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Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB
January 5, 1893

GLIMPSES OF THE PAST

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

XLIX – EVENTS OF THE WAR.

The incidents recorded in Allan’s diary give us glimpses, from time to time, of what was going on at Passamaquoddy during the war.

The fishing business was still carried on at Grand Manan, notwithstanding the risk of seizure; and the lumber trade was not entirely suspended.  Trading vessels made occasional visits, and in 1777 a Mr. Bell is mentioned as a resident trader at Campobello.

The people of Passamaquoddy were so far loyal that Col. Allan was obliged to forbid any connection between Machias and that place, and the inhabitants of Passamaquoddy were forbidden to go to Machias unless with their families to become residents.  This was done, as he says, because ‘particular intelligence is generally sent to the enemy of the situation of these parts.’

It was in consequence of such ‘particular intelligence’ with regard to Allan’s plans, no doubt, that Sir George Collier’s expedition was sent to reduce Machias.

Shortly before this attack, Allan received intelligence that a sloop belonging to John Avery was loading at Passamaquoddy, probably with lumber.  Allan’s Indians, under Cap. Preble, attempted to seize her, but failed.

About this time, Capt. Long, a Machias man, was taken by the British at Passamaquoddy, possibly not very much against his will.  In October, Capt. Crabtree, cruising in the bay of Fundy, retook Capt. Long going from Passamaquoddy to Annapolis, and carried him to Machias.  Allan thought proper to confine Long, as he was taken ‘carrying intelligence by express to the enemy.’  Two men were sent back with an order on Mr. Bell for certain papers and other articles belonging to Capt. Long; but they were obliged to return without them, as ‘Crabtree’s men had plundered the house.’  A little later the privateer Congress seized at Passamaquoddy and took to Machias a quantity of salt belonging to Capt. Long.

In October, 1777, Col. Allan gave ‘Curry and company’ passes to Passamaquoddy.

On Oct. 22, Capt. Preble set out from Machias on a secret expedition to Passamaquoddy.  On his return it transpired that his mission was to apprehend ‘Heany, the deserter’; but, ‘through the means of one Brown,’ Heany escaped.  A few days later, a regimental court martial was held for the trial of James Brown of Passamaquoddy, for ‘having communication with the enemy and countenancing deserters.’

Any person who dared to disapprove of the doings at Machias, and who attempted to escape from the place, so as to avoid being implicated in acts of rebellion, was, of course, regarded by Allan as a deserter.  This particular one was, very probably, Josiah Heney, now held in honor as one of the Loyalist settlers of Deer Island.  According to the account of his life in Sabine’s ‘American Loyalists,’ Heney was born at Portland, Me., in 1754.  He went to Halifax after his escape, and thence to Castine.  He came to Deer Island, probably, at the time of the evacuation of Castine.  The remains of his log house, in which he lived for some years after his arrival, may still be seen on the shore of Cummings Cove.

In December, 1777, Allan despatched a schooner to carry certain Indians to Grand Manan, and then to go to Passamaquoddy for potatoes; from which it would seem that at this early date potatoes had become an article of export.  Allan, at the same time, wrote to Mr. Curry.  The bearer of the letter, on his return from Passamaquoddy, brought word that ‘Capt. Littlefield, in a sloop from the West Indies, was in there with a very valuable cargo.’

A number of Indians, who arrived at Machias on January 1st, brought the news that a garrison had been placed at the mouth of the St. John; and that ‘Esquire Curry took his passage with Littlefield.’  Allan immediately took steps to establish a post at Passamaquoddy, and commissioned three Indians, ‘with instructions to detain all vessels refusing to trade for paper currency.’  It was during the feasting which followed the conference on this occasion that the old chief Jean Baptiste Neptune died.

On July 1st, 1778, Col. Allan arrived at St. Andrews Point, to hold his council with the Maliseets, (or, as he calls them, Marisheetes,) of which mention was made in a former article.

While he was still at St. Andrews, word was brought to Col. Allan that a sloop like a wood coaster was off Passamaquoddy island.  She proved to be the British sloop of war Howe, and her pilot was John Frost, of Passamaquoddy.  The Howe had struck her light spars, pretending to be a vessel come for a load of lumber, and asked Allan’s protection against the small privateers that infested the bay.  The ruse was so far successful that Allan narrowly escaped being captured by her.1  He subsequently seized John Frost; but the result of his trial, if any trial took place, is not recorded.


1This was not the only occasion on which Allan had a narrow escape.  Travelling on skates on the Schoodic lakes, at one time, he was chased by Indians in the service of the British, and only got clear by jumping an open place where the Indians would not follow.  At another time he was chased by three boats from a British vessel in Passamaquoddy bay, when, rounding a point of land, he sunk his boat and hid in the woods.