Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB
July 7, 1892
GLIMPSES OF THE PAST
Contributions to the History of Charlotte County and the Border Towns.
XXIV THE FIRST FRENCH SETTLEMENT-Continued.
[Champlains narrative, with notes by W. F. Ganong, M. A.]
2.-The Beginning of the Settlement.
Not finding any more suitable place than this island, we commenced making a barricade on a little islet a short distance from the main island,1 which served as a station for placing our cannon. All worked so energetically that in a short time it was put in a state of defense, although the mosquitoes (which are little flies) annoyed us excessively in our work. For there were several of our men whose faces were so swollen by their bites that they could scarcely see. The barricade being finished, Sieur De Monts sent his barque to notify the rest of our party, who were with our vessel in the Bay of St. Mary,2 to come to St. Croix. This was promptly done, and while awaiting them we spent the time pleasantly.
Some days after, our vessels having arrived and anchored, all disembarked. Then, without losing time, Sieur De Monts proceeded to employ the workmen in building houses for our abode, and allowed us to determine the arrangement of our settlement. After Sieur De Monts had determined the place for the store house, which is 9 fathoms long, 3 wide, and 12 feet high, he adopted the place for his own house, which he had promptly built by good workmen, and then assigned to each one his location. Straightway the men began to gather together by fives and sixes, each according to his desire. Then all set to work to clear up the island, to go to the woods, to make the frame-work, to carry earth and other things necessary for the buildings.
While we were building our houses, Sieur De Monts despatched Captain Fouques in the vessel of Rossignol to find Pont Grave at Canseau, in order to obtain for our settlement what supplies remained.
Some time after he had set out, there arrived a small barque of eight tons, in which was Du Glas of Honfleur, pilot of Pont Graves vessel, bringing the Basque shipmasters, who had been captured by the above Pont Grave, while engaged in the fur trade, as we have stated. Sieur De Monts received them civilly, and sent them back by the above Du Glas to Pont Grave, with orders for him to take the vessel he had captured to Rochelle, in order that justice might be done. Meanwhile, work on the houses went on vigorously and without cessation; the carpenters engaged on the store house and the dwelling of Sieur De Monts, and the others each on his own house, as I was on mine, which I built with the assistance of some servants belonging to Sieur DOrville and myself. It was forthwith completed and Sieur De Monts lodged in it till his own was finished. An oven was also made, and a handmill for grinding our wheat, the working of which involved much trouble and labor to the most of us, since it was a tiresome operation. Some gardens were afterwards laid out, on the mainland,3 as well as on the island. Here many kinds of seeds were planted, which flourished very well on the mainland, but not on the island, since there was only sand here and the whole was burned up when the sun shone, although special pains were taken to water them.
Some days after, Sieur De Monts determined to ascertain where the mine of pure copper was, which we had searched for so much. With this object in view, he despatched me, together with a savage named Messamouet, who asserted that he knew the place well. I set out in a small barque of 5 or 6 tons, with 9 sailors. Some 8 leagues from the island, towards the river St. John, we found a mine of copper,4 which was not pure, yet good according to the report of the miner, who said it would yield 18 per cent. Further on we found others inferior to this. When we reached the place where he supposed that was which we were hunting for, the savage could not find it, so that it was necessary to come back, leaving the search for another time.
Upon my return from this trip, Sieur De Monts resolved to send his vessels back to France, and also Sieur de Poutrincourt, who had come only for his pleasure, and to explore countries and places suitable for a colony, which he desired to found; for which reason he asked Sieur De Monts for Port Royal, which he gave him in accordance with the power and direction he had received from the king. He sent back, also, Ralleau, his secretary, to arrange some matters concerning the voyage. They set out from the Isle of St. Croix the last day of August, 1604.
After the departure of his vessels, Sieur De Monts decided to send persons to make discoveries along the coast of Norumbegue,5 and he entrusted me with the work, which I found very agreeable. In order to execute this commission, I set out from St. Croix on the 2nd of September. . . . We arrived at our settlement on the 2nd of October following.
4.-Progress at the Settlement.
When we arrived at the Island of St. Croix, each one had finished his place of abode. Winter came upon us sooner than we expected and prevented us from doing many things which we had proposed. Nevertheless, Sieur De Monts did not fail to have some gardens made upon the island. Many began to clear up the ground each his own. I also did so with mine, which was very large, where I planted a quantity of seeds, as did also the others who had any, and they came up very well. But since the island was all sandy, everything dried up almost as soon as the sun shone on it, and we had no water for irrigation, except from the rain, which was infrequent.
Sieur De Monts caused also clearings to be made on the mainland for making gardens, and at the falls, three leagues from our settlement, he had work done and some wheat sown, which came up very well and ripened.6 Around our habitations there is at low tide a large number of shell-fish, such as cockles, mussels, sea urchins and sea-snails, which were very acceptable to all.
HABITATION DE L'ISLE STE. CROIX.
[From 'Champlain's Voyages,' published in Paris in 1613.]
|A Lodging of the Sieur de Monts.||O Palisade.|
|B General meeting house, where the time is passed in rainy weather.||P Lodgings of the Sieurs d'Orville, Champlain and Champdore.|
|C The store-house.||Q Lodgings of the Sieur Boulay and other workmen.|
|D Lodging of the Swiss.||R Lodgings of the Sieurs Genestou, Sourin and other workmen.|
|E The forge.||T Lodgings of the Sieurs Beaumont, la Motte Bourioli and Fougeray.|
|F Lodging of the carpenters.||V Lodging of our priest.|
|G The well.||X Other gardens.|
|H The oven where the bread is made.||Y The river which flows around the island.|
|I The kitchen.|
|M Other gardens.|
|N Open place, in the midst of which is a tree.|
1The knoll still in existence at the lower end of the main island. This is clearly shown by Champlains map.
2Still know [sic] by this name, in Nova Scotia.
3At Red Beach, as Champlains map shows, and also in the cove below Sandy Point, on the Canadian side.
4Probably in the vicinity of Beaver Harbor, where small veins of copper ore occur.
5The country along towards the Penobscot.
6Already referred to-probably at St. Stephen.
[The foot notes of last weeks article were somewhat confusing, owing to a typographical error. If the reference marks in the second column be numbered with pencil, and the foot notes in same column numbered to correspond, they can be read.]
Mr. Edward Jack writes:-
St. Croix island is not Doucet island, but Dosias. It was formerly called Bone island. My father told me that a party of young people who were on a picnic at the island early in the present century named it Dosias island, because they had seen a very pretty young lady in St. Stephen who was called Theodosia. She was, I believe, a Miss Milberry. Wilkinsons map, I think, calls the island Doucets; but it is an error.
The late Mrs. N. Parker told me, many years since, that when
the Loyalists came to St. Andrews, Mrs. Pagan, wife of Robert
Pagan, interviewed the Indians respecting their traditions, and
discovered that these Indians had heard from their fathers that
the French had wintered on the island, and that the Indians used
to lie in wait for them as they landed.