Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB
December 21, 1893


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


The only record of an earlier settlement on the land granted to the Highlanders on the Digdeguash is the following pathetic note on an old map in the Crown Land office, where the site of a solitary house is marked on the plan, about five miles from the mouth of the river and on its western bank:-

A family formerly resided here and cleared: were all drowned in this river.

In the above mentioned map, which is not dated, the Digdeguash is called the Meander river.  At the head of the tide it shows a mill, and a house marked ‘Andrews.’  About a quarter of a mile below the mill there is placed another house, marked ‘Bonny.’  The mill was doubtless that referred to in the grant of 1784 to John Curry and others,1 and near it must have stood the house built by Joel Bonney for Esquire Curry, which was plundered in the foray of 1787, when the records of the Campobello courts were carried away or destroyed.

A relative of Esquire Curry’s wife now living in Calais has often heard the story of this raid-how the Americans came when Esquire Curry was away from home, spilled all the wine in the cellar that they could not take away with them, seized every thing of value that they could carry off, and departed for further depredations at St. John; and how Esquire Curry followed and overtook them there, and got back a part of his property and enough silver and other valuables to make up for his loss.

Walter Flynn, a native of Pennsylvania, and a sergeant in one of the disbanded Loyalist corps, received a grant of the land now occupied by his grandson of the same name.  After coming to Digdeguash he married Anne Brown, a niece of the wife of Esquire Curry.  Ten children were born to them, one of whom, also named Walter Flynn, was the father of the present owner of the place.  He was drowned by the upsetting of a boat in St. Andrews Bay.  Sergt. Flynn died at about ninety years of age, and his wife when nearly one hundred.  They were buried on their own farm.

The above facts relating to Sergt. Flynn are given chiefly on the authority of the late Mrs. Brown, of Summerside, P.E.I., his last surviving daughter, who was born on the 25th of December, 1792, and reached the age of one hundred years on last Christmas day.2  Mrs. Brown remembered as neighbours the McIlroys, Fishers, Stewarts and Campbells; and could recollect the building of the mills afterwards known as the Allanshaw & McMaster mills.

Joel Bonney left the house referred to above; but, after living for a time on Grand Manan, took up a new place at the mouth of the Digdeguash.  Maj. McDonald has left the following report on the settlement of this tract:-

McIlroy and Stewart Settled on the tract in 1788 and say they applied with Moses Sprage for 100 acres each that they expected a front of 40 Rods on the Shore, and with a mariner’s compas set the courses of their side lines at N.E. & by N. that they lived and improved in a kind of partnership together on the Shore, but since Stewart’s marriage that they separated Houses, and occupied the land nearly as laid down in this plan.  Sprague settled on the tract in 1789, made some improvements as on the plan, and left in 1796.  Joel Boney Senior Settled on the Head in 1790 which he cleared all up and then moved back in the rear of the other Settlers on the County Road in 1796 where he now resides.  John Jameson Settled on the tract in 1793 at a little Marsh on the Shore in opposition to Stewart & McIlroy who had fenced in the marsh, and conveyed his claim to Joel Boney Junr. when he left it in 1797.  Joel Boney Junr. has since been Settled on the tract till this year (1804) when he went to the United States.

1Article liii.

2They are corroborated by Capt. Joshua Thomas and his wife, of Calais, who are descendants of Sergt. Flynn.  We are indebted to Mrs. Thomas for the story of the raid as given above.

Mrs. Brown departed this life on the 6th of May last, at the residence of her son, Mr. Patrick Brown, in Summerside.


Article lxxvi.-Add as a foot note on the name of Belle View, ‘A deed recorded at St. Andrews in 1786 gives the name as Belle Vue.  It is a mortgage of certain water lots owned by Drummond Simpson, to Pierpont & Waddington, of London; whose correspondence, if still in existence, would throw some light upon the business affairs of Beaver Harbor at that date.’

Article lxxxi.-After the word ‘Digdeguash,’ in the eleventh line of the fourth paragraph, insert ‘and the Schoodic.’

Article lxxxiv.-For the paragraph relating to William Anstruther, substitute, ‘William Anstruther, a Scotchman by birth, had held the rank of major in the Royal Garrison Battalion.  He was appointed a magistrate in 1785.  In 1787 he married Isabella McLeod, and shortly afterwards he seems to have left the province.  In 1802 he was in the island of Guernsey, as colonel in command of the Royal Independent Invalids.  Col. Anstruther sold all his property in Charlotte county to Robert Pagan.

Article xcii.-In the list of grantees of the lower mill privilege, the name of Eben Libby should follow that of Jacob Libby.  John Buchanan (or Bohanan), the last named in the list, had sold one-sixth of the same property, called ‘the new mill on Denny’s stream,’ to Capt. Pote, in 1785.

In the paragraph referring to lot No. 4, granted to William Anstruther, erase the second sentence and insert, ‘This had been originally the farm of John Bohanan; but Major Anstruther had purchased his claim in 1784.’

Article xciii.-Add to fourth paragraph, ‘William Gallop was registrar of deeds from 1786 to 1789.  In company with Colin Campbell and Thomas Wyer, he owned the Oak Point Bay mill, at the mouth of the stream which bears his name.’

Article xcv.-In the twenty-eighth line of the third paragraph, for ‘daughter,’ read ‘sister.’  (See note below.)

Mr. D. F. Campbell, of St. Andrews writes:-

‘I wrote my father, at one time, asking him about the Colin Campbell who was collector at St. Andrews, and this is his reply:-

‘You speak of Colin Campbell, whose name appears in the old records of St. Andrews.  He was from Sissiboo, Nova Scotia, and was sent to St. Andrews as collector of the port, at that time an important office, and resided there many years; but retired and returned to Nova Scotia.  He was also president of the Charlotte County Bank.  He had a large family in Nova Scotia, and his sons filled prominent positions there.

‘My grandfather, Colin Campbell also, came to St. John in 1784, with the three younger children, (father was about 12 months old, the Colin Campbell afterwards sheriff,) as collector of that port and in other government offices.  The family remained at St. John, and the boys were sent home to Scotland to be educated as they grew up, my father among the others.  Donald, the eldest, went into the navy, and married a sister of Sir Howard Douglas.  Alexander, the second, was a wine merchant in London.  Father returned to St. John; but the other brothers remained in Scotland.  Grandfather, with the rest of the family, also returned to Scotland; and father alone of a family of twelve brothers and sisters remained in the province.  John and Archibald went into the army.  John was killed at Corruna, a major; Archibald was severely wounded at San Sebastian, and never recovered from his injuries.  He had been appointed private secretary to Sir Howard Douglas.  Duncan F., for whom you are named, at the time of his death was commander of a small brig, and died of sun stroke at Gibraltar.  He was the only one of my father’s brothers I ever saw, as he was twice in St. Andrews on leave of absence when stationed at the West Indies.

‘He then gives the family of his mother, who was a daughter of James Campbell, of Pennfield.

‘My grandfather, Colin Campbell, spoken of above, afterward sheriff, who died in 1843, had eleven children, all born in St. Andrews; Alexander, who died in Oakland, Cal., lately; John, my father, who died in St. Andrews in 1884; Colin, drowned in New Zealand, in 1847; James and Archie, who were lost at sea; Susan, Mrs. Thos. Watt; Margaret, Mrs. S. H. Whitlock; Mary Ann, Mrs. Andrew Stevens; Grace, Mrs. John McLeod; Jessie, Mrs. David Mowatt; and Miss Amy G. Campbell, all dead.

‘The descendants are numerous; but myself and my sister, Annie P. Campbell, now in St. Andrews, and James Campbell, of Pennfield, and his children, are the only descendants of the two Campbell families (Lieut. James and Sheriff Colin) now in the county of the name of Campbell.’

Correction: Article XCVII contains a correction to this one: "By a blunder in last week’s issue, the date of the plundering of Squire Curry’s house was given as 1787.  It should have been 1778."

Caren's note: Duncan F. Campbell, son of John Campbell, grandson of Sheriff Colin Campbell Junior, great-grandson of Colin Campbell Senior, wrote this letter in response to the information that appeared on this Campbell family in Article XCIV. As noted, there were two prominent Colin Campbells in St. Andrews in the early years of the settlement. One came from Nova Scotia to be collector of customs at St. Andrews for a time, but retired back to Nova Scotia. It doesn't appear that any of his family stayed in the St. Andrews area. The other Colin Campbell, husband of Susannah and father of Sheriff Colin Campbell Junior, lived in St. Andrews for a number of years before moving to Saint John to be a collector of customs there. They did not live in Saint John from 1784 on, as Duncan states. The obituary of one of Colin's and Susannah's sons, Archibald, appeared in the May 6, 1824 issue of the Saint John City Gazette. According to this record, he died Feb. 7, 1824 in Turnult, Scotland at the age of 33, and he was a native of St. Andrews. It seems that the family stayed in St. Andrews until at least 1791, then.

Also, Colin and Susannah did not come to New Brunswick with the "three younger children" as Duncan states. See 74th Regiment Background for evidence that they arrived with all four of their children: Donald, Alexander, John and Colin.