Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB
November 3, 1892


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


In one of the MS. books of the boundary commission there is a list of grants made in the vicinity of Passamaquoddy by the governors of the province of Nova Scotia, extracted from records and original documents in the office of the registrar of deeds and conveyances at Halifax.  From this and from the records in the Crown Land office at Fredericton, it is possible to gain a pretty clear idea of how the land was divided among the first grantees.

Under date of Oct. 18, 1765, a grant was made to Thomas Falconer, Rev. John Ogilvie, and 59 others, of a tract called the township of Burton, on the west side of the St. John river, near the mouth of the Oromocto; also a small island in the St. John river lying S.W. of Mauger’s Island; ‘also another island in Passamaquoddy bay, called Perkins Island.’  This island was occupied by the grantees for the purpose of carrying on the fishery till 1775, when the war interrupted all business in that quarter.

October 31, 1765, a grant was made by the governor of Nova Scotia to Francis Bernard, (governor of Massachusetts,) Thomas Pownal, John Mitchell, Thomas Thornton and Richard Jackson, Esqrs.,

Beginning at the head of the western branch of the river Copscook called the St. Croix two leagues above the falls or full rapids and to run from thence North on the meridian line, or North fourteen degrees east by the needle seventeen miles, thence south sixty-six degrees east till it meets with the western branch of the river Schoodick and is thence bounded by the said river Schoodick, to the east bay round into Copscook River, through the falls, and up the western branch to the first mentioned boundary, together with the Island called Moose Island and the Island called St. Croix Island1 containing in the whole by estimation One hundred thousand acres, &c.

This grant, it will be seen, included all the territory between the Cobscook and the Schoodic, and was applied for and issued under the assumption that the Cobscook was the St. Croix of Champlain, thus ignoring the report of Mitchell in the previous year, that the Magaguadavic was the true St. Croix.

March 28, 1767, is the date of the oldest mentioned grant of any part of the mainland within the limits of Charlotte county.  This was a grant to James Boyd, Esq., of one thousand acres, being all wood land, and was said to begin:-

At the mouth of the westernmost of the three rivers in the grand bay of Passamaquoddy in the province called Dickawassit river and to measure westerly thirty chains on the shore of the bay, thence to run north one hundred and seventy chains, thence east sixty chains, thence south one hundred and sixty chains more or less till it meets the said bay, thence westerly the several courses of the bay to the mouth of the said river first mentioned.

While the general description might suggest the Schoodic as the site of this grant, the name of the river suggests the Digdeguash.  The tract, however, as laid down on Major Holland’s chart, 1773, lies on both sides of the mouth of the Bocabec.  It was probably chosen for its valuable timber.

In July of the same year, a grant was made to ‘John Tucker, Esqr., his heirs and Assigns,’ of a tract of land-

Situate lying and being at Passamaquoddy, beginning at a point called Tucker’s point, on the north side of Scoodiack river in the province aforesaid and measuring easterly according to the course of the said river forty chains till it comes to the westernmost bounds of lands granted to Captain Sheriff and Lieut. Gamble and running north by the compass on said Lands and ungranted lands eight hundred and twenty chains of four rods to each chain, thence west two hundred and thirty chains on ungranted lands, thence south thirteen degrees west seven hundred and eighty chains on the westernmost boundary line of Nova Scotia till it meets the northwest corner of lands granted to the Honorable Francis Bernard Esqr. and others, thence south seventy-seven degrees east on said lands till it meets the river Scoodiac thence to cross over said river to the bounds first mentioned, containing in the whole by estimation, twenty thousand acres.

Until the locality of Tucker’s point can be determined, we cannot accurately place this grant, but it probably included the greater part of the present parishes of Dufferin and St. David, as well as St. Stephen and the southern part of St. James, and extended across the river to some point north and west of Princeton.

The Sheriff and Gamble grant probably included Oak Bay.

On the 21st of August, in the same year, 1767, a grant was made to ‘John Mascareen, Esq.,’ of ten thousand acres of land near the mouth of the Magaguadavic, extending southward and eastward from the place that now bears his name, and including the greater part of the peninsula formed by the tide waters of the Magaguadavic and the L’Etang.  This grant was escheated in 1785.

Five other grants of land were made on the same day, covering nearly all the intervening coast.

To Joseph Gorham was granted Deer Island and an island adjoining.

To Joseph William Gorham was granted 10,000 acres, beginning at a little cove opposite St. Andrews Island, and comprising land on the east side of Schoodic river near its mouth.2

William Gorham got 10,000 acres adjoining, and also fronting upon the river.

The grant of 10,000 acres to Edward Crosby covered lands lying north of the Mascareen grant, and reads:

Beginning at the bend of the first river of Passamaquoddy, and running east two hundred and sixty chains on lands granted to John Mascareen Esquire, thence north two hundred and twenty chains on ungranted lands, thence west to Passamaquoddy bay, thence to be bounded by said bay and up the river till it comes to the bounds first mentioned.

Augustine Oldham’s grant of 10,000 acres, of the same date, is described as:-

Beginning at a little cove in Passamaquoddy bay and running east six hundred and forty chains on lands granted to Edward Crosby, thence north one hundred and eighty chains on ungranted lands, thence west to the second river in said Bay, thence to be bounded by said river and bay to the bounds first mentioned.

In September of the same year, ‘Passamaquoddy Outer Island’ was granted to William Owen, Arthur Davis Owen, David Owen and William Owen, Jr.; and in 1771 a further grant was made to William Owen of an island

Lying and bearing N.N.W. from the N.E. end of Passamaquoddy outer Island about three quarters of a mile distant; also a small rocky island called Gull Island contiguous to the other; also a small island westward of Gull Island commonly known as Casco Bay Island; about 40 acres in all.

In the latter year, land at the mouth of the Digdeguash, adjoining Boyd’s tract, was granted to Thomas Ferrell, (or Farrell, as it is spelled in the crown land records.)

Few of these grantees, however, made any attempt to settle upon their lands, and perhaps the majority never even saw them.

The grants of 1765 were made by Gov. Montague Wilmot; the subsequent grants by Lord William Campbell.  The latter is said to have wished to reserve for himself the island of Grand Manan.  The following is the only record bearing upon the matter:

In Council, 5th Novem, 1773.

The following memorial was laid before the Governor & Council
The memorial of Lord William Campbell, requesting that the Island formerly called Grand Manan may be reserved until his majesty’s pleasure may be known.


Rd. Bulkeley
S. Coun.

No grant of this island was issued, however, and the only land grant made to him seems to have been one of 405 acres at Amherst.

John Curry afterwards purchased Ferrell’s and Boyd’s tracts and lived upon them.  Deer Island was sold to Ferrell, in 1770, by its first grantee, Joseph Gorham; but a new grant of the same territory to Ferrell, in 1810, recites that Gorham’s grant ‘had become vacated and cancelled by not being registered in this province.’  This, we may suppose, was the fate of all the others named, except the grants to Boyd, Mascareen and Ferrell, the Owen grants, and the grant to Sir Francis Bernard and associates.  The property of the latter was confiscated by the state of Massachusetts, after the close of the Revolutionary war, because the principal proprietors were adherents of the crown.

1This was probably what is now called Treat’s Island, midway between Eastport and Lubec.  The name was given, of course, under the erroneous supposition that the Cobscook was the St. Croix.

2Possibly this should read ‘Joseph and William Gorham.’  

Addition: Article LIII contains the following addition to this one: 'An old plan belonging to the Chipman papers shows that the William Gorham grant included Oak Bay.  Tucker’s point was apparently what is now called Hill’s point, in Dufferin; and the east line of Tucker’s grant ran northward from a point near the Ledge.  The Sheriff and Gamble grant is not marked, but would seem to have been a narrow strip fronting on the river between the Ledge and the Raven’s head.  Farrel’s grant on the Didgeguash was too far north to join the Boyd grant.  South of the Mascareen grant was a tract of 2000 acres on the shore of Letete passage granted to Thomas Gamble.  The plan is roughly drawn, and bears no mark of authority.'

Addition: Article XLIV contains the following addition to this one: 'At the end of second paragraph add:-The Burton grantees were known as ‘The Canada Company,’ and Perkins’ island, which was included in this grant, was Indian Island.  When they retired, in 1775, they left James Chaffey in possession, and he claimed the island as his own.  His title, however, was questionable; but after his death it was confirmed by a regrant to his heirs and assigns.'