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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Old Lower Woodstock and Vicinity


The original parish of Woodstock extended as far down the river as the mouth of the Shogomoc. We have already described the settlement of the upper part of the parish by members of Genl. De Lancey's brigade. The lower part of the parish was reserved for the King's American regiment. While the grant to the De Lancey battalions was issued in October 1784, that to the King's American regiment was not made until August 17th, 1787. The cause of the delay was no doubt the difficulty of procuring surveyors together with the pressure of work in the Crown land office.

The King's American regiment under its commander Col. Edmund Fanning served with much credit through the revolutionary war and gained special distinction during the campaign in the Carolinas. There was one cavalry company in the regiment, commanded by Captain Isaac Atwood. We feel an especial interest in Capt. Atwood as being the leading spirit in the formation of the settlement and also as the first resident of the parish of Woodstock elected a member of the House of Assembly. If any other of the officers of the King's American regiment came up the river, they must have relinquished their lands and retired to more congenial situations before the year 1787, as their names do not appear in the grant. Col. Fanning had by that time been made Governor of Prince Edward Island, an appointment he continued to hold for nineteen years. Many of the settlers were evidently on their lands before the grant was issued since that document describes "a tract of 57 lots or plantations, partly improved and partly wilderness land." In the grant we find the usual reservation to his Majesty of all white pine trees and all mines of gold, silver, lead and coals. In the grant the names of only some thirty non commissioned officers and men appear, of whom a dozen or so had served in Capt. Atwood's company, and sandwiched in among them were grants made to other settlers, some of whom probably had served in other loyalist corps. Instead of the ordinary military allowance of 100 acres to a private soldier and 200 acres to a noncommissioned officer, each grantee, as a rule, recived a lot comprising about 225 acres. In the following list the men of the King's American regiment and their sons are printed in ordinary type, other grantees in italics. The grants are numbered northward from the mouth of the Shogomoc.

1. Tristram Hillman
2. Thos. D. Taylor
4. Geo. Hicks
5. John C. Fox
6. Wm. Lint
7. Sergt. Asa Blacksley
8. Titus Way
10. Isaac Atwood, Esq.
11. Henry Cronkite
12. Widow Grant
13. Daniel Wright
14. Michael Housinger
15. Anthony Woodland
17. John B. Williston (Sullivan's Creek)
19. John Curry
20. Elijah Tompkins
21. Obadiah Tompkins
22. Hendrick Skidgel
23. John Tompkins, Jr.
24. Sergt. Hicks Seaman
25. Edmund Tompkins
26. Drummer Elias Leed
27. Sergt. Soloman Teed
28. Sylvanus Teed
30. Sergt. Geo. Hartley
31. Corpl. Cornelius Gee
32. Daniel Teed
33. Gideon Tichout
34. James Murphy
35. Samuel Whitney
38. Samuel Freeman
39. John Moore
40. Corpl. Charles Frazer
41. Sergt. Alex. Thompson
42. Sergt. Jeremiah Masten
43. Abraham Masten
44. Peter Grant
45. Gabriel Davenport
47. Captain Isaac Atwood (mouth of Eel River)
49. Philip Long
51. Henry Charleton
52. John Hicks
54. Michael Bremoh
57. John Hillsgrove
There was an accession of several families shortly after the grant was made out including George Nevers, John Porter, John Dow, T. W. Porter, Jesse Dow, Enoch Dow, Reuben Chase and James Murphy. The Dows, who came from Maugerville, were among the most enterprising and progressive settlers and soon acquired a valuable property. Enoch Dow's name appears as one of the first assessors of the parish. John Dow was elected a member for the County of York in 1816 and continued to represent the county for many years. When the County of York was divided John Dow and Richard Ketchum were two of the members and both residents of the old parish of Woodstock. John Dow built a mill which was run by himself and son Asa for many years. He also established an inn and "Dow's" became a well known stopping place for travellers also a polling place in old York County elections.

Of the other grantees just named a few words may now be said: Henry Cronkite moved across the river in 1791; he was an active man, filled various offices in the old parish of Northampton and left descendants who are numerous and respected. Peter Grant and John Hillsgrove also moved to the east side of the river. Cornelius Gee moved up to Brighton; his descendants are numerous in the upper part of the county. Solomon Teed in 1790 kept a tavern — one of the first in Woodstock, and of a somewhat different type from the modern style; he also had charge of the first pound about the same date. Gabriel Davenport joined the King's American regiment as a drummer boy; he was probably the last survivor of those of the corps on the river. He died the 15th October 1843 in his 84th year. In 1821 he succeeded Capt. Bull in charge of the ferry at Woolverton's, where the post road from Fredericton used to cross to the Woodstock side of the river. According to the rules that then governed the ferry, he was bound to have at all gimes good and sufficient boats for the accommodation of persons travelling either on horseback or on foot, the rate of fare for a foot passenger to be 7 1/2 pence and for a horse 15 pence, no person to be kept waiting for a passage more than half an hour.

Captain Isaac Atwood was a New Jersey loyalist, and prominent in his regiment as Captain of the Cavalry Company in the Southern Campaign. He came with his regiment to St. John in September 1783 and drew lot 1177 in Parr Town, but soon after removed to his lands at the mouth of Eel River. Here he had a grant of about 700 acres and resided for some years. He was elected a member of the first house of Assembly, he was also one of the first justices of the court of common pleas for York County. He was a commissioner of roads for the parish of Woodstock in 1792. The Rev. John Beardsley in his first missionary tour up the river called at his house where on July 30, 1789, he baptised his son John Alfred Kirtland Atwood.

Captain Atwood like many others of the disbanded officers of the loyalist regiments, did not succeed very well as a farmer, and about the year 1793 he returned to the United States and his property was seized and attached at the instnace of William Garden, Esq., merchant of Fredericton, in payment of his debts. What his fortunes were after leaving New Brunswick we do not know.

The first settlers between the Pokiok and Shogomoc rivers were William Anderson, Samuel Gray, John Clare, John Hartley, John Benn, Corpl. Abijah Ingraham, James Hartley, Abraham Lint and Sergt. Benjamin Ingraham. With the exception of Messrs Gray, Clare and Benn, these grantees had either served themselves in the King's American regiment or were sons of the old soldiers of that corps. John Clare was one of the first school masters on the river and taught for several years in the parishes of Kingsclear, Queensbury and St. Marys. John Benn's descendants live in South Richmond. The brothers Abijah and Benjamin Ingraham were prominent men in their generation and have left numerous descendants in York County.

Prince William parish formerly included the parish of Dumfries. While the lower part of the parish was rapidly improved by the men of the disbanded King's American Dragoons and others, the upper part was abandoned by the first grantees as too rough and stony for farming, the lands in consequence became the property of a few individuals. Major Daniel Murray had a tract of 200 acres at the mouth of the Pokiok, a portion of which was cleared and cultivated. He built at considerable expense "a very valuable set of mills" which were destroyed by fire about the year 1798. Major Murray became involved in debt and at the instance of his creditor William Garden of Fredericton, the property was sold and seems to have passed into the hands of Hon., Edward Winslow. Chief Justice Saunders had also quite an estate below the Pokiok long known as "The Barony." Colonel Jacob Ellegood and Captain John Davidson had large grants a little farther down the river.

It will be noticed that the first magistrates and representatives for the County of York in the House of Assembly were chosen from the old half pay officers. Major Daniel Murray and Capt. Isaac Atwood were elected to the first House. Judge Saunders was elected in 1791, Col. Ellegood in 1795, and Capt. Davidson in 1802.

In closing our notes on old lower Woodstock we shall insert a paragraph that appeared in the St. John Courier of August 7th, 1824. It is about the only local news item, outside the mere notices of marriages and deaths, that the writer has been able to discover in a provincial newspaper down to that time which has any thing to do with the settlements north of Fredericton.

Woodstock, York County. About one o'clock on Saturday the 31st July in a violent thunder storm a flash of lightning struck the west end of a house owned and occupied by Tristram Hillman, tore off the verge boards, then dividing one part ran along the plate the other down the chimney which cut a furrow out of the stones. Mrs. Hillman was looking out of the window and on turning toward the fire place was struck dead on the floor. On examining the body there was found a spot on her left temple, the bone much indented, a mark down her breast, and between her shoulders a streak like the burn of a hot iron. Her cap was torn in pieces, her hair singed, her shoe on her left foot parted at the sole and shivered in pieces. She was in the 43rd year of her age and leaves a husband, eight children and numerous acquaintances to mourn her loss.

Tristram Hillman lived just above the Shogomoc and was the first settler in the parish of Woodstock. An item from that locality would hardly be recorded as Woodstock news today.


W. O. Raymond


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[Published 17 June 1896]