Loyalist, Abijah Willard
named the
Parish of Lancaster, New Brunswick

Dad wanted to get an early start at planting the garden in the morning so he had us place in the wheelbarrow the things we would need to take to the garden for the task.

On the morning of the 19th of April 1775, Abijah Willard of Lancaster, the largest town in Worcester County, Massachusetts placed seeds in his saddle-bags, mounted his horse and headed  for his farm in Beverly, to spend a few days, supervising the planting and sowing of the crops on the farm that he had recently purchased for £2,756.

Before reaching Concord, it is supposed, he learned that the British troops were drawing near.

His heart was divided between his sovereign and his country. A decision had to be made. He chose the Loyalist side, and in so doing gave up his home in Lancaster, which he never saw again.

Col. Abijah Willard was a man of character and influence and was greatly respected by his fellow citizens. He was considered to be the wealthiest citizen of Lancaster, Massachusetts. He kept six horses in his stables and dispensed liberal hospitality in the mansion inherited from his father, Colonel Samuel Willard.  

For his first wife, he married Elizabeth, sister of Colonel William Prescott; for his second wife, Mrs. Anna Prentice and a third partner was Mrs. Mary McKown of Boston.

He was no stranger to war as he commanded a company  under his father in 1745 at the capture of Louisburg and led a company under Col. Monckton in 1755, at the reduction of the French forts in Nova Scotia. The Archives & Research Library of the New Brunswick Museum has a copy of "The Journal of  Abijah Willard" edited by Dr. J. C. Webster.

An officer of so well-known skill and experience as Abijah Willard was deemed a valuable
acquisition and he was offered a colonel's commission in the British Army but refused to
serve against his countrymen. At the evacuation of Boston, he went to Halifax, Nova Scotia, having been joined by his own and his brother's family.

At the close of the war in 1783, he petitioned for and received a grant of land at Spruce Lake. He named the parish ‘Lancaster’ in remembrance of his beloved birthplace and here he died in May of 1789, having been an influential member of the New Brunswick provincial council.

His family returned to Lancaster, Massachusetts, recovered the old homestead and, aided by a small pension from the British government, lived in comparative prosperity. His son, Samuel Willard died on January 1, 1856 aged ninety-six years and four months.  His widowed sister, Mrs. Anna Goodhue, died on August 2, 1858 at the age of ninety-five.

Detailed information on the Willard and other families was included in the Rev. Abijah P. Marvin’s eight hundred page book ‘History of the Town of Lancaster, Massachusetts - From the First Settlement to the Present Time 1643 - 1879', which was published in 1879.

Janice Farnsworth has transcribed many pages of this book and other publications of  Massachusetts, which allows us to get a glimpse of the life that some of our New Brunswick Loyalists lived before coming to this province in 1783. Links to her transcriptions can be found at

A copy of the  book ‘History of the Town of Lancaster, Massachusetts - From the First Settlement to the Present Time 1643 - 1879' by Abijah P Marvin (published in 1879 )  is for sale at  http://www.rubycusack.com/Book-Lancaster-Mass.html

Query 1081
MacDonald - Gray - Corbett
: George MacDonald was born in 1872 in Shediac and  married Alice Gray in 1891. They moved to Andover, Conneticut.  His parents were John MacDonald and Frances Corbett, who supposedly died in a fire, leaving George and his brother Peter orphans. I would like to find information about Peter.
    -Chris Blamberg, 16 Coronado Drive, Newington, CT, 06111, USA. E-mail Cblamberg@aol.com.

Query 1082
Fowlie - Kierstead - Kennedy - Scribner:
I am researching the families of William Fowlie, husband to Bethia Kierstead and Matilda Kennedy. Who was Matilda Fowlie, the wife of Samuel Lloyd Scribner? Is William connected to the Fowlie's from Northumberland County?
    -Georgette Crothers, 123 Sandy Point Road, Saint John, NB, E2K 3R6. E-mail to croww@nb.sympatico.ca.  Phone:(506) 652-8139
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