Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB
August 11, 1892
GLIMPSES OF THE PAST
Contributions to the History of Charlotte County and the Border Towns.
XXIX FROM THE DEPARTURE OF DE MONTS TO THE INCURSIONS OF CHURCH-Continued.
[W. F. Ganong, M. A.]
3.-Records of the Later French Period.
In 1684 we hear of another land grant, this time from the French government, to another man who did his best for the good of the new country. On June 28th of that year there was granted in seigneurie to Jean Sarreau, Sieur de St. Aubin, a tract of land at Passamaquoddy, which was to have its centre at an island called Archimagan, and was to include five leagues of front along the sea shore, and fives leagues of depth into the land, including the islands near, and a rocky islet six leagues off for a seal fishery. This was a true seigneurial grant, giving the seigneur the administration of justice, the right to sublet to tenants, and all the ancient rights and duties of a feudal lord of olden days. It is furthermore known that the Sieur de St. Aubin actually settled at Archimagan with his family and retainers, and that he built there a palisaded dwelling or fort; but the site of his dwelling as well as the island itself are unknown, though certain references to the place, presently to be mentioned, make it seem certain that it was very near the mainland, and in the vicinity of Eastport. It may have been on Moose island, at or near the present site of the town of Eastport. The present writer has tried to obtain the aboriginal name of Moose Island, which would go far towards settling this most interesting question, but so far in vain. There appears to be no other Indian name for any island in this region which is at all like the word in question.1
Two years later we again hear of St. Aubin, together with another settler who either followed or preceded him; for in the French census of Acadia of 1686 we find the following:
Saincte Croix2: Le Sieur de St. Aubin and his wife; his elder and second sons, and several servants.
De Sorcis, 27 years of age, who is also established in that river.
We have a most interesting and valuable confirmation of this census, with some additional information, in a most authentic document of 1688, printed among the Hutchinson papers by the Massachusetts Historical Society.3 It reads as follows, under the title, Names of inhabitants between the rivers Penobscot and St. Croix:-
At Pessimaquody, near St. Croix.
St. Robin, wife and son, with like grant from Quebeck.
Letrell, Jno. Minns wife and four children-Lambert and Jolly Cure his servants.
At St. Croix.
Zorzy, and Lena his servant. Grant from Quebeck.
In the above it is easy to recognize St. Robin as St. Aubin, poorly anglicized; Zorzy is clearly, de Sorcis. Latrell (perhaps properly Latrielle) figured prominently among these settlers later, and it is known that he lived at Indian Island when Church made his famous descent upon Passamaquoddy in 1704, presently to be described. The other names are of much interest. Jolly Cure would be Jolicoeur, and perhaps Lambert would properly be LAmbert.
Another census followed in 1689, in which the inhabitants of Passamaquoddy are given as, 4 men, 4 women, 8 boys, 5 girls; and the inhabitants are said to possess 4 houses, 4 barns, 7 horned cattle, 6 guns, and to have in cultivation 22 arpents [i.e., 27 acres] of land. The latter item is of the greatest interest, as it shows there was an intention of permanency in the settlement-it was not simply a trading or fishing post.
The next document that is known is a grant from the government at Quebec, of the date of July 16, 1691, in which to Jean Meusnier, Acadian, there is granted,
Two leagues in front by two leagues in in [sic] depth on the small river which the Indians call Maricadeoüy: to wit, one league in front on each side of the said river, opposite to each other, the said two leagues of land in front and two leagues in depth to be taken in the unconceded lands at a distance of about five leagues below Pesmoucady, running towards the north-east.
This was not a seigneurial, but a property grant, and it was clearly situated at the mouth of the Magaguadavic, the five leagues north-east from Passamaquoddy referring to its distance from the present Eastport harbor, which was the place known in these early records as Passamaquoddy.
It is possible that this Jean Meusnier is the same man called in Hutchinsons document Jno. Minn, and that he resided at Passamaquoddy before land was granted to him. However this may be, Jean Meusnier was one of the Acadians plundered in some of the earlier expeditions of the New Englanders; and, if he be not the same as Jno. Minn, he may have been plundered by Church at Penobscot in 1693, for his grant records that his former property, situated in Acadia,4 had been plundered and burnt by the English who had made a descent upon his place, so this grant is given to enable him to settle in a safer place.
Two years later, 1693, we have another census, which reads as follows, under Passamaquoddy:-
Le Sieur de St. Aubin, aged 72 years.
Moise la Treille, aged 38 years.
Madam Huguette, his wife aged 26 years (and four children.)
There must have been others here at this time, whose names have been omitted from our scanty notes on the census. Usually the censuses were taken with great care and thoroughness. Doubtless the Moise la Treille mentioned above is the Letrell of the Hutchinson paper of 1688, and the Lotriel of the Church narrative presently to follow.5
In this same year also, 1693, on April 14th, the island of Grand Manan, together with islands, islets and beaches which may be found lying around and near the same, was granted in seigneurie to Paul Dailleboust, Sieur de Perigny. We know that he was a lieutenant in the French army, and some other facts about his life; which, however, are of little interest to us, since it is unlikely that he ever saw his possessions, and he makes no other appearance in our history.
The last of these seigneurial grants that we shall have occasion to mention is that to Sieur Michel Chartier, dated July 8, 1695. In it he is given in fief and seigneurie,
An extent of land situate on the river Descoudet [Scoodic] containing one half league in front on each side of the said river, one league and a half in depth, together with the adjacent islands and islets, to commence at the south-west side of the property of the Sieur St. Aubin, descending the said river, and on the north-east side at the ungranted lands, etc.
The description of this grant is altogether too indefinite to enable us at present to fix with certainty upon its location, particularly as the position of St. Aubins seigneurie is so imperfectly known. It may possibly have included St. Andrews, but it was much more probably at the present site of St. Stephen, for Col. Church, as presently to be described, found him settled there in 1704.6
One more census, in 1700, was taken while Acadia was under French control, and in that the population of Passamaquoddy is returned as consisting of the Sieur St. Aubin and fifteen persons. We are not told their names, but it is probable that the original documents, preserved in France, give them in full. The only additional name that we are acquainted with is that of Gourdan, (probably Gourdin,) mentioned by Church in 1704.
1St. Aubins place of residence is given by Hannay (History of Acadia, p. 239.) as Edgemoragan Reach, a little to the eastward of Penobscot. Edgemoragan is apparently another form of Archimagan, which was undoubtedly one of the Passamaquoddy islands.
2The loose way of using the names St. Croix and Passamaquoddy is in accord both with the custom and imperfect geographical knowledge of the time.
3Collections, 3rd series, vol. 1, p. 82. (The partial copy of this paper contained in Bangor Hist. Mag. of 1886, p. 116, is exceedingly full of errors.)
4Acadia at that time extended to the Penobscot, and several grants were made by the French government along the Maine coast.
5Indian Island is frequently called by his name on old maps, and on one of late in the last century, in the Crown Land office at Fredericton, it is written LAterail.
6A grant of land on the St. John river, four leagues in length by two in depth, including the site of the present village of Gagetown, was made by Count Frontenac, March 23, 1691, to Dame Marie Françoise Chartier, widow of the Sieur de Soulanges et Marson. She was probably a sister or a near relative of the Sieur Michel Chartier.-Rev. W. O. Raymond.
Correction: Article XXX contains the following correction to this one: "For Latrielle, read Latreille; and in paragraph referring to Jean Meusnier, for in 1693, read in 1690."
Correction: The Additions and Corrections piece following article XXXVII contains the following correction to this one: "Strike out ninth and tenth lines, and insert at the end of the sentence, also the island called Archimagan, with the islands for two leagues around it. In line 23, for Archimagan read Passamaquoddy; in the phrase following, read but the site of his dwelling is unknown; strike out all that follows to the end of the paragraph. In the first foot-note strike out the last two lines. Further research has shown that Edgemoragan, Edgmorragen, Edgmoggin, Eggemoggin, or Agemogan reach was near the mouth of the Penobscot river, between Deer Island and the adjacent coast. The island of Archimagan may therefore have been Deer Island, Me. There would seem to have been two St. Aubins, probably father and son, the former residing at Passamaquoddy, the latter at Agemogan reach, on land belonging to his fathers seigneurie."
The ninth and tenth lines in the original article contain the following text: "which was to have its centre at an island called Archimagan, and was."
Line 23 contains the following text: "Archimagan with his family and."
Here is the amended paragraph:
"In 1684 we hear of another land grant, this time from the French government, to another man who did his best for the good of the new country. On June 28th of that year there was granted in seigneurie to Jean Sarreau, Sieur de St. Aubin, a tract of land at Passamaquoddy, to include five leagues of front along the sea shore, and fives leagues of depth into the land, including the islands near, and a rocky islet six leagues off for a seal fishery, also the island called Archimagan, with the islands for two leagues around it. This was a true seigneurial grant, giving the seigneur the administration of justice, the right to sublet to tenants, and all the ancient rights and duties of a feudal lord of olden days. It is furthermore known that the Sieur de St. Aubin actually settled at Passamaquoddy with his family and retainers, and that he built there a palisaded dwelling or fort; but the site of his dwelling is unknown."
The last two lines of the first foot-note contain the following text: "which was undoubtedly one of the Passamaquoddy islands."
Here is the amended foot-note:
"St. Aubins place of residence is given by Hannay (History of Acadia, p. 239.) as Edgemoragan Reach, a little to the eastward of Penobscot. Edgemoragan is apparently another form of Archimagan."