Search billions of records on

The History of St Martins


Many articles have been written during the years in connection with this early history of the place. The following incident is relative to this period.


One afternoon in January, late in the 1820's. David Marchbanks and his wife started from their home in Quaco toward Saint John. In the arms of each was a child, the former carrying his little boy, two years old, and the Mother, the baby, a girl of eight months. Mr and Mrs Marchbanks had settled in the village a few years before. They came from Dumfries, Scotland, and were both Presbyterians. In accordance with their faith, they wished to have their children baptized, but there was no clergyman of their church nearer than Saint John so they decided to take their little ones there to have the ceremony performed.

It must be remembered that in those early days a journey to the city in the depth of winter was a much greater undertaking than it is today. There was no highway between the two places and the mode of travel was either on horseback or on foot over a bridle path cut through the woods.

Mr and Mrs Marchbank held the children warmly and wrapped them in blankets for the weather was cold and the snow deep. Many hours elapsed before the parents pilgrimage of thirty miles ended. Ten miles from home they spent the night at the home of a relative. Early the next morning, before sunrise, this God-fearing mother and father, with their precious burdens, were again on their journey. Their tramp from here was uneventful until late in the afternoon, when within a few miles of their destination, they were overtaken by some Negroes from the settlement of Loch Lomond, hauling a rough sled. Mrs Marchbanks, accepting the preferred kindness of these men, lately slaves,got on the sled with her little ones, and had a ride into the city. The children were baptized the following Sunday and a few days afterward they were carried home again. Mrs John D. Brown of West Quaco, was the baby girl of this episode and David Marchbanks, also of West Quaco, her brother. A white marble slab with two Scotch thistles and the usual inscription engraved on its polished surface marks his resting place in the burying ground on Mosher Hill. This stone was erected by his faithful wife and paid for with a sum of gold saved during the years of her marriage.

In the year 1874, the steamer 'Albert' was built by Captain John Calhoun to trade between Saint John and Hopewell, and also to carry passengers. This steamer came into Quaco every week but the service was unsuccessful and was soon discontinued. Also in the year 1874, the steamer 'Earl Dufferin', which was built solely for the purpose, began carrying passengers and frieght between Saint John and St Martins. This was successfully continued until 1878, when the railway was opened between St Martins and Upham. This railway was in use until 1935, when it became necessary to discontinue the service. Now, motor cars are used to carry freight and passengers.

The ship-building industry has now passed into history; the shipyards have been cleaned up; and grass grows where the carpenters axe, in former years, was so busy at work.

The early settlers were not without superstitions and many a weird tale is told of midnight digging for gold, with enchanted circle always tinged with romance. I have yet to learn that any of the efforts proved successful. The Isle of Haute and along the shores of the Bay of Fundy seem to be favorite spots to use the mineral rod. In vain the attempt to unearth some of the famous Captain Kidd's treasure. A few of the old settlers are always ready and willing to relate their experiences. 4