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Parishes of Albert County

This is part of an article from a paper wrttien in 1906 by Albert W. SMITH, entitled `An Essay on the History and Resources of Albert County`

Coverdale Parish

Coverdale was first settled opposite Moncton byPennsylvania settlers in 1765. Some of the families who came at that time were STEEVES, TRITES, LUTZ, and RICKER. Later others came from Moncton, Hillsboro. Sackville and Cumberland and settled along the Petitcodiac River. Among the first were such names as WALLACE, SMITH, GELDART, WELDON and CHAPMAN. It is said that the Wallaces , who took up lands about midway between Moncton and Salisbury, fisrt lived in an old French house. There had been quite an extensive French village at this point and for a long time the place was known as "The Village".

The people engaged largely in farming , lumbering and fishing. They were far from any market and for many years had to go to St. John or Halifax to sell much of their goods. Some of the older people at the present time can remember driving cattle to Halifax, a distance of over two hundred miles. Every summer trading vessels came up the river and then the people flocked from far and near to exchange their farm produce for cloth, tea, sugar and other necessary articles.

Lumbering was and is yet an important industry. Sawmills were built on Little River, Turtle Creek, and Mill Creek. The first mill on Turtle Creek was built by James GELDART, about three miles from its mouth or near the head of the tide. Another , a short distance further up stream was built by James WALLACE. Others were built at Turtle Creek and at lower Turtle Creek; a combined grist-mill and saw-mill was owned and operated by Rufus FILLMORE til only a few years ago. At the present time the only mills in the parish are those of Albert WOOD at Coverdale and the Wright Lumber Company at Little River. The Wright mill was burned down in the summer of 1905 but it was quickly rebuilt with all up-to-date machinery and is now probably the best equipped mill in the county.

In the early days off the settlement many of the men joined in the shad and cod fisheries of the Bay of Fundy. Great numbers of salmon went up the Petitcodiac River every summer to deposit their spawn in the fresh upper waters of that stream and its tributaies and many were caught as they went over the broad mud-flats with the tide. It is only a few years since some of the farmers counted on having a barrel of salmon salted down every summer for winter use. Salmon are now very scarce and are protected by law. The inhabitants no longer follow the fishing fleet but give their undivided attention to their farms and depend on them entirely for support.

Coverdale was formed into one of the parishes of Westmorland in 1826. The origin of the name is uncertain. I was told by a resident that it was named for Miles Coverdale one of the translators of the Bible but I could find nothing to prove this to be correct.

Hillsboro Parish

The two townships of Hillsboro and Hopewell at first included nearly the whole county. Hillsboro township consisted of one hundred thousand acres, gramted to a company in 1765. This company is an attempt at colonization, brought in as tenant, Heinrich STEEVES, a German, with a family of six sons., from Pennsylvania. They found the old orchards and cleared fields of the French and first settled on the site of the old Acadian village. They were joined shortly afterwards by others from Moncton and possibly from Germantown and Hopewell, and by tenants of one Major GRAY who seems to have held the rights of one or more of the original grantees. The settlements were extended rapidly along the river and into the back country by disbanded soldiers from Fort Cumberland and by expansion from Sackville and other Westmorland villages.

Hopewell Parish

Hopewell township became escheated because tenants were not established. The land was again granted out in smaller lots. There were five principal grants of five oe six thousand acres each, extending from Hillsboro border along Shebody Bay and River as far as Germantown Lake. The grant usually known as the Dickson grant, to Robert DICKSON and Jesse CONVERSE, extended from the Hillsboro parish line down the bay to the west side of Cape Demoiselle. The Daniels grant extended from the westerly border of the above along the bay for about four miles to property now owned by Levi STEEVES. The next known as the Prince grant, to John PRINCE and Thomas DICKSON, extended from the point to Hopewell Hill near the present site of the Baptist Church. The Peck grant including the sites of the present villages of Riverside and Albert, extended from the "Hill" to Crooked Creek. The Calhoun grant was in Harvey Parish. The Dickson and Daniels grants were mostly wilderness land and forest, but the Prince, Peck and Calhoun grants included large areas of marsh.

Robert DICKSON who took up the first mentioned grant had two sons, Robert and William, who were among the first sea-faring men on the bay. The elder Dickson afterwards exchanged a large part of his grant, with his step-sons, John and Thomas CALHOUN, for a part of the Calhoun grant which had much richer soil. Thomas CALHOUN sold his share of the property to Benjamin BENNETT. The remainder of the grant was held by the Dickson family till late years.

William DANIELS who took up the adjoining grant came from New London, Conn. He and his wife weredevout Christian people and in 1872 a "zealous society" was formed. From this time till his death Mr. Daniels continued to take an active part in the religious gatherings of the district. He was a very hospitable man and no weary traveller was ever turned from his door. Indian Island was included in his grant and as long as he lived he allowed no trees to be cut from this Island, but left it for the use of the Indians. He died in 1811 and is buried in the Daniels burying-ground on the bank of Daniels Brook. A large part of his grant had been sold in small lots to other settlers, chiefly from Nova Scotia, and the balance was divided among his sons, William, Joseph, John and Asa.

The owners of the Prince grant lived in Moncton and the land was soon divided up and sold. Among those who purchased were Captain DUDGEON and John and Robert ROGERS, who came from Londonderry, Nova Scotia in 1801. Captain Dudgeon was one of the best known coasters on the bay. He owned three schooners, each in turned named "Betsy". The first, in which he began his trade, was a small craft built by himself. He made nearly everything about it, even to the blocks which revolved on wooded pins. The sails and rigging were manufactured by his wife from tow of flax. He carried on a profitable business and had a larger family, all of whom were girls. Many of his descendants as well as those of the Rogers families live in Hopwell and own large properties.

Abiel PECK, who took up the Peck grant, was a descendant of Joseph PECK, who emigrated fron England to Attleboro, Mass., in 1638. Abiel PECK came to Cumberland, Nova Scotia at the time of the revolution and shortly afterwards moved to Shebody. His grant included nearly six thousand acres, a large part of it marsh land as good as any along the river. He was drowned while attempting to cross the bay from Dorchester to his own place in an open boat. Most of the grant was divided among his eleven children; the only part that went outside the family was sold to David HOAR of Colchester, Nova Scotia. The greater part of this grant is still held by Mr. Pecks' s descendants.

The principal villages of Hopewell parish are Albert, Riverside, Hopewell Hill and Hopewell Cape.

In 1902 forest fires spread to Hopewell Cape and destroyed the court-house and many private buildings. The court-house was rebuilt in the following year.

Albert is the southern terminus of the Salisbury and Harvey Railway. In July, 1905, a large part of the town was destroyed by fire.

Harvey Parish

The Calhoun grant as mentioned before was in the Parish of Harvey. Mr Calhoun was the son of an English gentleman living in Kentucky. He had two sons, John and Thomas. After his death his widow married Mr. Dickson, of Hopewell Cape, who obtained a portion of the Calhoun grant by exchange with his step-sons and afterwards sold it yo Colonel COCHRANE of Halifax. Cochrane`s property was occupied by a man named BREWSTER, the ancestor of the families of that name now living in Harvey and Hopewell. The property was afterwards sold to members of the Calhoun family. It is said that Germantown, near the western boundary of the Calhoun grant, had been settled at an early date by a party of Germans from Pennsalvania, who were weavers of great skill. It is supposed that they afterwards joined their fellow-countrymen at Hillboro.

On the south side of the Shebody River, Harvey was first settled by tenants of BEST and BURBRIDGE, who obtained their grant in 1763. They were joined later by many settlers from Westmorland and Nova Scotia. Among others were Bradbury ROBINSON (1782), and such names as DEWOLF, MARTIN, WELLS, SMITH, TURNER, and TINGLEY. New Horton was settled in 1798 by settlers from Horton, Nova Scotia, Harvey was set off from Hopewell and formed into a new parish in 1838. It received its name in honor of Sir John HARVEY, then Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick.

Alma Parish

While flourishing settlements were springing up in other parts of the country, what is now the parish of Alma was still unsettled. About 1830 an American fisherman, Commodore BROWN, of Machias,Me., while plying his trade in Chignecto Bay, was impressed by the splendid opportunities which the place afforded for fishing and lumbering. On his return home he reported the wealth of the place to his neighbours and prevailed on several of them to leave their homes and settle with him in this new country.

Sometime previous to this Colonel J. COFFIN had obtained a grant of one thousand acres extending across the mouths of the Salmon River, Salmon Brook and Flat Brook. This grant extended back along these streams for a mile and a quarter and the first settlers were obliged to take up lands in the rear of the lot. About this time persecution and lack of employment in Ireland brought many immigrants to Canada. In 1830 many of them settled along Shebody Road and formed the settlement of New Ireland. In 1832 the Protestant element in this settlement moved out nearer the Bay and formed the villages of Sinclair Hill and Hebron. In the same year Rev. Nathan CLEVELAND and John CLEVELAND, with their families, from Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, settled at what is now Cleveland`s Mills. They were joined shortly afterwards by others also from Nova Scotia. In 1836 James TURNBULL and Isaac LOCKE of New Hampshire bought the Coffin grant and built a mill at the mouth of Salmon Brook. Turnbull soon sold out to his partner and moved away. A few years later several families from Maine settled along the Salmon River. Among others were James FOSTER, Nathaniel LOCKE and Collinns CHRISTOPHER. Hiram EDGETT, of Hopewell, also settled there about the same time. Many small saw-mills sprang up along the rivers and lakes and an extensive lumbering business was carried on.

In 1840 James and Gideon VERNON bought a large tract of land north of the old Coffin grant. They sold their lumber to several Americans who formed a company known as the `Alma Lumber and Shipbuilding Company`. This company built a large mill on Salmon River and carried on an extensive business till 1896 when they sold out to S. H. WHITE and Company, of Sussex, who still continue the business.

WEIR fishing was begun in 1840 by Brian DOHERTY. His first catch was fifteen barrels of herring. Shad were also very plentiful till about 1880, when it was supposed that the saw dust from the many mills drove them from their feeding grounds.

Alma was cut off from Harvey in 1835, and took its name from the famous battle of Alma fought the previous year.

Elgin Parish

At the commencement of the nineteenth century what is now the Parish of Elgin was an unbroken wilderness. The first settler was John GELDART who emigrated from Yorkshire, England, in 1811, and took up lands near what is now Elgin Corner. He was followed the next year by Robert SMITH, also from England, who settled near him. In 1825 Frank GRAY and Robert COLPITTS joined the colony. The latter, Robert COLPITTS was one of the pioneer maple sugarmakers of the county. He developed a sugar plantation which is still owned and operated by his descendants of the same name and which is now fitted out with all modern appliances. Associated with him in the sugarmaking industry were the William COLPITTS family and Christain and Abel STEEVES of Coverdale. During this first season they manufactured 6,200 pounds of maple sugar. The sap was all caught in old fashioned "cassas" made of white birch bark and placed on the ground ay the foot of the tree. All this sugar had to be hauled by hand two or three miles to the Pollett River and shipped from there in canoes made from pine trees hollowed out. The canoes were made large enough to contain a barrel of flour laid endwise across the canoe. The annual output of maple sugar from this parish now is approximately forty tons. In 1828 John ROBINSON, George MILLER and Charles BLEAKNEY, and in 1830 William COLPITTS and Lewis GELDART were added to the settlement at Elgin Corner. In 1828 George GOWLAND, an Englishman, with two sons and three daughters began the settlement at Gowland Mountain. They were soon joined by many others from England and elsewhere. During the next five years Midland Settlement was founded by James and Peter GELDART, sons of John GELDART, and their brother-in-law, John Perry. From time to time many others were added to this settlement and it has grown to be one of the most flourishing districts in the parish. In 1817 Robert MITTON from Yorkshire, England, settled at Little River on land now owned by his descendants and during the following years the settlement was continued up the river by Amos WILSON, Michael POWER and Henry HOPPER. In1822 Parkindale was founded by William and John PARKIN and in 1829 John PROSSER settled at Prosser Brook. The last named gentleman had been an officer in the West India Rangers, and for services rendered he had been granted permission to take up a certain amount of land wherever he chose. His choice fell on Prosser Brook and the settlement founded by him has grown to be about as prosperous as any part of the parish. It is owned largely by his descendants who still preserve the sword of their illustious ancestor.

Further up Little River in 1831 and 1832 Pleasant Vale was founded by Henry, Robert and Thomas COLPITTS. Other settlers soon followed and the settlements were continued still further up the river. Along the head waters of the Kennebecassis river a settlement was started in 1824 by George JONAH with his wife and one child and the same year James HAYWARD settled in what is now called Goshen. In the early forties a settlement was begun across the heads of the Kennebacassis, Pollett. And Little Rivers. This settlements which extends into Kings County was made largely of mechanics from St. John and was called Mechanic Settlement. The first grist mill, as well as the first saw mill in the parish was built by Robert SMITH, one of the pioneer settlers of Elgin. He was an enterprising farmer, as well as a skilled mechanic. In the summer of 1844 he raised in one field and harvested by hand 347 bushels of wheat. Elgin was formerly a part of Salisbury parish but was struck off in 1847 and received its present name in honor of the Earl of Elgin. I wish to acknowledge my indebteness to William A. COLPITTS of Mapleton, for my information with regard to the parish of Elgin.

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