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[2]

Perley had been sent out by the Governor of Massachusetts (Bernard) on an exploring expedition. His report to his neighbors in praise of these alluvial prairies —free of stone for the ploughshare, washed by waters dense with fish, and skirted by timber abounding in large game—must have produced a sort of ‘Western fever’ among them. Many of his listeners had no doubt served in the Nova Scotia campaigns against the French which culminated in the capture of Louisburg in 1758, followed by that of Quebec in 1759, and the British occupation of the St. John as far as the Nashwaak; and were already aware of the natural advantages of the territory.

The first Essex County migration to Nova Scotia (as New Brunswick was then called) took place in the spring of 1763 in a packet sloop of forty tons burthen, 1 commanded by Captain Newman. The following spring brought a reinforcement of colonists in the sloop commanded by Captain Howe, which ‘became an annual2 trader to the River, and the only means of communication between the Pilgrims and their native land.’ The arrival was most timely, for an early frost had blighted3 the crop of the previous year, and reduced the firstcomers almost to actual want. The settlement now embraced families, more or less connected with each other, from Rowley, Boxford, Byfield, Ipswich, 4 Marblehead, and adjacent towns, among whom the Perleys, Stickneys, Palmers, Burpees, Barkers, Esteys, Hartts, and Peabodys were prominent in numbers or in influence.

On October 31, 1765, the district having been officially5 surveyed by Charles Morris, sixty-five heads of families, resident or represented, were granted Tract No. 109, in Sunbury County. This tract, in the parish of Maugerville and Sheffield, known as the Maugerville Grant, and twelve miles square, extended from the head of Oromocto Island to the foot of Mauger's Island, and had been partially cleared by the Acadians. The twenty-second

1 Hatheway's Hist. New Brunswick, p. 7.

2 Ibid., p. 8.

3 Ibid., p. 10.

4 Stickney Genealogy, p. 166.

5 Secretary's book, Land Office, Fredericton, Vol. A., p. 122.

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