Foot-Prints or Incidents in Early History of New Brunswick

by J. W. Lawrence

Cliff and I rushed home after school, to drop our book bags and grab a handful of ginger snaps. Then off we took across Bob’s pasture to make our way to the top of the mountain, which was really just a high hill near Ernie’s house.  Dad and Gramp were up there planting the early crop of potatoes.

We arrived just in time, to help cover the last of the drills and load the wagon. The real joy was sitting on the back of the wagon with our feet swinging, as the team made their way down the winding road.

Gramp told us they had heard twenty-one shots at lunch time which was probably part of the anniversary celebration in Saint John for the landing of the Loyalists on May 18 of 1783. He went on to say that Saint John was the only city in Canada  allowed to have a twenty-one gun salute.

After reading Foot-Prints or Incidents in Early History of New Brunswick by J. W. Lawrence, I found out that Saint John not only celebrated the arrival of the Spring Fleet of Loyalists but in 1821 to commemorate the 38th anniversary of the arrival of the Fall Fleet, three tables were spread in King Square and an Ox, roasted whole, was a feast for all.  That evening the prisoners in gaol were ordered to be given a roast beef dinner with plum pudding.

The fiftieth anniversary in 1833, of the 18th of May was ushered in at Saint John by the firing of cannon. In the evening a dinner was held in the Masonic Hall at the head of King Street and the sound of the firing of fifty guns could be heard as a salute to the toast titled, “The day we celebrate”.

When the Loyalists of New York were planning on sailing to Nova Scotia, which included our present day New Brunswick, they were promised to be provided with proper vessels to carry them, their horses and cattle, as near as possible to the place appointed for them. Besides the provision for the voyage, one year’s provision be also allowed, or money to enable them to purchase such. Also promised were: allowance of warm clothing, medicine, pairs of mill-stones, necessary iron work for grist mills, quantity of nails, spikes, axes, plough irons, window glass, tracts of land, two thousand acres in every township be allowed for the support of the clergyman and one thousand acres for the support of a school plus a sufficient number of good muskets and cannon with proper quantity of powder.

The province of New Brunswick came into being on the 16th of August in 1784 when the County of Sunbury, Nova Scotia was established as a Province, with Thomas Carleton, former Colonel of the 29th regiment as Captain General and Commander-in-chief of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Canada. It appears Colonel Carleton and his family, as well as Jonathan Odell and Ward Chipman were living in London at this time as they didn’t arrive in Halifax until the fall after a passage of 56 days. It was on a Sunday afternoon, November 21, they all arrived at Parr Town (Saint John), from Digby in the sloop Ranger. As they entered the harbour they were given a salute of 17 guns
To celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the coming of the Loyalists in 1883, Joseph W. Lawrence, who was considered to be an authority on the history of the province, gathered together many of the incidents that happened within this first 100 years and in so doing left us a legacy of footprints that marked the pathway of the province.

Joseph Wilson Lawrence who was born in Saint John, in 1818 was not of Loyalist blood. His father, Alexander Lawrence came from Scotland in 1817, to become one of the colony’s notable cabinetmakers.  In 1846 Joseph  married Anna C. Bloomfield in New York City, and they had at least three sons and two daughters. After the death of Alexander Lawrence, Joseph and his brother, ran a leading Saint John undertaking establishment. Joseph Lawrence was the founding president of the New Brunswick Historical Society, set up in 1874. In 1883, he was the chief organizer of the highly successful Loyalist centennial commemoration.

Lawrence points out some interesting information on Parr Town. The first marriage in 1784, that of Lieut. Andrew Stockton was carved in stone on a tombstone in Sussex. The northern boundary of Parr Town was Union Street.  The first child, a daughter of Thatcher Sears, was born while he was living in a tent on the Market Square. William Macara Sears, a grandson of Thatcher Sears died at age 32 but on the day before his death, he presented the City with the drinking fountain, which stands today at the foot of the steps to City Hall. A list of the grantees of Parr Town gives a glimpse of the Loyalists who stayed in the area while many others moved on. The biographical facts included would be difficult to ferret out a hundred and twenty years after his writing.

1783-1883  Foot-Prints or Incidents in Early History of New Brunswick by J. W. Lawrence was published in 1883 and provides information not only on the Loyalists but of the governing of the city.  It is available at several research institutions. It can also be read online at http://www.ourroots.ca/e/toc.asp?id=4339.

May 18, 2004
Today’s two hundred and twenty-first anniversary celebration of the coming of the Loyalists to Saint John will commence with a flag raising ceremony at the City Hall Plaza at 10:30 a.m.

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Query 1162
Byrne - Grundell: Philip and Mary Byrne lived in Musquash (1830 – 1868) and ran an inn. They had a farm near the Catholic Church. Their children were James, Catherine married Grundell, Peter, Joseph, John and Thomas. Looking for descendants and information on the inn.
Marina Cole
5424 Locksley Ave,
Oakland, CA
94618, USA
E-mail aquamar@earthlink.net

Query 1163
Roach - Innis: Margaret Roach married John Innis of Kings County. Their first child was born in 1798. She died in 1834 and is buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Drumbo, Ontario. Who were her parents? When and where was she born? What was the date of her marriage?
Pauline Gager
2427 NE 199th Street
Ridgefield, WA
98642, USA
E-mail Gager@aol.com

Query 1164
MacMinn: In the1881 census of Northumberland County, New Brunswick, John and Jenet MacMinn are listed as being born in Scotland. Their two sons, George and Alexander were born in New Brunswick. Can anyone provide me with information on this family and their place of origin, as well as date of entry into New Brunswick?
Jim Gomez
3224 W. Avenida Sombra
Tucson, AZ
85746, USA
E-mail gfamily3224@yahoo.com

Query 1165
Finemore - Burgis: John Finnemore was born in New Brunswick in 1787. He married Sarah Ann Burgis on 11 Oct. 1817 in Gagetown. Who were his parents and siblings?
Gail Finnamore
8 Beechglen Rd.
NB, Canada
E7H 1J7
E-mail glfinn@nb.sympatico.ca

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