accident happened. I was left in a very disagreeable situation. What few French staid behind, were on the other side the bay, and are irritated to the last degree against the English, for the step they have taken to remove their friends from their habitations at this season of the year, and the savages are no friends at all to the English. I was on the harbour—There came a canoe with Indians in the evening—looked about them and walked off. I durst not appear, not knowing what disposition they were in. I staid all night in one of their hovels—durst not make a fire for fear of discovery.

SATURDAY, October 31. Looked impatiently all day—no vessel appeared in site—the wind northwest, brisk breeze, but did not blow over-hard—killed a few ortolans [birds] and dressed them—Some of the inhabitants came searching for little things among the rubbish—one of them promised to take me off in the evening to the habitations of the French on the other side of the bay, but did not—lodged very uncomfortably—slept little—made no fire at night.

SUNDAY, November 1. Was not without hopes to see the brig—she may have put into Port Daniel, and waiting an opportunity to come up. Mr. Charles Duges who is very sick, sent for me—I went to his house—In the evening came back for my trunks—Some persons had attempted to open them both, but did not forced the locks.

MONDAY, November 2. Made an agreement with Capt. Andrews, an Indian, to take me down to Caraquet, in a canoe. In the afternoon came to Mr. Dugas’ brother from Ristioguch—they behave very civilly to me. Mr. Dugas’ brother intends to go to Fort Cumberland when the frost sets in, but I am in hopes of reaching it before that time; at least to hear of the brig along shore, if I can get a conveyance—The Indian Andrews refuses to go.

TUESDAY, November 3. There came a skiff in here from Port Daniel—the people saw nothing of the brig, which convinces me she is gone out of the bay—Agreed with the people of the skiff to take me down to Caraquet, twelve leagues—gave them fifty-six livres.

WEDNESDAY, November 4. Towards noon, set out from Nipisiquid, in company with three Frenchmen; they all look like run-aways, who dare not go to their own country—they belong to Old France—I and they have not made their submission to the English government. The wind was too much to the northward, as the master said, to proceed—We only went over the bay to the deserted huts—they staid to pick up what they could find—they stole about a bushel of salt from one family who had not removed all their things over the bay—this confirms me in opinion they are rogues. Captain M’Kenzie had not taken all the Acadians—there were some women lying in, so he must leave some to take care of them; others were sick, and could not be removed. Those who remained had gone over the bay into the woods, for the sake of fire during the winter. The Acadians make themselves a winter house in two or three days—They cut down a number of pine trees, suitable to the occasion—square them, and place them one upon another, fastening them with trunnels, and fill the crevices with moss; the chimney they secure with clay—they cover their houses with slabs and bark—they are very good broad axe men.

THURSDAY, November 6. As we sailed all night, got down to Caraquet, twelve leagues, by morning. It was a very cold disagreeable night. Old Saint Jean condoled with me upon the occasion, but would not buy any thing I had, to raise a little money; unless I would sell them for a quarter their value—Sold him nine shirts, and some silver lace for a trifle. This man is a native of Old France—married an Indian, and has lived here near fifty years. His son, who is half Indian, called Jean Baptist has married an Indian also. I have traded considerably with him—got him to procure two Indians to go with me to Fort Cumberland in a canoe—He did so, and we agreed for 140 livres, (provided we could get the consent of their tribe)—I thought, if possible to get to Mirimichi (the last French settlement); if not, to Fort Cumberland before the frosts set in—Left my large trunk with Jean Baptist.

FRIDAY, November 6. Put myself into the hands of the Indians. There was an old Indian Squaw, with one eye, and her two great sons: they were of the Pookmoosh tribe of Mickmacks—We embarked in a canoe—set our blanket-sail about eleven o’clock—reached Chipagon in the afternoon—this is three leagues from Caraquet—staid here all night. Captain M’Kenzie had been here, and taken some of the inhabitants—there remains about six families—lay in one of their huts.

SATURDAY, November 7. Today the wind being contrary, the savages would not proceed—the land continues very low, fit for improvement—Chipagon is a good harbour for fishermen, well secured.

SUNDAY, November 8. After dinner we set off from Chipagon, three miles from thence—came to a portage —we are now got into the bay of the gulph of St. Lawrence. There is a passage at Chipagon for small craft, that do not draw above five or six feet of water. Most of the French shallops, with Captain M’Kenzie, went this way. One of the Indians carried the bark canoe, the other carried the blankets, guns, and paddles, while the squaw carried the kettle to cook in, with birch bark, and other small things. After we had walked a league further, we pitched our tent for all night—Lay upon our mother’s lap [the earth]—I was under some apprehensions at first, as I had never travelled with Indians before; however I behaved as if I was not the least afraid—The place we lay at, is six miles from Chipagon.

MONDAY, November 9. All this part of the country very low marshy land, full of inlets, where are salt marshes, and abundance of lakes, with vast quantities of water fowl. Our Indians did not stop to kill any. About noon arrived at Pookmoosh—here are five or six cabins of Indians—Their chief called a council upon my coming amongst them—they had just signed a treaty with the English, which I knew; but they said the English had deceived them by telling them it was peace, whereas the French tell them it is war still. They said the English were a very cunning people, for I had been pretending to trade with the French at Nipisiquid, and had collected them together, and the English came with a net and catched them all. They enquired how I was armed, (my sword happened luckily to be broke the day before with a fall, and my fusee was only a fowling piece;) I had a pistol in my pocket which I did not let them see, for fear of fresh grounds of suspicion. In answer to what they said, I told them it was war still with the French but peace with the Indians; that the people I had been trading with, had made their submission, and were English subjects. I made the squaw of the chief a present of some trifles such as ribbons, &c. This I believe, was as strong an argument as any I used, to procure me an order that the young men should go forward with me on the morrow; though, had they thought I had been any ways concerned with Captain M’’Kenzie in removing the French, they would have cut me to pieces; but this point I had taken care that Jean Baptist cleared up to the two Indians and the squaw, before we left Caraquet. I lodged in a wigwham—ten or a dozen men, women and children all together round a fire—lay upon branches of spruce, and covered with blankets—the fire in the middle of the wigwham—There is a hole at top which lets out the smoak—this a very large cabin—it would hold twenty people—it was hung round with fish, cut into shreds—they preserve their fish, their geese, and their game, in that manner without salt—they take the bones out, and cut the flesh very thin: then dry it in the smoak for their winter’s provision—The name of the chief is Aikon Aushabuc. Such were our boasted ancestors the Britons when Julius Caesar first landed upon our Island.

TUESDAY, November 10. About noon my guides came fresh painted, and we parted from Pookmoosh; and glad I was to get rid of a people who had such absolute power in their own hands, and bore such an enmity to the English. It was a fine day, and we coasted this afternoon thirty miles upon these inland salt lake. This country is so full of the finest possible conveniences for canoes, and it must blow a perfect storm to disturb them; and the water not above two or three feet deep—Came to a portage—lay upon a plain beach, upon the cold ground to-night; it snowed very much.

WEDNESDAY, November 11. This proved a very rainy boisterous day—a great storm at east—lay by all day—was very wet, and very uncomfortable—my bread all gone; and I had nothing to live upon, but some fish smoaked in the manner just mentioned—no salt—no liquor of any kind, but water. I durst not carry any strong liquor with me, for the Indians would not have stirred till they had drank all out; and they do things in their liquor they would not do when sober.

THURSDAY, November 12. The storm continued, which has drove all the game away—Killed two or three sea-gulls, these I broiled and eat without any sauce but a good appetite—We removed from off the beach over the lake.

FRIDAY, November 13. Blows as hard as ever, or rather more severe—could not stir out—very wet and cold, especially at nights.

SATURDAY, November 14. The storm does not abate. There came to us two canoes with six Indians in them—one a very surly fellow, was prompting my guides to mischief—continually talking against the English said they wanted the land from the Indians, and that I came to see how they might conveniently be attacked. I thought it best to put a good face upon the matter; not to seem afraid, or lose any of my importance. I told them, it was true my life was in their power; but if any accident happened to me, the English would destroy their whole tribe.

SUNDAY, November 15. The storm increases. The neck of land where we had lodged, that parts the land from the sea was overflowed, which raised the lake, and set our things a swimming. We removed further up into the woods. I have not had dry deaths since Tuesday night—Endeavoured to keep up the spirits of the Indians who, I found, were for returning to Pookmoosh the first opportunity; and as we were only five or six miles from a French settlement, wanted much to get out of the hands of the Indian—Promised them the whole wages to carry me to Merrimishi.

MONDAY, November 16. The storm was still violent; and what was worse, our provisions are expended, except the skin of one fish: nor had the Indians who came to us any-thing left. We might justly be said to “eat to live, and not live to eat;” yet a small piece of the fat o£ the fish, without any dressing, keeps me from being excessive hungry, which I attribute to my not using any salt so long; so had not anything to irritate the coats of my stomach— I perceive myself growing very sick.

TUESDAY, November 17. The storm still continues—have not seen sun, moon, or stars, this seven days—Took a resolution all of us to remove to an Indian camp, about six miles from hence, up the country; but such a road sure never was travelled before—mid-leg deep in water—sometimes crossed brooks up to the middle; some fallen trees and thick underwood made it as bad as possible. I was prodigiously fatigued, as were two of the Indians—we were four hours in getting there. Upon our arrival we found the Indians had deserted their wigwhams; but there was a good covered cabin. In another hut we found some fish and dried geese: Took two of the geese, and paid five shillings sterling to one of the savages, who said he knew the person they belonged to. I did this, that the savages might entertain a good opinion of their new allies the English. The savages took fish without ceremony, as their custom is to go into huts, and help themselves to anything they can find—to eat and drink, without saying one word:—Had a large fire, and expect to lie dry to-night, which I have not done these eight nights past.

WEDNESDAY, November 18. Last night proved a cold dry night—the weather moderate—went back the way we came to our canoe, where we had left our baggage—arrived there about twelve o’clock; and wet as I was, immediately embarked, and with a fair wind reached Merrimichi about six o’clock. I was obliged to be carried out of the canoe into a hut to warm and dry myself; for I had almost lost the use of my limbs with sitting steady in a bark canoe six hours, wet up to the middle.

THURSDAY, November 19. Lodged last night in a poor Frenchman’s hut—lay upon the floor all night by the fire—he had no bed but one in the same room and that his family lay in—rested very comfortably. About midnight a young man came to me from his father, with offers of service; his name is Brusar, but they generally called him Beausoleil; he brought me a bottle of rum and some flour—was extremely kind to me. In the morning the old man came himself—brought me pork, and other necessaries, he is the most considerable person here—had been a great purtizan—was one of the French neutrals who were removed to Carolina—made his escape by land to Mississippi, and travelled 1400 leagues to recover his native country. These people have been great enemies to the English; however I shall never forget the great obligations I owe to Brusar, for his present kindness to me. He told me of a vessel about three leagues from this place belonging to Nipisiquid, that had stopt during the late bad weather, and he was very certain she was not gone. This news was extremely agreeable to me. I sold Brusar several things—some muslin neck scarves, more of my shirts with gold lace, in order to pay the savages according to my promise. I had paid them the whole money, as though they had carried me to Fort Cumberland, although we are not above half way. The Frenchmen endeavored to prevent me from paying them so much—said they had extorted the promise from me in the late bad weather, for fear of them returning back to Pookmoosh: so it was prudent to encourage them at that time with the prospect of a large reward, which I had no occasion now to comply with, I considered, however, as the English had but very recently made a treaty with them, I would convince them they regarded their words: for the Indians never consider individuals; if any person does them an injury or favor, they charge the whole nation with it. This should be a standing caution to our Indian traders, to deal honestly with them, otherwise they may bring on a public calamity.

FRIDAY, November 20. Mr. Brusar procured me a large log canoe, with three men, to go in search of the vessel. This country is all low land—very full of islands and creeks, water carriage throughout; lurking places for Indians—Unless we can civilize them, they will retard the settlement of this part of the world greatly. The Frenchman where I lodged, and most of the village, set off this morning for Point Miscou, to hunt sea-cows for their oil which they make use of in winter instead of butter.—About noon proceeded with the Frenchmen in the log canoe, and in three hours reached a creek where we found four shallops, or skiffs, with several families—I believe they intend to winter here—they had the good luck to avoid the late bad weather. The chief of the Indians came to me—shewed his treaty with the Governor of Halifax, and said he would conduct me to Fort Cumberland. There had been a vessel wreck’d here in the late violent storm—what she is, don’t know at present—there is one man saved, who I intend to go see—My brig must have got further than this, if she went off the coast This river of Merrimichi runs up the country a great way—almost meets the river St. John, which falls into the bay of Fundy.

SATURDAY, November 21. Lodged very comfortably last-night with Amand Bugeaux, his family, and Nicholas Gautier—in the night the wind had been strong at N.W.—we removed to the south side of the creek; to two deserted houses; better than those on the north side—the Indians here are about fifty fighting men—they are the Merrimichi tribe of Micmacks.

SUNDAY, November 22. This being a calm day there came a skiff from the island where the vessel was wrecked. She proved to be the Hulton, Capt. Benjamin Hallaway, belonging to Mr. John Hill of Hull, but freighted from London to Quebec with twelve hundred barrels of flour, eighty puncheons of English brandy, twenty-three barrels of goods, and nineteen barrels of hardware. The brandy and a good deal of flour was going to Bryn and Brymer of Quebec. There were twelve hands on board—only one saved—he was the mate, a young man from Hull—his name James Pratchell. When we got on shore, he was taken care of by the French from Nipisiquid, who, fortunately for him, had stopped here.

MONDAY, November 23. Had a design of going to see the situation of the wreck, but the wind blows too hard.

TUESDAY, November 24. Intended to go to see the wreck today but was stopt by the Indians—they told me their chief would come to talk to me, and call a council—they have found a good deal of brandy for they are, all of them, continually drunk—I am afraid of mischief—They did not call a council to-day.

WEDNESDAY, November 25. Was got into a little schooner to go to the island, to see the situation of the wreck, when I was called back by the chief, and the other Indians. There was likewise the chief of the St. Johns Indians here—The vessel being cast away had collected the Indians from all quarters—they called a council—they told me they would endeavor to save all the effects they could out of the vessel, and make a fair declaration of what they saved—that the French should do the same. The chief likewise told me he would send four men to Fort Cumberland with me and the young man who was saved out of the vessel—I found some good effects from my behaviour to the Indians who brought me along; for they were here, and had told how honourably I had dealt with them—The name of the Indian chief here is Louis Francois, the name of the chief of St. John’s tribe is Louis Lamoureux—they had large silver medals of the French king, hanging to ribbons round their necks. In the afternoon, went with the French to the island where the wreck was—they had rolled about two hundred barrels of flour from off the beach, to a place of safety; and there were about one hundred more good upon the beach—I did not discover any brandy, or bales of goods but believe the French and Indiana had hid a large quantity—They brought off fifteen barrels of flour—got back about nine at night

THURSDAY, November, 26. Picked up yesterday bundles of English newspapers for twelve months past, with which I am highly entertained—find some of my acquaintance married, others dead—some fortunate, others bankrupts—it is great amusement for me, as my mind has fasted so long from any food of this kind.

FRIDAY, November 27. Continue still drying and examining the newspapers—the Indians have fixed our departure for to-morrow—The French are very much afraid of the Indians now they have strong liquor.

SATURDAY, November 28. This morning proved very stormy—the Indians do not go—In the afternoon I was ordered to a council in one of their wigwhams*—the council consisted of a dozen—they were all drunk, except the chief and another—they were a long time, before they would permit me to go—They would detain me till the frost sets in, and go by land, for fear of accidents—they said they were masters there; and if they had a mind to keep me three or four months, I must stay. I urged my necessity—pleaded hard for them to permit two of the Frenchmen to go with me, instead of Indians, as I could converse better with them: after long debating, they allowed me to set out in the morning with two Frenchmen.

* Three or four drunken Indians with loaded muskets came, and taking hold of both my arms, a third Indian staggered before me saying “La meme chose comme governour Halifax:” by which I must understand him to be as great a man as the governor of Halifax: When we arrived at the wigwham, the drunken governor of Halifax, pointing to the chief, said in English “All one, King George.”

SUNDAY, November 29. A great deal of snow had fallen in the night, and we did not set out—the day proved a mild thawing day—the Indians all met together to worship—they are rigid ceremonious Papists—great bigots—know little of the grounds of their religion; but it is pompous, and that is enough. To show their zeal, where the Frenchmen crossed themselves once, the Indians would do it twice; but their religious zeal at this time is pretty much heated with brandy—their priests must take a great deal of pains with them—they sing very well. The Canadians will have it in their power to play off the Indians at any time against our back settlements, by encouraging their religious bigotry; indeed it gains ground in Canada.

MONDAY, November 30. About ten o’clock we set out in a bark canoe, which I had bought of the savages—there were Nicholas Gautier, Joseph Rishar, and myself — The young man who was mate of the vessel, is not in a condition to travel—his legs and foot are very much swoln— he proposes to stay till the Indians will let some other Frenchmen go—I left him thirty-two pounds of beaver, and a beaver coat, to dispose of for a supply for him—We got about three leagues—the wind was pretty high, and very cold at northwest.

TUESDAY, December 1. Set out early this morning—the sea was pretty rough, but we were in hopes of its becoming more moderate—the wind was west-north-west —Came to a bay where we dined—I was very wet, with the sea washing into the canoe; for we now keep upon the main ocean—Crossed the bay, when I landed, and walked along the beach; for the canoe was too deep loaded—Had not gone above two miles, when I came to a rivulet—the canoe could not come ashore, the surf was so great—I was obliged to wade over—it took me up to the breast—Carried my beaver coat upon my head, and my memorandum book in my month—thought of Julius Caesar—When I got over, ran along the beach to keep myself warm—-Did not proceed above a mile till we found a convenient place for the canoe to land—here the Frenchmen came ashore—We were obliged to stay all night in a very low wet swamp—the wind north—brows very much.

WEDNESDAY December 2. Lay very uncomfortably last night—left our canoe, and went to look for a better lodging place—Walked six miles before we could find a wood, it is such low, marshy land—snows hard—wind north—found out at last a convenient place.

THURSDAY, December 3. Lay better last night than the night before, though I find the want of a blanket—a beaver coat is very well while it continues dry, but once wet, it is intolerable—This morning Rishar and Gautier went to the canoe to fetch supplies, and see how the surf was—returned in three hours with some bisket and pork, but it continues to snow worse than yesterday, with the wind strong at south-west—Abundance of broken claws of lobsters, with other shell-fish, were thrown upon the beach in the late stormy weather—the snow incommodes us in our tent very much—the wind has changed—it was with much persuasion I could get the Frenchmen to stay all day, to see what kind of weather it would be—their patience is wore put—they are determined to return.

FRIDAY, December 4. This morning the Frenchmen went for the canoe—it proved a calm morning—proceeded on our way—I walked upon the beach—When we came to a bay or a river, they took me into the canoe, and ferried me over—Came this day five leagues—we are now fifteen leagues from Merrimichi, at a river called by the Indians Chishibouwack, not above six feet deep—they say it runs a good way up the country—Still continues low good land, very improveable; this will certainly be the granary of North America, when it comes to be well peopled—There have been Indians here, but they are gone up the country—their wigwhams are still standing.

SATURDAY, December 5. The night proved very calm; but at six o’cloek in the morning the wind began to blow at north-east; soon after, it snowed, and continued so very violently all day—Left our canoe, and went up the creek about a mile; crossed a small river upon the ice to a deserted house of the French—we found the Indians had been here, but they were gone up the river a hunting—We found the head of a dog smoaked whole, the hair singed off, but the teeth and tongue standing:—The Indians, when they make a great feast, kill two or three dogs, which they hold as a high treat—at such times they have a grand dance.

SUNDAY, December 6. The Frenchmen tell me, that Captain M’Kenzie went from Nipisiquid in good time; for that the chief of the Nipisiquid Indians was gone up to Joseph Glaud, the chief of the Ristigouch Indians, to persuade him to come down with his Indians; and if Captain M’Kenzie had staid five days longer, no Frenchman would have been removed, for that the Indians would have engaged our troops. This story, however improbable. I understand had been propagated on board my brig—I had found something had frightened the Captain out of his senses, but did not understand what it was before—This morning pleasant, the wind had changed to the south, but the sea was too great to proceed—about ten o’clock, the wind came strong at south-west—blows a perfect hurricane; and what added to our distress when we went to pass to our canoe the way we had come, we found the ice was thawed, so that we could not pass the river—We went two miles np the river, but could not pass over—returned to our hut— Gautier killed an Indian dog, which was loitering about the hut, in case we could not get to our provision, that it might be a reserve—put the dried head of the dog in my pocket, in case of extremity—fasted all day—Could not help thinking of that line of Dr. Young “Poor pensioners on the bounties of an hour.”

MONDAY, December 7. This morning the Frenchmen tried to get over the ice, but it broke in with them—then they made a raft, and got over nearer the sea—About ten o’clock they came with the canoe; and as soon as I had eat, or rather devoured, a salt pork pasty, which the Frenchwomen had made me for my travelling store, we set off, and the day proved a very fine one—I walked all the way, unless when we came to rivers, deep bays, or rocks — Four leagues from where we set off, came to a river, called by the Indians Rishibucto—runs twenty leagues up the country—it is a pretty deep river—Went about two leagues further—here we encamped.

TUESDAY, December 8. The island of St. John appears here very plain—it is about four leagues from hence—a fine low island—the Frenchmen tell me it is near fifty leagues long, and fifteen broad—Six leagues from where we lodged we came to a river called Bucktough—a league further, another large river, called Cockyne—We travelled ten leagues to-day—the country continues flat—trees are chiefly pine, red oak, birch, beech—this last wood burns exceeding well

WEDNESDAY, December 9. This proved a fine morning—When we had got two leagues, came to a large river, called Chedaick—a large bay and an island make two entrances—This is the last large river we have to cross—we found it full of loose ice, which made it exceedingly difficult to get over. There were two rivers of smaller note, which I could not learn the names of. A sea-cow lifted its head out of the water, and came swimming after the canoe—the Frenchmen soon shot it—it had 2 large teeth out of water in the upper jaw pointing downwards—these serve for defence, to climb rocks with, &c.—full grown sea-cow will make two barrels of oil in autumn, when they are fattest—they are easily killed with a ball—very unwieldy—much like Anson’s sea-lions—I believe of the same species—this was larger than an ox—The French use the oil of these creatures to their meat—it is to me as rank as seal oil—The most noted places for their present resort, are the islands of Magdelines, and Point Miscou; but the sea-cows wild fowl, Indians, and beaver, will leave us as we settle in the country, and go to places less frequented—Came this day about nine leagues—I walked all the way, excepting crossing the rivers, &c.

THURSDAY, December 10. Last night frosty—the moon shone very bright when we went to sleep; but when we awoke this morning, it was a violent storm at east—Staid in the cabin all day.

FRIDAY, December 11. This mornings though the wind was pretty high, set off in our canoe—passed one small river that runs to the southward—about four leagues from the place we lodged, came to another small river—here we left our canoe, and set out with our baggage to cross the country— they call it ten miles to Bay Verte by land—Going up the river, the ice broke in with the two Frenchmen—they had been obliged to leave their keg of brandy, and had hugged it so close at parting, that they were a little light-headed—Returned back to our canoe in order to lodge there all night.

SATURDAY, December 12. Set out this morning before day—went up a creek about a mile, and then took to the woods—There had fallen about a foot deep of snow, and it was froze over at top, so as to make it bear sometimes, and break in at others, with a prodigious number of fallen trees and brooks to cross, with broken wood and thick underbrush, made it almost impassable; these, with about twenty weight of baggage and a heavy beaver coat I had to carry, made it too much for me—the Frenchmen were much heavier loaded— Sometimes we were obliged to creep on our hands and knees, under fallen trees, to climb over others; branches and stumps running into my legs and face, made it bad beyond description.— thought I was very unfit to travel; to creep, my temper will not allow me, and to climb does not seem my talent, but to walk upright is my great desire; yet with that method, here, as in the great wood of worldly affairs, you cannot get forward—if you would advance, you must sometimes stoop, sometimes ambitiously climb, sometimes dirty yourself in nasty ways: but at all events, drive thro’ thick and thin. Thus moralizing, and stumbling on, push’d forward, with hopes of soon getting out of my difficulties; very often falling and sometimes fainting, I arrived at Bay Verte, about an hour after sun-set, almost fatigued to death— it would not have been possible for me to have gone half-a-mile farther—Found here some of the French vessels which Captain M’Kenzie had brought off with him, and a party of Highlanders, under a Serjeant’s command. The fort here is destroyed, and the inhabitants removed—there has been a very pretty village here— the French had a communication from this place with the island St. John, Louisbourg, &c.—Lay all night in the block-house, or rather guard-house the English are building.

SUNDAY, December 13. Was very thankful to the almighty Disposer of events, for leading me to a place of safety, and giving me strength and resolution to undergo the different trials I have been exercised with for these six weeks passed—set out to go to Fort Cumberland, called by the French Chignecto—this isthmus is fifteen miles across—pretty good road—Got a soldier to carry my baggage—reached it about sun-set—Fort Cumberland is situated at the top of the bay of Fundy, to the westward—there are two companies of soldiers here; one of Highlanders, another of Rangers—Captain M’Kenzie, of the Highlanders, is gone to Halifax—the commanding officer of the Rangers is Captain Danks. To my great disappointment a vessel had sailed for Boston about a week before, and the bay is now frozen np, which will occasion my stay here some time—So far the journal.

Here ends the first part of Smethnrst’s book. The second part is of much less interest, particularly to New Brunswick readers…. [W.F. Ganong]

Written by johnwood1946

April 27, 2016 at 9:15 AM

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Changes Nova Scotia Underwent from Discovery to 1758 When the First General Assembly met at Halifax

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From the blog at

The article below is from a very old history of Nova Scotia written in 1823 by Thomas Haliburton, and entitled A General Description of Nova Scotia. This excerpt describes the province’s political history up to 1758, and begins with a sentence that appeals to me: “No Part of the British American Settlements, has occasioned so many contests, or has been so often granted and purchased, conquered and ceded as Nova Scotia.”

My only problem with the history is Haliburton’s description of the expulsion of the Acadians. He first appears to justify the event, and then offers regrets for it. This sort of hand-wringing was common, even among people who were writing at an earlier date and were involved in the expulsion.

Charles Lawrence

Charles Lawrence,

First Governor of Nova Scotia, between 1758 and 1761. From Wikipedia

Changes Nova Scotia Underwent from Discovery to 1758 When the First General Assembly met at Halifax

No Part of the British American Settlements, has occasioned so many contests, or has been so often granted and purchased, conquered and ceded as Nova Scotia. It has been several times alternately possessed by the French and English; the former claiming it by priority of possession, the latter by discovery. It was originally regarded by the English as part of Cabot’s discovery of Terra Nova; and was afterwards comprehended within the boundary of a large portion of America called North Virginia. The first settlement of the French in Acadia was made at a very early period, being four years before the smallest hut was erected in Canada. In 1603, Monsieur De Monts was ordered by Henry the fourth of France to explore the country and select a suitable place for settlement. De Monts, after having met with many disasters incident to a Navigation, where there were no charts to direct, and where the shoals, banks and harbours were totally unknown, completed his examination of the eastern, southern, and western coasts. Instead of fixing towards the east of the peninsula, where the emigrants would have had larger seas, and easy navigation, and an excellent cod fishery, he chose a small bay, afterwards called the French Bay, which had none of these advantages. It has been said, that he was induced by the beauty of Port Royal, where a thousand ships may ride in safety from every wind, where there is an excellent bottom, at all times four or five fathom of water, and eighteen at the entrance. It is most probable that he was led to choose this situation, from its vicinity to the countries abounding in furs. This conjecture is confirmed by the following circumstance; that the first monopolisers took the utmost pains to divert the attention of their countrymen, whom restlessness or necessity brought into these regions, from clearing the woods, breeding cattle, fishing, and from every kind of culture, choosing rather to engage the industry of these adventurers, in hunting or in trading with the savages. Port Royal therefore, since called Annapolis, soon became the Capital of all the French settlements in the Province. In these voyages of discovery, the object pursued by the Sovereign was dominion, but gain stimulated the subjects. As compensation for this hazardous enterprise, and important service, the King of France made a grant to De Monts, of all the country from the 40th to the 46th degree of northern latitude. This Territory had the general appellation of New France, or Acadia, and is the same which was afterwards called Nova Scotia, comprehending the present Province of that name, New Brunswick, and Cape Breton. The French however were prevented by the English settlers from crossing the Kenebec River. Thus by the extreme points of national strength and exertion, a boundary seemed to be settled, not as the line of peace and concord, but as the place of future controversies. All the lands from the river Kenebec to the Narragansett country, being granted to the company called the Council for the affairs of New England, and being reduced to possession under the grants of that company, assumed the name of New England by common consent. It is singular that the offspring of these two rival nations, no longer acknowledged their former patrons. New France belongs to Great Britain and New England is an independent state. The French have preserved in their records a great variety of incidents, which took place while they were in the progress of discovering and settling Acadia. A minute detail of all these events, so similar to the early history of most of the American Colonies, would not be interesting to every reader, and from the circumstantial detail, with which they are related, would far exceed the limits of this chapter, which is designed, rather as a sketch of the political changes of the country, than a history of its settlement. In 1618, Sir Samuel Argall, then Governor of Virginia, made a cruising voyage along the coast, as far north as Cape Cod. There he was informed of De Monts’ Fort at Port Royal, in the south-west part of Acadia, which he soon afterwards conquered and destroyed. About this period. Sir Ferdinand Gorges, President of the New England Company, recommended to Sir William Alexander, to procure from the English Government a particular grant of New France, or of a portion of that country to the northward of their Patent. Sir William, accordingly applied, and obtained it of King James the first in 1621, and named the territory contained in his grant Nova Scotia. The next year he sent a ship with passengers to settle there, but it being late in the autumn, they were compelled to winter in Newfoundland, and to wait until the next season, before they could get away. As soon as the weather permitted they set sail, and landed in what they afterwards called Luke’s Bay. Owing to various misfortunes and difficulties, this attempt to colonize the country proved abortive. Sir William Alexander, but little affected by the disasters attending this expectation, published a very flattering description of the country, on his return to Europe, and placed it in so favourable a view, that his Sovereign created a new order, called the Knights of Nova Scotia, to facilitate its plantation. He attempted to make another settlement in 1630, but out of seventy Scotchmen whom he had sent to Port Royal, thirty died during the following winter, for want of accommodation. There was afterwards another grant made of the northern part of this country to Sir David Kirk, which was purchased by the king of France for the sum of £5000. Sir William, sometime afterwards, sold his property to Claude De La Tour, a French Nobleman. By the treaty of St. Germains in 1632, Acadia was relinquished by the English, and La Tour became dependent on the French government. Wishing to strengthen his title, La Tour obtained a grant from the king of France, of the bay and river St. Croix, the islands and lands adjacent, twelve leagues upon the sea, and twenty leagues into the land: also a grant of the Isle of Sables; another of ten leagues upon the sea, and| ten into the land, at La Have; another at Port Royal of the same extent; and one at Menis; with all the adjacent islands included in each grant.

The French being now in possession, by purchase and treaty, re-established their former settlements with great activity, and sent out a considerable number of emigrants with very ample equipments. A strong fort was erected at La Have, and the fortifications at Port Royal were enlarged and rebuilt. A person by the name of Daunley, having obtained a very extensive grant of Acadia from the French government, and a commission of commander in chief over the country, set sail from France with a great force, and a large amount of property, in merchandise, suitable for the trade with the Indians. Daunley had scarcely arrived there, when La Tour, considering him an intruder upon his possessions, declared war against him. Various were the battles and skirmishes between these two petty territorial lords, and various the success. La Tour generally proved the weaker, and was finally routed, his fort destroyed, and all his property to the amount of £10,000 carried off by his successor rival. Daunley died soon after his victory, and La Tour married his widow, and thereby became reinvested with the possession and title of Nova Scotia.

Oliver Cromwell in 1654, sent a force under the command of a Major Sedjeworth to dislodge the French from Port Royal, which he effected, and took possession of the whole country for the British government. After this conquest, Charles De St. Estina or Estienne, son and heir to Claude De La Tour, went to England, and on making out his title to Nova Scotia, under Sir William Alexander, then Earl of Stirling, Cromwell allowed his claim. On the twentieth of September 1656, St. Estina sold and conveyed his property in the said country to Sir Thomas Temple and William Browne, who divided their purchase by deed of partition. Sir Thomas afterwards, in the year 1662, obtained a patent for it from the crown, not only for the territory, but for the government thereof, during his natural life, and the sole monopoly of the fishery and trade with the Indians. He did not however long continue to enjoy his property and privileges, for by the treaty of Breda in 1667, this country was again ceded to the French, and in 1670 the possession was delivered to them by Sir Thomas pursuant to the said treaty, and in obedience to the express orders of the Earl of Arlington, then secretary of state. The sum of £16,200 was stipulated to be paid him, in recompense for his disbursements in building forts, maintaining garrisons, and for debts due him from the natives, but this amount was never paid to him by the court of France. In 1690, on the 28th of April, Sir William Phipps, by order of the Massachusetts government, fitted out an expedition for the reduction of this country, which he effected without much loss, and having appointed a Governor he returned to New England, on the 30th of May following. The English remained masters of Acadia till 1697, when, by the treaty, of Ryswick, it was once more restored to the French. By this treaty the French and English attempted to establish the boundary line between New England and Acadia. The eastern boundary of the British dominions was fixed at the river St. Croix, but still it remained a question which of two rivers this was. The French contended that the river now lying on the east side of the settlement of St. Andrews, called Makagadawick, was the boundary; but the English contended for a large and respectable stream, twenty league east of that, which is now called the St. John. The truth was that when the French landed on the west bank of what is now the Bay of Fundy, they erected a cross on the land, and gave the whole country the name of the Holy Cross. The rivers had no name at that time, but such as were expressed in the Indian language, and therefore among the Europeans, they took the general name of the country and were all called St. Croix. This subject has since proved a fruitful source of dissention. In 1710, Nava Scotia was again reconquered by the forces of Her Britannic Majesty Queen Anne, sent from New England under the command of General Nicholson, and by the treaty of Utrecht in 1712, it was finally ceded and secured to Great Britain, and it has for ever since continued in her possession. By that event, the court of Versailles is forever deprived of a colony, of which it had never known the value. The Acadians, who in submitting to a new yoke, had sworn never to bear arms against their former standards, were called the French neutrals. There were twelve or thirteen hundred of them settled in the capital, the rest were dispersed in the neighbour country. No magistrate was ever set over them, and they were never acquainted with the laws of England. No rents or taxes of any kind were exacted from them. Their former sovereign had relinquished and forgot them, and their new one was a total stranger to them. From this period, Annapolis continued to be the capital of the country until 1749, when the seat of government was removed to Halifax. At this time Great Britain perceived of what consequence the possession of Acadia might be to her commerce. The peace, which necessarily left a great number of men without employment, furnished opportunity, by the disbanding of the troops, for peopling and cultivating the vast and fertile territory. The British ministry offered particular advantages to all who would go over and settle there. They engaged to advance, or reimburse the expenses of passage, to build houses, to furnish all the necessary instruments for fishing or agriculture, and to defray the expenses of subsistence for the first year. They also offered grants of land, the quantity of which was apportioned, according to the rank or family of the emigrant. These encouragements determined 3,750 persons, in the month of May 1749, to emigrate to Nova Scotia. The new colony was intended to form an establishment to the south-east of Nova Scotia, in a place which the Indians had formerly called Chebucto, but the English Halifax. This situation was preferred to several others, where the soil was better, for the sake of establishing in its neighbourhood an excellent cod fishery, and fortifying one of the best harbours in America. But as it was the spot most favourable for the chase, the English were obliged to dispute the possession with the Mickmac [sic] Indians, who mostly frequented it. These savages, instigated, as was supposed, by the French neutrals, defended with obstinacy the territory they held from nature, and it was not until after very great losses, that the English drove them out of their former hunting grounds. Halifax will always continue to be the principal place of the Province, an advantage it owes to the encouragement lavished upon it by the mother country. The sum expended upon, this settlement for several years amounted to more than £3937 10 0 per annum. Such favours were not ill bestowed upon a place, which from its situation, is the natural rendezvous of both the land and sea forces, which Great Britain is obliged to maintain there, as well for the defence of her fisheries, and the protection of the West India Islands, and for the purpose of supporting her connections with the Canadas. About this time, considerable agitation was discovered among the neutral French, the hostility of the Indians continued unabashed, and repeated outrages were committed by their joint exertions upon the English settlers. The French, whose manners were so simple, and who enjoyed such liberty, entertained serious apprehensions, that their independence would be materially affected or abridged, by the introduction of these new colonists. To this alarm they added the fear of having their religion endangered. Their Priests, either heated by their own enthusiasm, or secretly instigated by the Governors of Canada, persuaded them to credit everything they chose to suggest against the English, whom they called heretics. This word, which has so powerful an influence on deluded minds, impelled some to secret acts of violence, and determined others to quit their habitations, and remove to Canada, where they were offered lands. The constant state of irritation in which they kept the Indians, and the extreme aversion which they manifested to the English, induced the British government to adopt the severe resolution of sending them out of the country under the pretext of exacting a renewal of the oath, which they had taken at the time of their becoming British subjects, they assembled a number of  them together at different posts, and when they had secured them, immediately embarked them on board of ships, which conveyed them to Mississippi and Louisiana. Transporting them like convicts to a distant clime was perhaps unnecessary, and certainly injurious to these unfortunate people. Had more conciliatory measures been used, a large, industrious and useful population might have been saved to the country. In 1784, the territory was divided into three governments, and all that country to the north-west of fort Cumberland was created a distinct province, and called New Brunswick. Cape Breton was also made a separate government.

Following is a list of the Governors of Nova Scotia since 1758, at which time the first General Assembly of the Province met at Halifax: 1758 Charles Lawrence, Esquire, Governor, and Robt. Monkton, Lieutenant Governor; 1761 Jonathan Belcher; 1763 Montague Wilmott; 1766 Benjamin Green, Administrator; 1766 Michael Francklin; 1767 Lord William Campbell; 1767 Michael Francklin, (absente Campbell); 1769 Lord Wm. Campbell; 1772 Michael Francklin, (absente Campbell); 1773 Francis Legge, Esquire; 1776 Marriot Arbuthnot; 1779 Sir Richard Hughes; 1781 Sir Andrew Hammond; 1784 John Parr; 1792 Sir John Wentworth; 1808 Sir Geo. Provost; 1812 Sir John C. Sherbrooke; 1817 The Right Hon. Geo. Earl of Dalhousie; 1820 Sir James Kempt.

Written by johnwood1946

April 20, 2016 at 8:58 AM

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The Disastrous Winter on St. Croix Island, 1604-05, and Other Adventures

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From the blog at

The Disastrous Winter on St. Croix Island, 1604-05, and Other Adventures

Depiction Champlain

A depiction of Champlain trading with the Indians,

by Charles Jefferys, Library and Archives Canada

Following is a description of the earliest detailed exploration of the Maritime Provinces and New England, in 1604-05, which is from The Voyages of Samuel de Champlain, which was first published in 1613. The work was translated into English by Charles Pomeroy Otis and re-published in Boston in 1880. This part of The Voyages… includes an account of the disastrous winter-long stay on St. Croix Island.

A Timeline:

Columbus was the first European to visit the Americas, in 1492, of course. But that sailing was to the Caribbean, while we are more interested in the northern parts of America. John Cabot is therefore credited with being the first European to explore our region, in 1497. It is not certain where Cabot toured, but it was somewhere between Newfoundland and Cape Breton; generally the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Fishermen and fur traders soon began to appear along the coast but there are few accounts of them. Business competitiveness likely kept them quiet about their travels.

The next major explorer was Jacques Cartier, who may have accompanied another explorer to eastern Canada in 1524, but who certainly explored the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the St. Lawrence River in 1534 and 1535. Roberval retraced some of Cartier’s tour in 1541.

There was then a gap in the chronicle of exploration, when only unnamed fishermen and fur traders were present for most of the time. The Marquis de la Roche visited the east coast of Nova Scotia, at least, in 1598, but was driven off by hard weather conditions. Similarly, the Sieur de Saint Chauvin visited Tadoussac and traded furs in 1599, but nothing permanent in the way of settlement ensued.

That brings us to Champlain, the subject of this blog posting. He was a passenger on a voyage to the already known areas of Tadoussac and Trois Rivières in 1603 and is remembered as the expedition’s geographer, whether or not he actually held that title. His more famous voyage of 1604-05 is described below, including the disastrous winter-long stay on St. Croix Island where he was second in command to Sieur De Monts.

The Disastrous Winter on St. Croix Island, 1604-05, and Other Adventures

 [Spelling is as found. The translator’s use of modern place names is also noted.]

De Monts, with Champlain and the other noblemen, left Havre de Grâce on the 7th April, 1604, while Pont Gravé, with the other vessel, followed three days later, to rendezvous at Canseau. Taking a more southerly course than he had originally intended, De Monts came in sight of La Hève on the 8th of May, and on the 12th entered Liverpool harbor, where he found Captain Rossignol carrying on a contraband trade in furs with the Indians, whom he arrested, and confiscated his vessel.

The next day they anchored at Port Mouton, where they lingered three or four weeks, awaiting news from Pont Gravé, who had in the meantime arrived at Canseau, the rendezvous agreed upon before leaving France. Pont Gravé had there discovered several Basque ships engaged in the fur trade. Taking possession of them, he sent their masters to De Monts. The ships were subsequently confiscated and sent to Rochelle.

Captain Fouques was despatched to Canseau in the vessel which had been taken from Rossignol, to bring forward the supplies which had been brought over by Pont Gravé.

Having transshipped the provisions intended for the colony, Pont Gravé proceeded through the Straits of Canseau up the St. Lawrence, to trade with the Indians, upon the profits of which the company relied largely for replenishing their treasury.

In the meantime Champlain was sent in a barque of eight tons, with the secretary Sieur Ralleau, Mr. Simon, the miner, and ten men, to reconnoitre the coast towards the west. Sailing along the shore, touching at numerous points, doubling Cape Sable, he entered the Bay of Fundy, and after exploring St. Mary’s Bay, and discovering several mines of both silver and iron, returned to Port Mouton and made to De Monts a minute and careful report.

De Monts immediately weighed anchor and sailed for the Bay of St. Mary, where he left his vessel, and, with Champlain, the miner, and some others, proceeded to explore the Bay of Fundy. They entered and examined Annapolis harbor, coasted along the western shores of Nova Scotia, touching at the Bay of Mines, passing over to New Brunswick, skirting its whole southeastern coast, entering the harbor of St. John, and finally penetrating Passamaquoddy Bay as far as the mouth of the river St. Croix, and fixed upon De Monts’s Island [of this island Champlain says: “This place was named by Sieur De Monts the Island of St. Croix”] as the seat of their colony. The vessel at St. Mary’s with the colonists was ordered to join them, and immediately active measures were taken for laying out gardens, erecting dwellings and storehouses, and all the necessary preparations for the coming winter. Champlain was commissioned to design and lay out the town, if so it could be called.

When the work was somewhat advanced, he was sent in a barque of five or six tons, manned with nine sailors, to search for a mine of pure copper, which an Indian named Messamöuet had assured them he could point out to them on the coast towards the river St. John. Some twenty-five miles from the river St. Croix, they found a mine yielding eighteen per cent, as estimated by the miner; but they did not discover any pure copper, as they had hoped.

On the last day of August, 1604, the vessel which had brought out the colony, together with that which had been taken from Rossignol, took their departure for the shores of France. In it sailed Poutrincourt, Ralleau the secretary of De Monts, and Captain Rossignol.

From the moment of his arrival on the coast of America, Champlain employed his leisure hours in making sketches and drawings of the most important rivers, harbors, and Indian settlements which they had visited.

While the little colony at De Monts’s Island was active in getting its appointments arranged and settled, De Monts wisely determined, though he could not accompany it himself, nevertheless to send out an expedition during the mild days of autumn, to explore the region still further to the south, then called by the Indians Norumbegue. Greatly to the satisfaction of Champlain, he was personally charged with this important expedition. He set out on the 2d of September, in a barque of seventeen or eighteen tons, with twelve sailors and two Indian guides. The inevitable fogs of that region detained them nearly a fortnight before they were able to leave the banks of Passamaquoddy. Passing along the rugged shores of Maine, with its endless chain of islands rising one after another into view, which they called the Ranges, they at length came to the ancient Pemetiq, lying close in to the shore, having the appearance at lea of seven or eight mountains drawn together and springing from the same base. This Champlain named Monts Desérts, which we have anglicized into Mount Desert, an appellation which has survived the vicissitudes of two hundred and seventy-five years, and now that the island, with its salubrious air and cool shades, its bold and picturesque scenery, is attracting thousands from the great cities during the heats of summer, the name is likely to abide far down into a distant and indefinite future.

Leaving Mount Desert, winding their way among numerous islands, taking a northerly direction, they soon entered the Penobscot, known by the early navigators as the river Norumbegue. They proceeded up the river as far as the mouth of an affluent now known as the Kenduskeag, which was then called, or rather the place where it made a junction with the Penobscot was called by the natives, Kadesquit, situated at the head of tide-water, near the present site of the city of Bangor. The falls above the city intercepted their further progress. The river banks about the harbor were fringed with a luxurious growth of forest trees. On one side, lofty pines reared their gray trunks, forming a natural palisade along the shore. On the other, massive oaks alone were to be seen, lifting their sturdy branches to the skies, gathered into clumps or stretching out into long lines, as if a landscape gardener had planted them to please the eye and gratify the taste. An exploration revealed the whole surrounding region clothed in a similar wild and primitive beauty.

After a leisurely survey of the country, they returned to the mouth of the river. Contrary to what might have been expected, Champlain found scarcely any inhabitants dwelling on the borders of the Penobscot. Here and there they saw a few deserted wigwams, which were the only marks of human occupation. At the mouth of the river, on the borders of Penobscot Bay, the native inhabitants were numerous. They were of a friendly disposition, and gave their visitors a cordial welcome, readily entered into negotiations for the sale of beaver skins, and the two parties naturally agreed to maintain a friendly intercourse in the future.

Having obtained from the Indians some valuable information as to the source of the Penobscot, and observed their mode of life, which did not differ from that which they had seen still further east, Champlain departed on the 20th of September, directing his course towards the Kennebec. But, encountering bad weather, he found it necessary to take shelter under the lee of the island of Monhegan.

After sailing three or four leagues farther, finding that his provisions would not warrant the continuance of the voyage, he determined, on the 23d of September, to return to the settlement at Saint Croix, or what is now known as De Monts’s Island, where they arrived on the 2d day of October, 1604.

De Mont’s Island, having an area of not more than six or seven acres, is situated in the river Saint Croix, midway between its opposite shores, directly upon the dividing line between the townships of Calais and Robinston in the State of Maine. At the northern end of the island, the buildings of the settlement were clustered together in the form of a quadrangle with an open court in the centre. First came the magazine and lodgings of the soldiers, then the mansion of the governor, De Monts, surmounted by the colors of France. Houses for Champlain and the other gentlemen, for the curé, the artisans and workmen, filled up and completed the quadrangle. Below the houses, gardens were laid out for the several gentlemen, and at the southern extremity of the island cannon were mounted for protection against a sudden assault.

In the ample forests of Maine or New Brunswick, rich in oak and maple and pine, abounding in deer, partridge, and other wild game, watered by crystal fountains springing from every acre of the soil, we naturally picture for our colonists a winter of robust health, physical comfort, and social enjoyment. The little island which they had chosen was indeed a charming spot in a summer’s day, but we can hardly comprehend in what view it could have been regarded as suitable for a colonial plantation. In space it was wholly inadequate; it was destitute of wood and fresh water, and its soil was sandy and unproductive. In fixing the location of their settlement and in the construction of their houses, it is obvious that they had entirely misapprehended the character of the climate. While the latitude was nearly the same, the temperature was far more rigorous than that of the sunny France which they had left. The snow began to fall on the 6th of October. On the 3d of December the ice was seen floating on the surface of the water. As the season advanced, and the tide came and went, huge floes of ice, day after day, swept by the island, rendering it impracticable to navigate the river or pass over to the mainland. They were therefore imprisoned in their own home. Thus cut off from the game with which the neighboring forests abounded, they were compelled to subsist almost exclusively upon salted meats. Nearly all the forest: trees on the island had been used in the construction of their houses, and they had consequently but a meagre supply of fuel to resist the chilling winds and penetrating frosts. For fresh water, their only reliance was upon melted snow and ice. Their storehouse had not been furnished with a cellar, and the frost left nothing untouched; even cider was dispensed in solid blocks. To crown the gloom and wretchedness of their situation, the colony was visited with disease of a virulent and fatal character. As the malady was beyond the knowledge, so it baffled the skill of the surgeons. They called it mal de la terre. Of the seventy-nine persons, composing the whole number of the colony, thirty-five died, and twenty others were brought to the verge of the grave. In May, having been liberated from the baleful influence of their winter prison and revived by the genial warmth of the vernal sun and by the fresh meats obtained from the savages [sic], the disease abated, and the survivors gradually gained their strength.

Disheartened by the bitter experiences of the winter, the governor, having fully determined to abandon his present establishment, ordered two boats to be constructed, one of fifteen and the other of seven tons, in which to transport his colony to Gaspé, in case he received no supplies from France, with the hope of obtaining a passage home in some of the fishing vessels on that coast. But from this disagreeable alternative he was happily relieved. On the 15th of June, 1605, Pont Gravé arrived, to the great joy of the little colony, with all needed supplies. The purpose of returning to France was at once abandoned, and, as no time was to be lost, on the 18th of the same month, De Monts, Champlain, several gentlemen, twenty sailors, two Indians, Panounias and his wife, set sail for the purpose of discovering a more eligible site for his colony somewhere on the shores of the present New England. Passing slowly along the coast, with which Champlain was already familiar, and consequently without extensive explorations, they at length reached the waters of the Kennebec, where the survey of the previous year had terminated and that of the present was about to begin.

On the 5th of July, they entered the Kennebec, and, bearing to the right, passed through Back River, grazing their barque on the rocks in the narrow channel, and then sweeping down round the southern point of Jerremisquam Island, or Westport, they ascended along its eastern shores till they came near the present site of Wiscasset, from whence they returned on the western side of the island, through Monseag Bay, and threading the narrow passage between Arrowsick and Woolwich, called the Upper Hell-gate, and again entering the Kennebec, they finally reached Merrymeeting Bay. Lingering here but a short time, they returned through the Sagadahock, or lower Kennebec, to the mouth of the river.

This exploration did not yield to the voyagers any very interesting or important results. Several friendly interviews were held with the savages at different points along the route. Near the head waters of the Sheepscot, probably in Wiscasset Bay, they had an interview, an interesting and joyous meeting, with the chief Manthoumerme and his twenty five or thirty followers, with whom they exchanged tokens of friendship. Along the shores of the Sheepscot their attention was attracted by several pleasant streams and fine expanses of meadow; but the soil observed on this expedition generally, and specially on the Sagadahock, or lower Kennebec, was rough and barren, and offered, in the judgment of De Monts and Champlain, no eligible site for a new settlement.

Proceeding, therefore, on their voyage, they struck directly across Casco Bay, not attempting, in their ignorance, to enter the fine harbor of Portland. On the 9th of July, they made the bay that stretches from Cape Elizabeth to Fletcher’s Neck, and anchored under the lee of Stratton Island, directly in fight of Old Orchard Beach, now a famous watering place during the summer months.

The savages having seen the little French barque approaching in the distance, had built fires to attract its attention, and came down upon the shore at Front’s Neck, formerly known as Black Point, in large numbers, indicating their friendliness by lively demonstrations of joy. From this anchorage, while awaiting the influx of the tide to enable them to pass over the bar and enter a river which they saw flowing into the bay, De Monts paid a visit to Richmond’s Island, about four miles distant, with which he was greatly delighted, as he found it richly studded with oak and hickory, whose bending branches were wreathed with luxuriant grapevines loaded with green clusters of unripe fruit. In honor of the god of wine, they gave to the island the classic name of Bacchus. At full tide they passed over the bar and cast anchor within the channel of the Saco.

The Indians whom they found here were called Almouchiquois, and differed in many respects from any which they had seen before, from the Sourequois of Nova Scotia and the Etechemins of the northern part of Maine and New Brunswick. They spoke a different language, and, unlike their neighbors on the east, did not subsist mainly by the chase, but upon the products of the soil, supplemented by fish, which were plentiful and of excellent quality, and which they took with facility about the mouth of the river. De Monts and Champlain made an excursion upon the shore, where their eyes were refreshed by fields of waving corn, and gardens of squashes, beans, and pumpkins, which were then bursting into flower. Here they saw in cultivation the rank narcotic petun, or tobacco just beginning to spread out its broad velvet leaves to the sun, the sole luxury of savage life. The forests were thinly wooded, but were nevertheless rich in primitive oak, in lofty ash and elm, and in the more humble and sturdy beech. As on Richmond’s Island so here, along the bank of the river they found grapes in luxurious growth, from which the sailors busied themselves in making verjuice, a delicious beverage in the meridian heats of a July sun. The natives were gentle and amiable, graceful in figure, agile in movement, and exhibited unusual taste, dressing their hair in a variety of twists and braids, intertwined with ornamental feathers.

Champlain observed their method of cultivating Indian corn, which the experience of two hundred and seventy-five years has in no essential point improved or even changed. They planted three or four seeds in hills three feet apart, and heaped the earth about them, and kept the soil clear of weeds. Such is the method of the successful New England farmer today. The experience of the savage had taught him how many individuals of the rank plant could occupy prolifically a given area, how the soil must be gathered about the roots to sustain the heavy stock, and that there must be no rival near it to draw away the nutriment on which the voracious plant feeds and grows. Civilization has invented implements to facilitate the processes of culture, but the observation of the savage had led him to a knowledge of all that is absolutely necessary to ensure a prolific harvest.

After lingering two days at Saco, our explorers proceeded on their voyage. When they had advanced not more than twenty miles, driven by a fierce wind, they were forced to cast anchor near the salt marshes of Wells. Having been driven by Cape Porpoise, on the subsidence of the wind, they returned to it, reconnoitred its harbor and adjacent islands, together with Little River, a few miles still further to the east. The shores were lined all along with nut-trees and grapevines. The islands about Cape Porpoise were matted all over with wild currants, so that the eye could scarcely discern anything else. Attracted doubtless by this fruit, clouds of wild pigeons had assembled there, and were having a midsummer’s festival, fearless of the treacherous snare or the hunter’s deadly aim. Large numbers of them were taken, which added a coveted luxury to the not over-stocked larder of the little French barque.

On the 15th of July, De Monts and his party left Cape Porpoise, keeping in and following closely the sinuosities of the shore. They saw no savages during the day, nor any evidences of any, except a rising smoke, which they approached, but found to be a lone beacon, without any surroundings of human life. Those who had kindled the fire had doubtless concealed themselves, or had fled in dismay. Possibly they had never seen a ship under sail. The fishermen who frequented our northern coast rarely came into these waters, and the little craft of our voyagers, moving without oars or any apparent human aid, seemed doubtless to them a monster gliding upon the wings of the wind. At the setting of the sun they were near the flat and sandy coast, now known as Wallace’s Sands. They sought in vain for a roadstead where they might anchor safely for the night. When they were opposite to Little Boar’s Head, with the Isles of Shoals directly east of them, and the reflected rays of the sun were still throwing their light upon the waters, they saw in the distance the dim outline of Cape Anne, whither they directed their course, and, before morning, came to anchor near its eastern extremity, in sixteen fathoms of water. Near them were the three well-known islands at the apex of the cape, covered with forest trees, and the woodless cluster of rocks, now called the Savages, a little further from the shore.

The next morning five or six Indians timidly approached them in a canoe, and then retired and set up a dance on the shore, as a token of friendly greeting. Armed with crayon and drawing paper, Champlain was despatched to seek from the natives some important geographical information. Dispensing knives and biscuit as a friendly invitation, the savages gathered about him, assured by their gifts, when he proceeded to impart to them their first lesson in topographical drawing. He pictured to them the bay on the north side of Cape Anne, which he had just traversed, and signifying to them that he desired to know the course of the shore on the south, they immediately gave him an example of their apt scholarship by drawing with the same crayon an accurate outline of Massachusetts Bay, and finished up Champlain’s own sketch by introducing the Merrimac River, which, not having been seen, owing to the presence of Plum Island, which stretches like a curtain before its mouth, he had omitted to portray. The intelligent natives volunteered a bit of history. By placing six pebbles at equal distances, they intimated that Massachusetts Bay was occupied by six tribes, and governed by as many chiefs. He learned from them, likewise, that the inhabitants of this region subsided by agriculture, as did those at the mouth of the Saco, and that they were very numerous.

Leaving Cape Anne on Saturday, the 16th of July, De Monts entered Massachusetts Bay, sailed into Boston harbor, and anchored on the western side of Noddle’s Island, now better known as East Boston. In passing into the bay, they observed large patches of cleared land, and many fields of waving corn both upon the islands and the mainland. The water and the islands, the open fields and lofty forest trees, presented fine contrasts, and rendered the scenery attractive and beautiful. Here for the first time Champlain observed the log canoe. It was a clumsy though serviceable boat in still waters, nevertheless unstable and dangerous in unskilful hands. They saw, issuing into the bay, a large river, coming from the west, which they named River du Guast, in honor of Pierre du Guast, Sieur de Monts, the patentee of La Cadie, and the patron and director of this expedition. This was Charles River, seen, evidently just at its confluence with the Mystic.

On Sunday, the 17th of July, 1605, they left Boston harbor, threading their way among the islands, passing leisurely along the south shore, rounding Point Allerton on the peninsula of Nantucket, gliding along; near Cohasset and Scituate, and finally cast anchor at Brant Point, upon the southern borders of Marthfield. When they left the harbor of Boston, the islands and mainland were swarming with the native population. The Indians were, naturally enough, intensely interested in this visit of the little French barque. It may have been the first that had ever made its appearance in the bay. Its size was many times greater than any watercraft of their own. Spreading its white wings and gliding silently away without oarsmen, it filled them with surprise and admiration. The whole population was astir. The cornfields and fishing stations were deserted. Every canoe was manned, and a flotilla of their tiny craft came to attend, honor, and speed the parting guests, experiencing, doubtless, a sense of relief that they were going, and filled with a painful curiosity to know the meaning of this mysterious visit.

Having passed the night at Brant Point, they had not advanced more than two leagues along a sandy shore dotted with wigwams and gardens, when they were forced to enter a small harbor, to await a more favoring wind. The Indians flocked about them, greeted them with cordiality, and invited them to enter the little river which flows into the harbor, but this they were unable to do, as the tide was low and the depth insufficient. Champlain’s attention was attracted by several canoes in the bay, which had just completed their morning’s work in fishing for cod. The fish were taken with a primitive hook and line, apparently in a manner not very different from that of the present day. The line was made of a filament of bark stripped from the trunk of a tree; the hook was of wood, having a sharp bone, forming a barb, lashed to it with a cord of a grassy fibre, a kind of wild hemp, growing spontaneously in that region. Champlain landed, distributed trinkets among the natives, examined and sketched an outline of the place, which identifies it as Plymouth harbor, which Captain John Smith visited in 1614, and where the Mayflower, still six years later, landed the first permanent colony planted upon New England soil.

After a day at Plymouth, the little barque weighed anchor, swept down Cape Cod Bay, approaching near to the reefs of Billingsgate, describing a complete semicircle, and finally, with some difficulty, doubled the cape, whose white sands they had seen in the distance glittering in the sunlight, and which they appropriately named Cap Blanc. This cape, however, had been visited three years before by Bartholomew Gosnold, and named Cape Cod, which appellation it has retained to the present time. Passing down on the outside of the cape some distance, they came to anchor, sent explorers on shore, who, ascending one of the lofty sandbanks’ which may still be seen there silently resisting the winds and the waves, discovered, further to the south, what is now known as Nauset harbor, entirely surrounded by Indian cabins. The next day, the 20th of July, 1605, they effected an entrance without much difficulty. The bay was spacious, being nine or ten miles in circumference. Along the borders, there were, here and there, cultivated patches, interspersed with dwellings of the natives. The wigwam was cone-shaped, heavily thatched with reeds, having an orifice at the apex for the emission of smoke. In the fields were growing Indian corn, Brazilian beans, pumpkins, radishes, and tobacco; and in the woods were oak and hickory and red cedar. During their stay in the harbor they encountered an easterly storm, which continued four days, so raw and chilling that they were glad to hug their winter cloaks about them on the 22d of July. The natives were friendly and cordial, and entered freely into conversation with Champlain; but, as the language of each party was not understood by the other, the information he obtained from them was mostly by signs, and consequently too general to be historically interesting or important.

The first and only act of hostility by the natives which De Monts and his party had thus far experienced in their explorations on the entire coast occurred in this harbor. Several of the men had come ashore to obtain fresh water. Some of the Indians conceived an uncontrollable desire to capture the copper vessels which they saw in their hands. While one of the men was stooping to dip water from a spring, one of the savages darted upon him and snatched the coveted vessel from his hand. An encounter followed, and, amid showers of arrows and blows, the poor sailor was brutally murdered. The victorious Indian, fleet as the reindeer, escaped with his companions, bearing his prize with him into the depths of the forest. The natives on the shore, who had hitherto shown the greatest friendliness, soon came to De Monts, and by signs disowned any participation in the act, and assured him that the guilty parties belonged far in the interior. Whether this was the truth or a piece of adroit diplomacy, it was nevertheless accepted by De Monts, since punishment could only be administered at the risk of causing the innocent to suffer instead of the guilty.

The young sailor whose earthly career was thus suddenly terminated, whose name even has not come down to us, was doubtless the first European, if we except Thorvald, the Northman, whose mortal remains slumber in the soil of Massachusetts.

As this voyage of discovery had been planned and provisioned for only six weeks, and more than five had already elapsed, on the 25th of July De Monts and his party left Nausett harbor, to join the colony still lingering at St. Croix. In passing the bar, they came near being wrecked, and consequently gave to the harbor the significant appellation of Port de Mallebarre, a name which has not been lost, but nevertheless, like the shifting sands of that region, has floated away from its original moorings, and now adheres to the sandy cape of Monomoy.

On their return voyage, they made a brief stop at Saco, and likewise at the mouth of the Kennebec. At the latter point they had an interview with the sachem, Anassou, who informed them that a ship had been there, and that the men on board her had seized, under color of friendship, and killed five savages belonging to that river. From the description given by Anassou, Champlain was convinced that the ship was English, and subsequent events render it quite certain that it was the “Archangel,” fitted out by the Earl of Southampton and Lord Arundel of Wardour, and commanded by Captain George Weymouth. The design of the expedition was to fix upon an eligible site for a colonial plantation, and, in pursuance of this purpose, Weymouth anchored off Monhegan on the 28th of May, 1605, new style, and, after spending a month in explorations of the region contiguous, left for England on the 26th of June. He had seized and carried away five of the natives, having concealed them in the hold of his ship, and Anassou, under the circumstances, naturally supposed they had been killed. The statement of the sachem, that the natives captured belonged to the river where Champlain then was, namely, the Kennebec, goes far to prove that Weymouth’s explorations were in the Kennebec, or at least in the network of waters then comprehended under that appellation, and not in the Penobscot or in any other river farther east, as some historical writers have supposed.

It would appear that while the French were carefully surveying the coasts of New England, in order to fix upon an eligible site for a permanent colonial settlement, the English were likewise upon the ground, engaged in a similar investigation for the same purpose. From this period onward, for more than a century and a half, there was a perpetual conflict and struggle for territorial possession on the northern coast of America, between these two great nations, sometimes active and violent, and at others subsiding into a semi slumber, but never ceasing until every acre of soil belonging to the French had been transferred to the English by a solemn international compact.

On this exploration, Champlain noticed along the coast from Kennebec to Cape Cod, and described several objects in natural history unknown in Europe, such as the horse-foot crab, the black skimmer, and the wild turkey, the latter two of which have long since ceased to visit this region.

Written by johnwood1946

April 13, 2016 at 8:42 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Missions to the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet in the Early 1800’s

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From the blog at

Last week, this blog presented some notes written by Edward Winslow in the early 1800’s about New Brunswick history and the activities of the government and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet Indians. Winslow made some remarkable observations, including the fact that native parents were not happy with efforts to take away their children and to place them as apprentices to white farmers. These objections were termed “prejudices.”

Today’s blog is on the same subject and was written by John West in 1827, in his book The Journal of a Mission to the British Provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia …. This commentary is also disturbing, as West’s objective was to civilize these “degraded people” and to rescue them from the Catholic faith.

John West sailed from Britain, and his first visit was to the Penobscot Indians. We join him as he leaves Maine and continues his tour in Saint John. He recognized that previous efforts among the Indians had not been successful, but his solutions were not inspired. The later chapters of his book will not be included in this blog since they quickly pass from ‘period’ to unacceptable.

Mikmaq Family

A Mi’kmaq Family, 1912

From the N.B. Museum, via the McCord Museum


Missions to the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet in the Early 1800’s

These [Penobscot] Indians, though located within the boundary line of the United States, have intercourse with those of the British province of New Brunswick, and sometimes meet them on the river Saint John, to smoke the calumet, and brighten the chain of friendship.

Returning to Eastport, I took my passage in the steam-boat across the Bay of Fundy, and landed, through a protecting Providence, on the 8th of August, at Saint John, New Brunswick. This city is situated on a rocky peninsula, in latitude 45° 20, and took its rise in the year 1783, when the peace with America left the loyalists, who had followed the British standard, to seek an asylum in some part of the British dominions. It is stated that more than four thousand persons, men, women, and children, sailed from New York for the river Saint John, at that period. The coast was rugged, and the whole aspect of the country dreary and uninviting, as they landed on the point where the city now stands. Nothing was to be seen, but a few huts erected on the margin of a dark immense wilderness, and occasionally some of the natives, clothed principally with the skins of animals, particularly the moose-deer, which were then numerous in the forests. The situation of these emigrants was of a very trying nature, as they had to undergo every privation and suffering during the rigours of the ensuing winter. The difficulties which they encountered, in first clearing the lands, seemed for some time to be almost insurmountable; and this is generally the case with all first settlers, who engage in the arduous enterprise of breaking into new and uncultivated wilds. They are often known to wear out their lives in toil and labour, for the benefit of those who come after them, and who reap, comparatively speaking, where they have not sown. The flourishing state of the city, however, since it took its rise, in a few log and bark huts, about forty years ago, and the rising prosperity of numerous settlements, though confined principally as yet to the borders of rivers and well-watered valleys, speak volumes in favour of the active, persevering, successful industry and enterprising spirit of the loyalists and people of the province, and of the advantageous fostering care of the British Government.

I left Saint John the following morning after my arrival in the city, for the Vale of Sussex, which presents to the eye some beautifully picturesque views, on the river Kennebeckasis, as its tributary streams bend their course through some good and well cultivated farms. This settlement, in its first formation, was much indebted to the active energy and independent public spirit of the late Hon. George Leonard, who lived in a spacious and handsome residence in this pleasant valley. Near to the village is a fine spring, from which salt of an excellent quality is made, for the table and culinary purposes; and if the water were analyzed, it would no doubt be found to possess some valuable medicinal qualities. This vale holds out every encouragement to increased industry and improvement, as it possesses many advantages in point of situation and fertility of soil, and has the great road of communication passing through it to the adjoining province of Nova Scotia.

The Indians formerly resorted to it, in considerable numbers, it was their rendezvous in starting or returning from the chase; but since the woods have been driven of animals, and the soil occupied or taken up by the settlers, they are seldom now seen on the track, in their wandering state of existence.

In the hope of benefiting and improving their condition, an establishment was formed in the valley, by the New England Company, soon after the first settlement of the province, called, ‘The Academy for instructing and civilizing the Indians.’ It was liberally placed, by the incorporated Society in London, under the management and direction of a board of commissioners, that consisted of the leading authorities of the province. Little or no advantage, however, accrued to the Indians from those plans which were adopted at the Academy for meliorating their state, and, in the terms of the charter, ‘To propagate and advance the Christian and Protestant religion among them.’ For a series of years every attempt failed, in the way of effecting any permanent change, or producing any substantial good among this degraded portion of our fellow-men; for after the Company had incurred a heavy expense, they reverted to their migratory habits of life, and again fell under the influence of the Roman Catholic priests. Nor has the more recent plan of the Establishment, as recommended to the Society at home, by the Board of Commissioners in the province, been attended with much better success towards civilizing and raising the Indians in the moral scale of being. The principle that was adopted, of apprenticing their children, at an early age, to different settlers, I found was not generally approved by the Indians themselves, nor has the plan proved beneficial to their morals. Under these circumstances, the New England Company have resolved upon breaking up the establishment, and would seek, in the application of their funds, for further good than they have heretofore met with among our Red brethren of the wilderness.

It is not by such means, however, nor any similar forced process that has been acted upon, nor any means that compel them to be “hewers of wood and drawers of water,” in a menial capacity, that a just expectation can be raised of any conversion in their state. Their naturally high and independent spirit must be consulted in the attempt to do them good; and this is best done by encouraging them, on all favourable occasions, to become settlers on their own lands, or lands which in common justice should be assigned to them, as the original proprietors of the soil. An Indian sees acutely all the relative stations in society, and feels keenly the contempt with which he is often treated by white people, on account of the colour of his skin. A short time ago, Saccho Beeson, a chief of the Passamaquoddy tribe, accompanied a deputation of Indians to a convention in the state of Maine, for the purpose of asserting their right of property in the land where they were located. At the house of accommodation they were put into a back room for the night, with a small bit of a candle, where the boots of a considerable number of persons, who had arrived for the meeting, were left. The next day this spirited chief complained to the assembly, how badly Indians were accommodated; and being asked to state what he had to complain of, said, ‘Boots too much, and light too little.’

The Indians, not being encouraged to intermarry or mix with white people on terms of equality, have receded as a distinct people, or have been driven before those who have carried commerce, with civilization, far into the wilderness and lands of their forefathers. And it cannot be otherwise than affecting to an honest and feeling mind, to recollect the way in which Europeans first obtained a footing in their country, and the possession of their patrimony. ‘You look sorry, brother,’ said an American general to an Indian chief, who was on a visit to the city of New York, ‘Is there anything to distress you?’ ‘I’ll tell you, brother,’ said he, ‘I have been looking at your beautiful city, the great water, your fine country, and see how happy you all are. But then, I could not help thinking, that this fine country, and this great water, were once ours. Our ancestors lived here; they enjoyed it as their own, in peace; it was the gift of the Great Spirit to them and their children. At last the white people came here in a great canoe; they asked only to let them tie it to a tree, lest the water should carry it away: we consented. They then said, some of their people were sick, and they asked permission to land them, and put them under the shade of the tree. The ice then came, and they could not go away; they then begged a piece of land to build wigwams for the winter: we granted it. They then asked for some corn, to keep them from starving: we kindly furnished it. They promised to go away when the ice was gone; when this happened, we told them they must now go away with their big canoe; but they pointed to their big guns around their wigwams, and said they would stay there; and we could not make them go away. Afterwards more came. They brought spirituous and intoxicating liquors, of which the Indians became very fond. They persuaded us to sell them some land. Finally they drove us back from time to time into the wilderness, far from the water, the fish, and the oysters. They have destroyed our game, our people are wasted away, and we live miserable and wretched, while you are enjoying our fine and beautiful country. This makes me sorry, brother, and I cannot help it.’

It would be a long and a heart-rending tale, to recount the various acts of cruelty, rapacity, and injustice, with which they have been generally treated by Europeans, since they first invaded their forests and usurped their soil. ‘Society,’ says Washington Irving, ‘has advanced upon them like a many-headed monster, breathing every variety of misery. Before it went forth pestilence, famine, and the sword; and in its train came the slow but exterminating curse of trade: what the former did not sweep away, the latter has gradually blighted.’

But we would turn from the sad review of what has passed in the history of these long injured aboriginal tribes, and indulge the hope that a just sympathy has at length been awakened towards those who remain, as claiming not only the commiseration, but the moral and religious care of Great Britain and America. The partial success which has indeed followed the occasional efforts of the American government for the civilization of the Indians, demonstrates the fact, and confirms to the utmost, that it is practicable to civilize, and evangelize this, hitherto, generally neglected, and suffering portion of our fellow men. Let spirituous liquors be prohibited from deluging their country in the prosecution of an unequal traffic. Let their tomahawk and scalping knife never again be pressed into any contest whatever on the part of professed Christians. Let them be met with brotherly kindness, and with active and generous exertion to benefit their condition, by aiding their own efforts, and promoting their location in every possible way; then, may we look for the solitude of the remaining wilderness to be broken, in the establishment of Indian villages, and Indian settlements. Tribe after tribe, and nation after nation, have heretofore vanished away, and no wonder,—from the system of exclusion and oppression that has been acted upon towards them by the whites; who have treated them as outcasts, and placed them in the scale of humanity, so low, and so distant, as for the most part to exclude them from their sympathy. But why should the North American Indian be thought incapable of that moral, civil, and religious elevation, which has been experienced by the South Sea Islanders, the natives of Greenland, and of the Cape? There is nothing in their nature, nor is there any deficiency in their intellect, that should consign them to perpetual degradation, and to that cold-blooded philosophy, and infidel sentiment, of ‘Let them alone;—to take measures to preserve the Indians, is to take measures to preserve so much barbarity, helplessness, and want; and therefore do not resist the order of Providence which is carrying them away!’

Written by johnwood1946

April 6, 2016 at 9:16 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

It Sounded Like a Residential School Philosophy

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From the blog at

It Sounded Like a Residential School Philosophy

Following are some notes written by Edward Winslow in the early 1800’s respecting the Indians and Acadians in New Brunswick.

Caution is advised in reading this, as Winslow was a white, imperial, English-speaking ‘gentleman’ whose attitudes and expressions were outside present norms. The notes are historically significant, however, and are presented here as found. I was particularly struck by his description of the academy for the education of native children. The objective of the academy is not stated thus, but seems to have been to ‘take the Indian out of the Indian.’ We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.


Mi’kmaq Camp, ca. 1838-42 From Collections-Canada


Edward Winslow’s Notes

The Savages who possessed this province before our arrival obtained as good a living as savages wish for in any country. The River St. John, and the other great rivers & their branches, afforded the most favorable situations for hunting, and the islands & intervals afforded the most tempting and delightful spots for temporary residence and for the cultivation of Indian Corn, which were the principal objects of their attention. The waters of those rivers furnished an easy communication to the sea coast, where they were always sure of a ready market for their furs and other commodities, and where they could always procure Rum and such other Luxuries as they wanted.

Besides the savages, there were scattered about in different parts of the province a considerable number of Acadians, who had escaped from the other side of the Bay of Fundy when the French inhabitants were removed from Nova Scotia after the conquest of that country by the English. These people, whose immediate ancestors had suffered what to them appeared like the most unmerited persecution & oppression from the British Government, occupied some of the most fertile tracts on the River St. John and in other parts of the province. Embittered by the recollections of their past sufferings the majority were rejoiced at any opportunity of shewing their enmity to the British Government, and during the war with America their conduct evinced a disposition to favor the American Cause. The Acadians & Indians lived in constant habits of intimacy and familiarity. * * * The remainder of the inhabitants (except a very few) were Americans who had removed from the States before the Revolution and were notoriously disaffected to the British Government. By those settlers both the Savages & Acadians were encouraged to acts of hostility.

This was the state of the country at the peace when the disbanded Provincial Corps & Loyal Refugees took possession of the country. The Indians were of course compelled to leave the banks of the rivers (particularly the St. John) and hunt on other grounds. The French, who had taken possession of farms without even a license of occupation or any sanction from the Government, and were so situated as to interrupt the general settlement of the country, were, by order of the Government of Nova Scotia, removed again from their possessions and obliged to seek for situations more remote. These events undoubtedly increased their resentment against the Government—and altho’, after the establishment of a separate province, the Governor & Council of New Brunswick did make every effort in their power and did eventually more than compensate them by Grants at Madawaska and other places, they have never been really conciliated.

All this time the savages have been retreating farther and farther from the places to which they were formerly so much attached. The settlements being extended over the best part of their hunting grounds, they were soon reduced to the most abject poverty and distress. Thus circumstanced they became dependent upon the English settlers. The benevolence of individuals and some attention from government seemed to remove their prejudices. * * * The legacy, which had been formerly left by Mr. Boyle for the Christian purpose of civilizing the aboriginals, being applied in this country, was considered by the Indians (who did not comprehend the meaning of it) as a strong proof of national protection and kindness, and it had undoubtedly a tendency to reconcile them more effectually to English Government. The erecting of a convenient building at Sussex-Vale, as an academy exclusively for them, the employment of a preceptor to teach them the first rudiments of education, and the arrangements which were made for their accommodation & comfort, all contributed to soothe them in their state of distress; and although the Indians did not embrace the Christian religion with that alacrity which the pious Testator might have anticipated, they nevertheless considered this place as an Asylum where the aged and infirm could rest from the fatigues which are incident to savage life, and where the young of both sexes were fed, clothed, and instructed as far as they inclined to be. * * *

The attempts to convert and civilize the Savages, which were formerly made in the New England Colonies, while they were part of His Majesty’s dominions, were generally unsuccessful, and for many years before the American Revolution the sums supplied by the Company in England for propagating the Gospel among the Heathen Natives of New England and parts adjacent in America, were appropriated to general purposes by the overseers & corporation of Harvard College at Cambridge.

In the year 1785, the Company decided that as the part of America which is next adjacent to the Massachusetts state is the King’s colony of New Brunswick. Resolved therefore;—

“That the Commissioners we may hereafter employ be appointed out of the inhabitants of that colony, who are the King’s loyal subjects and living in the King’s dominions, and who are many of them Gentlemen of known integrity and fidelity and every way qualified to execute the trusts of our charter.”

In consequence of this resolution, Commissioners were appointed, and it will be shown by their first reports and the returns of the Missionaries and Instructors employed, that they effected more towards the education and civilization of the Indians than had ever been before accomplished.

In process of time it became obvious that some disadvantages resulted from dividing the schools which were at first established at Woodstock, Fredericton, Sheffield, Sussex, and Miramichi. It was then taken into serious and deliberate consideration by the Commissioners whether it would not be expedient to collect all the savages who were desirous of education into one place, and it became an important object to find a place the best calculated for that purpose. Some of the Commissioners contended that Fredericton would be the most eligible place, other places too were named, and after mature consideration, Sussex-Vale was considered to embrace more advantages than any other place and a College was erected there, in a situation where it was surrounded by a considerable extent of fertile country, cleared and under high cultivation, and in the possession of reputable and exemplary farmers. This circumstance it was supposed would offer to the Indians the fairest opportunity of observing the progress of agriculture and of contemplating the benefits which resulted from temperance and industry. * * *

Their condition, which by the encroachments made on their hunting grounds had been rendered truly wretched, was ameliorated, and they were proud of the attention which was shown them by Government in erecting so commodious a building for the education of their children. By associating and exchanging labour with the farmers, to mutual advantage, they were undoubtedly advancing in civilization. It is true literally that all the exertions which have been made have been hitherto ineffectual to conquer the prejudices of the savages against allowing their children to be bound out to trades, and they have another prejudice equally strong against the discipline of schools or chastisement for faults. To reconcile them to the latter it was proposed to introduce into the same school with them a certain number of the white children of the neighbourhood, in order that the savages might mix with them and learn that they were treated with equal justice and attention. This was not approved. * * *

[Reference is made by Edward Winslow in that portion of his letter here omitted to the retirement of Chief Justice Ludlow, Judge Bliss and Judge Allen from the Board of Commissioners of the Company, on account of some difference of opinion with the majority of the Commissioners as to the management.]

The vacancies made by these seceders may be filled with other gentlemen of equal honor and fidelity, and superior vigor and activity. The Mayor of the City of St. John, William Campbell, Esq., should be one; his integrity, zeal and activity have been sufficiently evinced. James White, Esq. should also be appointed—this gentleman is a magistrate in the City, was one of’ the old inhabitants born in the country and acquainted with all the savages in it—a man of abilities, strict honor, and uncommon activity. The third should be a clergyman of the vicinity, and there is in the same county a young man, the Rev. Elias Scovil, who is peculiarly qualified for such a situation. * * *

Three members of the Board should be compelled to visit the College once in three months and critically examine into its state and report the progress made. Clothing should be issued to those only who are fixed and permanent scholars, and to such of their parents or Guardians as reside at or near the College for the purpose of taking care of their children. * * *

Academies established in populous villages for general purposes of education, under the control of dignify’d trustees or corporations, are the worst of all possible places for an attempt to civilize Indians, and money thrown into those funds will—as it ever has been—be converted to other uses. I should therefore object to its being apply’d either to the University at Windsor or the Academy recently established at Fredericton.

[The latter part of Winslow’s description of the establishment of the Indian Academy, etc., is condensed.]

Written by johnwood1946

March 30, 2016 at 9:03 AM

Posted in Uncategorized


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