Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB
January 14, 1892
GLIMPSES OF THE PAST
Contributions to the History of Charlotte County and the Border Towns.
Remember the days of old,
Consider the years of many generations;
Ask thy father, and he will show thee;
Thy elders, and they will tell thee.
-Deut. xxxii., 7.
A history of the several parishes of Charlotte county is a work which it would be presumptuous in any one to undertake without years of study and research; but when the time shall come for such a work, the historian of Charlotte will find in his subject a rich reward for his labors. Here, remote from the war paths of the fiercer tribes, the Etchemin found perennial plenty in the teeming life of our shores, and hunted in safety along our streams and lakes, paying, so tradition says, a nominal tribute of furs to his masters, the Iroquois. Here war and peace have held alternate sway since the white men came with their old world jealousies and made this the uncertain border land between their New England and New France. To this place, a century ago, for very love and loyalty, men followed a flag that had failed to protect them in their homes; and here their sons faced every danger to rally again in its defence. To the shores of Charlotte county it was that the last British garrison of the revolted colonies came, to hold the land for England; and here, too, non-combatants had sought a land of peace. And when at last peace and good will prevailed, the timbers of our forest trees were wrought into ships for every sea; and the first railroad of British America ran north from the shores of Charlotte.
Many of the stories told about the early settlers of the county, unless they are recorded now, may soon be forgotten; and many valuable documents in the hands of individuals may soon be lost or destroyed. If a county historical society were formed, both traditions and documents might be gathered up and preserved for the use of the future historian; and a move in this direction cannot be made too soon. In the mean time, it is our purpose in these articles, with the help of those who are interested in the subject, to bring together all the materials that are easily available and give to them such permanence as a newspaper file may afford; hoping that thus, at least, an interest may be awakened amongst our readers, and some valuable or interesting facts may be saved from oblivion. We invite the co-operation of everyone who has anything to contribute; and especially of those who know of the existence of some old manuscript in private hands, which may at any moment be destroyed by fire and its contents be lost to history. Even records seemingly of little importance may prove valuable in verifying a date or establishing a doubtful fact.
OUR COUNTY HISTORY.
The encouragement given us in the preparation of our promised articles on local history is very gratifying. Mr. J. W. Lawrence, president of the New Brunswick Historical Society, has expressed his interest in a very practical way, by sending parchments containing some of the earliest legal processes issued for execution in Charlotte county. Mr. Edward Jack not only approves of our plan, but will make contributions which will add very greatly to the value of the series. Hon. A. H. Gillmor writes: I shall read the articles with great satisfaction. . . If I can be of any service, please call on me. Mr. R. T. Clinch and others living at a distance have written letters of approval.
The Rev. Arthur H. W. Eaton, of New York, author of The Church in Nova Scotia and the Tory Clergy of the Revolution, (Whittaker, New York, 1891,) and of Acadian Lyrics, and other poems, who has a MS. set of the annual reports of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, complete from 1749 to 1800, relating to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the only complete set in America, has allowed extracts to be made referring to the work of the earliest English missionaries in these parts. These extracts will be found very interesting, and have not been published before. In this connection we have to acknowledge not only the great kindness of Rev. Mr. Eaton, but the patient work of Mrs. W. F. Ganong in selecting and copying the portions referring to our district.
We are glad to announce that Mrs. W. W. Brown, of Calais, whose writings upon matters connected with the Wabanaki Indians, appearing in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada and other publications, have made her known as an authority on these subjects, will prepare a special paper for the series.
Among others in Calais who will give efficient help are the editor of the Advertiser and the editor of the Times. The latter, who, as a descendant of the original grantee of the present town plot of St. George, has been interested in the subject for years, has generously offered the use of valuable documents; the former will furnish material for an article on the early press of Charlotte. Within the county there are many who have promised to take an active interest in the work.
Referring to the general outline of the series published last week, the St. John Sun says:-
The purpose of the Courier is deserving of the highest commendation. The name of so close and industrious a historical student as Professor Ganong is a guarantee that a number of the papers will contain valuable information never given to the general public before. Charlotte county history, dating from the first European settlement, covers a long period; in fact, no place in Canada can claim priority of date. Several of our contemporaries have given attention to local history; but, with the exception of the Chignecto Post, which has made excellent use of its opportunities, none have had so attractive a field as the Courier.
The arrangement of materials has been entrusted to a member of
our staff who is deeply interested in his subject, and we trust
his call for further contributions, (in the introductory note on
another page,) will meet with a ready response. Valuable
papers will be carefully copied and returned to the owners;
matters of private or personal nature, will, of course, be
respected; and due credit will be given to all who assist.