Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB
February 8, 1894


Contributions to the History of Charlotte County and the Border Towns.


The commissioned and non-commissioned officers of the Seventy-fourth who drew lands at St. Patrick and at St. Stephen, so far as at present known to the writer, were:

Capt. Angus McDonald
Capt. Alexander McRa
Lieut. Donald McLean
Color Sergeant Duncan McColl
Sergt. John Campbell
Sergt. Peter McCallum
Sergt. Alexander McNiven
Corporal Robert Lindsay

Lieutenant Colonel Allan Stewart belonged apparently to another Scottish regiment; Maj. Anstruther and Lieut. Hugh Stewart, to the Royal Garrison Battalion.  Sergt. Alex. McNiven, of the 74th, is in the list of grantees of St. Andrews.

Capt. McDonald, as before stated,1 was the first to break the soil in the new settlement in St. Patrick; and, after his removal to St. Andrews, he left his Digdeguash farm to his son-in-law, Peter McCallum, who, until the outbreak of the second American war, had been living at Schoodic Falls.

Robert Cowie, (or Coue, as he wrote the name,) mortgaged a lot at Digdeguash in 1786, describing it as ‘granted’ to him; but Chas. Chatty, in a deed of later date, conveying a lot in the same tract to William McLellan, promises to make over his grant ‘to said MacLellan, how soon it is given by government.’  This strengthens the supposition that no grants were issued to the disbanded soldiers of the 74th earlier than March, 1790.

James Goslin, Gosling, or Goswelling, (the latter is the form of his signature,) sold his lot at St. Patrick to James Stewart, in 1789; and many of the other lots had changed hands by sale or otherwise before the issue of the Archibald Williamson grant, as may be seen by comparison of the list of grantees with the older list of claimants.2

Alexander Cameron, whose name appears twice in the grant, is not mentioned in the older list.  There is a family tradition that he had a claim to the Duncan Campbell lot at Schoodic Falls, (No. 5 C,) or to some portion of it, either before or after the issue of the grant to Donald Grant and associates-a claim which some of his descendants still believe was never legally extinguished.

This lot, (extending from above what is now known as Todd’s grove to the head of the Cove, and from the ‘salt water falls’ to the rear of the lot now occupied by Mr. D. Dempsey on the Cemetery road,) was the most easterly of the lots on the Indian Lands.  At the point where the river is narrowest, there was a public landing reserve of four rods in width, afterwards granted to Joseph N. Clarke.  Duncan Campbell, whose title must have been secure after the issue of the grant, sold a small piece of his land to Peter McDiarmid, owner of the adjoining half of the Port Matoon Association gore, who probably needed a place on which to build a house at the narrow point of his three-cornered farm.

Alexander Cameron is described as a man of medium height, with sandy complexion and blue eyes; and, like most of his comrades of the 74th, he spoke the Gaelic.  He had been a prisoner for six months at Trenton; and there is a story told of how he spiked the guns of the fort, with spikes made for him by an old Quaker blacksmith, stuffing his bonnet into the mouth of the gun to deaden the sound; and how the British won a victory because the guns were useless, and the prisoners were released.  He was honorably discharged at Yorktown, and came to St. Andrews after the peace.  Walking through the woods to the Digdeguash on a surveying expedition, he came out upon the river and lay down to rest under two large elm trees on the bank.  The spot was so beautiful that he wished he might by some chance become the owner of it.  He afterwards came into possession of the place and built his homestead there.

Sergt. McCallum’s lot at Schoodic Falls, No. 3 C, is the most easterly in the present town of Milltown; the road which divides it from No. 4 forming the boundary between Milltown and St. Stephen.  His house must have been somewhere near the brook which enters the river at the Union Mills.  The front of his lot was reserved for a mill privilege, and granted later to Abner Hill.

John McCallum, who held the next lot above, ‘fronting on the Scudick Rapids,’ sold it to Colin Campbell.  The front of this lot was reserved as a public landing.

The next lot, No. 1 C, Neil Brown sold to Finley Malcolm; and his lot at the upper end of the tract, No. 7 A, he sold to Peter McDiarmid, who in 1797 sold it to Abner Hill.

Donald Grant, who drew No. 1 A, or who in 1790 had a claim to it in some other way, and thereby gave his name to the grant, seems to have been an innkeeper at St. Andrews, where he was indicted in 1788 for keeping a disorderly house.  Nothing is known of his subsequent history.

Maj. Anstruther has already been mentioned in connection with the Old Settlers grant.3  Little is known of Rankin and McPhaill, but probably both were non-residents.  Peter Cristy bought McPhaill’s lot ‘at Stillwater,’ in May, 1793; and Rankin’s a few months later.

John McDougall resided on his lot, No. 6; and sold portions of it in 1793 to Peter Cristy, Samuel Hill, James Cristy, Paul Knight, and Thaddeus Ames, who were concerned in a saw mill, of which mention will be made in a later chapter.  At the front of this lot was another reserve for a public landing, a part of which is now occupied by the approach to the upper bridge.  The rear of the lot is now owned by Mr. George Todd and the C. F. Todd estate.

An old resident4 says the island in the river at Milltown now called McDougall island took its name from Katie McDougall, a little girl who went there for the purpose of picking berries, and whose return was cut off by some of her companions setting adrift the loose material which until then had connected it with the shore.  The same informant says that in early times a cross stood on the Indian reserve, not far from where the Methodist church now stands.

On this Indian reserve, extending from McDougall’s lot at Stillwater to Brown’s lot below the Salmon Falls, lie nearly all the principal streets of the town of Milltown.  The place was one of much importance to the Passamaquoddies, not only on account of the ‘dipping fishery,’ but also because it contained one of their tribal burying grounds.  It seems to have been to them a sort of holy ground long before the white men came; for there is a tradition that here, on some spot near the Salmon Falls, was the fire from which the Schoodic took its name,5 (literally, ‘where it burns,’ or, ‘where it is burnt.’)  This fire, probably connected with some of the mystic ceremonies of the tribe, is said to have been kept burning throughout the fishing season.  The wonder-working fires of the cotton mill furnaces may now, perhaps, be burning upon the very spot on which the aborigines made their votive offerings to the spirit of the stream, or invoked the mighty Glooscap’s aid.

Among the grantees of section D at Schoodic Falls, there was none more remarkable than Sergt. Duncan McColl.  His two lots, Nos. ? and 4, included most of what is now the Rural Cemetery, and extended southwesterly to the Barter Settlement road.  There is more to be said of him later, in connection with his religious work.

Northrop Marple, who owned lots 5 and 6 D, and David and Samuel Richard Marple, whose lots in section B adjoined them on the southwest, are said to have been Virginia Loyalists.  Robinson Crocker, who married a Marple, was one of the old inhabitants; and the names of several other of the grantees in this division will be recognized as those of sons of the old settlers from Machias.

We would gladly know much more of the officers and men of the 74th, who chose here to share the fate of the loyal Americans they had fought to protect, and who were among the bravest, the hardiest and the most successful of the pioneers of Charlotte county.

1Article xcv.

2Article ci.

3See note at end of Article xcvi.

4Mr. Geo. Christie.

5Another and more probably theory, however, is that the name, which seems to be of comparatively late origin, simply refers to a burnt clearing, either at or below the falls.  Chiputneticook is the Indian name for the upper part of the river.


Article lxxxix.-In the paragraph relating to Thomas Mitchell, erase the last sentence, and insert, ‘He was born at Amsterdam, Holland.  His son, Capt. Thomas Mitchell, gave the land on which St. Thomas’ church is built.’

Article cii.-Erase the sentence following the list of grantees of Division A; or change it to read, ‘The Indian reserve adjoining lot No. 6 includes &c.’  

Addition: Article CIV contains the following addition to this one: "In the list of officers of the 74th who had lands at Digdeguash or at Schoodic, substitute the name of Sergt. Nevin McVicar for that of Sergt. Alex. McNiven.  Lieut. Duncan Stewart should be mentioned with the latter as one of the grantees of St. Andrews.  In 1798, Colin Campbell was administrator of the estate in Charlotte county of Allan Stewart, deceased, and Duncan Stewart, ‘formerly Lieutenant of the 74th, and now or late of His Majesty’s 79th Regiment of Foot, residing in Glasgow.'"

Correction: Article CIX contains the following correction to this one: "Capt. Alex. McRea was not an officer of the 74th.  In 1826 a grant was passed to ‘Flora McRea, widow of the late Captain Alexander McRea of His Majesty’s late Royal North Carolina Highlanders, who served in that Regiment during the whole war with the Mother Country and the present United States of North America, in which service he was severely wounded and from which wound he never recovered.’  Capt. Angus McDonald belonged to the same regiment."