Loyalist History On the Ground in Kings County, New Brunswick, Part 1

Land Grant map Kings County
Land grant map showing of a portion of Hampton, and Rothesay, New Brunswick, with markers to indicate locations where the author travelled. 
(Image courtesy of the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick)

I recently attended an event in the Hampton area of New Brunswick, and I decided to use the opportunity to locate some of the physical locations for loyalists I had been researching in Kings County over the past year: Gabriel Fowler, Alexander Fairchild, and Jonathan Ketchum.  I was very interested to get a sense “on the ground” of both the geographic location and physical challenges they may have faced during their relocation to New Brunswick following the American Revolution. In preparation, I was able to use land grant maps (seen above) to match grant locations with their modern counterparts.  Armed with both historical and Google maps, I was ready for an adventure.

For my first stop, I took advantage of a lunch break to follow the Hammond River from Smithtown to French Village, where I was easily able to find St. Andrew’s Anglican Church perched on a hill just above the river.  The church is located on a plot that was first granted to Josiah Fowler, and adjoined by land owned by his son, Gabriel Fowler, originally of Harrison, Westchester County, New York.

St. Andrews French Village
St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, French Village, New Brunswick.  Built on the original grant of Josiah Fowler, adjacent to his son, Gabriel Fowler’s, grant overlooking the Hammond River. (Credit:  Leah Grandy, UNB Libraries)

I was able to get a clear impression of the landscape, and why Gabriel Fowler petitioned for additional land plots to supplement his original grant.  The Fowlers’ grants were long and narrow starting at the river and extending back into wooded lots like many other colonial grants in the Maritimes.  These particular lots were steep and rocky; indeed, the church and cemetery are on quite a slope.  The valley land directly alongside the Hammond River still looks very pastoral and fertile.

St. Andrews Cemetery
The cemetery of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church on what was a Fowler family grant, looking down on the Hammond River.
(Credit:  Leah Grandy, UNB Libraries)

Grave St. Andrews
Interesting portion of a gravestone in St. Andrew’s Anglican Church cemetery, French Village featuring a sheaf of wheat carving.
(Credit:  Leah Grandy, UNB Libraries)

I was staying in Quispamsis (a suburb of the City of Saint John) and made a pre-supper trip to Gondola Point on Matthews Cove, where a ferry service and dog park are now located. This was the site of land that switched back and forth between the hands of loyalist Alexander Fairchild; his aunt and uncle, Gershom and Abby Fairchild; and Jonas Carle.  Alexander Fairchild was able to secure a farm plot on Long Reach on the Belleisle side of the Kingston Peninsula by exchanging this particular grant.  

Matthews Cove Quispamsis
Matthews Cove, Quispamsis, New Brunswick.  Contested land grant that was held variously by Gershom and Abby Fairchild, Alexander Fairchild, and Jonas Carle.  (Credit:  Leah Grandy, UNB Libraries)

Alexander Fairchild was a carpenter by trade, and after being imprisoned for treason at the beginning of the American Revolution, he joined the loyalist regiment, the Prince of Wales’ Royal American Volunteers and served with them until the unit was disbanded in Parrtown (Saint John).  After working on reconstructing Fairchild’s experience during the Revolution—from Connecticut to New York, Rhode Island, and South Carolina—it was satisfying to put my feet (potentially) where he had trodden.

feet at Matthews Cove
Feet on Fowler ground in Matthews Cove, near the Gondola Point Ferry. (Credit:  Leah Grandy, UNB Libraries)

Heading out the next morning, I made a quick stop at the Hammond River near Nauwigewauk, where I could appreciate why grants along the river were sought after by loyalists arriving at Parrtown.

Hammond River
Hammond River, Kings County, New Brunswick. (Credit: Leah Grandy, UNB Libraries)

Land Grant map Kings County
Land grant maps with locations author visited in Hampton and Kingston Peninsula, Kings County, New Brunswick.
(Image courtesy of the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick)

Once in Hampton, I made sure to stop at St. Paul’s Lakeside Anglican Church, overlooking Darlings Lake. Gabriel Fowler (whose land I had located the previous day in French Village) was one of the first two wardens of the church when it was founded in 1812.  He was buried here with his second wife, Jane, and son, Daniel.  It was quite amazing to find his resting place, but also to think about how far he would have had to travel regularly for church duties and services from French Village to Hampton.

St. Pauls Hampton
St. Paul’s Lakeside Anglican Church, Hampton, New Brunswick.  (Credit:  Leah Grandy, UNB Libraries)

Fowler family graves
Fowler family graves at St. Paul’s Lakeside Anglican Church. (Credit:  Leah Grandy, UNB Libraries)

Gabriel Fowler's grave
Spending a minute with Gabriel Fowler, St. Paul’s Lakeside Anglican Church Cemetery, Hampton. (Credit:  Leah Grandy, UNB Libraries)

 To continue with a a loyalist tour of Kings County, see our next post: Loyalist History On the Ground in Kings County, New Brunswick, Part 2

 

Leah Grandy holds a PhD in History and works as a Microforms Assistant at the Harriet Irving Library.

 

SUBJECTS: loyalist, New Brunswick, geography, religion, cemetery, Anglican, transportation, mapping, Gabriel Fowler, Alexander Fairchild

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Comments

One thing of note I found was the large number of 'ordinary' Loyalist's who came in the Fall Fleet of 1783 had little or no resources and fell into the trap of being "forced" into selling their land grants for cash and provisions so they could just survive when the small provisions given to them ran out.These people usually congregated to the larger communities like Saint John, to find shelter and work to survive the winter.

Thank you for your comment!  We have also noticed a pattern that a large number of New Brunswick loyalist did not remain on their original grants, but sought out better propects 

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