1828 Depositions and Testimony of Madawaska inhabitants

On the question of the Border of Canada, and at the Trial of John Baker

In 1828 two sets of events led to the recording of some personal information about 16 inhabitants of Madawaska, which is given below.

The first was the gathering of depositions by John Deane, representing the State of Maine, about the border of Canada (Quebec). This was part of the gathering of information that was then submitted the following year to the King of the Netherlands, who had been chosen by the US and Great Britain to decide the boundary between them in that area. (For more information on the boundary dispute go to my Boundary Dispute page.) As part of this process Deane spoke to some inhabitants of Madawaska about where they believed that border to be.

The second event was the trial of American John Baker in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Baker had been charged with attempting to turn the French inhabitants of Madawaska against the British authorities; of trying to stop the mail between New Brunswick and Quebec; and of defying British authorities in the area that is now Baker Brook. Several inhabitants of Madawaska were called to testify at the trial about Baker's attempts to get them to sign a paper acknowledging US sovereignty over the area.

Given below is the personal information that was contained in the depositions and testimony. Names are given as spelled in original documents. Correct spelling is given in parentheses and italics.

Depositions of Certain Inhabitants of Madawaska concerning the Boundary of Canada and of John G. Deane, concerning the said boundary, and the tenure of certain lands on Temiscouata Lake.
Source: "Appendix 49.," Definitive Statement,, p.339-348

These depositions were taken between 31 October and 13th of November, 1828

Captain Fearmer Thibideau (Firmin Thibodeau) of Madawaska; aged 59 years and upwards; born in the Province of New Brunswick; when he was 19 his father moved with his family to Madawaska, where the deponent has lived ever since....He is now Captain of the Militia, and holds his commission under the Government of New Brunswick.

Jeremiah Dubie (Germain Dubé), of Madawaska; sixty years of age and upwards; was born in Camarouska [Kamouraska] in Canada, and moved to Madawaska 34 years ago.... Between twenty-five and thirty years ago, he, with 13 or 14 others from Madawaska, worked on the Grand Portage, repairing the road from Temiscouata Lake, to beyond the Grand Fourche, where they met the party from Canada... Mr. Francis Martin superintended the work, and they were employed, supplied, and paid by the Province of New Brunswick. Mr. Martin is dead: four of his sons, some by the name of Herbert, Mr. Foursin and others, worked on the road.

Fearmer Herbert (Firmin Hébert), of Madawaska; aged 46 years and upwards, went to Madawaska when he was eight years old (38 years ago) with his father and family, where he has resided ever since. He has been to Canada several times across the Grand Portage; Between 25 and 30 years ago... 14 or 15 men went from Madawaska to work on the Grand Portage, of whom the deponent was one: They worked on the Portage two or three weeks; and worked from Lake Temiscouata until they met the party from Canada... The party from Madawaska were headed and superintended by Francis Martin, of Madawaska, who is now dead; and they received their supplies from and were paid by Province of New Brunswick. Michael Martin, Francis, Martin, Mr. Dubie, Mr. Fournie and many others, most of whom are dead, worked on the Grand Portage with him.

Michael Martin of Madawaska, aged 47 years and upwards; born at St. Ann's now Fredericton, and 36 or 37 years ago his father, Francis Martin, moved to Madawaska with his family where he lived until his death.... His father superintended the work for the Province of New Brunswick and was paid by the Province. The provisions which they had were brought from the Grand Falls below, on the river St.John. His father has been dead ten years.

Simon Baulier (Simon Beaulieu), of Madawska, aged 46 years and upwards; was born within six miles of the Grand Portage on the St.Lawrence, and when he was aged eight or ten years came to Madawaska, and lived with Captain du Pierce, one of the first settlers at Madawaska, and has resided in Madawaska ever since.

Joseph Cire (Cyr), of Madawaska, aged 28 years; was born in and has always resided in Madawaska; and that he has crossed and recrossed the Grand Portage many times, ...

Michael Cire (Michel Cyr), of Madawaska, 62 years of age and upwards, born on Sugar Island near Fredericton, removed with his father before he was 21 years of age to the place where he now dwells. Since residing in Madawaska he has crossed the Grand Portage from Lake Temiscouata to Canada nearly every year, and some years several times....

Paulite Marchee (Paul Marquis), of Madawaska, 70 years and upwards; born in St. Andre in Canada, near where the Grand Portage commences on the St. Lawrence, and moved to Madawaska, the place where he now dwells, twenty years ago. He crossed the Grand Portage 36 years ago, and he since that time has crossed and recrossed it thirty times and upwards. He has not crossed the Portage the last seven years.

Jean Baptist Long (Lang), resident in the Madawska settlement, near the Catholic Chapel in the Parish of St. Emilie [now Ste-Luce, Upper Frenchville], now 31 years of age and upwards; born at the river De Loup [Rivière du Loup in Québec] which crosses the Grand Portage, and twenty years ago his father brought him with the residue of his family to the Lake Temiscouata, and settled at the place where the Grand Portage commences. He resided at that place nineteen years, and in the autumn of the year 1827, moved to the place where he now resides. Ever since he was old enough to cross the Grand Portage he has crossed it from one to six times a year...

Raphael Michaud of the Parish of St. Emilie [now Ste-Luce], being the upper parish in the Madawaska settlement; ... 27 years of age and upwards; 12 years ago, or thereabouts, he travelled over the Grand Portage from Temiscouata Lake to Canada... Since that time he has passed and repassed the Grand Portage nearly every year.

Report of the Trial of John Baker, at the Bar of the Supreme Court, of the Province of New Brunswick on Thursday, the 8th May, 1828, for Conspiracy.
Source: "Appendix No.38, " in First Statement, pp.266-276.

Baker was being tried for having claimed territory on the St.John as American, for trying to stop the mails passing through, for flying an American flag, and for trying to get French settlers of the region to resist British authority. During the trial, a number of French settlers from Madawaska were questioned about Baker's attempts to get them to sign the document. Included here are personal details and information included in their testimony during the trial.

Abraham Chamberlain sworn. I live in the upper part of the Madawaska Settlement, above the Madawaska River: have resided there four years this summer: was born at the Bay Chaleur: came from there to this Province four years ago, and have always lived since in the Madawaska Settlement. ...

Peter Marque (Pierre Marquis). I live in the Ste.Emilie Settlement, (the upper one.) ... I worked eleven days for Baker last year, at the time of getting hay: I now work for myself. ...

Peter Sileste. I was employed last summer to carry the mail from Madawaska to Lake Timiscouater.

Joseph Sanfason sworn. I live in the Madawaska Settlement, half a mile below the Green River: the Green River is below the Madawaska. I was born at Madawaska. I bought land from Joseph Souci: he had a grant from the Government of this Province. I bought it six years ago. I have been a constable for two years for the parish of Kent...

Simon Abear, or Hibert (Hébert) sworn. I live two miles below Madawaska River; have lived there forty years next month; I moved there from the French village, about ten miles above Fredericton, I have a grant of my land from this Province, it is the first grant in the Madawaska, and was made about two or three years after I moved up. I live under this Government and have always lived under it; all the Madawaska settlers live under the same Government. I vote at elections; the first time was about eight years ago. ...

Return to the Upper St.John River Valley communities page

Last revised 27 Jul 2003
© 2003 C.Gagnon