The Upper St. John River Valley
Ethel spent part of Sunday afternoon, drilling me on the rivers of New
Brunswick. She promised a fifty-cent piece if I got all the questions
correct on the true or false test.
On Monday morning, I was whizzing right through the questions without
any hesitating in making a “T”
or an “F”. Then I read the
question, - The St. John River was
referred to by the Maliseet as Wolastoq, which means 'the good river’.
I did so much changing of my mind as to the right answer, I erased a
hole right through the page.
If Chip Gagnon had been asked that question on a test, he would have
known the answer plus lots more about the St. John River. In fact, his
interest in the history of the upper St.John River valley and the
families who lived there led him to expand what was at first just his
family genealogy website into one dedicated to the entire valley.
Today the Upper St. John River Valley
website at http://www.upperstjohn.com
is filled with history, transcribed documents and genealogy links for
the communities and the people on both the Maine and New Brunswick
sides of the river. In the early days the valley was known as Wulustuk.
Census records that are transcribed on the site include:
-1820 US Census of Matawascah (Madawaska), Maine
-1830 US Census of Madawaska Settlement, Penobscot
-1831 Lower Canada Provincial Census of Kamouraska
-1833 New Brunswick Census of Madawaska
-1840 US Census of Aroostook County, Maine
-1850 US Census of Aroostook County, Maine
-1851 New Brunswick Census of Victoria County, New
-1860 US Census of northern Aroostook County, Maine
Also included are transcriptions of other documents including The Deane
and Kavanagh Report, July-August 1831 with the Survey of the Madawaska
The site provides brief histories of the Region's Towns and early
settlers in Madawaska County: (Baker Brook, Clair, Connors, Edmundston,
Rivière-Verte, Saint-André, Sainte-Anne, Saint-Basile,
Saint-François, Saint-Hilaire, Saint-Jacques and
Saint-Léonard), and in Aroostook County, (Allagash, Castonia
Settlement, Cyr Plantation, Daigle, EagleLake, Fort Kent,
Frenchville,Grand Isle, Hamlin, Madawaska, New Canada Plantation,
Portage Lake, St. Agatha, and VanBuren)
An interesting example of the kind of documents included on the site is
a list of American citizens in possession of lands in Madawaska in
August of 1827. This list comes from a letter dated August 11, 1827,
sent by George Morehouse, Justice of the Peace for the County of York,
Province of New Brunswick, to Thomas Wetmore, Esq., Clerk to the
Attorney General, on the case of John Baker, who attempted to recruit
French Acadians to support his claim that Madawaska was US territory.
For example, James Bacon is on the lower or southeast side of the
Mereumpticook Creek, fronting the river St. John, on 100 acres, deeded
to him by James Irish and George W. Coffin and settled nine years. John
Baker, on the upper or southwest side of the creek with 100 acres,
settled nine years. Charles Studson, joining Bacon, on the lower side
has 100 acres, settled three years. Isaac Jones is in possession of an
island about eight miles above Fish River. Nathaniel Bartlette and
David Savage, are jointly, in possession of 500 acres at Fish River.
Chip Gagnon lives in New York state with his wife Lisa and children
Nelly and Lucas. His Upper St. John River Valley website is a labor of
love not only for his children, so they know where their family came
from, but to keep alive memories of the old days for the whole
community, to preserve the history of a region that was special in so
His commitment is to provide genealogical and historical information
free of charge for people researching their family histories in the
valley of the Upper St. John River in northern Aroostook County and
Madawaska County, or for people who are just interested in the history
of this region.
Chip would like to encourage people to register and post on the online
forum/discussion board at http://www.upperstjohn.com/forum.
It is a great spot for visitors to leave their queries as well as the
information they would like to share with others. An added bonus is
reading the facts Chip digs up to answer those queries.
To learn more about the Upper St.
John River Valley, pay a visit to http://www.upperstjohn.com.
The Telegraph Journal did not
publish any queries this week.