Article extracted from the New Brunswick Reporter

NBR – 1845.06.13 – Reminiscences of New Brunswick – #8


To give the reader some idea of the interest the settlers along the river Saint John had in the arrival of the Durham boats mentioned in the last number, it will be necessary to state that Mr. King who usually had the chief charge of them; beside being commander and conductor of the Boat of his Majesty King George the third on the river St. John was also in a civil capacity, a travelling or sailing merchant; and used to furnish the settlers with sundry articles to which they had been formerly accustomed. From him the women received their supply of Tea, Sugar, Snuff and sundry other indispensables. And the men in their turn were supplied by him with Tobacco power shot and clothing, and what was of still greater consequence to men who had lately left the busy scenes of the camp, the produce of the West Indies, to cheer their loneliness. These wants depending for their supply on those boats made their arrival of the greatest consequence to all parties. It is not likely that the most wealthy fleet that enters into its destined port, is hailed with more sincere pleasure, than even those clumsy wall sided boats by the expatriated refugees, on the river St. John. The reader must bear in mind that this is a brief view of the transactions of by gone days. This is the way the first settlers got a long fifty years since.

To take a view of the present state of those two posts before mentioned we find the old works at the Grand Falls, have long since gone to decay; but [accomodations] have lately been provided for a small detachment of soldiers who are at present stationed there. The Isthmus likewise is improving in buildings and forms a rendezvous for the traders and lumberers in their lumbering operations on the upper St. John; and there is a good reason to believe that the place will go on progressing till a thriving town covers the whole space from the upper landing to the brow of the hill below the Falls. It is likewise very probable that a canal or tunnel will be cut through the upper part of the Isthmus, from bank to bank, to facilitate the transit of timber, the distance being only 836 yards. This would be of the utmost importance to the province, as the resources of the upper country are incalculable, and a great quantity of timber of the very best quality is yearly destroyed in passing it through the Falls, This spot forms one of the great features of New Brunswick. It is the connecting link between the upper country and the seaboard. In a military point of view it is one of the keys of the upper country. So well is the home government convinced of this that a large clearing has lately been made directly opposite the Falls for military purposes. The Great road of communication lately surveyed by order of Government between Halifax and Quebec intersects this clearing where it joins the present route.

The other Post at the Presque Isle has long [bu…ce] gone to decay not a [vestage] of the old [purp…ary] marks is in existence. The whole space [mar…ely] occupied by the barracks is now devoted [ad…e] purposes of agriculture. The surrounding [in…de…ness] has been converted into fruitful fields […] is densely settled exhibiting pleasing indications of comfort and independence. Some years since the wrecks of some of the old boats might be seen crumbling into dust in the bushes under the bank, while the men who first forced their way from [ ] .

It is now a little over half a century since the troops who garrisoned those two posts were called in to join their regiments for foreign service. The 6th regiment at that time occupied the old range of barracks near the river that have lately been taken down and the 65th was quartered in Barracks and posts in what is now the college square.

Those two regiments were called away shortly after the breaking out of the French Revolution. On St. Georges day 1793 the 65th marched out of their comfortable quarters and embarked on board of sloops to leave Fredericton never to return. They were followed in June by the 6th. – Both regiments soon after joined the expedition against the French West Indian Islands under General Grey in 1794. They suffered severely at the storming of Fort Bourbon and the 6th regiment were subsequently nearly all destroyed; a great part of them having been blown up in the Island of Gaudaloupe.