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Annals of Calais, Maine and St. Stephen, New Brunswick

We sat on overturned nail kegs on the barn floor with sharp paring knives in our hands, cutting the potatoes, in preparation for tomorrow’s “planting the garden” day. If Dad told us once, he must have told us a dozen times to be careful to choose a good eye for each piece, yet not to be wasteful as he had paid “good” money for a couple of bags of Green Mountain seed potatoes, instead of using the ones in the cellar.

Dad was down on his hands and knees trying to adjust the seed planter that he would use to plant the peas, turnips, carrots and beets. When a car drove into the yard, I could tell by the look on his face, he was not pleased, to have the Preacher drop in for a visit on such a busy evening.

Without waiting for an invitation, the Reverend sat down on a three-legged milking stool. I thought he was going to lend a hand but instead he started talking. Since Dad didn’t want to appear rude, he stopped working to listen to him.

Two hours later, he was still going full steam ahead with tales of every family who lived in the community he called “home” plus details on the churches, schools, business and even who started the newspapers.

Before he finally decided to leave, Dad suggested to him that he should write a book of all this information he had stored in his head.

Way back in 1875, The Reverend  I. C. Knowlton compiled the “Annals of Calais, Maine and St. Stephen, New Brunswick, including the Villages of Milltown, Maine and the present town of Milltown, New Brunswick” which holds 129 pages of details on the beginnings of the settlements, churches, physicians, newspapers, shipping, bridges, literature, benevolent societies, railways, mills, cemeteries and an appendix of incidents, facts and genealogy which relate to the families who came to the area prior to 1840.

The Rev. I. C. Knowlton states, “It is said that in 1760, Alexander Nichols, Thomas Fletcher and a Mr. Kown, came up the St. Croix to the head of its tide water, to fish for alewives.” Three years later, Alexander Hodges, Joseph Parsons and a Mr. Prebble settled at Pleasant Point, and James Boyd and James Chaffrey, on Indian Island. In all probability these were the first, permanent, white settlers in the St. Croix valley. In 1769, James Brown and Jeremiah Frost located at St. Andrews and William Rickett built in 1771 a home on Moose Island, now called Eastport.  William Swain from Massachusetts and David Farrell from Ireland were the first inhabitants of Calais.  The first permanent white resident of Calais was Daniel Hill who arrived from Jonesport in 1779. It is interesting to learn that he imported the first oxen.

The first child born in the new settlement of St. Stephen was Samuel Libby.

Jarius Keene, a shipbuilder from Duxbury, Massachusetts, located in Calais about1801. In 1803 he laid the keel of the Liberty, the first vessel built in the Township.  He later built the brig Keziah in St. Stephen.

Ninian Lindsay came from Ireland and settled in St. Stephen about 1786. His wife was Hannah Marks.

Daniel McAllister and his wife Mary Patterson were of New Boston, New Hampshire. He came to St. Stephen with the Cape Ann Association in 1785.

The names written from 1788 to 1791 in a store ledger show who “got trusted” by the owner but to family researchers it is valuable because it approximately determines the date of settlement of an ancestor.

If you have roots in the St. Croix Valley of New Brunswick, you will find this publication to hold many names of the early settlers with biographical details which would certainly be difficult to ferret out today.

The 1875  “Annals of Calais, Maine and St. Stephen, New Brunswick” by I. C. Knowlton was reprinted with the title being, “Beginnings - The Settlement of the St. Croix Valley” and is available at several libraries in New Brunswick. It can be read online at

Query 1481


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Ruby M. Cusack is a genealogy buff living in New Brunswick, Canada. Send your New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at:   Please put "Query" followed by the surnames in your query. For more information on submitting queries, visit
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