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Seigniories of New Brunswick

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The Seigniories of New Brunswick

The following catalogue of seigniories and non-seigniorial grants from New Brunswick’s Acadian period is from A Monograph of Historic Sites in the Province of New Brunswick, published by William F. Ganong in the 1899 edition of the Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada. This is further to an earlier blog posting giving Ganong’s descriptions of historic settlements and forts.

William F. Ganong was born in West Saint John in 1864. He studied at the University of New Brunswick, at Harvard, and finally at the University of Munich where he received a PhD. Ganong was a botanist, but was also passionate about geography, archeology, and New Brunswick history.

William F Ganong 

William F. Ganong ca. 1890s.

Ganong’s figures (maps) are included at the end of this blog posting.


The Seigniories of New Brunswick

An interesting chapter in the history of the Acadian period in New Brunswick is that which relates to the efforts of the French Government to settle it upon the Seigniorial system. The subject has, however, received but little attention from our historians, no doubt because it was a failure and produced no effect whatever upon later settlement. Not a single one of the many seigniorial grants made in New Brunswick survived the Acadian period itself, much less did they extend into the later periods, and not a foot of land is held to-day in New Brunswick, nor has been held since 1755, by descent from a seigniorial title. This extensive attempt was therefore another of those barren branches of which history has so many, one whose interest must be chiefly sentimental, and whose details may be omitted altogether in any work which attempts to follow the line of evolution of present-day conditions.

It is of course entirely outside the scope and limits of the present work to discuss the history of the seigniorial system and of the New Brunswick seigniories; properly we are concerned here only with their locations. A copious literature upon the subject arose in connection with the discussions leading to the buying out of the rights of the Seigniors of the Province of Quebec by the Quebec Government in 1854, and there are many easily-obtainable reports printed at that time in both English and French, some of which contain valuable reprints of the Acadian seigniorial grants. Particularly valuable upon the historical aspects of the subject is “The Seigniorial Tenure in Canada and Plan of Commutation,” by J. C. Taché, Quebec, 1854. The general subject is treated in synopsis in vol. iii of the recently issued “Canada, An Encyclopedia,” to which the reader interested in the subject will do well to turn. There is also a “Histoire du droit Canadien” (Montreal, 1888), dealing with this subject, but I have not seen it. I shall here give but a few leading facts connected with the origin and fate of Acadian Seigniories.

A seigniorial grant gave to the Seignior and his heirs forever the title to their lands, with the right of fishing, hunting, trading and the administration of justice to their tenants, and they had to render homage to the representatives of the King at Quebec at stated periods. They were required to settle colonists upon their lands within a fixed time and in certain numbers, to keep rivers open for navigation, to open highways, and to observe other legal conditions. In addition to the seigniorial grants, usually very extensive, there were other property grants, giving the grantee the right to farm, hunt, trade, etc., but no rights of justice over tenants. Of the latter sort were the small grants of Meusnior at Magaguadavic and Des Grez at Pokemouche later to be spoken of; while all of the remainder of the grants in New Brunswick were true seigniories.

In 1627 Louis XIII. granted all New France in fief and seigniory to the Company of New France, which resigned its rights in 1663, and between those dates the Seigniories were granted by the Company. In 1664 Louis XIV granted all his land in America to the Company of the West Indies, but their rights reverted to the Crown in 1674, after which date all seigniories were granted by the representatives of the King at Quebec, the Governor and Intendant, and were later confirmed by the King himself. This original grant by the authorities at Quebec, and its later confirmation by the King, gave origin to two distinct documents describing each grant, and as these by no means always agree in details, much confusion has arisen in connection with some of them; and thus are explained the discrepancies in different records describing the same seigniory.

The first great grant in New Brunswick was that to DeRazilly at St. Croix in 1632, then followed that of LaTour on the St. John in 1635, that of 1636 and 1653 to Denys, including at the North Shore, and that to LaTour, Temple and Crowne in 1656. But in 1672 began the series of seigniorial grants in New Brunswick, whose locations are described in the following pages. The last of these, excluding that of St. Pierre, which was on a somewhat different basis, was made in 1700. They were some thirty-five in number, covering some of the best lands and the localities best situated for fishing and trade in the Province. In the great majority of cases, however, no attempt whatever appears to have been made by the Seigniors to fulfill the conditions and settle upon them, in which respect they were in remarkable contrast to those of Quebec. At Passamaquoddy there is evidence  from the censuses and other sources that St. Aubin, Chartier and Meusnier settled upon their grants; on the St. John the two brothers D’Amours, the Sieurs de Freneuse and Clignancourt, later joined by their brother Sieur de Chauffours, made more or less successful attempts at settlement, as did Martignon, Soulanges and possibly Breuil and Gautior, but there is no evidence that any of the other Seigniors ever even saw their grants. At the head of the Bay of Fundy, La Vallière had a seigniory on which many colonists from Port Royal settled as his tenants, and thus he established by far the most important seigniory in the present Province of New Brunswick, and one that came the nearest to the ideal for which the seigniorial system was established. It is possible, that, had it not been for the troublous times in that region after 1750, ending with the expulsion in 1755, the heirs of La Vallière might have held lands under his title to this day. Along the Richibucto coast Sieur de Chauffours had formed a settlement before his grant was passed, but later he abandoned it to join his brothers on the St. John. At Miramichi Richard Denys de Fronsac made a settlement, but Enault, though he had a seigniory at Pokemouche, lived on lands belonging to Gobin at Nepisiguit, and De Grez, after making some settlement at Pokemouche, deserted to the English. The attempts at settlement, therefore, were altogether insignificant in comparison with the number and extent of the seigniorial grants. After 1700 there is, with the single exception of La Vallière, hardly a trace of any of the Seigniors to be found. In 1704 Colonel Church ravaged Passamaquoddy and the Seigniors are never heard of again in the region, and probably the destruction of the settlements along the river by the English expedition against Fort Nashwaak in 1696 had something to do with the abandonment of the St. John. As for those on the North Shore, Seigniors and Seigniories alike fade away into obscurity and leave scarcely a trace. It is said by Murdoch that most of the Seigniors left the country after Nicholson’s conquest (1710), and no doubt most of them went to Quebec where some of them were later granted seigniories in that Province. Even had they not been abandoned by their owners, most of the seigniories, perhaps all except La Vallière’s, would have been forfeited for non-fulfillment of conditions. In 1699 the King decreed that since many of the Seigniors had not complied with conditions, they must send copies of their grants to him and in 1703 a royal decree was passed which must have annulled most of the grants in what is now New Brunswick. After 1713 both English and French claimed the territory now known as New Brunswick. In 1718 Father Loyard was empowered to grant lands on the St. John to Acadians, but we do not know to what extent it was done. In 1734 the Lords of Trade wrote from Whitehall concerning seigniories in Nova Scotia, that all Seigniors who remained in the Province at the treaty of Utrecht (1713) and owned allegiance to Great Britain, could keep what they were legally possessed of before that time, but those who had left the Province and since returned could have no such rights. In 1743 the King of France decreed that all lands unsettled should revert to the Crown. In 1759 the Nova Scotia Legislature passed an act to the effect that any action to recover lands based on a French title should be dismissed. The final disappearance from history of the New Brunswick seigniories does not, however, come until the middle of the last century, when the brothers and sister Rey-Gaillard, heirs of Denys de Fronsac, claimed the seigniories formerly held by him, including his own of Miramichi and those of Nepisiguit and Restigouche, acquired by him from Gobin and Iberville, and attempted to collect rents from the fishermen and traders resorting there. Finally they .sold their rights to a Mr. Bondfield of Quebec, who in 1764 claimed these lands from the Nova Scotia Government, but was referred to the ordinance of 1750, with which the matter ended, and the last vestige of the seigniorial tenure in New Brunswick vanished.

The location of the majority of the seigniories is so fully described in the grants, there can be little doubt as to their position, and they are laid down on the accompanying map No. 39, in which dotted lines are used wherever boundaries are doubtful. The names of seigniories are in heavy square letters. The accuracy with which the bounds are described shows that they must have been granted from the descriptions of those who knew the localities, for the descriptions are far in advance of the general geographical knowledge of the times. There is no map of the entire Acadian period which shows the St. John river with any approach to the completeness and accuracy of geography displayed in the wording of the grants.

It is a matter much to be regretted that the names of the seigniories have all become extinct, for many of them are vastly finer names than many which have succeeded them. It would be an excellent plan as new names are needed for settlements or parishes to revive those old names, pleasing as they are, and connected with our early history. It would, of course, be best to apply them, to localities near to where they originally belonged, and their location may easily be found by comparing the accompanying map No. 39 with a good modern map. About Passamaquoddy there are thus available Razilly, St. Aubin, Chartier and Perigny; on the St. John, are Clignancourt (or in its early English form, Cleoncore) Bellefond, Vitrenard, Soulanges, Freneuse, St. Denis, Marson (another title For Soulanges), La Tour, St. Castin, Valence, Martignon, Breuil, Plenne and Joibert; at the head of the Bay of Fundy are La Vallière and Villieu; on the North Shore, Denys, St. Paul, Linoville, Duplessis and Chauffours; at Miramichi in Fronsae, and in Gloucester, Enault (or Enaud) and Gobin, and at Restigouche Iberville. Such names are surely vastly to be preferred to the very trivial ones so often given to our new settlements.

I think it probable the following list contains nearly all, perhaps all, of the seigniorial grunts made in New Brunswick, but of many of them the printed records are very scanty, und in others the different versions differ considerably, especially in the spelling of the place-names. It is therefore very desirable that a full collection of them should be made from the original documents, und when possible, from the original registers at Quebec. This will be the more profitable since the grants already published in full often contain valuable incidental references to local history, which leads us to believe that those published only in part may in the complete original also contain important items.

The published descriptions of seigniories occur in the following works: First, in the Memorials of the English and French Commissaries of 1755 (cited in the following list as Mem.), in which some of our most important ones are published in full. Second, in various documents issued by the Quebec government in l752-54. The principal one of these is “Titles and Documents relating to the Seigniorial tenure in return to an address of the Legislative Assembly,” 1851, Quebec, 1852 (cited as Leg). The “Return to an address of the Legislative Assembly for copies of certain Seigniorial Documents 1853,” contains many confirmations of Acadian Seigniories given in full. There is also a valuable Legislative document of 1807 or 1808 with titles in brief. There are several others in the “Manuscrits relatif à L’histoire de La Nouvelle France” (cited us Docs) published by the Quebec Government; but this work contains many misprints, und the copies in the Ben Perley Poore collection in the Massachusetts State House are more accurate, though of course oven those are copies of the originals in Paris. Murdoch’s Nova Scotia also contains translations of parts of many of the grants.

In the following list the limits of space allowable have made it necessary to give only the description of the location of the grants, in selecting which from the several versions, often differing considerably from one another, I have chosen that which seemed to me to be most trustworthy, i.e. derived most directly and with most care from the original documents, and I have quoted this exactly just as printed, whether in English or French. All of those in English are either from Murdoch or from the Legislative document of 1852. All are shown on the accompanying map No. 39.

1. The Passamaquoddy District

The Seigniories of this region have been described and discussed in the “Courier Series,” and in the pamphlet extract of this, printed but not yet published.

At Indian Island one LaTreille lived at the time of Church’s expedition of 1704, but no grant to him is known. The Hutchinson papers of 1688 (Collections Mass. Hist. Soc., 3rd ser., 1, 82) mention a grant to one Zorzy [De Soreis] at St. Croix, but nothing further is known of it.

1632—Sainete Croix, To M. le Commandeur de Razilly, Lieutenant Général pour Le Roi en la Nouvelle France. (19th of May, from la Compagnie de la Nouvelle France.)

“L’étendue des terres & pays que ensuivent, a ——- la rivière & baie Sainete-Croix, isles y continues, & terres adjacentes d’une part & d’autre en la Nouvelle France, de l’étendue de douze lieues de —ges, à prendre le pointe milieu en l’isle Sainete-Croix, ou le Sieur de Mons a hiverné, & vingt lieues de profondeur depuis le port aux coquilles, qui est en l’une des isles de l’entrée de la rivière & baie Sainete-Croix, chaque lieues de quatre mille toises de long.” (Mem. 707)

The limits of this grant are plain (see map No. 39.)

Port aux Coquilles is known to be Head Harbour, Campobello.

1684—Passamaquoddy. To Jean Sarreau de St. Aubin. (On June 23th.) “Five leagues in front, on the sea shore, and five leagues in depth inland at a place called Pascomady, and its environs, with the isles and islets in front of that extent, also an islet of rocks about six leagues off for seal fishery, also the island called Archimagan, and the islets for two leagues round it.” (Murdoch, I., 163.)

The description is not full enough to locate this seigniory exactly. It is possible that it included Campobello, and the ruined building shown on Windmill Point in DesBarres’ picture of Campobello of 1777 may represent his dwelling, which, like those of other seigniors of the time, was probably a “Habitation,” i.e., a dwelling surrounded by a stockade. It is much more probable, however, that the “Fort” mentioned at Pleasant Point (see earlier, Settlements) by Morris was the remains of St. Aubin’s Habitation. If, however, the Gourdon mentioned by Church was found on the site of St. Andrews in 1704 and was really St. Aubin, it would perhaps show that his dwelling was there, which would be supported by the fact that Chartier’s grant, including without doubt the falls at St. Stephen, is described as bordering upon St. Aubin’s grant. Archimagan was an island near what is now Edgemonagan Reach, at the mouth of the Penobscot, and St. Aubin’s sons resided there.

1691—Magaguadavic. To Jean Meusnier, habitant de l’Acadie. (July 16th.) “Two leagues in front by two leagues in depth, on the small river which the Indians call Maricadéouy, to wit: one league in front on each side of the said river, opposite to each other, the said two leagues of land in front and two leagues in depth to be taken in the unconceded lands at a distance of about five leagues below Pesmoucady, running towards the north-east.” (Leg. 121.)

This grant, not a grant in seigniory, but an ordinary grant “en censive,” cannot be located more definitely than that it probably included the mouth of the Magaguadavic. The grant mentions that his former property had been plundered and burnt by the British, and a new grant is made to enable him to settle in a safer place. The basin at the Falls, at .St. George, where there is fertile land, grand fishing, and the head of navigation, would be a most likely place for his residence.

1693—Grand Manan. To Paul Dailleboust, Ecuyer, Sieur de Perigny (or Persigny). (April 14.) “The said island of Grand Menane, together with the islands, islets and beaches which may be found lying around and near the same.” (Leg. 134.)

The location of this Seigniory is perfectly clear (see map No. 39).

1695—Scoodic. To Sieur Michel Chartier, habitant de l’Acadie. (July 8, confirmed May 19, 1696.)

“D’une demy lieue de front de chaque costé de la rivière d’Escoudet sur une lieue et demye de profoundeur à commencer du costé du sud ouest à la terre du dit Sieur St. Aubin en descendant la dite rivière, et du costé du N.E. aux terres non conédez, vis-a-vis la concession du Sr. de Bourchemin, sur la rivière de la Oumasca.” (Docs. II, 224. Also Leg. 154, Murdoch, I., 224.)

The location of this seigniory is fairly plain. Church, in 1704, found one Sharkee, of course Chartier, settled on or near the site of St. Stephen, on the Scoodic, which was doubtless the centre of his Seigniory.

In 1696 Michel Chartier leased the Seigniory of Freneuse from its owner, Mathieu D’Amours. (See later.)

The Seigniories of Thibaudeau, 1695, and of Villeclaire, 1697, and Kouésanoukek (Lefebvre), 1703, and Grand Champ, 1708, were in Maine, towards Mount Desert.

2. The St. John District.

No systematic account of the Seigniories of the St. John has yet been published, though many references to them occur scattered through the writings of Hannay, Raymond and others. Most prominent of the Seigniors of this valley were the brothers D’Amours, of whom an account is given by Hannay in the New Brunswick Magazine, I., 25.

1635—Mouth of the St. John. To Charles de Saint-Etienne, Sieur de la Tour, (Jan. 15, by La Compagnie de la Nouvelle France.)

“Le fort & habitation de la Tour, situé en la Rivière Sainte Jean en la Nouvelle-France, entre les 45 & 46, degrés de latitude, ensemble des terres prochainement adjacentes à icelui dans l’étendiie de cinq lieues au dessous le long de ladite rivière, sur dix lieues de profondeur dans les terres.” (Mem.)

The location of this grant is fairly plain. It probably covered both sides of the mouth of the river. It was, of course, later superseded by other grants. It is no doubt that mentioned by Murdoch (I., 79), as obtained from the French King in 1627.

1656—Coast of Acadia. To le Seigneur de Saint-Etienne, Sieur de la Tour, baron d’Ecosse, Thomas Temple & Guillaume Crowne, Chevaliers.

“Le pays & territoire appellé l’Acadie, & partie du pays nommé la Nouvelle Ecosse, . . . les côtes jusqu’an fond de la Baee; & de là, rangeant ladite Baie jusque’au fort Saint-Jean; & de là, rangeant toute la côte jusqu’à Pentagoet . . . & en dedans les terres tout le long desdites côtes jusqu’à cent lieues de profondeur.” (Mem.)

This enormous grant can readily be located from the description. It is shown plainly on a map in Winsor’s “America,” V., 478.

1672—West Side of the Mouth of the St. John. To Martin D’Arpentigny, Sieur de Martignon. (Oct. 17th).

“The tract of country and lands which are to be found on the said River St. John, to be taken along the said River from Partridge Island (l’Isle de la Perdrix), running six leagues in front up the said river, and six leagues in depth inland, bounded in front by the said River St. John, and in rear, towards the west, by the ungranted lands, on one side by the said Island, and on the other by the ungranted lands.” (Leg.)

The location of this Seigniory is plain. (See map 39, also 37.) On the Franquet map of 1707 (in Marcel’s Atlas) Fort de Martinnon is marked on the west side of the harbour, and Fort La Tour on the east. In the census of 1686 his name is spelled Aprendistigué. The document states that he intends to bring over men from France to settle his land. In a French copy of this grant he is spoken of as “ancien habitant du pays de l’Acadie,” and also as “Gouverneur et proprietaire de la Rivière St. Jean dupuis la Rivière de Maquo jusqu’aux mines aux dit pais de l’Acadie . . . plus de 50 lieues de front.”

This doubtless indicates a grant, now unknown, from his father-in-law, La Tour. Its location would seem plain;—R. de Maquo is probably Maquapit, and les Mines the mines at Newcastle, thus placing it along the north shore of Grand Lake, though I cannot explain the 50 leagues of length. (Map No. 39)

1672—Long Reach. To Jacques Pottier, Sieur de St. Denis. (Oct. 18.) “An extent of two leagues in front, to be taken above the grant made to the Sieur de Martignon, and bounded on the other side by the ungranted lands.” (Leg.)

Its location is plain. (See map No. 30.)

1672—East Side of the Mouth of the St. John. To [Pierre de Joibert] Sieur de Marson [et] de Soulanges. (Oct. 20th.) “A tract of land of four leagues in front by one league in depth, to be taken on the east side of the said River St. John, bounded on one side by the basin of the said river and on the other by the ungranted lands (together with the house of Fort Gemeziz, which he shall enjoy for such time only as he shall hold his commission of commander on the said river, in order to give him a place of residence, that he may act with more liberty and convenience in everything relating to the King’s service).” (Leg.)

That this seigniory was at the mouth of the river is shown by the fact that the one granted his brother on the same date adjoined it and bordered on the sea, and it therefore occupied the position assigned to it on the map No. 39. That Jemseg Fort was allowed him as a residence seems to show that there was no residence for him at St. John. Martignon, of course, occupied the fort at Carleton built by Charnisy. Yet in both his grants of 1676 Marson is spoken of as “Commandant of the Forts of Jemseg and the River St. John,” implying that there was somewhere a fort of the River St. John, but not in condition to be occupied. This would fit perfectly with the theory given earlier that Fort LaTour, destroyed by Charnisy, stood at Portland Point on his Seigniory, (Map No. 37.)

1672—St. John Harbour. To Sieur de Joibert. (Oct. 20.) “The extent of one league of land in front, by one league in depth, to be taken on the east side of the River St. John, in the said country of Acadia, adjoining on the one side the grant made to the Sieur de Marson, his brother, commanding at the said place, and on the other side the ungranted lands, bounded in front by the sea, and in rear by the ungranted lands.” (Leg.)

The expression “bounded in front by the sea” would locate it somewhat as on our map No 39.

1676—Nashwaak. To Pierre de Joibert,, Ecuyer, Sieur de Soulanges & de Marson. (Oct. 20). “Le lieu appellé Nachouae & que l’on appellera à I’avenir Soulanges, sur ladite rivière Saint Jean, à quinze lieues du Gemisik, contenant deux lieues de front de chaque côté sur ladite rivière, & deux lieues de profondeur dans les terres, aussi de chaque côté, ensemble les isles & islets qui sont dans ladite rivière au devant desdites lieues de front.” (Mem. 744.)

The location is undoubtable; it is shown on Map No. 39, also 38.

It is stated in the grant that it is made in consideration of services he had rendered, and with the wish to engage him to continue them, and that it is made so large because so little of it is cultivable.

1676—Fort Jemseg. To Pierre de Joibert, Ecuyer, Sieur de Soulanges et de Marson. (Oct. 10). “Ledit fort de Gemisik, avec une lieue de chaque côté dudit fortfaisant deux lieues de front, la devanture de la rivière, & les isles & islets qui y sont, & deux lieues de profondeur dans les terres, avec le droit de chasse & de pêche dans l’étendue desdits lieux.” (Mem. 746).

There can be no doubt as to the location of this Seigniory; it is shown on Map No. 39.

About 1690 this Seigniory had passed to the Sieur de Chauffours. This is shown by two facts: first, the grant to the widow of the Sieur de Marson, given below, in 1691 mentions the “concession de Sieur de Chauffour, nommé Jemseg,” and, second, John Gyles shows in his narrative that he was living here in 1696. Whether he obtained it by purchase or a re-grant, as the term concession would imply, we do not know. Curiously enough, the Morris Map of 1758 marks Chofour as a village just below the present Gagetown. Le Sieur de Soulanges had for four years been commander of this fort and that “of the River St. John.” In 1674 the fort, which he had repaired, had been destroyed by the Hollanders, and was repaired by him at his own expense. As a recompense, the proprietorship of the fort was given to him. See his grants of 1672.

He afterwards, in 1702, was granted the Seigniory of Soulanges in Quebec. (Archives, 1884, 26). In one document Soulanges is spoken of as “Lieutenant of the Company of Infantry of Grand Fontaine, in the regiment of Poitou, and Major of Acadia; has rendered good and praiseworthy services in divers places both in Old and New France.”

In 1682 the King granted to Sieurs Bergier, Gautier, Boucher, and DeMantes lands on the St. John for a fishery, but they appear not to have been taken up. It is, however, to be noted that on the Morris Map of 1758 the Belleisle is called R. an Gautier.

1684—The St. John, near Meductic. René d’ Amours, Ecuyer, Sieur de Clignancourt. (Sept. 20, confirmed May 27, 1689). “Ce qui se rencontre de terre non concédée ni habituée le long de ladite rivière Saint Jean, depuis ledit lieu de Medoctet, icellui comprise, jusques au long sault qui se trouve en remontrant ladite rivière Saint Jean, icelle comprise, avec les isles & islets qui se rencontreront dans cet espace, & deux lieues de profondeur de chaque côté de ladite rivière Saint Jean. … lequel fief & seigneurie portera le nom de Clignancourt.” (Mem.)

The description does not make the location of the Seigniory plain, though it evidently extended from Fort Meductic either down the river to the Meductic Falls, or else upwards to Grand Falls. Several students have taken the former view, including Rev. W.0. Raymond, but I have inclined to the latter, chiefly because the description seems to imply that it ran up the river from Meductic, and also because the expression “long sault” seems to apply much better to Grand Falls than to the Meductic Falls, which are really but a rapid. Moreover, the stretch of river from Meductic Falls to Meductic contains much poor land, which Clignancourt, well acquainted with the river, would be unlikely to choose. Against my view is only the immense extent of the seigniory, which would thus be much the largest on the river, but not after all much larger than that granted his brother at Richibucto. The authorities may, however, well have been ignorant of its extent. Early maps place the Meductic River wrongly emptying into the Long Reach, and Perley has supposed this seigniory extended thence to the Falls at St. John, but this is impossible for many reasons.

Though his seigniory was near Meductic, and he occasionally visited Meductic as Gyles’ narrative shows, his residence appears to have been on E–les Island below Springhill (See Map No. 38), for the census of 1696 returns him as living at Aucpac, and this island on all early maps is called Cleoncore, which seems plainly enough a corruption of his name.

1684—Nashwaak to Jemseg. To Mathieu d’ Amours, Ecuyer, Sieur de Freneuse. (Sept. 20, confirmed March 1, 1693). “Des terres non concédées ni habituées le long de la rivière de Saint-Jean, entre les lieux de Gemisik & de Nachouac, sur deux lieues de prof’ondeur de chaque côté de la riviére Saint-Jean, icelle comprise, avec les isles & islets qui se rencontrent dans cet espace, ensemble la rivière du Kamouctou [Ramouctou] autant que ladite profondeur de deux lieues.” (Mem.)

The location of this seigniory is beyond doubt, and is given on Map No. 39. The probable site of the residence of Sieur de Freneuse has already been discussed.

There is a very confusing error in reference to this grant in the “Memorials” where it is called the confirmation of the preceding (that to Rene d’Amours) whereas it has nothing to do with the latter.

In 1696 the Sieur de Freneuse, as the original document now in my possession shows, leased his Seigniory for five years to Michel Chartier. It is described in part as follows: “Le Manoir Seigneurial de la dite Seignourie de Freneuse consistant en trente arpents ou environ de terre labourable à la charrue, près, bois on haut futoye et taillie avec les maisons granges et estables qui sont dessus, etc.” Freneuse was killed the same year at Fort Nashwaak, Michel Chartier was perhaps the same who the previous year received the Seigniory of Scoodic.

1689—Kennebecasis. To Pierre Chesnet, Ecuyer, Sieur de Breuil (or Dubreuil.) (Jan. 7.) “Deux lieues de front le long de la rivière Saint-Jean, dans le lieu appellé par les Sauvages Kanibecachiche & petit Nakchouac, Sçavoir, une lieue d’un côte & une lieue de l’autre, ledit petit Nakechauae faisant le milieu de ladite concession, avec les isles & islets qui se trouveront au devant, & trois lieues do profondeur.” (Mem. 769; Leg. 102.)

The location is plain; it is .shown on map No. 39. Petit Nakehouac is known to have been Hammond River. On Morris’ map of 1758, the Kennebecasis is called “La Riviere do Bruhl,” seeming to show he had made some attempt to settle his seigniory. Probably, however, the latter occurrence of a “French Village” on his land is but a coincidence, as already shown.

1689—Below Jemseg. To Sieur Vincent de St. Castin. (Oct. 14.) “Lesdits 2 lieues de front à prendre en terros non concédées le long de la rivière St. Jean, joignant les terres de Jemesec . . . sur pareille profondeur de 2 lieues.” (Leg. 115)

Since all of the lands above Jemseg had been granted, this must have been just below the Jemseg Seigniory, as shown on map No. 39.

1690—On River St. John. To Sieur Jean de Valence. (Confirmed Mar. 16, 1901). “D’une ostendue de terre à la rivière St. Jean.” (Docs. II., p. 40.)

We have no hint as to the location of this Seigniory. It is the only one not on map No. 39.

1690—Nacawicac to Long’s Creek. To Sieur François Genaple de Bellefond. (Feb. 25; confirmed Mar. 16, 1691) “Une espace de terres seituée à la rivière St. Joan, pais do I’Acadie, entre Madoktek et Nacchouak, qui joint à la terre de Gemezek, contenant l’espace de terre sur le lieu appellé les longues veues commençant à la rivières appellée Skooleopskek jusques au lieu et rivière appellée Nerkoiooiquek, sur deux liens de profondeur dans lesdits terres, d’un costé et d’aultre ladite rivière St. Jean; ensemble les isles et islets qui sont dans lodit espace.”’ (Doc. II., 39; Leg. 116; Murdoch I., 108.)

Though the different copies of this grant differ considerably in the spelling of the place names, there can be no doubt as to the location of the Seigniory, which is shown on map No. 39.

The longues veues is still called the “Upper Reach,” i.e., Upper Long Reach; Nerkoiooiquek is Nacawicac, and Skooleopskek (i.e., Skooteopskek) is known to be Long’s Creek. De Bellefond was Notary Royal at Quebec, and probably did not attempt to settle his grant.

1691—At Gagetown. To Dame Marie François Chartier, veuve du Sieur de Marson. (Mar. 23; confirmed Mar. 1, 1693) “Une terre à la rivières St. Jean, a I’Acadie, de quatre lieues de front sur ladite rivières, de deux lieues de profondeur de l’autre costé, et vis-a-vis la concession du Sieur de Chauffour, nonimée Jemsec, le milien desquelles quatre lieus sera vis-a-vis la maison de Jemsec.” (Doc. II., 113; Leg. 120; Murdoch, I., 199.)

There can be no doubt as to its location; it is given on map No. 39. It included the present site of Gagetown.

1695—Kennebecasis. To Sieur Bernard D’Amours, Ecyr. [Sieur de Plenne]. (June 20; confirmed 1696). “La rivières Canibecachice affluent dans la rivières St. Jean à l’Acadie et d’une lieue et demye de chaque costé sur deux de profondeur. (Doc. 11., 224; Leg. 151.)

Only an approximate location can be given for this Seigniory, since we do not know how far up the river the grant was taken.

1695—Oak Point. To Sieur des Gouttins (or De Goutin). (June 20, confirmed 1696). “Lieu nommé la Pointe aux Chenes scituée a la rivière St. Jean de l’Acadie et d’une lieue de chaque costé de la dite pointe sur deux de profondeur.” (Doc. II. 224 : Leg. 152).

There can be little doubt as to the location of this Seigniory, as shown on Map No. 39. Some versions give Pointe aux Chennilles, but others Pointe aux Chenes, and the Morris Map of 1758 shows that the present Oak Point was so called by the Acadians.

1697—Nashwaak to Long’s Creek. To Charles Genaples, Sieur de Vilrenard. (April 23). “Of the space of land containing a league and a half front by two in depth, to bound from the seigneurie of Naxcouak, to the river of Skoutecpkek, with the islands, islets and flats within that extent.” (Murdoch I., 238; also Leg. 173.)

The boundaries given locate this Seigniory as on Map No. 38 and 39, even though its length is far underestimated. Murdoch gives the name of the Seignior as Villeneuve, but the French Documents have Vilrenard.

It is stated by Rameau (II. 188) that in 1750 M. de Vaudreuil possessed the great fief of Ekoupag, i.e., Ekpahak or Aucpac, but I know of no ground for this statement.

3. The Petitcodiac-Misseguash District.

The fullest account we have of the seigniories and settlers in this district is given by Rameau de Saint-Père in his “Colonie Féodale.” That of La Vallière was the most important of all seigniories in the present New Brunswick.

1676—Chignitou, or Beaubassin. To Michel de Neuf, Ecuyer, Sieur de la Vallière. (Oct. 24.) “L’étendue de dix lieues de terre de front, qui sont du côté du sud, entre le Cap-Breton & l’isle Percée, à commence depuis la rivière appellée Kigiskouabougnet icelle comprise jusqu’ à une autre rivière appellée Kimoutgonitche, aussi y comprise avec dix lieues de profondeur dans lesdits terres, don’t la baie de Chinigton & le cap Tourmentin font partie.” (.Mem. 753.)

The general location of this Seigniory is plain enough, and as sown on map 39, though there is some doubt about its exact boundaries. The Kigiskouabougnet is probaboy River Philip, which the Micmacs now call Koos-oos-li-boo-guae, but I cannot locate Kimoutgonitche, but it may be at or near Shemogue. La baie de Chinigton, of course, the present Cumberland basin.

LaVallière, who was an important man in Acadia, made a successful attempt to introduce settlers and cultivate lands, and thus become the only seignior in what is now New Brunswick who to any degree fulfilled the conditions of his grant, and the only one who can thus be reckoned along with the Seigniors of Quebec. He had a seigniorial manor, mentioned in a document of 1705, whose site is unknown, though in all probability it was on the island called always in French maps and documents Isle la LaVallière, now Tonges Island, (Map No. 24.) About 1702 he became involved in disputes about boundaries with the settlers of Shepody and Petitcodiac, and this was settled by a special act of the Conseil d’Etat, in 1703 (Romeau, II., 337), which extended his seigniory to include Shepody and Petitcodiac, but forbade his disturbing the settlers there.

In 1676 LaVallière gave a tract of land at Beaubassin for a mission, and it was thus described in a document of that year : ( Le Tae, 191.)

“La donation falte par le Sr de LaVallière, seigneur de Beaubassin dans l’Acadie et Dam Denis, sa femme aux RR.PP. Recollets . . . de six arpens de front qui sont en prairies dans lad. seigneurie de Beaubassin sur la rivière appellée la Rivière Brouillée vis-à-vis la pointe de Beauséjour en montant au Nord-est & des terres qui se trouveront dans la profondeur depuis lad pointe juisque à moitié chemin des habitations des nommez Martin &  LaVallière anisi qu’il est porté plus au long dans le contract de lad donation passé aux Trois Rivieres le 2 Septembre l678 pardevant Ameau, Notaire roïal.”

Since the identity of the Rivière Brouillée is unknown, it is impossible to locate this grant with certainty. Of course, the church would have been built upon it, and but two early churches are known in this vicinity, one at Beaubassin, near Fort Lawrence, and the other near Fort Beauséjour, though the earlier one burnt by Col. Church in 1696 perhaps stood on a different site. The latter stood on the western slope of the Fort Cumberland Ridge, not far from the fort (explained earlier), and from the mention of the grant as “opposite the point of Beauséjour going towards the northeast,” we may infer that the grant was there. In this case, the Rivière Brouillée would be either an earlier name for the Aulac, or for one of the two or three smaller streams in that vicinity. This Mission is marked on the “Carle généralle de la Nouvelle France” of 1692, but not accurately enough to determine its precise position.

The settlements of Shepody and Petitcodiac were founded, as fully described by Rameau, in 1798, the former by Thibaudeau and the latter by Blanchard. In 1702 it was recommended by Des Gouttins that they be given Grants of these places, of course in seigniory, but decisions of the Council of State of 1703 and I705 show that while they were allowed to continue to occupy their lands they were within the limits of the Seigniory of LaVallière. (Rameau, II., 336, 337)

1700—Cape Near Shepody. To Sieur de Vallière. (Aug. 21.) “Two leagues of land in front [and two in depth], to be taken from the Cape nearest to the Bay of Chipondy, on the north-east side thereof, descending to the south-west, together with the island called aux Meules.” (Leg. 189)

It is possible to locate this Seigniory only approximately, and its probable situation is shown on map No. 39. There is no doubt about I. aux Meules —it is the name on all the old maps for the present GrindstoneIsland.

4. The Richibucto District.

No account whatever of the seigniories in this district has yet been published.

The first great grant in this region was that of 1636, confirmed in 1653 and 1667, to Nicolas Denys, which included all the coast from Cape Breton to Gaspe. It was not revoked until after 1685, for in that year Richard Denys, as representative of his father, made grants to Recollet Missionaries at Miramichi and Restigouche. Yet in 1684 a portion was regranted at Richibucto and other places.

1684—Richibucto. To Louis d’Amours, Ecuyer, Sieur de Chauffours. (Sept. 20, confirmed May 24, 1689). “Ladite rivière Richibouctou, avec une lieue de terre de front du côté du sud-ouest, & de l’autre côté jusques à trois lieues au dejà de ladite rivière Chibouctouche, icelle comprise & les isles, islets adjacentes, & de profondeur Jusq’au portage qui se trouve dans ladite rivière Richibouctou, duquel portage sera tiré une ligue paralélle an front & bord de la mer, pour terminer ladite profondeur . . . lequel fief & seigneurie portera le nom de Chauffours.” (Mem. 748).

This Seigniory can be located perfectly, as shown on the map No. 39. It is stated in the grant that the new Seignior had for two years been cultivating a piece of land on the southwest side of the Richibucto, where he had built a fort and two small houses, and was intending to bring settlers there—to encourage all which, this grant was made. But about 1690 he had removed to Jemseg, as already shown, perhaps in order to be near his two brothers on the St. John.

It appears that land in this region had been granted previous to 1665, but not having been occupied, had reverted to the Crown. The grant is printed in full in Mem. p. 761,

1696-At Cocagne. To George R—-d, sieur Duplessis. (Oct. 15.) “The bay and river of Cocagne, situate in Acadia, together with two Eagues of land in front on each side of the said bay by six leagues in depth, the said front to commence on the sea shore, and thus continue the whole depth, also the adjacent islands, islets and meadows, to which grant we give the name of Duplessis.” (Leg. 158).

The location of this seigniory is plain, and is as shown on map No.39. It overlaps the seigniory of De Chauffours, a fact of course not known at that time. In the grant, Sieur Duplessis is described as “Clerk of the country for M. De Lubert, treasurer general of the Navy.

1697 -Linoville, at Shediac. To Sieur Mathieu de Lino, Marchand à Quebec. (Mar. 29) “A certain tract of land containing five leagues or thereabouts by a similar depth, situate on the coast of Acadia, opposite the island of St. John, to be taken from the concession of the Sieur Duplessis, treasurer of the navy, of the bay and river of Cocague, going toward the south-east in the direction of that of the Sieur de la Vallière, islets, beaches and capes, situate opposite the same, and give to the said concession the name of Linoville.” (Leg. 167)

The location of this Seigniory is plain and shown on map 39.

The grant states it is in return for his .service as an interpreter to the English language, which he has always done gratis.

1697 -St. Paul at Cape Bald. To Sieur Paul Dupuy. ( Apr. 4). “Three leagues of land in front or thereabouts by a similar depth, situate on the coast of Acadia on the great bay of St. Lawrence, joining on one side the concession of the Sieur de Lino, and on the other side that of the Sieur lie la Vallière, together with the islands, islets and beaches which may be found within the said extent, and give the said land the name of St. Paul.” (Leg. 168).

The location is unmistakable, and is shown on map No. 39. The grant states that it is “in consideration of the good services which the said Sieur Dupuy has rendered in this country, as well in war as in the discharge of the situations which he has held.”

5. The Miramichi District.

The history of the single Seigniory of this district has not yet been written, except briefly in Mr. Raymond’s recent paper on the North Shore. It was entirely unknown to Coorey, the only historian of the Miramichi valley.

1687—Miramichi. To Sieur Richard Denys de Fronsac. (Apr. 18, confirmed Mar. 16, 1691). “A quinze lieues de devanture sur quinz lieues de profondeur, à prendre depuys la rivière Des truites, yeelle comprise une lieue tirant au sud-est, et les aultres quatorze lieues tirant au nord ouest.” (Docs II., 40, MurdochI., 198).

There is much confusion in the different versions of this grant, and the confirmations usually attribute it to Nicolas Denys de Fronsac or Frontenac. Murdoch (I., 198) with others has this error. Yet several facts put it beyond doubt that the grant was to the son Richard, not to the father Nicolas. Thus the only version I have seen of the original grant has Richard Denys; both St. Valier and Le Clereq tell us that Richard Denys lived at Miramichi, and they speak of him as proprietor; an early document (Archives, 1884, 18) on Seigniories speaks of Richard Denys de Fronsac as first grantee of Miramichi.

I have not been able to locate this Seigniory. The identity of the Rivière Des truites (TroutRiver) is unknown; there must be some error about the directions, for a line running first southeast, and then northwest would run back upon itself. It must have been on the north side of Miramichi, partly because Denys residence (discussed earlier) was almost certainly there, and partly because grants at Nepisiguit later to be mentioned, bordered upon it.

Richard Denys afterwards acquired the extensive Seigniories of Nepisiguit and Restigouche.

In 1685, (Aug. 13), Richard Denys, as lieutenant for his father, granted three leagues of land to the Recollets for a mission on the river St. Croix (Miramichi) (Murdoch, I., 168). St. Valier says the missionaries chose the land at Skinoubondiche, which it can scarcely be questioned was the modern Burnt Church Point (see earlier); and thus originated the present Burnt Church Indian Mission, which is thus by far the oldest now in existence in New Brunswick. This Mission is marked on the “Carte généralle de la Nouvelle France” of 1692, on the north side of the Miramichi, near its mouth, but not accurately enough to determine its exact site.

6. The Nepisiguit District.

No account of the Seigniories of this district has yet been published, excepting only the scanty and erroneous references in Cooney.

The original grant to Denys included all this district, and he had establishments, as he tells us in his book, at Miscou and Nepisiguit. His rights must have lapsed after 1685, for after that date large portions of that district were regranted.

It is possible there was a grant of Miscou to a Company in 1668, but evidently it was of little or no effect. (Archives, 1885, 33).

1689—Pocmouche. To Michel De Grez, habitant de Pocmouche. (Aug. 3). “1 lieue de front sur 1 lieue profondeur dans la Rivière de Pomouche.” (Leg. 112). The site of this grant (not a Seigniory) may be fixed approximately, as on Map 39. This was afterwards included in a Seigniory of Esnault (see later), and it is said of DeGrez (or Delgrais) that he has “retired with the English of Boston, and married an English woman, although he was married to an Indian woman, and his marriage had been solemnized in presence of the church.”

1690—Nepisiguit. To Sieur Jean Gobin, Marchand à Quebec. (May 26, confirmed March 16, 1691). “Extent of twelve leagues in front by ten leagues in depth on the Baie des Chaleurs in Acadia, together with the rivers which may be found within the limits of the said tract of land, the said twelve leagues of land to commence running from the boundary of the concession made to the Sieur de Fronsac, settled by the Intendants’ Ordinance bearing date the eighteenth day of April last, going towards the northeast, together with the points of land, islands, islets and shoals which may be found situate opposite the said tract of land.”

In the preamble “including the River Nepisiguit” is given. (Murdoch, I., 198, Leg. 117).

It is not possible to locate this Seigniory very exactly unless it be assumed that the Nepisiguit formed its central part, as was usual in such grants.

This grant (Archives, 1884, 9) was ceded by Gobin, “the first grantee,” to Richard Denys de Fronsac, and through his wife descended to Rey- Gaillard, who held it in 1753.

This appears to be the grant that Cooney assigns to Jean Jacques Enaud, as including all land between Grand Ance and Jacquet River, which is certainly an error, as Gobin was the first grantee. Esnault (or Enaud) is spoken of in the Census of 1696 as a resident of Nepisiguit, as he is in his grant of Pocmouche of 1693. He may have been agent for Gobin.

1693—Pokemouche. To Philipes Esnault, habitant de Nepisiguit. (Aug. 17; confirmed Apr. 15, 1694) “The said river Pocmouche, and four leagues of land in front on each side of the same, by a similar depth, the present grant including the said one league of land heretofore conceded to the said Degrais.” (Leg. 136).

The location is fairly plain, and as shown on Map No. 39. Degrais (DeGrez) had abandoned his land, owing Esnault 200 livres, as the grant relates.

Esnault is mentioned in documents of the time—in the Census and in Leclereq, who calls him Henaut, Sieur de Barbaucannes. Cooney gives traditions of him and calls him Jean Jacques Enaud, and puts his coming to Nepisiguit much too early. Dionne (Miscou) says he was granted the fief of Nepisguit, two square leagues, but I find no authority for this, and it must be an error, since Nepisiguit was granted to Gobin. A Réné d’Eneau received a grant at Port Daniel in 1696.

1719—Miscou. To Count St. Pierre, premier —ger de Madame la duchesse d’Orleans. The islands of St. John and Miscou. (Murdoch, I., 382). In 1730 this grant was revoked. An interesting account of it is given by Murdoch.

7. Restigouche District.

No account of the single Seigniory on this river on the New Brunswick side has yet been published.

In 1685 (Aug. 3) Richard Denys de Fronsac, acting as lieutenant for his father, granted three leagues of land at Restigouche to the Recollets for a mission. There is no special evidence to locate this grant, but it is altogether probable it included old Mission Point above Campbellton as already discussed.

1890—Restigouche. (May 26, confirmed March 16, 1691). To Sieur [Pierre] Le Moyne d’Iverville. “A space of land of 12 leagues front by 10 leagues in depth, in the Bay of Chaleurs, in Acadie, comprising the rivers to be found within that extent, measuring said 12 leagues from the boundary of Sr. Gobin’s grant on the north west course in part, and the other part on the east south east, the river of Restigouche included, with the points, islands, islets and flats in the front.” (Murdoch, I., 198. Doc. II., 40; Leg. 118.)

The location of this Seigniory is in the main clear, and as shown in Map No. 39. It could hardly, however, have bordered upon the lands of Gobin, as the distance from Nepisiguit to Restigouche is too great.

This Seigniory was ceded by d’ Iberville to Richard Denys de Fronsac (Archives, 1884, 10) and descended through his wife to Rey-Gaillard, who held it in 1753.

The grant of 1707 to Charles Morin on the River Restigouche was in Cloridon and therefore in Quebec, outside of our present limits.


Ganong’s Map 37:

Map 37

Ganong’s Map 38:

Map 38

West half of Ganong’s Map 39:

Map 39 West

East half of Ganong’s Map 39:

Map 39 East



Written by johnwood1946

May 29, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

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