Chapter 1: Ancestry.—1764-1805.Daniel Palmer removes from Rowley, Mass., to the river St. John, N. B., where his daughter Mary marries Joseph Garrison. Their son Abijah marries Fanny Lloyd of Deer Island, N. B. From Nova Scotia this couple remove in 1805 to Newburyport, Mass., where William Lloyd Garrison is born to them.
The scenic glories of the River St. John, New Brunswick, are well past on the ascent when, on the right, the obscure outlet of the Jemseg is reached. The hills on either shore have both diminished and receded; and thenceforward the voyager sees only the fringe of alder bushes, or willows, which hide on the one hand the level intervale, on the other the level islands, until Burton heights loom up on the south, and, on the opposite bank, the spires of Sheffield and of Maugerville.1 Along this lowland margin a feeble line of French Acadian settlers stretched, in the middle of the last century, from the Jemseg to the Nashwaak. A couple of hundred souls were still clustered at the trading station of St. Ann's (now Fredericton) when, in the summer of 1761, Israel Perley, of Boxford, Essex County, Massachusetts, and a handful of companions, triumphing over the wilderness between Machias and the St. John, looked from the mouth of the Oromoeto down over the gleaming waters and woody plains of this romantic region.  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, 2 commanded by Captain Newman. The following spring brought a reinforcement of colonists in the sloop commanded by Captain Howe, which ‘became an annual3 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 blighted4 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, 5 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 officially6 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  name on the list of grantees, for five hundred acres, was that of Joseph Garrison;7 the twenty-fourth, that of his father-in-law, Daniel Palmer. The latter's portion consisted of two lots forty rods long upon the river, and8 some six miles (five hundred and fifty chains) in depth across the intervale towards Grand Lake. The western boundary of its frontage was just opposite the lower end of Middle Island; the river here being from one-third to half a mile in width. Daniel Palmer was great-grandson of Sergeant John Palmer (who, as a youth of seventeen, is reported to have come to Rowley in 1639) by a second wife, Margaret Northend. On the side of his mother, Mary Stickney, he was great-grandson of William Stickney, the founder of that family in this country, and of Captain Samuel Brocklebank, who was slain, with nearly all his 9 command, by the Indians at Sudbury, in King Philip's War. Born at Rowley, in 1712, Daniel Palmer married in 1736 Elizabeth Wheeler, of Chebacco (a part of Ipswich, called Essex since 1819), with whom, eight years later, he was dismissed from the First Church in Rowley to that of Gloucester; but of his stay in the latter place, if, indeed, he removed thither, we have no record. He is yet remembered by close tradition as ‘a powerful man, of great10 muscular strength. Before he left for the East the Indians were troublesome, and there were three secreted in a house in Old Town, and no one dared pursue them. But he was fearless, and entered the house, where he opened a chamber window, and one by one he threw them out, regardless of life or limb, as though they were so many straws.’ Six children survived to him, and the two oldest girls, Elizabeth and Ruth, were married, when removal to the St. John was determined on. Leaving these behind, he took with him his third daughter, Mary (born January 19, 1741, in Byfield), and his three sons,  Daniel, Nathan, and Abijah, and joined the company of townsfolk and kinsmen who were to plant a Puritan settlement on the banks of the St. John. There is no evidence that Joseph Garrison was of this number. All that can now be learned about him warrants the belief that he was an Englishman, who was found upon the spot by the second, if not already by the first, immigrants from Rowley. We know positively that on his thirtieth birthday, August 14, 1764, he was married to Daniel Palmer's daughter Mary, perhaps in that church which ‘Richard Eastiek [Estey] and Ruth11 his wife, Jonathan Smith and Hannah his wife,’ were dismissed from, the First Church in Rowley, to form ‘upon or near St. John's River, Nova Scotia,’ May 20, 1764. Sabine, who, with doubtful propriety, includes Joseph Garrison in his Loyalists of the American Revolution, (1.464) styles him ‘of Massachusetts’; but the name has not been met with in that State before the present century by the most diligent searchers of her archives. His comparatively early death will account for the 12 diversity of traditions in regard to him among his own descendants, the most trustworthy of which is, that he was not a native of the colonies but of the mother country. The location of his grant is unrecorded, but traditionally was higher up the river than his fatherin-law's. Sabine, again, says he was remembered in New Brunswick ‘as a skilful miner, and as the discoverer of the “Grand Lake coal Mines,” which of late years have been extensively worked.’ Grand Lake is the lowest part of the broad basin extending from Fredericton to the hills beyond the Jemseg, which at every spring freshet is covered by the swollen waters of the St. John. It is not unlikely that its shores were curiously visited by Joseph Garrison, and that he was the first to notice its very obvious superficial bituminous coal13 deposits. But the mining there, as late as 1850, was carried on ‘in a small and rude manner,’ and as late as 1830 only ‘by strippings or open diggings’; so that  skill could hardly be ascribed to him where so little was required. Joseph Garrison's occupation was that of a farmer, which then, as now, must have been one of comparative ease, because of the exceptional facility for growing hay14 and raising stock, and not conducive to progressive agriculture. Life was fairly amphibious: fences had (as they still have) to be taken down and corralled in the fall, to prevent their being floated off in the spring; and when at last the gentle flood covered the intervale as far as the eye (even looking from Burton heights) could reach, the farmer turned navigator over his own domain. Lucky if the main river-road emerged, and his house and barn were uninvaded by the tide, he was yet tranquil in the assurance that where he now drew up his herring, he15 should by and by view with satisfaction his crops of grain and potatoes. Daniel Palmer, we know, had pitched his log cabin too near the brink, and was made aware of the fact, in an extraordinary rise, by a huge cake of ice sailing through from door to door, and carrying off not only half the house, but the day's dinner of boiling meat in the pot, and the table gear, happily recovered after drifting against a stump.16 One other incident of these early days of the settlement has a more immediate interest. Five children had been born to Joseph and Mary Garrison, the youngest, Abijah, being an infant in arms—say, in the spring of 1774. The mother had started in a boat down the river to pay her father a visit, taking her babe with her, and a lad who lived with the family:
‘The river was clear of ice when she started, and she 17 apprehended no danger. Long before she got to her journey's end the ice broke further up the river, and came down with such force against her boat as to break it badly, and compel her to exchange it for an ice-cake, which was driven ashore by a larger piece of ice. Like a mother, she wrapped her babe in all the clothes she could spare, and threw him into the snow on  the shore. By the aid of a willow limb which overhung the river, she and the lad saved themselves. She took up her babe unharmed. As she was wandering in the woods, without guide or path, she saw the smoke from an Indian hut, and on going to it found there an Indian18 who knew her father. He entertained her with his best words and deeds, and the next morning conducted her safely to her father's.’This babe was the father of William Lloyd Garrison. It was not quite three years old when the progress of revolt in the colonies had infected the New England settlers on the St. John, and impelled them to a manifesto antedating the Declaration of Independence, imbued with the same spirit, ‘and, considering their insulated locality, and the vicinity to the old and 19 wellfortified towns in possession of an English army and navy, . . . remarkably old.’
The names of the Loyalists ‘at the River's mouth’ are well known, but the record is silent as to the three or four residents of Maugerville who refused to subscribe to the resolves and the appeal for relief. It may be conjectured, however, that Joseph Garrison was one of these, having as his first motive his English birth, and the want of those New England connections which might else have made liberty to him also ‘that dearest of names’; and perhaps as his second, his better sense of the hopelessness of such an unsupported outpost maintaining itself against the authority of the mother country. Mr. Sabine found Joseph's descendants admitting his loyalty, and we may suppose him to have been temporarily ostracized, according to the terms of the vote, on account of his standing aloof from the almost unanimous action of his neighbors. At all events, it required no little independence of character to incur the ‘popular resentment’; and this trait may as well have been inherited by his  grandson as the spirit of the declaration of resistance to tyranny which Daniel Palmer subscribed. His isolation, however, except in public sentiment, lasted hardly more than a year. Despite the good-will and assistance of Massachusetts, before a project of fortifying the month of the St. John could be carried out, in May, 1777, the British sloop Vulture, fourteen guns, from Halifax (a vessel afterward famous for having been the refuge of Benedict Arnold on the discovery of his treason), sailed up the river with troops, and, as was22 reported in Machias on the 29th, compelled the settlers to take the oath of allegiance to his British Majesty. Many were robbed of their all; some were carried away. A vain attempt to reverse this was made by a Massachusetts expedition in the following month. Boston was too far away, Halifax was too near. Submission was unavoidable; but time never reconciled all of the inhabitants to the separation from their kindred in the old Massachusetts home, and their regrets have been handed down to their posterity. Shut off from further increase by immigration from the original hive, they could only perpetuate their numbers by intermarriage; and the tourist on the St. John to-day finds in Sunbury County not only familiar New England names, but perhaps as unmixed a Puritan stock as exists on the continent. Of Joseph Garrison, except that he died at Jemseg in February, 1783, we know nothing more that is eventful. He passed for a disappointed man. His physical characteristics, as determinable from his posterity, may be set down as follows: a long chin and a large bump of firmness (phrenologically speaking), with a great length between; black hair, with early baldness. Probably to him, too, rather than to the Palmers is to be attributed an hereditary tendency to congenital lameness, which has shown itself in three generations,—though never in a straight line, and always (it is believed) in the male children,—and two instances of a prominent facial birthmark in a son and grandson of Joseph and Mary Palmer  Garrison. Mentally, besides the strong-mindedness already indicated, there is no salient feature to distinguish the founder of the line. His children, in a settlement deprived of every literary and social advantage, proved exceptionally intelligent. They educated themselves with the slenderest facilities; learned the art of navigation; became teachers. ‘They did not accumulate much,’ says the local tradition, ‘but they always left friends behind them.’ A fondness for music, and natural aptitude for giving instruction in it, have also been manifested in Joseph's posterity, among whom it has been handed down that he used to play the fiddle. Domestically, it may be inferred that Joseph Garrison was uxorious, since at least five of his children were named for his wife's relatives. The Palmer type was also well supplied with firmness; had high cheek-bones, fair skin and hair; was of a quizzical and jocose temperament.23 Religiously, the Palmers were affiliated with the Baptists, and Mary Palmer Garrison is said to have been the only person of that denomination on the Jemseg when she came there. (She joined the church in Byfield before the removal, October 10, 1762.) She long survived her husband, dying on February 14, 1822. On the 30th of January, 1787, she was granted eighty acres of land (Lot No. 6, Second Division) on the River St. John, opposite the Jemseg, in Queen's County. Later, her home was on the Jemseg with her son Silas, who cultivated the farm now shown as the Garrison homestead. At the time of her death  she had been for many years the widow of Robert Angus.24 She is remembered late in life as a jolly sort of person—portly, with round face and fair hair, of a sanguine temperament, and a great favorite with children, whom she amused with quaint stories.25 From her there ran in the veins of her offspring the emigrant Puritan blood of Palmer, Northend, Hunt, Redding, Stickney, Brocklebank, Wheeler, and other (unnamable) stirpes. By her, Joseph Garrison became the father of nine children, viz., Hannah (1765-1843),26, Elizabeth (1767– 1815), Joseph (1769-1819), Daniel (1771-1803), Abijah (born 1773), Sarah (born 1776), Nathan (1778-1817), Silas (1780-1849), William (a posthumous child, 1783– 1837). The fifth in order, Abijah, must occupy our attention, to the exclusion of his brothers and sisters. The exact date of his birth was June 18, 1773, and the place Jemseg. He was named for his uncle Palmer. Except the romantic incident of his babyhood, already related, his early history is a blank. He alone of the family followed the sea. He became eventually a captain, and made many voyages, with his cousin Abijah Palmer as mate. His hour-glass, sole personal souvenir, is still preserved, with his rudely-cut initials. He was tall, but well-proportioned, of fine and even handsome appearance, in spite of an extraordinary birth-mark (‘like raw beef,’ ‘sometimes as red as blood’) extending from ear to ear and under the chin, like a muffler. He had the light hair and fair skin of the Palmers. He  is remembered by one of his contemporaries as a ‘smart man, bright at most everything,’ and as an excellent penman. Moreover, he possessed a keen sense of the ludicrous, which often displayed itself—with the freedom of the time—in his versifying.27 His son, William Lloyd, who had no personal recollection of him, thus summed up the traditions in regard to Abijah Garrison:
‘I was probably not more than three years old when he28 took his final leave of my mother. I remember vaguely to have been told that he had a fine physical development, a sanguine temperament, a bald head, and a reddish beard, with a very noticeable scar on his face, a birth-mark; that he was very genial and social in his manners, kind and affectionate in his disposition, and ever ready to assist the suffering and needy; that he had a good theoretical and practical knowledge of navigation, and as a master of a vessel made many voyages coastwise and to the West Indies; and that he had a strong taste for reading, and evinced some literary talent. There is no doubt that his love for my mother was almost romantic; and it is questionable, when he deserted her, if he meant the separation to be final.’Romantic love had a romantic beginning. By some chance of coast navigation Abijah found himself on Deer Island, N. B., in Passamaquoddy Bay (waters called Quoddy, for short). Here, at a religious evening meeting, his eye fell upon a strikingly beautiful young woman, dressed in a blue habit; or, more than likely, the previous sight of her was the cause of that evening's piety. At the close of the services he followed her to the door, and boldly asked leave to accompany her home, accosting her, for want of her real name, as ‘Miss Blue Jacket.’ Her reply was a rebuff. Nevertheless, Abijah lost no time in sending her a letter, which, it is safe to say, surpassed in literary graces any she had ever received,  and her reply confirmed an acquaintance which ended infallibly in matrimony. Frances Maria Lloyd was the daughter—one of a large family of children—of Andrew Lloyd, a native of Kinsale, County Munster, Ireland (about 1752). He came out to the province of Nova Scotia in 1771, as a 'prentice, bound to the captain (Plato Dana) of the ship which also brought over John Lawless, an Englishman, who had been a sergeant under Wolfe at Quebec; his wife, Catharine, said to have been a native of Limerick, Ireland; and their only daughter Mary, who was certainly born there. The 'prentice is believed to have improved his time so well on the voyage that, young as they both were, he married Mary Lawless on March 30, 1771, the day after they had landed on the island of Campobello. Andrew became a so-called branch (i.e., commissioned) pilot, at Quoddy, and died suddenly in the service in the year 1813. His wife, whom he survived, though not long, was reputed the first person buried on Deer Island; and on this unfertile but picturesque and fascinating spot Fanny Lloyd was born in 1776, and became the belle of the family.
She was of a tall, majestic figure, singularly graceful in29 deportment and carriage; her features were fine, and expressive of a high intellectual character; and her hair so luxuriant and rich that, when she unbound it, like that of Godiva of old, it fell around her like a veil. The outward being, however, was but a faint image of the angelic nature within; she was one of those who inspire at once love and reverence; she took high views of life and its duties; and, consequently, when adversity came upon her as an armed man, she was not overcome. Life had lost its sunshine, but not its worth; and, for her own and her children's sake, she combated nobly with poverty and sorrow. Her influence on her children, more especially on her son William, was very great: he venerated her while yet a child; not a word or a precept of hers was ever lost—his young heart treasured up all, unknowing that these in after life should become his great principles of action. To illustrate the conscious [conscientious?] and firm character of this admirable woman, we must be permitted to  give an anecdote of her whilst yet young. Her parents were of the Episcopal Church, and among the most bigoted of that body. In those days the Baptists were a despised people, and it was reckoned vulgar to be of their community. One day, however, it was made known through the neighborhood where she lived that one of these despised sectaries30 would preach in a barn, and a party of gay young people, one of whom was the lovely and gay Fanny Lloyd, agreed for a frolic to go and hear him. Of those who went to scoff one remained to pray; this was Fanny Lloyd. Her soul was deeply touched by the meek and holy spirit of the preacher; she wept much during the sermon, and when it was over, the preacher spake kindly to her. From that day a change came over her mind; she would no longer despise and ridicule the Baptists; and before long announced to her astonished and indignant parents that she found it necessary for the peace of her soul to become publicly one of that despised body. Nothing could equal the exasperation which followed this avowal. They threatened that if she allowed herself to be baptized, they would turn her out of doors. It was not a matter of choice, but of stern duty with her; she meekly expostulated—she besought them with tears to hear her reasons, but in vain. She could not, however, resist that which she believed to be her duty to God; she was baptized, and had no longer a home under her parents' roof. She then took refuge with an uncle, with whom she resided several years. This early persecution only strengthened her religious opinions; and she remained through life a zealous advocate of those peculiar views for which she had suffered so much.31The date of Abijah Garrison's marriage is uncertain, except that it was nearly at the close of the last century, and on the 12th day of December. The place of the ceremony is equally unknown; neither has it been ascertained where was the first home of the young couple. Not improbably, from what follows, it may have been  among the husband's relatives on the Jemseg, and here perhaps was born Mary Ann, who died in infaney. In 1801 they were settled in Duke Street, St. John, where a son, James Holley, was born to them on July 10, and possibly also a second daughter, Caroline Eliza (1803). Subsequently they removed to Granville, Nova Scotia, in the neighborhood of Fanny's sister Nancy (Mrs. Thomas Delap). To this period belongs the following fragment of a letter from the sailor to his wife:
A year later, Abijah announces to his mother and stepfather his intention to return to the old home of the Puritan settlers on the St. John—to Essex County, Masschusetts. His wife appends a brief postscript, and the letter, precious for its incidental family history and  character glimpses, and for the union on one page of a still loving pair, is despatched to Mr. Robert Angus, Waterborough,34 River St. John, New Brunswick, to the care of Mr. Geo. Harden, City of St. John. Thus it reads:
The chance which preserved this document could hardly have been improved upon by choice, if it had been designed to exhibit on the one hand Abijah's  native gift of literary expression, his liveliness as a correspondent—so different from the ‘formalism’ of the period, of which he complains—his love of home and kindred, his pleasant and even his grim humor; on the other, the deeply emotional nature of Fanny Lloyd, thrilling not only with the thought of separation from past benefactors, but also with the new life just then beginning to stir under her bosom. The same Providence by which slavers made their impious voyages in safety, attended the ship hearing its passengers, visible and invisible, from Nova Scotia to Newburyport, in the spring-time of 1805; whose arrival was the unsuspected event of the year in the third city of Massachusetts44—for the six or seven thousand inhabitants were celebrating rather the building of the new Court House on the Mall, the founding of the Social Library, and the opening of Plum Island turnpike and bridge, or making careful note of the thirty days drought in July and August. On the 10th of December,45 in a little frame house, still standing on School Street, between the First Presbyterian Church, in which Whitefield's remains are interred, and the house in which the great preacher died,—and so in the very bosom of orthodoxy,—a man-child was born to Abijah and Fanny46 Garrison, and called, after an uncle who subsequently lost his life in Boston harbor, William Lloyd Garrison.