Archives provinciales du Nouveau-Brunswick

Fort Havoc (Wallace Hale)

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The Old Parish of Northampton and Its Vicinity


The original parish of Northampton extended down the river as far as the mouth of the Nacawick. The first settlers in the lower part of the parish were some of the disbanded Queen's Rangers. Capt. John Whitlock, Quarter Master, Wm. McLaughalan, John Simcoe McLaughlan, Richard Stears, John Kenney, and John Thornton of this corps had grants just above the Nacawick and a number of others had grants in the parish of Queensbury just below. The principal man in this section of the country at the time of its first settlement was Lieut. Col. Richard Armstrong of the Queen's Rangers. He received quite a large grant of land at the mouth of the Nacawick where he built a saw and grist mill. Some years later he removed to Fredericton, and in 1798 advertised his property at the Nacawick for sale. It included a saw and grist mill in good repair, a dwelling house and twenty acres of cleared land. Lieut. Col. Armstrong re-entered the service and became Major General. Among the other officers of the Queen's Rangers in the vicinity were Captains Daniel Morehouse and Eneas Shaw, who lived in Queensbury, and Capt. John McKay who lived a few miles above the Nacawick in Northampton.

Above the lands reserved for the Queen's Rangers on the east side of the St. John there was a tract reserved for the Pennsylvania Loyalists. This corps was largely reduced in numbers when it arrived in New Brunswick and the only members apparently who became permanent settlers on their lands were Sergt. William Guerrier, (whose name is preserved in Guerriers Creek) Jonathan Roberts, John Miller and Michael Linnentine. The vacant lots in their grant were gradually taken up by others. Among the first to come were Capt. John McKay, William Burns, James Sheehan, Amos Brooks, Abner Brooks and Matthew Phillips.

Proceeding up the river we shall find that the lands were gradually taken up by newcomers some of whom came over from the Woodstock side of the river. At first there were distances of several miles here and there without any settlers. Beyond the settlers in the lower part of the parish (now Southampton) there was a tract without houses up to Meductic island where we find another group, namely, William Grant, John Jenings, Jonn Wiggins, David Newman, Jacob Tompkins, Thos. Woolverton and John Hillsgrove. Then came another interval up to about opposite the Woodstock parish church where we have Samuel Rice Raymond, Thomas Fowler, Wm. Tyron Fowler, John Short, Thomas Stanley and John Stanley. Opposite Bull's Island 1630 acres are marked in the old plan as reserved "for public use," above this vacant tract came Anthony Baker, Wm. Symonds, Wm. Bell and John Ramsay.

The principal business centre at first was naturally about the mills at Nacawick, but the upper part of the parish gradually filled up, more particularly as the roads were improved. When the Rev. John Beardsley came up the river in 1789 he called at the houses of many of the settlers in Northampton and baptized upwards of forty persons, (children and adults) in the families of Dr. John Larlee, James Craig, Wm. Guerrier, Peter Newton, Alexander Bate, Wm. McLaughlan, Anthony Manuel, Christopher Ferro, John Tompkins, Wm. Hudgins, Jacob Tompkins, Joseph Cunliffe and Richard Stears. Among the other early settlers of Northampton were John Brown, James Dyer, Samuel Payne, Samuel Merril, Arden Dickenson, Doctor John Larlee, Charles Connell, Jeremiah Hopkins, Alexander Sharp, Tamberlane Campbell, Alexander Kearney and Robert Phillips.

After the close of the American war of 1812 the government began to bestir itself to promote the settlement of the upper St. John by free grants to emigrants and by the expenditure of considerable sums on the construction of roads. In 1816 Major Daniel Morehouse, Thomas C. Lee and George D. Berton as supervisors of the road "from Fredericton towards Canada" expended over £3,000 in making roads and building bridges, and large sums were voted the two years following. The road was divided into two districts such as from Nacawick to Captain McKay's, from Capt. McKay's to Joseph Woolverton's, from Joseph Woolverton's to Robert Phillips', from Robert Phillips' to Lawrence Wiltsey's, from Lawrence Wiltsey's to Benjamin Stickney's, from Benjamin Stickney's to Kearney's mill, and so on.

In 1818 the roads were still in a pretty bad condition and Major Morehouse reported that for three miles below the Nacawick the road through the woods was merely cut out and the ground was very rocky and bad; it would require £200 to make it passable for summer travel. He proposed a stone causeway at the mouth of the Nacawick where it would be difficult to build and secure a bridge. At the Meductic falls he says there are three miles of the worst ground in all the country to make a road and it must be a matter of great expense. From Matthew Phillips' to J. Tompkins' the road is bad, three miles of it without an inhabitant. From Tompkins' to the ferry at Woolvertons the road is good; at that point it ends in Northampton and crosses into Woodstock. Major General Smyth took much interest in the opening up of a road of communication to Quebec and the supervisors, Messrs. Morehouse, Lee and Berton, pushed on the work as the funds placed at their disposal admitted. The primitive condition of the settlements at that time is indicated by the fact that about £20 annually was paid for cutting out Windfalls on the road from Fredericton to the Canada line. Some of the large streams such as the Nacawick, Maduxnakic and Aroostook were not bridged for many years.

A few words are now in order as regards the more prominent of the early Northampton settlers. Capt. John McKay, the first magistrate of the parish, married a sister of Chief Justice Saunders, who was a brother officer in the Queen's Rangers. She survived her husband and died at Northampton in 1822. Capt. McKay frequently attended the court of sessions of the Peace in Fredericton. He also officiated occasionally at marriages. We may observe in passing that only a limited number of Justices of the Peace — usually one in each parish, were licensed to solemnize marriages. Their services were by no means limited to the humbler classes, Judges of the land and even the clergy themselves not infrequently found it convenient to employ their srvices. A few instances may be given:— Judge Joshua Upham and Mary Chandler were married in the year 1792 by James Law, Esq., of Westmorland county, and the same magistrate in the year 1778 married Samuel Denny Street and Abigail Freeman, the parents of Rev. S. D. Lee Street, late rector of Woodstock. In 1797 Wm. Allan, Esq., of Westmorland County married Rev. John Millidge and Ann Botsford. A still later instance is that recorded in the old newspaper now before us,

Married:   At Miramichi, on the 13th Dec. 1822, by Alexander Davidson, Esq., Rev. Samuel Bacon to Eliza H., second daughter of Ebenezer Cutler Esq., of Annapolis, N. S.
Rev. Samuel Bacon was a relative of the late Biship Medley and his grandson, Rev. W. J. Wilkinson was at one time curate of Woodstock.

Doctor John Larlee was one of the old Maugerville settlers who came from New England in 1766. He lived at Burton where his children, Margaret, Susan, John, Jane, Elizabeth and Samuel, were born. The committee of investigation appointed by Major Studholme in June 1783 in their report make this reference to Dr. Larlee; "John Larlee has a wife and five children, been on the river about sixteen years, built two or three log houses or buildings, and cleared about fifteen acres of land. His character is good as a subject." Shortly after the arrival of the Loyalists Dr. Larlee moved to Northampton. He was the only doctor in the vicinity for more than thirty years. His eldest daughter was married by old Parson Dibblee to Amos Gates, Sept. 27, 1792, and another daughter, Jane, married Joseph Woolverton Nov. 17, 1798. Dr. Larlee's descendants still reside in Carleton County, his wife died in 1842 at the advanced age of 96 years.

Mention has already been made of Joseph Cunliffe, John and Roger Tompkins, David Newman, John Hillsgrove, Thomas Stanley, Anthony Baker and Matthew Phillips in connection with the early days of Woodstock. Wm. Guerrier, Wm. McLaughlan and Thomas Woolverton were active men in their day and generation and left numerous descendants who are well known in the County today. John Miller was the first blacksmith in the neighborhood, his sons were well known in connection with early tow boating and steam boating on the St. John River. Robert Phillips, eldest son of Matthew and brother of Capt. Thos. Phillips lived near the upper bound of the parish, and was an active man. His name is preserved in Phillips Creek where he had in early times one of the best grist mills. A little further down the river were settled Alexander Sharp and his sons Adam B. and James. Alexander Sharp was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and came to America when quite young; he served through the war of the revolution in one of the loyal regiments [The Westchester Loyalists, under Major Thomas Ward RWH].

Capt. Bull used to relate that on a certain occasion some of the British were defending a block house when a round shot crashed through the timbers and Alexander Sharp was struck in the abdomen by a flying splinter that nearly disembowled the poor fellow. Girding himself with his handkerchief as best he could, he stood at his post using his musket till the enemy were beaten off. A surgeon was summoned and was obliged to take twenty four stitches in closing up the wound. Mr. Sharp after coming to the province settled at Hampstead beside Samuel Rice Raymond. His son James, together with Rice Raymond's sons Samuel and Stephen, were baptized by Rev. Richard Clark of Gagetown. Messrs. Sharp and Raymond moved to Woodstock about the same time, the former settled in Northampton near Sharp's Island, the latter nearly opposite to Parson Dibblee's. Mr. Sharp died soon after moving to Woodstock and was buried in the old grave yard near the Hodgdon road. He was a strict living Presbyterian and a man much respected. His sons James and Adam B. were enterprising men. In the year 1820 with the assistance of their neighbor Robert Phillips they built and finished the first school house in the upper part of the parish and upon its being destroyed by fire replaced it with another. About the same time Henry Cronkite and Amos Dow built a school house in the lower end of the parish. Adam B. Sharp left several children including Frank Sharp, Esq., whose fame as regards fruit culture is so wide spread, and Mrs. Wm. D. Smith, who lives with her son Chas. L. Smith, M. P. P., at Woodstock. Mr. Smith has a fine oil portrait of his grandfather.

We shall have something to say in a future article regarding Charles Connell and his descendants, and others of the old Northampton pioneers.


W. O. Raymond


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[Published 1 July 1896]