New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

Three Stewarts on the Nashwaak

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By Murray F. Stewart, and presented here by his son-in-law,

This is the story of three generations of Stewart men on the Nashwaak River in New Brunswick, Canada.

 James Stewart, Loyalist 1755 – 1837

James Stewart was born in Scotland in 1755 and came to America at an early age.  In 1772, at age 17, he married Catherine Jones who had been born in Holland.  Their wedding took place at the home of David L. Jones, in what is now known as New York City.  They had a family of 12 children, seven daughters and five boys.

James served with the Loyal American Regiment from 1777 until 1783.  He was corporal in Capt. Christopher Hatch’s Company, whose muster role of April 21, 1778 listed 34 men.  The LAR was commanded by Colonel Beverly Robinson.

A muster role of Capt. Hatch’s company in 1783, after the LAR removed to Flushing, Long Island, to await the end of the war and evacuation, lists 32 men, including 6 who were prisoners at the time, and shows only 8 men remaining from the roll of 1778, including James Steward(t), now sergeant.

Assorted LAR families and others arrived at Parrtown (Saint John) at the mouth of the St. John River with the “fall fleet” late in September 1783.  74 LAR people came on the ship Ann and 187 others on the ship Apollo.  They were all sent up the river to St. Anne’s and, with others, spent a terribly cold and miserable winter in tents and makeshift dwellings on the banks of the St. John River just opposite the mouth of the Nashwaak River.1  A good number died from the cold, starvation and sickness that winter; many now lie in what is called “The Loyalist Provincials’ Burial Ground” near the present Fredericton Acacia Court.

On September 15, 1784, before another grim winter could overtake them, over 100 non-commissioned officers and privates of Loyalist regiments, including some from the LAR, sent an urgent “memorial” (petition) to Governor Parr in Halifax.  This “memorial” described “the most mortifying and distressful situation” to which they and their large families had been reduced because of government neglect, and promised to assist in establishing the “Infant Colony” in return for appropriate action by the authorities.  But a memo in the margin of the returned petition simply stated: “Approved for a grant of two acres to each of the memorialists for the land they are now actively upon – 28 September, 1784.”

It is noted that James Stewart’s name appeared on another petition for a section of land on the St. John River above Prince William, but that this petition from ex-LAR members was refused by the Governor apparently because authorities wanted to keep the ex-soldiers nearer to St. Anne’s in case they might be needed again.  As a result, the LAR dispersed and took up land wherever vacant lots were available.  Some settled, albeit temporarily, along the Penniac Stream.

Little is known about James Stewart and his family, 1783-85, but, on September 29, 1786, it is recorded that he purchased, for 25 pounds, a parcel of land on the St. John River from Cannon Riggin.  This was lot number 15 in the uppermost part of land granted to the former Corps of Maryland Loyalists; it had a 20-rod frontage on the river and extended back from it until it contained about 150 acres.  This lot was near to the approach to the present Princess Margaret Bridge on the Barker’s Point side of the river2.

Seven years later, in 1793, James Stewart moved up the Nashwaak to just above the mouth of the Dunbar Stream south of Taymouth.  He had purchased the George Dunbar part of the Daniel Lyman (1784) grant (lot number 12) from William Fowler and his wife Mary.3

On September 10, 1828, James Stewart and his son James Jr. sold the remaining 500 acres of their Dunbar property to Jedediah Slason.  (The other 500 acres had been sold off earlier), and it appears that Mr. Slason gave James and his wife permission to occupy a small part of their old property and to stay in their old home.  The Land Registry Office recorded that “James Stewart and his wife Catherine, being aged and infirm persons, were permitted to reside upon a certain small part of the said lands, to occupy and enjoy the same, free of rent or charge of any kind during their natural lives.”  James died there on the Nashwaak on June 1, 1837, aged 82.  Catherine’s death is not recorded.

Charles MacLeod Stewart, Farmer and Shoemaker, 1803 – 1886

 Charles was the youngest son of James Stewart Sr. and Catherine (Jones) Stewart.  He was born in 1803 on the Nashwaak family farm at the mouth of the Dunbar Stream.  He married Elizabeth Maria Collings in 1822, and they had a family of 10 children, 3 daughters and 7 sons.  He died in 1886 at his own home up the Nashwaak River at Taymouth.

Charles petitioned for and received Lot E, containing 50 acres on a road known today as the Sweeney Road in Upper Durham.  The census of 1851 lists him as a shoemaker living on this particular lot.4  In 1853 he sold the Upper Durham Lot E, and it is recorded that, at the time of this sale, his youngest son James William (1823-1900) was also living on Lot E with his wife Ann, who died shortly after this.  James William then moved to the Miramichi and later remarried.

Records show that, on July 30, 1845, Charles purchased, for 15 pounds, the 42nd Highland Regiment lot 41, consisting of 100 acres, from Donald Ross and his wife Joanne.  Also obtained by Charles around this time were the adjoining 42nd Crown grants of John Menzie (lot 42, 106 acres) and of John Gray (lot 43, 106 acres).  These three lots fronted on the Nashwaak River at Taymouth.5  Records also show that Charles had moved to his Taymouth holdings well before he had sold those in Upper Durham in 1853.

In later years, two of Charles’ sons – John Huston (1837-1914) and Daniel Buchanan (1826-1914) – lived on the property at Taymouth.  They and their wives Jane (Murray) Stewart (1842-1913) and Elizabeth (Collings) Stewart (1829-1914) are buried in Taymouth Community Cemetery.  The grave of another son, Charles Henry, and his wife Sarah (Bamford) Stewart are nearby.

Charles died a widower in 1886, without a will.  A son-in-law (husband of Charles daughter Maria Jane Stewart) James C. Rogerson, to whom the Stewart estate was indebted, applied to York County Probate Court for authority to settle the estate.  Apparently, this request was granted.

John Huston Stewart, farmer, 1837-1914

John Huston was the 6th child of Charles MacLeod Stewart and Elizabeth Maria (Collings) Stewart.  He was born in 1837 at Charles’ home and married Jane Murray (1842-1913) in 1863 on the Nashwaak at Taymouth.  Jane was the daughter of John Murray and Marjorie (MacDonald) Murray.  They had a family of 8 children: 7 sons and 1 daughter.  This writer’s father Frederick Roy (1885-1964), a surviving twin, was the youngest of that family.  John Huston and his wife, as well as a number of his children and their spouses, are buried in Taymouth Community Cemetery.

The Stewart property at that time consisted of the original 42nd Highland Crown grant lots 41, 42 and 43 and extended from the east side of the Nashwaak River N. 80 deg. 00 min. W. back from the river eastward to the line marking the beginning of the Crown grant to Alexander Campbell.5  Part of the road to the community of Zionville runs through it.

Early surveys of the east bank of the Nashwaak show the name “Munroe” for intervale fronted land opposite the mouth of the Tay River, with “Urquhart” land south of it and “Stewart” land north of it.  A sharp eastward curve in the Nashwaak River on the Stewart frontage cut into any significant intervale land for members of that family and left them faced with the arduous task of clearing land from the forest “back fields” of the Zionville road for the cultivation of major crops.

Sundays were days of rest, and the Presbyterians and Methodists seemed to compete for the souls of the settlers and their families.  Once, there was a common “chapel” for all faiths, but then, according to rumour, “the Methodists stole the Church”.  There were even divisions within a given family, some serious and some not.  My father (John Huston’s son) told me that he had to attend Sunday School each Sunday; in the morning at the Methodist church to please his father, and in the afternoon at the Presbyterian church to please his mother.  And so it came about that I was named Murray, after my Presbyterian grandmother and Stewart, of course, for the Methodist side of the family.

  1. 1783 – St. Anne’s (Fredericton), south bank of the St. John River, almost opposite the mouth of the Nashwaak River.
  2. 1786 – Barker’s Point side of the St. John River, near northern approach to the present Princess Margaret Bridge.
  3. 1793 – On the Nashwaak River, just above the mouth of the Dunbar Stream.
  4. 1851 – On the Sweeney Road in Upper Durham, some distance back from the east side of the Nashwaak River.
  5. 1845 – On the east side of the Nashwaak River above the mouth of the Tay River at Taymouth (1845 was the date of purchase, not of occupation).

Written by johnwood1946

July 24, 2011 at 4:13 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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One Response

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  1. I am of the Stewart family from the Miramichi and trying to connect with the Nashwaak Stewart’s.
    Can you give me any information on James William and how he married?

    Lynn (Stewart) Hellier

    September 11, 2011 at 1:07 PM

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