When I was growing up, I thought all our American/Canadian/American ancestors were Loyalists, but my research has discovered most just went to Canada in the 1760′s for an opportunity. These strict Puritans were overwhelmed when the Loyalists arrived in 1783.
While we had 15 ancestral families who immigrated to and from Canada, Nathaniel and Jonathan PARKS were our only direct ancestors who were actually resettled Loyalists. See my post Our New Brunswick Loyalists
The Acadian Expulsion also known as the Great Upheaval, the Great Expulsion and Le Grand Dérangement, was the forced removal by the British of the Acadian people from the present day Canadian Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and also part of the US state of Maine—an area also known as Acadie.
The Expulsion (1755–1763) occurred during the French and Indian War, the North American theater of the Seven Years War. It was part of the British military campaign against New France. The British first deported Acadians to the Thirteen Colonies, and after 1758 they transported additional Acadians to France. Approximately 11,500 Acadians were deported by the British.
After the British conquest of Acadia in 1710, the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht allowed the Acadians to keep their lands. Over the next forty-five years, the Acadians refused to sign an unconditional oath of allegiance to Britain. During this period, Acadians participated in various military operations against the British and maintained supply lines to the French fortresses of Louisbourg and Fort Beausejour. The British sought to eliminate future military threat posed by the Acadians and to permanently cut the supply lines they provided to Louisbourg by removing them from the area.
Without making distinctions between the Acadians who had been neutral and those who had resisted the occupation of Acadia, the British governor Charles Lawrence and the Nova Scotia Council ordered them to be expelled. In the first wave of the expulsion, Acadians were deported to other British colonies. During the second wave, they were deported to England and France, from where they migrated to Louisiana. Acadians fled initially to Francophone colonies such as Canada, the uncolonized northern part of Acadia, Isle Saint-Jean and Isle Royale. During the second wave of the expulsion, these Acadians were either imprisoned or deported. Thousands of Acadians died in the expulsions, mainly from diseases and drowning when ships were lost.
The St. John River Campaign occurred during the French and Indian War when Colonel Robert Monckton led a force of 1150 British soldiers to destroy the Acadian settlements along the banks of the Saint John River (New Brunswick) until they reached the largest village of Sainte-Anne des Pays-Bas (present day Fredericton, New Brunswick) in February 1759. Monckton was accompanied by Captain George Scott as well as New England Rangers led byJoseph Goreham, Captain Benoni Danks, and Moses Hazen ( later Brigadier General in the Continental Army. Moses was great-grandson of our ancestor Edward HAZEN Sr. see Edward’s page for his bio)
On 18 February 1759, Lieutenant Hazen and about fifteen men arrived at Sainte-Anne des Pays-Bas. They pillaged and burned the village of 147 buildings, including two Mass-houses and all of the barns and stables. They burned a large store-house, and with it a large quantity of hay, wheat, peas, oats, etc., killing 212 horses, about 5 head of cattle, a large number of hogs and so forth. They also burned the church (located just west of the Old Government House, Fredericton).
The rangers also scalped six Acadians and took six prisoners. There is a written record of one of the Acadian survivors Joseph Godin-Bellefontaine. He reported that the rangers restrained him and then massacred his family in front of him. There are other primary sources that support his assertions. (While the French military hired Natives to gather British scalps, the British military hired Rangers to gather Native scalps. The scalping of Acadians in this instance was unique for the Maritimes. New Englanders had been scalping native peoples in the area for generations, but unlike the French on Ile Royale, they had refrained from authorizing the taking of scalps from individuals identified as being of European descent.[
Under the naval command of Silvanus Cobb, the British started at the bottom of the river with raiding Kennebecais and Managoueche (City of St. John), where the British built Fort Frederick. Then they moved up the river and raided Grimross (Gagetown, New Brunswick), Jemseg, and finally they reached Sainte-Anne des Pays-Bas.
There were about 100 Acadian families on the St. John River, with a large concentration at Ste Anne. Most of whom had taken refuge there from earlier deportation operations, such as the Ile Saint-Jean Campaign. There was also about 1000 Maliseet.
According to one historian, the level of Acadian suffering greatly increased in the late summer of 1758. Along with campaigns on Ile Saint-Jean, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, at Cape Sable Island and the Petitcodiac River Campaign, the British targeted the St. John River.
New England Planters
Eight thousand Planters (roughly 2000 families), largely farmers and fishermen, arrived from 1759 to 1768 to take up lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia, Charles Lawrence‘s offer. The farmers settled mainly on the rich farmland of the Annapolis Valley on the south shore of the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia . Our ancestors colonized along the Saint John River in the southern counties of what is now New Brunswick but was then part of Nova Scotia.
Most of the fishermen went to the South Shore of Nova Scotia, where they got the same amount of land as the farmers did. Many fishermen especially wanted to move there because they were already fishing off the Nova Scotia coast.
GLIMPSES OF THE PAST. History of the River St. John A. D. 1604-1784. By Rev. W. O. RAYMOND, LL.D. St. John, N. B.
Very shortly after Monckton’s occupation of the St. John River, Charles Lawrence issued the first of his celebrated proclamations, offering favorable terms to any industrious settlers from New England, who would remove to Nova Scotia and cultivate the lands vacated by the French, or other ungranted lands. The proclamation stated that proposals on behalf of intending settlers would be received by Thomas Hancock at Boston, and by Mesrs. De Lancey and Watts at New York, and by them transmitted to the Governor of Nova Scotia.
This proclamation had the effect of directing attention to the River St. John. Young and adventurous spirits soon came to the fore anxious to be the pioneers of civilization in the wilds of Nova Scotia. But first they wished to know: What terms of encouragement would be offered? How much land each person would get? What quit-rents and taxes would be required? What constitution of government prevailed,and what freedom in religion?
In answer to their inquiries a second proclamation was issued, in which it was declared that townships were to consist of 100,000 acres (about 12 miles square) and were to include the best lands, and rivers in their vicinity. The government was described as similar to that of the neighboring colonies, the legislature consisting of a governor,council and assembly and every township, so soon as it should consist of fifty families, would be entitled to send two representatives to the assembly. The courts of justice were similar to those of Massachusetts, Connecticut and the other northern colonies, and full liberty of conscience was secured to persons of all persuasions,”papists” excepted, by the royal instructions and a late act of the Assembly. As yet no taxes had been imposed or fees exacted on grants.Forts garrisoned with troops were established in the neighborhood of the lands it was proposed to settle
The movement of some 2,000 families from New England to Nova Scotia in the early 1760s was a small part of the much larger migration of an estimated 66,000 people who moved to New York’s Mohawk River valley, to New Hampshire, and to what later became the states of Vermont and Maine. In the years 1760 to 1775, some fifty-four new towns were established in Vermont, one hundred in New Hamphsire, ninety-four in Maine, and fourteen in Nova Scotia. Land scarcity was the principal cause, free land the attraction, while the defeat of French power in North America, achieved in 1758-60, explains the timing.
The Planters were the first major group of English-speaking immigrants in Canada who did not come directly from Great Britain. Most of the Planters were Protestant Congregationalists, in contrast to the largely Roman Catholic Acadians.
Within twenty years, they were joined by Ulster and Yorkshire emigrants from Britain and United Empire Loyalists who left New York, New Jersey and the New England colonies after the American War of Independence in 1783. The latter influxes greatly diminished the Planter political influence in Nova Scotia. However the Planters laid the foundations of a large number of the present day communities of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and their political and religious traditions (for example Henry Alline) had important influences on the culture of the region.
In Nova Scotia, the New England Planters inspired the provincial nickname of “Bluenoser” as the term was first used to distinguish Planter candidates from Loyalist candidates in elections after the American Revolution.
Our New England Planter Ancestors
In 1764, Richard ESTEY I (1706 – 1791) led the migration of a large clan of our ancestors from Rowley, Massachusetts to a settlement on the St John’s River in New Brunswick Canada called Maugerville.
Richard Estey was born on 7 Apr 1706 in Topsfield, Mass. Richard’s grandmother Mary Towne ESTEY was hanged for witchcraft 14 years in Salem Mass before he was born. Richard married Ruth FISKE on May 7, 1728 in Ipswich, Mass. Richard died 26 Mar 1791 in Sheffield Parish, Sunbury County, New Brunswick, Canada.
Richard’s son Zebulon ESTEY made the trip the next year with his new bride and was one of the signers of the original covenant of the Congressional Church. Zebulon’s daughter Molly ESTEY married her first cousin Amos ESTEY so many of our direct ancestors made the trip.
- Grandfather Richard ESTEY – age 58,
- son Richard ESTEY II age 36, wife Hannah HAZEN (2nd cousin of Moses and William Hazen above) age 37 and his son Amos ESTEY age 5
- son Zebulon ESTEY age 22 and his new bride Molly BROWN
- Zeb’s twin brother John and sister Sarah who married Thomas Barker also made the trip.
The River St. John” by Rev. Wm. Raymond published in 1910, pages 334-5:
“On 15 January 1765 on Captain Francis Peabody’s schooner, came Zebulon ESTEY to Maugerville. He paid 12 shillings passage money from Newburyport to St. John and 13s 6d for `his club of Cyder’ on the voyage.
Richard ESTEY and Thomas Barker built a saw-mill on a small creek near Middle Island. (After 1765.) They sold it in 1779 – near Maugerville
Richard ESTEY signed a church covenant for a distinct church society. Many moved from Maugerville due to the annoyance of the spring freshets. [A sudden overflow of a stream resulting from a heavy rain or a thaw] Zebulon Estey moved to Gagetown. Some went across the river to the township of Burton. These included Israel Estey, Moses Estey and Amos ESTEY.”
My mother has some letters her mom wrote documenting her efforts in the 60′s to track down info about the Esteys. She and my grandfather went on a trailer trip to the east coast and New Brunswick and Ontario. Seems there was a family story that Mary Estey had Indian antecedents (the”estey eyes” were almond shaped and slightly slanted) and she was trying to track it down.. In New Brunswick she found the custodian of the land grant records who was a gold mine of info. When she said there was a legend Mary Estes (her spelling) had Indian blood, the woman was horrified and said “Oh, no-the Estes were all most respectable. They came from Massachusetts and brought their wives with them.”
John BRADLEY was born 17 Aug 1738 in Haverhill, Mass. His twin sister Susannah Bradley married Philbrook Colby 13 Jul 1758 Haverhill. He married Mary Lucy HEATH on 21 Mar 1760 in Haverhill, Mass. They immigrated to New Brunswick between 1764 and 1765, about the same time as the Estey clan. John died before 1830.
John originally settled in Conway Township near the mouth of the Saint John River, but due the continual robberies committed by the Rebel boats during the war, he moved up the river on the same account and cleared and improved about 4 acres of land.
Nathaniel Gallup was born in 1734 in Boston, Mass. His parents were Nathaniel Gallop (1707 – 1744) and Dorcas Collins (1713 – 1749). He first married before 1760 to Hannah Parent (b. 1739 in Mass – d. 1780 in Truro, Nova Scotia.) After Hannah died, he married Deborah NEWCOMB. Deborah was our ancestor with her first husband Issac MILLER Nathaniel died about 1820 in Sheffield, York, New Brunswick, Canada.
1783 Studholm Report (See below)Township of Burton
2. Nathaniel Gallop, from Coveget, has a wife and 7 children, been on about 3 years. Has a log house and about 8 or 10 acres of cleared land. Claims by possession and purchase of improvements..
Benjamin NEWCOMB was born about 1700 in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. Benjamin emigrated to Cornwallis Township in Kings County, Nova Scotia in 1760 at the same time as his four of his children becoming one of the original proprietors. Cornwallis is across the Bay of Fundy from St John New Brunswick, See Satellite Map. He received a half-acre house-lot in the compact part of town, for residence and several large lots in the vicinity as his share. Mr. Newcomb and his wife aided in the organization of the 1st Church in Cornwallis. He removed with his son, Benjamin after 1775 , to Waterborough, now Canning, in Sunbury, New Brunswick, where both died.
Enoch DOW was born 7 Dec 1744, Methuen, Essex County, Massachusetts. He moved from New Hampshire to Orocmocto New Brunswick in 1753 with his parents David DOW and Mary BROWN and his brothers. The town is located on the west bank of the St. John River, across from Maugerville at the mouth of the Oromocto River, approximately 20 kilometers southeast of Fredericton. Enoch married .Ruth MORTON about 1770 probably in Maugerville. Enoch died 23 Dec 1813 in Dow Settlement, (Dumfries Parish) York County, New Brunswick Canada and is buried in Lower Meductic Cemetery, in Canterbury (between Highway 2 and the St. John River).
Enoch worked with his father, brother Nith and cousin William as lumbermen.
In 1803, he loaded a large flat bottomed boat with all their belongings and poled up St. John river from Maugerville to Canterbury,, leading 20 families upriver and founding Dow Settlement on his land grant, 2 miles of river front and 4 miles deep. After land was cleared, he helped to build a church and Dow Cemetery.
Here is Google map’s directions of the 100 kilometers from Maugerville (then Majorfield) to Dow Settlement,. At that time, there were no roads, only a trackless wilderness forest and the river.
In Robert Piercy Dow’s Book of Dow, Enoch is given the coding “bcdgd” (p. 690).
The Majorfield [Maugerville] colony had a hard time. All the clearing and the homes were close to the River. The industry was in floating timber to tidewater and selling it. Three times the Spring freshets assumed great proportions and swept away all the homes in Majorfield. Thereupon the colonists became utterly discouraged. Nith Dow, William Dow and others returned across the border. Enoch DOW decided to remain and formulated a plan to move upstream to a safer shore and used for his purpose the Canterbury land grant. A dozen or so families went with him. They built a large flat boat and poled it up the river. The forest was trackless and so remained many years. The migration was in 1803 – this date is positive.. About 100 miles north they stopped and chose the right bank for the new settlement. Some years later Dow’s Settlement was founded across the stream and about 4 miles higher up. Still anothyer 4 miles up, the lane was settleed, another Dow home.
Some remembered Enoch Dow as an outspoken Tory during the Revolutionary War, although he was part of the group to settle in New Brunswick with the Massachusetts firm of Simonds, Hazen and White (headquartered in Newburyport, where the Dow clan originated) which settled in the area as early as 1762 (before his father settled there). His name is listed among those granted land. There is even proof of an Enoch Dow that served in the rebel army of the time. He was a Baptist. In 1803, he moved from the original Majorfield settlement to form Canterbury, after several floods destroyed the houses of Majorfield..
Maugerville was a New England Planter settlement on the east bank of the St. John River, below Fredericton was first known as Peabody for Francis Peabody, an early grantee. The name was changed to honor Joshua Mauger (1725-1788), a native Jersey who established himself as a merchant in Halifax during the period 1749-61. Later he became the agent for Nova Scotia in London. In 1763 he was successful in securing for the New Englanders along this stretch of the river formal title to their lands. Thus the community was re-named Maugerville in his honour.
Its importance in the evolution of New Brunswick has been outlined by Esther Clark Wright: “The New England pattern of living would have been only a minor factor in New Brunswick but for the Maugerville settlers and their diffusion throughout the province. The Maugerville settlement was successful because it was formed by a closely knit group, with religious ties, and experience in a not dissimilar environment.
The list of the grantees of the Township of Maugerville, alphabetically arranged, includes the following names:–Benjamin Atherton, Jacob Barker, Jacob Barker, jr., Thomas Barker [Richard ESTEY’s son-in-law], Richard Barlow, Benjamin Brawn, David Burbank, Joseph Buber, Jeremiah Burpee, Jonathan Burpee, James Chadwell, Thomas Christy, Joseph Clark, Widow Clark, Edward Coy, Moses Davis, Jos. F. W. Desbarres, Enoch DOW, Joseph Dunphy, John Estey [Richard’s son], Richard ESTEY, Richard ESTEY Jr., , Zebulun ESTEY, Joseph Garrison, Beamsley P. Glazier, William Harris, Thomas Hart, Geo. Hayward, Nehemiah Hayward, Jeremiah Howland, Ammi Howlet, Samuel Hoyt, Daniel Jewett, Richard Kimball, John Larlee, Joshua Mauger, Peter Moores, William McKeen, Elisha Nevers, Jabez Nevers, Phinehas Nevers, Samuel Nevers, Nathaniel Newman, Daniel Palmer, Moses Palmer, Jonathan Parker, Francis Peabody, Oliver Peabody, Richard Peabody, Samuel Peabody, Stephen Peabody, Asa Perley, Israel Perley, Oliver Perley, Humphrey Pickard, Moses Pickard, Hugh Quinton, Nicholas Rideout, Thomas Rous, John Russell, Ezekiel Saunders, William Saunders, Gervas Say, John Shaw [Richard ESTEY’s son-in-law] , Hugh Shirley, James Simonds, Samuel Tapley, Giles Tidmarsh, jr., Samuel Upton, James Vibart, John Wasson, Matthew Wasson, John Whipple, Jonathan Whipple, Samuel Whitney, Jediah Stickney, John Smith, Johnathan Smith, Charles Stephens, Isaac Stickney
The above plan of the river shows the locations of the early settlers of Maugerville; in order ascending the river.
The lower ten lots of the township and Mauger’s Island were granted to Joshua Mauger. Just above were the lots of Gervas Say, Nehemiah Hayward, John Russell, Samuel Upton, Zebulon ESTEY, John Estey, Richard ESTEY I and Edward Coy.
At the head of Mauger’s Island were the lots of Matthew Wason, Samuel Whitney and Samuel Tapley.
Between Mauger’s Island and Middle Island the lots were those of Jeremiah Burpee, Jonathan Burpee, Jacob Barker, Daniel Jewett, Ezekiel Saunders, Humphrey Pickard, Moses Pickard, Jacob Barker, jr., Isaac Stickney and Jonathan Smith.
Opposite Middle Island, in order ascending, were Thomas Barker [Richard ESTEY’s son-in-law], John Wason, Daniel Palmer, Richard Kimball, Joseph Garrison, Samuel Nevers, Peter Mooers, Richard ESTEY Jr., Jabez Nevers, Enoch DOW and Hugh Quinton.
Between Middle and Oromocto islands were Thomas Christie, Elisha Nevers, Jedediah Stickney, Stephen Peabody, Capt. Francis Peabody and William McKeen.
Opposite Oromocto Island were Israel Perley (at the foot of the island), Lt.-Col. Beamsley P. Glasier, John Whipple, Nathaniel Rideout, Capt. Francis Peabody, Alexander Tapley, Phineas Nevers, Joseph Dunphy, William Harris, Ammi Howlet, Samuel Peabody and Oliver Peabody.
Above Oromocto Island we find the lots of Asa Perley, Oliver Perley, George Munro, James Simonds, Joseph Buber, Joseph Shaw, Benjamin Brawn, Daniel Burbank, Thomas Hartt and the Widow Clark. Thence to the upper boundary of the township, a distance of two miles, there were at first no settlers, but in the course of time Richard Barlow, Nehemiah Beckwith, Benjamin Atherton, Jeremiah Howland and others took up lots.
1783 Studholm Report
In June, 1783, Maj. Studholm sent a party of four men up the river from Fort Howe with instructions to determine who was settled upon the lands in various townships and what title they had to those lands, if any and details about numbers in each family, length of settlement and amount of land cleared.
When the decision was taken by England at the close of the Revolutionary War to evacuate New York, several thousand Loyalists were shipped to Nova Scotia, which then included roughly the area occupied by the present provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. In 1784, that part of Nova Scotia which lay north of the Bay of Fundy was set off as a new Province of New Brunswick, the dividing line being established at the Isthmus of Chignecto just north of the present town of Amherst.
During the War the settlers on the Bay of Fundy were often pillaged and plundered by Rebel privateers from down the coast, mainly out of Machias, Maine (See Battle of Machias 1777) , and the trading post at the mouth of the Saint John River operated by James Simonds, William Hazen (Lt. Moses Hazen’s brother and great-grandson of our ancestor Edward HAZEN Sr ) [see Edward’s page for Wiiliam’s bio] and James White, was particularly vulnerable.
Rev. William O. Raymond, in The River St. John, ed. Dr. J.C. Webster, C.M.G., (1910; Sackville, N.B.: The Tribune Press,), tells us that
“late in the autumn (of 1778) an American sloop carrying eight guns entered the harbour. Her Captain, A. Greene Crabtree, proved the most unwelcome and rapacious visitor that had yet appeared. Many of the settlers fled to the woods to escape the vandalism of his crew. From the store at Portland Point 21 boat loads of goods was taken. The plunder included a lot of silver ornaments, fuzees and other articles left by the Indians as pledges for their debts.”
Following that incident, William Hazen proceeded to Windsor, N.S., and urgently demanded protection. Col. Small, of the Royal Highland Emigrants, accompanied him to Halifax and by their united efforts the British government authorities were convinced of the necessity of immediate action. A considerable body of troops was ordered to the mouth of the river with directions to repair Fort Frederick, which the Rebels had burned in 1775, or build a new fort.
General Massey chose Maj. Guilford Studholm as commander of the expedition. He was a capable officer and had previous experience as a former commander of the Fort Frederick garrison. His knowledge of the St. John River and its inhabitants, both whites and indians, made him particularly well fitted for the post.
Maj. Studholm arrived at the mouth of the river during the latter part of November, 1778, with 50 men, a framed block-house and four six-pounders. They came in a sloop of war, which remained in the harbour for their protection until the next spring. He decided against repairing Fort Frederick and commenced immediately to construct a new fort on a new location. It was named Fort Howe.
When the Spring Fleet arrived from New York in May, 1783, Maj. Studholm was still in command of the garrison at Fort Howe. One of the first and most urgent things to do was to find lands for these new arrivals. Much of the best land on the St. John had already been granted. However, a lot of it had been granted in large blocks to propritors who had undertaken to place tenants upon it but had for the most part not been very successful in doing so.
In June, 1783, Maj. Studholm sent a party of four men up the river from Fort Howe with instructions to determine who was settled upon the lands in various townships and what title they had to those lands, if any. Their report to Maj. Studholm, usually referred to by family historians today as “The Studholm Report” is an important historical document. It is, in effect, a heads of households census, and in addition provides information about land title, the loyalty or otherwise of many of the pre-Loyalist inhabitants on the river, etc., that can be found nowhere else.’
Township of Conway
10. John BRADLEY settled in the same manner and about the same time with the said Easterbrook, and moved up the river on the same account and cleared and improved about 4 acres of land.
[9. Elijah Easterbrook settled in consequence of a similar agreement with said Hazen and Simmons.Cleared and improved about seven acres of land and had built a log house which is now fallen to decay, said Easterbrook moving up the river on account of the danger of his situation; has lived on it 8 years.]
[Messrs. Hazen and Symonds, two of the original proprietors of Conway, have at different times placed a number of settlers on the lands of that Township, and have used every offort on their parts to comply with the terms of their Grant, but the continual robberys committed by the Rebel boats during the war, to which those settlements were totally exposed, obliged a number of their tenants to remove. However, as every exertion was used by them, I take the liberty, sir, to recommend their claims on that Township to your consideration.]
5. Stephen Dow [ has a wife, is settled on Musquash Island, has no claim but possession, has built a log house and cleared about 3 acres of land. Came from Pasmaquadde about 4 years past and says he was drove off by the rebels.
[I’m trying to locate Stephen in the Book of Dow. After building the first running dyke in 1769, Hazen, Simonds and White continued to devote considerable attention to the task of reclaiming and improving the marsh. In order to have ready access a road was laid out running back of Fort Howe hill and along Mount Pleasant to the marsh. Not far from the present station at Coldbrook they built a house with hovels for cattle and put up fences and settled a family there. A few years later they built two more houses and settled two more families there, each with a stock of cattle. The first tenants on the marsh were Stephen Dow, Silas Parker and Jabez Salisbury. The houses built for their accommodation cost from £15 to £20 apiece. About this time or a little later a small grist mill was built at the outlet of Lily Lake.
To William Dow bcdhd land was granted in Charlotte Co in 1791, on which his kin had settled possibly as early as 1772.
The grants of land to the Joseph Dow bbbfa line did not begin until 1803. A series of accidental discoveries have brought to light the movements of this family throughout. Joseph Dow and wife were in Boston 1774 and he took part in the so-called Boston Tea Party. Just when he was converted to the tory cause we do not know. The people of Boston had no chance to join the Federals at Bunker Hill. They had to look on in silence, whatever their sympathies. Joseph was a ship builder already; under the British occupation of the city he was the best man at that trade in the place. He was kept busy and well paid. Family tradition says that a son of Joseph was born in or near Haverhill 1783. This is absent in the well kept Haverhill rec, and is doubtful, unless the family was there in hiding. When the British evacuated Boston, the position of the tories was precarious. A fairly large party fled; among them was Joseph Dow and at least three members of the allied family of Emery. These subsequently followed Joseph to New Brunswick, where their descendants are plenty, some being quite prominent merchants in St John today. They took refuge first on the uninhabited island of Southport, just outside of Wiscasset, Me. Possibly Henry Dow bbbfh went there first. They traveled in a boat of Joseph’s own making and were successful in taking all portable property, tools for ship-building being a prime necessity.]
28. Zebulun Esty [Zebulon ESTEY] has a wife and 8 children. Has been on about 5 years; built a house and grist mill and has about 3 acres of cleared land. Went on in consequence of an agreement with Mr. John Crabtree acting as attorney for Capt. Jades, and was promised a lease for ever on payment of a small acknowledgement yearly. Said Esty is a good man, his character very loyal and we beg leave to recommend him to be confirmed in his possessions.
Township of Burton
2. Nathaniel Gallop, [third husband of Deborah NEWCOMB married on 22 May 1766 in Kings County, Nova Scotia.] from Coveget, has a wife and 7 children, been on about 3 years. Has a log house and about 8 or 10 acres of cleared land. Claims by possession and purchase of improvements.
4. Israel Esty has a wife and 3 children; been on about 5 years. Built a log house and has about 15 acres of cleared land. Claims by possession and a quit claim of the improvements of his grandfather, who had possessed it about 15 years before he came on.
7. Moses Esty, favors the rebels and has not above half the cleared land reported.
31. John Shaw has a wife and 6 children, a log house and about 6 acres of cleared land. Been in possession about 5 years.
32. John Shaw Jr.[John BRADLEY’s son-in-law] has a wife [Mary Bradley] but lives with his father, has a house but no land cleared. Claims also some land in New town in consequence of clearing three fourths of an acre of land in that township. Gave intelligence to the rebels at Oak Park that the Kings troops were pursuing them up the river, in consequence of which they escaped.
The Maugerville Settlement 1763 – 1824 by James Hannay Maugerville, New Brunswick, Canada [Published in Collections of the New Brunswick Historical Society Vol. 1, 1894]
(I’m not blockquoting this text as I usually do because there as some quoted letters within the article) [My notes are indicated by square brackets]
Several years ago, through the courtesy of Judge Barker of St. John, there came into my hands a number of papers which had originally been in the possession of David Burpee, one of the first settlers of the township of Maugerville, on the River St. John. These papers embraced a number of deeds, an account book, a diary, copies of a number of letters and a pretty complete record of the transactions of the Congregational church at Maugerville, from the year 1773 to 1824.
On perusing these papers I have been many times forcibly impressed with their value from a historical point of view, especially as illustrating the mode of life in this early Nova Scotia settlement, and I propose here with their help to give some account of Maugerville and its people, as well as of the County of Sunbury generally, relying as little as possible on anything that has already been published on the subject.
The principal source of the published information which we possess in regard to the Maugerville settlement, is a lecture which was delivered in St. John by the late Moses H. Perley, about fifty years ago . This gentleman was a descendant of one of the original settlers, and, having been born about the beginning of the present century , he had the opportunity of learning much from tradition and family documents in regard to the history of Sunbury.
According to the narrative of this gentleman the government of Massachusetts, in 1761 , sent an exploring party to ascertain the position of affairs and the state of the country on the River St. John. The leader of the party was Israel Perley, the grandfather of Moses H. Perley, and he was accompanied by twelve men in the pay of Massachusetts. They proceeded to Machias by water, in the month of February, and there shouldered their knapsacks and, he being a land surveyor, steered by compass and succeeded in reaching the head waters of the River Oromocto, and by it descended to the St. John. They found the country wholly unsettled, and with this report they returned to Boston.
If the statement that this exploring expedition was paid for by Massachusetts is accurate, there is, no doubt, some record of it in the archives of that state, and the fact would seem to show that the old land-hunger of the Puritans, which involved them in a disgraceful but unsuccessful attempt to steal the province of Maine from its proprietors, was impelling them to endeavor to bring within the bounds of Massachusetts the fine territory on the River St. John. This conjecture derives additional force from the declaration made in 1776 by the settlers on the St. John River that they desired to submit themselves to the government of Massachusetts Bay.
In 1760, James Simonds, who was engaged in business at Newburyport, Mass., was at St. John Harbour in connection with the carrying of supplies to the garrison of Fort Frederick and he became impressed with the advantages St. John offered for trade. On the 28th August, 1762, he arrived at St. John from Newburyport, in company with James White, Capt. Francis Peabody , Jonathan Lovet, Hugh Quinton and about fifteen other persons intending to take up his residence there.
[“On 15 January 1765 on Captain Francis Peabody’s schooner, came Zebulon ESTEY to Maugerville. He paid 12 shillings passage money from Newburyport to St. John and 13s 6d for `his club of Cyder’ on the voyage.
Mr. Simonds built his house on the ruins of Charnisay’s old fort, on Portland Point. Simonds and White were partners, and they did business at St. John under that style, while a business at Newburyport in which they were interested was conducted by Messrs. Hazen and Jarvis.
[Our ancestor Hannah HAZEN was baptized 7 Jan 1727 in Boxford, Essex, Mass. Her twin Margaret (Peggy) died young. Her parents were Israel HAZEN and Hannah CHAPLIN. She married 7 Feb 1750 in Rowley, Mass to Richard ESTEY II. Hannah died 28 Sep 1817 in Kingsclear Parish, York Co., New Brunswick. I’m still working on the connection to Messrs. Hazen and Jarvis.
The nature of the trade they carried on and the difficulties they had to encounter may be gathered from the following letter, written by the partners in St. John to the partners at Newburyport, in 1770. The letter is addressed “Messrs. Hazen and Jarvis, Merchants, Newbury Port.” I have preserved the spelling of the original:—
St. Johnn River May 10th 1770. Gentlemen The Slop St. John’s Paquet arrived here the second inst. but the river was so high and full of ice that we could not begin to unload until 3 days ago, have taken out 200 Hhs. salt and 4t : 36:0 sugar and have left 650 Bushels of salt on board — and ship—d all the lime that is burn and furrs that we have yet rec’d. This sp;ring has been so backward that there has been no possibility of burning any lime. The piles of wood and stone are now frozen together — we have not more than half men enough to save the fish (seven in all the rest have left us some time since) the first school is now running and the wires wholy broken down with ice, have no help of the fishermen only abt. 10 days work of two hands.
The mill could not go before the middle of April and the ice has been continually breaking the dam ever since. The saving the gundalo’s from being lost at the places where they was left last fall has taken a great deal of time, have got the last of them home today but have not any body to caulk them — have no nails to trim cases or board the frames nor any hops but what is picked up at an amazing expence. But what has been the most difficult and distressing was the want of provisions and hay.
Such a scene of misery of man and beast we never saw before. There was not any thing of bread kind equal to a bushel of meal for each person when the schr. sailed the 6th of February and less of meat and roots in proportion — the Indians and hogs had part of that little. The flour that came in the schr. has been wet and much damaged and having no Indian corn it will be mostly gone by the time the hunts are finished.
We meant by our memorandum to have the articles over and above what would fit out the fishing vessels — they will want 7 or 8 barrels of the pork and all the bread for the whole season. They ought to have all their stores when they leave this place about the first of June. We have expected Capt. Newman for some time but begin to think he or you have altered your minds about the trip.
There is a great uneasiness among the fisherman about coffe. They say you promised them 5lb. each man the same as they had last year and a barrel of molasses to each vessel. We have not had any of them articles nor any tea except that of the spruce kind for three months past. We beg that we may have the articles in our inclosed memorandum by our first opportunity.
If hands can be got to work on shore, we think it will be best to send sloop back immediately and have her graved here — there is part of pitch enough that we shall not want at present, and if Newman do’s not come there will be no other way to bring the lumber down the river but in the sloop. We have only to add that we shall do all in our powr to catch fish and burn lime but cannot tell what quantitys we shall have as the few hands here are sickly and not to be depended upon. We are gentln. Yr. Humble Servts.
Simonds & White William Hazen, one of the Newburyport firm, afterwards removed to St. John. In 1765, Simonds, White and Hazen received from the government of Nova Scotia a grant of a very extensive tract of land at the mouth of the St. John River. This grant embraced on the east side of the harbor all the land from Union Street, St. John, north to the Kennebeccasis, and on the west side what is now known as the Parish of Lancaster. This last tract was then designated the Township of Conway. A return made to Major Studholm, who commanded at Fort Howe, on the 8th July, 1783, gives the names of the settlers who had cleared land and made improvements in the Township of Conway, under agreements with the grantees up to that date. The return may be summarized as follows:—
Name Amount Cleared and Improved. Hugh Quinton 15 Peter Smith 10 Thomas Jenkins 12 Samuel Peabody 55 Jonathan Lovet 60 William McKeene 45 Daniel Lovet 30 James Woodman 5 Elijah Esterbrook 7 John Bradley 4 [our ancestor John BRADLEY (1738 – bef. 1830)] Zebedee Ring 3 Gervis Say 10 Nearly all these people had been driven off their land by raiding parties from Machias during the Revolutionary war, and compelled to seek shelter up the river. These raids will partly serve to account for the extremely backward state of the settlements at the mouth of the St. John, prior to the arrival of the Loyalists.
The immediate result of Israel Perley’s report of the state of the lands up the St. John River was the removal of a large number of families to them from Massachusetts in 1763. According to Moses H. Perley’s statement, there were about two hundred families, numbering eight hundred souls, in this band of settlers and they were brought in four vessels under the charge of Israel Perley. The number, however, is probably exaggerated and perhaps four hundred would be nearer the truth. That at all events was the estimated number of the settlers on the St. John in 1764, and a census taken in 1767 showed that there were but 261 persons in Maugerville, the principal township. This township had been surveyed in 1762, at the instance of Capt. Francis Peabody, who was the father-in-law of both Simonds and White and also of Jonathan Lovet. This man, from his age and character, as well as from the active part he took in the work of settling the River St. John, must be justly regarded as the founder of Maugerville and Gagetown and the most prominent and influential person on the river, while he lived.
The township of Maugerville was on the east side of the St. John River and began at a point about five miles below Fredericton. Its northerly line was at right angles with the river and its depth along the river was sixteen miles in an air line. It embraced, therefore, the present parishes of Maugerville and Sheffield. Opposite to it was the township of Burton and below the latter, Gagetown. The three townships were all more or less settled prior to 1770, but, except in the case of the Maugerville immigration of 1763, it is not now possible to determine the date of the arrival of the settlers.
It is certain, however, that some of those who came with Perley in that year settled at Gagetown, amongst others, Edward Coye, one of whose daughters was said to be the first female child born of English speaking parents on the River St. John. Nearly all the settlers on the river were from Massachusetts, and the vast majority of them from a single county, Essex. Thus the Perleys were from Boxford, the Burpees from Rowley, while other families were from Haverhill, Newburyport, Ipswich, Gloucester, Salem and other towns of this ancient county which antedates all others in Massachusetts with the single exception of Plymouth. These settlers were therefore, for the most part of Puritan stock and all, or nearly all, were members of the Congregationalist churches of New England. The following list of surnmaes of settlers on the St. John, prior to the landing of the Loyalists, is made up from documents in my possession:—
BOLD = Direct Ancestor Red = Son or daughter in law Green = Spouse of ancestor’s Grandchid Anderson Atherton Burpee Barker Brown Brnach Beckwith BRADLEY Briggs Black Booby Blasdel Bartlett Bragden Bill Bailey Coye Coburn Cristy Crabtree Cram Carr Crosbe Campbell Clark Churchill Cross Conwell DOW Davidson Doucett DeLaport Duggin Denmore Dean Day ESTEY Estabrooks Franeau Frost Fearley Gallishan Godsoe George Graves Garrison Grant GALLOP HAZEN Hayward Howlin Hartt Hilton Harris Hersey Hammond Hendrick Harden Hovey Hall Howland Jenkins Jewett Jones Kenney Kimball Knox Lovet Larlee Loder Laskey Langin McKeene Mooers Martin Marsh Mitchell Marlington Masterlin Nevers Noble Nickerson Old Peabody Pickard Plummer Perley Palmer Pritchard Parker Porter Parsons Quinton Russell Robinson Rideout Ring Rogers Richardson Rolf Robertson Roe Robins Rusk Rockwell Simonds Smith Say Shaw Stickney Sanders Sinnott Turner Tibbitts Tracey Upton Villary Whitney Woodman Whitmore Watson Wasson West Wood White Weade Weymouth Woodworth Wade Young
In this list of names there are two or three that are probably French, two or three, such as Anderson and Mitchell, which represent men from Halifax, and three or four which belong to individuals who had come direct from England, Scotland or Ireland, but the vast majority were names of the New England stock.
If this stock had reason to complain of having to face a second emigration, there was abundant consolation in the fact that it was under very different circumstances from those of their ancestors who settled Salem and Newburyport. Instead of the barren soil of New England, they had their choice of the noble intervale lands of the St. John River, which have their fertility renewed every spring by the overflowing of that great stream. And this land they received for a price so small as to be merely nominal.
The township of Maugerville was divided into one hundred lots, each with a frontage on the river and a width of about fifty rods. Four of these lots were reserved for public purposes: one for a glebe for the Church of England, one for the Dissenting Protestants, one for the maintenance of a school and one for the first settled minister. Nearly all the Maugerville lots were taken up immediately after the first immigration, and the population of the township in 1767 was, as before stated, 261 souls. All these people were natives of America, with the exception of six English, ten Irish, four Scotch and six Germans. The enormous preponderance of the native New England element gave a tone to the character of the settlement, which it never lost until the arrival of the Loyalists.
Scarcely had the Maugerville people settled themselves in their new possessions until they began the formation of a church. I have before me a copy of the original church covenant attested to be correct by Humphry Pickard, church clerk. It bears no date, but it probably was made in 1763, and certainly not later than 1764; it is in the following terms:—
“We whose name are hereto subscribed apprehending ourselves called of God (for advancing of his Kingdom and edifying ourselves and posterity) to combine and embody ourselves into a distinct Church Society and being for that end orderly dismissed from the Churches to which we heretofore belonged: do (as we hope) with some measure of seriousness and sincerity, take upon us the following Covenant, viz:
“As to matters of faith we cordially adhere to the principles of religion (at least the substance of them) contained in the Shorter Catechism of the Westminister Assembly of Divines wherewith also the New England Confession of Faith harmonizeth, not as supposing that there is any authority, much less infallibility, in these human creeds or forms; but verily believing that these pricnciples are drawn from and agreeable to the Holy Scripture, which is the fountain and standard of truth; hereby declaring our utter dislike of the pelagian Arminian principels, vulgarly so called.
“In a firm belief of the aforesaid doctrines from an earnest desire that we and ours may receive the love of them and be saved with hopes that what we are now doing may be a means of so great an happiness; we do now (under a sense of our utter unworthiness of the honour and priviledges of God’s Covenant people) in solemn and yet free and cheerful manner give up ourselves and offspring to God the Father, to the Son the Mediator, and the Holy Ghost the instructor, sanctifier and comforter, to be henceforth the people and servants of this God, to believe in all His revelations, to accept of His method of reconciliation, to obey all His commands, and to keep all His ordinances, to look to and depend upon Him to do all for us, and work all in us, especially relating to our eternal salvation, being sensible that of ourselves we can do nothing.
“And it is also our purpose and resolution (by Divine assistance) to discharge the duties of Christian love and Brotherly watchfulness towards each other, to train up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, Commanding them and our Household to keep the way of the Lord: to join together in setting up and maintaining the Publick worship of God among us, carefully and joyfully to attend upon Christ’s Sacrament and institutions; to yield all obedience and submission to Him or them that shall from time to time in an orderly manner be made overseers of the flock, to submit to all the regular administrations and censures of the Church and to contribute all in our power unto the regularity and peaceableness of those administrations. “And respecting Church discipline it is our purpose to adhere to the method contained in the platform for the substance of it agreed upon by the synod at Cambridge in New England Ano. Dom. 1648 as thinking these methods of Church Discipline the nearest the Scripture and most likely to maintain and promote Purity, order and peace of any.
“And we earnestly pray that God would be pleased to smile upon this our undertaking for his Glory, that whilst we thus subscribe with our hands to the Lord and sirname ourselves by the Name of Israel; we may through grace given us become Israelites indeed in whom there is no Guile, that our hearts may right with God and we be steadfast in His Covenant, that we who are now combining together in a new church of Jesus Christ, may by the purity of our faith and morals become one of those Golden Candlesticks among which the Son of God in way of favor and protection will condescend to walk. And that every member of it thro’ imputed righteousness and inherent grace may hereafter be found among that happy Multitude whom the glorious head of the Church, the Heavenly Bridegroome shall present to Himself a glorious church not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing.
(Signed,) Jonathan Burpe Elisha Nevers Richard ESTEY I Daniel Palmer Gervas Say Edward Coye Jonathan Smit
Jonathan Burpee, whose name heads the above list, was a deacon of the church and at the head of all church movements in Maugerville up to the time of his death in June, 1781. He was the grandfather of David Burpee, whose papers form the basis of this account of Maugerville. Deacon Jonathan, judging from the number and variety of the tools mentioned in the inventory of his estate, must have been originally a carpenter. I have before me a deed, dated December 29th, 1735, by which Moses Braley, of Rowley, in the County of Essex, in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, conveys to Jonathan Burpee a lot of land in that place for a consideration of thirty pounds. Deacon Burpee was the ancestor of the late Hon. Isaac Burpee, who was Minister of Customs in Mr. McKenzie’s government.
For the first ten years of its existence the Maugerville church had no settled minister, but the settlement was frequently visited by clergymen, and, in their absence, the public worship of God was kept up by the deacons and elders on the Sabbath, by praying and reading sermons and by singing. This fact is stated by David Burpee, in a letter written by him, to the London Missionary Society in 1814. In 1769, the Rev. Thomas Wood, who was for ten years Dr. Brenton’s assistant in St. Paul’s church, Halifax, made a missionary tour on the St. John river. On the 2nd July he conducted service and preached to the English families at the mouth of the river and baptized four children. On the following Sunday, July 9th, he read service at Maugerville to more than two hundred persons. He stated in his report to the S. P. G., that owing to the fact that the congregation was composed chiefly of Dissenters from New England, and had had a Dissenting minister among them, only two baptisms took place, but added, “if a prudent missionary could be settled among them I believe all their prejudices against our forms of worship would vanish.” In 1770 David Burpee, then a young man of eighteeen, kept a diary in which he briefly noted down the principal occurrences of his life from day to day. From that we learn that Mr. Zephaniah Briggs was preaching in Maugerville from May to August of that year. Mr. Briggs was, doubtless, a Congregationalist minister from New England. I quote the following entries as to church services from David Burpee’s diary:—
Friday, January 14th. Private meetings at Mr. Palmer’s, and mother went there. Sunday, January 14th. The meetwas was at Mr. Barker’s, I went to meeting. Sunday January 21st. Meeting at Mr. Palmer’s, I went. Friday, February 2nd. Private meeting was at our house. Saturday 26th May. Mr. Zephaniah Briggs came here. Sunday, 27th May. Mr Briggs preached at Mr. Smith’s, his text was in Ephesians 2nd, 8th verse. Sunday, June 3rd. Mr. Briggs preached at Mr. Quinton’s, from Isaiah 1st, 3rd verse. Sunday, 10 June. Mr. Briggs preached again at Mr. Quinton’s, from John’s gospel, 3rd and 3rd. Sunday 24th June. The meeting is at Mr. Elisha Nevers’s. Mr. Briggs’ text was Matthew 5th, 15th. Sunday, 1st July. To-day Mr. Briggs preached at Mr. Nevers’s, from Corinthians 15th, 25th and 26th verses. Sunday, 8th July. Mr. Briggs preached at Mr. Smith’s, from Hebrews 11th chapter and part of 14th and 15th verses, and from Titus 3rd and 8th verse. Thursday, 12th July. Mr. Briggs preached from Ezekel 18th, 30th verse. Sunday, 15th July, 1770. Mr. Briggs preached at Mr. Nevers’s, from Romans 3rd and 19th verse. July 22nd. Mr. Briggs preached at Mr. Anderson’s, from Proverbs 15th and 17th. Sunday, 29th July. Mr. Briggs preached at Mr. Quinton’s, from 2nd Corinthians 8th chap., 18, 19, 20th and 21st verses. Sunday, 5th August, 1770. Mr. Briggs preached at Mr. Quinton’s, from Ephesians 2nd and 1st and 2nd verses.
These entries show that the people of Maugerville were very well supplied with preaching during the summer of 1770 at least. On the 30th April, 1765, all the townships on the St. John river were formed into a county under the name of Sunbury. On the 29th of May, of that year, a writ was issued to the inhabitants of the new County, directing them to choose a fit person to represent them in the General Assembly of Nova Scotia. Their choice was Charles Morris, son of the first Surveyor General of Nova Scotia. In 1766, the people of Sunbury appear to have had all the machinery of government in full operation.
It is therefore curious to find in that very year a marriage celebrated as described in the following document:—
Maugerville, February 23, 1766, In the presence of Almighty God and this Congregation, Gervas Say and Anna Russell, inhabitants of the above said township, enter into marriage Covenant lawfully to dwell together in the fear of God the remaining part of our lives, in order to perform all ye duties necessary betwixt husband and wife as witness our hands. Gervas Say Anna Say Daniel Palmer Fras. Peabody Saml. Whitney Richard ESTEY George Hayward David Palmer Edwd. Coye
Gervas Say, one of the principals in this affair, and three of the witnesses, Richard ESTEY, Daniel Palmer and Edward Coye, were signers of the original Church Covenant, so it must be presumed that the marriage thus solemnized was regarded as perfectly regular, and it is probable that, in the absence of a minister competent to perform the ceremony, this was the ordinary mode of marriage.
The promise made by the members in the Church Covenant to discharge the duty of “Brotherly watchfulness toward each other” seems to have been religiously observed in Maugerville. A great many entries in the early records of the Maugerville church are devoted to matters of discipline. A few examples will suffice to illustrate this:
“August the 29th day, 1773. Then the Church appointed a meeting to be held at the house of Mr. Moses Pickard on the 7th day of September and chose Mr. Richard ESTEY, Daniel Palmer, Humphrey Pickard a committee to talk with Israel Kenny concerning his being charged with scandalous sins.
“September the 7th day 1773. The church met at the house of Mr. Moses Pickard to see if they could be satisfied concerning the crimes alleged against our brother Israel Kenny but had no satisfaction. The meeting was adjourned to the 22nd day of September.
“The Church met together on the adjournment of the meeting on the 22nd day of September, 1773. Then Israel Kenny made his acknowledgement before the Church for his offence and was restored to their charity again. “On the 22nd of September, 1773, brother Benjamin Brown then having things laid to his charge before the church, which caused him to be suspended till they were satisfied. ”
March the 15th day 1774. The the church met together at a legal meeting our brother Benjamin Brown confessed his faults and was restored to their charity again.”
It may be of interest to note that Israel Kenney, who acknowledged himself before the church in September, 1773, as guilty of ‘scandalous sins’ was elected a ruling elder of the church in June, 1775. The year 1774 was a very important one for the Maugerville Church for it gave them their first settled minister Rev. Seth Noble, a person whose acquaintance the Halifax authorities were anxious to cultivate three years later. I transcribe from the faded page written by Daniel Palmer, church clerk, the minutes relating to Mr. Noble’s selection and call.
“At a meeting held by the subscribers to a bond for the support of the Preached gospil among us at the Hous of Mr. Hugh Quinton inholden on Wednesday ye 15 of June 1774. 1ly Chose Jacob Barker Esq. Moderator in Sd. meeting. 2ly Gave Mr. Seth Noble a call to settle in the work of the ministry among us. 3ly to give Mr. Seth Noble as a settlement providing he accept of the call, one hundred and twenty Pounds currency. 4ly Voted to give Mr. Seth Noble a yearly salery of sixty five pounds currency so long as he shall continue our Minister to be in Cash or furs or grain at cash price. 5ly. Chose Esqrs., Jacob Barker, Phinehas Nevers, Israel Pearly, Deacon Jonathan Burpee and Messrs. Hugh Quinton, Daniel Palmer, Moses Coburn, Moses Prickard a Committee to treat with Seth Noble. 6ly Adjourned the meeting to be held at the House of Mr. Hugh Quinton on Wednesday ye 29 Instat, at four of the clock in the afternoon to hear the report of the committee. Met on the adjournment on Wednesday ye 29 of June 1774 and voted as an addition to the salary of Mr. Seth Noble if he should except our Call, to cut and haul twenty five cords of wood to his house yearly so long as he shall continue to be our Minister. The meeting dissolved.”
These terms were very liberal, considering the time and the circumstances of the people, and Parson Noble accepted them. In addition to his settlement, money and salary, there was also for him in prospect the grant of one of the Maugerville lots, reserved for the first settled minister of the place, but for certain excellent reasons, to be hereafter stated, the lot did not go to Mr. Noble but to a minister of the Church of England.
In 1775, the people of Maugerville were busy erecting a meeting house which was also to serve as a residence for their pastor. In January, 1776, it was so far advanced that it was being clapboarded, for in David Burpee’s account book, under that date, is a charge against the meeting house for work done by Messrs. Plummer and Bridges, for him, at clapboarding one-third of the east end. All would have been well with Parson Noble and his flock if he had been content to attend strictly to their religious welfare. But Noble was from New England, where the clergy had always been accustomed to exercise a large share of authority in secular affairs, and he was also what some people in New England called a “patriot” and the majority of those in Nova Scotia a “rebel.”
Noble began to stir up his flock to join with their friends in New England in throwing off the authority of Great Britain. He wrote a letter to General Washington setting forth the great importance of the capture of western Nova Scotia, and proposing to assist in such an enterprise if it should be undertaken. At length, on the 24th of May, 1776, a meeting of the inhabitants of the River St. John was held at Maugerville, at which a committee was appointed
“to make immediate application to the Congress or General Assembly of the Massachusetts Bay for relief under their present distressed circumstances.”
This rebel committee consisted of twelve persons, ten of whom were prominent in the church. Jacob Barker, who presided at the meeting, was a Justice of the Peace and a ruling elder of the church. Pheneas Nevers and Israel Perley were also justices, and both were church members. Daniel Palmer, Edward Coy, Israel Kinney and Asa Perley were ruling elders. Moses Pickard, Thomas Hartt and Hugh Quinton were church members. The two remaining members of the committee, Asa Kimbal and Oliver Perley were probably church members also, but I have not been able to establish that fact. Without them the connection between the church and the rebel movement is sufficiently clear.
This committee drafted several resolutions which were passed by the meeting, the most important of which was ”
that it is our minds and desire to submit ourselves to the government of Massachusetts Bay, and that we are ready with our lives and fortunes to share with them the event of the present struggle for Liberty however God in His Providence may order it.”
The meeting also voted
“that we will have no dealings or connection with any person or persons for the future that shall refuse to enter into the foregoing or similar resolutions.”
Under this threat these resolutions were hawked around the country with a result which is thus stated by the rebel committee:—
“If it be asked what proportion of the people signed the resolutions, it may be answered there is 125 signed and about 12 or 13 that have not, 9 of whom are at the river’s mouth.” I make up the roll of honor of those who refused to sign as follows:— William Hazen, Thomas Jenkins, James Simonds, Samuel Peabody, John BRADLEY, James White, William McKeene, Zebedee Ring, Peter Smith, Gervas Say, Lewis Mitchill, ———— Darling, John Crabtree, John Hendrick, Zebulon ESTEY, John Larlee, Joseph Howland, Thos. Jones and Benj. Atherton.
Perhaps to this list should be added the name of John Anderson, a merchant or trader from Halifax. Francis Peabody whose name would have been upon this list if he had lived, had died in 1773.
Two of the rebel committee, Asa Perley and Asa Kimbal went to Boston with the resolutions and received from the Commissary General, by order of the General Court, one barrel of gunpowder, three hundred and fifty flints and two hundred and fifty weight of lead. They were also graciously permitted to purchase forty stand of small arms for the use of their constituents. This was the price of their allegiance.
Among the instructions given by the Committee to Perley and Kimbal is this significant one:
“Represent the conduct of the Indians that General Washington’s letter set them on fire and they are plundering all people they think are torys and perhaps when that is done the others may share the same fate.”
Washington’s letter, a copy of which was sent to all the Eastern Indians, was written in February, and was not by any means the only communication they received from the same source. If Lord Chatham had been favored with a perusal of these letters and had learned their effect on the Indians that spouting piece of the American school boy, against the employment of Indians in the war, would probably never have been spoken. It was quite natural that the Indians should take to plundering Tories, in view of the example that it was set them by their new found friends.
A great deal of the patriotism of New England at that time had its origin in downright dishonesty and rapacity. If John Hancock had not been a smuggler, with suits hanging over him to the extent of half a million dollars, he would probably not have been a patriot. New England patriots found an easy way of paying their debts and enriching themselves at the same time by driving their Tory creditors out of the country and taking possession of their property.
The people of Machias [Seat of Washington County, Maine, see Battle of Machias 1777] who were all great patriots, made an easy living during the war by plundering the farmers and fishermen of Nova Scotia. The settlers at the mouth of the St. John were constantly exposed to the depredations of these raiders from the summer of 1775 until the garrison at Fort Howe was established under Major Studholm, in the summer of 1778. The conduct of these raiders must have been bad indeed to draw forth a remonstrance from so notorious a rebel as Colonel John Allan, who, in a letter to the Massachusetts Council, was constrained to say:
“I am extremely sorry privateers are so encouraged this way. Their horrid crimes is too notorious to pass unnoticed.”
Most of the farmers settled at the mouth of the St. John were compelled to abandon their homes and remove up the river in consequence of the visits of the Rev. Seth Noble’s friends, the thieves and plunderers of Machias.
The rebel proceedings at Maugerville formed only a part of a general movement which was made about the same time all over Nova Scotia, by the settlers from New England, to remove the Province from under the authority of the British crown.
In the latter part of 1776, Jonathan Eddy, a native of Norton, Mass., who had settled in Cumberland in 1763, made an attempt to capture Fort Cumberland, then held by a weak garrison under Col. Gorham. The people on the St. John River furnished a contingent of one captain, one lieutenant and twenty-five men for this enterprise. Hugh Quinton, William McKeene, Elijah Estabrooks, Edward Burpee, John Whitney, Benjamin Booby, Amasa Coy, Edward Price, John Pritchard, John Mitchell, Richard Parsons and Daniel Lovet were of this party, but I have not been able to ascertain the names of the others.
Sixteen of the St. John Indians also joined Eddy. Upwards of one hundred residents of Cumberland took up arms under Eddy, but the attempt was a ludicrous failure. Fort Cumberland was not taken, but more than sixty of the misguided men of that county had to abandon their homes and families and fly to escape the consequence of their treason. Eddy and his party, after a dismal December journey, in which they came near perishing of cold and hunger, found rest and shelter at Maugerville. The Cumberland people suffered severely for their little rebellion. Many of them from comparative affluence were reduced to dire poverty, and most of them did not return to Nova Scotia at all, but were compelled to settle on the barren uplands of Maine.
The presence of so reckless a conspirator as Eddy on the St. John spurred the Nova Scotia authorities to action, and in May, 1777, Col. Gould was sent to the St. John River with a force to exact the submission of the inhabitants. This was easily done; the miserable plight to which the Cumberland refugees had been reduced had taken all the fight out of the valiant men, who only a year before were ready with their lives and fortunes to share with the people of Massachusetts, “the event of the present struggle for liberty.” They all took the oath of allegiance. Some of them broke it afterwards in a sneaking way by secretly serving the rebel agents from Massachusetts, but as a community they remained quiet and, to all outward appearance, loyal.
Col. Gould on leaving the River St. John carried with him to Halifax Israel Perley, who had been clerk of the rebel committee on the river. Eddy, in company with Parson Noble and Phineas Nevers, escaped and reached Machias by an inland route. There Colonel John Allan was organizing an expedition for the purpose of holding possession of the St. John River on behalf of the Continental Congress.
The history of Allan’s expedition is very fully related in his diary and letters, which have been printed in Kidder’s book on the Military Operations in Eastern Maine, which was published at Albany in 1867. The expedition left Machias on the 30th May, 1777, and reached St. John on the 2nd June. Messrs White and Hazen, who resided at the mouth of the river, and Lewis Mitchell, who lived at Gageton, were made prisoners by Allan, and carried up to Aukpaque, the Indian town, six miles above the site of the present city of Fredericton, where Allan took up his abode.
Allan hoped to be able to maintain himself on the river with the help of the Indians, but the escape of Lewis Mitchell carried the news of his arrival to Halifax, and brought a British force down upon him which speedily drove him away. Allan and his party with the remains of the Cumberland Contingent and the Indians were compelled to retreat to Machias, going by way of Eel river and St. Croix lakes.
Most of the St. John Indians remained with Allan at the expense of the Massachusetts authorities during the remainder of the war. They proved themselves very valiant trencher men and kept Allan at his wits’ end to provide for them, but no new graveyards had to be started to accommodate the enemies they slew.
Parson Noble and Phineas Nevers were with Allan in his expedition and went back with him to Machias. Noble never returned to the St. John River, but his wife remained at Maugerville for more than two years after his hegira. Nevers also appears to have remained in Maine.
All the other rebels were allowed to remain unmolested on their farms, and had their lands granted to them in due time, while Loyalists in the revolted Provinces were being maltreated and plundered, exiled and deprived of their estates. This generosity on the part of the British Government towards its erring subjects was as creditable to them as the ill treatment of the Loyalists was disgraceful to the States which sanctioned it.
The troubles on the St. John River seem to have demoralized the church at Maugerville, and it was found necessary to renew the church covenant which was done in a document now before me, of which the following is a copy:
Maugerville, June ye 17, year 1779.
“We who through the exceeding riches of the grace and patience of God do continue to be a professing church of Christ being now assembled in the holy Presence of God, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ after humble confession of our manifold breaches of the Covenant, before the Lord our God and earnest supplication for pardoning mercy through the blood of Christ and deep acknowledgement of our great unworthiness to be the Lord’s Covenant People, also acknowledging our own inability to keep covenant with God or to perform any spiritual duty unless the Lord Jesus do enable us thereto by his spiritual dwelling in us, and being awfully sensible that it is a dreadful thing for sinful dust and ashes personally to transact with the infinitely glorious Majesty of Heaven and Earth.
“We do in humble confidence of his gracious assistance and acceptance through Christ; each one of us for ourselves and jointly as the church of the Living God explicetly renew our Covenant with God and one with another and after perusing the Covenant on which this church was at first gathered, we do cordially adhear to the same, both in matters of faith and discipline; and whereas some provoking evils have crept in among us which has been the procuring causes of the divisions and calamitys that God has sent or permited in this place, especially the neglect of a close walk with God and a watchfulness over our brother. We desire from our hearts to bewail it before the Lord and humbly to entreat for pardoning mercy through the blood of the Everlasting Covenant, and we do heartily desire by God’s grace to reform these evils or whatsoever else have provoked the eyes of God’s glory among us.”
Daniel Palmer, jr. Peter Mooers Jabez Nevers Moses Coburn Benjm. Brown Israel Perly Daniel Jewett Jacob Barker, jr. Asa Perley Jonathan Burpe Saml. Whitney Daniel Palmer Jacob Palmer Humphrey Pickard Edward Coy Female Members of the Church Mary Barker Jane Pickard Abigail Jewett Hannah Coburn Lydia Whitney Lydie Jeheson Hannah Noble Ana Coy Elizbth. Palmer
Turning from political and religious affairs to the social condition of the Maugerville settlers, the Burpee papers supply excellent material for a study of the lives of those pioneers of Sunbury county.
Deacon Jonathan Burpee died in 1781; his will was proved June 26th, and his estate appraised on the 4th of July, of that year, by Jacob Barker and Daniel Jewett. It was valued at upwards of £525, of which £80 was in cash, or money due on notes and other obligations, so that the deacon was probably the wealthiest farmer in the settlement. His land was valued at £252 and his stock at £111.17s. The follow extract from the appraisement paper will serve to show the prices of cattle at that date:
1 pair of oxen £20, 1 dry cow, £5.10: 1 black cow, £4.10. 1 lop horned cow, £5.10s — 2 cows at £5 — 1 pair of 3 year old steers, £12.10s — 2 two year old heifers, at £3.15s. 1 yearling steer, £2.15s — 1 do heifer, £2.15s. 7 pair of sheep, at 20 s. 14 dry sheep, at 13s. 1 mare £10 — 1 colt, £2.5s. Swine 1 at £3.5s — 1 do £4 — 2 pigs at 7s.6d.
These prices are lower than those of the present day , but the prices of grain were higher, for in the same appraisement corn is put down at 7s.6d. a bushel. Deacon Burpee, according to the inventory of his estate, had no carriage or wagon of any kind and no sleigh, but he owned the irons of a cart and half the woodwork, the valuation of his share being £2,10s. The custom of neighbors joining together to purchase a cart, grindstone or some other implement seems to have been quite common. No doubt the roads were too bad to admit much use of wheeled vehicles. The deacon, however, possessed a saddle valued at £3, and a pillion for his better half valued at 6s.
It is when we come to the furniture of Deacon Burpee’s house that the contrast between that time and the present day becomes most marked. The total value of this wealthy farmer’s furniture was just £5 7s. 8d. The list in the inventory is as follows:—
1 bedstead and cord 7s. 6d. 1 do. 12s. 1 do. 8s. 6d. 1 do. 9s. 8d., 1 looking glass 35s., 1 table 5s., 1 do. 1s., 1 great chair 4s. 10 small chairs at 2s., 1 large black do. 5s.
These articles with two chests, valued at 29s., make up the entire furniture of the house, unless I should add one pair of andirons 28s., and fire shovel and tongs 5s. The deacon’s bedding comprised three good feather beds with pillows, coverlets and blankets, all complete the whole valued at £16 11s. 3d. All the cooking of those days was done at an old-fashioned fire place and the deacon’s cooking utensels were therefore few and simple, as will be seen by the following list:—
1 gridiron 6s., 1 toasting iron 6s. The largest iron pot 5s., 1 iron pot 7s. 6d., 1 do. 7s. 6d., 1 iron kettle 8s., 1 iron pan 5s., 1 do. 4s., 1 frying pan 3s., 1 brass kettle 20s.
All the dishes used in the farm houses of Maugerville at that period were of pewter, and their number was quite limited. Deacon Burpee was the possessor of the following:—
1 pewter dish 5s, 1 do. 4s., ½ doz. plates, marked H. P. 9s., 1 large do. 2s., 1 do. 1s., 3 deep plates at 2s., 1 quart pot, 4s. 2 pewter dishes marked M. J. at 6s., 1 three pint basin 2s. 6d., 1 quart do. 2s., 1 porringer 1s. 6d., 1 do. 1s., 1 tea pot 3s. 6d., coffee pot and spoons 2s.
No mention is made of knives or forks, but perhaps the appraisers forgot them. In Deacon Burpee’s time the clothing of a deceased person was duly inventoried, and plenty of people were found ready to buy the garments of the dead. A broadcloth coat or a beaver hat was a valuable asset which might be handed down to the second or even the third generation. Deacon Burpee’s wardrobe was thus valued and described. I preserve the spelling of the original:—
1 Brown coat 55s., 1 black wescot 18s., 1 pare brown breeches 12s. 6d., 1 mixt coat 20s., 1 mixt jackoat 10s., 1 great coat 15s., 1 white 3s. 6d., 1 blew coat 12s. 6d., 1 old jackoat 5s., 2 pare old breakes 2s., 1 black handkerchief 1s. 6d., 1 pare of toe shirts 3s., 1 shirt with fine sleeves 5s., 1 pair of do. 2s., 1 pair blew stockings 1s. 6d., 1 woosted do 1s., 1 pair of neebuckils 1s. 3d., 1 beavour hat 10s., 1 felt do. 2s., 1 pair of shooes 5s.
The total value of these articles was £7 13s. 3d. The accounts of David Burpee, the executor, show what became of some of them.
Edward Burpee, a grandson of the Deacon, and probably an older brother of David, purchased the “mixt coat” for 20s., the mixt waistcoat for 10s., the black waistcoat for 10s., and one shirt for 5s. The beaver hat was sold to Jeremiah Burpee, another grandson, and the felt hat to Thomas Burpee, who was probable a grandson of the deceased deacon.
No doubt the venerable beaver had figured at church meetings in New England before the removal of its owner to Nova Scotia, and it may have attended many a meeting with its new owner who was still active in church work forty years after his purchase of the hat of his grandfather.
In the inventory of Deacon Burpee’s estate occurs the following item:
“A number of books £2 2s. 6d.”
No mention is made of the number or character of these books, but it may be inferred that they were mainly religious works. Reading for amusement was not much practiced in the rural districts of Nova Scotia a century ago. It is somewhat remarkable in David Burpee’s account book, extending over a period of twelve years, there is only mention of the purchase of a single book, although the sale of two is recorded. These were purchased by his sister, Lydia Barker, and were part of the effects left by her father. One was a Bible at 1s. 4d., and the other a sermon book at 1s. We may gather from all this that life was somewhat hard and dry in the Maugerville settlement, and that even the richest had a very few of those things about them which a modern man regards as essential to his comfort.
David Burpee’s “Book of Accounts,” as he entitles it, contains his transactions with fifty-seven different individuals between the year 1772 and 1784. When the first entries were made he was twenty-one years of age, and when the accounts closed he had become a prominent member of the community, sufficiently well thought of to be selected by his grandfather, the deacon, as his executor. Every article purchased by David Burpee for twelve years is entered here, and also every article sold by him in the same period. David appears to have been a very exact man in his dealings and, no doubt, such particularity was the custom of the time.
This feature extends not only to his dealings with strangers, but to his accounts with his brothers and sisters. Of the latter he had three — Lydia, Hephizibah and Esther, all married at or before they had reached their majority, the first to Nathanial Barker, the second to John Pickard, and the third to Jesse Cristy. Each of these young women received £13 7s. 6d. as her share of her father’s estate, the payments being made, for the most part, in household goods at their appraised value.
This was in accordance with the custom of conducting business by barter and making payments in kind. Thus the amount of cash in circulation was always small. Corn and furs were the staple articles of trade, and corn was raised to a greater extent than any other grain. David Burpee’s accounts show that in 1778 he raised fifty bushels of corn, of which eighteen bushels were ground and the remainder sold. The price seems to have varied greatly. In March, 1777, it was 4s. a bushel; in July, 1777, it was 5s.; in 1778 and 1779 the price was 5s. In June, 1780, it was 7s.; in September, 7s. 6d.; in May, 1781, 6s. 2d.; in 1782, 6s., and May, 1784, it was 9s. a bushel. Corn was made the basis of board as will be seen from the following transcript from David Burpee’s accounts:—
“Corn that I have found for my board at Uncle Pickard’s since the 11th of September, 1775: 2 bushels last till the 11th October, ½ bushel Indian. Dec. 4th — 1 3/8 bushels wheat. ” ” — 2 bushels of Indian, last till 4th December. ” 12th — 6 bushels, ½ will last till the 4th of March, 1776. 1/8 bushel of Indian meal. Feb. 7th — ½ bushel Moses and I ground in the hand mill. ” 28th — 1 7/8 bushels of Indian meal last till the 8th of April, 1776. April 4th — 1 bushel of wheat meal last till the 22nd of April, 1776. June 1st — 3 bushels of Indian meal, which make me even about meal”
It would appear from this that half a bushel of corn was the equivalent of a week’s board. In another part of the account book, mention is made of an arrangement which David Burpee entered into in 1782, by which he agreed to board Eliud Nickerson and Pyam Old at his house, in consideration of them each working two days in the week for him. The ordinary rate of wages was 2s. day, except for mowing, framing, hoeing corn and raking hay, for which the charge was 2s. 6d. Board, therefore, must have been estimated at from 4s. to 5s. a week.
[Remember 20 shillings to a pound, The shilling was subdivided into 12 pennies (d)].
The wages of a woman servant were 10s. a month. This was what Hephzibah Burpee received from her brother David during the fourteen months she worked with him, ending Oct. 6th, 1777. A clear income of £6 a year was not calculated to admit of much finery, but this young lady seems to have indulged her taste to the full extent of her means, for she expended 10s. for a pair of stays, 25s. for one gown and 7s. 6d. for another, 15s. for a quilted coat, 5s. 6d. for a pair of silk mits, 7s. for a lawn handkerchief, 6s. 6d. for an Indian cotton handkerchief, and 24s. for eight yards of striped camlet.
All articles of clothing were very dear, as compared with present prices, and excessively so when the rate of wages was taken into account. In one place we find calico charge at 6s. a yard, holland at 6s. 6d. and cotton wool at 3s. 6d. per lb. When David Burpee, in December, 1777, went to buy himself the material for a decent broadcloth suit his account at Mr. Joseph Dowset’s stood as follows:
3 ¾ yards B. cloth at 20s £3 15 0 3 years shalloon at 4s 12 0 3 sticks twist at 1s., 2 skeins at 1s. 3d. 5 6 1 ½ dozen coat buttons at 2s. 6d 3 9 £4 16 3
I cannot find anywhere a record of what David paid the tailor, but there is little doubt that the suit when made cost David Burpee as much as he could earn in three months, at the current rate of wages, after paying his board. This being so, it was necessary for the early settlers to indulge in a new suit as seldom as possible. Leather breeches seem to have been universally worn, and it is to be presumed that from their lasting qualities they were considered an economical garment.
In 1773 David Burpee paid John Wason 12s. for the leather for a pair of breeches, and this was probably the common price. I see among the goods charged in this account book certain articles not now known to the dry goods trade, such as stroud at 10s. a yard and chenee at 17s. 6d.
As a rule, everything that had to be purchased out of a store was dear. Molasses was 2s. 6d. a gallon in 1772, and 5s. in 1777; salt was 5s. a bushel in 1771, and 10s. in 1778; sugar ranged from 1s. 3d. to 1s. 8d. per lb., the higher being the prevailing price. I find 1s. 8d. charged for brown sugar in 1782; indigo was from 12s. to 20s. per lb.; tea varied in price from 6s. to 7s. 6d. per lb; coffee was 2s.; raisins, 2s.; gunpowder, from 2s. 6d. to 5s.; tobacco, 3s. to 3s. 6d.; rum, of which a good deal seems to have been used, ranged in price from 4s. to 5s. a gallon. It was however, 10s. in 1781, owing, no doubt, to the war.
One of the curious entries in David Burpee’s account book is the following charge against Edward Burpee: “1776 Nov. For rum we drank coming up the river, 6d.” Why Edward, who was probably a brother of David, should be charged with the rum “we” drank coming up the river is not apparent.
In the winter of 1778-9 David Burpee taught school, and this circumstance enables us to ascertain that the rate of tuition was 3s. 11½d. per month for each scholar. I can only find charges in the book for the tuition of seven scholars. The tuition fees, as the accounts show, were paid in a variety of goods, and in work, in grain, leather, musquash skins and rum, and in hauling hay and making shoes. The schoolmaster appears to have handled only 10s. in actual cash for his entire winter’s work.
The prices of produce in Maugerville varied very considerably at different times. In Sep 1774, butter was sold for 6d. per lb., in Jul, 1778, for 10d.; in Nov 1781, for 1s., and in Sep 1784, for 1s. 3d. Lamb was 2½d. per lb. Beef ranged from 1½ in 1777 to 3d. in 1780, and 6d. in 1783. Potatoes varied in price from 1s. 3d. a bushel, in 1779, to 2s. 6d. in 1781. Geese cost from 3s. to 3s. 6d. each; fowls 1s.; pork from 5d. to 6d. per lb. Wheat was as low as 5s. a bushel in 1773 and as high as 10s. in Feb 1782. Cheese was sold at 7½d. per lb. in 1784.
Here is the record of a transaction which would be regarded as unusual at the present day:
— September 30th, 1778. Took a hog of Mr. Joseph Howlin of Burton to fat, the hog weighs now 113 lbs. and I am to have as many pounds of pork as he weighs more when I kill him. Dec. 1st, 1778, killed Mr. Howlin’s hog. Weighed before he was killed 181 lbs. His weight before 113 lbs. 68 lbs.
Arrival of the Loyalists
The arrival of the Loyalists in 1783 seems to have had rather an injurious effect on the primitive ways of the original settlers. There was but little sympathy between the new residents and the old and considering their antecedents much was not to be expected. The new comers were loyal men who had lost their all for their king and constitution, the old settlers had, as a rule, been only kept from open rebellion by fear.
Naturally, difficulties arose about grants, for the Loyalists could hardly have been well pleased to find the best lands on the St. John River occupied by men who were just as much rebels as the Whigs of Massachusetts. The late George A. Perley, of Fredericton, in a letter written to me in May, 1883, in which was enclosed a list of the grantees of lots in Maugerville, said:
“The grantees are not all of the original settlers; some of them were Loyalists that came twenty years after the ‘old inhabitants.’ All the Loyalists were not over honest nor gentlemanly be it known to you and had more knowledge and were abler dealers than some of the old inhabitants, for some of them visited Halifax and examined the records of the Land Office, and wherever they found grants not taken out, or where settlers had gone on without proper authority, they applied for these lands got grants and dispossessed many of the early settlers, so the names of the Loyalists and Refugees are intermingled in the original grant with the old inhabitants.”
The writer of the above was a grandson of Israel Perley, clerk of the rebel committee on the St. John River in 1776, and also of Oliver Perley, another member of the same committee, so that his views of the honesty or gentlemanly conduct of the Loyalists were hardly those of an unbiased person. His two grandfathers, however, got their grants all right, but whether they deserved them or not may perhaps be open to doubt.
Some intimation of the friction between the old and new settlers on the St. John River seems to have reached the Rev. Seth Noble, for, after many years, he wrote on the 6th of September, 1784, to the Maugerville church. The previous June he had become the minister of Brewer, Me., and he now made a claim against the Maugerville people for his salary for the seven years he had been absent, a fact which shows that Mr. Noble was never likely to lose anything by his modesty.
He also endeavoured to alarm his late flock in regard to the growth of immorality, owing to the arrival of the new settlers, and to persuade them to remove to Maine and live under Republican institutions.
On the 10th of November, of the same year, the Maugerville church answered Noble’s letter, utterly refusing to recognize any claim on his part against them. They also declined to remove to Maine. On this last point they say:—
“But with regard to the growth of immorality in this place we acknowledge and lament it, and the gloomy prospect we have of future generations growing up in the utmost dissipation fills us with grief and discontent, and would willingly forego many of the conveniences of life for the sake of better company or to see religion flourish here, as it once did. But are we to throw away the fruits of many years of painful industry and leave (with precipitation) the place where God in his providence had smiled upon us both in our spiritual and temporal affairs and, destitute of support, cast ourselves into a place where the necessaries of life are hardly to be obtained, unless we could find a place where vice and immorality did not thrive, or at least where vital piety did flourish more than here.”
Those who are familiar with early New England history will recognize here the same old cant about the degeneracy of the times which caused Hubbard the Puritan historian to say that the golden age in Massachusetts only lasted ten years. Yet in 1635 the first Grand Jury in Massachusetts presented one hundred offences, and this in a population of not more than three thousand persons. The same ratio of crime would give New Brunswick more than 10,000 indictable offences annually. And in 1637 the Synod that was called to settle the religious dispute in Massachusetts, which threatened to wreck the Commonwealth, found that there were eighty erroneous opinions which had become disseminated in New England.
If the golden age ceased in Maugerville when the Loyalists came, that event at least gave the people better opportunities for public worship. In the winter of 1783-4 the Rev. John Sayre, a Loyalist clergyman of the Church of England from Fairfield, Conn., preached in the Congregationalist meeting house at Maugerville, but he died in the summer of 1784.
He was succeeded by the Rev. John Beardsley, a New York clergyman, and under his ministry the Church of England people erected a church for themselves. On the 1st of June, 1788, two missionaries Messrs. James and Milton arrived from England. They had been sent out by the Countess of Huntington and were warmly welcomed. The Maugerville people made provision for their board and lodging at once, until the following June, when the Rev. Mr. James became their settled minister.
On the 4th September, 1789, the church covenant was renewed and signed by the following persons:—
John Hames, Pastor Deacons: Humphrey Pickard William McKeene Elders: Daniel Palmer Jacob Barker Moses Coburn Asa Perley Peter Mooers Members: Edward Coye Israel Perley Samuel Nevers William Smith Jabez Nevers Daniel Jewett Samuel Whitney Female Members: Jane Pickard Mary Burpee Mary Nevers Elis’th Perley Hannah Perley Anne Nevers Abigail Jewett Susanna Smith Jane Langin Elizabeth Whitney Thankful Parker Mary Coye
The last person on the list, Mary Coy, is the woman who as Mrs. Bradley, more than forty years ago, published her religious biography, a very curious and interesting volume, which throws a good deal of light on the lives of the early settlers of the St. John River.
It was owing to some charge brought by Mary Coy against Mr. James, which is now rather obscure, that his ministry closed in 1791. This, whoever may have been to blame, had a sinister influence on the church.
There was some trouble in regard to the possession of a lot on which the meeting house stood in 1793. In 1794 a Mr. Boyd was preaching at Maugerville, and his ministry seems to have lasted until 1797. Then there is a gap in the church records until 1805, and another gap between that year and 1811, when a Mr. Eastman was preaching at Maugerville. In 1814 the Maugerville people were applying to the London Missionary Society for a minister, but this application does not appear to have been successful.
At length, after one or two other failures to secure a suitable minister, application was made to Scotland, and the Rev. Archibald McCallum was sent out. He appears to have arrived at Maugerville in the latter part of 1820, or the beginning of 1821. He was living in the county of Sunbury as late as the year 1842. The last record I have of the Maugerville church in the handwriting of David Burpee contains the two following entries:
“At a church meeting held on Saturday, the 3rd day of October, 1829, Jane, the wife of Francis McEwen, and Sarah, the wife of Charles Stuart, were received as members of the church.” “At a church meeting held at the meeting house since the last date, James McLaughlin was received a member of the church.”
This ends the record. David Burpee was then about 78 years of age, and probably near the close of his useful and respectable life. His writing, once so even and regular, had fallen into the tremulousness of age, and it may be that these were the last lines he ever penned. The fact that there is no date to the last entry tells of impaired memory and faculties grown weak. It is the old story, as ancient as the days of Moses, of years whose strength had become labor and sorrow.
From the first line of his handwriting, which I have quoted, until the last there is an interval of more than fifty-nine years. By the help of his papers I have endeavored to relate something of the life and manners of this pioneer settlement on the St. John, not so much for anything novel or striking which they disclose, as to show the value of those materials which may be found in every county in the maritime provinces for the purpose of restoring its history.
There is scarcely an ancient house in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick which does not contain old letters and paper of priceless worth for the uses of the historian, and the collection and preservation of such materials must ever be one of the chief objects of such a society as this. With their help we can reconstruct the past from which we are so far removed, not so much by reason of the lapse of years, as because of the altered condition of life, which the innumerable inventions of the present century have brought about; with their help we can better appreciate the toils and trials which our fathers had to endure, in layinSog the foundations upon which we have built the fabric of our present civilization.
The Maugerville Settlement 1763 – 1824 by James Hannay Maugerville, New Brunswick, Canada [Published in Collections of the New Brunswick Historical Society Vol. 1, 1894]
The Siege of Fort Cumberland, 1776: An Episode in the American Revolution
By Ernest Clarke 1995
1783 Studholm Report – transcribed by George H. Hayward
BURPE (Burpee), DAVID Bio, farmer, magistrate, and office holder; b. 22 April 1752 in Rowley, Mass., eldest son of Jeremiah Burpe, a carpenter, and Mary Saunders; m. 1 Jan. 1778 Elizabeth Gallishan, and they had seven sons and seven daughters; d. 31 May 1845 in Maugerville, N.B.
Seth Noble, Maugerville, and the American Revolution by Johnwood1946
GLIMPSES OF THE PAST. History of the River St. John A. D. 1604-1784 By Rev. W. O. RAYMOND, LL.D. St. John, N. B.
Planters and Pioneers, Nova Scotia 1749-1775 by Dr. Esther Clark Wright 2007