The Chignecto Isthmus and its First Settlers/Chapter 2

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The expulsion of 1755 left the population of old Acadia so depleted that the Governor and Council felt that something must be done at once to add to its numbers. The first move in this direction was to offer exceptional advantages to the New England soldiers, who constituted the largest part of the force at the taking of Beausejour, if they would remain in the country. Very few, however, accepted the offer, and as the unsettled state of the country between 1755 and 1760 was most unfavorable to immigration, but little progress was made till the next decade.

During these years wandering bands of Acadians and Indians harrassed (sic) the English, shooting and scalping whenever opportunity offered. At Bay Verte, in the spring of 1755, nine soldiers belonging to a party under Lieutenant Bowan, were shot and scalped while out getting wood for the fort. Colonel Scott, commandant at Cumberland, immediately sent two hundred of the New England men to Bay Verte with a sergeant and ten men of the regulars. The sergeant replaced the men who were killed, and caused three weeks' supply of wood to be laid in. Shortly after this one of the regulars was killed, and one of the New England men was taken prisoner. These men had strayed in the woods down as far as the Tantramar with these unfortunate results.

In 1759, Governor Lawrence wrote from Halifax to the Board of Trade that "five soldiers had been killed and scalped near Fort Cumberland, and that a provision vessel had been boarded by French and Indians in the Bay of Fundy and carried up the River Petitcodiac." The five men were ambushed and killed in Upper Point de Bute, near a bridge that crossed a ravine on the farm now owned by Amos Trueman.

Up to this time the government of Nova Scotia was vested in a governor and council. This year, 1758, it was decided by the Home Government to allow the Province a Legislative Assembly. The Assembly was to consist of twenty-two members, twelve to be elected by the Province at large, four for the township of Halifax, four for the township of Lunenburg, one for Dartmouth, one for Lawrencetown, one for Annapolis, and one for Cumberland. Fifty qualified electors would constitute a township. The township elections were to continue during two days, and those for the Province four days.

The Assembly met for the first time on October 2nd, 1758. Nineteen members were present. This makes the Legislature of Halifax the oldest in the Dominion of Canada. This year, also, Governor Lawrence issued his first proclamation inviting the New Englanders to come to Nova Scotia and settle on the vacated Acadian farms.

This proclamation created a great deal of interest and inquiry, and finally led to a considerable number of New England farmers settling in different parts of the Province, Chignecto getting a good share of them. The first proclamation had, however, to be supplemented by a second, in which full liberty of conscience and the right to worship as they pleased was secured to Protestants of all denominations. This guarantee was not included in Lawrence's first invitation to the New Englanders, and the descendants of the Puritans had not read in vain the history of the sacrifices made by their forefathers to worship in their own way.

In July, 1759, Edward Mott, representing a committee of agents from Connecticut, arrived at Halifax and was given a schooner to proceed to Chignecto, to examine that part of the Province with a view to settlement. Mr. Mott and his party returned some months later and suggested some changes in the proposed grants, which were conceded by the Government.

It was estimated at this time that two thousand families could be comfortably settled in the districts of Chignecto, Cobequid, Pisquid, Minas and Annapolis. This year (1759) persons in Connecticut and Rhode Island sent Major Dennison, Jonathan Harris, James Otis, James Fuller, and John Hicks, to Halifax to look out for desirable locations for settlement in the Province. Messrs. Hicks and Fuller decided to take up lands at Pisquid or Windsor.

From this time till 1766 the desire shown by residents of New England to settle in Nova Scotia was very marked, and resulted in adding considerably to the population of the Province.

In May, 1761, Captain Dogget was directed to bring twenty families and sixty head of cattle. The cattle were to be brought from the eastern part of New England to Liverpool, N.S., at the expense of the Government. Thirty-five pounds also was granted to transport twenty families with seventy-nine head of cattle to the township of Amherst. In 1763, a number of families came to Sackville and were given grants of land by the Government. These Sackville emigrants were adherents of the Baptist Church and brought their minister with them. The denomination is still strong in that locality. A number of these emigrants, however, returned at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, and others after the war was over.

The townships of Cumberland, Amherst, and Sackville were established in 1763. The township of Cumberland had an area of 100,800 acres. It included all the territory between the La Planche and Aulac Rivers, and extended east to Bay Verte and southwest to the Cumberland Basin. Old Beausejour, now Fort Cumberland, was within the township of Cumberland.

Amherst township is said to have had a population at this time of thirty families, and Cumberland of thirty-five families. The township of Cumberland of (sic) was given 18,800 acres of marsh, and Sackville had 1,200 cres of marsh and 8,700 acres of woodland.

In 1763, a number of the leading men in Cumberland met together and appointed a committee to draft a memorial to the Governor, asking the\ privilege of sending a representative to the Assembly at Halifax. The request was granted, and Joshua Winslow was chosen as the first representative of the township. Colonel Fry had previous to this time represented Cumberland in the Assembly, but he was not elected by the people. The following is the text of the memorial:

"To the Honourable Montague Wilmot, Esquire, Lieutenant-Governor and Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's Province of Nova Scotia, and Colonel of one of His Majesty's regiments of foot, etc., etc., etc.

"The inhabitants of the town of Cumberland, in Nova Scotia, beg leave to congratulate Your Honour on your appointment by His Majesty to the chief command of this Province and in your safe arrival therein. Although remote from the Capital, and perhaps last in our addresses, yet we flatter ourselves not the least sincere in assuring Your Honour of the happiness we feel in finding ourselves under your government.

"It would give us particular satisfaction was it in your power to look upon ourselves in the same light with the other towns in the Province. But as we are yet destitute of that sanction which would put us on the same footing with our neighbours, we cannot help presuming upon the liberty of signifying to Your Honour our regret thereat, and praying that you will be pleased to permit the solution of our affairs to be laid before you, not doubting but upon a just representation thereof you will be pleased to think we are deserving in common with the other settlements of Your Honour's countenance and protection. We beg to rely on your goodness therein.

"By desire of the inhabitants,


       John Huston (Ch.).            Elijah Ayer.
       Wm. Allen                     Josiah Throop.
       J. Winslow.                   Jos. Morse.
       Abel Richardson.

"CUMBERLAND, Nov. 1st, 1763."

Although thirty-five families had settled in Cumberland at this time, and six hundred acres of land had been cleared of timber, the larger part of the land was still held by the Government. Application was therefore made in this year by the following persons for grants of land in Cumberland:


       Joseph Morse.                Joshua Winslow.
       Elijah Ayer.                 Jesse Bent.
       Josiah Throop.               Gamaliel Smethurst.
       John Huston.                 Sennacherib Martyn.    
       James Law.                   Abel Richardson.
       Sara Jones.                  William Best, Sr.
       Obediah Ayer.                William Nesbit.
       William How.                 Windser Eager.
       Arch. Hinshelwood.           Gideon Gardner.
       Samuel Danks.                Thomas Dickson.
       Zebulon Roe.                 John King.
       Henry King.                  Joshua Best.
       Jonathan Cole.               Elieu Gardner.
       Jonathan Eddy.               William Huston.
       Alex. Huston.                Simeon Charters.
       Thomas Proctor.              Brook Watson.
       William Allan.               Jonathan Gay.
       Daniel Gooden.               Martin Peck.
       Ebenezer Storer.             John Walker.
       Benine Danks.                Henry M. Bonnell.
       John Allan.                  Amos Fuller.
       Charles Oulton.              Samuel Gay.
       David ----------.            Assell Danks.
       Daniel Earl.                 Isaac Danks.
       Anthony Burk.                Ebenezer ----------.
       John Fillmore.               Robert Watson.
       Samuel Raymond.              William Welch.        
       John Collins.                William Sutherland.
       Thomas Clews.                Nehemiah Ward.
       Abel Richardson.             Joseph Ayer.
       Winkworth Allen.             William Milburn.
       Liffy Chappell.              George Allen.
       The Glebe.                   Jabez Chappell.
       The School.                  The Presbyterian Minister

Col. Joseph Morse was a native of Delham, Mass., and took an active part in the Seven Years' War. He lost heavily in the expedition against Oswego. In crossing the Atlantic he was captured by the French, and obtained a good taste of the quality of French dungeons in which his health became shattered. He was exchanged, after which he visited London and received many marks of personal favor at the hands of George II, amongst these a pension, and tracts of land in Virginia and Nova Scotia. His last days were spent in Fort Lawrence, where he settled after the expulsion of the French. He left one son, Alpheus, and a daughter, Olive. The former married Theodora, a sister of Col. Jonathan Crane the father of Hon. Wm. Crane; the latter married Col. Wm. Eddy, of Revolutionary fame, who was afterwards killed in the British attack on Machais, and the Fort Lawrence property inherited by his wife was escheated to the Crown. After Alpheus Morse's death his widow married Major How, an officer in Eddy's command. Upon the failure of the rebellion, Mrs. How and Mrs. Eddy fled to the United States. Alpheus Morse's sons were Alpheus, James, Joseph, Silas, and John. The two first lived in Cumberland, where their descendants are still found. Judge Morse and Dr. Morse, of Amherst, are sons of James. Joseph emigrated to Ohio, where his descendants now live. Silas married a sister of Judge Alexander Stewart, C.B. Among his descendants are Sir Charles Tupper's family, Rev. Richards (sic) Simmonds' family, and Charles Fullerton, K.C. John Morse married a daughter of Sheriff Charles Chandler, the father of Lieutenant-Governor Chandler. Among his descendants are the family of the late Judge Morse of Dalhousie, and the C. Milner family of Sackville. A daughter of Alpheus Morse married Judge Stewart. Among his descendants are Judge Townsend of Halifax, and Senator Dickey's family of Amherst.

There were three Ayers--Elijah, Obediah and Joseph--who came with the emigration of 1763 and settled in Sackville. Obediah joined the Eddy rebels in 1776, and was made a commodore by the Continental Congress after he left Cumberland. The Ayers in Sackville are descendants of these grantees.

Josiah Throop was an engineer in the British army. He surveyed the township of Cumberland, and Throop's plan is still referred to. His grant was in Upper Point de Bute, where some of his descendants still live. He represented the township in the Halifax Assembly in 1765.

There were three Hustons--John, William and Alexander. They lived near Fort Cumberland. The name occurs still in the county of Cumberland.

Joshua Winslow, as we have stated, was the first representative sent from Cumberland to the Legislature at Halifax, and was a member of the Winslow family, so distinguished in colonial history. He was engaged at Chignecto with Capt. Huston, in the commissary business. The latter in one of his trips to Boston picked up a waif in the person of Brook Watson, a young man who had had one of his legs bitten off by a shark in West-Indian waters. Watson was trained under Winslow, and the foundation of his success was hereby laid. General Joshua was Commissary-General of the British in Nova Scotia. He left Fort Cumberland in 1783. He was paymaster of the troops in Quebec in 1791 and died there ten years later. A grandson of his, a Mr. Trott, lives at Niagara Falls in a fine old colonial mansion full of treasures of the Colonial period, with many relics and personal effects of General Winslow.

The Bents were from New England. There were two brothers, John and Jesse. John settled in Amherst and Jesse in Fort Lawrence. There are a large number of their descendants in the country.

Gamaliel Smethurst represented the county of Cumberland at Halifax, in 1770. He returned to England and published a book in London, in 1774, describing a voyage from Nepisiquit to Cumberland. None of this name, so far as we know, now reside in the country.

Sennacherib Martyn was a captain in Winslow's expedition to capture Fort Beausejour. He brought with him to Westmoreland Point, as slaves, a negro family, to whom he afterwards gave their freedom, and gave them also his name (now spelled Martin). Captain Martyn married the widow Oulton and settled in Jolicure. He was godfather to George and Elizabeth, the children of Col. William Allan.

James Law was a commissary at the fort and a colonel of militia. He was a large property owner in Point de Bute on both sides of the ridge. Reverses of fortune came, and finally he died a parish charge.

Benoni Danks represented the county of Cumberland at the Halifax Assembly. Tradition says his death was caused by falling into the hold of a vessel. The Danks left the country about the year 1830.

Thomas Dickson was born in Dublin, and came to Connecticut when an infant. He married a Wethered.

The Kings were from New England. They settled in Fort Lawrence, and from there removed to different parts of the country.

Jonathan Cole lived on Cole's Island and gave his name to the place. He had two sons, Martin and Ebenezer, the former of whom settled at Rockport and the latter at Dorchester. The name is still in the county.

William Allan was a Scotchman who came to Halifax with the party that founded that place in 1749. He soon after came to Cumberland. John and Winkworth Allan were his sons. His grant was in Upper Point de Bute, where his son John lived when he was sheriff of Cumberland.

George Allan was a son of William Allan. He had a son George, and all the other Allans are the descendants of the first William. Winkworth Allan went back to England and became a rich merchant.

Brook Watson lived with his Uncle Huston for a time, and was employed by the Government to assist in the Expulsion. He afterwards left the country, going to London, where he was remarkably successful in business, and among other honors became Lord Mayor of the city.

Jonathan and Samuel Gay were brothers. Jonathan returned to New England, but Samuel remained in the country settling near the old Fort Beausejour. He was a very large man, measuring six feet six inches in height, and broad in proportion. Samuel was afterwards made a judge. It is said that Judge Gay's daughter Fanny was in Boston at the time of the sea duel between the SHANNON and the CHESAPEAKE, and was with the crowd that lined the shore awaiting the result. When the news came that the British had won, she threw up her bonnet and cheered for the victors, greatly to the annoyance of the Americans.

Daniel Gooden was a soldier in the British army, and after his discharge settled in Bay Verte, where numbers of his descendants still live.

Charles Oulton remained in Cumberland, and a large number of his descendants are still living in the county of Westmoreland.

David Burnham remained, and a number of his descendants lived in Sackville and Bay Verte for a good many years. The name has now disappeared.

John Fillmore was from New England, and settled in Jolicure. He had a large family of sons and they settled in different parts of the Province. The name is still in frequent evidence.

The descendants of Samuel Raymond live in King's County.

The two Chappells, Liffy and Jabez, settled in Bay Verte and Tidnish. The name is still common in these localities.

John Walker's grant was on Bay Verte Road, where the name was found until quite recently.

The Bonnells remained in the county for a time, but afterwards removed to King's County, where the name still exists.

Amos Fuller remained and the name is yet found in the county of Cumberland.

The Watsons settled in Fort Lawrence and were very successful in business. The Eddy rebels, under Commodore Ayer, sacked Mr. Watson's premises one night and took the old gentleman prisoner, compelling him to carry a keg of rum to the vessel for the benefit of the sailors.

William Welch remained in the country, and his descendants are still here.

The Wards were from New England, and remained in the country. Nehemiah lived in Sackville and kept a tavern near the Four Corners.

Simeon Charters was from New England and remained in the country. The name is still in the Province.

The Abel Richardson family came from New England. The Yorkshire family of Richardson, whose descendants are still in Sackville, did not settle there until some years later.

The Bests were a New England family and the name is still in the country.

William Nesbit remained and the name is now found in Albert County.

Archibald Hinshelwood left the country.

The Roe name is still in Cumberland.

William How was probably son of the How that was shot by the Indians under a flag of truce.

None of the Proctor family now remain in the county.

There is no information about any of the following grantees: Gideon Gardner, Sara Jones, Ebenezer Storer, Daniel Earl, Anthony Burk. Windser Eager was from Dumfries, Scotland.

It is a matter of surprise that so many names to be found in the lists of a hundred years ago have so completely disappeared.

A large number of families who came from New England at this time settled on the St. John River. They called their settlement Maugerville. The name Sunbury was subsequently given to the whole of the Province west of Cumberland County.

The Hon. Charles Burpee, of Sheffield, writes me that there were about two hundred families who at this time found homes along the river. Some of their names were: Perley, Barker, Burpee, Stickney, Smith, Wasson, Bridges, Upton, Palmer, Coy, Estey, Estabrooks, Pickard, Hayward, Nevers, Hartt, Kenney, Coburn, Plummer, Sage, Whitney, Quinton, Moore, McKeen, Jewett.

Simonds and White came to St. John some three or four years before the others. The Rev. Mr. Noble was there before the Revolution, but he did not come with the first settlers.

Largely through the influence of the Loyalists, in 1784, the Province of New Brunswick was set off from Nova Scotia, and the Missiquash River made the boundary between the two Provinces. This division cut the old township of Cumberland into two halves. Those who conducted the business for New Brunswick wanted the line at La Planche, or further east, while the Nova Scotians wanted it at the Aulac or further west. They compromised on the Missiquash.* This division made some trouble in nomenclature and has puzzled a good many persons since that date. The part of the old township of Cumberland on the west of the Missiquash became the parish of Westmoreland, in the county of Westmoreland. Fort Cumberland was in this district, and between Fort Cumberland and the old township of Cumberland, and the still older county of Cumberland, which once embraced the present Westmoreland and Albert counties, and the present county of Cumberland in Nova Scotia, there was a good deal of confusion. A number of years passed before Cumberland Point came to be called Westmoreland Point.

[FOOTNOTE: *The establishment of the Missiquash as the boundary between the two Provinces was eminently satisfactory to New Brunswick, but not so to Nova Scotia, as the latter Province at once vigorously protested against it, and did not seem inclined to give up agitating for a change. In 1792 the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia presented an address to the Lieutenant-Governor, in which they say "there is a very pressing necessity of an alteration in the division line, between this and the neighboring Province of New Brunswick." This agitation for a change in the boundary was kept up for several years, and in the correspondence, three other lines are suggested by Nova Scotia as being preferable to the one that had been already chosen.

The first of these was one from the head of the tide on the Petitcodiac to the head of the tide on the Restigouche River. A second from the head of the tide on the Memramcook by a certain magnetic line to the salt water of Cocagne Harbor, and the third by the course of the Aulac River to its head, and thence by a given compass line to the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The present line was last surveyed by Alex. Munroe in 1859, under Commissioner James Steadman, Esq., acting for New Brunswick, and Joseph Avard, Esq., for Nova Scotia. The line is thus described by the Commissioners: Commencing at the mouth of the Missiquash River, in Cumberland Bay, and thence following the several courses of the said river to a post near Black Island, thence north fifty-four degrees, twenty-five minutes east, crossing the south end of Black Island, two hundred and eighty-eight chains to the south angle of Trenholm's Island, thence south thirty-seven degrees east, eighty-five chains and eight-two links to a post, thence south seventy-six degrees east, forty-six chains and twenty links to the portage, thence south sixty- five degrees, forty-five minutes east, three hundred and ninety-four chains and forty links to Tidnish Bridge, then following the several courses of said river, along its northern upward bank to its mouth, thence following the north-westerly channel to the deep water of the Bay water, giving to Nova Scotia the control of the navigable waters on Tidnish River.

Those wishing to get fuller information relating to this or any of the boundaries of New Brunswick, will find the subject treated exhaustively in a work just published, entitled "A Monograph of the Evolution of the Boundaries of the Province of New Brunswick," by William F. Ganong, M.A., Ph.D., from which the above facts are taken. END OF FOOTNOTE]

The following facts are taken from the anniversary number of the CHIGNECTO POST, 1895:

"On the 15th August, 1761, Captain Benoni Danks, Messrs. William Allan, Abeil Richardson, John Huston and John Oates were appointed to divide the forfeited lands in the township of Cumberland.

"On the 19th August of the same year Captain Winckworth Tonge, Joshua Winslow, John Huston, John Jencks, Joshua Sprague, Valentine Estabrooks and William Maxwell were appointed a committee to admit persons into the township of Sackville.

"The first town meeting, or meeting of the committee, for Sackville township, took place on 20th July, 1762. It was held at the house of Mrs. Charity Bishop, who kept an inn at Cumberland. There were present Captain John Huston, Doctor John Jencks, Joshua Sprague, Valentine Estabrooks, William Maxwell and Joshua Winslow. Captain Huston was made chairman and Ichabod Comstock clerk.

"The conditions and locations of the proposed new grant of Sackville were of the first interest to the newly arrived settlers, and the proceedings were largely taken up with settling such matters. It was resolved that a family of six, and seven head of cattle, should have one and a half shares, or 750 acres.

"At the next meeting, held on 31st August, Mr. Elijah Ayers' name appears as a committeeman.

"At a town meeting, held on 18th April, 1770, Robert Scott was appointed moderator and Robert Foster, clerk. They, with John Thomas, were appointed a committee to settle with the old committee for the survey of the lands."

About 1786, the inhabitants of Sackville made a return of the state of the settlement to the Government to show that if a proposed escheat was made it would be attended with great confusion, as but few of the grants had not been improved. The actual settlers at that date, as set forth in the return, appear to have been as follows:


       Samuel Bellew.               John Peck.
       Joseph Brown.                John Barns.
       Samuel Rogers.               Ebenezer Burnham.
       Samuel Saunders.             Simon Baisley.
       Valentine Estabrooks.        Wm. Carnforth.
       Andrew Kinnear.              Abial Peck.
       James Jincks.                Nathaniel Shelding.
       Eleazer Olney.               Job Archernard.
       Nathan Mason.                Jonathan Burnham.


       Charles Dixon.               Gilbert Seaman.
       John Richardson.             Joseph Read.
       John Fawcett.                Wm. Carnforth.
       George Bulmer.               John Wry.
       Thomas Bowser.               Moses Delesdernier.
       Joseph Delesdernier.         Daniel Tingley.
       Michael Burk.                Wm. Laurence.
       Samuel Seamans.              Ben Tower.
       Joseph Tower.                Elijah Ayer.
       Joseph Thompson.             John Thompson.
       Mark Patton.                 Eliphalet Read.
       Nehemiah Ayer.               Josiah Tingley.
       James Cole.                  Jonathan Cole.
       Hezekiah King.               Valentine Estabrooks.


       Wm. Estabrooks.              Gideon Smith.
       Daniel Stone.                Patton Estabrooks.
       Pickering Snowdon.           Thomas Potter.
       Nehemiah Ward.               John Weldon.
       John Fillmore.               Jos. C. Lamb.
       John Grace.                  Josiah Hicks.
       Angus McPhee.                Joseph Sears.
       Wm. Fawcett.                 Benjamin Emmerson.
       Jonathan Eddy.               Titus Thornton.