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AUNT BECKY MACUMBER'S SAINT MARTINS 1896
Written by "Aunt Becky" (Macumber) contributed by: Donna Doiron donray@nbnet.nb.ca
Editor's Note : This information was published in the Saint John papers around 1896.


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SAINT MARTINS
The Eventful Story Of A Hundred Years. It's Ancient Glory Passed With The Decline Of Wooden Ships.
Today It Is An Enterprising Village And A Delightful Summer Resort.


The first day of November next will be the centenniel of Saint Martins. 100 years have passed since Thomas Carlton, then Lieut. Gov., of the province of New Brunswick signed the grants which now constitute the beautiful village of Saint Martins (then called by the Indian name of Quaco.) A copy of the original grant is before me which was registered at Fredericton on the 19th day of November A.D. 1796 and signed by J. O'Dell. The names of the granties are as follows: George Rogers, Allen McLean, Gaspar Maybee, Isaac Springstead Jr., William Carnell, Catherine Jacobs, George Price, Michael Ambrose, George West, George Huit, Daniel Vaughan, Mathew Moran, Jacob Berry, Isaac Springstead Sr., William Moran. Of the 15 names of the original grant of Quaco only 3 remain residents, they are Vaughan, Moran, and McLean. The descendants of the rest have died or removed from the place.

It must be remembered that very large tracts of land were granted to the above parties and very early they sold or divided their land with others who should be classed as first settlers. Among these are the names of Howard, Brown, Bradshaw, Carson, McCumber, Floyd and others. These early settlers were naturally keen intelligent business men with little or no education. They soon found out that shipbuilding was the one important industry. Daniel Vaughan, grandfather of Benjamin Vaughan who now resides here (and to whom your correspondant indebted for much of the information here written) was the first to move in this direction.

Captain David Vaughan, son of Daniel Vaughan went to Gagetown and bought a schooner called the "Rose" about 30 tons register and took command of her himself and sailed for Eastport, Maine. That was during the American War in 1812. The vessel was captured by an American privateer, the crew made prisoners and the vessel place - in charge of a prize crew. She was shortly recaptured by the English cruiser "Plumper", the prize crew taken off and the Captain allowed to proceed home with his vessel.

The first keel laid in Saint Martins was that of the schooner "Rachel" about 30 or 35 tons register. She was built by Captain David Vaughan and named after his wife Rachel. The foreman was a Frenchman by the name of Tellar. When the "Rachel" was built, people said it would be the last vessel ever built in Quaco as they could not get timber enough to build another. It might be interesting to modern men to know that in getting timber out of the woods for frames, they would have to find a stick crooked enough to make the required shape from keel to gunwahale. At that time they had not the idea of building the frames in sections as they did later on. The keel of the "Rachel" was cut from a birch tree that stood on what is now known as "Hodsmyth's Corner" in the center of the village. If this ancient specimen of naval architecture could be resurrected and placed alongside one of the first class steel ships, now built on the Clyde, the people of the 19th century would see a wonderful contrast.

After the "Rachel" was launched, then followed the "Rainbow" and the "Ambassador" and from that time to the year 1880 one or more vessels were launched every year varying in size from 18 to 1800 tons register. In the year 1863 there were 18 vessels building here at the same time.

This industry has now passed into history, the shipyards have been cleared up and grass grows where the carpenter's axe was in former years so busily at work. No industry has yet taken the place of shipbuilding at Saint Martins. Many of our men are now working in different parts of the U.S., while their families reside here, others have turned their attention to improving their farms and despite the hardness of the times are making a comfortable living. The early settlers were not without superstitions and many weird tales can be told of midnight digging for gold and the enchanted circle always tinged with romance. I have yet to learn that any of their efforts proved successful. The Isle of Haute and along the shores of the Bay of Fundy seemes to be favorite spots to use the mineral rod in the vain attempt to unearth some of the famous Captaind Kidds treasure. A few of the parties who engaged in these midnight seances are still living and are always ready to relate their experiences.

The Baptist Church was organized June 27, 1819 with Rev. Peter Crandall pastor, Jacob Berry and William Bradshaw deacons, and David Vaughan clerk with 60 members. At the present time the membership is 400 with a fine church building constructed in 1878 at a cost of $9000. The new church was built largely through the efforts of the great Rev Dr. Bill who was pastor for 12 years. The bell in the tower and the clock which can be seen from all parts of the village were the gifts of the late Captain George Whitfield Masters and are greatly appreciated by the citizens. The Saint Martins Baptist Seminary, a magnificent building of stone and brick were erected here about 10 years ago at considerable cost. The school was opened and run for a few years but, being burdened with a heavy debt was unable to pay the running expenses and at the same time pay off the debt. The school was therefore closed about 2 years ago and unless some effort is made to pay off the debt, the building will stand here as a monument of the lack of enterprise of the Baptists of the Maritime Provinces.

The Methodists and Episcopalians have also fine churches. The Presbyterians are building a new church.

They also have a Roman Catholic Chapel situated in West Quaco. The first Roman Catholic Church was built at West Quaco on Thomas Nugent's land in front of W.A. Cambell's residence. The parish priest was Father Barnes. Sometime afterward there arose a difficulty in regard to the title of the land when Father Barnes told Mr Nugent he wasn't fit even to be a Baptist. This difficulty resulted in a new chapel being built in the year 1837 on the hill opposite William Murray's house.

The first schoolmaster who taught in Saint Martins was Thoams Evans, who taught in a little school house that stood near the residence of James Carson, our Collector of Customs. The building was taken down many years ago. Mr Evans was brought here from Newfoundland by Captain Daniel Vaughan. Afterwards the school was taught by Mr Connor, Thomas Black and others. We have now 4 large public schools in this district thoroughly equipped which under the management of the present trustees, are doing excellent work, the teachers in the various departments being well qualified to fill their postitions.

Today, 100 years since Saint Martins was first settled we find it an enterprising village of about 1000 inhabitants, the whole parish having a population of 2500.

The principal, and I might say the only industry carried on at the present time is the manufacture of lumber. The men engaged in the business are Rourkes, Captain R. Carson, J.P. Mosher, Captain G.R. McDonough, P.H. Nugent, and White Fownes & White, all of whom own and manage small vessels engaged in carrying lumber to the westward.

William Vaughan owns and operates a steam factory and planning mill. There are about 20 merchants at Saint Martins who do a general business in dry goods, groceries, etc. A few years ago a company was formed called the Trotting Park Association, Jacob W. Titus, President and William Wilson, treasurer. This company has purchased land on the level plain north of the village and has a very fine race course. They have erected a large commodius building for the purpose of holding agricultural exhibitions etc. The track is considered by some of the visiting judges to be one of the finest in the province.

A board of trade was organized last year with James Rourke as President. We are looking forward to the efforts of this board for the improvement and advancement of our village.

We also have a debating formed some 2 years ago, which meets every Thursday evening when the subject of discussion is handled in an able manner by it's members.

What is most needed for Saint Martins at the present time is a substantial direct railway service between the city of Saint John and Saint Martins. The branch line which we now have connecting the I.C.R. at Hampton gives but little satisfaction from the fact that when required during the winter months it is shut down and also on account of the rates of freight charges being so high, the company having to pay the I.C.R. one half. There is nothing to prevent this road being operated in the winter.

The old Saint Martins and Upham railway was opened about 1880 and has been struggling along through many changes.

Our climate is healthy. We have never been visited by any a serious epidemic. We have in our midst today, 11 persons hearty and well, whose combined ages are 980 years.

As a summer resort Saint Martins cannot be surpassed for natural scenery, pleasant climate, sea bathing and good hotel accommodation. The sportsman with gun and rod can find plenty of enjoyment within short distances from the hotel. If Saint Martins was more generally known it would become the favorite summer resort of the Maritime Provinces.

The old Saint Martins Militia was organized about 1822 with officers as follows: Captain James Moran; Adjutant, Edward Brown; Drill Sergeant, William Moran; Sergeant, Thomas H. Black. The company had their drill on the plain back of William Rourke's residence. The arms used were those taken from a Dutch man-of-war.

The first Justice of the Peace wa Philip Mosher who was also, surveyor, Minister, and Doctor. The next J.P.'s were James Moran, Captain Howard, George Brown, Alexander Lockhard, Edward Brown, and John Foster. The present Justices are W.H. Rourke, W.E. Skillen, W.H. Moran, P.H. Nugent, M.R. Daley, and S. Shanklin.

The first lighthouse was built off the reef at Quaco Head about 1835. Captain Lamb was the first keeper, afterwards William Love. When the building was destroyed by fire, the new one was built on the head where it now stands. Charles Brown is the present keeper. There have been very few wrecks here, the most disasterous being that of the American Schooner "Arcana" about 10 years ago when all but one man lost their lives by freezing to death on the reef.

Mr Seymour ran the first stagecoach once a week between Saint Martins and Saint John. Afterwards Barry Nugent, Philip Black, Alexander Fownes, and others. At that time there was only one road that which is now known as Upper Loch Lomand Road. This road was run out and surveyed by Philip Mosher in 1817. At the present time the stage is run by James Allen Tabor who gives the public good satisfaction. The first settlers had to go to Hampton and down the Westmorland Road to reach Saint John.

The first Postmaster of the village of Saint Martins was Alexander Lockhart, afterwards John Foster, Thomas Black, and James Moran. The present post mistress is Mrs James R. Cochran.

One of the early industries which has ceased to be operated in Saint Martins is a lime kiln and brick yard which was formerly operated by john and Sanford Brown. The kiln and brick yard was situated in West Quaco nearly opposite the residence of Captain John Marr.

Daniel Vaughan and Philip Mosher owned and operated the first saw mill which stood near where J.P. Mosher's mill now stands. They also owned and operated the grist mill which stood near the saw mill. Mr Snow and Mr Grant owned a carding mill. George Marsters owned and worked the first and only tannery ever operated in Saint Martins. The building stood about a 100 yards east of the Baptist Church. He also worked at the shoe-making business and later became a master mariner.

In the early history of Saint Martins there were weirs for catching herring. It was no uncommon sight at that time to see from 200 to 300 barrels taken in one tide, and often the sluices would have to be opened to let the herring out as there would be more than could be taken care of. The ships carpenters would leave their work and help secure and preserve the fish and take a supply for the year with them. At that time there were about 300 ship carpenters employed.

In 1845 an epidemic of Scarlet Fever swept all over the village and many children died.

Sir Leonard Tilley was instrumental in organizing a division of the Sons of Temperance here. He frequently assisted the Order by giving lectures here.

A Loyal Orange Lodge wa organized in 1845, John Fletcher and William Black being the chief promoters. The Society is now building a large and capacious hall on Orange Hill. The building is 2 stories high and adapted admirably for use.

In 1856 a ship owned by david T. Vaughan called the "Almira" and commanded by Captain Silas Vaughan, parted her cables and came ashore off Quaco Harbour.


Generations, The Journal of the New Brunswick Genealogical Society, Spring 2003.

Forwarded by Sarah Mosher with thanks.