James A. MacLauchlan

The 1833 special census of Madawaska called for by the province of New Brunswick was undertaken by J.A. MacLauchlan, the Warden of the disputed territory. He also undertook a census of Madawaska in 1840.

MacLauchlan was born on 12 Apr 1797 in Scotland.  He joined the 104th Regiment of Foot, the New Brunswick Regiment, appointed as an ensign on 5 March 1812.  In June 1812 Washington declared war on Britain, and MacLauchlan took part in that war. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1814, and in November 1815 he was serving as assistant engineer at Niagara.

As Squires notes, "After the war he settled with the detachment north of Lake Temiscouata," at the request of the British government.  He adds: "They did not remain there, however, as the soil was too poor and the place too isolated and they soon removed to the military settlements in the St.John valley below the Tobique." 

On 26 Dec 1818 he married Sarah Plant (b. 3 Nov 1795, Sydney, Cape Breton; d. 15 Feb 1882, Kingswood; sister of Depty. Asst. Comm. Plant, NBRG) in Fredericton.

MacLauchlan became a deputy in the surveyor general's department and a commissioner of roads in the Upper St.John valley, and was one of the surveyors who laid out lots to be granted to veterans of the 104th Regiment by the New Brunswick Legislature.

In the 1830s through 1842 he was warden of the territories in dispute between Maine and New Brunswick. As Warden he had an encounter with John Deane and Edward Kavanagh, who had been sent by the State of Maine to undertake a survey of landholdings in the Madawaska settlement in July and August 1831. (For that report, go to the page on the 1831 Deane and Kavanagh Survey on this site. For Deane and Kavanagh's description of their run-in with J.A. Maclauchlan, go to "Deane and Kavanagh meet J.A. Maclauchlan.")

It in his capacity as Warden of the disputed territories that Maclauchlan was directed by the New Brunswick legislature or government to undertake a census of the Madawaska Settlement in November 1833; he delivered the completed census in December of that year.

In August 1840, three months after he had undertaken his own census of Madawska on behalf of the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, MacLauchlan confronted the US census taker, Gorham Parks, who was enumerating Madawaska for the US federal census. Maclauchlan described this encounter in a letter to the private secretary of the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick (click link to read letter). As Warden, MacLauchlan was also involved in the events that almost led to war between the US and Great Britain in the upper St.John River valley. 

Gravestone of James MacLauchlan, in family cemetery in Fredericton (click on image for larger view)
In 1840 he was living in Kingswood, in York County. Squires notes that "he was one of the best known men in the upper valley." He died in on 15 Oct 1865 in Kingswood. [source: Squires, p.182]

If you have any other information on James A. MacLauchlan, please contact me!

For more information on James MacLauchlan, as well as a portrait of him, go to the Maine Memory Network's page on James Maclauchlan.

Thanks to Julia MacLauchlan for biographical information as well as the photo of James MacLauchlan's gravestone.


Return to the 1833 Census of Madawaska
Return to the 1840 New Brunswick census of Madawaska

Last revised 19 Dec 2008
©2004-2008 C. Gagnon