Article extracted from the New Brunswick Reporter 1845.02.15;

NBR – 1845.02.15 – Reminiscences of New Brunswick – #1


[For the Reporter.]

As many persons who are not well acquainted with the early state of New Brunswick, are apt to make comparisons very unfavorable to the country, it may be well to collect a few facts connected with its first settlement by the Loyalists, and then by briefly tracing its progress in improvement up to the present time, to shew that although it has not advanced so rapidly in population as many of the American States, it has nevertheless been, silently advancing in wealth and importance.

It must be borne in mind that when the Loyalists first landed in St. John, in May 1783, the country was nearly a Wilderness. No spot could have been selected that was more forbidden then where they first pitched their tents. Barron rocks with a stunted growth of spruce, cedar, &c. rendered the country almost impervious. A few huts in the coves were all the signs of cultivation that were to be seen. On the hill that frowned over the harbour was a [delapidated] Fort, and above the Falls a solitary building for the accommodation of the Indians when they came to trade, from whence that place derived the name of Indiantown.

This was a forbidding place to persons who had left their pleasant dwellings in the mild climate and cultivated parts of the United States. But firm in their attachment to the British Crown they left the land of their birth and sought a home for their families in the wilderness of New Brunswick. The war of the revolution having terminated in the severance of the old Colonies from Great Britain, the Loyalists were compelled to seek an Asylum in those parts of the British Possessions that still remained faithful to their allegiance; and as Nova Scotia, which at that time included New Brunswick, had been represented as an eligible place for forming settlements, an arrangement was made by the Rev. Doctor Seabury and Lieutenant Col. Thompson, (who were appointed by the Board of Agents* at New York,) with Sir Guy Carleton, the Commander-in-Chief, in behalf of the Loyalists who were desirous of emigrating to Nova Scotia. In consequence of which agreement, the remnants of thirteen Corps that had served in America, were landed in St. John at different times from May to October 1783. Many of those began immediately to make preparations for settling. While others proceeded up the river St. John and to others parts of the country. Those who remained in St. John, began by clearing away the bushes and laying out a town. A few houses were soon erected, some of which are still remaining. Among the earliest improvements was an opening in King Street, and the house still occupied by Mr. Sears, ranks among one of the oldest proprietors. From this period, the place began to wear the appearance of a town. Stores where erected and a small Trade began to enliven the harbour – Shipping began to engage the attention of the enterprising, and in a few years a Charter conferred on the rising town, the dignified name of a city. As many of the Loyalists who had arrived in the October, fleet had proceeded up the river St. John. A town was projected at what was called St. Anns Point which was named Fredericton. Soon after this period, the country which had always borne the general name of Nova Scotia was divided into two Provinces. The Peninsula to the Southward still retaining the name of Nova Scotia, and the other division being styled New Brunswick.

In August 1784, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Carleton was appointed Governor over New Brunswick, and in May following, Royal Letters Patent were granted for ascertaining the boundaries of the several Counties, and sub-dividing them into Towns and Parishes. Several small Towns were soon commenced, but the principal Military establishment was made at Fredericton. The British Government keeping in view the necessity of connecting their rising Empire in the Canadas with their settlements on the shores of the Atlantic: soon after the establishment of the Loyalists in New Brunswick, erected Barracks, &c., at Fredericton, making that place the chief station for whatever forces might be deemed necessary in the Province – keeping only small detachments at the other posts.

(to be continued)

* The Board of Agents consisted of the following persons: – Col. Thompson, Lieut. Col. E. Winslow, Major Upham, Rev. D. Seabury, Rev. John Sayr, Capt. Mandaly, Amas Botsford, Samuel Cummings, John Wardle, James Peters and Frederick Slanser, Esquries.