Andrew Sherwod Beyea's
History of French Village
Since Cliff and I were always ready to go for a drive with Gramp, we quickly jumped into the back seat of the car at his offer to take us with him to French Village. We had overheard him tell Dad, he needed to talk to Karl Beyea about making new windows for the porch and he also required a couple of bundles of cedar shingles.
I knew Gramp was a man of many talents but I didn’t think he could speak French so how was he going to talk to this man from the French village.
On January 07, 1689, Pierre Chesnet, Ecuyer, Sieur de Breuil obtained from the crown of France, a seigneury of about 24,000 acres on both sides of Hammond River. Seven years later a grant of 8,000 acres was given to Sieur Bernard D Ameur Ecuyer.
By the time the Loyalists arrived in the French Village area in 1783, some of the Acadian families who had chosen the Hammond River valley as their home were: Robichaud, Thibodeau, Blanchard, Gireau, Terrieau, Domenic, Levecon, Bourke, Cormier, and Violette. Due to the influx of the Loyalists, several of these Acadians found it necessary to leave the land that had been cultivated by several generations of their families, to seek homes in another part of New Brunswick.
In 1924, Andrew Beyea wrote in his History of French Village, that according to the late William H. Beyea, who was born in 1826, there were families of Robichauds and Thibodeaus along the Cocagne River in Kent County who stopped to visit at the Beyea home on their way to Saint John.
In the early years of 1850, Monsieur Thibodeau of the extreme north of the province of New Brunswick, returned to the valley of his birth, accompanied by his son. They boarded several days with Richard Smith, the Proprietor of Smith’s Tavern at the turn of the river at Smithtown. They seemed to be interested in locating an ash tree, which possibly held the key to a buried treasure.
Some interesting information on settlers in French Village:
* Daniel Michaud was of Huguenot descent.
* Captain John Ford’s wife was Alcha Prall.
* Andrew Sherwood came with brothers, Jonathan, Justus and Adiah.
* Justus Sherwwod was the father of fifteen children.
* On Feb 29, 1784, Henry Fowler married Betty Morehouse.
* Peter Welling signed Joseph Terrieau’s memorial for a water site for a grist mill.
*John Sherwood, who was called, Slipshod John the Mohawk was the first Loyalist to erect a sawmill in Kings County.
* Eight of James Wetmore’s twelve children accompanied him to New Brunswick in 1783.
* William Snow was born in Cherryfield, Maine. He established on his farm the first carding and woolen mill in Kings County.
* Who was he - Daniel Carr or James Smith?
Andrew Sherwod Beyea, the son of William Henry Beyea and Catherine Sherwood, was born at Lakeside, Kings County on 23 February 1866 and died 09 April 1939 at Smithtown. He was well-known as a local historian and an authority on early pedigrees. In 1924, he compiled,” The History of French Village” and in so doing left a legacy of information to others.
David Horgan spent many hours transcribing the articles from The History of French Village that were published in the Kings County Record in 1961.
This transcription of 98 pages with index can be ordered from David Horgan, 90 Cosy Lake Road, Saint John NB, Canada, E2N 1P8. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost is $10.00 plus shipping.
A copy of Andrew Sherwood Beyea’s History of French Village manuscript can be viewed at the Archives and Research Library of the New Brunswick Museum.
By the way on Monday evening, July 7, 2003 the ghosts of some early settlers who are buried in the Acadian-Loyalist Cemetery at French Village will be telling their life stories. Among those being portrayed are, Andrew Sherwood, William Bull, Huldah DeBow and Nathanial Golding. The Ghost Tour will commence at 8:00 pm at the entrance to the Cemetery on Route 860.
(A follow up note - nearly ninety people attended the Walk through the Acadian-Loyalist Cemetery at French Village. Richard Thorne explained that this was oldest cemetery in New Brunswick that has been used continuously and is still being used. He introduced Karl Beyea, who shared a great deal of his personal information on the history of the families who rest in this cemetery.
The ghost of the French Priest told of being attacked and wounded by Indians on his way from Halifax to Saint John and how his friends carried him to the top of the knoll beside the Hammond River, where his death took place in the early morning hours. His friends erected a cedar cross. This was the first burial on the Burial Hill which was later used by the Acadian and Loyalist settlers.)
Also on Monday, July 7, 2003 the Covered Bridge Festival and the Kings County Historical Society will be hosting at the Smithtown covered bridge from 2 pm until 8 pm a genealogical help afternoon - a great opportunity to learn and to share your family information. The main feature will be families of the parishes of Upham and Hampton - with many having connections to Smithtown and French Village.