Estabrooks, Elijah - 1727-1796, Ticonderoga Soldier, Part 2

Elijah Estabrooks (1727-1796)

Elijah Estabrook's served as a Massachusetts provincial soldier in the French and Indian War (1754-1763).  He kept a journal between 1758 and 1760 covering his military service.  One of my ancestors, he was also one of the earliest settlers on the Saint John River, and now lies buried near Jemseg, New Brunswick.  This is part 2 of a compilation of his stories with additional details and illustrations of the people and events he wrote about in his Journal, as a tribute from one of his many descendants.

Scouting Expedition

August the 13th day 1758:

           Now we are enlisted in order to go on a scout (expedition) in the woods for 7 days, and we marched.

August the 14th day.

           And we marched about 8 miles the first day, and the 15th and the 16th days we marched 2 miles for it was very heavy traveling and the 17th day we marched about 10 miles to Cole’s Creek and then staid (sic) that night, and the 18th day we marched 10 miles and now our allowance was gone and General Loudon ordered the party to return to Fort Edward, and the 19th day we marched 17 miles and the 20th day we marched 14 miles which brought us to the Fort, and there we took our allowance, and on the 21st day we marched to a breastwork between Fort Edward and the Half Way Brook which is about a mile and lay there that night.  And the 22nd day we marched to the Half Way Brook - about 800 men to keep the pickets.  And the 8th day of September 1758 we marched to Lake George again.

August the 26th day:

           There were four men condemned to be hung.  And were brought to the gallows but were not hung.

August the 29th day:

           There came news that Capertun was taken and they fired their great guns and their small arms and they gave out at the Half Way Brook a gill of rum a (for each) man and made a great fire and they had a great frolic.

           Fred C. Burnett found the following likely evidence that Elijah was referring to “Cape Breton,” rather than “Capertun.”  Nova Scotia archival records indicate that on the 26th of July 1758, articles of capitulation were signed by the French forces in Cape Breton, and on the 27th of July Louisbourg was surrendered.  The capitulation included the whole Island of Cape Breton and the Island of St. John (now known as Prince Edward Island).[1]

[1] James Hannay, History of Acadia, St. John, New Brunswick, 1879, p. 415.  Fred Burnett suggests that Elijah’s “original handwriting may have resembled “Cape Breton” a little more than the printed copy, (but) then again he likely never saw the name in print or writing.”  Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 13 October 2000.

(Engraving by J. Walker, Tuttle's Illustrated History of the Dominion, 1877)

British forces led by General Wolfe, besieging the Fortress of Louisbourg.  The French fortress fell on 26 July 1758 after a 48-day siege.

September the 1st day:

           There were 5 men and a Sergeant coming from the Half Way Brook and the enemy shot upon them and killed the Sergeant.

September the 11th day:

           There came news that Cataraqui was taken and we at Lake George fired our great guns and our small arms three times apiece for joy.

September 26th day:

           There was some snow fell in the morning.

October 1st 1758:

           Major Barry with the sick marched from Lake George and it was the Sabbath.  And the same day Colonel Hore came to Lake George for he had been home almost three months, for he was sick.  And then came up and was well and hearty as ever he was in the world.

October the 2nd day:

           All the dead and sick men’s guns were delivered to Colonel Preble that belonged to his regiment and those who were gone home to take care of them.[1]  The same day all of our men came from the Island and left it alone for we kept a guard there for two months of 100 men, and from Lake George to the Island was about 6 miles down the lake.

[1] Colonel Preble would later set up a fort on North East Point, Cape Sable Island, in late 1758 or early 1759.  He garrisoned it until at least the fall of Louisbourg.  The fort was mentioned in a dispatch, a copy of which is kept in a museum in Shelburne, Nova Scotia.  Another dispatch in existence from that time is one that was sent back to Colonel Preble reporting on a raid inland up the Roseway River from Port Roseway (modern day Shelburne, which was called Port Riseway by the French), chasing renegade Acadians.  Apparently there was a skirmish and several Acadians were taken.  E-mail from Terry Hawkins, 6th of November 2000.

October the 4th day:

           There came in 150 of the bateaux men from Cataraqui to Lake George that belonged to Colonel Broadstreet.

October the 5th day:

           Major-General Jeffery Amherst came to Lake George with 100 Grenadiers.[1]

[1] Colonel Jeffrey Amherst was recalled from the German war and was promoted in one leap to the rank of a major-general in March 1758.  He was tall and thin-nosed, energetic and resolute, somewhat cautious and slow, but with a bulldog tenacity of grip.  He replaced Abercrombie and arrived at Army headquarters in New York City from Halifax on the 12th of December, 1758.  Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 332; and John R. Cuneo, Robert Rogers of the Rangers, New York, Oxford University Press, 1959, p. 90.

Major-General Jeffery Amherst.

October the 10th day:

           There were two men whipped in our regiment and on the 12th day there was a man dropped down dead who belonged to our regiment.

October the 23rd day:

           We came from the Lake George, three regiments, Colonel Preble’s regiment, (and) Colonel Bill William’s regiment.[1]

[1] Colonel William Williams wrote his older relative DR Thomas Williams at Fort Edward, telling him about the loss of Oswego in 1756, and presaging the disasters at Fort William Henry and Ticonderoga: “Such a shocking affair has never found a place in English annals…The loss is beyond account; but the dishonor done His Majesty’s arms is infinitely greater.”  Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 236

            And Colonel Nichol’s regiment.  And we hauled bateaux to Fort Edward.  From Lake George to the Half Way Brook is 7 miles.  And from Half Way Brook to Fort Edward is 7 miles.  From Fort Edward to Saratoga, form Saratoga to Stillwater and from Stillwater to Halfmoon, and form Halfmoon to Greenbush, and from Greenbush to Canterbrook to Sheffield, from Sheffield to No.1 and from No.1 to Greenwood, and from Greenwood to Glasgow, and from Glasgow to Westfield and from Westfield to Springfield.  And from Springfield to Kingston and from Kingston to Weston, and from Weston to Brookfield and from Brookfield to Leicester and from Leicester (to home).

           I came out of the service on the 7th of November 1758.

           The names of the men who died at the Lake out of Captain Harrack’s Company:

           Joseph Herrick, Gideon Garrad, and Joseph Hackett, Robert Harrack (was taken sick and died and it was on the Sabbath), Samuel Stickney, John Peabody, Nathan Framanc, Samuel Woodbury, Jabesh Thomaston, Jonathan Peabody, and John Hackett.


          Major-General Jeffery Amherstled a force to seize Fort Carillon, reaching the site on the 22nd of July 1759.  The defenders were short of men and supplies and held out for only four days before withdrawing.  On the night of the 26th of July 1759, the French blew up the fort’s powder magazine, set fire to its buildings, and fled to Crown Point.  Well aware of the French capability to attack with surprise, Amherst acted with caution and proceeded to repair the damaged fort before pursuing the enemy.  When he did send scouts down the lake to Crown Point, they discovered that the French had withdrawn down the Richelieu River from that fort as well.  He therefore took possession of Crown Point on the 31st of July, although it had also been blown up and burnt by its garrison on withdrawal.  Amherst decided to build a whole new fort on the site.  He built a road eastward from Crown Point to Township Number Four, on the Connecticut River in New Hampshire.  He also had a small flotilla constructed to keep the four French gunboats on Lake Champlain from menacing his troops’ bateaux when the time finally came to attack Canada.  Clearly, Amherst’s precautions saved a great number of his men’s lives, but it also cost him the rest of the campaign season.  In November 1759, he dismissed his provincial soldiers and sent his regulars into winter quarters without taking further action against the French.[1]

          As noted, following the capture of Fort Carillon by Amherst’s 11,000-man army, its name was changed to Fort Ticonderoga.  An extensive reconstruction was then begun on the works, which had been partially destroyed by the French upon their evacuation.  “The rebuilt fort included barracks, officers’ quarters, powder magazine, four batteries, a redoubt, storerooms, prison cells, a wharf, ovens, a lime kiln, gardens, and advanced works.  After the French and Indian War, Ticonderoga was used as a military depot for the storage of British armaments.”[2]

[1] Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, p.18.

[2] “On the 10th of May 1775, Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold captured Ticonderoga from a skeleton garrison and two days later took possession of Fort Crown Point.  The Continental Army which consisted of approximately 17,000 men, was in the process of besieging British-held Boston (between April 1775 and the 17th of March 1776), but without heavy siege artillery it was considered almost impossible to oust the British.  The Americans’ shortage of armament had prompted the seizures of Ticonderoga and Crown Point.  On the 16th of November 1775, General Washington commissioned Colonel Henry Knox to remove the guns at Ticonderoga and transport them to the environs of Boston.  Knox reached Ticonderoga on the 5th of December, and within hours, with the assistance of the garrison, was busy dismantling more than 50 heavy cannon, mortars, and howitzers.  Knox’s “Noble Train of Artillery” enabled the Patriots to ultimately force the British out of Boston.”

              “Fort Ticonderoga was used as the headquarters for Major General Philip Schuyler’s Northern Department during most of 1775 and 1776 while American forces under Benedict Arnold and Richard Montgomery made an unsuccessful attempt to capture Canada.  In July 1777, General John Burgoyne’s invasion army from Canada recaptured Fort Ticonderoga but was compelled to abandon it after the general’s surrender at Saratoga in October.  The fort’s buildings were burned by the British garrison commanded by Brigadier General H. Watson Powell.  In 1781, while General Barry St. Leger was holding fruitless meetings with Vermont commissioners to absorb that territory into Canada, his men made extensive repairs on the fort.  The commissioners, however, decided that Vermont should become a part of the future United States.”

              Shortly after the Treaty of Paris was signed, the whole region began to be rapidly settled.  There was no care-taking establishment at Ticonderoga, and the fort provided a convenient treasure trove for the early settlers.  In 1796, the garrison grounds were granted to Columbia and Union Colleges as a source of income.  William Ferris Pell, a wealthy New York marble and mahogany importer, leased part of the grounds and erected a summer home.  In 1820 he bought the entire property.  The existence today of the faithfully restored colonial fort is entirely due to the remarkable dedication and work of the Pell family over a century and a half.  The Fort Ticonderoga Museum of the French and Indian War and the Revolution maintains a magnificent exhibit of materials relating to the military occupation of the fort.  Fort Ticonderoga is being operated as a private non profit historical and educational monument.”  Robert B. Roberts, Encyclopedia of Historic Forts, The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, MacMillan Publishing Company, New York, 1998, p. 584.

(Peretz Partensky Photo)

Present day Fort Ticonderoga.

          Although Wolfe would take the Plains of Abraham on the 13th of September 1759, leading to the capture of Québec, both he and Montcalm would die in the battle.  Major-General Jeffery Amherst, General William Havilland and General James Murray however, would force Pierre Francois de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil, to surrender all of New France.  Major Robert Rogers would go on to take possession of Detroit and other Great Lakes posts in 1760 and 1761.[1]

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2836300)

Death of General Wolfe, painted in 1857

         Guy Frégault examined some of the factors that affected decisions that had to be made by the British officers Amherst and Boscawen after “the defeat suffered by Abercrombie on the 8th of July at Carillon.  The battle was remarkable for several reasons.  First, the heavy British thrust on Lake Champlain had come as a surprise, even though Vaudreuil had got wind of it in time to send Lévis with 300 French soldiers to join Montcalm, as well as a Canadian detachment that arrived while the battle was in progress.  Then, instead of holding the forward portage post, which was comparatively easy to defend, Montcalm had withdrawn his troops and chosen a very strange position in which to make his stand: bad in that it was open to attack on its flanks or from the rear but good against a frontal attack, although the French commander, who had had time to do so, had neglected to provide it with guns.[2]

          One of Montcalm’s officers observed that, “if the English had had a skillful and enterprising general, it would have been difficult for us to extricate ourselves from that pass.”  According to Wolfe, the situation of the fort at Carillon and the numerical superiority of the attacking army, “which could bear to be weakened by detachments,” should have made it possible for Abercrombie to oblige “the Marquis de Montcalm to lay down his arms.”  Even if it were true that Abercrombie might attempt to renew the assault, Wolfe could not “flatter himself that the attack would be successful.”  This conviction arose “not from any high idea of the Marquis de Montcalm’s abilities, but from the very poor opinion of our own.”[3]

         Guy Frégault suggests that, “Abercrombie’s performance was assuredly not brilliant, but was he on this occasion so completely inept as has been thought?  He is charged with two offenses: having been repulsed although he was in command of a large army and having ordered his men to attack without first studying the enemy’s position.  Pitt had planned for an army of 7,000 regulars and 20,000 provincials, but Wolfe had foreseen in the spring that this latter number would have to be cut in half and that the remaining 10,000 provincials would “not be good for much.”  The prediction was justified in both respects: with his 6,367 regulars, Abercrombie had only 9,024 provincial troops under his orders and, if one may judge by the losses suffered by the two groups, the provincials certainly did not accomplish very much.  Their losses were 86 killed, 240 wounded, 8 missing, while the corresponding figures for the regulars were 464, 1,115, and 19.  One might almost say that the battle was fought between 7,000 English regulars and 3,5000 men protected by a barricade of tree trunks.  The French lost 106 men killed and 266 wounded.[4]

          Guy Frégault asserts, however, that

          the second charge against Abercrombie remains: he had to retreat because he attacked the French position from the front, the only direction from which an attack could fail.  The explanation of his decision is a simple one.  He gave the order for a frontal attack because he thought he had no choice.  He had been informed by prisoners that the enemy had 6,000 men (“5,000 and some hundreds” according to Vaudreuil’s account); that orders for the Mohawk expedition had been countermanded, thus freeing Lévis and his 5,000 men to come to the help of Montcalm; and that the entrenchments defending the French fort were being made stronger every hour.  Hence the precipitate decision to launch an assault.  It was a grave mistake; Montcalm would commit a similar error on the 13th of September 1759.[5]

           The defeat of the 8th of July 1758 stopped Abercrombie’s advance on Montréal.  It forced the British to adopt a defensive position on Lake George and created consternation in their camp.  They considered the possibility of reorganizing for a counterattack on Carillon, but by mid-October this project had been abandoned.  While Montcalm awaited a renewed attack, General Abercrombie transferred 3,600 men to Lieutenant-Colonel Bradstreet, who was preparing to lead an expedition against Fort Frontenac.  This army reached Fort Frontenac on the 26th of August, (one month to the day after the fall of Louisbourg), and the fort surrendered the following day.  The defenders had been taken completely by surprise: no one had expected the English in that quarter.[6]

         As far as New France was concerned, Fort Frontenac had been a point of strategic importance second only to Louisbourg.  Not only had it been the main depot for the supply of Upper Canada and of the forts in Ohio, but it was also the base from which the French had command over the great inland waters.  From Oswego on the southeastern shore of Lake Ontario, Colonel Bradstreet had taken a hand-picked force and launched the surprise attack from bateaux and whalers on Fort Frontenac.  The fort was thinly held and a relieving force from Montréal was too far away to bring aid in time.  The fort capitulated at once, and the rich booty the captors discovered inside included a large stock of furs and supplies of immense value.  In addition, Colonel Bradstreet’s force discovered that there were nine vessels in the harbour, mounting 100 guns between them.  Two of these were used to carry away the captured goods, the remaining seven were burned, and the fort was obliterated.  This brilliantly executed action resulted in the restoration of British command of the Great Lake system, and virtually severed Montréal and Québec from Upper Canada and the Ohio Valley.[7]

          Britain’s Prime Minister Pitt continued his same policies in 1759 that he had instituted in 1758.  Men from Massachusetts responded enthusiastically to the call for volunteers, and Elijah was among them.  Initially the General Court voted to raise 5,000 men and then granted a special bounty to recruit 1,500 more volunteers.  These soldiers were intended to be used to garrison Louisbourg and other Maritime forts, freeing regular soldiers to participate in expeditionary forces.  In addition to acting as garrison troops, the provincials would also participate in two of the year’s campaigns, following James Wolfe up the Saint Lawrence to attack Quebec and aiding in Amherst’s attempt to dislodge the French from Ticonderoga and Crown Point.[8]

         Elijah re-enlisted in April 1759, and at this point, we return to his Journal.

[1] Encyclopedia of American History, Harper & Brothers, New York, NY, 1953, p. 68.

[2] Guy Frégault, Canada: the War of the Conquest, (translated by Margaret M. Cameron), Toronto, Oxford University Press, 1969, pp. 220-221.

[3] Ibid, p. 221.

[4] Ibid, p. 221.

[5] Ibid, p. 221.

[6] Ibid, Canada: the War of the Conquest, p. 222.

[7] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 45.

[8] Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, p. 18.

Elijah’s Service in the Halifax Campaign, 1759-1760

April the 6th day:

           I entered into the service in the year 1759.

April 20th day 1759:

           I set out in Campaign and went to Chelten and the 21st day I went to Boston and the 22nd day I went to Castle William and stayed there until the 24th day and then set out for Roxbury and I set out from Roxbury the 26th day and the 27th day I came to Castle William again.

           On the 30th day the Comet or blazing star appeared at Castle William about 8 o’clock at night and continued until 4 o’clock in the morning and then vanished.[1]

[1] Possibly Haley’s Comet.

May the 3rd day:

           Colonel Thomas’ regiment was mustered at 6 o’clock and continued until sunset.  And there were three companies embarked that day.  And our Company was mustered the 4th day at 6 o’clock in the morning and we embarked on the two-hundred-pounder about 3 in the afternoon.  And on the 5th day at 3 o’clock in the afternoon we sailed from Castle William with fine pleasant sail and it carried us out of land in 6 hours.  And the 6th day the wind was fair and the 7th day in the morning about 5 o’clock a storm came upon us and it continued until the 8th day about 3 o’clock in the afternoon.  On the 9th day we made Cape Sable.  And the 10th day we got into the harbour of Halifax.  And the 11th day we landed in the afternoon.

Halifax under construction, 1749.  (Charles Jeffreys)

Halifax town plan, 1749.

“The Governor’s-House and St. Mather’s Meeting House in Holles [sic] Street looking up George Street shews Part of the Parade and Citadel Hill at Halifax in Nova-Scotia”, 1759.

          While Elijah was sailing to Halifax, Admiral George Saunders and his British fleet had been attempting to concentrate their forces at Louisbourg.  Admiral Saunders had sailed from Spithead on the 17th of February 1759 with General Wolfe and his men onboard the Neptune.  With them went the ships-of-the-line Royal William, Dublin, Shrewsbury, Warspite, Orford, Alcide and Stirling Castle (60 guns).  There was a frigate, the Lizard, the Scorpion, sloop-of-war, three fire ships, the Cormorant, Strombolo and Vesuvius, and the bomb vessels, Baltimore, Pelican and Racehorse.  A smaller detachment under Holmes had sailed a few days earlier.  Admiral Saunders detached the Warspite to reinforce Boscawen in the Mediterranean while off the coast of Spain.[1]

Although Admiral Saunders sighted Cape Breton at the end of April, the severe winter weather prevented them from safely approaching the coast.  For over a week the Admiral persisted in trying to find a way through, and then bore away for Halifax.[2]  These ships would likely have been in harbour as Elijah sailed into the same port on the 11th of May 1759.

[1] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 79.

[2] Ibid, p. 81.

May the 12th day:

           There was a man and his wife and a young woman and child were killed and scalped at Nalgas as we were informed by the man that came from there.

           According to Fred C. Burnett a historian from Upper Brighton, New Brunswick, Malagash (Nalgas) was the Indian name for Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.  Mr. Burnett discovered a record of the likely victims of this incident: “Trippeau, Jonas, Lunenburg, from Switzerland, (came on the ship) Betty in 1752, age 38.  Died on the 26th of April 1759, scalped.  Married on the 30th of May 1753 to Catherine Elizabeth, widow of Frederick Alison, also scalped by Indians.”[1]

            Mr. Burnett added the information that “in a document of 1656, the village on the site of present-day Lunenburg was called “Merliguesche.”  Another document indicates that in 1760, “Malagash was inhabited by about 1,500 Dutch.”[2]  

           Mr. Burnett noted that at this time, Lunenburg was a large settlement of Lutherans who came from Switzerland, Germany, and Montbelliard in France in 1752 and soon after.  Few of them could speak English and they had not been soldiers.  They had little to defend themselves with and there were numerous raids on their scattered farms; (certainly) more than on the settlers around Annapolis who were near the fort and who could defend themselves more effectively.  The Lunenburg settlers would work and were religious refugees, unlike numbers that were brought to Halifax.  At this time, the authorities could not get as many “useful” people to settle Halifax as they wanted.  They got a lot from England and New England, but they also got a good many “street people” from London, which was not much help to that place.[3]

[1] Esther Clark Wright, Planters and Pioneers, Nova Scotia, 1749 to 1775, p. 271.

[2] Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 02 October 2000.

[3] Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 26 September 2000.  He indicated that this information came from a letter from Halifax to Reverend Ezra Stiles, Boston, from the Honorable Alexander Grant, member of the executive council; reprinted in “Campbell’s History of Yarmouth,” p. 128.

           Returning to Elijah’s Journal:

           The first part of the fleet sailed the 1st day of May.  The second part of the fleet sailed May 23rd 1759.

June the 2nd day:

           A French ship was taken and sent to Halifax.

(Charny Illustration)

Algonquin, a French 72-gun ship launched in New France in June 1753.

June the 4th day:

           The fleet sailed from Cape Breton up the Saint (James) River.

June the 10th day:

           About 9 o’clock in the morning there were 7 men went over the river to cut poles for to make fishing rods.  And the Indians fell on them and killed 5 of them and the 11th day there were brought in three men that were scalped.  And two more are missing as yet.  There were a party of our men went out after them.  And on the 11th day another party went out.  And on the 12th day there was another party sent out.  The 11th day there was a French ship taken and sent to Halifax.

June the 15th day:

           Our scout came in and made no discovery of the Indians.

July 9th day 1759:

           We embarked on board the Privateer Schooner and laid there until the 11th day about one o’clock.  And the 13th day we got into Canso and the 14th day we went ashore on the island of Canso and got currant bushes and they were just out of bloom.  And during the same day there came into Canso Gut a schooner, which hailed our men, and we got out of Canso the 16th day.  And the 17th day we got into Torbay Harbour.  (On) the 19th day we came out and the same day we came into Canso again.

           According to Fred Burnett, Canso had been a important fishing station.  It was destroyed several times, but always settled again.  Canso Gut is now called the Strait of Canso; Torbay is still a village a little west of Canso.  County Harbour is now Country Harbour, a long narrow harbour that goes far back inland.  Spithead, or Island Harbour have not been identified.[1] Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 02 October 2000.

           Continuing with Elijah’s Journal:

August the 20th, 1759:

           The 20th day we came out Canso aways and the same day we went into Spithead.  The 22nd day we came into County Harbour.  And the 23rd day we got into Island Harbour and the 25th day we went out of this Harbour and the same day we got into County Harbour.  And the 27th day we went out to sea and about 11 o’clock we carried away our main mast.  And it hurt no man - the same day we went into Island Harbour.  And the 29th day we went to sea again.  And August the 4th day we got into Halifax and made no discoveries of our enemies.

August the 15th, 1759:

           News came that the (Narrows) was taken and about 12 o’clock the Artillerymen fired their great guns.  And at night there were candles in every window and great bonfires and firing of small arms and heaving of skyrockets in the air 400 yards high.  And we raised (sic) a house after sunset.

August the 25th day in the year 1759:

           At one o’clock in the afternoon there was a shower arose and it rained one hour and then it rained and hailed 3 hours, the hail was as large as pistol bullets.

August the 26th day:

           There was a party of our men went to Minas and Annapolis and Cape Sable.

           While Elijah was serving the King in Halifax, there was a great deal of activity concerning the future of Canada ongoing in Québec.  Wolfe’s assault was underway.

The 1759 Campaign in Québec

Map of the Siege of Quebec, 1759.

Plan of the environs of Quebec and the Battle fought on the Plains of Abraham on 13 July 1759.  Details include the details of The French Lines and Batteries, and also of the Encampments, Batteries and attacks of the British Army, and the Investiture of that City under the Command of Vice Admiral Saunders, Major General Wolfe, Brigadier General Wolfe, Brigadier General Moncton and Brigadier General Moncton and Brigadier General Townshend.  Drawn from the original surveys taken by the Engineers of the Army.  Engraved by Thomas Jefferys, Geographer to His Majesty. (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN 4385171)

          “The British army under Wolfe was transported by a fleet of over 200 sail, commanded by Vice Admiral Charles Saunders.[1]  Entering the St. Lawrence on the 6th of June, Admiral Saunders appointed Captain James Cook (of later Pacific fame) to sail ahead, take soundings, and buoy a channel through the Traverse, the narrow, tortuous channel between Ile d’Orleans and the south shore.[2]  He then performed the amazing feat of sailing his entire fleet up to Québec in three weeks, without a single grounding or other casualty.[3]

         General Amherst, marching overland from New York, was supposed to cooperate.  He recaptured Crown Point and Ticonderoga but was slow and methodical to get within striking distance of Québec.[4]  Three times in previous wars this failure in coordination had saved Québec for France, and in 1775-76 and 1812-13 similar American failures kept it British.  Wolfe, however, took his total force of 4,000 (not including sailors and marines) “including some of the crack units of the British army.  Owing to Amherst’s delay, the Marquis de Montcalm was able to concentrate some 14,000 French troops and militia in around Québec.  His position appeared to be impregnable.  The guns of the citadel commanded the river, and two smaller rivers barred the land approach from the east.[5]

         On the 27th of June Admiral Saunders landed an armed force on the on the Ile d’Orleans, four miles below Québec.  General Montcalm had deployed his army along the north shore of the river, between the St. Charles and the Montmorency.  He also had a detachment under Colonel Bougainville to the west of the city; but he neglected to secure the south bank.  General Wolfe took immediate advantage of this weakness and seized Point Lévis, approximately 1000 yards across the river from Québec.  From this position, he was able to place his guns in range to bombard the lower town.  On the 9th of July, Wolfe reinforced his position by landing the better part of two brigades on the north shore, just below Montmorency falls.  This was also intended to act as a decoy to fox Montcalm.  Ten days later, one of the frigates and several smaller vessels, slipped past the guns of Québec under cover of a heavy bombardment from Point Lévis.  The miniature fleet proceeded to sail over twenty miles upstream with the object of confusing Montcalm and also to provide Wolfe with possible alternative points of attack.  Because of their command of the river, the British were now able to select an optimal time and place for their main assault.[6]

          Wolfe initially probed along the Montmorency front, but he failed to make any gains there.  He then quietly reinforced the up-river part of his force with additional men and ships, sailing them up and downstream with the wind and tide.  This in turn forced Colonel Bougainville to march and countermarch his soldiers until they were exhausted.  While this was going on, Wolfe’s scouts discovered a narrow defile that led up the steep cliffs of the St. Lawrence River’s north bank to the Plains of Abraham.  Montcalm had thought that route was inaccessible and had therefore posted only a small picket guard to cover this approach.[7]  His mis-appreciation of the situation would prove to be costly.

         Admiral Saunders carried out a simulated landing on the Montmorency front at sunset on the 12th of September.  This maneuver pulled a large part of Montcalm’s force out of their position.  Late that evening 1,700 English soldiers embarked in boats from the transports up-river, and at 2 o’clock on the morning of the 13th of July, they began floating downstream.  They were aided in the venture by a fresh breeze astern and an ebb tide under their keels and succeeded in carrying out the operation unobserved by Colonel Bougainville’s sentries.[8]

[1] Sir Charles Saunders (1715-1775) entered the Royal Navy in 1727 under the patronage of a relative and in 1739 was appointed first lieutenant of the Centurion, the flagship of Commodore George Anson in his circumnavigation of the world from 1740 to 1744.  Saunders sailed a sloop around Cape Horn, captured Spanish shipping in the Pacific, and returned to England a post-captain.  During the remainder of the War of the Austrian Succession he commanded several ships of the line with success; in 1746, in the Gloucester, he took part in the capture of a treasure ship bound for Spain and acquired about 40,000 pounds of the booty.  The following year, in the Yarmouth, he took two enemy warships when Admiral Sir Edward Hawke defeated Admiral L’ Ètenduère off Cape Ortegal, Spain, on the 19th of October.  Saunders was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral of the blue on the outbreak of the Seven Years’ War in January 1756.  On the 9th of January 1759, recommended by Anson, he was appointed commander of the fleet bound for the St. lawrence. One month later he was promoted vice-admiral of the blue.  Major-General James Wolfe joined Saunders aboard his flagship Neptune on the 13th of February.  Both men had been warned by Pitt that success depended “on an entire Good Understanding between our Land and Sea Officers.”  Saunders was ordered to “cover the army against French naval intervention and keep control of the line of communication.  He was left however, to decide to what extent his fleet would directly aid Wolfe’s forces.  This he did with a greart deal of success.  Saunder’s achievement at Québec had been to organize and conduct a large expedition up a difficult river and maintain it there.  The success reflected not onlyhis professionalism, but also the advances that had been made in the navy in recent years, such as the development of reliable navigational devices, the improvements in marine surveying and charting, and the development of landing craft for amphibious operations.  His contribution did not end with the capture of the fortress of Québec, for had he not supplied the garrison with cannon, ammunition, and provisions before he left, even to the extent of reducing ships’ stores, Québec might well have been recaptured by the French under Lévis the following spring.”  The Encyclopedia Americana, International Edition. Connecticut, Grolier Inc, Danbury, 1988, pp. 698-701.

[2] In 1758 James Cook served at the siege of Louisbourg during the Seven Years War.  He charted part of Gaspé and helped to prepare the map that enabled James Wolfe’s armada to navigate the St Lawrence. The campaign against Québec in 1759 led to the making of a chart of the St Lawrence by James Cook and other naval surveyors. He extensively mapped Newfoundland’s coast including St Johns’ harbour.  He later circumnavigated the South Pacific in 1768-71 and 1772-75.  In July 1776 he began a third voyage to search for a Northwest Passage.  Anchored in Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island 29 Mar 1778.  Sailed to Bering Strait but ran into a wall of ice.  Cook was killed (and eaten) in the Sandwich Islands in an altercation with the local people.  George Vancouver sailed with him on his second and third voyages.

[3] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People, New York, 1965, p. 167.

[4] At the Battle of Dettingen on the 12th of June 1743, four young English officers, Jeffrey Amherst, George Townshend, Robert Moncton, and James Wolfe had received their baptism of fire (Wolfe had his horse shot out from under him). Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People, New York, 1965, p. 165.  Dettingen was a battle fought between the French and the English during the War of the Austrian Succession.  Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Quebec, p. 18.

[5] Ibid, p. 167.

[6] Ibid, p. 167.

[7] Ibid, p. 167.

[8] Ibid, p. 167.

Portrait of General James Wolfe by Joseph Highmore (1692-1780).  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2894990)


         General Wolfe was positioned in one of the leading boats, and as the men rowed to their destination with destiny, it is reported that he was overheard reciting the words from Gray’s “Elegy in a Country Churchyard” to a young midshipman.  In an eerie prediction of what would be his fate on the following morning, he solemnly pronounced the famous line “The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”[1]

         The French sentries had been expecting a convoy of boats carrying badly needed provisions to slip down-river that night, and the British landing craft were therefore mistaken for them.  Only one French sentry on the shore challenged them with the traditional: “Qui vive?”  A French-speaking Scot replied: “Française!” “De quel régiment?”  “De la Reine,” replied the Scot.  The events that followed did not unfold in the disaster for the English that had occurred when the same challenge that had been issued to Howe’s men at Lake George.  It would appear that the Scot must have gotten the accent right, because “the sentry was satisfied.”[2]

         Wolfe’s boats reached the bottom of the defile alongside the steep cliffs of Quebec’s north shoreline.  Quickly and efficiently, 25 rugged volunteers climbed up the cliff and immediately put the French picket guard to the sword.  They then gave a prearranged signal, and the troops waiting in the boats below jumped ashore and swarmed up the steep path with their muskets slung over their backs.  As soon as the assault landing boats were emptied, they quickly returned to the support ships or to the south shore for additional reinforcements.  The end result of this effective execution of a difficult tactical operation was that, by break of day, on the 13th of September 1759, some 4,500 British were deployed a grassy field forming part of the Québec plateau, close to the walls of the citadel.  This field would soon give its name to one of the most important military actions in North American history, the Battle on the Plains of Abraham.[3]

[1] Ibid, p. 168.

[2] Ibid, p. 168.

[3] Ibid, p. 168.

A view of the taking of Quebec, 13 September 1759.   Engraving based on a sketch made by Hervey Smyth (1734-1811), General Wolfe's aide-de-camp during the siege of Quebec.   (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

The Plains of Abraham

Map of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, 1759.  (Map courtesy of Hoodinski)

          With his forces formed up in battle formation on the Plains of Abraham facing the city, Wolfe’s primary objective was to challenge Montcalm to an open-field battle.  This was the only kind he knew how to fight; and the French accepted.

         Accompanied by his aides-de-camp (ADCs), “who were his means of conveying orders, Wolfe had first made a reconnaissance towards the city to decide the best ground to take up.  By 8 o’clock, with the light excellent, additional British soldiers commanded by Colonel Ralph Burton had been brought “over from Point Lévis, and the army was concentrated.”[1]

         Wolfe knew that he had to have open ground for the effective deployment of his forces.  The ground that comprised the Plains of Abraham lay in front of him and was between him and Québec.  The ground appeared to be ideal for the kind of combat that his European trained regular soldiers needed.  It afforded them a certain amount of cover and concealment (and therefore protection), with its contours, although there were “danger zones” on either flank.  Woods and shrubs on each side gave Canadians and Indians good cover to infiltrate and ambush his troops.  The protective cover the woods offered and the ground in front of them were exactly the sort of terrain to which the woodsmen of New France were best suited, and from the earliest hour they seized every chance to harass their British enemies.  Long before Montcalm carried out his main advance, skirmishing was continuous, though it was never becoming serious enough to hold up Wolfe’s detachment.[2]

         By 6 o’clock, three of Wolfe’s battalions and the Louisbourg Grenadiers were in line and arranged so that they faced the walls of the city of Québec.  The lines continued to be adjusted, revised, and extended as more units came up.  In the end, the British force arrayed on the field consisted, from right to left, of the 35th battalion, which was on the flank facing the cliff, the Louisbourg Grenadiers, the 28th, 43rd, 47th, 78th (Highlanders), 58th, and then, on the left flank, the 15th and the Royal Americans.  Wolfe’s Light Infantry were already dealing with the Canadian militia and Indians in the wooded area still further to the left, and he had deployed a detachment of Royal Americans to guard the route back to the Foulon.  The 48th battalion under Colonel Ralph Burton formed a reserve and occupied a place behind General Robert Monckton, who had command of the right.  Brigadier General James Murray was in charge of the centre and General George Townshend had command of the left flank.[3]

         Wolfe positioned himself at the head of the Louisbourg Grenadiers on the right flank.  When his forces were finally deployed in their pre-arranged order of battle, they were slightly nearer to the walls of Québec that any other part of the line.  He was needed to be close at hand to direct Colonel Ralph Burton’s reserve forces should the need arise.[4]

         The English forces consisted of the six battalions previously named and the detached Grenadiers from Louisbourg, which were all drawn up in ranks three deep.  Wolfe’s right wing was near the brink of the heights along the St Lawrence; but the left could not reach those along the St Charles.  On this side a wide space was left open, and there was a danger of being outflanked there.  To prevent this, Brigadier George Townshend was stationed there with two battalions, drawn up at right angles with the rest, and fronting St Charles.  The battalion of Major General Daniel Webb’s regiment, under Colonel Ralph Burton, formed the reserve; the third battalion of Royal Americans (mentioned by Elijah), was left to guard the landing site; and Howe’s light infantry occupied a wood far in the rear.  James Wolfe, with Robert Monckton and James Murray, commanded the front line, on which the heavy fighting was to fall, and which, when all the troops had arrived, numbered less than 3,500 men.  Brigadier George Townshend later estimated that Wolfe had about 4,400 men at his disposal and reckoned that Montcalm would have opposed on the battlefield with about the same number of troops.[5]

         Although the Canadians and Indians were firing at his forces from the flanks, Wolfe was able to issue his battle-orders relatively undisturbed by the French opposition.  Montcalm, however, was in a hugely different situation.  Whenever he was at Beaufort, he would customarily spend his time booted and spurred, regardless of the time of day or night, in order to be prepared to meet any challenge.[6]  As he came riding up from the Beauport shore on a black charger he looked towards Vaudreuil’s house.  This was Montcalm’s first view of the red ranks of the British soldiers forming on the heights across the St Charles some two miles away.  “This is serious business,” he said, and sent off Chevalier Johnstone at the full gallop to bring up the troops from the centre and left of the camp.  The troops on his right were already in motion, no doubt because of an order to do so by the Governor.  Vaudreuil came out and spoke briefly with Montcalm, who then put the spurs to his horse, and rode over the St Charles bridge to bring himself to the scene of danger.  It is reported that he rode with a fixed look, not saying a word.  Major Malartic, of the Béarn battalion of French regulars, rode beside his chief as he made his way towards his opponent.  As a rule, Montcalm was an animated talker, now he was silent.  To Major Malartic, it seemed “as though he felt his fate upon him.”[7]

         Montcalm was incredulous.  He had expected a detachment, and instead he found an army.  In the face of this force, Vaudreuil held back the forces that Montcalm had ordered to join him.  The Québec garrison also refused to come to his aid.  He sent to Ramesay, its commander, for 25 fieldpieces, which were on the palace battery.  Ramesay would only give him three, saying that he wanted them for his defence.[8]

         Montcalm held a council of war with his chief officers, and they agreed on an immediate attack, believing that there was no time to lose, for he thought that Wolfe would be reinforced.  Montcalm has been blamed not only for fighting too soon, but also for fighting at all.  In this he could not choose.  He had to fight, because Wolfe was now in a position to cut off all of his supplies.  His men were primed for battle, and he resolved to attack before they lost their eagerness.  He spoke a few words to them in his keen, vehement way, riding a black or dark bay horse along the front of the lines, brandishing his sword.  He wore a coat with wide sleeves, which fell back as he raised his arm, and showed the white linen of the wristband.[9]

[1] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p.159.

[2] Ibid, p.159.

[3] Ibid, pp.159-160.

[4] Ibid, p.160.

[5] Ibid, p.161.

[6] Ibid, p. 161.

[7] Ibid, p. 164

[8] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 476.

[9] Ibid, pp. 476-477.

Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham., painting by A.H. Hider.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2896948)

Montcalm leading his troops at the Plains of Abraham by Charles William Jeffreys (1869 - 1951).  Watercolour on 47.0 x 38.0 board.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2897202)

          The French army followed in such order as it might, crossed the bridge in haste, passed under the northern rampart of Québec, entered at the Palace Gate, and pressed on in a headlong march along the narrow streets of the old town.  Troops of Indians joined them in scalplocks and warpaint, along with bands of Canadians for whom much was at stake in this battle, in addition to the colony regulars; the battalions of Old France, white uniforms and bayonets of the veterans of famous regiments of La Sarre, Languedoc, Royal Roussillon, Béarn, who had fought at Oswego, Fort William Henry and Ticonderoga.  They poured out through the gates of St Louis and St John and raced to where the banners of Guyenne still fluttered on the ridge, racing at the double from the Montmorency front, rushing through the narrow streets of Québec and deploying on the other side to face the English.[1]

          Montcalm had deployed his forces in the following order: on his right was the regular contingent from Québec and Montréal, flanked in the woods by Canadian militia and Indians under Dumas.  In the centre came the five attenuated French battalions, La Sarre, Languedoc, Béarn, Guyenne and Royal Roussillon.  On his left flank he had deployed the men of Trois Rivières and Montréal; with the militia and Indians being spread out, just slightly ahead of them near the edge of the cliff.  Montcalm had only five guns to bring to bear on the British forces facing him.  He might have been able to put more on the line had he and his forces been given time to organize.  This was one of the most important advantages Wolfe had achieved when he gained the element of surprise by seizing the heights.  Even so, the five French guns were three more than Wolfe’s men had thus far been able to haul up the cliff.[2]

          As he was crossing the battlefield on one of his errands, Montbelliard stopped to speak with Montcalm just before the general gave the word to advance.  Montcalm informed him that, “We cannot avoid action.  The enemy is entrenching.  He already has two pieces of cannon.  If we give him time to establish himself, we shall never be able to attack him successfully with the sort of troops we have.”[3]

[1] Ibid, p. 477.

[2] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 165.

[3] Ibid, p. 165.

Montcalm Riding Along the French Lines Before the Battle of the Plains.  (C.W. Jefferys, Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2835227)

          At about 10 o’clock, Montcalm gave the command, and the French advanced.  The British were not entrenched, as Montcalm supposed.  They were lying down, except for those actively engaged on the flanks, having been employed in making sure that their first volley, double-shotted, was ready.  That seen to, no doubt they consumed some of the two days’ rations, and the rum, which they had taken with them into the boats.  Wolfe placed his battalions in open order, with forty-yard intervals between them, and as the line was extended, and many troops were needed to guard the flanks, the ranks were only two deep.[1]

          Roughly 4,000 French soldiers had by now formed up outside the walls.  They began their advance to the attack, flying regimental colours and cheering “Vive le Roi!”  According to Major Malartic, who as a regimental officer would have noted such an important detail, “The French came on too fast, at a run.”  The result was that the formations began to go to pieces almost at once, taking on a ragged appearance.  “We had not gone twenty paces,” said Malartic, “before the left was too far in the rear, and the centre was too far in front.”  Worse even than that, the first French volley was fired too far from the British to be fully effective, and the second was feeble or non-existent, for the Canadian-born troops who reinforced the French battalions, “according to their custom, threw themselves on the ground to reload.”  When they rose, it was not to fire again, but to retreat.  They had no stomach for the sort of fighting, volleys followed up by an assault with the bayonet, for which the regulars had been drilled.  “The scarlet-coated British and the white-coated French were now in direct contact, but as yet, no firing had come from Wolfe’s ranks.”[2]

          For fifteen or twenty minutes they marched, and not a shot rang out; Wolfe had learned the value of precise, accurate, and concentrated firepower.  Three-quarters of his 4,500 troops were deployed in one line, which waited silently until the enemy was only 40 yards away.  Their Brown Bess muskets had already been loaded, following a complex sequence of orders: “Handle Cartridge,” (draw the cartridge from the pouch and bit the top off), “Prime,” (shake the powder into the priming pan), “Load,” (put the ball and wadding into the barrel), “Draw ramrods” (press down with ramrod and withdraw), “Return ramrods,” (return to loop on the musket and fix bayonet), “Make ready,” (face to front), “Present,” (take aim and prepare to fire).  Only the order “Give Fire” was reserved until the last second.[3]

         The English waited and watched.  The three field pieces sent by Ramesay fired on the English with canister-shot, and 1,500 Canadians and Indians fusilladed them in front and on the flanks.  Skirmishers were sent out to hold them in check, and the soldiers were ordered to lie on the grass to avoid the shot.  Casualties were heavy among Brigadier George Townshend’s men.  Towards 10 o’clock the French formed themselves into three bodies on the ridge, with their regulars in the centre, and other regulars and Canadians on the left and right.  Two fieldpieces, which had been dragged up the heights at Anse du Foulon, fired on them with grapeshot, and the troops, rising from the ground, prepared to receive them.  In a few moments they were in motion.  They came on rapidly, uttering loud shouts, and firing as soon as they were within range.  Their ranks, ill ordered at the best, were further confused by a number of Canadians who had been mixed among the regulars, and who, after hastily firing, threw themselves on the ground to reload.  The British advanced a few rods, then halted and stood still.  When the French were within forty paces the word of command rang out and a crash of musketry answered all along the English line.  The volley was delivered with remarkable precision.  To the battalions of the centre, the simultaneous explosion sounded like a single cannon shot.  Another volley followed, and then a furious clattering of fire that lasted just a minute or two.  When the smoke cleared, the ground was littered with French dead and wounded, the advancing masses stopped short and turned into a frantic mob, shouting and cursing.[4]

          Sir John Fortescue, historian of the British Army, spoke of this volley as:

          the most perfect ever fired on a battlefield, and it was decisive.  It was not quite instantaneous, except in the centre, where it seems to have been delivered like a single cannon shot, but it was near enough.  The climax came within seconds, not minutes, and as a regular formation, Montcalm’s army broke and fled.  In those seconds, Wolfe had the fullest justification for years of rigorous discipline and training.  The volley was among the last sounds he heard coherently.[5]

[1] Ibid, pp. 165-166.

[2] Ibid, pp. 166.

[3] Ibid, pp. 166.

[4] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 478.

[5] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 167.

The Loss of Wolfe and Montcalm

           The order was given to charge and over the field rose a British cheer mixed with the fierce yell of the Highlanders.  Some of the corps pushed forward with the bayonet, others advanced firing.  The clansmen drew their broadswords and crashed on. [1]

[1] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 478.

Wolfe at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.  (C.W. Jefferys, Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2835895)

          Off to the right flank of the English forces, a steady small arms fire continued to be maintained, even though the attacking column had been broken.  This fire was being sustained by a number of mainly from sharpshooters who were laying in the brush and cornfields.  This is where Wolfe chose to lead a charge at the head of the Louisbourg Grenadiers.  He had been exposing himself recklessly throughout the French advance, and within minutes he had been wounded three times.  The first shot that hit him shattered his right wrist.  He wrapped his handkerchief around it and continued to press on.  Shortly afterwards, he was hit by a second shot, which struck him in the groin.  The bullet may have already spent its penetrating power because of the range, since Wolfe continued to move about freely.  He was still leading the advance when he was hit by a third shot, which struck him squarely in the chest.  This wound ultimately led to his death shortly afterwards.[1]

           According to Brigadier George Townshend’s dispatch, the shot that killed General Wolfe did not come until after the famous volley.  He wrote, “our General fell at the head of Braggs (the 35th) and the Louisbourg Grenadiers advancing with their Bayonets.”  Whether it was a chance shot, or was aimed deliberately, “it was likely to have come from a marksman on the edge of the cliff above the St. Lawrence.”[2]

[1] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 167.

[2] Ibid, p. 167.

Death of General Wolfe.  (Painting by Benjamin West)

          Montcalm, still on horseback, was borne with the tide of fugitives towards the town.  As he approached the walls a shot passed through his body.  “Montcalm’s wound was in the stomach.  It had probably been caused by grape-shot from one of Colonel Williamson’s two brass 6-pounders, for he had been a conspicuous target as he rode, drawn sword in hand, urging on his infantry.”   He kept his seat, while two soldiers supported him, one on each side, and led his horse through the St Louis Gate of Québec, where a group of women replaced the escort of soldiers.[1]  A woman who recognized him screamed, “O mon Dieu! mon Dieu! le Marquis est tué!”  [“My God! My God! The Marquis is shot!”][2]

“Ce n’est rien, ce n’est rien,” answered the general, “ne vous affligez pas pour moi, mes bonnes amies.”  [“It’s nothing, it’s nothing,” replied Montcalm, “don’t be troubled for me, my good friends.”][3]

[1] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 478.

[2] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 170.

[3] Ibid, p. 170.

Death of General Montcalm.  Watercolour by Charles William Jefferys (1869 - 1951).

           When he was brought wounded from the field, he was placed in the house of the Surgeon Arnoux, who examined the wound and pronounced it mortal.  “So much the better,” he said, “I am happy that I shall not live to see the surrender of Québec.”  He is reported to have said, since he had lost the battle it consoled him to have been defeated by a brave enemy.  Some of his last words were in praise of his successor, Lévis, for whose talents and fitness for command he expressed high esteem.  He thought to the last about those who had been under his command, and sent a note to Brigadier George Townshend:

           “Monsieur, the humanity of the English sets my mind at peace concerning the fate of the French prisoners and the Canadians.  Feel towards them as they have caused me to feel.  Do not let them perceive that they have changed masters.  Be their protector as I have been their father.”[1]

          Montcalm died peacefully at 4 o’clock on the morning of the 14th.  He was 48 years old.  (He was buried in a shell crater under the floor of the Ursulines’ chapel).  It has been said, “the funeral of Montcalm was the funeral of New France.”[2]  “The Chevalier de Lévis came post-haste from Montréal when he received word of the defeat, assumed command, and set about restoring order.  Despite the valiant efforts of Lévis and the reorganized forces he now commanded, Vaudreuil, over the protests of Lévis, was obliged to capitulate the following September to General Jeffrey Amherst at Montréal.”[3]

[1] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, pp. 485-486.

[2] Ibid, p. 486.

[3] W.J. Eccles, Montcalm, The Encyclopedia Canadiana, p. 467.

After the Battle

          As for the aftermath of the battle on the Plains of Abraham, the French losses were placed by Vaudreuil at about 1,640, and by the English official reports at about 1,500.  Measured by the numbers engaged the battle of Québec could be described as a heavy skirmish; measured by the results, it was one of the great battles of the world.[1]  Morison, however, reports that “each side suffered about equal losses, 640 killed and wounded.”[2]

       Although Québec promptly surrendered to the British, Canada was soon cut “off from Europe by ice.  In the spring of 1760, a reorganized French and Canadian army under the Chevalier de Lévis moved against Québec.  Brigadier General James Murray, commanding a small, half-starved British garrison in the city, managed to hold them off.”[3]  The outcome could not be completely decided until either the French or English navy arrived with supplies and supporting forces.  Because the ice blocked access to Québec by either side’s reinforcements, much depended on whose fleet got through first.  The first warship to arrive on the 9th of May 1760 was British, the frigate Lowestoffe.  She was followed within a week by the Vanguard, a ship-of-the-line and by a second frigate, thus sealing the fate of New France.  Chevalier de Lévis abandoned his siege on Québec and fell back to Montréal.  “On the 8th of September 1760, after Generals Jeffrey Amherst, William Haviland and James Murray had invested Montréal, Governor the Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal, deserted by many French regulars and the Canadian militia, surrendered the whole of Canada to Great Britain.”[4]  De Lévis moved to Ile Ste. Helene and his men burnt their colours and cut them up so that the British would not take them.[5]

[1] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 474-486.

[2] Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People, p. 168.

[3] Ibid, p. 168.

[4] Ibid, p. 169.

[5] Internet., p. 2.

[6] Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, p. 21.

(Musee Virtuel Illustration)

French authorities surrendering Montréal to British forces in 1760.

           The French surrender ended the war in Canada after six years of hard fighting.  Great celebrations were held in Massachusetts and everywhere its soldiers served on hearing the news.[1]

[1] Fred Anderson, A People’s Army, p. 21.

       We return now, to Elijah’s Journal.

Halifax, 1759-1760

September the 14th day 1759:

           About 12 o’clock at night I was taken by the General’s order.  And the Sergeant Major was taken at the same time with me for not having a sentry at the gates.  And it was the orders of the Captain not to have one there - the 15th day we came out from the main guard with no blame for it was the orders of the Governor.

September 16th day, 1759:

           Our commander came home that went out the 26th day of August.

Halifax, September 28th day, 1759:

           We had a thanksgiving here and we had firing of great guns from the battery and from the ship, and she carried 74 guns.

          Note: The ship may have been the Dublin, commanded by Captain Rodney who was to become famous for his part in the War of American Independence later in the century.[1]  The news of the British victory at Québec was given to England on Friday, the 19th of October 1759, following the fast passage of the ship Alcide.[2]

[1] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 37.

[2] Ibid, p. 180.

November the 2nd day:

           I came off guard and all our men came from the blockhouse and from Dartmouth and came to the Colonel and refused to do duty and I mounted guard again the 18th day of the same month.

November 15th day 1759:

           I helped raise the steeple of the meetinghouse.  And there was not one man hurt and it was the second steeple that was raised in Halifax.

           According to Fred Burnett, this was possibly the steeple for

          “Mather’s Meetinghouse (later St. Matthews Presbyterian Church), by Congregational when built by New Englanders.  St Paul’s English Church in Halifax was built in 1750, and the Old Dutch Church built by the Lutherans was small and had no steeple.”[1]

          Note: On the 16th of November, Admiral Saunders arrived in England on the Royal William bearing the body of General Wolfe.[2]

[1] Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 26 September 2000.

[2] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 185.

November 22nd day, 1759:

           I moved out of the barracks to Sergeant Godford’s, I and one of my messmates.

November 24th day:

           We had snow about ten inches deep.

November 24th day:

           We had eight of our men run away from Citadel Fort and got clear from us.

           According to Mr. Burnett, sometimes these “runaways” had a good chance of making good on their escape.  One of his ancestors was a New Englander who settled in Nova Scotia about 1761, who during the American Revolution built a small schooner, and hid and run over the Bay of Fundy quite a few escaped Americans to New England.  He was never caught, likely because all his neighbours also hid and fed escaped prisoners and privateers, crews of vessels run ashore by Men-o’-War.  Prisoners who escaped from Halifax and could get to Barrington, Argyle or Yarmouth, were almost certain to be taken to Maine or elsewhere in New England free of charge.[1]

[1] Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 02 October 2000.

November 22nd day 1759:

           Two of Captain Bowen’s men ran away from the blockhouse and got on board of a Schooner and hid in the ballast, and not one man knew of it that belonged to the vessel and our Agent heard of it and went on board and dug in the ballast and found them and sent a guard on board and took these two men and put them under guard, and it was the 23rd day when he found them, and they lay under guard about a week and then they was sent on board of the man-of-war.

December the 14th day:

           At night there was a house burned.

December the 24th day 1759:

           The fire broke out at the South Gate and the wind was in the Southeast and it burned three houses before it could be stopped.  And the same night there was a schooner cast away upon Pleasant Point, and she was from Boston loaded with rum, molasses, sugar, flour, and all sorts of spirits, clothing, beef and mutton.  And the 26th day I went with 9 men to guard the vessel, and the 29th day I came home again, for I had relief come to me.

        According to research by Fred Burnett, the South gate in Halifax was enclosed by a stockade with several gates.  Pleasant Point is near the mouth of Jeddore Harbour about 20 miles East of Halifax.[1]

[1] Ibid.

January the 12th day, 1760:

           We buried our Sergeant Major.  The number of ships that wintered in Halifax - Commodore’s ship was the Northumberland and she had 74 guns - the Pembroke had 66 guns.  And the Prince of Orange had 72 guns.  And the (unidentified ship) had 66.

January the 31st day:

           There was a storm came on at 4 o’clock in the morning and lasted until 6 at night.  And it (was) the most terrible storm that I ever saw in my life.  And I was upon guard.

February 3rd day 1760:

           It was the coldest day and night that was that winter and it froze over the river down as low as the Major’s Beach, which is six miles from town, and the 7th day I was upon guard.

           Mr. Burnett indicates that “the river was actually Halifax Harbour.”[1]

[1] Ibid.

February 12th 1760:

           At night there were three men drinking (of flip) in a soldier’s house, one was (a) Corporal of the Royal Americans and two of the Marines, one of them was a Corporal of the marines, and the Corporal of the Americans drew his bayonet and stabbed the Corporal of the Marines in the breast and killed him dead.  And fell foul of the other and hit him in the head, and the man fell down on his knees and begged for his life, and while he was begging for his life the Guard came upon the American and took him and carried him to jail.

February 20th day, 1760:

           There was a woman that had a child (that) died, and it was said she killed it.  And we took the child in the coffin and laid it upon the joists of the house.  And the constable locked the door, and carried the woman to jail.  And two days afterward the woman was cleared.  And the complainer was taken and put in jail for two years and a day for raising a false report of the woman.  And she was cleared that lost the child.

          Fred Burnett has indicated that in the case of a child being killed, many New England settlers thought Halifax to be a very bad place, and they were not entirely wrong.  The murder of a child would almost never occur in a settlement of Puritans, Quakers, New Lights (or) Baptists, as the New Englanders all were.[1]

[1] Ibid.

March the 9th day, 1760:

           I took two men of our company and put them under guard for not going to meeting and the 10th day I took two more of Captain Gay’s company and made report of them to Colonel (unknown), and the 10th day the Colonel released the four men.

March the 10th day:

           About noon they were firing the great guns at the batteries.  And at night there were lights in the windows and firing of skyrockets for the good news we hear of Admiral Sir Edward Hawke overcoming the French fleet.

           According to Francis Parkman, the typical British officer of the Royal Navy of that time

           was a rugged sea-dog, a tough and stubborn fighter, though no more so than the politer generations that followed, at home on the quarter-deck.  Sir Edward Hawke, worthy leader of such men, sailed with seven ships of the line and three frigates to intercept a French squadron from Rochefort convoying a fleet of transports with troops for America.  The French ships cut their cables and ran for the shore, where most of them stranded in the mud, and some threw cannon and munitions overboard to float themselves.  The expedition was broken up.  Of the many ships the French had fitted out for the rescue of Canada and Louisbourg, very few reached their destination, and those for the most part singly or by two’s and threes.[1]

[1] Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, p. 333.

           (This may be one reason why Elijah’s crews found few French ships to intercept).

April the 14th day:

           A man-of-war came into Halifax from England and she carried 50 guns.  (The ship’s name was not recorded).

Halifax, April the 22nd day, 1760:

           There was a woman killed one of her neighbour’s children, a little boy 8 or 9 years old and kept it until the 29th day before it was found out, and at 10 o’clock the same day she was carried to jail.

April the 18th day, 1760:

           I was taken very bad with cold and jaundice.  And the 20th day I was bled.  And the 26th day I was Physicked (sic) and remained very poorly until the 10th day of May.

           Note: The siege of Québec was decided on the 17th of May.[1]

[1] Oliver Warner, With Wolfe to Québec, p. 201.

Halifax, May the 20th day:

           The man and woman were executed for murdering - the man was the Corporal of the Royal Americans who killed the Corporal of the Marines.  They were hanged between 12 and one o’clock in the day - man’s name was (unknown), and the woman’s name was (unknown).  Her husband had gone upriver trading.

June the 3rd day, 1759

           Elijah was a very devout man, and from the 3rd of June 1759 to the 24th of February 1760, he kept a very careful record of the sermons preached by Reverend Brown.[1]

[1] June the 3rd day, 1759:

              Mr. Brown’s text in Halifax preached in the Meetinghouse Luke 17th chapter and the 10th verse.  And in the afternoon it was in Phil. 4th chapter and 13th verse.

              “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

June the 10th day 1759:

              Mr. Brown’s text in the forenoon was 1 John 3rd chapter and 8th and 9th verses - in the afternoon it was Matthew 19th chapter and the 17th verse.

              “And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good?  There is none good but one, that is God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

June the 17th day 1759:

              Mr. Brown’s text in the forenoon was in Romans 12th chapter and the 1st verse and in the afternoon it was in the same chapter and the last verse.

              “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

              “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

June the 24th day 1759:

              Mr. Brown’s text was in Luke the 10th chapter and the 27th verse all day.

              “And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord the God with all thy heart, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself."

September the 3rd day 1759:

              Mr. Brown’s text was in Isaiah 28th chapter and 28th verse.  And in the afternoon it was the 28th chapter and the 28th verse of Job.

              “Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen.”

              “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”

October the 7th day 1759:

              Mr. Brown’s text was in Hebrews 7th chapter and the 29th verse.  (No 29th verse, possibly the 28th?)

              “For the law maketh men highpriests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.”

October the 14th day 1759:

              Mr. Brown’s text was in the 4th chapter of Matthew and from the 1st to the 7th verse and it was there all day.

“Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.”

“And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.”

“And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

“Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple.”

“And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

“Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord Thy God.”

December the 23rd day 1759:

              Mr. Brown’s text was in the forenoon in 1st Timothy 5th chapter and the 22nd verse and in the afternoon it was in Peter the first chapter and from the 5th to the 6th verses.

              “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.”

“Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

              “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.”

January 28th day 1760:

              Mr. Brown’s text was in Hebrews 2nd chapter the 11th, 12th, and 13th verses, in the afternoon it was in Matthew 16th chapter and 24th verse.

              “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.”

              “Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee."

              “And again, I will put my trust in him.  And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.”

              “Then said Jesus unto his disciples.  If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.”

February the 17th day 1760:

              Mr. Brown’s text was in Romans 6th chapter and 21st, 22nd, 23rd verses and it was there all day.

              “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed?  For the end of those things is death.”

              “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”

              “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

February the 24th day, 1760:

              Mr. Brown’s text was in Hebrews the 3rd chapter and the first part of the 8th verse.  In the afternoon it was in Ezekiel 18-31.

              “Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.”

              “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel.”

June the 21st day 1760:

           I enlisted and the 24th day we marched to Cornwallis.  From Halifax to Fort Sackville 13 miles.  From Fort Sackville to Fort Edward in Piquet 35 miles.  From Pisquet to Minus (Minas) 15 miles.  From Minus to Cornwallis 7 miles.  Total 70 miles.

           Fred Burnett commented that, the settlers that came to Cornwallis had very real fears of attacks from Indians.  Governor Lawrence did his best to protect them, but some wrote later that when they heard cattle move in their barns at night they would fear it was Indians coming to attack them.  They would therefore lay awake at night listening for any noise that might be made by the Indians.[1]

[1] “The person who wrote this actually lived at Falmouth, which was almost in range of the guns of Fort Edward. His name was Reverend (or Elder) Henry Alline, his brother in-law was one of those liberated at the fall of Quebec and returned to Nova Scotia.  His parents were French Protestants living on an island in the ocean near Lunenburg.  The Indians went to the island, killed the husband and the hired servants, and then took the wife and children to Quebec where the son was put in school under Catholic priests or monks.”  Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 27 October 2000.

           Mr. Burnett notes that Pisquet or Pisquate, was usually spelled Piziquid.  Its modern name is Windsor, Nova Scotia.  Governor Cornwallis ordered a block-house to be built there in March 1750, with Captain John Gorham being instructed to direct the work.  This was deemed necessary on account of troubles caused by the French in that district.  At the same time the road from Halifax was being made.  Gorham was attacked by Indians before the work commenced, but they were driven away, as reinforcements had come from Halifax.  The block-house was completed and other buildings were added.  The name Fort Edward was given to it.  At the present time, only the blockhouse remains.[1]

[1] Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 13 October 2000.


November the 16th day, 1760:

           We marched from Cornwallis and went to West Falmouth and the 17th day we went to the Halfway House, and the 18th day we went to Fort Sackville and the 19th day we went to Halifax.

           Fred Burnett provided the information that Cornwallis was being settled that year by people mostly from Eastern Connecticut.  Falmouth was settled in 1759 and 1760, mostly by people from Rhode Island, also New Port about the same time.  Piquet is now Windsor.[1]

[1] Diary of John Thomas [9 April 1755-26 December 1755], edited by John C. Webster [Notes], p. 39.  The Tribute Press, Sackville, New Brunswick, 1937.  Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 02 October 2000.

November the 25th day, 1760:

           We embarked on board the ship and the 27th day we went out to sea and about noon we had like to be cast away and we put into Halifax again.  And laid until the 2nd of December and we then put to sea again.  And the 13th day we got into Boston.  And the 15th day I got home to my family.

The End of Elijah Estabrooks’ Journal.

       Although the Seven Years War didn’t end until the Peace of Paris in 1763, Elijah had fought and survived the battle at Ticonderoga, and had gone on to serve with the British forces in Halifax.  He came home to his family on the 15th of November 1760, having participated in the most intense period of the “Seven Years War” in North America.

           At the close of the Seven Years War, “no living soul in Massachusetts could foresee the coming separation from Great Britain, and no one desired it.”  With the conclusion of the war in 1763, American commitment to the empire reached its zenith.  The people of Massachusetts like Elijah and his family, would have been pleased to be part of the British system and equally proud to have participated in the British triumph.  Their heroes were William Pitt and Jeffrey Amherst, Viscount Howe and James Wolfe.  During the war and in its aftermath, settlements were named in honor of  Pitt in Massachusetts and Amherst in Nova Scotia.  It is a strange twist of history indeed, that within a dozen years veterans of the Seven Years War would again take up arms in 1775, to fight the British redcoats, many of whom they would have served alongside at battlefields such as Ticonderoga.[1]

[1] Fred Anderson, The People’s Army, p. 23.

           Elijah went on to settle in Nova Scotia after the war, and we now return to his story.

Elijah after the War

           From December 1760 through the next two and a half years, Elijah made preparations to move his family the Saint John River, an area that was still called Nova Scotia.  Governor Lawrence of Nova Scotia was urged by the Lords of Trade and Plantations to re-people the lands vacated by the French with settlers from New England.[1]

[1] On the 11th of January 1759, a proclamation was made by Charles Lawrence to the people of New England promising them various things, temporal and spiritual, if they would remove to Nova Scotia.  Thousands of them accepted the terms and came.  The proclamation was printed at Boston in New England by John Draper in 1759 and is on the side of one sheet.  Perhaps it was intended to be fastened up for the public to read.  One copy was kept by some of the settlers, likely at Cornwallis, Nova Scotia and it seems to have been sent to Baptist minister in New Brunswick who was put in jail for performing a marriage at St. Martins about 1809.  This minister had hoped that the promise of religious freedom contained in it would set him free, but such was not the case.  It may, however, be the reason the original document has survived down to the present.  Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 13 October 2000.

(Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society.Vol. 16. 1912. p. 11)

Governor of Nova Scotia Charles Lawrence.

           Colonel Alexander McNutt, a British army officer, colonist and land agent who would later help Scottish emigrants to come to Nova Scotia during the early 1760s, went through the Essex County section of Massachusetts urging men to better their fortunes.  In the Newbury-Haverhill district, a group organized and decided to examine the situation.  (Haverhill is located 35 miles north of Boston on the New Hampshire border and about 17 miles from the Ocean).  In the winter of 1761-1762, the Governor of Massachusetts appointed Israel Perley in charge of 12 men in the pay of the state of Massachusetts to make a snowshoe journey through the wilderness from Maine to the Saint John River.  Hugh Quinton was one of this party.[1]

[1] Hugh Quinton’s Diary, NB Museum Archives, Saint John, NB.

           Elijah was also one of this group.  They went by boat to Machias and made their way by trails until they descended the Oromocto River.  The Township of Maugerville, twelve miles long and twelve miles wide, was laid out in lots early in 1762.  On Wednesday, the 6th of October 1762, the signers of the agreement met at the house of Daniel Ingalls, Inn-holder in Andover, at 10 AM to draw their lots.[1]

[1] Raymond, “The River St. John,” p. 280.

           Early in 1763 Elijah moved his family to Halifax and then to Cornwallis, intending to leave them there until he had prepared for them in Maugerville Township.  He crossed the bay and joined Israel Perley’s party that was going up the river to occupy the land.  It is said he took his son, Elijah, a boy of seven or eight years, with him to see the country.

           When they reached the township Elijah found that his lot near Jemseg was under water.  This must have been a great disappointment.  He decided not to use the lot and returned to Cornwallis.

           During the next two years Elijah was apparently exploring the possibilities of the new land.  Tradition says that he paid a visit to Sackville, where Valentine Estabrooks had settled.  His heart however, was apparently set on the river.  On the 18th of October 1765, Elijah went to work in the store of Simonds and White at Portland Point.  In 1789 he participated in a meeting concerning local improvements, as a member of the Portland Board of Trade executive committee and consulting member.[1]

[1] Ven. Archdeacon Raymond, “Pioneer Days at Saint John,” published in the Telegraph, Saint John, NB, April 1919.

           In the summer of 1769 the Reverend Thomas Wood, a clergyman of the Church of England, visited the Saint John River.  At Portland Point he held a Sunday service on the 2nd of July, and baptized John and Abigail, children of Elijah and Mary Estabrooks.  Sarah may also have been baptized at that time.

           In 1773 Elijah made an agreement with William Hazen and James Simonds to settle in the Township of Conway near the mouth of the river, Hazen and Simonds guaranteeing him a deed of 250 acres of land.  An old return or census dated the 1st of August 1775 shows that he had cleared and improved seven acres of land and built a log house.

           The lot granted to Elijah was No. 5, next to the shipbuilding plant and possibly included the modern Saint John Market Square.  The lot next to him, No. 6, was granted to his son-in-law, Zebedee Ring.

           Hazen and Simonds ran an extensive business as a fur trading company and fishery, and they were anxious to place settlers on the land because it was in danger of being escheated.

           The American Revolution began on the 19th of April 1775.[1]

[1] “There was a long series of events that led to the American Revolution, but, if a single day is to be named as The Day the American Revolution began, this day is the one chosen by most historians.  Early in the morning of the 19th of April 1775, British soldiers marched into Lexington, Massachusetts, to capture a rebel arsenal.  A shot was fired, and the revolution began in earnest.  It took weeks for the news to penetrate all the colonies and more than a month for the first report to reach King George III in London.  William H. Hallahan, The Day the American Revolution Began: 19 April 1775, and from “The History of Nova Scotia,” p. 16.

           The American Revolution began to have an impact on the Saint John River in the month of August 1775, when a raiding party from Machias, Maine, entered the harbour in a sloop and burned Fort Frederick on the Conway side and captured a brig in the harbour loaded with provisions for the British troops in Boston.  The inhabitants of Conway took to the woods to avoid the depredations of the marauders.[1]

[1] The War of the American Revolution ran from 1775 to 1783.  The root causes appear to have been based on a strong American resentment that had developed against British after the successful conclusion of the French and Indian War.  The British application of what was widely viewed as an unfair tax called the Stamp Act in 1765 caused a great deal of anger in the 13 colonies. The Boston Massacre in 1770, the Boston Tea Party in 1773, and the Intolerable Acts in 1774 added to American grievances.  The first pitched battles between colonial militia and British regulars took place at Lexington and Concord, both in Massachusetts, on the 19th of April 1775.  On the 4th of July 1776, American patriots announced their Declaration of Independence.  This historic act, together with a decisive American victory at Saratoga in 1777, helped them to gain the allegiance of France.  Although largely successful in direct battles on the field, Britain steadily dissipated its strength against the stubborn resistance of General George Washington’s Continental troops.  The largest English army in America was finally confronted at Yorktown, Virginia.  The surrender there in 1781 ended the fighting only for Great Britain’s erstwhile colonies (and their allied French ground troops).  Meanwhile Great Britain had become engaged in a fierce maritime conflict with France in 1778, Spain in 1779, and the Netherlands in 1780.  The 1783 Treaty of Versailles ended the war.  The independence of the United States was acknowledged, conquests in India were mutually restored, and Florida and Minorca ceded to Spain.

           This was the first act of aggression in the Bay of Fundy, and it produced a great sensation; but the experience was repeated many times and must have been painfully reminiscent of the Indian raids on Haverhill in the early years of its existence.  The privateers were just as rapacious as the Indians in their looting, in spite of the fact that many of the people on the Saint John River sympathized with the American cause.

           In 1776 an American ebel expedition was sent against the English at Fort Cumberland on the Chignecto Isthmus where Lieutenant Colonel Goreham was in command, but it was beaten off and it returned to the river.  Major Studholme’s report shows that Elijah Estabrooks (junior) was one of those who accompanied Hugh Quinton on this expedition.

           In May 1777, John Allan, one of the most determined of the American sympathizers, set out from Machias with 43 men in four whaleboats and several canoes.  They arrived at Musquash Cove on the 1st of June, crossed the river at Indiantown, and then made their way to Portland Point where they took Hazen, Simonds and White prisoners.  They spent some time on the river before leaving.  After this experience Simonds moved up the river to Sheffield where he bought a section of land between the Maugerville Township and Loder Creek from the Morris grant.  He built a log cabin on the bank of the river and lived there for nine years.  Elijah left Conway at the same time, and settled on land which was part of the Spry grant at Gagetown on Grimross Neck.

           Elijah’s family was growing up and leaving home.  Hannah married Zebedee Ring in Salisbury in 1772.  They settled next to her father in Conway and in 1777 moved to Sheffield.  Mary married Samuel Hart of Maugerville in 1773.  Elijah (junior) married Mary Whittemore in 1777 and after a brief period in Jemseg settled just below James Simonds on the river.  Ebenezer married Maria Fletcher in 1782 and settled near his father on Gagetown Neck.  Still at home were Joseph (age 15), Sarah (age 13), Abigail (age 11), John (age 9), and Deborah (age 3).

           The rugged life proved to be too much for Elijah’s wife, Mary Hackett, and she died in 1778.  She was probably buried in the Garrison graveyard as it was the oldest Protestant graveyard in this part of the country, and Elijah himself was later buried there.  She had impressed her children as a woman of courage and resource, and “Mary Hackett” is a name found frequently among her descendants.

           Archilaus Hammond had settled in the Gagetown area before Elijah moved there.  The Hammond’s came from Marblehead.   The soldier Archilaus Hammond was born 9 May 1736 in Fairhaven, Massachusetts to Archhilaus and Elizabeth (Weeks) Hammond.  He first settled in Nova Scotia before going to New Brunswick.  While living in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, he had a daughter named Sarah or Sally born 2 February 1767 and a son named Archilaus born 9 May 1769.

          Sarah Hammond was the daughter of Philip and Mary (Sweetland) Hammond of Marblehead.  Sarah was baptized at Marblehead on the 21st of October 1739.  On the 24th of September 1764, she married James Oakes.  They moved from Marblehead to Cornwallis and quite possibly encountered Elijah and Mary Estabrooks there.  Sarah had four children by James Oakes: James (junior), Benjamin, Sarah and Christopher (Christopher was born in 1773).  James (senior) died about the same time as Mary Hackett.  Sarah Oakes brought her small family to Gagetown and married Elijah Estabrooks on the 17th of December 1778.  They had a further two children, Elizabeth (Betsy) born on the 30th of October 1779, and Hammond, born on the 29th of January 1783.

           Note: At about 2 PM on the 19th of May 1780, complete darkness fell over Eastern Canada and New England.  The cause for this has never been explained.[1]

[1] Daytime Darkness, The History of Nova Scotia, p. 17.

         On the 3rd of September 1783, Great Britain officially recognized the Independence of the United States with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.[1]

[1] The Paris Peace Treaty, 3 September 1783:

Article One.  His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and independent states, that he treats them as such, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, property, and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.

Article Two.  And that all disputes which might arise in future on the subject of the boundaries of the said United States may be prevented, it is hereby agreed and declared, that the following are and shall be their boundaries, viz.; from the northwest angle of Nova Scotia, viz., that angle which is formed by a line drawn due north from the source of St. Croix River to the highlands; along the said highlands which divide those rivers that empty themselves into the river St. Lawrence, from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean, to the northwestern-most head of Connecticut River; thence down along the middle of that river to the forth-fifth degree of north latitude; from thence by a line due west on said latitude until it strikes the river Iroquois or Cataraqui; thence along the middle of said river into Lake Ontario; through the middle of said lake until it strikes the communication by water between that lake and Lake Erie; thence along the middle of said communication into Lake Erie, through the middle of said lake until it arrives at the water communication between that lake and Lake Huron; thence along the middle of said water communication into Lake Huron, thence through the middle of said lake to the water communication between that lake and Lake Superior; thence through Lake Superior northward of the Isles Royal and Phelipeaux to the Long Lake; thence through the middle of said Long Lake and the water communication between it and the Lake of the Woods, to the said Lake of the Woods; thence through the said lake to the most northwestern-most point thereof, and form thence on a due was course to the river Mississippi; thence by a line to be drawn along the middle of the said river Mississippi until it shall intersect the northernmost part of the thirty-first degree of north latitude, South, by a line to be drawn due east from the  determination of the line last mentioned in the latitude of thirty-one degrees of the equator, to the middle of the river Apalachicola or Catahouche; thence along the middle thereof to its junction with the Flin River, thence straight to the head of Saint Mary’s River; and thence down along the middle of Saint Mary’s River to the Atlantic Ocean; east, by a line to be drawn along the middle of the river Saint Croix, from its mouth in the Bay of Fundy to its source, and from its source directly north to the aforesaid highlands which divide the rivers that fall into the Atlantic Ocean from those which fall into the river Saint Lawrence; comprehending all islands within twenty leagues of any part of the shores of the United States, and lying between lines to be drawn due east from the points where the aforesaid boundaries between Nova Scotia on the one part and East Florida on the other shall, respectively, touch the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean, excepting such islands as now are or heretofore have been within the limits of the said province of Nova Scotia.  Extracted from the 1783 Paris Peace Treaty,, and “The History of Nova Scotia, pp. 17-18.

           Mr. Burnett noted that the records of the church gathered on the St. John River in 1779 have all disappeared long ago, but by the year 1790 there was a good sized congregation of people meeting for worship at the houses of Elijah Estabrooks and Archaleus Hammond.  The church did not have an ordained minister, but Samuel Hartt Senior and Elijah Estabrooks preached sometimes and the people sang Reverend Henry Alline’s hymns.  This group was “in harmony” until about 1793, when there was a “division” of the congregation and part of the group moved to Kingsclear.  Some outsiders called the group that stayed “Brooksites” because Elijah Estabrooks preached and others called them Hartites because Samuel Hartt held meetings at times.  In 1800, most of them formed a Baptist Church.  Reverend Henry Allen or Alline baptized one young woman by immersion on the St. John River.  Her last name was Garrison (or a similar name). [1]

[1] These statements were taken from: The Journal of Henry Alline, first printed in Boston, 1806, recently reprinted 1982 by Acadia Divinity College, then by the Champlain Society and in the USA; The original and printed Journals of James Manning (1801) and James Innis (1805-1811) edited by D.G. Bull, Lancelot Press, 1984, and Fred C. Burnett’s book, Biographical Directory of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Free Baptist Ministers and Preachers, 1996, p. 235. Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 13 October 2000.

           In the year 1765, shortly after the close of the Seven Years War, enormous tracts of land, called Townships, were granted in the Saint John River valley to officers and government officials.  The arrival of the Loyalists in 1783 led to most of these grants being escheated excepting where settlers were in actual possession.

           Governor Parr decreed that such lots as were occupied by old inhabitants of the country should not be appropriated by Loyalists without paying for improvements.  A commission was appointed to assess values:

Report of the Commission to Investigate Pre-Loyalist Settlements: For Gagetown, on the 30th of June 1783:

           Elijah Easterbrook (sic) has a wife and eight children, a log house with two rooms and about twelve acres of land cleared.  Came from Cornwallis about 16 years past; settled at the mouth of the river and says he was drove up by rebels.

For the Township of Conway, 8th of July 1783:

           Elijah Easterbrook settled in consequence of an agreement with Hazen and Simonds.  Cleared and improved about seven acres of land and built a log house which is now fallen to decay, said Easterbrook moving up the river on account of the danger of his situation.  Had lived on it eight years.

Guy Carleton (1724-1808), 1st Baron Dorchester, army officer and colonial administrator.  On the Plains of Abraham he commanded the 2nd battalion of the Royal Americans (60th Foot), which was one of three battalions deployed under Brigadier-General George Townshend at the left of the British battle-line.  During the battle he received a head wound while pursuing the enemy which may have led to his leaving the colony in October 1759.  He would return and eventually become the Governor of British North America.

            Governor Carleton and his Council continued the policy of Governor Parr after the formation of the Province of New Brunswick.  Elijah Estabrooks’ house was valued at 10 pounds and his improvements at 48 pounds.  Walter Chase, the Loyalist on whose grant his land was situated, was unwilling to pay this amount and Elijah was confirmed in possession of his land in 1784.  This was Lot No. 5, Grimross Neck.  The Loyalists however, were determined to get rid of the pre-Loyalists and Elijah found things very unpleasant.  Actual riots took place and some belligerents were put in jail.

           Mr. Burnett has found a copy of a petition believed to have been made in 1786, signed by Elijah Estabrooks and his son, and at least 29 other parishioners.  This list contains names of Loyalists as well as New Englanders, showing the ties of their faith were stronger than political differences.  Titus Fetch, a Loyalist, who also signed the petition, soon after led a number of families from Nashwaak, New Brunswick, to Ontario where he was ordained a Baptist Minister.[1]

[1] The petition reads as follows:

To His Excellency Thomas Carleton Esquire, Governor and Commander in Chief of the Province of New Brunswick and territories thereon Defending chancilor (sic) and Vice-admiral of the Same etc.

The humble address of your Petitioners being fully convinced of your Excellency’s gracious Disposition for the weal of the Province and knowing that as the happyness (sic) of a people touching both Sivel (sic)and religious privileges depend on being under the protection of good laws so it is an inestimable blessing to have them Exercised by men who will naturally study the Good of the Community, we your Excellencies humble petitioners do therefore humbly recommend to your Excellency for a Magistrate Mr. Thomas Hartt in Queens County whose moral Virtues, Education and Experience in matters of Law are such as Convinceth (sic) us he will be a Grate Blessing to the County Should your Excellency, be graciously pleased to Grant the Prayer of your petitioners and your petitioners as in duty bound will Ever Pray etc.  [Dated at] Queens County the 30th of July 1786.  Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 02 October 2000.

           Elijah applied for a new allotment.  He received some compensation in Cambridge, which included one-half of lots 25 and 26.  His sons Ebenezer (25) and Joseph (26) received the other halves.  Elijah junior was granted one-half of lot 3 at Jemseg, Parish of Waterborough and lot 32 on the interval.

           Archelaus Hammond moved to Kingsclear at the same time.  He received one lot there and his eldest son received another.  The lots in Cambridge were beautifully situated on a ridge overlooking the Jemseg River at its entrance to Grand Lake.  The Garrison graveyard was just over the fence on a slope stretching down to a creek.

           Elijah moved with his family and two married sons, Ebenezer and Joseph, to these lots in 1787.  Elijah apparently left the management of his lots mainly to his Oakes stepsons and his wife.  He himself spent much of his time with his eldest son Elijah Junior, and John his youngest son by Mary Hackett in Canning.

           In 1802 Joseph Estabrooks was one of at least 30 parishioners who signed a petition was raised to ask that [Baptist] ministers be allowed to marry their church members.[1]

[1] This petition is in the Queens and Sunbury County records.  Letter from Fred C. Burnett, dated 02 October 2000.

           John was seeking to establish himself.  He had no love for the water-soaked interval on the Saint John River, and early in his married life moved across the river to land just above Swan Creek.  He built the first frame house in that part of the country.

           Note: At this time in 1789, the Storming of the Bastille in Paris took place, marking the start of the French Revolution.  It led to the beheading of Louis XVI in 1793, and the end of the French Capetian monarchy.

           Elijah Estabrooks thus spent his old age close to all his children.  His younger daughters were married; Sarah, married John Marsh on the 15th of July 1790 and lived in Canning; Abigail married Wm. Harper in Canning in 1794; Deborah married Moses Clarke junior in August 1796; Elizabeth married Martin Olts, junior, on the 29th of March 1796.  They lived at French Lake and then on the Nashwaak River.

           Elijah remained hale and hearty to the last.  Mrs. Abraham Estabrooks, who married his grandson, said he used to tell tales of old times to his grandchildren.  She said there were two things that he used to pray for: one was that he should never be sick and the other was that he should die at his work.  He used to pound up grain for chickens in a mortar.  One afternoon after working for awhile, he lay back in his chair and covered his face with his hat.  His grandchildren, who were playing around, thought that he was asleep; but when they went to wake him for supper, they found that he was dead.  He was buried in the Garrison Graveyard at Jemseg.

           Elijah died intestate.  By a deed dated the 11th of August 1796 and signed by all his sons and daughters with their wives and husbands his estate was given to his widow, Sarah.  This deed was probably drawn up on the day of his funeral.

           His chief assets were the two half lots in Cambridge.  His widow sold these to her sons James and Benjamin Oakes in 1803.  James had married Rachel Olts on the 7th of July 1792.  The Oakes men probably lived there until 1813 when they sold the lots to Archelaus Purdy and moved up to Carleton County, New Brunswick.  The Estabrooks men sold theirs about the same time, and moved up to Wakefield, Carleton County.  Some of the Oakes men went on to Ontario.

           Sarah (Oakes) Estabrooks may also be buried in the Garrison graveyard.

           In her book on the Estabrooks family history, Florence Estabrooks provided detailed information which helped me to locate the site of Elijah’s burial in Jemseg.  She indicated that fragments of a gravestone with Elijah Estabrooks name on it had been scattered in the graveyard located on Jefferson Dykeman’s farm (close to the river).  The graves in the early 1950s were clearly defined but the stones were gone.  Elijah’s grave was located about ten feet straight in front of the entrance.  The original tombstone had a curved top and his name clearly cut.  Florence indicated that the place had grown up in 1951, and it remains that way to this day.

Elijah’s Gravesite

(Author Photo, 2005)

           Elijah Estabrooks’ grave lies under a large bur oak tree near the village of Jemseg, New Brunswick.  On the 17th of July 1996, I drove to Jemseg on the Saint John River after contacting members of the present day Dykeman family for directions.  Mrs. Norman Dykeman of 169 Grand Lake Drive pointed out roughly where the site was on a nearby farm and directed me to the owner, Mr. John Gardner.  Mr. Gardner showed me the exact site of the grave; across the road from house number 12, no more than 300 meters from the stop sign and turnoff from the Trans-Canada Highway Bridge over the river.  A photograph taken by Florence Estabrooks from 1938 was still useful, in that the barn in the rear of the photo and the large oak tree in the center of the picture are both still there.

           Elijah, his first wife Mary (Hackett) and his second wife Sarah (Oakes) are most likely all buried there, as Florence indicated that this was the oldest Protestant graveyard in this part of the country.

           John Gardner had cleared out much of the debris that regularly accumulates over the cemetery from the spring floods.  He had also raised one of the broken stone markers in front of the tree.  He hand painted the words “OLD GARRISON GRAVEYARD” on the stone marker.  The site badly needs more done to it to preserve this ancient piece of New Brunswick heritage.

           I have revisited the site of Elijah’s grave several times and began to make inquiries on how to get the site marked more appropriately for historical purposes. I met with Mrs. Dawn Bremner of the Queen’s County Historical Society, and a native of the local area, at the site of the grave on the 10th of October 1996.  We had permission to dig for stone markers, and re-erected roughly 18 slabs, none of which had any markings.  We are endeavoring to have the site of the graves (possibly 30) declared a New Brunswick heritage site.

(Author Photo, 2018)

           The cemetery is named after the Garrison family (presumably some members of their family are buried there), and later became part of a farm owned by Mr. Jefferson Dykeman.  According to early records, “the graves were marked by field stones only, and the identity of those buried there is beyond recall.”  Aside from Elijah Estabrooks and one or possibly both of his wives, George Ferris, another early member of the Jemseg community is known to be buried there.  The cemetery lies beside farm lots 24-25, which had been granted to Elijah, Ebenezer and Joseph Estabrooks, three sons of Elijah, the veteran of  “Ticonderoga.”  Along with John Estabrooks, his four sons are listed on the roll of the Charter membership of the Waterborough Baptist Church (the Mother Organization of the Baptists in this central St. John River valley.  Elijah is listed as a Teaching Elder; Joseph as a Deacon; Ebenezer and John as members, in 1800.  Katherine, John’s wife is also listed.[1]

[1] Rev. Walter R. Greenwood, The Early Baptists of Cambridge Parish, Queens County, New Brunswick, Jemseg, NB, 1941,  p. 8-11.

          I found the gravesites of Elijah’s son, the Reverend Elijah Estabrooks in the Upper Gagetown cemetery.  He was ordained in 1800, and the site is well marked with quite a bit of his history inscribed onto a large white marker.  There are many other Estabrooks in the same graveyard, which is not far from the Gagetown ferry-crossing site.  One of them is Florence C. Estabrooks, who transcribed the original diary, which is the basis for this story.  Grant that this treatise is worthy of her work.

Elijah’s Descendants

           Elijah and his wife Mary Hackett had the following children: Hannah, Mary, Sarah, Elijah, Samuel, Ebenezer, Joseph, and Sarah, Abigail, John, Deborah.  After Mary’s death, Elijah married Sarah Hammond-Oakes, and they had two children: Elizabeth, and Hammond.

           Elijah’s son Ebenezer was baptized in Boxford, Massachusetts, on the 28th of August 1759.  He married Maria Fletcher before 1783 and they had nine children.  They settled on Gagetown Neck, in New Brunswick, but were dispossessed by the Loyalists in 1785.  (To this day there is some “animosity” between the descendants of the people who lived on the river before the Loyalists came and those who came after the American Revolution to the Saint John River).  Ebenezer settled for a time on his grant in Cambridge (half of Lot 25); but by 1796 he was living in Lakeville, Sheffield.  He was one of those who signed the covenant of the Church at Waterborough the 20th of October 1800.  This was the occasion of forming the Baptist Church.  He moved to Lincoln about 1808.  In the same year he received land on Little River.  On the 25th of December 1813 Ebenezer Estabrooks and a number of others applied to be dismissed from the church at Canning to join in forming a Baptist Church in Fredericton.  This was the beginning of the Brunswick St. Baptist Church.


           Note: The War of 1812 was ongoing at the time.[1]

[1] On the 4th of April 1812, James Madison, President of the United States, slapped a 90-day embargo on trade with England.  His intent was to take some of the pressure off of American merchant ships, which were being attacked by British ships maintaining a blockade against Napoleon.  Madison’s embargo was a factor in the outbreak of the War of 1812.  The National Post, 4 April 2000.

           The War of 1812 was fought in North America between the 18th of June 1812 and the 24th of December 1814 between Canada and the USA.  Following the US declaration of War a number of battles were fought, including the Battle of New Orleans, two weeks after the war was over (1815).  The major battles for the year 1812 were fought at Fort Dearborn, Detroit, and at Queenston Heights, where General Sir Isaac Brock was killed.  More battles took place in 1813 at Frenchtown, Sacket's Harbour on land, as well as a naval battle between the American 38-gun frigate USS Chesapeake and the British 38-gun warship Shannon, (the British crew captured the Chesapeake, although both sides took heavy casualties in the action).  That same year there were additional land battles at Stony Creek, Lake Erie, Thames River, Chateaugay River, and Chryslers Farm.  The war continued into 1814 with battles at Chippewa River, Lundy's Lane, Fort Erie, Bladesburg, Champlain, Lake Plattsburg, Fort McHenry; and because neither side was aware a peace treaty had been signed, a further battle was fought in 1815 New Orleans.  The Treaty of Ghent officially ended the war on the 24th of December 1814.  David Eggenberger, An Encyclopedia of Battles, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1985, p. 93.

            In 1816, Ebenezer took up a large farm in Jacksontown, Parish of Wakefield, Carleton County, where he died about 1851.  About 1814 he married a second time; his second wife was Charlotte Ann Lounsbury, born 1782, died 1860.  Ebenezer and Charlotte Ann had another five children.  After Ebenezer’s death, Charlotte Ann lived with the Rideouts, dying about 1860 at the age of 90.

           Note: The Battle of Waterloo and the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte by the forces of the Duke of Wellington and Blucher was fought in 1815 in Europe.[1]

[1] The Battle of Waterloo took place on the 18th of June 1815.  Wellington, the British commander, mustered some 68,000 troops (24,000 British, 44,000 Dutch, Belgian and Prussian) on the battlefield.  Napoleon had roughly 72,000 troops on the field.  Napoleon won the early actions and at Ligny and Quatre Bras, while Wellington captured Hougoumont.  Shortly afterwards, however, La Haye-Saint fell to Napoleon.  The rain and the mud caused his troops to bog down.  Napoleon appreciated the fact that he needed more time, but the Prussian General Blucher arrived before he could complete his plan of attack, and Napoleon was defeated.  Napoleon’s casualties were 26,000, killed and wounded, 9,000 taken as Prisoners of War (POW), and 9,000 missing.  Wellington lost 15,000 killed and wounded, and had several 1000 missing, while the Prussians lost 7000.  On the 22nd of June 1815 Napoleon abdicated for the second time.  He presented himself to the British, who then sent him to the Isle St. Helena where he ended his days.  He now rests inside a magnificent red marble sarcophagus inside “Les Invalides” in Paris.

           The following was written by Ziba Pope, later an ordained minister (Free Baptist).

On the 29th of September [1812] …came up the River through Gagetown to Sheffield…I stayed till the 6th of October and had eight meetings.  Oh, there is a great work of God in this place.  30 or 40 young converts shouting praises to God at a time.  The voice of the turtle[dove] was heard in this place of a truth.  The preacher that this reformation was under, his name was Elijah Brooks (sic) and he lost a daughter while I was there, called into eternity very suddenly from good health but blessed be God that she died in the triumphs of faith and is now undoubtedly singing praises to God.  Her death will be a blessing I hope to some poor souls.  All her relations gave her up joyafully (sic) when they felt religion.  Oh, Glory to God for religion, oh glorious meetings we had had (sic).  At this time one of her sisters gave glory to God that she was worthy to suffer affliction.  Oh, what trials I now have in leaving the Children of God.  They appear to be nearer to me than any blood relation.[1]

            Mr. Burnett indicated that this religious revival was not confined to Sheffield.  The whole Saint John River Valley from Lower Hampstead to Upper Sussex and up through present Carleton County and on the Nashwaak and Oromocto Rivers were in almost a white heat of religious fervor in the year of 1812.[2]

            Mr. Burnett also discovered in his research that there is a great deal of detail of disorder at one period ca. 1795 that likely caused {Ebenezer’s brother] Elijah Estabrooks and others to form a Baptist Church in 1800.[3]

            Ebenezer’s and his wife Maria Fletcher had the following children: Ebenezer, Maria, David E., Thomas Fletcher, Stephen Potter, Joseph Fletcher, William Wilmot, Deborah, and Harriet.  After Maria died, Ebenezer married Charlotte Ann Lounsbury, and they had five more children: Ebenezer, Chipman, Sarah, George, and Charlotte Ann.

            On the 30th of November 1813, “David Estabrooks, Benjamin Fletcher, James Allen, Thomas Estabrooks and William Gau (?) petitioned for land on the third tier.”  On the 23rd of September 1814, “Ebenezer and David Estabrooks…Ward Estabrooks (age 22), Rufus Estabrooks (age 28), Joseph Estabrooks Jr., (age 23) John Estabrooks Jr., (age 24), Samuel Estabrooks Jr., (age 22), Thomas Estabrooks (age 20), and Stephen Estabrooks (age 17) were among a group of petitioners who “wanted land on the 3rd tier Wakefield on the West side” [of the Saint John River.  Wakefield at that time included both sides of the river].[4]

           On the 4th of September 1827, the “State of the Settlement on the 4th and part of the 5th tier of Wakefield Land West side of the Saint John River” indicated that the following farms on land granted in 1816, were being worked:  William W. Estabrook, 300 acres, resident 4 years, 30 acres cleared, House and Barn, six children, 10 cattle, 35 sheep, 200 potatoes, 90 wheat, 50 oats.  Elijah Estabrooks, 200 acres, resided 2 years, 12 acres cleared, House, 1 child, 1 cattle, 50 potatoes, 30 wheat, 20 oats.  Stephen Estabrooks, 200 acres.  Samuel Estabrooks, 300 acres, resided 4 years, 35 acres cleared, House and Barn, 5 children, 5 cattle, 13 sheep, 300 potatoes, 100 wheat, 50 oats.”[5]

           Mr. Burnett indicated that all the buildings were log, as settlers needed frame barns to store unthreshed grain in.  While log houses were generally small, they were warm, and a frame barn was often built before a frame house.  In another document dated the 28th of November 1826 for the settlement on Pekagomique, back of Hartland, Mr. Burnett found “Samuel Estabrooks, 3 years in residence, 28 acres cleared, House and Barn, 5 children, 6 cattle, 3 sheep, 200 acres, land good.  David Estabrooks, 3 years residence, 18 acres cleared, House and Barn, 4 children, 4 cattle, 200 acres, land good.  Hammond Estabrooks, House just building, 9 children, 2 cattle, land good.”[6]

            Ebenezer and Maria’s son Chipman was born on the 16th of December 1818.  He married Lucretia Smith on the 1st of May 1849 in Houlton, Maine, and lived in Waterville, Carleton County, where they had 12 children.  Chipman died in Waterville on the 13th of December 1890.

         According to early New Brunswick records,

           on the 14th of August 1832, Elder Samuel Hartt organized a Free Christian Baptist Church of 24 members on the Beckagumic River back of Hartland.  Among the 24 were Hammond Estabrooks, David H. Estabrooks, Catherine Estabrooks, Louisa Estabrooks, and Francis Estabrooks.  After this were received Sarah, Levi, Mary, Caroline, Mary Jane, Nehemiah, David, Eliza, A. (female) and Mrs. Levi Estabrooks.  There are no dates in the book after 1832.[7]

            In 1847 the members and friends of the Free Christian Baptists of New Brunswick petitioned asking that their ordained elders be allowed to perform marriages.  The request was granted.  Among the hundreds of names are the signatures of four members of the Estabrooks family: Hezekiah, Turney, Elijah and George Estabrooks.[8]

          Note: General history for this time: Queen Victoria was born in 1819 (died 1901).  She became the Queen in 1837.  The American Civil War took place between April 1861 and April 1865.[9]  1867 was the year of Canadian Confederation (the uniting of the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick), with the Dominion of Canada being formally established.  This was followed between 1870 and 1873 with the joining of British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Manitoba, and later Alberta, and Saskatchewan.  Newfoundland eventually joined Canada in 1949.  Many Canadians participated in the Boer War in South Africa, which was fought from 1899 to 1901.[10]

          Chipman and Lucretia had the following children: Albert, Ebenezer, Stephen, Frederick, Wilson, John, Clara, Amelia, Joseph, Sophia, Annie, and Rhoda.

         Joseph was born on the 18th of September 1861 and married Catherine Peed.  They had three children.  Joseph and his sister Sophia were twins.  Joseph died on the 12th of January 1939, and Catherine died in 1950.

[1] Letter from Fred C. Burnett, Upper Brighton, NB, dated 26 September 2000.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Letter from Fred C. Burnett, Upper Brighton, NB, dated 02 October 2000.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] The American Civil War was waged between April 1861 and April 1865.  The issue of slavery, particularly in the new states being formed from western territories, drove an ever-larger wedge between the free states of the North and the slave holding states to the South.  When the Republican candidate for President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, won election on the 6th of November 1860, the situation reached a crisis.  South Carolina seceded from the Union on the 20th of December 1860, declaring that its sovereignty now stood in jeopardy.  Six other states followed suit from 09 Jan to 01 Feb 1861: Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.  On the 4th of February representatives from these states formed the Confederate States of America, with Jefferson Davis elected President.  Federal forts and arsenals were seized throughout the South.  Confederate shore batteries forced the surrender of Fort Sumter outside Charleston, South Carolina on the 13th of April.  President Lincoln then called for 75,000 volunteers to put down the “insurrection” against the United States.  From the 17th of April to the 20th of May, four more states left the Union: Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina.  The Confederate government established its capitol at Richmond, Virginia, and mobilised for war.  Its chief aim was to force the North to recognise its independence.  The 23 states of the North and West, under the leadership of Lincoln, sought originally only to restore the Union.  However, after the President’s Emancipation Proclamation of the 1st of January 1863, freeing the slaves became an almost equally important objective.

           For four years the United States was torn by bitter civil war.  The major theater of operations was east of the Appalachians, especially in northern Virginia between the two hostile capitals of Washington, DC, and Richmond.  From the Appalachians westward to the Mississippi River an important secondary theater developed.  The last two Confederate armies in the field surrendered on the 9th of April and the 18th of April 1865.  In the costliest war in United States history (in the proportion of casualties to participants), the Confederate government was decisively abolished.  In all, the North mobilised 1,557,000 men, the South 1,082,000.  Federal losses were 359,528 dead (of these 110,070 were killed or mortally wounded in battle), 275,175 wounded.  Confederate casualties were 258,000 dead (including 94,000 battle deaths) and more than 100,000 reported wounded.

[10] The Boer War was fought between 1899 and 1902.  Its root cause originated from opposition between the Boer Republics in Orange Free State and Transvaal, and the British Colonies in Southern Africa.  The defeated Boers accept the suzerainty of the King of England at Vereeniging on the 31st of May 1902.  7300 Canadian troops participated in the South African War, with four of them winning the Victoria Cross.

[11] On the 28th of June 1914, a young Serb named Gavrilo Prinzip assassinated the Austrian Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo in Bosnia.  Austria held Serbia responsible.  William II promised his support to the Austro-Hungarians in case of war.  On the 28th of July 1914 Austria-Hungary declared war on the Serbia.  On the 1st of August Germany declared war on Russia, and on the 3rd of August Germany declared war on France and entered Belgium.  On the 4th of August 1914, Great Britain declared war on Germany.  As a British Colony, Canada was also automatically at war as well.  World War I was fought from 1914 to 1918, and is also known as the Great War.  Canada’s Prime Minister at the time was Sir Robert Borden Canadian.  The first contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF consisting of 25,000 troops was raised and departed for England in December 1914.  The PPCLI being the first Canadian troops to land in France.  The war went on until the 11th of November 1918, when the Armistice was signed at Rethondes, France, between the Allies and Germany.  During the war, Canadians were awarded 64 Victoria Crosses, including three at Ypres, four at Vimy Ridge, six at Hill 70, and nine at Passchendaele.  Elijah’s descendant, Walter Ray Estabrooks, wrote about his participation in a number of these battles.  For more information on Walter’s experience in the Great War can be found in the book “Whiz Bangs and Woolly Bears“ (also available through

            Chipman and Lucretia had the following children: Albert, Ebenezer, Stephen, Frederick, Wilson, John, Clara, Amelia, Joseph, Sophia, Annie, and Rhoda.  The gravestone shown above is located in the Waterville Church Cemetery.

Catherine (nee Peed), Minnie, Walter, Frank and Joseph Estabrooks family photo, ca 1895.

           Joseph was born on the 18th of September 1861 and married Catherine Peed.  They had three children.  Joseph and his sister Sophia were twins.  Joseph died on the 12th of January 1939, and Catherine died in 1950.

        Joseph and Catherine’s children were Walter, Minnie, and Frank.  Walter participated in the Great War of 1914.[1]

[1] On the 28th of June 1914, a young Serb named Gavrilo Prinzip assassinated the Austrian Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo in Bosnia.  Austria held Serbia responsible.  William II promised his support to the Austro-Hungarians in case of war.  On the 28th of July 1914 Austria-Hungary declared war on the Serbia.  On the 1st of August Germany declared war on Russia, and on the 3rd of August Germany declared war on France and entered Belgium.  On the 4th of August 1914, Great Britain declared war on Germany.  As a British Colony, Canada was also automatically at war as well.  World War I was fought from 1914 to 1918, and is also known as the Great War.  Canada’s Prime Minister at the time was Sir Robert Borden Canadian.  The first contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF consisting of 25,000 troops was raised and departed for England in December 1914.  The PPCLI being the first Canadian troops to land in France.  The war went on until the 11th of November 1918, when the Armistice was signed at Rethondes, France, between the Allies and Germany.  During the war, Canadians were awarded 64 Victoria Crosses, including three at Ypres, four at Vimy Ridge, six at Hill 70, and nine at Passchendaele.  Elijah’s descendant, Walter Ray Estabrooks, wrote about his participation in a number of these battles.  For more information on Walter’s experience in the Great War can be found in the book “Whiz Bangs and Woolly Bears“ (also available through

          Walter married Myrtle Olmstead, and they had six children: Kathryn, Gaynelle, Frederick, Beatrice, Bernard and Wilhelmine.  Frederick served in the Canadian Army in Europe as a motorcycle dispatch rider and was wounded in Germany during the Second World War.[1]  Bernard (known to many of us as “Joe”), also served in the Canadian Army after the war as a Military Policeman.

Kathryn married Winston Martin and their children are Jay, Tim, and Tom. Kathryn and Winston have passed.

Gaynelle married Ronald Hawkins (a WWII infantry veteran), and their children are Terry, Janice, Rod, Beth, and Peter.  Terry is a re-enactor who has provided the photographs for this book recreating the uniform of Elijah Estabrooks in 1758. Ronald has passed. At the age of 99, Gaynelle is still with us.

Frederick married Joyce Taylor and their children are Gary and Linda.  Gary also served in the Canadian Forces, retiring as a Chief Warrant Officer in the Military Police Branch. Frederick and Joyce have passed.

Beatrice Leah Estabrook married Aage Christensen Skaarup (an RCAF and CF Warrant Officer), and they had three children, Harold, Dale, and Christopher.  (In our era, men landed on the Moon.[2])  Harold retired from the Canadian Forces in 2011, the same year Aage passed. Dale served in the CF as a naval officer onboard HMCS Chaudiere, and later as a Logistics officer before retiring to work for the railway. Chris served as a militia gunner in the Royal Canadian Artillery. He worked for a firm in Ottawa, Ifathom, developing software. Now retired he is managing a firm building powered para-gliders .

Bernard (Joe) married Helen Chrysler and they have a daughter named Cindy. Helen and Joe have passed.

Wilhelmine married Robert Nielsen. Both have passed/

[1] The Second World War began with the German and Russian invasion of Poland on the 1st of September 1939.  Britain and France declared war on Germany on the 3rd of September.  On the 7th of September, the Canadian parliament assembled in emergency session. On the 9th it approved the Government’s policy of supporting Britain and France.  On the 10th the King proclaimed the existence of a state of war between Canada and the German Reich.  Canadians participated in all theatres of the war, including the 6th of June 1944 D-Day, Allied landings in Normandy.  The British forces landed on Gold and Sword beaches with the Canadians between them on Juno, while the Americans to the south of theme went in on Omaha and Utah beaches. The Canadians lost 196 officers and 2,635 other ranks in the first six days including 72/945 KIA.  Prior to D Day there had been over 140,000 aircrew casualties, ten times more than the casualties taken on the ground that day.  In all, 730625 Canadian men and women served in the army during the Second World War; 22,917 were killed and 52,679 were wounded.  Canadians had helped to defend Britain, fought the Japanese at Hong Kong, suffered severe casualties at Dieppe, and shared in the stiffest fighting of two great campaigns in Italy from 1943-1945 and from France into Germany in 1944 and 1945.  The war in Europe ended on ended with the German forces facing the 21st Army Group surrendering unconditionally on the 4th of May 1945.  The war against the Japanese in the Pacific theatre ended with the dropping of the first Atomic bombs on the 6th and 9th of August 1945 on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, following the first atomic bomb exploded at Alamogordo, New Mexico, in the United States.  The Japanese government surrendered unconditionally on the 14th of August 1945.

To use nuclear weapons, a non-nuclear explosive charge is used to bombard fragments of fissile material, which then reach a critical mass and spark off a chain reaction in a fraction of a second.  It did not take long for other countries to develop their nuclear weapons, with the USSR following on the 14th of July 1949, Great Britain in 1952, France on the 13th of February 1960, China in 1964, India in 1974, Israel and South Africa somewhat later, and Pakistan in 1999.  On the 1st of November 1952 the first thermonuclear H-bomb was exploded in the USA.  The A-bomb uses the fission of heavy nuclei, while the H-bomb uses light nuclei.  The USSR followed with its own test H-bomb explosion on the 12th of August 1953.  Great Britain in 1957, China in 1967, and France in 1968) all exploded H-bomb devices in turn.  The detonation of the first atomic bomb in modern times marked 1945 as year one of the atomic era.

[2] On the 21st of July 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon, followed by the 2nd, Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin, while Michael Collins manned the Command Module overhead during the Apollo 11 Moon Landing Mission.  They spent 22 hours on the Moon before returning safely.  Many of us sat glued to the TV set and watched it happen.

           Harold married Faye Alma Jenkins, and their two sons are Jonathan and Sean.  Jonathan married Jocelyn (nee Young) and they have two children, son Cole and daughter Ashley.  Sean married Melyse (nee Rouleau) and they have three children, daughters Owen and Auli, and son Bauer.

           Other military ancestors to the Estabrooks clan include Captain William Hackett of Amesbury and Salisbury, married to Hannah Ring in 1710.  Their daughter Mary, born on the 1st of August 1728, married Elijah on the 13th of November 1750.  Another of Elijah’s relatives was David Fletcher, who was also an officer in the Colonial army, and had the right to a grant of 2,000 acres.


           Often in war a great many soldiers lives are claimed on the battlefield.  In many cases there is a great deal of “scurrying around” for little great reason.  Elijah pointed out one example of this on “July the 5th day of 1758,” when they were camped out and one of their sentries “heard a rattle snake which caused him to cry out and aroused the whole camp…which caused our officer to order the whole to embark and haul off to the middle of the lake and lay there until the morning.”  You have to imagine what Elijah and his mates were thinking as they realized that they were all sitting in the middle of a lake because of a snake.[1]

[1] “This incident was part of one of the lectures at Fort Ticonderoga during the 1998 War College showing how a private soldier’s view of events reflects what they experience, when other events are causing what is happening.  From Howe’s papers and his Orders of the Day, it turns out that the order to embark on the boats and row out into the stream came from Howe.  He wanted the troops to be in place for an early morning raid on a French outpost located around the next bend in the river.  (Elijah mentions this raid in his comments for the next day).”  E-mail from Terry Hawkins, 6th November 2000.

           On the other hand, Elijah made note of many of his comrades who did not survive the campaign.  Elijah lived to tell his tale, and if I may give him the last word, it is (for me) the single most important line in his Journal: “And the 15th day (of November, 1760), I got home to my family.”


           Elijah Estabrooks was not the last of his line to keep a journal and to see battle.  One of his descendants, Walter Ray Estabrooks son of Joseph Leonard Estabrooks and Catherine Mildred Peed was born on the 13th of November 1890 in Upper Waterville, New Brunswick.  Walter had joined the Artillery in Woodstock, and served with the 10th Battery in 1912 and 1913 during exercises in Petawawa.  He went overseas and served with the 32nd Field Battery, 8th Army Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery, on the 24th of December 1916.

           Walter also kept a diary, which consisted of a running record of his experiences in the Canadian Army during the First World War, which came to be known as “The Great War” of 1914-1918.  His Journal is also kept in this library in a similar format.  The following is an extract from his diary:

13th of January 1917

           On carrying party to OP in (the) evening with experienced men.  Guide says, “It’s dark, be careful.  We will go overland from second.”  We were plodding along in single file...a loud pop up front.  Everybody stopped but Estabrooks.  He bumped into (the) man leading...each (loaded) with several sheets of corrugated (metal) on their backs.  Crash...bang!  Everybody stopped as a flare lit the sky.  What fool did not know enough to stop when he heard a flare pistol?  A machine gun sprayed us about a minute.  Nobody answered - but I learned my first lesson.[1]

[1] 13 January 1917, The Diary of Walter R. Estabrooks, 1916-1919, p. 5.

           If you would like to read the rest of Walter’s journal, it can found in the book “Whiz Bangs and Woolly Bears”,  also available on this website.


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