Grace Helen Mowat's
The Diverting History of a Loyalist Town
A Portrait of St. Andrews,
Andrews traces roots to a border squabble
and I couldn’t quite understand the conversation. It seemed that Gramp
felt a logging crew was cutting on his property. He thought it would be
necessary to hire a surveyor to blaze the lines. But on a search
through the back woods, he found the remains of an old cedar pole snake
fence which convinced the boss of the crew to back off and respect this
as the boundary line. A happy ending was provided to what could have
been a quarrelsome event.
Things did not go so well for a small group of Loyalists
who were living at Fort George at the mouth of the Penobscot River, who
thought they were within the province of Nova Scotia.
Although Dr. John Calef left his wife and family who lived in Ipswich,
Massachusetts and went off across the Atlantic Ocean to talk to Lord
North and other important people in London to try to get the boundary
question settled in favour of the inhabitants of Penobscot who had
formed the Penobscot Loyalist Association, word came from London that
the St. Croix was to be the boundary and not the Penobscot River.
The settlement at Penobscot had been hastily constructed of frame
houses and was taken apart piece by piece, including all the lumber and
materials, everything they had needed at Fort George, they would now
find useful for the new settlement on the banks of the St. Croix.
History of a Loyalist Town - A Portrait of St. Andrews” by Grace
Helen Mowat takes one to the time the Indians called this place,
Qua-nos-cumcook, where they had their camp headquarters at Joe’s Point.
Long before any Loyalists arrived in the area and because a Frenchman
had placed a St. Andrews cross at St. Andrews Point, the area became
known as "St. Andrews".
In early October of 1783, the fleet from Penobscot reached the site of
the present day St. Andrews. The ships were carrying their
household goods, mahogany furniture, family portraits, trunks covered
with calf skins, their servants and coloured slaves.
A letter written in May of 1784 by William Pagan tells of ninety houses
up with preparations being made for more.
Robert Pagan owned the Brig Miriam which carried on a trading business
with the East Indies. He had no children but brought up the two
daughters of Thomas Pagan and a daughter of Colonel Wyer. Living near
to them in one of the little cottages brought from Penobscot were Mrs.
Pagan’s parents, Mr.and Mrs. Pote who owned a piece of ground on the
upper part of King Street which Mr. Pote gave to the town for a burying
ground. In November of 1794, one of the first persons to be buried
there was his youngest son Robert, aged 25 years who died of the fever
while on the return trip home from Jamaica.
John Dunn came with the New York Loyalists, bringing the material for a
two-storey house, the first to be erected. He was the first Comptroller
of the customs and held the office of High Sheriff of Charlotte County.
His will left a fund to be distributed to the poor of the town at
By the way while Dr. John Calef was in London, Mrs. Calef hired a
vessel to take her, the six children, the family Bible that had
belonged to her father, Jediah Jewett, an armchair that was a gift from
her Grandmother Dummer, some furniture and other household goods to the
Bay of Fundy region. A snow storm caused the vessel to run aground some
miles from the mouth of the St. John River. She and the children walked
through the storm to seek shelter in what is now Saint John. Four years
later her husband joined her in St. Andrews.
Squire John Wilson started many thriving mills in Chamcook which he
wanted to resemble an English village. He lived in a large stone house
and at one point stocked the beech woods with deer. His daughter
married Dr. William Bayard of Saint John. In the Squire’s
household lived a little orphan girl, Lucy Sprague who in later life
A report in 1831 by the Collector of St. Andrews gives an interesting
list of men who were engaged in business. Some of the comments were not
In the last chapter, the author presents a most interesting account of
the disposition of the houses of early St. Andrews as well as an
account of the families in 1953.
In “The Diverting
History of a Loyalist Town - A Portrait of St. Andrews”,
Grace Helen Mowat, who had been a life long resident of the town, opens
the curtains of the window of the past to let us glimpse, through many
intriguing stories, the lives of those who settled this town and the
others who followed. The book is available for viewing at several
By the way, the Saint John
Branch of the New Brunswick Genealogical Society, will meet Wednesday,
January 25th, at 7:30 PM at the Lion's Den, Loch Lomond Villa. This
month’s program will feature Marion Dunphy, showcasing the Saint John
branch archival material as well as members sharing their best
“genealogical helpful hint” when tracing your roots. Meeting is
open to anyone who is interested in genealogy.
published this week.