The Tides of Discipline
Chance Harbour, Dipper Harbour and Maces Bay

by Ethel Anne Thompson

Our willow fishing poles and a can for the worms were waiting by the back door step. The alarm clock was set for 5:30 a.m. as Gord was taking us on a long awaited fishing trip, way up the Wicker Brook. According to him, if we wanted to have a good catch, it was necessary to get fishing before the sun became bright.

If we had been one of the Mawhinney, Cassidy, Thompson or Ellis children who lived in Maces Bay, Dipper Harbour or Chance Harbour our departure time for going fishing would have depended on the tide.

In fact, you might say the tide ruled the working day and the lives of the folk who lived on the coastline. In 1978, Ethel Thompson titled her history of those three traditional fishing communities, “The Tides of Discipline”.

Mrs. Thompson relates that a Mr. Hunt and John Gill built a fishing weir at Pocolgan in the1790s. George Younghusband gave them supplies to the amount of thirty pounds to carry on the fishery. 

Long Beach was the first deep-water weir at Dipper Harbour. It was built in the early part of the nineteen hundreds with Peter Devine and Al Craft being shareholders.

The settlement of Dipper Harbour East began with the arrival in 1786 of Hugh Campbell, who had been born in Ayrshire, Scotland and emigrated to America where he served with His Majesty’s 42 Regiment. He came with the Loyalists in 1783 but was not happy with his allotted land and in 1786 petitioned for Lot 16. His wife was Martha Seymour of Boston who bore him three sons and seven daughters.  Their son, Daniel Campbell married Margaret Thomson, daughter of James Thomson and he inherited the family homestead. A son, Francis born to them in 1853, married Emma Sherwood of Prince of Wales and inherited his father’s house.
Charles Devine, of County Tyrone, first ran a store at South Wharf, Saint John, which in the late 1870s he traded for the Anderson property with a large house in Dipper Harbour. Since he had received some training in law in Ireland, and had  brought his law books with him, he was made Justice of the Peace. He became known as Squire Devine and held court in his house and passed out fines and punishment for those who found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Another Loyalist was Daniel Belding, a mariner, who with his wife, Mabel  Bristall and five children came to Chance Harbour, having first owned on home on St. James Street in Saint John. It appears he recognized the potential for development.

An Irish immigrant, Robert Thompson, was born in 1820 in the parish of Letter-Kenny, County Donegal, Ireland, and came to Saint John in 1846.  On a trip to St. Andrews, he stopped at Chance Harbour for rest and food. He took employment with the Beldings and later married Mabel Belding. They had eight children. After Mabel’s death, he married Sarah Ann Wayne of South Musquash and ten children were born to them.  Another Irish family was James Boyle of Carlingford.

The settlement of Maces Bay began with the granting in 1787 of 1,485 acres to seven men: Joseph Russell, John Garrison, James Harris, Richard Lawrence, Samuel Pearce, Ebenezer Sanger and John Cain

The area prospered with the help of emigrants, Mawhinney, Ellis, Shaw, Cassidy, Corscadden, McGowan, Small, Wenn and others.

In 1978, Ethel Thompson, compiled, “The Tides of Discipline “- A history of three traditional fishing communities: Chance Harbour, Dipper Harbour and Maces Bay, in which she takes one on a journey through the years, giving information on the industries that provided the means of putting food on the table and of the families who lived there.

A copy of TIDES OF DISCIPLINE is available at

Fishing, as a livelihood, was pursued by settlers of the Fundy coastline. On August 13 and 14, 2004, Fundy Fishermen's Days will bring the communities of Chance Harbour, Dipper Harbour, Lepreau, Little Lepreau, Maces Bay, Musquash, Seeley's Cove and New River together as a whole to offer residents and tourists a chance to participate in a variety of events that will appeal to young and old alike. Many of the activities will be held at Dipper Harbour, where there will be a genealogical display.  For more information visit their website at

Query 1195
Melrose - Payson:  Robert and Ellen Katherine Melrose were children of Arthur Melrose, who died in 1931 and Edna Payson, who died in 1942. I would like to contact their descendants as I have some memorabilia in my possession regarding their brother George Payson Melrose.
2709 Wembley Drive
North Vancouver, BC
Canada, V7J 3B7

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