The Herald – 1878.01.05 – Letter from Johnville – #5


{To the Editor of the HERALD}

Dear Sir, — Some of the papers, lately have been drawing the attention of the public to the new settlements, in different parts of this Province, and the manner of the Government towards them. Johnville is generally introduced as a sort of step-child that has felt a step-mother’s breath, rather more than is good for its health, and all that on account of country and creed.

We cannot say that the Government of the day pays us much attention, or that they take much interest in our affairs, but it may be as much our own fault as others, as we never ask for anything ; but it never came into our minds to think we were slighted because we are Irishmen and Catholics. If we have any fault to find it is with out County members, but I will pay my respects to them in due time. We are a happy, contented and by no means a fault-finding or envious people. Very few outside of Johnville know much about us, or our young and thriving settlement. We are comparatively prosperous and do not look for unreasonable notice from the Government, but rather depend on our own exertions. We who are here from the commencement consider, as we always did, that the Government of that day (Which many of us think, foolishly perhaps, was the very best New Brunswick ever saw) did for us all they promised to do.

Thirty six thousand acres of gold land was surveyed in one block, and reserved for years for Catholic applicants only. If some of it remains to this day unoccupied the fault is not with the Government. Roads were bushed out, the lots numbered, front and base lines marked, but the side lines we got run out at our own expense. For several years, applications were received at the Crown Land office, the survey money not being exacted. The priest had discretionary power to locate settlers, and no application would be received at the Crown Land office unless through him. It is true we built our own houses and made most of the roads, but in doing this we were paying for our land, whilst making roads to our own doors.

Johnville is now pretty well up in its teens. Its age is about sixteen years, and is promising and strong for that age. In its infancy it had its struggles and its trying periods common to all young settlements. Some landed here with but little means and less experience, and would certainly have failed and been discouraged had they not been instructed, aided and encouraged by the priest ; by him they were supported and sustained until they learned to be self-sustaining and could stand alone.

It was not considered wisdom to look for help from any government, especially having the example of River de Chute before our eyes. There, the people, long, long ago, got free grants on the banks of the St. John River, provisions for two years, and all necessary farming utensils, now, they are perhaps, the poorest class of farmers in this County.

In the Parishes of Simonds, Wakefield, Richmond and Woodstock we met with numbers of well-to-do farmers, who, when they settled in the forest had no assistance, only what strong arms and a strong resolution gave them, and when we compare the hardships, privations and toil of these successful pioneers with our own, we of Johnville feel ashamed of ourselves. We are only feather bed soldiers in comparison.

Perhaps I have said enough for the present. If you do not object, I may continue the subject, — the early history and progress of Johnville.
I am etc., etc.,