- In this section Chadbourne is talking about what was known
as the Madawaska region in general; the settlers she mentions
settled in places that are now Madawaska, Frenchville, St. Agatha,
Fort Kent, St. Francis.
- "This town, ... first settled by the Acadian French
in the latter part of the eighteenth century, bears the Indian
name of the river opposite the mouth of which one of their earliest
settlements was located. Its meaning has most often been given
as 'having its outlet among the reeds.'
- "Just after the middle of the eighteenth century, a
small group of Acadians escaped deportation at the hands of the
English [from Acadia, what is now Nova Scotia], who, on their
refusal to take the oath of allegiance in 1755, finally determined
that they all be removed and dispersed among the British colonies.
This small group made a temporary settlement on the St. John
River, a short distance above Frederickton [now New Brunswick].
In the following year they pushed up the river and settled along
the banks of the upper St. John, where they were joined by other
Acadians from New Brunswick, Maine, and Massachusetts.
- "The first settlement was made opposite the mouth of
the Madawaska River and because of this, the whole region became
known as the Madawaska Territory.
- "Some important personages came to Madawaska. Louis
Mecure, born at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island [at
the time called Île St-Jean], in 1753, was one. His name
occurs on most of the documents which concern the primitive history
of Madawaska. Joseph Daigle, one of the most interesting
of the early figures of Madawaska, was a gentleman farmer and
a great supporter of the church. The name of Jean-Baptiste
Cyr may also be mentioned.
- "It was in June, 1785, that the first group which had
just left St. Ann went up the St. John River and founded the
settlement of Madawaska. The first comers settled not far from
the present site of St. David's Church [in the city of Madawaska].
This can be called the origin of the colony. These are the names
of the first settlers on the south shore of St. John River as
they appear on the official list sent by the Honorable J. Odell
to the commissary of the colony: Pierre Duperré,
Paul Potier, Joseph Daigle, Baptiste
Fournier, Joseph Daigle, Jr., Jacques
and François Cyr, Firmin and Antoine Cyr,
Alexander Ayotte, Baptiste Thibodeau,
and Louis Sampson. Here the Acadians lived a hard
and crude life. They had no money for trade and were forced to
live by their own industry and ingenuity, as their ancestors
had done. They were their own blacksmiths and outfitters.
- "The earliest American settlers came about 1817. They
were Captain Nathan Baker, the brothers John
and James Harford and Captain Fletcher,
all American citizens. They came as far as the St. John River
and settled at the confluent stream of Méruimticook River
(now Baker River) twenty miles west of St. Basil.
- "A short time later others came from the Kennebec region.
These new settlers were John
Baker, brother of Nathan, Jesse
Wheelock, James Bacon, Charles
Studson, Barnabas Hunnawell, Walter
Powers, Daniel Savage, Randall Harford,
Nathaniel Bartlette, Augustus Webster,
and Amos Maddocks. Some settled on the Baker River
and others established themselves farther up the river in the
St. Francis region.
- "John Baker came from Moscow. Owing to
his talents and activity he soon became the acknowledged leader
of the Madawaska region. He received a grant of land from the
- "Since British justice had been established at Madawaska
in 1797, a conflict arose, when Maine incorporated this region
in 1831, as to which of the two countries had jurisdiction of
this area. The question was finally settled by the Webster-Ashburton
Treaty of 1842.
- "Madawaska was incorporated in 1869." (Chadbourne,
- The Legislature of the State of Maine did incorporate the Township of Madawaska
on March 15, 1831 as a means of strengthening the US claim to this disputed
territory. However, "this incorporation proved abortive, and no further
incorporation took place until 1869, when the towns of Fort Kent, Frenchville,
Grand Isle and Madawaska were formed." Raymond, pp.354-355
- "Somewhere about the year 1816, a small party left Moscow,
in Somerset County, Maine, to engage in lumbering on the upper
St. John. The party included Nathan Baker, his
wife and three children, John Baker, one Stimpson,
Captain Fletcher and John Harford.
- "After a journey of two hundred and fifty miles in birch
canoes and being fifteen days on the way, they arrived at the
stream, known as Baker Brook [now in New Brunswick]. John Baker
went to the Bay Chaleur and carried on lumbering for several
years. On the death of his brother Nathan, he returned to Madawaska
to look after his property and soon after married his widow.
Mrs. Baker's maiden name was Sohia Rice, daughter
of Enoch Rice of Brookfield, Massachusetts. She was born in 1785,
married at the age of nineteen years, lived sixty years at Baker
Brook and died at Fort Fairfield at the age of ninety-nine years.
- "John Baker is said, by one of his descendants, to have
been about five feet eleven inches in height, and to have wighed about one
hundred and seventy-five pounds. He was very erect, had a light complexion,
bright blue eyes, heavy chin and a very big nose. He was a good talker, could
take a glass of liquor, and was charitable and generous to his poorer neighbors."
- In the 1830 US Census the Madawaska
Settlement was within Penobscot County, and included
both banks of the St.John River valley.
- See also the 1831 survey of the Madawaska settlements
by Deane and Kavanagh, the south
bank of the St. John river (this covers the valley from what's
today St. Francis all the way to Van Buren)
- In the 1840 US Census Madawaska is included in Madawaska South of the St.John
River. This census also includes the part of what was
called the Madawaska settlements that is on the north bank of
the St.John River, now in Madawaska County, New Brunswick, in
Madawaska North of the St.John
Walter Powers, Jesse Wheelock,
John Hayford, Barnabas Hunnewell all appear on p.53,
in Madawaska North of the St.John River. John
Baker appears on p.52 in the same division.
- In the 1850 US Census Barnabas
Hunnawell shows up (as Barnebas Hannewell) in Hancock
Plantation (page 126b, line 4). Walter
Wheelock, and John
Baker and Sophia
Baker show up in Hancock Plantation (p.126a, all
in the same household, on lines 41, 31, 35 and 36) in the 1850
census. Randall Harford
shows up in Number 17, Range 9 (p.168a, line 36).
Return to Upper St.John Valley Communities Page
Last revised 27 Jan 2002