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
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
to spend a few days, supervising the planting and sowing of the crops
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
citizen of Lancaster, Massachusetts. He kept six horses in his stables
dispensed liberal hospitality in the mansion inherited from his father,
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.
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
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
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
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
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
information about Peter.
-Chris Blamberg, 16 Coronado Drive, Newington, CT,
06111, USA. E-mail Cblamberg@aol.com.
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 email@example.com.
Ruby M. Cusack is a genealogy buff
living in Saint John. Send your queries to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Include your name and mailing address for the benefit of the readers of
the newspaper who do not have access to E-mail but could have
information to share with you. Please put "Yesteryear" followed
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contributes a "Family History" column to the Telegraph-Journal on