The records of the Surveyor General contain a variety of documents relevant to its role in the land granting process during the early years of the new province of New Brunswick. Examples of document types include: correspondence, warrants of survey, reports on warrants of survey, instructions to land officers, petitions for land; survey plans; and land settlement lists. The subject matter pertains to land settlement, government, surveying, demography and local history.
Detailed Contents and Arrangement: The material is organised into eight boxes. Except for box 1, the remainder run in chronological order beginning in 1811, and within this order are subdivided into sections pertaining to the Crown Land Office, land matters or disputes, statistics or returns and miscellaneous. After box eight, there are letterbooks; return books, instructions to deputies, families settled in the Township of Hillsborough, and documents pertaining to the land estate of Rev. Gray.
Boxes 1-8. Correspondence and Papers, 1767-1830. No. 1) correspondence (1784-1810) from members of Surveyor General's office, including deputy surveyors; places most often mentioned - Miramichi, St. Andrews, L'Etang and Passamaquody; No. 2) statistics (1783-1809) includes a letter, returns of persons at places in Charlotte County and Miramichi River, land grant sketch of Pokemouche and sketch of Passamaquoddy Bay; No. 3) land matters (1784-1810) containing letters some of which are legal in nature and have Ward Chipman's involvement; 4.) two letters to the Lt. Governor (1785, 1797) which are requests for land pertaining to Isabella Taylor, Moses Vail, Jonathan Sherwood and Lt. d'Ehrenstein; No. 5) letters to and from Jonathan Odell, Provincial Secretary (1787-1802); Extracts from Minutes in Council (1785, 1805, 1807) which are three documents concerning William Ward, Nicholas Sewell, and Philip Earle and their requests for land.
Letter books. Letters and instructions to his deputies for land surveys, 1784-June 1820. Includes concise data pertaining to lands requested, arranged chronologically, and including: name, place, whether received land already, what land is being requested, and fees paid. The format changes to a table as of August 1819 and personal data is no longer included. To illustrate, here is an example of content: 9 July 1785, Alexander Morrison Senior from Scotland has no family, received no land, sworn by Justice Home, asks land on the southern shore of Miramichi Bay below Church Point to join lot no. 11 granted to James Anderson; vacant.
Surveyor General's Office. Return Books of the department to the Executive Council detailing land surveys done by his deputies 1785-1821. Surveyor General was George Sproule until 1817. These contain reports on warrants of survey. Here is an example: Report on warrant of survey no. 3 dated 18 June 1785 - In obedience of warrant of survey I have caused to be surveyed and laid out unto Samuel Flemmon and 23 others each a plantation containing 50 acres situate and lying within the County of Saint John; also includes a description of boundaries as a whole unit. Some include orders for warrant of survey from the Lt. Governor or Provincial Secretary such as Jonathan Odell. An example of an entry follows: Extract of warrant of survey to Paul Bedell dated 19 Feb. 1785 - By order of His Excellency the Governor you will proceed with all convenient dispatch to survey and lay out lots of 50 acres each the Island of Kennebecasis and without loss of time to return this order with a map of your survey and the several lots properly numbered into the Secretary's Office; grant dated 14 Oct. 1786, recorded No. 6. In the early years, if the land was for more than one person, usually only one person is named; later, lot divisions contain names. Return no. 19 pertains to lands for black persons in the area of Milkish Creek, Kings County.
Surveyor General's Instructions to his Deputies. Example of these includes: No.1. The Chief Surveyor is responsible for the acts of his Deputies and hence the necessity of proof touching their ability and integrity, the instruments used in the public service are to be accurately and properly adjusted; No. 3 Old lines and marks are to be respected wherever found and on no account without authority shall be effaced or removed.
Names of the families settled in the Township of Hillsborough, Cumberland County (renamed Westmorland County after the creation of the new province of New Brunswick); also includes a general return of stock, June 1783 with tabular headings - number of people in the family, acreage, number of stock such as cows and bulls, produce in various grains, potatoes, etc.
Memorial and state of facts of the Rev. Benjamin Garish Gray of Halifax, Nova Scotia, clerk, in answer to the petition of Jane Stanners, Mary Fenton, Ann Stanners, Ephraim Garish Stanners and Robert Stanners. Concerns his father, Joseph Gray and his estate in land at Hillsborough; includes various other relevant documents such as details of tenants in Joseph Gerrish's memorial which covers a time frame from 1765 to 1786; and a survey plan of land on the Petitcodiac River.