The Journal
of Captain William Owen, R.N.
during his residence on Campobello in 1770-1771

ince the sky was very gray and the air was damp, Dad suggested we fill both wood boxes.

He said, "My bones feel a storm coming".

As we carried armful after armful from the woodshed to the house, we heard Gramp tell Dad, "Those kids are as good as having indentured servants."

I knew dentures meant teeth, thus this ‘big word' probably meant servants without teeth.

When Captain William Owen arrived at Campobello Island, on 04 June 1770, he had thirty-eight Indentured Servants with him, who had come out from Warrington in the ‘Snow Queen'. A few names  from the list: Joseph Caldwell - Tailor, John Clotton - carpenter, Thomas Green - cooper, Wm. Mollineux - potash burner, Edmund Mahar - labourer, John Drinkwater - husbandman, and Catherine Lawless - cook.    

On the island, he found three New England families settled there without legal authority.

Captain Owens kept a journal during his residence on Campobello in 1770 - 1771. While his descendants lived on the island, the journal was kept there. In the late 1880s, W. F. Ganong of New Brunswick contacted a granddaughter, Mrs. Robinson-Owen of England and was able to get a copy of the writings.

In the journal, mention is made of such incidents as:

"At noon Aitken and Flagg, two English hunters came on board in a birch canoe and brought me 55 lbs. of excellent young moose and a fine quarter of Beaver"

"Bought of Pierre Denny and Indian, 400 lbs. of Moose meat for the people, which was in high season and better than beef"

"Sunday the 19th performed divine service morning and evening, and baptized a daughter of Wm. Newton's by the name of Betsy Shepherd"

On June 11, 1771, Captain Owen left Campobello for England and never returned. His death occurred in 1778. He left two sons under the guardianship of his nephew Arthur and a man named Smith.

The Journal of Captain William Owen, R.N., during his residence on Campobello in 1770-1771, together with other documents and notes on the history of the island, edited by W.F. Ganong can be found in the New Brunswick Historical Society Collections No. 2 (1896) and No. 4 (1899).

Additional information is available at the Archives and Research Library of the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John.

To learn more details on Campobello and its people, pay a visit to   You will find among the listings, a very interesting letter written by Captain Owen.

By the way, in his letter, Captain Owen defined the word indentured. "That is, in return for passage to the new world, people signed an agreement or contract which bound them to a land or ship owner for a period of time varying anywhere from two to seven years. The land owner was to provide the indentured person with food, shelter and clothes. At the end of the allotted time period, the individuals would be given grants of land and become free individuals."

Queries at bottom of page - Scroll Down

At the
Archives and Research Library of the New Brunswick Museum

"The journal of  Captain William Owen, R.N., during his residence on Campobello in 1770-71, together with other documents and notes upon the history of the island", edited by W.F. Ganong. This journal appears in NBHS Collections No. 2 (1896), p. 193-220 with an additional paper (also edited by Ganong)  in No. 4 (1899), p. 8-27.
In the Dr. William F. Ganong fonds there are the following items:
   -Letter from Capt. W.F. Owen re post communications with North American colonies including article by Owen to Sir John Harvey re post office and steam packets. 1838
    -Research notes on Owen by Dr. W.F. Ganong
    -Letters to Dr. W.F. Ganong from various colleagues re Capt. Owen
* *
The following publications re Owen:
    -"Narrative of  American voyages and travels of  Capt. William Owen and settlement of  island of  Campobello in the Bay of  Fundy 1766-1771"  edited by Victor Hugo Paltsits [Bulletin of  the New York Public Library, vol. 35, 1931]
    -"Brass cannon of  Campobello" by Kate Gannett Wells [New England Magazine, Sept. 1891]
    -"Campobello: historical sketch" by Kate Gannett Wells. 1902

Online at Charlotte County Gen Web

In the section on
Campobello  Historical Notes  you will find:

Campobello Historical Articles

  1. Just Over the Line  1903 Boston Home Journal Article by Norma Vaughn
  2. Campobello-Yesterday & Today   1910 Articles in The Eastport Citizen by Steve Chalmers
  3. Friar's Head poem
  4. Captain William Owen
  5. Franklin D. Roosevelt
  6. Mary Gallagher's  unpublished manuscript (a history) Also includes numerous references to various other Charlotte County Parishes!
  7. Yankee Magazine Article 1980
  8. Article on Campobello & David Owen by Kate Gannet Wells Published September 1891
  9. Campobello: A Historical Sketch by the late Kate Gannet Wells (1838-1911) can now be found on line! If you have a few minutes to take the time to read the book, please do so. I am sure you will not be disappointed! The book contains information on early Island Settlers, The Owens Family, how various places got there names, to name a few items of interest.
  10. Early Campobello History: The following pages were copied from information at the Campobello library (with there permission) and submitted by Richard Henderson. These pages are scanned so names will not be picked up by the search engine.
    Page 1
    Page 2
    Page 3
    Page 4
  11. Early Campobello History Part 2 continues as new information has been contributed by Linda Wilson Lyda .... thanks Linda. These pages are scanned so names will not be picked up by the search engine.
    Page 1
    Page 2
    Page 3
    Page 4
    Page 5
    Page 6
  12. Four Old Houses: The following 3 pages contains names of some of the earlier settlers on Campobello in the late 1790-early 1800 time frame. It is goes into some detail as to where the homes were siduated on the island. This information was first published by the New Brunswick Historical Society Collection Vol. 1 #2 (1896), and received from the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John NB. These pages are scanned so names will not be picked up by the search engine.
    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
  13. Campobello Act of 1803 This transcription was compiled by Craig Walsh.
  14. A letter written by Lord William Owen. Added 15/02/2002


Heather Leighton Waddingham is the Coordinator of the Campobello site

Query 1048
McMillan - Fenton:
Archibald McMillan was a boat and shipbuilder. He supervised the building of a ship for James Couper at the yard of Owens and Lawton of Saint John in 1824. He went to Australia in 1833 with his wife Janet Fenton. Seeking information on the family and shipbuilding in this time period.
    -Cecil Rae, 3/184 Weatherall Road, Beaumaris,3193, Victoria, Australia. Email

Query 1049
The first Arbo settled in Northumberland County in 1780. Many of his descendants live today in Blackville and Blissfield parishes. I would like to hear from anyone doing research on this family.
    -Laurette (Arbeau) Gulvin, 4102 Buttenut Court, Vineland, ON, Canada, L0R 2C0. E-mail

Query 1050
(Spelling is very inconsistent): I am seeking information on the family of Edward J. Kernin who was born about 1841. He was a Civil War Veteran -1st Maine Heavy Artillery.  He died 23 Feb 1898 in Milwaukee, WI. Father's name unknown.  Mother was Catherine but family name  unknown. She was born in Aug of 1812 in New Brunswick and died after 1900 in Eastport, Maine. Siblings, according to the 1860 US census are William (born 1832, New Brunswick, (a boat builder); Sarah J. (b. about 1839, New Brunswick); Robert S. (b. about 1846); plus 2 other children who died before 1860.  Family immigrated from New Brunswick to  Eastport, Maine in 1840s. 
         -Kenneth G. Neuman, 1717 N. Bayshore Drive,  #2231 Miami,  FL, USA, 33132. E-mail
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