Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB
November 23, 1893


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


East and west of the Morristown garden lots and extending back the same distance from the river, were two tracts of land allotted to the old inhabitants.  They were divided into lots in August, 1785.  As no grant of that date is recorded, it is supposed that the occupants held their land by location tickets only, until 1792, when the tracts mentioned, together with two mill privileges on Dennis stream, were granted to ‘Nehemiah Marks and 14 others.’

The first tract, extending from the Dunbar grant to the head of the Cove, was divided into three lots, the largest of which was that of Dr. Donald McDonald, 132 acres.  It adjoined the block of 100 acres granted to Capt. Marks in 1784.

Who Dr. McDonald was, when and whence he came, and why he did not choose to remain here, are mysteries.  He sold to Lieutenant-Colonel Allan Stewart, Lieutenant Duncan Stewart, and Lieutenant Hugh Stuart; the latter of whom sold his share of the purchase to Capt. Marks in 1789.  In 1790, there was a Donald McDonald living at Township No. 4, (now Robbinston,) as head of a household of nine persons.1  If he can be identified with Dr. McDonald, (which is by no means certain,) it might seem that he preferred to live on the Massachusetts side of the line.

The log house on this lot, possibly built by Dr. McDonald, was occupied by Duncan McColl, (afterwards Rev. Duncan McColl,) who came here in 1785, as agent for Colonel and Lieutenant Stewart; and in it he began his remarkable work as a religious teacher, which will form the subject of a later chapter.  It stood at or near the site of the building on Water street which was formerly used as a furniture store by the late J. W. Moore & Son, and from which Clark’s drug store is now about to be removed.

Benjamin Getchell, (whose wife was Mr. McColl’s first convert,) lived on lot No. 2, his house standing about where that of Mrs. William T. Rose now stands.2

The third lot was granted to Jacob Libby, and his house stood near its western line, and not far from the head of the Cove.

Ninian Lindsay afterwards bought out the Stewarts; Benjamin Getchell sold to Capt. Frink; and the Jacob Libby lot was divided into smaller lots and sold to different purchasers.

Lot No. 1 in the second tract, containing 100 acres, had probably been laid out for Jeremiah Frost, and was granted to Sarah Frost.  It included, approximately, the land now known as the Broad and Pine lots and their extension to the river.  The ‘upper mill’ stood on this lot, where its easterly line crosses Dennis stream; or, rather, on a square block of four acres taken out of the easterly side.  Six-eighths of this mill privilege was granted to Sarah Frost, one-eighth to John Curry, and one-eighth to James Chaffey.  The ‘lower mill’ privilege, of ten acres, was granted five-twelfths to Colin Campbell,3 two-twelfths to James Chaffey, and one-twelfth each to Jones Dyer, Abiel Sprague, Jacob Libby and John Buchannan.  The mill stood a little above the present site of Broads’ axe factory.

Lot No. 2 was granted to Eben Libby.  The Marks lot, (between the McDonald lot and west range of garden lots,) was where Samuel Libby had settled; but Capt. Marks purchased the improvements from him, or from his son, (for the father died a few months before the lots were laid out,) and induced them to take another place.4  Eben Libby built his house near his western line, Mr. G. M. Porter’s western gate is near the spot.

The next lot was granted to Samuel Millbury, whose house stood near the shore on the land now occupied by Mr. Marks.

The fourth lot of this tract was granted to William Anstruther, one of the St. Andrews grantes.  Whether he had bought out the claim of an earlier settler, or not, it is impossible now to say.  He sold to Robert Pagan.  The front part was afterwards divided into building lots, and is crossed by Water street, Pagan street and Armstrong street, as well as by Prince William street, or the ‘County road,’ which runs through the other three lots.  The rest of the lot was purchased by the late Colonel Marks.

Across the rear of lots 2, 3, and 4, lay a long Y-shaped ‘mast pond,’ made by damming Dennis stream a short distance below where the Shore Line bridge now crosses.  One branch of this pond was crossed by the road leading ‘from Morristown to the country,’ at the place still sometimes called ‘the long bridge,’ though the bridge there now is very short.

In 1790, the land now included in Milltown and part of Queen’s ward, St. Stephen, as far down as the head of the Cove, was granted to Donald Grant and others.  As in the case of the tracts above mentioned, there is no record of an earlier grant, though the land was certainly occupied earlier.

Between these two grants, lay a broad gore of the Port Matoon Association grants, its apex just touching tide water at the head of the cove.  It was divided lengthwise into two lots, granted respectively to Lieut. Brady and Maurice Salts; the road which ran between them forming the Hawthorne street of to-day.

1Avery’s census.

2For further notes concerning Benjamin Getchell and other pre-Loyalist settlers, see article lii.

3He had apparently bought his shares from an earlier settler-possibly from Daniel Hill.

4The compensation is said to have been 25, a barrel of beef and a barrel of flour.  (Interview with the late Mrs. Porter, in Courier of April 17, 1868)


Article lii-In the fourteenth line of the seventh paragraph, for ‘a little to the north of,’ read ‘near.’  In the following sentence, relating to Eben Libby, for ‘when he wished to build a house for himself, perhaps some two or three years later, chose a spot farther down the river,’ read, ‘lived with his father, (until the death of the latter, in 1785,) at a place father down the river.’

Article xci-As Abraham and Ichabod Pine were probably New York Loyalists, the following additional note from Sabine may be of interest here:-

Pine’s Ferry, a noted crossing place on the Croton river, belonged to this family.  At the period of the Revolution, a bridge had been erected across the stream, which in turn was called Pine’s bridge.  Smith, who conducted Major Andre on his way to New York, took his leave at this bridge, in the belief that no difficulty would happen for the remainder of the journey.

Correction: Article XCVI contains the following correction to this one: "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.’

Addition: Article XCVI contains the following addition to this one: "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."

Correction: Article CII contains the following correction to this one: "In eighth paragraph, for ‘Jeremiah Frost’ read ‘James Frost.’ Jeremiah Frost received from Sarah Frost, the widow of James Frost, after she had left Schoodic Falls, a deed of lot No. 1, in the second tract of the grant to Nehemiah Marks and 14 others, called the ‘Old Settlers’ grant; and in a document of later date he mentions it as ‘where my father James Frost and others lays buried.’"