Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB
August 17, 1893


Contributions to the History of Charlotte County and the Border Towns.


When Castine, which had been held through the closing years of the war, was lost by the peace, St. Andrew’s or Consquamcook Point was fixed upon by the Castine Loyalists as a suitable place for settlement.

Two or three refugees had preceded them, and built log houses not far from the site of the present town.  Of these, John Hanson was possibly the first to come.  He was a native of Marblehead, Mass.; had been a soldier in the French and Indian wars; and was present at the taking of Quebec.  His father had had three children carried off by the French and held for ransom; and ransomed them, one at a time, as he was able to do so, bringing them through from the St. Lawrence on foot.  On one occasion he travelled on snowshoes and carried the little one on his back.  In returning with the third child he died before reaching his home.

When the Revolutionary War broke out, the Hansons were on the Loyalist side.  Two of the brothers were seized by the insurgents and pressed into service; the others fled.  John Hanson came in a whale boat to Campobello.  Tradition says that on landing, the party were nearly famished, and they made arrows and shot partridges for food.  They would seem, nevertheless, to have been pleased with the country; for Hanson determined to make his home at Passamaquoddy.  He found a means of livelihood in cutting timber for shipment.  Good timber was abundant; and it is said that he never began to fell the trees until the vessel was moored and ready to receive her load.  No doubt the fear of a sudden raid by Col. Allan was one good reason for this mode of proceeding.

John Hanson married Miss Clark, of Kennebec.  He had twelve children, named Isaac, Sarah, John, Clark, Stephen, Daniel, Phoebe, Ephraim, Elizabeth, Eliphilet, Joan, and Eleanor.  One or more of the children, it is said, were born at Castine; others after their father had moved to St. Andrews.  His house stood on the island now known as Minister’s Island, near the bar which connects it with the mainland.  He finally moved to Bocabec, where he and his sons received grants of land.

Ephraim Young, who married a daughter of John Hanson, probably came to St. Andrews with him, or about the same time.  He afterwards lived for a time at Bocabec; and moved from there to St. George, where he lived for many years near the mouth of the stream that connects Lake Utopia with the Magaguadavic, at the place now called Young’s bridge, and where he died in 1841, at the age of eighty-eight.

There is no evidence to show that either Hanson or Young had a house within the limits of the present town plot of St. Andrews.  Indeed, the neighbourhood of the Indians, always more or less hostile to the Loyalists, would make it improbable that they should choose to build there; and, at the time of the arrival of the Penobscot Loyalists, the greater part of the present town site was probably an unbroken cedar swamp.  Near where the record office stands was, perhaps, the log hut erected by Brown and Frost about 1770.1  This may have been the house occupied by Boyd after he moved from Indian Island to St. Andrew’s Point.2  Near where the railway station is, the Indians had a church and burial ground and a more or less permanent encampment; and it is a tradition among the Indians of to-day that an agreement was made by which the white men were allowed to take possession for a time, ‘until they could find another place of settlement.’  

1 Article xxxviii.

2 Article xli.

Mr. C. R. Whidden, editor of the Calais Times, gives us the following additional particulars concerning the naming of Lake Utopia:-

The complaint of the grantees of some of the river lots, that much of their land was covered by the waters of a lake, was made through Capt. Clinch, who was a warm personal friend of Governor Carleton; and when the governor visited the place, Capt. Clinch took him to the top of a hill, now locally known as Troak’s mountain, from which the lake could be seen.  Looking at the broad sheet of water from this place, Gov. Carleton, in humorous reference to the cause of the complaint, gave to the lake the name of Utopia, by which it has ever since been known.  

Caren’s note: Here is a list of the children of John Hanson that is more likely to be reliable than the one given above: John, William, Daniel, Stephen, Clark, Ephraim, Eliphalet, James, Sarah, Phoebe, Joannah, and Elizabeth.  See Elizabeth (Meader) Hanson’s story for the details on the captivity of the three children, presented incorrectly here.  John Hanson was from New Hampshire.