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Glimpses of the Past History of the River St. John, A.D. 1604-1784   By: (1853-1923)

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History of the River St. John

A. D. 1604 1784.

By Rev. W. O. RAYMOND, LL.D.

St. John, N. B. 1905.


Discoverer of the River St. John. The Father of New France. Born at Brouage in 1567. Died at Quebec, Dec. 25, 1635.]


Born and reared upon the banks of the River Saint John, I have always loved it, and have found a charm in the study of everything that pertains to the history of those who have dwelt beside its waters.

In connection with the ter centenary of the discovery of the river by de Monts and Champlain, on the memorable 24th of June, 1604, the chapters which follow were contributed, from time to time, to the Saturday edition of the Saint John Daily Telegraph . With the exception of a few minor corrections and additions, these chapters are reprinted as they originally appeared. Some that were hurriedly written, under pressure of other and more important work, might be revised with advantage. Little attempt at literary excellence has been practicable. I have been guided by an honest desire to get at the facts of history, and in so doing have often quoted the exact language of the writers by whom the facts were first recorded. The result of patient investigation, extending over several years, in the course of which a multitude of documents had to be consulted, is a more elaborate and reliable history of the Saint John River region than has yet appeared in print. The period covered extends from the discovery of the river in 1604 to the coming of the Loyalists in 1784. It is possible that the story may one day be continued in a second volume.

At the conclusion of this self appointed task, let me say to the reader, in the words of Montaigne, "I bring you a nosegay of culled flowers, and I have brought little of my own but the string that ties them."


ST JOHN, N. B., December, 1905.


Page 36, line 8. After word "and," the rest of the line should read "beautiful islands below the mouth of."

Page 97, line 31. The last half of this line is inverted.





The Indian period of our history possesses a charm peculiarly its own. When European explorers first visited our shores the Indian roamed at pleasure through his broad forest domain. Its wealth of attractions were as yet unknown to the hunter, the fisherman and the fur trader. Rude as he was the red man could feel the charms of the wilderness in which he dwelt. The voice of nature was not meaningless to one who knew her haunts so well. The dark recesses of the forest, the sunny glades of the open woodland, the mossy dells, the sparkling streams and roaring mountain torrents, the quiet lakes, the noble river flowing onward to the sea with islands here and there embosomed by its tide all were his. The smoke of his wigwam fire curled peacefully from Indian village and temporary encampment. He might wander where he pleased with none to say him nay.

But before the inflowing tide of the white man's civilization the Indian's supremacy vanished as the morning mist before the rising sun. The old hunting grounds are his no longer. His descendants have long ago been forced to look for situations more remote. The sites of the ancient villages on interval and island have long since been tilled by the thrifty farmer's hands.

But on the sites of the old camping grounds the plough share still turns up relics that carry us back to the "stone age." A careful study of these relics will tell us something about the habits and customs of the aborigines before the coming of the whites. And we have another source of information in the quaint tales and legends that drift to us out of the dim shadows of the past, which will always have peculiar fascination for the student of Indian folk lore... Continue reading book >>

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