Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Fort Havoc (Wallace Hale)

Info The language of the text is the original used by Wallace Hale. Records acquired by the Provincial Archives are not translated from the language in which they originate.

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Progress of the Woodstock Settlement


Something About Jabez Upham and his Descendants, Capt. Joseph Cunliffe, etc.


Jabez Upham

Nearly all the Uphams in America are descended from John Upham, who came to Massachusetts from England in the year 1635, and who died at Malden where his grave may yet be seen. Jabez Upham who came to Woodstock about the year 1788, was a lineal descendant of the fifth generation from John the emigrant ancestor; the order of descent being as follows:

Phineas, of Malden, born 1635.
Phineas 2nd, of Malden, born 1659.
Phineas 3rd, of Malden, born 1682.
Dr. Jabez, of Brookfield, born 1717.
Jabez 2nd, of Brookfield, born 1774.

The elder Jabez Upham was a talented physician of Brookfield, Massachusetts. One of his sons, Joshua, was a graduate of Harvard and a prominent loyalist at the time of the American revolution. He commanded a corps known as the Volunteers of New England but at the close of the war was Major in the Kings American Dragoons and Aide de Camp to the Commander in Chief Sir Guy Carleton. He was selected by the loyalists as one of their agents for effecting their settlement in New Brunswick.

The writer of this article in looking through the diary of Benjamin Marston — which is now in the possession of the Winslow family at Upper Woodstock, (having come down to them from their grandfather Judge Winslow who was a cousin of Benjamin Marston's) — notice the following, under date July 12, 1781:

"Lloyd's Neck on Long Island attacked by the French, the party covered by a 36 gun frigate and the Romulus and some other armed vessels. The party who attacked were about four hundred; they were defeated by Major Upham who commands the post at the Neck with some loss; on our side no person was hurt."

There were then at Lloyd's Neck a large number of loyalists with their families who had been driven from their homes across the sound, among the number were Silas Raymond, Walter Bates, David Pickett and John Lyon. The men under Major Upham at the time of the French attack numbered about 150; they were assisted by the loyalists and the crews of some vessels then loading fire wood for the army at New York. Old Mr. Burnet, of Norton, used to give an amusing account of this transaction which was in substance as follows; "At the time of the alarm we were cutting wood on the hill above the fort. We had built a slide or spout to carry the wood down the mountain side. Cloth in those days was scarce and the wrk was rough so most of us wore sheep skin breeches. When the alarm was sounded a lot of us slid down the spout and I tell you it made the leather breeches pretty warm."

Benjamin Marston in his diary says that Lloyd's Neck was a post of importance to the British, supplying the army with quantities of fuel; "notwithstanding it was ordered a few days ago to be evacuated by the troops who kept post there, and but for the entreaties of Major Upham would have been left with some thousands of cords of wood a prey to the enemy."

One of the companies of the Volunteers of New England was commanded by Captain Thomas Cutler, whose Lieutenant was Oliver Arnold, afterwards first Rector of Sussex; John Murray Upham was Ensign. The muster roll of his company is at present in the writer's possession.

We now come to speak more particularly of Jabez Upham jun., the ancestor of the Woodstock Uphams. He was a younger son of Dr. Jabez and a brother of Col. Joshua Upham's; he was born in Brookfield Dec. 28, 1747. He married in 1771 Bethia, daughter of Thomas Cutler; (the Capt. Thos. Cutler mentioned above was probably her brother, or possibly her father). The three oldest children of Jabez Upham jr., were Charlotte, born Sept. 7, 1772; James, born Sept. 9, 1774; and William, born March 16, 1777. They were all born at Brookfield, came with their parents to New Brunswick after the close of the war and lived and died at Woodstock. Charlotte Upham married Colonel Richard Ketchum and had nine children; James married Martha Smith and had also nine children; William married Elizabeth Smith and had no children.

Whether Jabez Upham was a loyalist or not is a disputed question. The family tradition is that he was, but Capt. Frank K. Upham, late of the U.S. Infantry, the compiler of the Upham genealogy, says that he was at one time enlisted on the other side. But in view of the fact that his brother James and Col. Joshua were loyalists and that his wife's family, the Cutlers, were also loyalists, and that he himself came to New Brunswick at so early a period, it is difficult to resist the conclusion that Captain Upham is mistaken as to the man enrolled in the "continental army" who may have been another Jabez Upham.

James Upham, the loyalist brother just mentioned, settled at Maugerville at the peace in 1793 [1783?], where his children Isabella Bliss and George Ryerson were born; he eventually returned to Massachusetts.

Jabez Upham came to Woodstock about the year 1788, and his name appears on the roll of officers for the following year as one of the parish assessors. He was afterwards appointed deputy sheriff for the county of York. He was a man of enterprise and is said to have been the first of the Woodstock settlers to engage in lumbering. His logs were rafted and run to Fredericton by Thomas Phillips who in his turn engaged heavily in lumbering operations. The business not proving succesful Jabez Upham ten or twelve years later moved to Upham, Kings County, his sons James and William remaining at Woodstock. While at Woodstock three children were added to the family viz.: Isabella, Mary, and Thomas Cutler; the latter died in infancy. Jabez Upham died at Upham, Kings County, Aug. 3, 1822 in his 73rd year; his wife Bethia died in 1834 aged 80 years.

James Upham and his brother William are both well remembered by the older citizens of Woodstock. They married in the same year Martha and Elizabeth, daughters of Captain Jacob Smith — familiarly known as Aunt "Patty" and Aunt "Betsey." The Upham estate included lot No. 34, originally granted to Major Joseph Greene of De Lancey's 1st battalion.

William Upham, or "Uncle Billy," was a general favorite, and being something of a musician he and his violin were one of the features of old time festivities. His death occurred in 1849 at the age of 73 years. His widow continued to live at the Lower Corner just below the Houlton road. A large front room in her house was for several years used as a school room in which Miss Beardsley and others taught, the children attending from all the country round, some came from as far down the road as Harry Dibblee's, others from as far out the Houlton road as Mr. Cunliffe's. The boys and girls that attended that school are now scattered far and wide, but all will recall the old Upham house and the big willows that then grew on the bank in front of it, the old steam boiler that lay by the road side, and other familiar landmarks. Mrs. Upham lived to the age of 85 years.

James Upham was for many years a magistrate and at one time a customs officer at Woodstock and a man much esteemed by his neighbours. He died March 13, 1859 at the age of 86. His widow survived him many years and died in 1876 in her 91st year.

Their children were:—

Charles Chandler, born March 2, 1808.
Thomas Cutler, born April 23, 1810.
James Richard, born Oct. 6, 1811.
Martha Bethia, born 1813.
William, born Dec. 25, 1815.
George Bliss, born Sept. 3, 1817.
Jabez Murray, born Sept. 29, 1819.
Henry, born Dec. 23, 1825.
Augustus Foxcroft, born Feb. 25, 1828.

Of the foregoing Thomas C. Upham married Elizabeth Hay and moved some years ago to Boston. His sons Dr. Robert H. and Murray C. are both well known in Woodstock and the doctor in particular is always very loyal to his native town.

James Richard Upham married a daughter of Judge B. C. Beardsley and removed to Oakville, Ontario.

Martha Bethia married Lt. Co. Thompson Morris of the 4th U. S. Infantry.

William married Francis C. Smith and lived all his days on his farm on the Houlton road. His sons, Charles, Frank and George are all smart enterprising men.

George Bliss married Celia Spurr and had a family of four sons and seven daughters. He moved in 1868 to Minnesota and is now living at Elk River. Most of his children are married and settled near their parent; Morris married Ella Nickerson of Elk River. Edward married Louisa Williams of Minneapolis; Alice married Rev. George H. Davis of St. Cloud, Minn.; Mary Lizzie married Dr. Charles Scoboria of Osakis, Minn.; Celia married Professor W. F. Selleck of Elk River. George Upham's old house still stands at the Lower Corner and was visited this summer by his daughter Bertha, the last of the family born in it.

Henry and Augustus the youngest sons of James Upham are living quietly on the old homestead at Woodstock.


Captain Joseph Cunliffe

was born in New Jersey in 1746 and at the outbreak of the revolutionary war joined the New Jersey Volunteers, a loyalist corps commanded by Brigadier General Cortlandt Skinner and familiarly known as "Skinner's Greens." He assisted in recruiting a company in which he was commissioned Lieutenant and which was commanded by Major Thomas Millidge. The company was at first enrolled in the 5th battalion, Lt. Col. Joseph Batton commanding. It assisted in the spirited repulse of the Americans in their attack on Staten Island August 22, 1777. A little later Major Millidge's company was incorporated in the 1st battalion and near the close of the war Lieut. Cunliffe was transferred to General Skinner's company with the rank of Capt.-Lieut. or senior subaltern officer. At the close of the war he came with his wife Phebe to New Brunswick in the ship "Esther," which arrived in St. John about the end of September. Arriving so late in the year he probably passed the first winter under a canvas tent on the barrack square at St. John. Old Captain Bull often used to speak of the hardships of that first winter on the barrack square. Soft wood was the only fuel at hand and the fire having run through it while it was standing, the men became as black as negroes working with the wood and fires.

The following summer Capt. Cunliffe pushed on up the river where he secured a grant of 700 acres at the mouth of the Nackawick. He continued there till about the year 1796 when he moved to Woodstock and settled on lot No. 38, the upper part of the town now stands on the land he owned. Before he came to Woodstock Capt. Cunliffe filled leding positions as a parish officer of Northampton which parish then included the present parish of Southampton; he was equally prominent at Woodstock.

By his wife Phebe he had several children including Joseph A., Thomas G., Nickolas, Elisha A., Sally and Phebe. Of the sons Joseph A. died Dec. 17, 1804 in his 22nd year, a young man of great promise and much lamented. Thomas G. married a sister of Colonel Richard Ketchum's and had quite a family of children. Nickolas Cunliffe also married and had a family and some of his descendants are now living in Richmond. Thomas G. Cunliffe built a house still standing at the Lower Corner, directly opposite the Houlton road. In this house Mr. H. E. Dibblee kept the customs office for years and there too, at one time lived Dr. Le Baron Botsford, one of Woodstock's earliest physicians. Thos. Cunliffe inherited from his father a property that today would be very valuable but he lost it through lumbering. He had a good deal to do with the construction of the road from Woodstock to Houlton which was commenced about the year 1816. He was also active in the militia and was session captain in the battalion embodied for active service at the time of the "Aroostook War." He died about 1850 and was buried with military honors, the firing party being commanded by Capt. W. T. Baird.

Nickolas Cunliffe made a reputation for himself as a farmer that extends far beyond the limits of Woodstock. In the journals of the House of Assembly the following will be found under date March 13, 1827:—

"Resolved that there be granted to Nickolas Cunliffe the sum of 25 pounds as an honorary reward for his great and meritorious exertions in the improvement of his farm and thereby proving the capabilities of this province as an agricultural country and as a mark of the high sense which the House entertains of the benefits which this province will derive from such a commendable example."

Hon. Charles Perley afterwards bought this farm from Nickolas Cunliffe and spent much money in the purchase of sheep and improved stock. The farm did not prove a source of remuneration but its reputation was wide spread.

Capt. Joseph Cunliffe's daughters Sally and Phebe married respectively Capt. Thomas Phillips and William J. Bedell.

The muster rolls of the New Jersey Volunteers show that Capt. Joseph Cunliffe was frequently returned as "sick in quarters" and the presumption would naturally be that he was not a robust man; nevertheless he attained the ripe age of 85 years. He died at Woodstock March 24, 1831. His name and that of his wife Phebe are found in the roll of communicants of the parish church compiled by Rev. F. Dibblee in 1803.


W. O. Raymond


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[Published 25 Sept. 1895]