"List of American citizens in possession of lands in Madawaska, quantity, &c."

August 1827

This list, along with the descriptive information following each name, is part of a letter dated August 11, 1827, sent by George Morehouse, Justice of the Peace for the County of York, Province of New Brunswick, to Thomas Wetmore, Esq., Clerk to the Attorney General, on the case of John Baker, who attempted to recruit French Acadians to support his claim that Madawaska was US territory. The full text of the letter follows the list.

Note: "joining" as used below means adjoining. Information in brackets [..] is not in the original text, but is commentary by me.

James Bacon, on the lower or southeast side of the Mereumpticook creek, fronting the river St. John, 100 acres, deeded to him by James Irish and George W. Coffin; settled nine years. [Irish was Land Agent of Maine, and Coffin was the Land Agent of Massachusetts; this indicates Bacon purchased or received the land by grant from Mass., which owned 1/2 the public lands in Maine, including this area]

John Baker, on the upper or southwest side of the creek, 100 acres, deeded to him by Coffin and Irish; settled nine years. [see note above under James Bacon]

Charles Studson, joining Bacon, on the lower side, 100 acres; settled three years.

Mathias Acorn, joining Baker, on the northwest; settled one year; in possession of 100 acres.

John Scheodder joins Acorn on the west; in possession of 100 acres; settled two years.

Stephen Grover, joining Scheodder, on the west side; one year settled; 100 acres.

John Hofford [Hafford], about two miles above Grover's ; settled ten years.

Oakes, about three miles above the Mereumpticook, on the southwest side of the river St.John; in possession of 100 acres; three years settled.

John Hofford [Hafford], about five miles above Fish river, 200 acres; settled ten years.

John Hofford [Hafford], jr., joining the last mentioned, on the west side, 100 acres; settled one year.

Samuel Hofford [Hafford] joins John Hofford, jr., on the west; settled one year; 100 acres.

Phineas Reynold Hofford [Hafford] joins Samuel Hofford, on the west side; settled nine years..

Isaac Jones, in possession of an island about eight miles above Fish river.

Jacob Goldthrite, in possession of an island lying near that in possession of Isaac Jones.

David Esansey, in possession of a lot about five miles above Fish river; two years settled.

Nathaniel Bartlette and David Savage, jointly, in possession of 500 acres at Fish river; the lands on which the mills are built and that adjacent.

Here's the text of Morehouse's letter to Wetmore:

Kent, August 11, 1827

Thomas Wetmore, Esq., Clerk to the Attorney General

Sir: In compliance with your request, contained in your letter of the 31st of July, I proceeded, without delay , to Madawaska to inquire into the conduct of Baker and other American citizens in that settlement, on which, for the information of Government, I beg leave to make the following report:

After getting the affidavits of some of the French settlers, I went up the river to where there is a settlement forming by Americans, and endeavored to get in my possession the paper which had been offered for signatures, but found that quite out of the question; they pointedly refused to let me see it. As soon as it was known that I was in their settlement, Baker and others hoisted the American flag as a token of defiance. I ordered him to pull it down, but instead of complying, Baker, as their organ, made the following declaration:

That they had hoisted that flag, and they had mutually entered into a written agreement to keep it there, and that nothing but a force superior to their own should take it down. That they considered, and had a right to consider, themselves on the territory of the United States, and that they had bound themselves to resist by force the execution of the laws of Great Britain amongst them; and that they had a right to expect, and would receive, the protection and support of their Government in what they were doing.

It seems the flag in question was first raised on the 4th of July last, when Baker, a few days previous, personally invited the most of the French settlers to join them in that act; but I am happy to have it in my power to say that but few complied.

I find that they are using every argument to induce the French people to declare themselves American subjects, and I fear if those fellows are not well looked after they will eventually succeed in their designs, for I find their insinuations have already had the effect to throw some of the people in doubt whether they are to consider themselves British or American subjects. And I trust his Majesty's Government will speedily take such measures as will convince the French settlers of Madawaska that the Americans have no right to act as they do, and crush this banditti, for I feel convinced that, unless this transaction is promptly followed by some other to suppress them, the French, it is more than probable, will shortly consider us the intruders.

I herewith send the affidavits of the postman whom Baker was said to have stopped, which will show what passed between them; also a list of American citizens settled on the river St.John, above the French settlement.

I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient,

George Morehouse
Justice of the Peace for the County of York

Source: "Aggressions on John Baker and Other Citizens of the United States by the Authorities of Great Britain in New Brunswick," Communicated to the Senate March 4, 1828, Item No.473, in American State Papers. Class I. Foreign Relations. Volume VI. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States from the First Session of the First Congress to the Thirty-Fifth Congress, Inclusive: Commencing March 4, 1789 and ending March 3, 1859, Second Series, Volume VI. Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1859, pp.853-854.

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Last revised 1 Oct 2004
©2004 C. Gagnon