Dynasty of Indian Island, NB
by Dorothy Pringle Schneider
On our way home from school, Cliff and
I stopped to peek through the side floor boards of the covered bridge. To
our astonishment we spotted a big salmon makings its way up the brook. No
grass grew under our feet as we ran to the house to find a fishing pole.
We told Mum to get the frying pan ready as there would be salmon for supper.
Dad laughed and said, “You will be lucky to catch an old shoe!”
In 1952 when Robert and Dorothy Schneider of New York State decided to
try their hand at deep sea fishing at Eastport, Maine they not only found
lots of fish, they caught a glimpse of Indian Island in New Brunswick. Their
big catch was the purchase of the Kay house for $750.00. This was the beginning
of a love affair with Indian Island and its fascinating history.
Having spent nearly fifty summers on the island, Dorothy decided it was
time to document its history and so she did in 2000 with a 144-page publication,
“The Chaffey Dynasty of Indian Island, N.B.”
James Chaffey I had left England after being an apprentice to a goldsmith
to live in Philadelphia. From here he came in 1765 to Indian Island to take
up residence as a squatter and built the first house on the island. He developed
a good relationship with the local Indians and also the other white men who
arrived there to set up trading posts and fish stores.
After several lonely years had passed, John Fountain arrived on the island
with his teenage daughter, Elizabeth. She and James Chaffey were married.
They became the parents of eleven children between 1771 and 1796. James died
in 1797. Their first child Susanna married Justus Justason of Pennfield.
The third child, Elizabeth Chaffey did not marry but went to live with her
widowed sister Eleanor Ferris when she was left with two small children. Son
Thomas Dollard Chaffey married Susan Hurley in 1808 and sons John Francis
and James carried on a trading business with ships to the West Indies, England
and the United States.
In this publication, you will meet James Chaffey I, James Chaffey II with
2 wives and 19 children, the Dixon children and their three houses, Horatio
Nelson Chaffey, Howard Chaffey and the two chimney house, as well as the
Kay and Hurley families.
“The Chaffey Dynasty of Indian Island, N.B.” by Dorothy P. Schneider
is not only a history of an island in the Passamaquoddy Bay but the story
and genealogy of the Chaffey family, which provides an insight into the
personal lives of the residents. It includes several photos, family and
individual histories and information on the migration of people between
the United States and Canada on these boundary waters.
To purchase the book contact, Dorothy P. Schneider, PO Box 284, Eastport,
ME, 04631, USA or 3128 Seneca Trnpk, Canastota, NY, 13032, USA. Her
email address is Dotps2@aol.com.