Part 1 out of 4
THE CHIGNECTO ISTHMUS AND ITS FIRST SETTLERS
BY HOWARD TRUEMAN
For some years past I, in common with many others, have felt that all
letters of interest and accessible facts in connection with the early
history of the Truemans should be collected and put in permanent form,
not because there is anything of interest to the general public in the
records of a family whose members have excelled, if at all, in private
rather than in public life, but in order that the little knowledge
there is of the early history of the family might not pass forever out
of the reach of later generations with the death of those whose memory
carries them back to the original settlers. In getting together
material necessary for the work, numbers of interesting facts
concerning other families came inevitably to light. In order to
preserve these facts, and at the same time give the book a slightly
wider interest, I decided to write a short history of those families
connected by marriage with the first and second generations of
Truemans, and also, as far as material was available, of the first
settlers in the old township of Cumberland, which now includes the
settlements of Fort Lawrence, Westmoreland Point, Point de Bute,
Jolicure, Bay Road, Bay Verte, Upper Tidnish and Port Elgin. Finally,
as a kind of setting for the whole, I have prefaced these records with
a brief outline of the early history of the Isthmus.
That the work falls far below the ideal goes without saying. Anyone who
has made the effort to collect facts of local history knows how
difficult it is to get reliable information. In almost every case where
there was a conflict of opinion I have endeavored to verify my facts by
light thrown on them from different directions; but doubtless mistakes
will be found. By keeping the work in preparation for a longer time,
more matter of interest could certainly be added, and perhaps
corrections made; but to this there is no end, as the discovery of
every new item of interest reveals a whole series more to investigate.
To all who have given me assistance warmest thanks are tendered. To Dr.
Ganong, of Northampton, Mass.; Judge Morse, Amherst; W. C. Milner,
Sackville; and Dr. Steel of Amherst, grateful acknowledgment is
especially due for their ready and cheerful help. To Murdoch's Nova
Scotia, Hannay's Acadia and to Dixon's and Black's family histories I
have also been indebted.
This book needs no introduction to the people of the Isthmus, whom it
will most interest. I shall therefore attempt only to point out the
plan the present work will take in the general history of Eastern
Mr. Trueman does not profess to have attempted a complete history of
the Isthmus. The earlier periods, prior to the coming of the
Yorkshiremen, are so replete with interest that a many times larger
work than the present would be necessary for their full consideration,
but Mr. Trueman has treated them with sufficient fulness to show the
historical conditions of the country into which the Yorkshiremen came.
It is the history of these Yorkshiremen and their descendants which Mr.
Trueman treats so fully and authoritatively, and withal, from a local
standpoint, so interestingly; and his work is the more valuable for the
reason that hitherto but little has been published upon this subject.
Some articles have appeared in local newspapers, and there are
references to it in the provincial histories, but no attempt has
hitherto been made to treat the subject as it deserves. Those of us who
are interested in history from a more scientific standpoint will regret
that the material, particularly of the earlier part of the Yorkshire
immigration could not have been more documentary and less traditional,
but that it is as here given is not Mr. Trueman's fault but a result of
the nature of the case. It is not impossible, by the way, that such
documents may yet be discovered, perhaps in some still unsuspected
archives. It is to be remembered, however, that to a local audience,
documents are of less interest than tradition, and the genealogical
phases of history, here so fully treated, are most interesting of all.
Mr. Trueman seems to have sifted the traditions with care, and he
certainly has devoted to his task an unsurpassed knowledge of his
subject, much loving labor, and no small enthusiasm. I believe the
local readers of his work will agree with me that this history could
not have fallen into more appropriate hands.
It does not seem to me that Mr. Trueman has exaggerated the part played
by the Yorkshiremen and their descendants in our local history. While
it is doubtless too much to say that their loyalty saved Nova Scotia
(then including New Brunswick) to Great Britain by their steadfastness
at the time of the Eddy incident in 1776, there can be no doubt that it
contributed largely to that result and rendered easy the suppression of
an uprising which would have given the authorities very great trouble
had it succeeded. But there can be no question whatever as to the value
to the Chignecto region, and hence to all this part of Canada, of this
immigration of God-fearing, loyal, industrious, progressive
Yorkshiremen. Although they and their descendants have not occupied the
places in life of greatest prominence, they have been none the less
useful citizens in contributing as they have to the solid foundations
of the upbuilding of a great people.
It is of interest in this connection to note that Mr. Trueman's book,
although preceded in Nova Scotia by several county histories, is for
New Brunswick, with one or two exceptions (in Jack's "History of the
City of St. John," and Lorimer's pamphlet, "History of the
Passamaquiddy Islands") the first history of a limited portion of the
Province to appear in book form, although valuable newspaper series on
local history have been published. May it prove the leader of a long
series of such local histories which, let us hope, will not cease to
appear until every portion of these interesting Provinces has been
W. F. GANONG.
CHAPTER I. The Chignecto Isthmus
CHAPTER II. The New England Immigration, 1755-1770
CHAPTER III. The Yorkshire Immigration
CHAPTER IV. The Eddy Rebellion
CHAPTER V. The First Churches of the Isthmus
CHAPTER VI. The Truemans
CHAPTER VII. Extracts from Journal and Letters
CHAPTER VIII. Prospect Farm
CHAPTER IX. Families Connected by Marriage with the Second
Generation of Truemans
CHAPTER X. The First Settlers of Cumberland
THE CHIGNECTO ISTHMUS.
The discovery of America added nearly a third to the then known land
surface of the earth, and opened up two of its richest continents. If
such an extent of territory were thrown into the world's market to-day,
the rapidity with which it would be exploited and explored, and its
wealth made tributary to the world's requirements, would astonish, if
they were here, the men who pioneered the settlement of the new country
and left so royal a heritage to their descendants. To those who cross
the Atlantic in the great ocean liners of our time, and think them none
too safe, the fleet with which Sir Humphrey Gilbert crossed the sea to
plant his colony in the new land must seem a frail protection indeed
against the dangers of the western ocean.
Perhaps in no way can the progress made since the beginning of the
nineteenth century be more forcibly brought before the mind than by
comparing the immense iron steamships of the present day with the small
wooden vessels with which commerce was carried on and battles were
fought and won a hundred and fifty years ago.
The Isthmus of Chignecto separates the waters of the Bay of Fundy from
those of Bay Verte, and constitutes the neck of land which saves Nova
Scotia from being an island. It is seventeen miles between the two bays
at the narrowest point, and considering the town of Amherst the south-
eastern limit, and the village of Sackville the north-western, it may
be put down as a little less than ten miles in width.
The southern slope is drained by four tidal rivers or creeks, namely,
La Planche, Missiquash, Aulac and the Tantramar. These rivers empty
into Cumberland Basin, and their general course is from north-east to
south-west. In length they are from twelve to fifteen miles, and run
through narrow valleys, the soil of which is made up largely from a
rich sediment carried by the tide from the muddy waters of the basin.
These valleys are separated from each other by ridges of high land
ranging from one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet above the sea
The Tidnish River, and several streams emptying into the Bay Verte,
drain the Isthmus on its northern slope. The Missiquash and Tidnish
rivers, each for some part of its course, form the boundary between the
provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The tides at the head of
the Bay of Fundy rise to the height of sixty feet, or even higher, and
are said to be the highest in the world. The mud deposit from the
overflow of these tidal waters, laid down along the river valleys, is
from one foot to eighty feet deep, varying as the soil beneath rises
Between Sackville and Amherst there is an area of some fifty thousand
acres of these alluvial lands, reclaimed and unreclaimed. Some of this
marsh has been cutting large crops of hay for one hundred and fifty
years, and there is no evidence of diminished fertility, although no
fertilizer has been used in that time; other sections have become
exhausted and the tide has been allowed to overflow them. This
treatment will restore them to their original fertility.
Cartier was the first of the early navigators to drop anchor in a New
Brunswick harbor. This was in the summer of 1534, and the place was on
the Gulf of St. Lawrence, near the mouth of the Miramich River. This
was on the 30th of June. Landing the next day and finding the country
well wooded, he was delighted and spoke of it in glowing terms.
The first white men to visit the Isthmus with a view to trade and
settlement came from Port Royal in the summer of 1612.
In 1670, Jacob Bourgeois, a resident of Port Royal, and a few other
restless spirits, were the first to make a permanent settlement. These
were followed by another contingent under the leadership of Pierre
In 1676, the King of France gave a large grant of territory in Acadia
to a French nobleman, Michael Le Neuf, Sieur de La Valliere. This grant
included all the Chignecto Isthmus. Tonge's Island, a small islet in
the marsh near the mouth of the Missiquash River, is called Isle La
Valliere on the old maps, and was probably occupied by La Valliere
himself when he lived on the Isthmus.
From this date Chignecto began to take a prominent place in the
history of Acadia, and continued for a hundred and fifty years to be
one of the principal centres of influence under the rule both of France
and Great Britain.
It was here that France made her last stand for the possession of
Acadia. It was here that Jonathan Eddy, twenty years later, raised the
standard of the revolted colonies, and made a gallant but unsuccessful
effort to carry Nova Scotia over to the rebel cause.
From 1713 to 1750 was the most prosperous period of the French
occupation. The population increased rapidly for those times. The
market at Louisbourg furnished an outlet for the surplus produce of the
soil. The wants of the people were few. The Acadians were thrifty and
frugal, the rod and gun supplying a large part of the necessaries of
life in many a home. The complaint was made by those who at that time
were interested in the circulation of the King's silver that the people
hoarded it up, and once they got possession of it the public were never
allowed to see it again. The houses were small and destitute of many of
the furnishings their descendants now think indispensable, but perhaps
they enjoyed life quite as well as those of later generations.
Bay Verte at this time was a place of considerable importance. The Abbe
Le Loutre lived here a part of the time, and owned a store kept by an
agent. The trade between Quebec and Louisbourg and the settlements on
the Isthmus was carried on through the Port of Bay Verte, and from
there the farmers of Chignecto shipped their cattle and farm products.
The Acadians were quick to see the benefits that would arise from
reclaiming the rich river valleys, and they drew their revenues chiefly
from this land. They did not readily take to the cutting down of the
forests and preparing the upland for growing crops; they were more at
home with the dyking-spade than the axe. A description of their methods
of dyking and constructing aboideaux, written in 1710, is interesting
to those who are doing the same work now.
The writer of 1710 says: "They stopped the current of the sea by
creating large dykes, which they called aboideaux. The method was to
plant five or six large trees in the places where the sea enters the
marshes, and between each row to lay down other trees lengthways on top
of each other, and fill the vacant places with mud so well beaten down
that the tide could not pass through it. In the middle they adjusted a
flood-gate in such a way as to allow the water from the marsh to flow
out at low water without permitting the water from the sea to flow in
at high tide." The writer adds that the work was expensive, but the
second year's crop repaid them for the outlay. This is more than can be
said for present-day experience in the same kind of work.
The land reclaimed on the Aulac was confined principally to the upper
portion of the river. The Abbe Le Loutre saw that the benefit would be
great if this river were dammed near its mouth, and he was at work at a
large aboideau, for which he had received money from France, when the
fall of Beausejour forever put a stop to his enterprise.
Wheat seems to have grown very abundantly on the marsh when it was
first dyked, judging from the census reports of those days and the
traditions handed down.
The old French maps of 1750 and earlier show settlements at Beaubassin
(Fort Lawrence), Pont a Buot (Point de Bute), Le Lac (Jolicure), We-He-
Kauk (Westcock), We-He-Kauk-Chis (Little Westcock), Tantramar (Upper
Sackville), Pre Du Bourge (Middle Sackville), We-He-Kage (Amherst
Point) and Amherst or Upper Amherst, Vill-La-Butte, and La Planche.
There were settlements also at Maccan, Nappan and Minudie. The
statement that the village of Beaubassin, in 1750, contained a hundred
and forty houses, and a population numbering a thousand, seems
improbable under the circumstances.
Fort Lawrence, the site of old Beaubassin, contains to-day less than
forty houses, and not more than three hundred inhabitants, yet more
land is under cultivation now than in any previous time in its history.
It is highly probable that the whole population on the south side of
the Isthmus was reckoned as belonging to Beaubassin.
There is good reason for saying that the population of the district
embraced in the parish of Westmoreland, excepting Port Elgin, was much
larger from 1750 to 1755 than it has ever been since.
The Seigneur La Valliere was, no doubt, the most prominent man,
politically, on the Isthmus during the French period. He was appointed
commandant of Acadia in 1678, by Count Frontenac, and just missed being
made governor. He was a man of broader views than most of his
contemporaries. He encouraged trade, and was willing that others beside
his own countrymen should reap the benefits if they were ready to pay
the price. He anticipated the MODUS VIVENDI system now in force between
this country and the United States in dealing with the fisheries, and
instead of keeping a large fleet to patrol the coast and drive the
English from the fishing ground, he charged them a license fee of five
pistoles (about twenty-five dollars) for each vessel, thus giving them
a free hand in the business.
La Valliere's farm was probably on the island marked on the old maps,
"Isle La Valliere," and here he lived when not in other parts of the
colony on public business. He had a son called Beaubassin, who was
always ready to take a hand in any expedition that required courage and
promised danger. In 1703, this Beaubassin was the leader of a party of
French and Indians that attacked Casco and would have captured the
place but for the timely arrival of a British man-of-war.
On the 11th April, 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht was signed. This gave
all Nova Scotia, or Acadia, comprehended within its ancient boundaries,
as also the city of Port Royal, now called Annapolis Royal, to the
Queen of Great Britain. The English claimed this to include all the
territory east of a line drawn from north of the Kennebec River to
Quebec, taking in all the south shore of the St. Lawrence, Gaspe, the
Island of St. John, and Cape Breton. The French contended that Acadia
only included the southern half of the present Province of Nova Scotia.
Views so divergent held by the contracting parties to an agreement,
could scarcely fail to produce irritation and ultimately result in war.
In 1740, the Abbe Le Loutre, Vicar-General of Acadia under the Bishop
of Quebec, and missionary to the Micmacs, came to Acadia to take charge
of his mission. It soon became apparent that the Rev. Father was more
anxious to advance the power and prestige of the King of France than he
was to minister to the spiritual elevation of the benighted Indians.
The course pursued by the Abbe defeated the end he had in view. His aim
was to make Acadia a French colony; but in reality he helped to make it
the most loyal British territory in North America.
The successful raid of de Villiers, in the winter of 1747, convinced
the English that so long as Chignecto was in possession of the French,
and was used as a base of operations to defy the English Government,
there could be no lasting peace or security for settlers of British
blood. Taking this view of the matter, Governor Cornwallis determined
to take measures to drive the French from the Isthmus. The unsettled
state of the French population through the Province contributed to this
In November, 1754, Governor Lawrence wrote to Shirley, at Boston, that
he had reason to believe the French were contemplating aggressive
measures at Chignecto, and he thought it was quite time an effort was
made to drive them from the north side of the Bay of Fundy. Col.
Monckton carried this letter to Governor Shirley. The governor entirely
agreed with the suggestion it contained, and had already taken some
steps to bring about so desirable an end to the troubles the Government
was experiencing on the Isthmus.
The matter was kept as secret as possible, but efforts were immediately
made to raise a force to capture Fort Beausejour, the new fort built by
the French on the high ground overlooking Beaubassin, on the north-west
side of the Missiquash. So successful were they in getting up the
expedition that, on the 23rd of May, everything was ready and the force
set sail from Boston.
The expedition numbered two thousand men, under the command of Lieut.-
Col. Monckton, with Lieutenants Winslow and Scott under him. They
called at Annapolis, and were joined there by three hundred regulars of
Warburton's regiment, and got a small train of artillery. Fort
Lawrence* was reached on 2nd June, and the next day all the troops were
landed and camped around the fort.
[FOOTNOTE: *The fort at Fort Lawrence, was situate on the high land
that separates the valleys of the Missiquash and La Planche rivers, a
little less than two miles distant from Fort Beausejour. It was
constructed in the month of September, 1750. Lieutenant-Colonel
Lawrence arrived at the Isthmus with a strong force, consisting of the
48th Regiment, and three hundred men of the 45th Regiment. "The Indians
and some of the French were rash enough to oppose the landing of so
formidable a body of troops, but they were driven off after a sharp
skirmish, in which the English lost about twenty killed and wounded." A
short distance from where they landed Colonel Lawrence erected a
picketal fort with block-houses, which was named for himself. A
garrison of six hundred men was maintained here until the fall of
Beausejour. END OF FOOTNOTE]
Vergor, the French General in command at Beausejour, called on all the
Acadians capable of bearing arms to come into the fort and assist in
its defence. The Acadians, however, would not obey this order unless
Vergor would make a refusal to comply punishable with death. This would
given them an excuse with which to meet the English if the fort were
On the 4th June, the English broke camp and marched north from Fort
Lawrence, a distance of about two miles along the ridge of high land;
then, entering the Missiquash valley, they crossed over to Pont a Buot,
or Buot's Bridge, which spanned the Missiquash River. This bridge was
near what is now Point de Bute Corner. Here the French had a blockhouse
garrisoned with thirty men. There was also a breastwork of timber. This
place was defended for an hour by the French, and then, setting fire to
the little fort, they left the English to cross over without
opposition. The victorious force camped that night on the Point de Bute
side of the Missiquash River.
At this day it is difficult to account for the slight value the Acadian
seemed to place upon his home. He appears to have been always ready to
set it on fire at the least danger of its falling into the hands of the
English. The sixty houses that stood between Buot's Bridge and
Beausejour all went up in flame that night, fired by the French
soldiers as they retired before the English.
From the 4th until the 13th of June the English were engaged in cutting
roads, building bridges, transporting cannon, and getting these into
position north of the fort, on the high ground, within shelling
distance. During this time the French had been strengthening their
defences and making other arrangements for withstanding a seige (sic).
The Abbe Le Loutre ceased work on his "abateau" and set his men to
assist at the fort.
Scouting parties from either camp met once or twice, and the Indians
captured an English officer named Hay, who was passing from Fort
Lawrence to the English camp.
On the 13th the English threw a few shells into the fort, and continued
to shell the place on the 14th, without much apparent result. On that
day Vergor received tidings that no help could be sent from Louisbourg.
This news was more disastrous to the French than the English shells.
The Acadians lost all heart and began to slip away into the woods and
the settlements to the northward.
The next day, the 15th, larger shells were thrown, some falling into
the fort. One shell killed the English officer, Hay, who was a
prisoner, and several French officers, while they were at breakfast.
This decided the matter. Vergor sent an officer to Monckton asking for
a suspension of hostilities. That afternoon the following terms of
surrender were agreed upon:
"1st. The commandant, officers, staff and others employed for the King
and garrison of Beausejour, shall go out with arms and baggage, drums
beating. 2nd. The garrison shall be sent to Louisbourg at the expense
of the King of Great Britain. 3rd. The Governor shall have provisions
sufficient to last them until they get to Louisbourg. 4th. As to the
Acadians, as they were forced to bear arms under pain of death, they
shall be pardoned. 5th. The garrison shall not bear arms in America for
the space of six months. 6th. The foregoing are granted on condition
that the garrison shall surrender to the troops of Great Britain by
7 p.m. this afternoon. Signed, Robert Monckton. At the camp before
Beausejour, 16th June, 1755."
As soon as the British were in possession at Beausejour, Monckton sent
a detachment of three hundred men, under Col. Winslow, to demand the
surrender of the fort at Bay Verte. Capt. Villeray accepted the same
terms as Vergor, and on the 18th of June, 1755, the Isthmus passed for
ever out of the possession of the King of France. A large amount of
supplies was found in both forts.
Monckton changed the name of Fort Beausejour to Fort Cumberland, in
honor of the Royal Duke who won the victory at Culloden, and as it was
a much better fort than the one on the south side of the Missiquash,
the troops were ordered to remain at Fort Cumberland.
This fort stands in a commanding position on the south-west summit of
the high ridge of upland that separates the Missiquash from the Aulac
valley. It was a fort of five bastions, with casemates, and was capable
of accommodating eight hundred men. It mounted thirty guns. After it
fell into the hands of the English it was great improved. A stone
magazine (a part of which is still standing) was built outside the
southern embankment. The moat was excavated to a much greater depth. Of
late years the place has been shamefully neglected. On account of its
historic associations many yearly visit the "Old Fort," and efforts
have been made to enclose the grounds and make them more presentable.
The Acadians were still to be dealt with. Whether they should remain in
the country and in the possession of their lands depended entirely on
whether they would take the oath of allegiance to the Crown of Great
Britain. This one condition accepted, they would be guaranteed all the
privileges and immunities of British subjects. They refused, and the
Expulsion followed. It was a hard and cruel measure, but they had had
forty years of grace, and those who had thus long borne with them now
decided their day of grace had ended.
One hundred and fifty years have since passed, but we find the Acadians
are still here and are exercising an influence in Canada that is felt
in all its Provinces. They are British subjects now, however, and while
they have not lost their love for the country from which they sprang,
nor for the flag for which their ancestors sacrificed so much, they are
ready to stand by the Empire of Britain in war as well as in peace.
THE NEW ENGLAND IMMIGRATION 1755-1770.
The expulsion of 1755 left the population of old Acadia so depleted
that the Governor and Council felt that something must be done at once
to add to its numbers. The first move in this direction was to offer
exceptional advantages to the New England soldiers, who constituted the
largest part of the force at the taking of Beausejour, if they would
remain in the country. Very few, however, accepted the offer, and as
the unsettled state of the country between 1755 and 1760 was most
unfavorable to immigration, but little progress was made till the next
During these years wandering bands of Acadians and Indians harrassed
(sic) the English, shooting and scalping whenever opportunity offered.
At Bay Verte, in the spring of 1755, nine soldiers belonging to a party
under Lieutenant Bowan, were shot and scalped while out getting wood
for the fort. Colonel Scott, commandant at Cumberland, immediately sent
two hundred of the New England men to Bay Verte with a sergeant and ten
men of the regulars. The sergeant replaced the men who were killed, and
caused three weeks' supply of wood to be laid in. Shortly after this
one of the regulars was killed, and one of the New England men was
taken prisoner. These men had strayed in the woods down as far as the
Tantramar with these unfortunate results.
In 1759, Governor Lawrence wrote from Halifax to the Board of Trade
that "five soldiers had been killed and scalped near Fort Cumberland,
and that a provision vessel had been boarded by French and Indians in
the Bay of Fundy and carried up the River Petitcodiac." The five men
were ambushed and killed in Upper Point de Bute, near a bridge that
crossed a ravine on the farm now owned by Amos Trueman.
Up to this time the government of Nova Scotia was vested in a governor
and council. This year, 1758, it was decided by the Home Government to
allow the Province a Legislative Assembly. The Assembly was to consist
of twenty-two members, twelve to be elected by the Province at large,
four for the township of Halifax, four for the township of Lunenburg,
one for Dartmouth, one for Lawrencetown, one for Annapolis, and one for
Cumberland. Fifty qualified electors would constitute a township. The
township elections were to continue during two days, and those for the
Province four days.
The Assembly met for the first time on October 2nd, 1758. Nineteen
members were present. This makes the Legislature of Halifax the oldest
in the Dominion of Canada. This year, also, Governor Lawrence issued
his first proclamation inviting the New Englanders to come to Nova
Scotia and settle on the vacated Acadian farms.
This proclamation created a great deal of interest and inquiry, and
finally led to a considerable number of New England farmers settling in
different parts of the Province, Chignecto getting a good share of
them. The first proclamation had, however, to be supplemented by a
second, in which full liberty of conscience and the right to worship as
they pleased was secured to Protestants of all denominations. This
guarantee was not included in Lawrence's first invitation to the New
Englanders, and the descendants of the Puritans had not read in vain
the history of the sacrifices made by their forefathers to worship in
their own way.
In July, 1759, Edward Mott, representing a committee of agents from
Connecticut, arrived at Halifax and was given a schooner to proceed to
Chignecto, to examine that part of the Province with a view to
settlement. Mr. Mott and his party returned some months later and
suggested some changes in the proposed grants, which were conceded by
It was estimated at this time that two thousand families could be
comfortably settled in the districts of Chignecto, Cobequid, Pisquid,
Minas and Annapolis. This year (1759) persons in Connecticut and Rhode
Island sent Major Dennison, Jonathan Harris, James Otis, James Fuller,
and John Hicks, to Halifax to look out for desirable locations for
settlement in the Province. Messrs. Hicks and Fuller decided to take up
lands at Pisquid or Windsor.
From this time till 1766 the desire shown by residents of New England
to settle in Nova Scotia was very marked, and resulted in adding
considerably to the population of the Province.
In May, 1761, Captain Dogget was directed to bring twenty families and
sixty head of cattle. The cattle were to be brought from the eastern
part of New England to Liverpool, N.S., at the expense of the
Government. Thirty-five pounds also was granted to transport twenty
families with seventy-nine head of cattle to the township of Amherst.
In 1763, a number of families came to Sackville and were given grants
of land by the Government. These Sackville emigrants were adherents of
the Baptist Church and brought their minister with them. The
denomination is still strong in that locality. A number of these
emigrants, however, returned at the beginning of the Revolutionary War,
and others after the war was over.
The townships of Cumberland, Amherst, and Sackville were established in
1763. The township of Cumberland had an area of 100,800 acres. It
included all the territory between the La Planche and Aulac Rivers, and
extended east to Bay Verte and southwest to the Cumberland Basin. Old
Beausejour, now Fort Cumberland, was within the township of Cumberland.
Amherst township is said to have had a population at this time of
thirty families, and Cumberland of thirty-five families. The township
of Cumberland of (sic) was given 18,800 acres of marsh, and Sackville
had 1,200 cres of marsh and 8,700 acres of woodland.
In 1763, a number of the leading men in Cumberland met together and
appointed a committee to draft a memorial to the Governor, asking the\
privilege of sending a representative to the Assembly at Halifax. The
request was granted, and Joshua Winslow was chosen as the first
representative of the township. Colonel Fry had previous to this time
represented Cumberland in the Assembly, but he was not elected by the
people. The following is the text of the memorial:
"To the Honourable Montague Wilmot, Esquire, Lieutenant-Governor and
Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's Province of Nova Scotia, and
Colonel of one of His Majesty's regiments of foot, etc., etc., etc.
"The inhabitants of the town of Cumberland, in Nova Scotia, beg leave
to congratulate Your Honour on your appointment by His Majesty to the
chief command of this Province and in your safe arrival therein.
Although remote from the Capital, and perhaps last in our addresses,
yet we flatter ourselves not the least sincere in assuring Your Honour
of the happiness we feel in finding ourselves under your government.
"It would give us particular satisfaction was it in your power to look
upon ourselves in the same light with the other towns in the Province.
But as we are yet destitute of that sanction which would put us on the
same footing with our neighbours, we cannot help presuming upon the
liberty of signifying to Your Honour our regret thereat, and praying
that you will be pleased to permit the solution of our affairs to be
laid before you, not doubting but upon a just representation thereof
you will be pleased to think we are deserving in common with the other
settlements of Your Honour's countenance and protection. We beg to rely
on your goodness therein.
"By desire of the inhabitants,
John Huston (Ch.). Elijah Ayer.
Wm. Allen Josiah Throop.
J. Winslow. Jos. Morse.
"CUMBERLAND, Nov. 1st, 1763."
Although thirty-five families had settled in Cumberland at this time,
and six hundred acres of land had been cleared of timber, the larger
part of the land was still held by the Government. Application was
therefore made in this year by the following persons for grants of land
Joseph Morse. Joshua Winslow.
Elijah Ayer. Jesse Bent.
Josiah Throop. Gamaliel Smethurst.
John Huston. Sennacherib Martyn.
James Law. Abel Richardson.
Sara Jones. William Best, Sr.
Obediah Ayer. William Nesbit.
William How. Windser Eager.
Arch. Hinshelwood. Gideon Gardner.
Samuel Danks. Thomas Dickson.
Zebulon Roe. John King.
Henry King. Joshua Best.
Jonathan Cole. Elieu Gardner.
Jonathan Eddy. William Huston.
Alex. Huston. Simeon Charters.
Thomas Proctor. Brook Watson.
William Allan. Jonathan Gay.
Daniel Gooden. Martin Peck.
Ebenezer Storer. John Walker.
Benine Danks. Henry M. Bonnell.
John Allan. Amos Fuller.
Charles Oulton. Samuel Gay.
David ----------. Assell Danks.
Daniel Earl. Isaac Danks.
Anthony Burk. Ebenezer ----------.
John Fillmore. Robert Watson.
Samuel Raymond. William Welch.
John Collins. William Sutherland.
Thomas Clews. Nehemiah Ward.
Abel Richardson. Joseph Ayer.
Winkworth Allen. William Milburn.
Liffy Chappell. George Allen.
The Glebe. Jabez Chappell.
The School. The Presbyterian Minister
Col. Joseph Morse was a native of Delham, Mass., and took an active
part in the Seven Years' War. He lost heavily in the expedition against
Oswego. In crossing the Atlantic he was captured by the French, and
obtained a good taste of the quality of French dungeons in which his
health became shattered. He was exchanged, after which he visited
London and received many marks of personal favor at the hands of George
II, amongst these a pension, and tracts of land in Virginia and Nova
Scotia. His last days were spent in Fort Lawrence, where he settled
after the expulsion of the French. He left one son, Alpheus, and a
daughter, Olive. The former married Theodora, a sister of Col. Jonathan
Crane the father of Hon. Wm. Crane; the latter married Col. Wm. Eddy,
of Revolutionary fame, who was afterwards killed in the British attack
on Machais, and the Fort Lawrence property inherited by his wife was
escheated to the Crown. After Alpheus Morse's death his widow married
Major How, an officer in Eddy's command. Upon the failure of the
rebellion, Mrs. How and Mrs. Eddy fled to the United States. Alpheus
Morse's sons were Alpheus, James, Joseph, Silas, and John. The two
first lived in Cumberland, where their descendants are still found.
Judge Morse and Dr. Morse, of Amherst, are sons of James. Joseph
emigrated to Ohio, where his descendants now live. Silas married a
sister of Judge Alexander Stewart, C.B. Among his descendants are Sir
Charles Tupper's family, Rev. Richards (sic) Simmonds' family, and
Charles Fullerton, K.C. John Morse married a daughter of Sheriff
Charles Chandler, the father of Lieutenant-Governor Chandler. Among his
descendants are the family of the late Judge Morse of Dalhousie, and
the C. Milner family of Sackville. A daughter of Alpheus Morse married
Judge Stewart. Among his descendants are Judge Townsend of Halifax, and
Senator Dickey's family of Amherst.
There were three Ayers--Elijah, Obediah and Joseph--who came with the
emigration of 1763 and settled in Sackville. Obediah joined the Eddy
rebels in 1776, and was made a commodore by the Continental Congress
after he left Cumberland. The Ayers in Sackville are descendants of
Josiah Throop was an engineer in the British army. He surveyed the
township of Cumberland, and Throop's plan is still referred to. His
grant was in Upper Point de Bute, where some of his descendants still
live. He represented the township in the Halifax Assembly in 1765.
There were three Hustons--John, William and Alexander. They lived near
Fort Cumberland. The name occurs still in the county of Cumberland.
Joshua Winslow, as we have stated, was the first representative sent
from Cumberland to the Legislature at Halifax, and was a member of the
Winslow family, so distinguished in colonial history. He was engaged at
Chignecto with Capt. Huston, in the commissary business. The latter in
one of his trips to Boston picked up a waif in the person of Brook
Watson, a young man who had had one of his legs bitten off by a shark
in West-Indian waters. Watson was trained under Winslow, and the
foundation of his success was hereby laid. General Joshua was
Commissary-General of the British in Nova Scotia. He left Fort
Cumberland in 1783. He was paymaster of the troops in Quebec in 1791
and died there ten years later. A grandson of his, a Mr. Trott, lives
at Niagara Falls in a fine old colonial mansion full of treasures of
the Colonial period, with many relics and personal effects of General
The Bents were from New England. There were two brothers, John and
Jesse. John settled in Amherst and Jesse in Fort Lawrence. There are a
large number of their descendants in the country.
Gamaliel Smethurst represented the county of Cumberland at Halifax, in
1770. He returned to England and published a book in London, in 1774,
describing a voyage from Nepisiquit to Cumberland. None of this name,
so far as we know, now reside in the country.
Sennacherib Martyn was a captain in Winslow's expedition to capture
Fort Beausejour. He brought with him to Westmoreland Point, as slaves,
a negro family, to whom he afterwards gave their freedom, and gave them
also his name (now spelled Martin). Captain Martyn married the widow
Oulton and settled in Jolicure. He was godfather to George and
Elizabeth, the children of Col. William Allan.
James Law was a commissary at the fort and a colonel of militia. He was
a large property owner in Point de Bute on both sides of the ridge.
Reverses of fortune came, and finally he died a parish charge.
Benoni Danks represented the county of Cumberland at the Halifax
Assembly. Tradition says his death was caused by falling into the hold
of a vessel. The Danks left the country about the year 1830.
Thomas Dickson was born in Dublin, and came to Connecticut when an
infant. He married a Wethered.
The Kings were from New England. They settled in Fort Lawrence, and
from there removed to different parts of the country.
Jonathan Cole lived on Cole's Island and gave his name to the place. He
had two sons, Martin and Ebenezer, the former of whom settled at
Rockport and the latter at Dorchester. The name is still in the county.
William Allan was a Scotchman who came to Halifax with the party that
founded that place in 1749. He soon after came to Cumberland. John and
Winkworth Allan were his sons. His grant was in Upper Point de Bute,
where his son John lived when he was sheriff of Cumberland.
George Allan was a son of William Allan. He had a son George, and all
the other Allans are the descendants of the first William. Winkworth
Allan went back to England and became a rich merchant.
Brook Watson lived with his Uncle Huston for a time, and was employed
by the Government to assist in the Expulsion. He afterwards left the
country, going to London, where he was remarkably successful in
business, and among other honors became Lord Mayor of the city.
Jonathan and Samuel Gay were brothers. Jonathan returned to New
England, but Samuel remained in the country settling near the old Fort
Beausejour. He was a very large man, measuring six feet six inches in
height, and broad in proportion. Samuel was afterwards made a judge. It
is said that Judge Gay's daughter Fanny was in Boston at the time of
the sea duel between the SHANNON and the CHESAPEAKE, and was with the
crowd that lined the shore awaiting the result. When the news came that
the British had won, she threw up her bonnet and cheered for the
victors, greatly to the annoyance of the Americans.
Daniel Gooden was a soldier in the British army, and after his
discharge settled in Bay Verte, where numbers of his descendants still
Charles Oulton remained in Cumberland, and a large number of his
descendants are still living in the county of Westmoreland.
David Burnham remained, and a number of his descendants lived in
Sackville and Bay Verte for a good many years. The name has now
John Fillmore was from New England, and settled in Jolicure. He had a
large family of sons and they settled in different parts of the
Province. The name is still in frequent evidence.
The descendants of Samuel Raymond live in King's County.
The two Chappells, Liffy and Jabez, settled in Bay Verte and Tidnish.
The name is still common in these localities.
John Walker's grant was on Bay Verte Road, where the name was found
until quite recently.
The Bonnells remained in the county for a time, but afterwards removed
to King's County, where the name still exists.
Amos Fuller remained and the name is yet found in the county of
The Watsons settled in Fort Lawrence and were very successful in
business. The Eddy rebels, under Commodore Ayer, sacked Mr. Watson's
premises one night and took the old gentleman prisoner, compelling him
to carry a keg of rum to the vessel for the benefit of the sailors.
William Welch remained in the country, and his descendants are still
The Wards were from New England, and remained in the country. Nehemiah
lived in Sackville and kept a tavern near the Four Corners.
Simeon Charters was from New England and remained in the country. The
name is still in the Province.
The Abel Richardson family came from New England. The Yorkshire family
of Richardson, whose descendants are still in Sackville, did not settle
there until some years later.
The Bests were a New England family and the name is still in the
William Nesbit remained and the name is now found in Albert County.
Archibald Hinshelwood left the country.
The Roe name is still in Cumberland.
William How was probably son of the How that was shot by the Indians
under a flag of truce.
None of the Proctor family now remain in the county.
There is no information about any of the following grantees: Gideon
Gardner, Sara Jones, Ebenezer Storer, Daniel Earl, Anthony Burk.
Windser Eager was from Dumfries, Scotland.
It is a matter of surprise that so many names to be found in the lists
of a hundred years ago have so completely disappeared.
A large number of families who came from New England at this time
settled on the St. John River. They called their settlement
Maugerville. The name Sunbury was subsequently given to the whole of
the Province west of Cumberland County.
The Hon. Charles Burpee, of Sheffield, writes me that there were about
two hundred families who at this time found homes along the river. Some
of their names were: Perley, Barker, Burpee, Stickney, Smith, Wasson,
Bridges, Upton, Palmer, Coy, Estey, Estabrooks, Pickard, Hayward,
Nevers, Hartt, Kenney, Coburn, Plummer, Sage, Whitney, Quinton, Moore,
Simonds and White came to St. John some three or four years before the
others. The Rev. Mr. Noble was there before the Revolution, but he did
not come with the first settlers.
Largely through the influence of the Loyalists, in 1784, the Province
of New Brunswick was set off from Nova Scotia, and the Missiquash River
made the boundary between the two Provinces. This division cut the old
township of Cumberland into two halves. Those who conducted the
business for New Brunswick wanted the line at La Planche, or further
east, while the Nova Scotians wanted it at the Aulac or further west.
They compromised on the Missiquash.* This division made some trouble in
nomenclature and has puzzled a good many persons since that date. The
part of the old township of Cumberland on the west of the Missiquash
became the parish of Westmoreland, in the county of Westmoreland. Fort
Cumberland was in this district, and between Fort Cumberland and the
old township of Cumberland, and the still older county of Cumberland,
which once embraced the present Westmoreland and Albert counties, and
the present county of Cumberland in Nova Scotia, there was a good deal
of confusion. A number of years passed before Cumberland Point came to
be called Westmoreland Point.
[FOOTNOTE: *The establishment of the Missiquash as the boundary between
the two Provinces was eminently satisfactory to New Brunswick, but not
so to Nova Scotia, as the latter Province at once vigorously protested
against it, and did not seem inclined to give up agitating for a
change. In 1792 the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia presented an
address to the Lieutenant-Governor, in which they say "there is a very
pressing necessity of an alteration in the division line, between this
and the neighboring Province of New Brunswick." This agitation for a
change in the boundary was kept up for several years, and in the
correspondence, three other lines are suggested by Nova Scotia as being
preferable to the one that had been already chosen.
The first of these was one from the head of the tide on the Petitcodiac
to the head of the tide on the Restigouche River. A second from the
head of the tide on the Memramcook by a certain magnetic line to the
salt water of Cocagne Harbor, and the third by the course of the Aulac
River to its head, and thence by a given compass line to the Gulf of
The present line was last surveyed by Alex. Munroe in 1859, under
Commissioner James Steadman, Esq., acting for New Brunswick, and Joseph
Avard, Esq., for Nova Scotia. The line is thus described by the
Commissioners: Commencing at the mouth of the Missiquash River, in
Cumberland Bay, and thence following the several courses of the said
river to a post near Black Island, thence north fifty-four degrees,
twenty-five minutes east, crossing the south end of Black Island, two
hundred and eighty-eight chains to the south angle of Trenholm's
Island, thence south thirty-seven degrees east, eighty-five chains and
eight-two links to a post, thence south seventy-six degrees east,
forty-six chains and twenty links to the portage, thence south sixty-
five degrees, forty-five minutes east, three hundred and ninety-four
chains and forty links to Tidnish Bridge, then following the several
courses of said river, along its northern upward bank to its mouth,
thence following the north-westerly channel to the deep water of the
Bay water, giving to Nova Scotia the control of the navigable waters on
Those wishing to get fuller information relating to this or any of the
boundaries of New Brunswick, will find the subject treated exhaustively
in a work just published, entitled "A Monograph of the Evolution of the
Boundaries of the Province of New Brunswick," by William F. Ganong,
M.A., Ph.D., from which the above facts are taken. END OF FOOTNOTE]
The following facts are taken from the anniversary number of the
CHIGNECTO POST, 1895:
"On the 15th August, 1761, Captain Benoni Danks, Messrs. William Allan,
Abeil Richardson, John Huston and John Oates were appointed to divide
the forfeited lands in the township of Cumberland.
"On the 19th August of the same year Captain Winckworth Tonge, Joshua
Winslow, John Huston, John Jencks, Joshua Sprague, Valentine Estabrooks
and William Maxwell were appointed a committee to admit persons into
the township of Sackville.
"The first town meeting, or meeting of the committee, for Sackville
township, took place on 20th July, 1762. It was held at the house of
Mrs. Charity Bishop, who kept an inn at Cumberland. There were present
Captain John Huston, Doctor John Jencks, Joshua Sprague, Valentine
Estabrooks, William Maxwell and Joshua Winslow. Captain Huston was made
chairman and Ichabod Comstock clerk.
"The conditions and locations of the proposed new grant of Sackville
were of the first interest to the newly arrived settlers, and the
proceedings were largely taken up with settling such matters. It was
resolved that a family of six, and seven head of cattle, should have
one and a half shares, or 750 acres.
"At the next meeting, held on 31st August, Mr. Elijah Ayers' name
appears as a committeeman.
"At a town meeting, held on 18th April, 1770, Robert Scott was
appointed moderator and Robert Foster, clerk. They, with John Thomas,
were appointed a committee to settle with the old committee for the
survey of the lands."
About 1786, the inhabitants of Sackville made a return of the state of
the settlement to the Government to show that if a proposed escheat was
made it would be attended with great confusion, as but few of the
grants had not been improved. The actual settlers at that date, as set
forth in the return, appear to have been as follows:
Samuel Bellew. John Peck.
Joseph Brown. John Barns.
Samuel Rogers. Ebenezer Burnham.
Samuel Saunders. Simon Baisley.
Valentine Estabrooks. Wm. Carnforth.
Andrew Kinnear. Abial Peck.
James Jincks. Nathaniel Shelding.
Eleazer Olney. Job Archernard.
Nathan Mason. Jonathan Burnham.
Charles Dixon. Gilbert Seaman.
John Richardson. Joseph Read.
John Fawcett. Wm. Carnforth.
George Bulmer. John Wry.
Thomas Bowser. Moses Delesdernier.
Joseph Delesdernier. Daniel Tingley.
Michael Burk. Wm. Laurence.
Samuel Seamans. Ben Tower.
Joseph Tower. Elijah Ayer.
Joseph Thompson. John Thompson.
Mark Patton. Eliphalet Read.
Nehemiah Ayer. Josiah Tingley.
James Cole. Jonathan Cole.
Hezekiah King. Valentine Estabrooks.
Wm. Estabrooks. Gideon Smith.
Daniel Stone. Patton Estabrooks.
Pickering Snowdon. Thomas Potter.
Nehemiah Ward. John Weldon.
John Fillmore. Jos. C. Lamb.
John Grace. Josiah Hicks.
Angus McPhee. Joseph Sears.
Wm. Fawcett. Benjamin Emmerson.
Jonathan Eddy. Titus Thornton.
THE YORKSHIRE IMMIGRATION.
Yorkshire is grouped as one of the six northern counties of England.
Jackson Wray calls it "one of the bonniest of English shires." It has
an area of 6,076 square miles, making it the largest county in England.
Its present population is a trifle over three millions. A coast-line of
one hundred miles gives its people a fine chance to look out on the
North Sea. The old town of Hull is the largest shipping port. Scarboro,
on the coast, is the great watering-place for the north of England.
Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and Bradford are the largest towns. It is the
principal seat of the woollen manufacture in Great Britain. The people
are self-reliant and progressive. In Yorkshire to-day are to be found
the oldest co-operative corn-mills and the oldest co-operative stores
in England. The practice of dividing profits among purchasers in
proportion to their trade at the store was first adopted by a Yorkshire
society. This is just what might be expected from the people who, in
1793, passed the following resolution: "Resolved, that monopolies are
inconsistent with the true principles of commerce, because they
restrain at once the spirit of enterprise and the freedom of
competition, and are injurious to the country where they exist, because
the monopolist, by fixing the rate of both sale and purchase, can
oppress the public at discretion."
Another resolution passed by the same corporation, but earlier in the
century, shows our ancestors in a somewhat different light. A day of
thanksgiving was appointed for the success of the British forces. The
corporation attended divine service in the parish church, after which
it was agreed to meet at Mrs. Owen's, "at five of the clock, to drink
to His Majesty's health and further good success," the expense of the
evening to be at the corporation's charge.
The old Yorkshire men liked a good, honest horse-race, and fox-hunting
was a favorite sport with them. It is told of a Mr. Kirkton that he
followed the hounds on horseback until he was eighty, and from that
period to one hundred he regularly attended the unkennelling of the fox
in his single chair. Scott's "Dandy Dinmont" could scarcely overtop
that. No one can read the "Annals of Yorkshire" without being struck
with the number of persons who at their death left bequests to the
poor, widows getting a large share of this bounty.
John Wesley, very soon after he began his life-work, found his way to
Yorkshire, and nowhere had he more sincere or devoted followers, many
of whom were among the first emigrants to Nova Scotia. To the England
of the eighteenth century America must have presented great attraction,
especially to the tenant-farmer and the day-laborer. The farmer in that
country could never hope to own his farm, and the wages of the
agricultural laborer were so small that it was only by the strictest
economy and the best of health that he could hope to escape the
workhouse in his old age. In America land could be had for the asking.
The continent was simply waiting for the hands of willing workers to
make it the happy home of millions. The reaction in trade after the
Seven Years' War made the prospect just starting in life gloomier than
ever, and many a father and mother who expected to end their days in
the Old Land, decided, for the sake of their children, to face the
dangers of the western ocean and the trials of pioneer life.
Charles Dixon, one of the first of the Yorkshire emigrants, writes of
England before he left: "I saw the troubles that were befalling my
native country. Oppressions of every kind abounded, and it was very
difficult to earn bread and keep a conscience void of offence." Under
these circumstances, Mr. Dixon and a number of others decided to
emigrate. It is not surprising then, that when Governor Franklin, at
the invitation of the Duke of Rutland, went down to Yorkshire in 1771,
to seek emigrants for Nova Scotia, he found a goodly number of persons
ready to try their fortunes in the new land.
Governor Franklin did not stay long in the northern district, but left
agents who, judging by the number that came to Nova Scotia during the
few ensuing years, must have done their work well.
Among the first of the Yorkshire emigrants to sail for Nova Scotia was
a party that left Liverpool in the good ship "DUKE OF YORK," on the
16th of March, 1772. The voyage lasted forty-six days, and at the end
of that time the sixty-two passengers were all landed safely at
Halifax. From that port they went by schooner to Chignecto, landing at
Fort Cumberland on the 21st of May.
Charles Dixon, with his wife and four children, were passengers on the
"DUKE OF YORK." Mr. Dixon's is the only record I have seen of this
voyage, and it is very concise indeed. He writes: "We had a rough
passage. None of us having been to sea before, much sea-sickness
prevailed. At Halifax we were received with much joy by the gentlemen
in general, but were much discouraged by others, and the account given
us of Cumberland was enough to make the stoutest give way."
Mr. Dixon does not seem to have allowed these discouraging reports to
influence him greatly, for by the 8th of June he had made a purchase of
2,500 acres of land in Sackville, and moved his family there.
Other vessels followed the "DUKE OF YORK" during 1773 and the two
following years, the largest number coming in 1774. By May of that
year, two brigantines moored at Halifax with 280 passengers, and three
more vessels were expected. By the last of June nine passenger vessels
had arrived. The ship ADAMANT at this time was the regular packet
between Halifax and Great Britain.
As one of the passenger vessels was from Aberdeen, it is not likely
that all the immigrants this year were from Yorkshire. At Halifax, the
women and children going to Cumberland were put on board a schooner
bound for Chignecto, and the younger man started to make the journey on
foot. The latter took the usual road to Fort Edward; from there they
went by boat to Parrsboro', and then followed the high ridge of land
called the "Boar's Back," to River Hebert. At Minudie they found boats
to carry them to Fort Cumberland, where they were given a right royal
Yorkshire welcome by their wives and children, who had reached the fort
before them. From Fort Cumberland the immigrants quickly began to look
around the country for suitable locations.
Those by the name of Black, Freeze, Robinson, Lusby, Oxley and Forster
bought farms at Amherst and Amherst Point. Keilor, Siddall, Wells,
Lowerson, Trueman, Chapman, Donkin, Read, Carter, King, Trenholm,
Dobson and Smith were the names of those who settled at Westmoreland
Point, Point de Bute and Fort Lawrence. The names of the Sackville
contingent were Dixon, Bowser, Atkinson, Anderson, Bulmer, Harper,
Patterson, Fawcett, Richardson, Humphrey, Cornforth and Wry. Brown,
Lodge, Ripley, Shepley, Pipes, Coates, Harrison, Fenwick and others
settled at Nappan, Maccan and River Hebert.
Hants and King's County, in Nova Scotia, got a part of this
immigration. Those who came to Cumberland were too late to secure any
of the vacated Acadian farms before others had got possession, these
lands having been pre-empted by the New Englanders and the traders who
followed the army. Those who had the means, however, seem to have found
no difficulty in purchasing from the owners, and very quickly set to
work to adjust themselves to the new conditions. So effectually did
they do this, that almost every man of them succeeded in making a
comfortable home for his family.
The local historians of those times claim that these English settlers,
arriving as they did just before the Revolutionary war, saved Nova
Scotia to the British Crown. If that is the correct opinion, and we are
more disposed to believe it is true than to question its accuracy, then
the British Empire is more indebted to these loyal Yorkshire immigrants
than history has ever given them credit for. The Eddy Rebellion proved
that the New Englanders, who constituted a large part of the
inhabitants of Chignecto previous to the arrival of the English,
sympathized very generally with the revolutionists, and were ready to
help their cause to the extent of taking up arms, if necessary, on its
behalf. These English immigrants were not soldiers; most of them were
farmers and mechanics who had taken little part in the discussions of
public questions, but they were loyal subjects of the King of Great
Britain. They always had been, and they always expected to be, loyal.
The headquarters of the rebellion was in Cumberland, and it was in
Cumberland that the largest number of these Englishmen settled.
In 1776, Mr. Arbuthnot writes, "There is an absolute necessity for
troops to be sent to Fort Cumberland, Annapolis Royal, and a few to
Fort Edward and Windsor for protection, with the help of His Majesty's
loyal subjects who consist of English farmers. A sober, religious
people, though ignorant of the use of arms, will afford every
assistance." He says the others are from New England and will join in
any rebellion. Murdock thinks that Arburthnot did not judge the New
England men fairly; that many of them were loyal subjects of Great
Britain, and did not want to be mixed up in the trouble and discussion
between Great Britain and her older colonies.
Whether this English immigration did for Nova Scotia what is claimed
for it or not, their success in the new country as farmers and settlers
forever removed from the English mind the belief that Nova Scotia was a
cold, barren and inhospitable country, "fit only as a home for convicts
and Indians." And thus it opened the way for future settlers. It is not
claiming too much to say these northern Englishmen were a superior
class of men. Industrious, hardy, resourceful and God-fearing, they
were made of the right material to form the groundwork of prosperous
communities, and wherever this element predominated it was a guarantee
that justice and order would be maintained. They were not all saints--
perhaps none of them were--but there was a homely honesty and a
fixedness of principle about the majority of them that "made for
righteousness" wherever they were found.
The most considerable addition to the population of Nova Scotia after
the Yorkshire immigration was in 1783 and 1784, when the United Empire
Loyalists came to the Province. They left New England as the French
left Acadia, without the choice of remaining. The story of their
removal and bitter experiences has been told by more than one
historian. They were the right stamp of men, and have left their
impress on the provinces by the sea. Among the names of those who
settled at the old Chignecto were: Fowler, Knapp, Palmer, Purdy,
Pugsley. After the Loyalists there was no marked emigration to the
Maritime Provinces till after the battle of Waterloo. The hard times in
England following the war turned the attention of the people of Great
Britain again to America, and from 1815 to 1830 there was a steady
stream of emigrants, particularly from Scotland to the Provinces.
Northern New Brunswick received a large share of these Scotch settlers.
The Mains, Grahams, Girvins, McElmons, and the Braits of Galloway and
Richibucto, in Kent County, and the Scotts, Murrays, Grants, and
Blacklocks of Botsford, Westmoreland County, came at this time.
An account of the wreck of a ship in 1826, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence,
is yet told by the descendants of some of those who were coming as
settlers to Richibucto.
In the spring of 1826 a lumber vessel bound for Richibucto, N.B.,
carried a number of passengers for that part. When off the Magdalen
Islands the vessel was stove in with the ice, and the crew and
passengers had to take to the boats. There was no time to secure any
provisions, and a little package of potato starch that a lady passenger
had been using at the time of the accident, and carried with her, was
the only thing eatable in the boats. Among the passengers was James
Johnstone, of Dumfries, Scotland, and his daughter Jean, sixteen years
old. For three days and nights the boats drifted. Mr. Johnstone, who
was an old man, died from the cold and exposure, and at the time of his
death his daughter was lying apparently unconscious in the bottom of
one of the boats. On the morning of the fourth day a vessel bound for
Miramichi discovered them and took all on board. After landing safely
at Miramichi they took passage for Richibucto. Miss Johnstone married
John Main of Richibucto, and was the mother of a large family. Mrs.
Main was never able to overcome her dread of the sea after this
The last immigrants who came to the vicinity of the Isthmus were from
Ireland. They arrived in the decade between 1830 and 1840, and settled
in a district now called Melrose. Until recently their settlement was
known as the Emigrant Road. Some of the names of this immigration were:
Lane, Carroll, Sweeney, Barry, Noonen, Mahoney and Hennessy. They
proved good settlers, industrious and saving, and many of the second
generation are filling prominent positions in the country. Ex-Warden
Mahoney, of Melrose, and lawyers Sweeney and Riley, of Moncton, and Dr.
Hennessy, of Bangor, Maine, are descended from this stock.
THE EDDY REBELLION.
THE Eddy Rebellion does not occupy much space in history, but it was an
important event in the district where it occurred, and in the lives of
those who were responsible for it. The leaders were Colonel Jonathan
Eddy, Sheriff John Allan, or "Rebel John," as he was afterwards called,
William Howe, and Samuel Rogers. Eddy, Rogers and Allan had been, or
were at that time members of the Assembly at Halifax. Allan was a
Scotsman by birth, the others were from New England.
The pretext for the rebellion was the militia order of Governor Legge;
the real reason was the sympathy of the New Englanders with their
brother colonists. It was represented at the Continental Congress that
six hundred persons in Nova Scotia, whose names were given, were ready
to join any army who might come to their help. If these six hundred
names represented those who were of an age to bear arms, then the
statement of Arbuthnot that the New Englanders were all disloyal was
The first step taken in opposition to Governor Legge's order was to
petition against its enforcement. The petition from Cumberland referred
to the destruction of the fort on the St. John River as "rather an act
of inconsideration than otherwise," and then said, "those of us who
belong to New England, being invited into this Province by Governor
Lawrence's proclamation, it must be the greatest piece of cruelty and
imposition for them to be subjected to march into different parts in
arms against their friends and relations. The Acadians among us being
also under the same situation, most, if not all, having friends
distributed in different parts of America, and that done by order of
This petition was signed by sixty-four persons in Cumberland, the
Amherst petition was signed by fifty-eight, and the Sackville one by
seventy-three. Fifty-one of the petitioners were Acadians. The date was
December 23rd, 1775.
Governor Legge took no other action on these petitions than to send
them at once to the British Government as evidence of the disloyalty of
the Province, and at the same time he wrote to the Earl of Dartmouth
that some persons had spread the report that he was trying to draw the
militia to Halifax that he might transport them to New England and make
soldiers of them. He also adds, "The consequence of such reports
influenced the whole country, so that many companies of the militia
have refused to assemble, ending in these remonstrances which here in a
public manner have been transmitted to your Lordship."
As soon as it became known to the petitioners that Governor Legge would
not cancel the militia order, and that the petitions had been forwarded
to Downing Street, it was decided to elect delegates to meet in
Cumberland to take into consideration what steps should next be taken.
Accordingly, representatives appointed by the petitioners met at
Inverma, the home of Sheriff Allan. Jonathan Eddy and Sheriff Allan
were there as members of the convention, and took especial pains to
urge upon the meeting that the time had arrived for decided action.
Either they must cast in their lot with their friends in Massachusetts
and Connecticut, or they must be loyal to the British Government. They
also made it clear that they could not hold the country against the
British without help from their friends. The decision must have been in
favor of independent action, as almost immediately Colonel Eddy started
for New England with the intention of securing help from that quarter.
Allan remained for a while longer in the country, but his outspoken
sympathy with the rebel cause was soon reported to the Government and
steps were taken to have him arrested.
About this time Rogers' and Allan's seats in the Legislature were
declared vacant, and a reward of two hundred pounds was offered for the
apprehension of Eddy and one hundred pounds each for Allan, Rogers, and
Howe. Allan's biographer, in writing of this period in his life, says,
"His life being now in danger, he resolved to leave the Province for
the revolted colonies; but previous to his departure he made several
excursions among the Indians to the northward and by his influence
secured for the rebel provinces the co-operation of a large number of
the Micmac tribe." He left Cumberland in an open boat on August 3rd,
1776, and coasting along the Bay of Fundy, reached Passamaquoddy Bay on
the 11th. In Machias Bay, which he entered on the 13th, he found Col.
Eddy with twenty-eight others in a schooner on their way to the Bay of
Fundy to capture Fort Cumberland. Allan tried to induce Eddy to abandon
the expedition for the present, urging that it was impossible to
accomplish anything with so small a force. Colonel Eddy was headstrong
and sanguine, and kept on his way. He was sure more men would follow
him, and he expected to get a large addition to his force when he
reached the St. John River.
Allan, in the meantime, pushed on to Machias, and after spending a few
days there, went as far as the Piscataquis River by water, and thence
he took the stage to Boston. From Boston he proceeded to Washington's
headquarters, giving New York, which was then in possession of the
British, a wide berth. He dined with Washington, and talked over the
situation. On the 4th of January he was introduced to the Continental
Congress, where he made a full statement of matters in Nova Scotia.
After some deliberation, Congress appointed him Superintendent of the
Eastern Indians and a colonel of infantry. He received his instructions
from Hon. John Hancock, and left at once for Boston. While there he
urged upon the members in council the necessity of protecting the
eastern part of Maine, and showed the advantage it would be to the
rebels if, by sending out an armed force, they could take possession of
the western part of Nova Scotia. This the Council promised to do.
After giving this advice, Allan himself set out to show what could be
done by raiding the loyal settlers on the River St. John. This
expedition was not very successful, and Colonel Allan was glad to get
back to Maine, and take up the duties of his new position as
Superintendent of the Eastern Indians. He made Machias his
headquarters, and to the end of his life, which came in the year 1805,
he remained a resident of the State of Maine.
Beamish Murdoch, the historian of Nova Scotia, in a letter to a
relative of Colonel John Allan, says: "If the traditions I have heard
about John Allan are correct, he could not have been much over twenty-
one years old in 1775. As he had no New England ancestors, his escapade
must be attributed to ambition, romance, or pure zeal for what he
thought was just and right. For the feelings against the Crown in Nova
Scotia in 1775 were confined to the Acadian French, who resented the
conquest, the Indians who were attached to them by habit and creed, and
to the settlers who were emigrants from New England."
Mr. Murdoch was mistaken in the age of Allan. John Allan was born in
Edinburgh Castle at about "half after one" of the clock, on January
3rd, 1746 (O. S.), and was baptized on the 5th by Mr. Glasgow. He thus
must have been in his 30th year when he joined the Eddy rebels.
After Colonel Eddy's interview with Colonel Allan in Machias Bay, he
pushed on to Cumberland, and landed in Petitcodiac. His little army had
increased considerably since he left Machias. At the mouth of the
Petitcodiac River he stationed a small force to watch for any
reinforcements that might be coming to Fort Cumberland. With the main
body of his followers he started overland for Chignecto, after he had
supplied his commissariat from the loyal settlers along the river.
They crossed the Memramcook well up to the head of that river, and took
a straight course for Point Midgic. Then going through the woods above
the Jolicure Lakes, they came to the home of Colonel Allan, in Upper
Point de Bute. Mrs. Allan and her children were still there, and there
was no disposition on the part of the inhabitants of Jolicure to
interfere in any measure against the rebels.
At Allan's it was learned that a vessel with provisions had been seen
in the bay, heading for Fort Cumberland. Eddy sent a number of scouts
down, with instructions to capture the vessel. Under the cover of
darkness and a thick fog,they were able to locate the sloop in
Cumberland Creek without being seen by the men on the look-out. In the
early morning, when the leader of the scouts suddenly levelled his gun
at the one man on deck, and called out, "If you move you are a dead
man," the surprise was complete, and the man obeyed orders. The rebels
boarded the sloop, and soon had all hands in irons. As it grew lighter,
and the fog cleared away, Captain Baron and missionary Egleston from
the fort came down to the vessel, suspecting nothing, and were both
made prisoners. Egleston was taken to Boston, and remained a prisoner
for eighteen months. As soon as the tide turned the vessel floated out
of Cumberland Creek, and headed for the Missiquash. The Union Jack was
hauled down and the Stars and Stripes run up in its place.
This capture greatly elated the rebels, furnishing them, as it did,
with supplies, of which they probably stood in considerable need. The
sloop could run up the Missiquash near to the farms of the Eddys,
Jonathan and William, who at the time owned most of the upper part of
Colonel Eddy now decided to lose no time, but attack the fort at once.
His army camped at Mount Whatley, near where the residence of David
Carter now stands. Mount Whatley was called Camp Hill for a number of
years after this.
While these things were being done by the rebels the English were not
idle. A hundred and fifty regulars, under Colonel Gorham, had been sent
to assist the garrison and strengthen the defences of the fort. When
all was ready in the rebel camp, Colonel Eddy sent the following
summons to Lieutenant-Colonel Gorham, demanding his surrender:
"To Joseph Gorham, Esq., Lieut.-Colonel Commandt. of the Royal
Fencibles Americans, Commanding Fort Cumberland:
"The already too plentiful Effusion of Human Blood in the Unhappy
Contest between Great Britain and the Colonies, calls on every one
engaged on either side, to use their utmost Efforts to prevent the
Unnatural Carnage, but the Importance of the Cause on the side of
America has made War necessary, and its Consequences, though in some
Cases shocking, are yet unavoidable. But to Evidence that the Virtues
of humanity are carefully attended to, to temper the Fortitude of a
Soldier, I have to summon you in the Name of the United Colonies to
surrender the Fort now under your Command, to the Army sent under me by
the States of America. I do promise that if you surrender Yourselves as
Prisoners of War you may depend upon being treated with the utmost
Civility and Kind Treatment; if you refuse I am determined to storme
the Fort, and you must abide the consequences.
"Your answer is expected in four Hours after you receive this and the
Flag to Return safe.
"I am Sir,
"Your most obedt. Hble. Servt.,
"Commanding Officer of the
"Nov. 10, 1776."
He received the following reply:
"I acknowledge the receipt of a Letter (under coular of Flagg of Truce)
Signed by one Jonan Eddy, Commanding officer, expressing a concern at
the unhappy Contest at present Subsisting between Great Britain and the
Colonys, and recommending those engaged on either side to use their
Endeavors to prevent the too Plentiful effusion of human Blood, and
further Summoning the Commanding officer to surrender this garrison.
"From the Commencement of these Contest I have felt for my deluded
Brother Subjects and Countrymen of America, and for the many Innocent
people they have wantonly Involved in the Horrors of an Unnatural
Rebellion, and entertain every humane principle as well as an utter
aversion to the Unnecessary effusion of Christian Blood. Therefore
Command you in His Majesty's name to disarm yourself and party
Immediately and Surrender to the King's Mercy, and further desire you
would communicate the Inclosed Manifests to as many of the Inhabitants
you can, and as Speedily as possible to prevent their being involved in
the Same dangerous and Unhappy dilemma.
"Be assured, Sir, I shall never dishonour the character of a Soldier by
Surrendering my command to any Power except to that of my Sovereign
from whence it originated. I am, Sir,
"Your most hble servt,
"Lt.-Col., Com'at, R. F. A.,
"Commanding Officer at Fort Cumberland."
The following is Colonel Eddy's own account of the first attack on Fort
Cumberland, given in "Eastern Maine" (Kidder, p. 69): "Upon Colonel
Gorham's Refusal to surrender we attempted to storm the Fort in the
Night of the 12th Nov. with our scaling Ladders and other
Accoutrements, but finding the Fort to be stronger than we imagined
(occasioned by late Repairs), we thought fit to Relinquish our Design
after a heavy firing from their Great Guns and small Arms, with
Intermission for 2 Hours, which we Sustained without any Loss (except
one Indian being wounded), who behaved very gallantly, and Retreated in
good Order to our Camp."
Previous to the first attack on the place, Eddy had arranged with an
Indian to sneak into the fort and open the main gate; he would have his
men ready to rush in and take the place by assault. While the attack
was in progress the Indian got into the place and was in the act of
unbarring the gates when he was discovered by Major Dickson. The major
spoiled the little scheme by slashing the Indian's arm with his sword,
which left him maimed for life. The assailants soon after this
retreated without any very serious loss.
In another attack, made a few days later,the large barracks on the
south-east side of the fort were set on fire, in the hope that it would
communicate with the magazine. It is said a traitor in the rebel camp
warned the English of the second attack. This also failed, but the
barracks and a number of houses near the fort were burned.
Before the rebels had a chance to make a third attack, a sloop of war
arrived in the Basin with four hundred men to reinforce the garrison.
Colonel Eddy seems not to have heard of the arrival of these troops.
Their presence, however, enabled Col. Gorham to take the offensive, and
the rebel camp was attacked. Eddy did not wait to try the mettle of his
men, but got away with the loss of one man. With as many of his
followers as he could hold together he hastened toward Bay Verte. A
short distance beyond the Inverma Farm, a squad took ambush in a
thicket near a bridge, and when the regulars in pursuit were crossing
the bridge the party fired a volley, killing several of the soldiers
and wounding others. This so incensed the troops that they returned and
set fire to Sheriff Allan's house, which was burned to the ground,
together with a number of other buildings in the neighborhood. Mrs.
Allan and her children escaped to the woods, where they remained until
hunger compelled them to come out. She was found some days after this
by her father, Mark Patton, having lived for some time on baked
potatoes picked up around the burned dwelling, and was taken to his
home not far from the fort. Mrs. Allan was not allowed to remain long
with her father, but was carried a prisoner to Halifax. She remained
only in Halifax a few months when she was given her liberty and
rejoined her husband at Machais.
Eddy, after going in the direction of Bay Verte for some time, finding
he was not pursued, turned his steps toward Point Midgic, where he had
called while on his march to Chignecto. From there he made his way back
to Machais. Just what route he pursued, or how great the difficulties
he met with in this long, tiresome journey, has never been given to the
public. Machais, until the close of the war, was the rendezvous of
privateers and all manner of adventurers, both before and after the
arrival of Eddy and Allan. Colonel Eddy's escape from Chignecto ended
the rebellion in that district so far as any hope remained of a
successful attempt to hand over the government of the country to the
New Englanders, but the differences of opinion among neighbors, the
raids of rebel bands in the district, together with the burning of a
number of buildings, created a strong feeling that it took years to
Mr. James Dixon, in the "History of the Dixons," speaking of this
"The rebels found more congenial employment in raiding the homes of the
loyal and peaceable inhabitants, plundering them of such articles as
they were in need of, and destroying or carrying away any guns or
ammunition they might find. Mr. Dixon's home did not escape their
unwelcome notice. His house was robbed of many valuable articles, some
of which he kept for sale. For a considerable period the loyal
inhabitants, notably the English settlers, were subjected to a state of
anxiety, and lived in dread of a repetition of such unwelcome visits.
On one occasion, when some of these people were approaching the house,
Mrs. Dixon hastily gathered up her silverware and other valuables and
deposited them in a barrel of pig feed, where they quite escaped the
notice of the visitors. On a later occasion, when somewhat similar
troublous times existed, Mr. Dixon, with the aid of his negro servant,
Cleveland, hid his money and other valuables in the earth, binding his
servant by a solemn oath never to divulge to anyone the place of
Nor was all the destruction of property chargeable to the rebels. At
this time a number of the loyal settlers, who, it is said, had been
drinking freely, surrounded the house of Mr. Obediah Ayer, who was in
sympathy with the rebels, and set fire to his place, intending to burn
the inmates. Mrs. Ayer was warned by her neighbors and escaped to the
woods with her baby in her arms. After the raiders departed she with
her children found a temporary home with a neighbor. Her husband did
not dare appear for many days, but hid in the woods by day and visited
his family at night.
The raid of Allan on the St. John gave the Government uneasiness in
that quarter for some time longer. As mentioned before, there were two
Eddys, Jonathan and William. They owned adjoining farms in Fort
Lawrence. The upper road leading from Fort Lawrence to Amherst still
bears the name of the "Eddy Road." It was probably made through the
Eddy grant, and the Eddys may have been instrumental in its
It is related that William Eddy, after the rebellion, came back to Fort
Lawrence to settle his business and take his wife and family out of the
country. To escape being made a prisoner at that time he kept hid in a
hay-stack in the day-time and visited his home during the night. One
night the soldiers who were watching saw him enter the house and at
once surrounded the place, sending in two of their number to bring out
the prisoner. Mrs. Eddy would give no knowledge of her husband's
whereabouts. The house was thoroughly searched, but the man could not
be found. The soldiers were dumbfounded. The fact is, that when Mrs.
Eddy saw the soldiers coming, she told her husband to cover himself in
a bin of grain in the chamber and place his mouth close to a crack on
the side of the bin over which had been tacked a piece of list to
prevent the grain from coming out. She would tear off the list and that
would give him air to breathe. Her husband did as directed. When the
officer who was making the search came to the grain-bin he thrust his
sword into it, and said, "He is not there." Mr Eddy said afterwards
that the sword went between his body and arm, so near was he being made
Inverma, the home of Sheriff Allan, is now owned, in part, by
Councillor Amos Trueman, and is still called by that name. It consisted
at that time of three hundred and forty-eight acres of marsh and upland
and was no doubt part of the Allan grant of 1763. Besides the Sheriff's
own house there were six or seven small houses occupied by Acadian
families as tenants, also two large barns and four smaller ones.
Allan's wife was Mary Patton, the daughter of Mark Patton, who was at
one time a large property-owner on the Isthmus. Patton Point, in the
Missiquash valley, still goes by his name. His home farm joined the
glebe lands of the parish, and was afterwards bought by William Trueman
and given to his son, Thomas. I find the following entry in William
Trueman's journal, referred to elsewhere:
"Old Mrs. Patton was buried at the burying-ground by Thomas Trueman,
July 31st, in the 92nd year of her age."
This lady was no doubt Mrs. Allan's mother. She had continued to live
at the old place after Thomas Trueman had taken possession, and as this
was in the year 1808, she had lived thirty-two years after her daughter
left the country.
The question has been asked, would it not have been better for the
northern half of this continent if the Eddy rebellion had succeeded and
what is now Canada had become one country with the United States? The
name Americans could then fairly have been claimed by the citizens of
the great Republic and a people whose interests and aspirations are
identical, and whose religion, language and customs are the same, would
have been united in carrying out the destiny of the Anglo-Saxon in
America. This may sound very well, but events have transpired in the
last hundred and twenty-five years that point unmistakably to the
conclusion that the God of history intended this northern land called
Canada to work out its own destiny independent of the southern
Republic. At the period of the Eddy rebellion Nova Scotia was still in
the cradle and had no grievances to redress. New Brunswick as a
Province had no existence. Never in all history had a conquered country
been treated so justly by the victors as had Quebec. Ontario at this
time was but a western wilderness. It will thus be seen that there
would have been no justification for the new settlers in this northern
land to have joined hands with the thirteen older colonies.
Another preliminary objection can be found in the situation of the
Loyalists of 1783, from the fact that one of the grandest band of
exiles that was ever driven from fireside and country would have found
no place on the continent to make new homes for themselves. This would
have placed them in infinitely worse circumstances than that body of
noble men and women of another race that twenty-eight years earlier in
the century had been driven out as exiles to wander in hardship and
want on that same New England coast. These Loyalists brought to Canada
the sterling principle, the experience in local Government, the sturdy,
independent manhood and business experience and energy which this
northern land needed to make it one of the most prosperous and best
governed countries in the world. To think what Canada would have been
without the Loyalists helps one to see more clearly how fortunate it
was that the Eddy rebellion was crushed.
The British Empire may owe more to the loyal Yorkshire emigrants than
has ever been fairly accorded to them. Canada as a coterie of colonies
furnished Great Britain with a training school for her statesmen that
she did not otherwise possess. In this way British North America has
been the prime factor in placing Great Britain first among the nations
of the world in the government of colonies. It is true English
ministers and English governors made mistakes and had much to learn
before the present system was fully adopted, but the descendants of the
Loyalists and those who remained true to the Crown during the stormy
years of the Revolution were not likely to stir up strife without a
just cause. And is it claiming too much to say that to Canada's
remaining loyal in 1776 is due to a very large extent the proud
position Great Britain holds to-day as the mother of nations, the
founder of the greatest colonial empire the world has yet seen?
There are those who believe that the principle of equality and
fraternity, of government by the people and for the people, the freedom
for which the Pilgrim Fathers faced the stormy Atlantic and for which
Washington fought against such odds, has been worked out in fuller
measure and juster proportions in Canada than in the United States.
Canada has helped greatly to emphasize the truth, only yet half
understood by the world, that it makes little difference whether the
chief ruler of a country is called president, king or emperor, or
whether the government is called a monarchy or republic. These are but
incidents. What is important, what is essential,if freedom is to be won
and maintained, is that the people understand their rights and have the
courage to maintain them at any sacrifice. It was the leaven of freedom
working in the lump of the British people that gave the world the Magna
Charta, Montford's rebellion, Cromwell and the Commonwealth, the
Revolution of 1688,and the still greater Revolution of 1776.
This last event broke from the parent stem one of the strong branches
of the Anglo-Saxon family, and gave each an opportunity to work out in
different ways the ideals after which both were striving. And who will
say that the descendants of Cromwellians and Quakers, Nonconformists
and Churchmen, whose ancestors, from force of circumstances or love of
country remained in their island home, are not to-day breathing the air
of freedom as pure and unadulterated as their cousins on the banks of
the Charles or in the valleys of the historic Brandywine. At any rate,
we who live in this northern country, that escaped the cataclysm of
1776, feel that Canada has been no unimportant factor in helping to
work out the great problem of government for and by the consent of the
THE FIRST CHURCHES OF THE ISTHMUS.
THE spiritual interests of the people of old Chignecto have always been
well-looked after. One of the first white men to visit the Isthmus with
a view to settlement was a priest, and the man who wielded the largest
influence in and around Fort Beausejour during the last years of the
French occupation was a priest, the vicar-general of Canada. In more
than one instance the assistance promised to the colonists in Acadia by
the wealthy was provisional upon the conversion of the Indians to
Christianity. During the French period three chapels were erected on
the Isthmus--one at the Four Corners, Tantramar, one at Fort
Beausejour, and one at Beaubassin. These chapels were burned during the
taking of Beausejour and the expulsion of the Acadians. The bell on the
chapel at the Four Corners was buried by the Acadians at the
intersection of two lines drawn from four springs to be seen in that
locality yet. Some years after a party of Acadians, on getting the
consent of Wm. Fawcett, who in the meantime had come into possession of
the land, dug up the bell and carried it to Memramcook. The late Father
Lefebre exchanged it for a larger one. It is believed that the bell
from the Beausejour chapel is the one now used in St. Mark's church,
Mount Whatley. This bell is ornamented with scrolls and fleur-de-lis
and has the following inscription:
AD HONOREM DEI
FECIT F.M. GROS,
The first Protestant ministers on the Isthmus were Episcopalians. Mr.
Woods, a clergyman of that denomination, was at Fort Lawrence in 1752,
1754 and 1756. In 1759 Rev. Thos. Wilkinson was at Fort Cumberland, and
in 1760 it is recorded that Joshua Tiffs baptized Winkworth Allan at
the fort. Between that date and the arrival of Rev. John Egleson no
record has been found. Mr. Egleson was born a Presbyterian, and was
educated for that Church. He was ordained, but afterwards changed his
views, and joined the Anglicans. He was reordained by the Bishop of
London, and sent, in 1769, to Chignecto, by the Society for the
Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.
Reference is made in another part of this book to Mr. Egleson's capture
by the Eddy rebels in 1776. He seems to have been the first to take
possession of the glebe lands of the parish, and the farm was for many
years called the "Egleson farm." The parish register containing the
earliest records has been lost or destroyed, so that from the arrival
of Mr. Egleson down to 1794 very little is known of the local history
of the denomination.
In 1794 a meeting was held on the 27th February, at or near Fort
Cumberland, and the following business was transacted: "Messrs. Gay,
Siddall and Brownell were appointed a committee to prepare plans for a
church, to be erected at once on the town plot, and to obtain
subscriptions." The new church was to be 46 feet long and 34 feet wide,
with 19-foot posts. Messrs. Gay, McMonagle and McCardy to be the
Building Committee. This is the old St. Mark's Church, that stood so
long at Mount Whatley. The first list of subscribers were:
William Allen, L3, in pine lumber.
Samuel Gay, L3, in timber.
Ralph Siddall, L3, in timber.
Titus Knapp, L3, in drawing stone.
James Law, L3, in drawing stone.
Jerry Brownell, L1 10s., in timber.
The cost of the church, when finished, was L310. Of this amount the
people subscribed L170. The Bishop of Nova Scotia gave L70, and there
remained a debt of L70.
Having succeeded so well in building the church, a meeting was called,
at the request of Rev. Mr. Willoughby, to provide a house for the
clergyman. His request was granted, and in 1795, Mr. Milledge being
then the resident minister, the church-wardens agreed to pay two-thirds
of the amount of rent for the house in which he was living until the
parsonage was built.
At a meeting of the vestrymen in 1796, the school lands of the parish
were rented to Spiller Fillimore for L7 5s. These lands now bring an
annual rental of $200. In 1810 the church-wardens of St. Mark's church
Amos Fowler. Samuel Gay.
James Ryan. John Trenholm.
Harmon Trueman. Chas. Oulton.
Samuel McCardy. Jas. Hewson.
William Copp. William Tingley.
Geo. Wells. Thos. Trueman.
At a meeting held Nov. 2nd, 1818, it was resolved to take down the
church and rebuild, making the width thirty feet. No reason is given
for this strange proceeding. The contractors for the work were Wm.
Jones, Henry Chapman, and Thos. Trenholm. This building stood until
1880, when a new building of more modern architecture was erected on
the same site, where it stands to-day. The names of the clergymen who
have been resident or had the oversight of the church in Westmoreland
since 1752, as far as can be found, are given below:
Mr. Wood, 1752-6. J. W. D. Gray.
Thos. Wilkinson, 1759. R. B. Wiggins, 1831.
Joshua Tiffs, 1760. G. S. Jarvis.
John Egleson, 1769. R. B. Wiggins.
Mr. Willoughby, 1794. Geo. Townshend.
John Milledge, 1795. Robert Donald
Mr. Perkins, 1805. Richard Simonds.
Rev. C. Milner, 1822. Chas. Lee.
Donald Bliss, 1852-1902.
The following entries referring to church matters are from Mr. Wm.
"July 26th, 1803--Rev. Mr. Gray preached at the church, from Proverbs 6
c., 3v., 'Humble thyself and make sure thy friend.'" Mr. Gray was
probably a visiting clergyman.
"July, 1806, Oct. 16th--William Allan was buried at the church-yard at
Camp Hill, attended by a large concourse of people. Mr. Milledge
preached a sermon."
"December 25th, 1806 (Christmas Day)--Mr. Bamford preached at Stone
Meeting House (Methodist), and after, Mr. Perkins administered the
sacrament. The house was full of people."
As far as is known there was not a resident Episcopal clergyman in
Amherst until 1823. Christ Church was erected that year on the county
courthouse ground. In 1842, through the efforts of Canon Townshend, a
new church was built on the present site. Rev. J. W. D. Gray was the
first clergyman. The Rev. Canon Townshend came to Amherst in 1834, and
held the rectorship until his death.
A letter written from England to Mr. Wm. Trueman, Prospect, in 1776,
asks if the adherents of the Methodist societies have any place of
worship to go to, or do they meet among themselves according to the
usual way of the Methodists. The reply would be that they met amongst
themselves, as there is no record of a "meeting house" until some years
The Methodists of the early Yorkshire emigration at first met quietly
at the home of one of their number for their services. In 1779
religious interest deepened, and a wide-spread revival began. Meetings
were held, followed by encouraging results. Among the new converts was
Wm. Black, of Amherst, afterwards Bishop Black. It is recorded that at
a quarterly meeting held, in 1780, at Wm. Trueman's, Wm. Black received
a great blessing, and although only a young man, he took from that time
a prominent part in the meetings of the neighborhood. Three young men,
Scurr, Wells, and Fawkender, agreed with Wm. Black to visit in turn,
each Sabbath, the settlements of Prospect, Fort Lawrence, and Amherst.
From 1780 until after the first Methodist Conference of the Maritime
Provinces, in 1786, Wm. Black had charge of the Cumberland Circuit,
which included from Wallace (then Ramshag) to Petitcodiac, taking in
Bay Verte and Cape Tormentine. In 1782 the membership of the circuit
numbered eighty-two. In 1786 the first Conference was held at Halifax.
Shortly before Conference Mr. Black, with his family, moved to Halifax,
leaving in his place, at Cumberland, Mr. Graudin, of New Jersey. Mr.
Graudin was sent back to Cumberland by the Conference. He was assisted
by John Black, of Amherst, brother of Wm. Black. In 1787 Mr. Graudin
was removed and his place taken by Mr. James Mann. That year land was
bought on which to build a chapel, and in 1788 the first Methodist
church in Canada was built at Point de Bute. It stood somewhat back
from the road in the present cemetery. The house was of stone, with a
roof of thatch. The following is the deed of the property on which the
house was built:
"This Indenture, made this eighteenth day of September, on thousand
seven hundred and eighty-eight, and in the twenty-eighth year of His
Majesty's reign, between William Chapman, of Point de Bute, of the one
part, and the Rev. Mr. John Wesley, of London, of the other part,
witnesseth, that in consideration of five shillings currency, by the
said John Wesley to the said William Chapman, truly paid before the
sealing and delivering hereof, the receipt whereof the said William
Chapman doth hereby acknowledge and for divers other considerations him
thereunto moving, the said William Chapman hath granted, bargained and
sold, and by these presents doth bargain and sell unto the said John
Wesley and his successors in the Methodist line forever, one acre of
land, situated and lying in the County of Westmoreland, and Province of
New Brunswick, bounding on the west on land belonging to James Law,
Esq., and on the south on the main road leading from Fort Cumberland to
the Bay Verte, together with all privileges to the said premises
appertaining and all the profits thereof with the right, title and
interest in Law and Equity, to have and to hold the said acre of land,
to him the said John Wesly and his successors in the Methodist Line
forever, and to be appropriated for a preaching House and
burying-ground, and other conveniences that shall be judged necessary
to accommodate the same under the inspection and direction of the
general assistant or the preacher by Conference stationed on the
Circuit, together with Wm. Wells, Thomas Watson, Esq., Richard
Lowerison, George Falkinther, Wm. Trueman, jun., Stephen Read, and
James Metcalf to be Trustees to act in concert, and those to be only
Trustees as long as they adhere to the Doctrine and Discipline of the
said John Wesley and his connection, and in case of death or failure of
any of these particulars the preacher is to nominate one in his room.
Furthermore, the said William Chapman, for himself, his heirs,
executors and administrators, doth covenant to and with the said John
Wesley and his successors, the before mentioned demised premises,
against the lawful claim or demand of any person or persons whatsoever,
to warrant and secure and defend by these presents, in witness whereof
I have hereunto set my hand and seal. Bargained year before written.
"Signed, sealed and delivered, in presence of
JAMES LAW, WILLIAM CHAPMAN.
SALLY LAW, JANE CHAPMAN.
"JAMES WRAY, Missionary."
James Wray, and Englishman, ordained and sent out by Wesley, arrived in
1788. He was the first ordained Methodist minister in Cumberland.
Previous to this the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered by
the Episcopal clergyman. This same year Mr. Black, Mr. John Mann, and
Mr. James Mann went to Philadelphia and were ordained. Mr. Mann and Mr.
Wray were both on the Cumberland circuit for a year, and Mr. James Mann
remained in charge until 1791, when he was followed by Mr. Whitehead.
From 1793 until 1797 Mr. Early, Mr. John Black and Mr. Benjamin Wilson
were each at times preaching in the Stone Chapel. Mr. Wilson was alone
in 1798, and assisted by Mr. Cooper in 1799. In 1800 Joshua Marsden
came out from England and was sent to the Cumberland circuit, where he
labored for three years.
The following are from the journal before referred to:
"1802, May 9th--Mr. Marsden preached his farewell sermon at the Stone
"May 10th--Mr. Marsden set out for Conference."
Mr. Wm. Bennet followed Mr. Marsden, coming directly from England to
Cumberland, arriving at Mr. Trueman's on June 26th.
"June 26th--Mr. Bennet arrived at our house and went to Tantramar.
"27th--Mr. Bennet preached his first sermon at Tantramar.
"July 8th--This day was appointed by the Government as a day of
thanksgiving for the blessings of peace. Mr. Bennet preached at the
Amherst Court-House from Romans 12 c. 1 v. to a crowded and attentive
The church at this time was in a fairly good financial condition. Point
de Bute was then headquarters for the ministers, it and Sackville being
the most important places in the circuit. Mr. Mann visited Point de
Bute in 1803, preaching at the Stone House on May 2nd, also June 16th.
"June 16th, Mr. Mann preached at Mr. Wells'."
"June 26th--Mr. Mann preached at the Stone House morning and evening to
a crowded house."
Mr. Bennet's place was taken, in 1806, by Mr. Stephen Bamford, a local
preacher sent out from England. he was afterwards ordained and remained
"July 6th, 1806--Mr. Bamford preached at the Stone House for the first
On June 3rd, 1808, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Black paid a visit to Point de
Bute, making their home at Mr. Wm. Trueman's. It was a great joy to the
church there to have Mr. Black with them again. In 1809-10-11, Mr.
Knowlan was on the Cumberland Circuit, and in 1812 Mr. Bennet returned,
followed by Mr. Dunbar, in 1815.
Mr. Dunbar remained three years and his place was taken by Mr.
Priestly. During Mr. Priestly's stay the new church was built at Point
de Bute. It stood in front of the spot occupied by the old Stone House,
and was opened by Mr. Priestly in 1822.
Mr. Stephen Bamford was on the circuit 1823 to 1825; Wm. Temple in 1826
and 1827; Wm. Webb in 1828 and 1829; Wm. Smithson from 1830 to 1833.
In 1833, Rev. Alexander McLeod was sent to Cumberland as assistant. He
made his home in Point de Bute, and was there most of the time until
1836. Rev. Richardson Douglas had charge of the circuit in 1834 and
1835. Mr. Jos. Bent came in 1836, and the house on the farm now owned
by Mr. Burton Jones was rented for a parsonage. During Mr. Bent's
ministry there was a large revival at Point de Bute, and about sixty
members were received into the church. Mr. Bent was followed by Richard
Williams, who remained two years. In 1840 the Sackville District was
divided, the Point de Bute Circuit consisting of Point de Bute, Fort
Lawrence, Bay Verte and Cape Tormentine. The Cumberland Circuit had
been divided before this (as early as 1830), but the exact date cannot
Below is a list of the ministers who have been resident in the Point de
Bute Circuit since 1840:
Wm. Leggit, 1840-1842.
Geo. Millar, 1842-1843. Parsonage built.
R. Williams, 1843-1844.
Sampson Busby, 1844-1847.
Wm. Smithson, 1847-1850.
Geo. Johnson, 1850-1853.
Wm. Smith, 1853-1856.
T. H. Davies, 1856-1860.
John Snowball, 1860-1861. Point de Bute Circuit again divided.
Michael Pickles, 1861-1863.
Chas. Stewart, 1863-1865.
Geo. Butcher, 1865-1866.
Robert Duncan, 1866-1868.
Wm. Wilson, 1868-1870.
Jas. G. Angwin, 1870-1873. Present parsonage built.
Douglas Chapman, 1873-1876.
Edwin Mills, 1876-1879.
Geo. W. Fisher, 1879-1882. Present church built in 1881.
Thos. Marshall, 1882-1884.
W. W. Lodge, 1884-1885.
S. R. Ackman, 1885-1888.
Jas. Crisp, 1888-1891.
F. H. W. Pickles, 1891-1894.
J. A. Clark, 1894-1896.
T. L. Williams, 1896-1897.
Jos. Seller, 1897-1898.
D. Chapman, 1898-1901.
Thos. Marshall, 1901.
The first Methodist church in Sackville stood a little north of Philip
Palmer's farm. It was opened in 1790 by Rev. James Mann. Previous to
that date the preaching place had been a small schoolhouse, which stood