Archives provinciales du Nouveau-Brunswick

Fort Havoc (Wallace Hale)

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Progress of the Woodstock Settlement


Something About Henry Huff, John Campbell, Joseph Young, Ephraim Lane, Col. Richard Ketchum and Ralph Ketchum.


In order to promote the settlement of the province the terms of the grants made by the crown provided that if the lands alloted to the officers and men of the loyalist regiments, at the expiration of ten years, remained vacant and unimproved, they should be forfeited and regranted to actual settlers. Those who were desirous of securing those vacant lands sometimes settled upon them without leave or license, and sometimes purchased for a nominal sum the rights of the original grantees. In one or other of these ways Henry Huff, John Campbell and Joseph Young secured possession of the three lots next above Captain Joseph Cunliffe's property. They were confirmed in their possession by a grant made October 30th, 1807, in which 21 lots or plantations containing in the whole 8,660 acres, with the usual allowance of ten per cent for roads and waste, were granted to the nineteen individuals whose names are given below: "The said lots or plantations being a part of the escheated lots in the grant passed under the great seal of Nova Scotia of 46 lots and 3 islands to Robert Brown and associates of the late second [should read first] battalion of Brigadier General DeLancey's Provincial Regiment." The grantees each received the number of acres set opposite their respective names.

Samuel McKean 537
Edward Collard 471
Pat. Birmingham 100
John McLaughlan 455
James Fraser 577
Dan'l McSheffrey 300
George Bull 300
William Dibblee 303
J. D. Beardsley 300
Michael Smith 588
Joseph Cunliffe 544
Henry Huff 562
John Campbell 499
Joseph Young 629
Wm. Jackson 375
Ephraim Lane 732
Richard Ketchum 541
Ralph Ketchum 340
Joseph Dixon 597

It only remains to say something in this article about the last few names in the above list. Little apparently is known about Henry Huff, John Campbell and Joseph Young, all of whom seem to have moved soon afterwards across the river to Northampton. Henry Huff was living there in 1821 and died there in 1822 at the age of 65 years. The descendants of John Campbell are still found at different places in Carleton County. Joseph Young kept an inn or tavern at Grand Falls in 1794 whence he removed to River de Chute about 1801 and shortly afterwards came to Woodstock.


Ephraim Lane

was a native of Fairfield, Connecticut and one of those loyalists who sought refuge within the British lines at Lloyd's Neck on Long Island. He came to New Brunswick in the transport ship "Union" the first vessel to arrive at St. John in the month of May 1783. The deputy agent in charge of the ship was Fyler Dibblee of Stamford, elder brother of Rev. Frederick and father of William and Ralph who came to Woodstock. There were on board the "Union" 209 loyalists, whose names, former abode, and occupation, are stated in the manifest of the ship — a unique and valuable old document now in the possession of Wm. F. Dibblee, Esq., of Woodstock. Mr. Lane was an intimate friend of John Marvin who was also a passenger by the ship Union. They both settled at Kingston but after a few years Lane becmae rather discouraged at the outlook and having heard very favorable accounts of the fertility of the soil up the river St. John he about the year 1788 decided to remove to Woodstock.

He accordingly sold out his improvements at Kingston and started with his oxen up the river. The journey proved too much of an undertaking for the cattle; they gave out and he sold them at Maugerville and proceeded alone. He secured a large tract of 732 acres at the Upper Corner on which he settled himself. He lived and died there a bachelor, and at his decease left his property to Mrs. John Marvin, from whom it descended to her son Charles Marvin. The latter might have been a rich man but he lost much money by lumbering and bridge building. Ephraim Lane seems to have been a man of influence in the settlement judging by the number of parish offices he filled from 1790 down to 1815. At the latter date his name disappears from the list and probably he died. His memory is preserved in this locality by the well known "Lane's Creek."


Richard and Ralph Ketchum

were the owners of the two most northerly lots in the John Bedell "plan of the present state of the Woodstock settlement" made in 1803. They were brothers and it was their sister Elizabeth who married Ralph Dibblee as mentioned in a former article. Their father was James Ketchum of Long Island, New York. The family came to Saint John at the close of the Revolutionary war and James Ketchum drew lot 94 on Germain street, corner of Church St. He went with his brothers John and Jonathan to Kingston where they drew lands a mile or two above the parish church, that drawn by James lying between Midland road and the main river whilst the lots of the other brothers lay on the opposite side of the road running back to the Kennebecasis. James Ketchum lived at Kingston until the end of the year 1788 as is shown by the church records there. He was one of the church wardens at Kingston when he moved to Woodstock. He probably removed up the river early in 1789 and the next year his name appears as assessor in the list of parish officers. James Ketchum died not very long after his arrival at Woodstock and was interred in the old burial ground on the knoll between the old rectory and the Hodgdon road.

Elizabeth Ketchum, his daughter, married Ralph Dibblee and by his death in 1799 was left a widow with one son Seymour Jarvis, the father of Jarvis Dibblee who now lives on the Houlton road near Woodstock. She afterwards married Capt. Thomas Cunliffe and had two daughters of whom one married Nelson Garden Esq. and the other Frank McDonald of Portland, Maine.

Ralph Ketchum married Christiana, eldest daughter of Col. Griffith and moved to Mobile, Alabama where he raised a family. During the American civil war three of his sons were in the Confederate army, two of whom at least held commissions in the U. S. army before the war. One of them, William, visited Woodstock with his two children a few months before the war began.

Colonel Richard Ketchum was born at Long Island, New York, in 1773; his mother's maiden name was Sarah Burr. About the year 1795 he married Charlotte, daughter of Jabez Upham, formerly of Woodstock but then living at Upham, Kings County, and had a family of nine children of whom James, the eldest, was born Nov. 14, 1796. The others of their children were George, Ralph, Randolph, Mary, Ann, Sarah Burr, Fanny and Charlotte. All things considered Col. Richard Ketchum was decidedly the most prominent man in Woodstock in early times. He was equally distinguished for his activity in military matters, in political affairs, in business, as a magistrate and as an influential supporter of the church. From the year 1798 onwards he filled leading parish offices. Under his supervision improvements were effected during 1816 and the next few years in the channel of the main river at Meductic Falls, Feroe's rocks and other troublesome places where tow boats had formerly great difficulty in passing. He was also largely instrumental in securing the construction of the first bridge over the Meduxnakik in 1826.

The Colonel was personally as much interested in the completion of this undertaking as anyone. He was a church going man and had assisted to the best of his ability in the erection of the old parish church in 1805 of which he was for many years one of the wardens. In winter he could get there without difficulty, the river formed a natural highway, but this only served the purpose part of the year. The opening and closing of the river were regarded as important events in those days. Entries such as the following in Rev. F. Dibblee's diary indicate the breaking up of nature's highway for the season.

"Sunday, April 7, 1805. — Richard Ketchum and Thomas Phillips came down with their slays on the river."

This no doubt was their last trip on the ice for that season.

After the building of the bridge Colonel Ketchum's family carriage might be seen on Sundays traversing the rough road from Upper Woodstock to the parish church. The road has been marvellously improved since then. In older days it was not only rough but crooked. For example at "the turn" on C. L. Smith's place it followed along the edge of the bank across the Beardsley farm some rods east of its present location, and again at Peabody's gateway it curved towards the river in order to avoid swampy ground. Below Cedar Hill school it crossed the present highway towards the westward running just in front of W. H. DeVeber's house. Between the town and the Upper Corner the road was particularly crooked and ran for the most part through thick woods.

In the year 1827 Colonel Ketchum was elected a member of the House of Assembly for the county of York and was thereby enabled to do more for the improvement of the roads in his neighbourhood.

When war broke out with the United States in 1812 orders were issued calling out for active service a battalion for the York county militia. Woodstock and the adjoining parishes were called on to furnish a company. The following entry made by Rev. F. Dibblee in his diary indicates the men were selected by draught.

January 1st 1813, Jack left home with the first draughted militia; William found a substitute for 6 pounds. Captain Ketchum commands the company, Jack is Lieutenant and Henry Morehouse, Ensign."

"Jack" and "William" here mentioned were Rev. F. Dibblee's sons — the late Col. John Dibblee and his younger brother Wm. S. J. Dibblee. The order book of Capt. Ketchum's company of embodied militia is still extant and in a good state of preservation [see Col. Baird's "Seventy Years of N. B. Life;" p. 135]. In the course of time Richard Ketchum became Lt. Col. of the Carleton County militia.

Upon the formation of the County of Carleton in 1832, Col. Ketchum offered a free site for the erection of the county buildings at Upper Woodstock. This generous offer combined with the Colonel's influence at Head Quarters secured the location of the shire town at the Upper Corner much to the disgust of the town proper. The opposition was considerable but the Colonel gained the day after a hard scrabble; and despite the repeated protests of the town the county buildings remain there yet. At the division of the County of York Col. Ketchum became a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for Carleton County.

In the old parish church yard there is a marble stone near the road side bearing the following inscription

To Memory of
Who departed this life at Woodstock on the
Tenth Day of November, A. D., 1845,
In the 73rd year of his age.
He was born at Long Island, New York, and
landed with the Loyalists in this province
in 1783.

— — — — — —

This monument
has been erected by his children as an affectionate
tribute to the memory of a parent who was ever
distinguished as well for his high integrity in the
many official stations which he filled as for his
piety and Christian benevolence in the private
walks of life.

A few words must be added as regards Col. Ketchum's numerous descendants.

1. James married Col. Griffith's youngest daughter Mary and had 2 sons, Col. R. B. Ketchum of Houlton and Charles of Woodstock, and 4 daughters of whom Augusta married Charles H. Bull and Harriet married H. A. Connell.

2. George, marrid Mary Ann, only daughter of Captain T. Phillips and had two sons, Henry G. C. and Charles, the former well known as the engineer of the projected ship railway at the isthmus of Chignecto.

3. Ralph married Judith Caroline, eldest daughter of George Bull and lived at the homestead at Upper Woodstock. His children included sons Geo. Randolph of Aroostook and Woodford of Houlton; the former at one time did an extensive trading business at Woodstock and represented the county in the provincial legislature; there were three daughters Ada, Blanche and Maud who died in early womanhood.

4. Randolph married Sarah Harvey; he kept a store at Upper Woodstock and built the house in which his nephew Randolph afterwards lived. His was a chequered career.

5. Mary Ann, married April 9 1820 Henry G. Clopper, register of deeds and wills and founder of the Central Bank at Fredericton; his portrait is engraved on the five dollar notes of the Peoples Bank.

6. Elizabeth, married George Dibblee, barrister of Fredericton, son of Rev. Frederick Dibblee.

7. Sarah B., married Oct 29, 1830 Charles P. Wetmore (second son of Attorney General Thomas Wetmore) a lawyer and clerk of the House of Assembly.

8. Fanny, married A. Sherman Carman of Upper Woodstock and had several children, who all died of consumption.

9. Charlotte, married H. E. Dibblee Esq., Collector of Customs at Woodstock and had one son Edmund and two daughters Margaret, the wife of Byron Bull, and Fannie.


W. O. Raymond


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[Published 2 Oct. 1895]