Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB
June 16, 1892
GLIMPSES OF THE PAST
Contributions to the History of Charlotte County and the Border Towns.
XXI THE INDIANS AFTER THE COMING OF THE ENGLISH-Continued.
[Rev. W. O. Raymond, M. A.]
The sworn testimony of John Curry, Esq., a magistrate and a man of excellent reputation, before the boundary commissioners, states that Lord William Campbell, governor of Nova Scotia, visited Campobello in August, 1770. He says:
The chiefs of the Passamaquoddy tribe of Indians were then encamped at Pleasant Point, and required a conference with his Lordship, which this depondent acquainted his Lordship with . . . That the Indians in consequence came to Campo Bello, and appointed Colo: Louis Neptune their speaker; that a number of questions were asked by his Lordship and resolved by the Indians, which were as follows:
What was the Passamaquoddy River?
Answered-The waters running from the White Horse, between Campo Bello and Deer Island, and surrounding Indian Island, Moose Island and all the other small Islands, up to a neck now called Sowards Neck, was known by the name of Passamaquoddy or Pollock river.
The next was respecting the river St. Croix.
Answered-That the Scoudiac was the true and ancient river St. Croix, and that the westermost branch leading towards the Penobscot was the Main Branch; and also that the Cheputnaticook went by that name and not by the name of the Scoudiac.
That at the time there were disputes respecting the boundary line between Nova Scotia and Massachusetts, which was the reason of his Lordships asking these particular questions . . . That during the conference the Indians having acted during the last French war under French commissions, gave up their Medals, acknowledged themselves as British Subjects, and took new Medals from his Lordship and in consequence applied to his Lordship for a Grant of five hundred acres of Land up the Scoudiac, near the Still Water, known by the name of Indian Land, but his Lordships answer was, that he could not give an absolute Grant to Indians according to his instructions, but they might sit down upon it, and he would secure them in the quiet and peaceable possession of it-That he, the deponent, was present during the whole conference, and heard every circumstance explained by John Preble, the interpreter mutually appointed by his Lordship and the Indians.
And this deponent further saith that in the year 1783, at the request of Charles Morris, Jr., Deputy Surveyor of Nova Scotia, then employed in laying out lands for the Loyalists, he brought the above named Lewis Neptune, one of the Chiefs of the Passamaquoddy tribe settled on the Scoudiac, and then, as this depondent supposes, between 50 and 60 years of age, to be examined respecting the true river St. Croix, who assured him in the presence and hearing of this deponent, that Scoudiac was the true St. Croix and the oldest river that had gone by that name. That he and his ancestors had always lived and hunted on that river-that it extended westerly near to the east branch of the Penobscot River, and that they had a communication with Penobscot by means of a portage of near three miles-that at the same time the said Colo: Lewis Neptune gave Mr. Morris a plan or sketch of the river, with a piece of coal on the floor of this deponents house, which Mr. Morris reduced and took off on paper and afterwards as he informed this deponent sent forward the same to the Governor of Nova Scotia. That the said Indian was perfectly sober at the time and being told the business he was come upon, did not take a drop of strong liquor while they were about it.
Mr. Curry then proceeds to give his own evidence on the matter in question, stating that the Cobscook, Scoodiac, and Magguadavic have all three been often times called by the name of Saint Croix, and that he has always understood from the Indians, Passamaquoddy takes its name and is so called from the Quantities of Pollock taken there. He concludes his testimony as follows:
That in 1770, when this deponent first came to the Country, there was an Indian Place of Worship and a Cross standing upon Saint Andrews or Indian Point, and a burying ground which he understood from them was consecrated Ground, and that most of the Indians buried their dead there: That among others to this deponents knowledge, the Chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, John Neptune (Bungawarrawit) and one of the Chiefs of the Saint Johns Tribe known by the name of Pierre Toma were both of them buried there, and that they had likewise another burying ground at the Indian Land, so called, at Still Water, up the Scoodiac, another at Indian Island and another at Pleasant Point. That their Cross was standing there till the Spring 1784, when Col. Lewis Neptune came to this deponent at Campo Bello with a complaint that it was cut down by some of the refugees and their place of worship destroyed; upon which this deponent told him, it was not the wish of the Government that any one should use them ill, and if the persons who were guilty of it could be found out, that they should be brought to justice and their grievances redressed; but as the persons were not found out, a new Cross was erected by the Inhabitants of Saint Andrews in order to satisfy them which they paid but little regard to, and from thence forward discontinued their worship and burials at Saint Andrews, and fixed the same at Pleasant Point.
Mr. Curry, when asked by the United States agent to mention the names of the Indians who had called the Scoodiac by the name of St. Croix, replied Lewis Neptune, John Baptist Neptune, John ODenny, Bungawarawit and several others whose names he did not recollect.
The evidence of John Curry is supported by similar testimony given by Alexander Hodges, James Brown and Jeremiah Frost, who declare that the Indians named, with others, always called the Scoodiac the St. Croix.
The Indians referred to all belonged to the Passamaquoddy tribe. Bungawarawit died at Digdeguash, about 1774 or 1775; Louis Neptune died of small pox at Lake Meddybemps, on Dennys river, near the Cobscook, in 1784; John Baptist Neptune died at Machias, date uncertain; and John ODenny died at Sewards Neck, in 1795.
Sebatis Joseph told me that Passamaquoddy was so called from the abundance of pollock. Sebatis also told me that the high hill on McMasters Island, at LeTete, was called Squaws Lookout, because in the hot summer weather the St. Andrews Indians camped on the island, and when any of them had gone to St. Andrews, the squaws, when they got anxious about their return, went up to the bare top of this hill to see if they could observe their returning canoes.-Edward Jack.
The St. Croix river on which the Denis grant of 1685 was given
was not our St. Croix, but the Miramichi. I have a copy of
the original grant, and a map showing it; and several maps which
call the Miramichi the St. Croix.-W. F. Ganong.