NBR 1845.04.11 Reminiscences of New Brunswick – #5
[For the Reporter.]
REMINISCENCES OF NEW BRUNSWICK.
Fort Cumberland, Fort Lawrence, Bloody Bridge, Bay Verte, Chediac.
A tale of the times of old.
However, straggling parties of French and Indians still continued to prowl through the wilderness, plundering and burning, and sometimes scalping the settlers. A party of these freebooters formed an ambush in a ravine near a bridge a few miles from Fort Cumberland, and cut off a party, consisting of about twenty men, who had come out under an officer by the name of Dixon, to cut wood for the garrison. These men were nearly all killed by the fire of an unseen enemy, only two or three survivors being made prisoners. The scene of this disaster is still known by the name of Bloody Bridge. Indeed acts of rapine were so frequent in those troublesome times, that the settlers when they laid down at night, were in doubt whether their houses and cattle would not be swept off before morning, for burning and plundering were at that time things of common occurrence; and from the distance of the settlers from each other, and likewise the Fort, it was not easy to combine for mutual defence.
At this period there were but one or two isolated houses at Bay Verte, near where Mr. Chappell at present resides, and the few settlers were separated by a wilderness of several miles from the other settlements, and exposed to the straggling parties of French and Indians who frequented that place, as it was their principal rendezvous. Their only protection was the tact by which they could soothe or awe the passions of the lawless savages. The present settlers who enjoy good roads and houses, with the blessings of peace and society, know little of the anxieties and privations of the first settlers who were not only destitute of many of the necessaries of life, but whose very lives were frequently at the mercy of the irritated and, capricious Indians.
How different is the peace at the Bay Verte now. Instead of a solitary family, the Cove fronting the Bay exhibits a neat village, comprising a number of fine houses and two edifices for Public Worship, Stores, &c. As the traveller enters the village his eye is attracted by a neat little chateau, where a man of Law and a [diciple] of the Divine art have in mercy to the settlers, agreed to exercise their respective callings under the same roof. So that whatever legal disorders or wounds may be inflicted by the man of Briefs, may, as far as art can go, be immediately assuaged by the healing power of the son of Esculapius.
To return to Fort Cumberland, we find every warlike feature crumbling into dust. A part of the old Barrack has however been totally rescued from destruction and converted into a dwelling, and instead of the massy walls and spacious bombproofs that indicated the presence of war and hostility, the whole scene reposes in quietness The peaceful occupation of the Husbandman has succeeded to the sterner calling of the soldier. A few heavy guns lie harmlessly round the site, while the entire Ridge and the adjacent country exhibit a succession of well improved farms, and a wealthy, happy people. Instead of a rude wilderness, the eye now meets a well cultivated country, with good roads in all directions. From the site of Fort Cumberland to Cape Tormentine, a distance of over thirty miles, a fine carriage road passes through a succession of Settlements.